Science.gov

Sample records for functional traits longevity

  1. Effect of type traits on functional longevity of Czech Holstein cows estimated from a Cox proportional hazards model.

    PubMed

    Zavadilová, L; Němcová, E; Stípková, M

    2011-08-01

    Relationships between conformation traits and functional longevity in Holstein cows were evaluated using survival analysis. Functional longevity was defined as the number of days between the first calving and culling; that is, length of productive life. The data set consisted of 116,369 Holstein cows that first calved from 2003 to 2008. All cows used in the analysis were scored for conformation between d 30 and d 210 of their first lactation. The data included 48% censored records. Analyses were done separately for 20 linear descriptive type traits, 6 composite traits, and height at sacrum measured in centimeters. Cox proportional hazard models were fitted to analyze data. The hazard function was described as the product of a baseline hazard function and the time-independent effects of age at first calving and sire (random), and the time-dependent effects of stage of lactation and lactation number, herd, year and season, herd size, and 305-d milk production. The strongest relationship between a composite trait and functional longevity was for dairy form, followed by udder and final score. Among the descriptive type traits, the strongest relationships with longevity were found for body condition score, angularity, traits related to udder attachment, and udder depth. Foot and leg traits showed substantially lower effect on functional longevity, and the effect of foot angle was minimal. Functional longevity declined with decreased body condition score of cows. Cows with deep udders had significantly lower functional survival compared with cows with shallow udders. In addition, weak central ligament was associated with significant reduction of cow longevity. For dairy form and angularity, cows classified as very good were the worst with respect to longevity, whereas cows classified as poor were the best. An intermediate optimum was evident for rear legs rear view and rear legs set (side view), whereas cows with sickled legs had lower longevity than cows with straighter

  2. Short communication: Genetic relationships between functional longevity and direct health traits in Austrian Fleckvieh cattle.

    PubMed

    Pfeiffer, C; Fuerst, C; Ducrocq, V; Fuerst-Waltl, B

    2015-10-01

    The aim of this study was to conduct a multitrait 2-step approach applied to yield deviations and deregressed breeding values to get genetic parameters of functional longevity, clinical mastitis, early fertility disorders, cystic ovaries, and milk fever of Austrian Fleckvieh cattle. An approximate multitrait approach allows the combination of information from pseudo-phenotypes derived from different statistical models in routine genetic evaluation, which cannot be estimated easily in a full multitrait model. A total of 66,890 Fleckvieh cows were included in this study. For estimating genetic parameters, a simple linear animal model with year of birth as a fixed effect and animal as a random genetic effect was fitted. The joint analysis of yield deviations and deregressed breeding values was feasible. As expected, heritabilities were low, ranging from 0.03 (early fertility disorders) to 0.15 (functional longevity). Genetic correlations between functional longevity and clinical mastitis, early fertility disorders, cystic ovaries, and milk fever were 0.63, 0.29, 0.20, and 0.20, respectively. Within direct health traits genetic correlations were between 0.14 and 0.45. Results suggest that selecting for more robust disease-resistant cows would imply an improvement of functional longevity.

  3. Applying trait-function relationships for microbial plant decomposition to predict medium longevity in pollution control biofilters.

    PubMed

    Oliver, Jason P; Schilling, Jonathan S

    2016-03-01

    Biofilters, bioreactors used for pollution control, can effectively treat a variety of odorous and hazardous emissions, but uncertain medium longevities and associated costs limit biofilter adoption. To improve medium-life estimations for biofilter end-users, litter bags were used to compare decay rates of common biofilter medium types and test the effects of nitrogen (N) enrichment and livestock production emissions on medium decay in a full-scale biofilter over a 27-month period. Generally, "by-product" media (mulch, corn cobs) decayed faster than hardwood media, with decay of softwood media the slowest. Analysis showed nutrient content was the best predictor of early-stage decay, while carbon fractions and nutrient content best predicted medium longevity. N amendments and N-rich barn emissions were found to hasten medium decay. By identifying decay rates and rate predictors specific for biofilter media, we provide biofilter engineers and farmers with a quantitative way to improve medium selection based on the trade-offs between medium cost and replacement frequency. PMID:26590583

  4. Applying trait-function relationships for microbial plant decomposition to predict medium longevity in pollution control biofilters.

    PubMed

    Oliver, Jason P; Schilling, Jonathan S

    2016-03-01

    Biofilters, bioreactors used for pollution control, can effectively treat a variety of odorous and hazardous emissions, but uncertain medium longevities and associated costs limit biofilter adoption. To improve medium-life estimations for biofilter end-users, litter bags were used to compare decay rates of common biofilter medium types and test the effects of nitrogen (N) enrichment and livestock production emissions on medium decay in a full-scale biofilter over a 27-month period. Generally, "by-product" media (mulch, corn cobs) decayed faster than hardwood media, with decay of softwood media the slowest. Analysis showed nutrient content was the best predictor of early-stage decay, while carbon fractions and nutrient content best predicted medium longevity. N amendments and N-rich barn emissions were found to hasten medium decay. By identifying decay rates and rate predictors specific for biofilter media, we provide biofilter engineers and farmers with a quantitative way to improve medium selection based on the trade-offs between medium cost and replacement frequency.

  5. Trait humor and longevity: do comics have the last laugh?

    PubMed

    Rotton, J

    1992-01-01

    Four sets of biographical data were analyzed in order to test the hypothesis that the ability to generate humor is associated with longevity. Although steps were taken to ensure that tests had high levels of statistical power, analyses provided very little support for the idea that individuals with a well-developed sense of humor live longer than serious writers and other entertainers. In addition, a subsidiary analysis revealed that those in the business of entertaining others died at an earlier age than those in other lines of endeavor. These findings suggest that researchers should turn their attention from trait humor to the effects of humorous material.

  6. Economic weights for maternal traits of sows, including sow longevity.

    PubMed

    Amer, P R; Ludemann, C I; Hermesch, S

    2014-12-01

    The objective of this study was to develop a transparent, comprehensive, and flexible model for each trait for the formulation of breeding objectives for sow traits in swine breeding programs. Economic values were derived from submodels considering a typical Australian pig production system. Differences in timing and expressions of traits were accounted for to derive economic weights that were compared on the basis of their relative size after multiplication by their corresponding genetic standard deviation to account for differences in scale and genetic variability present for each trait. The number of piglets born alive had the greatest contribution (27.1%) to a subindex containing only maternal traits, followed by daily gain (maternal; 22.0%) and sow mature weight (15.0%). Other traits considered in the maternal breeding objective were preweaning survival (11.8%), sow longevity (12.5%), gilt age at puberty (8.7%), and piglet survival at birth (3.1%). The economic weights for number of piglets born alive and preweaning piglet survival were found to be highly dependent on the definition of scale of enterprise, with each economic value increasing by approximately 100% when it was assumed that the value of extra output per sow could be captured, rather than assuming a consequent reduction in the number of sows to maintain a constant level of output from a farm enterprise. In the context of a full maternal line index that must account also for the expression of direct genetic traits by the growing piglet progeny of sows, the maternal traits contributed approximately half of the variation in the overall breeding objective. Deployment of more comprehensive maternal line indexes incorporating the new maternal traits described would lead to more balanced selection outcomes and improved survival of pigs. Future work could facilitate evaluation of the economic impacts of desired-gains indexes, which could further improve animal welfare through improved sow and piglet

  7. Defining Molecular Basis for Longevity Traits in Natural Yeast Isolates

    PubMed Central

    Kaya, Alaattin; Ma, Siming; Wasko, Brian; Lee, Mitchell; Kaeberlein, Matt; Gladyshev, Vadim N.

    2016-01-01

    The budding yeast has served as a useful model organism in aging studies, leading to the identification of genetic determinants of longevity, many of which are conserved in higher eukaryotes. However, factors that promote longevity in laboratory setting often have severe fitness disadvantage in the wild. Here, to obtain an unbiased view on longevity regulation we analyzed how replicative lifespan is shaped by transcriptional, translational, metabolic, and morphological factors across 22 wild-type Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates. We observed significant differences in lifespan across these strains and found that their longevity is strongly associated with up-regulation of oxidative phosphorylation and respiration and down-regulation of amino acid and nitrogen compound biosynthesis. Since calorie restriction and TOR signaling also extend lifespan by adjusting many of the identified pathways, the data suggest that natural plasticity of yeast lifespan is shaped by processes that not only do not impose cost on fitness, but are amenable to dietary intervention. PMID:27030810

  8. Quantitative trait loci associated with longevity of lettuce seeds under conventional and controlled deterioration storage conditions.

    PubMed

    Schwember, Andrés R; Bradford, Kent J

    2010-10-01

    Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seeds have poor shelf life and exhibit thermoinhibition (fail to germinate) above ∼25°C. Seed priming (controlled hydration followed by drying) alleviates thermoinhibition by increasing the maximum germination temperature, but reduces lettuce seed longevity. Controlled deterioration (CD) or accelerated ageing storage conditions (i.e. elevated temperature and relative humidity) are used to study seed longevity and to predict potential seed lifetimes under conventional storage conditions. Seeds produced in 2002 and 2006 of a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from a cross between L. sativa cv. Salinas×L. serriola accession UC96US23 were utilized to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with seed longevity under CD and conventional storage conditions. Multiple longevity-associated QTLs were identified under both conventional and CD storage conditions for control (non-primed) and primed seeds. However, seed longevity was poorly correlated between the two storage conditions, suggesting that deterioration processes under CD conditions are not predictive of ageing in conventional storage conditions. Additionally, the same QTLs were not identified when RIL populations were grown in different years, indicating that lettuce seed longevity is strongly affected by production environment. Nonetheless, a major QTL on chromosome 4 [Seed longevity 4.1 (Slg4.1)] was responsible for almost 23% of the phenotypic variation in viability of the conventionally stored control seeds of the 2006 RIL population, with improved longevity conferred by the Salinas allele. QTL analyses may enable identification of mechanisms responsible for the sensitivity of primed seeds to CD conditions and breeding for improved seed longevity.

  9. The Mass-Longevity Triangle: Pareto Optimality and the Geometry of Life-History Trait Space.

    PubMed

    Szekely, Pablo; Korem, Yael; Moran, Uri; Mayo, Avi; Alon, Uri

    2015-10-01

    When organisms need to perform multiple tasks they face a fundamental tradeoff: no phenotype can be optimal at all tasks. This situation was recently analyzed using Pareto optimality, showing that tradeoffs between tasks lead to phenotypes distributed on low dimensional polygons in trait space. The vertices of these polygons are archetypes--phenotypes optimal at a single task. This theory was applied to examples from animal morphology and gene expression. Here we ask whether Pareto optimality theory can apply to life history traits, which include longevity, fecundity and mass. To comprehensively explore the geometry of life history trait space, we analyze a dataset of life history traits of 2105 endothermic species. We find that, to a first approximation, life history traits fall on a triangle in log-mass log-longevity space. The vertices of the triangle suggest three archetypal strategies, exemplified by bats, shrews and whales, with specialists near the vertices and generalists in the middle of the triangle. To a second approximation, the data lies in a tetrahedron, whose extra vertex above the mass-longevity triangle suggests a fourth strategy related to carnivory. Each animal species can thus be placed in a coordinate system according to its distance from the archetypes, which may be useful for genome-scale comparative studies of mammalian aging and other biological aspects. We further demonstrate that Pareto optimality can explain a range of previous studies which found animal and plant phenotypes which lie in triangles in trait space. This study demonstrates the applicability of multi-objective optimization principles to understand life history traits and to infer archetypal strategies that suggest why some mammalian species live much longer than others of similar mass. PMID:26465336

  10. The Mass-Longevity Triangle: Pareto Optimality and the Geometry of Life-History Trait Space

    PubMed Central

    Szekely, Pablo; Korem, Yael; Moran, Uri; Mayo, Avi; Alon, Uri

    2015-01-01

    When organisms need to perform multiple tasks they face a fundamental tradeoff: no phenotype can be optimal at all tasks. This situation was recently analyzed using Pareto optimality, showing that tradeoffs between tasks lead to phenotypes distributed on low dimensional polygons in trait space. The vertices of these polygons are archetypes—phenotypes optimal at a single task. This theory was applied to examples from animal morphology and gene expression. Here we ask whether Pareto optimality theory can apply to life history traits, which include longevity, fecundity and mass. To comprehensively explore the geometry of life history trait space, we analyze a dataset of life history traits of 2105 endothermic species. We find that, to a first approximation, life history traits fall on a triangle in log-mass log-longevity space. The vertices of the triangle suggest three archetypal strategies, exemplified by bats, shrews and whales, with specialists near the vertices and generalists in the middle of the triangle. To a second approximation, the data lies in a tetrahedron, whose extra vertex above the mass-longevity triangle suggests a fourth strategy related to carnivory. Each animal species can thus be placed in a coordinate system according to its distance from the archetypes, which may be useful for genome-scale comparative studies of mammalian aging and other biological aspects. We further demonstrate that Pareto optimality can explain a range of previous studies which found animal and plant phenotypes which lie in triangles in trait space. This study demonstrates the applicability of multi-objective optimization principles to understand life history traits and to infer archetypal strategies that suggest why some mammalian species live much longer than others of similar mass. PMID:26465336

  11. The Mass-Longevity Triangle: Pareto Optimality and the Geometry of Life-History Trait Space.

    PubMed

    Szekely, Pablo; Korem, Yael; Moran, Uri; Mayo, Avi; Alon, Uri

    2015-10-01

    When organisms need to perform multiple tasks they face a fundamental tradeoff: no phenotype can be optimal at all tasks. This situation was recently analyzed using Pareto optimality, showing that tradeoffs between tasks lead to phenotypes distributed on low dimensional polygons in trait space. The vertices of these polygons are archetypes--phenotypes optimal at a single task. This theory was applied to examples from animal morphology and gene expression. Here we ask whether Pareto optimality theory can apply to life history traits, which include longevity, fecundity and mass. To comprehensively explore the geometry of life history trait space, we analyze a dataset of life history traits of 2105 endothermic species. We find that, to a first approximation, life history traits fall on a triangle in log-mass log-longevity space. The vertices of the triangle suggest three archetypal strategies, exemplified by bats, shrews and whales, with specialists near the vertices and generalists in the middle of the triangle. To a second approximation, the data lies in a tetrahedron, whose extra vertex above the mass-longevity triangle suggests a fourth strategy related to carnivory. Each animal species can thus be placed in a coordinate system according to its distance from the archetypes, which may be useful for genome-scale comparative studies of mammalian aging and other biological aspects. We further demonstrate that Pareto optimality can explain a range of previous studies which found animal and plant phenotypes which lie in triangles in trait space. This study demonstrates the applicability of multi-objective optimization principles to understand life history traits and to infer archetypal strategies that suggest why some mammalian species live much longer than others of similar mass.

  12. A Narrow Quantitative Trait Locus in C. elegans Coordinately Affects Longevity, Thermotolerance, and Resistance to Paraquat

    PubMed Central

    Vertino, Anthony; Ayyadevara, Srinivas; Thaden, John J.; Reis, Robert J. Shmookler

    2011-01-01

    By linkage mapping of quantitative trait loci, we previously identified at least 11 natural genetic variants that significantly modulate Caenorhabditis elegans life-span (LS), many of which would have eluded discovery by knock-down or mutation screens. A region on chromosome IV between markers stP13 and stP35 had striking effects on longevity in three inter-strain crosses (each P < 10−9). In order to define the limits of that interval, we have now constructed two independent lines by marker-based selection during 20 backcross generations, isolating the stP13–stP35 interval from strain Bergerac-BO in a CL2a background. These congenic lines differed significantly from CL2a in LS, assayed in two environments (each P < 0.001). We then screened for exchange of flanking markers to isolate recombinants that partition this region, because fine-mapping the boundaries for overlapping heteroallelic spans can greatly narrow the implicated interval. Recombinants carrying the CL2a allele at stP35 were consistently long-lived compared to those retaining the Bergerac-BO allele (P < 0.001), and more resistant to temperature elevation and paraquat (each ∼1.7-fold, P < 0.0001), but gained little protection from ultraviolet or peroxide stresses. Two rounds of recombinant screening, followed by fine-mapping of break-points and survival testing, narrowed the interval to 0.18 Mb (13.35–13.53 Mb) containing 26 putative genes and six small-nuclear RNAs – a manageable number of targets for functional assessment. PMID:22303358

  13. Effect of dystocia on subsequent reproductive performance and functional longevity in Holstein cows.

    PubMed

    Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh, N

    2016-10-01

    The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of dystocia on the reproductive performance and functional longevity in Iranian Holsteins. Data consisted of 1 467 064 lactation records of 581 421 Holstein cows from 3083 herds which were collected by the Animal Breeding Center of Iran from April 1987 to February 2014. Reproduction traits in this study included interval from first to second calving, days open and days from first calving to first service. The generalized linear model was used for the statistical analysis of reproductive traits. Survival analysis was performed using the Weibull proportional hazards models to analyse the impact of dystocia on functional longevity. The incidence of dystocia had an adverse effect on the reproductive performance of dairy cows. Therefore, reproductive traits deteriorated along with increase in dystocia score (p < 0.05). The culling risk was increased along with increase in the score of dystocia (p < 0.0001). The greatest culling risk was observed in primiparous cows, small herds and low-yielding cows (p < 0.0001). Also, the lowest culling risk was found for cows calving at the youngest age (<27 months), and cows with age at first calving >33 months had the greatest risk (p < 0.0001). The results of current study indicated that dystocia had important negative effects on the reproductive performance and functional longevity in dairy cows, and it should be avoided as much as possible to provide a good perspective in the scope of economic and animal welfare issues in dairy herds.

  14. The Case for Conscientiousness: Evidence and Implications for a Personality Trait Marker of Health and Longevity

    PubMed Central

    Bogg, Tim; Roberts, Brent W.

    2012-01-01

    Purpose Recent initiatives by major funding agencies have emphasized translational and personalized approaches (e.g., genetic testing) to health research and health management. While such directives are appropriate, and will likely produce tangible health benefits, we seek to highlight a confluence of several lines of research showing relations between the personality dimension of conscientiousness and a variety of health-related outcomes. Methods Using a modified health process model, we review the compelling evidence linking conscientiousness to health and disease processes, including longevity, diseases, morbidity-related risk factors, health-related psycho-physiological mechanisms, health-related behaviors, and social environmental factors related to health. Conclusion We argue the accumulated evidence supports greater integration of conscientiousness into public health, epidemiological, and medical research, with the ultimate aim of understanding how facilitating more optimal trait standing might foster better health. PMID:23225322

  15. Placing Intelligence into an Evolutionary Framework or How "g" Fits into the "r-K" Matrix of Life-History Traits Including Longevity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rushton, J. Philippe

    2004-01-01

    First, I describe why intelligence (Spearman's "g") can only be fully understood through "r-K" theory, which places it into an evolutionary framework along with brain size, longevity, maturation speed, and several other life-history traits. The "r-K" formulation explains why IQ predicts longevity and also why the gap in mortality rates between…

  16. Predicting communities from functional traits.

    PubMed

    Cadotte, Marc W; Arnillas, Carlos A; Livingstone, Stuart W; Yasui, Simone-Louise E

    2015-09-01

    Species traits influence where species live and how they interact. While there have been many advances in describing the functional composition and diversity of communities, only recently do researchers have the ability to predict community composition and diversity. This predictive ability can offer fundamental insights into ecosystem resilience and restoration. PMID:26190136

  17. Improved lipids, diastolic pressure and kidney function are potential contributors to familial longevity: a study on 60 Chinese centenarian families

    PubMed Central

    He, Yong-Han; Pu, Shao-Yan; Xiao, Fu-Hui; Chen, Xiao-Qiong; Yan, Dong-Jing; Liu, Yao-Wen; Lin, Rong; Liao, Xiao-Ping; Yu, Qin; Yang, Li-Qin; Yang, Xing-Li; Ge, Ming-Xia; Li, Ying; Jiang, Jian-Jun; Cai, Wang-Wei; Kong, Qing-Peng

    2016-01-01

    Centenarians are a good healthy aging model. Interestingly, centenarians’ offspring are prone to achieve longevity. Here we recruited 60 longevity families and investigated the blood biochemical indexes of family members to seek candidate factors associated with familial longevity. First, associations of blood indexes with age were tested. Second, associations of blood parameters in centenarians (CEN) with their first generation of offspring (F1) and F1 spouses (F1SP) were analyzed. Third, genes involved in regulating target factors were investigated. We found that total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) increased with age (20–80 years), but decreased in CEN. Similarly, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and blood creatinine (BCr) increased with age (20–80 years), but were maintained on a plateau in CEN. Importantly, we first revealed dual changes in blood pressure, i.e., decreased diastolic blood pressure but increased systolic blood pressure in CEN, which associated with altered CST3 expression. Genetic analysis revealed a significant association of blood uric acid (BUA) and BCr in CEN with F1 but not with F1SP, suggesting they may be heritable traits. Taken together, our results suggest serum lipids, kidney function and especially diastolic pressure rather than systolic pressure were improved in CEN or their offspring, suggesting these factors may play an important role in familial longevity. PMID:26911903

  18. Translational Geroscience: Emphasizing function to achieve optimal longevity

    PubMed Central

    Seals, Douglas R.; Melov, Simon

    2014-01-01

    Among individuals, biological aging leads to cellular and organismal dysfunction and an increased risk of chronic degenerative diseases and disability. This sequence of events in combination with the projected increases in the number of older adults will result in a worldwide healthcare burden with dire consequences. Superimposed on this setting are the adults now reaching traditional retirement ages--the baby boomers--a group that wishes to remain active, productive and physically and cognitively fit as they grow older. Together, these conditions are producing an unprecedented demand for increased healthspan or what might be termed “optimal longevity”—to live long, but well. To meet this demand, investigators with interests in the biological aspects of aging from model organisms to human epidemiology (population aging) must work together within an interactive process that we describe as translational geroscience. An essential goal of this new investigational platform should be the optimization and preservation of physiological function throughout the lifespan, including integrative physical and cognitive function, which would serve to increase healthspan, compress morbidity and disability into a shorter period of late-life, and help achieve optimal longevity. To most effectively utilize this new approach, we must rethink how investigators and administrators working at different levels of the translational research continuum communicate and collaborate with each other, how best to train the next generation of scientists in this new field, and how contemporary biological-biomedical aging research should be organized and funded. PMID:25324468

  19. Phylogenetic conservatism of functional traits in microorganisms.

    PubMed

    Martiny, Adam C; Treseder, Kathleen; Pusch, Gordon

    2013-04-01

    A central question in biology is how biodiversity influences ecosystem functioning. Underlying this is the relationship between organismal phylogeny and the presence of specific functional traits. The relationship is complicated by gene loss and convergent evolution, resulting in the polyphyletic distribution of many traits. In microorganisms, lateral gene transfer can further distort the linkage between phylogeny and the presence of specific functional traits. To identify the phylogenetic conservation of specific traits in microorganisms, we developed a new phylogenetic metric-consenTRAIT-to estimate the clade depth where organisms share a trait. We then analyzed the distribution of 89 functional traits across a broad range of Bacteria and Archaea using genotypic and phenotypic data. A total of 93% of the traits were significantly non-randomly distributed, which suggested that vertical inheritance was generally important for the phylogenetic dispersion of functional traits in microorganisms. Further, traits in microbes were associated with a continuum of trait depths (τD), ranging from a few deep to many shallow clades (average τD: 0.101-0.0011 rRNA sequence dissimilarity). Next, we demonstrated that the dispersion and the depth of clades that contain a trait is correlated with the trait's complexity. Specifically, complex traits encoded by many genes like photosynthesis and methanogenesis were found in a few deep clusters, whereas the ability to use simple carbon substrates was highly phylogenetically dispersed. On the basis of these results, we propose a framework for predicting the phylogenetic conservatism of functional traits depending on the complexity of the trait. This framework enables predicting how variation in microbial composition may affect microbially-mediated ecosystem processes as well as linking phylogenetic and trait-based patterns of biogeography.

  20. A selfish genetic element influencing longevity correlates with reactive behavioural traits in female house mice (Mus domesticus).

    PubMed

    Auclair, Yannick; König, Barbara; Lindholm, Anna K

    2013-01-01

    According to theory in life-history and animal personality, individuals with high fitness expectations should be risk-averse, while individuals with low fitness expectations should be more bold. In female house mice, a selfish genetic element, the t haplotype, is associated with increased longevity under natural conditions, representing an appropriate case study to investigate this recent theory empirically. Following theory, females heterozygous for the t haplotype (+/t) are hypothesised to express more reactive personality traits and be more shy, less explorative and less active compared to the shorter-lived homozygous wildtype females (+/+). As males of different haplotype do not differ in survival, no similar pattern is expected. We tested these predictions by quantifying boldness, exploration, activity, and energetic intake in both +/t and +/+ mice. +/t females, unlike +/+ ones, expressed some reactive-like personality traits: +/t females were less active, less prone to form an exploratory routine and tended to ingest less food. Taken together these results suggest that differences in animal personality may contribute to the survival advantage observed in +/t females but fail to provide full empirical support for recent theory.

  1. A functional trait perspective on plant invasion

    PubMed Central

    Drenovsky, Rebecca E.; Grewell, Brenda J.; D'Antonio, Carla M.; Funk, Jennifer L.; James, Jeremy J.; Molinari, Nicole; Parker, Ingrid M.; Richards, Christina L.

    2012-01-01

    Background and Aims Global environmental change will affect non-native plant invasions, with profound potential impacts on native plant populations, communities and ecosystems. In this context, we review plant functional traits, particularly those that drive invader abundance (invasiveness) and impacts, as well as the integration of these traits across multiple ecological scales, and as a basis for restoration and management. Scope We review the concepts and terminology surrounding functional traits and how functional traits influence processes at the individual level. We explore how phenotypic plasticity may lead to rapid evolution of novel traits facilitating invasiveness in changing environments and then ‘scale up’ to evaluate the relative importance of demographic traits and their links to invasion rates. We then suggest a functional trait framework for assessing per capita effects and, ultimately, impacts of invasive plants on plant communities and ecosystems. Lastly, we focus on the role of functional trait-based approaches in invasive species management and restoration in the context of rapid, global environmental change. Conclusions To understand how the abundance and impacts of invasive plants will respond to rapid environmental changes it is essential to link trait-based responses of invaders to changes in community and ecosystem properties. To do so requires a comprehensive effort that considers dynamic environmental controls and a targeted approach to understand key functional traits driving both invader abundance and impacts. If we are to predict future invasions, manage those at hand and use restoration technology to mitigate invasive species impacts, future research must focus on functional traits that promote invasiveness and invader impacts under changing conditions, and integrate major factors driving invasions from individual to ecosystem levels. PMID:22589328

  2. Pleiotropic functions of antioxidant nanoparticles for longevity and medicine.

    PubMed

    Narayanan, Kannan Badri; Park, Hyun Ho

    2013-12-01

    Nanomedicine is a rapidly emerging interdisciplinary field in which medicine is coupled with nanotechnology tools and techniques for advanced therapy with the aid of molecular knowledge and its associated treatment tools. This field creates a myriad of opportunities for improving the health and life of humans. Unchecked chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and free-radical damage causes proportionate aging and other related diseases/disorders. Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers, singlet oxygen ((1)O2) quenchers, peroxides and other ROS inactivators, as well as metal ion chelators, quenchers of secondary oxidation products and inhibitors of pro-oxidative enzymes. Nanoparticles possessing antioxidative properties have recently emerged as potent therapeutic agents owing to their potential applications in life sciences for improvement of the quality of life and longevity. Accordingly, the use of antioxidant nanoparticles/nanomaterials is burgeoning in biomedical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and nutrition fields. Due to the smaller size, greater permeability, increased circulation ability and biocompatibility of these nanoparticles to alleviate oxidative stress, they have become indispensable agents for controlling aging and its associated pathologies, including neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and pulmonary diseases. This review discusses antioxidant nanoparticles, which are nano-dimensioned metals, non-metals, metal oxides, synthetic and natural antioxidants and polymers, and the molecular/biochemical mechanisms underpinning their activities.

  3. Relating Stomatal Conductance to Leaf Functional Traits

    PubMed Central

    Kröber, Wenzel; Plath, Isa; Heklau, Heike; Bruelheide, Helge

    2015-01-01

    Leaf functional traits are important because they reflect physiological functions, such as transpiration and carbon assimilation. In particular, morphological leaf traits have the potential to summarize plants strategies in terms of water use efficiency, growth pattern and nutrient use. The leaf economics spectrum (LES) is a recognized framework in functional plant ecology and reflects a gradient of increasing specific leaf area (SLA), leaf nitrogen, phosphorus and cation content, and decreasing leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and carbon nitrogen ratio (CN). The LES describes different strategies ranging from that of short-lived leaves with high photosynthetic capacity per leaf mass to long-lived leaves with low mass-based carbon assimilation rates. However, traits that are not included in the LES might provide additional information on the species' physiology, such as those related to stomatal control. Protocols are presented for a wide range of leaf functional traits, including traits of the LES, but also traits that are independent of the LES. In particular, a new method is introduced that relates the plants’ regulatory behavior in stomatal conductance to vapor pressure deficit. The resulting parameters of stomatal regulation can then be compared to the LES and other plant functional traits. The results show that functional leaf traits of the LES were also valid predictors for the parameters of stomatal regulation. For example, leaf carbon concentration was positively related to the vapor pressure deficit (vpd) at the point of inflection and the maximum of the conductance-vpd curve. However, traits that are not included in the LES added information in explaining parameters of stomatal control: the vpd at the point of inflection of the conductance-vpd curve was lower for species with higher stomatal density and higher stomatal index. Overall, stomata and vein traits were more powerful predictors for explaining stomatal regulation than traits used in the LES

  4. Relating Stomatal Conductance to Leaf Functional Traits.

    PubMed

    Kröber, Wenzel; Plath, Isa; Heklau, Heike; Bruelheide, Helge

    2015-10-12

    Leaf functional traits are important because they reflect physiological functions, such as transpiration and carbon assimilation. In particular, morphological leaf traits have the potential to summarize plants strategies in terms of water use efficiency, growth pattern and nutrient use. The leaf economics spectrum (LES) is a recognized framework in functional plant ecology and reflects a gradient of increasing specific leaf area (SLA), leaf nitrogen, phosphorus and cation content, and decreasing leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and carbon nitrogen ratio (CN). The LES describes different strategies ranging from that of short-lived leaves with high photosynthetic capacity per leaf mass to long-lived leaves with low mass-based carbon assimilation rates. However, traits that are not included in the LES might provide additional information on the species' physiology, such as those related to stomatal control. Protocols are presented for a wide range of leaf functional traits, including traits of the LES, but also traits that are independent of the LES. In particular, a new method is introduced that relates the plants' regulatory behavior in stomatal conductance to vapor pressure deficit. The resulting parameters of stomatal regulation can then be compared to the LES and other plant functional traits. The results show that functional leaf traits of the LES were also valid predictors for the parameters of stomatal regulation. For example, leaf carbon concentration was positively related to the vapor pressure deficit (vpd) at the point of inflection and the maximum of the conductance-vpd curve. However, traits that are not included in the LES added information in explaining parameters of stomatal control: the vpd at the point of inflection of the conductance-vpd curve was lower for species with higher stomatal density and higher stomatal index. Overall, stomata and vein traits were more powerful predictors for explaining stomatal regulation than traits used in the LES.

  5. Seasonality and phenology alter functional leaf traits.

    PubMed

    McKown, Athena D; Guy, Robert D; Azam, M Shofiul; Drewes, Eric C; Quamme, Linda K

    2013-07-01

    In plant ecophysiology, functional leaf traits are generally not assessed in relation to phenological phase of the canopy. Leaf traits measured in deciduous perennial species are known to vary between spring and summer seasons, but there is a knowledge gap relating to the late-summer phase marked by growth cessation and bud set occurring well before fall leaf senescence. The effects of phenology on canopy physiology were tested using a common garden of over 2,000 black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) individuals originating from a wide geographical range (44-60ºN). Annual phenological events and 12 leaf-based functional trait measurements were collected spanning the entire summer season prior to, and following, bud set. Patterns of seasonal trait change emerged by synchronizing trees using their date of bud set. In particular, photosynthetic, mass, and N-based traits increased substantially following bud set. Most traits were significantly different between pre-bud set and post-bud set phase trees, with many traits showing at least 25% alteration in mean value. Post-bud set, both the significance and direction of trait-trait relationships could be modified, with many relating directly to changes in leaf mass. In Populus, these dynamics in leaf traits throughout the summer season reflected a shift in whole plant physiology, but occurred long before the onset of leaf senescence. The marked shifts in measured trait values following bud set underscores the necessity to include phenology in trait-based ecological studies or large-scale phenotyping efforts, both at the local level and larger geographical scale.

  6. Predicting species' range limits from functional traits for the tree flora of North America.

    PubMed

    Stahl, Ulrike; Reu, Björn; Wirth, Christian

    2014-09-23

    Using functional traits to explain species' range limits is a promising approach in functional biogeography. It replaces the idiosyncrasy of species-specific climate ranges with a generic trait-based predictive framework. In addition, it has the potential to shed light on specific filter mechanisms creating large-scale vegetation patterns. However, its application to a continental flora, spanning large climate gradients, has been hampered by a lack of trait data. Here, we explore whether five key plant functional traits (seed mass, wood density, specific leaf area (SLA), maximum height, and longevity of a tree)--indicative of life history, mechanical, and physiological adaptations--explain the climate ranges of 250 North American tree species distributed from the boreal to the subtropics. Although the relationship between traits and the median climate across a species range is weak, quantile regressions revealed strong effects on range limits. Wood density and seed mass were strongly related to the lower but not upper temperature range limits of species. Maximum height affects the species range limits in both dry and humid climates, whereas SLA and longevity do not show clear relationships. These results allow the definition and delineation of climatic "no-go areas" for North American tree species based on key traits. As some of these key traits serve as important parameters in recent vegetation models, the implementation of trait-based climatic constraints has the potential to predict both range shifts and ecosystem consequences on a more functional basis. Moreover, for future trait-based vegetation models our results provide a benchmark for model evaluation. PMID:25225398

  7. Predicting species' range limits from functional traits for the tree flora of North America.

    PubMed

    Stahl, Ulrike; Reu, Björn; Wirth, Christian

    2014-09-23

    Using functional traits to explain species' range limits is a promising approach in functional biogeography. It replaces the idiosyncrasy of species-specific climate ranges with a generic trait-based predictive framework. In addition, it has the potential to shed light on specific filter mechanisms creating large-scale vegetation patterns. However, its application to a continental flora, spanning large climate gradients, has been hampered by a lack of trait data. Here, we explore whether five key plant functional traits (seed mass, wood density, specific leaf area (SLA), maximum height, and longevity of a tree)--indicative of life history, mechanical, and physiological adaptations--explain the climate ranges of 250 North American tree species distributed from the boreal to the subtropics. Although the relationship between traits and the median climate across a species range is weak, quantile regressions revealed strong effects on range limits. Wood density and seed mass were strongly related to the lower but not upper temperature range limits of species. Maximum height affects the species range limits in both dry and humid climates, whereas SLA and longevity do not show clear relationships. These results allow the definition and delineation of climatic "no-go areas" for North American tree species based on key traits. As some of these key traits serve as important parameters in recent vegetation models, the implementation of trait-based climatic constraints has the potential to predict both range shifts and ecosystem consequences on a more functional basis. Moreover, for future trait-based vegetation models our results provide a benchmark for model evaluation.

  8. Predicting species’ range limits from functional traits for the tree flora of North America

    PubMed Central

    Stahl, Ulrike; Reu, Björn; Wirth, Christian

    2014-01-01

    Using functional traits to explain species’ range limits is a promising approach in functional biogeography. It replaces the idiosyncrasy of species-specific climate ranges with a generic trait-based predictive framework. In addition, it has the potential to shed light on specific filter mechanisms creating large-scale vegetation patterns. However, its application to a continental flora, spanning large climate gradients, has been hampered by a lack of trait data. Here, we explore whether five key plant functional traits (seed mass, wood density, specific leaf area (SLA), maximum height, and longevity of a tree)—indicative of life history, mechanical, and physiological adaptations—explain the climate ranges of 250 North American tree species distributed from the boreal to the subtropics. Although the relationship between traits and the median climate across a species range is weak, quantile regressions revealed strong effects on range limits. Wood density and seed mass were strongly related to the lower but not upper temperature range limits of species. Maximum height affects the species range limits in both dry and humid climates, whereas SLA and longevity do not show clear relationships. These results allow the definition and delineation of climatic “no-go areas” for North American tree species based on key traits. As some of these key traits serve as important parameters in recent vegetation models, the implementation of trait-based climatic constraints has the potential to predict both range shifts and ecosystem consequences on a more functional basis. Moreover, for future trait-based vegetation models our results provide a benchmark for model evaluation. PMID:25225398

  9. A functional trait perspective on plant invasion

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Global environmental change affects exotic plant invasions, which profoundly impact native plant populations, communities and ecosystems. In this context, we review plant functional traits, including those that drive invader abundance (invasiveness), and impacts, as well as the integration of these...

  10. Identifying copepod functional groups from species functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Benedetti, Fabio; Gasparini, Stéphane; Ayata, Sakina-Dorothée

    2016-01-01

    We gathered information on the functional traits of the most representative copepod species in the Mediterranean Sea. Our database includes 191 species described by 7 traits encompassing diverse ecological functions: minimal and maximal body length, trophic group, feeding type, spawning strategy, diel vertical migration and vertical habitat. Cluster analysis in the functional trait space revealed that Mediterranean copepods can be separated into groups with distinct ecological roles. PMID:26811565

  11. An Energy-Independent Pro-longevity Function of Triacylglycerol in Yeast

    PubMed Central

    Hall, Kevin W.; Deng, Xiexiong; Li, Pan; Benning, Christoph; Williams, Barry L.; Kuo, Min-Hao

    2016-01-01

    Intracellular triacylglycerol (TAG) is a ubiquitous energy storage lipid also involved in lipid homeostasis and signaling. Comparatively, little is known about TAG’s role in other cellular functions. Here we show a pro-longevity function of TAG in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In yeast strains derived from natural and laboratory environments a correlation between high levels of TAG and longer chronological lifespan was observed. Increased TAG abundance through the deletion of TAG lipases prolonged chronological lifespan of laboratory strains, while diminishing TAG biosynthesis shortened lifespan without apparently affecting vegetative growth. TAG-mediated lifespan extension was independent of several other known stress response factors involved in chronological aging. Because both lifespan regulation and TAG metabolism are conserved, this cellular pro-longevity function of TAG may extend to other organisms. PMID:26907989

  12. An Energy-Independent Pro-longevity Function of Triacylglycerol in Yeast.

    PubMed

    Handee, Witawas; Li, Xiaobo; Hall, Kevin W; Deng, Xiexiong; Li, Pan; Benning, Christoph; Williams, Barry L; Kuo, Min-Hao

    2016-02-01

    Intracellular triacylglycerol (TAG) is a ubiquitous energy storage lipid also involved in lipid homeostasis and signaling. Comparatively, little is known about TAG's role in other cellular functions. Here we show a pro-longevity function of TAG in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In yeast strains derived from natural and laboratory environments a correlation between high levels of TAG and longer chronological lifespan was observed. Increased TAG abundance through the deletion of TAG lipases prolonged chronological lifespan of laboratory strains, while diminishing TAG biosynthesis shortened lifespan without apparently affecting vegetative growth. TAG-mediated lifespan extension was independent of several other known stress response factors involved in chronological aging. Because both lifespan regulation and TAG metabolism are conserved, this cellular pro-longevity function of TAG may extend to other organisms. PMID:26907989

  13. AVPR1A alleles are pleiotropic sources of variation in age at puberty and reproductive longevity in sows

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Age at puberty is a moderately heritable trait and an early indicator of sow reproductive longevity. Gilts that express first estrus early in life are characterized by improved reproductive longevity and lifetime productivity. These traits are dependent on the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-...

  14. Genetic mapping of quantitative trait loci governing longevity of Caenorhabditis elegans in recombinant-inbred progeny of a Bergerac-BO x RC301 interstrain cross.

    PubMed Central

    Ayyadevara, S; Ayyadevara, R; Hou, S; Thaden, J J; Shmookler Reis, R J

    2001-01-01

    Recombinant-inbred populations, generated from a cross between Caenorhabditis elegans strains Bergerac-BO and RC301, were used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting nematode longevity. Genotypes of young controls and longevity-selected worms (the last-surviving 1% from a synchronously aged population) were assessed at dimorphic transposon-specific markers by multiplex polymerase chain reaction. The power of genetic mapping was enhanced, in a novel experimental design, through map expansion by accrual of recombinations over several generations, internally controlled longevity selection from a genetically heterogeneous, homozygous population, and selective genotyping of extremely long-lived worms. Analysis of individual markers indicated seven life-span QTL, situated near markers on chromosomes I (tcbn2), III (stP127), IV (stP13), V (stP6, stP23, and stP128), and X (stP41). These loci were corroborated, and mapped with increased precision, by nonparametric interval mapping-which supported all loci implicated by single-marker analysis. In addition, a life-span QTL on chromosome II (stP100-stP196), was significant only by interval mapping. Congenic lines were constructed for the longevity QTL on chromosomes III and X, by backcrossing the Bergerac-BO QTL allele into an RC301 background with selection for flanking markers. Survival data for these lines demonstrated consistent and significant effects of each QTL on life span. PMID:11156986

  15. Advances in Phenotyping of Functional Traits

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In plants, functional traits are morphological, biochemical, physiological, structural, phenological, or behavioral characteristics that are expressed in phenotypes of individual plants,that are relevant to the plant’s role in the ecosystem or its agronomic performance. By themselves, functional tra...

  16. Functional Traits for Carbon Access in Macrophytes

    PubMed Central

    Pfister, Catherine A.; Wootton, J. Timothy

    2016-01-01

    Understanding functional trait distributions among organisms can inform impacts on and responses to environmental change. In marine systems, only 1% of dissolved inorganic carbon in seawater exists as CO2. Thus the majority of marine macrophytes not only passively access CO2 for photosynthesis, but also actively transport CO2 and the more common bicarbonate (HCO3-, 92% of seawater dissolved inorganic carbon) into their cells. Because species with these carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) are non-randomly distributed in ecosystems, we ask whether there is a phylogenetic pattern to the distribution of CCMs among algal species. To determine macrophyte traits that influence carbon uptake, we assessed 40 common macrophyte species from the rocky intertidal community of the Northeast Pacific Ocean to a) query whether macrophytes have a CCM and b) determine the evolutionary history of CCMs, using ancestral state reconstructions and stochastic character mapping based on previously published data. Thirty-two species not only depleted CO2, but also concentrated and depleted HCO3-, indicative of a CCM. While analysis of CCMs as a continuous trait in 30 families within Phylum Rhodophyta showed a significant phylogenetic signal under a Brownian motion model, analysis of CCMs as a discrete trait (presence or absence) indicated that red algal families are more divergent than expected in their CCM presence or absence; CCMs are a labile trait within the Rhodophyta. In contrast, CCMs were present in each of 18 Ochrophyta families surveyed, indicating that CCMs are highly conserved in the brown algae. The trait of CCM presence or absence was largely conserved within Families. Fifteen of 23 species tested also changed the seawater buffering capacity, or Total Alkalinity (TA), shifting DIC composition towards increasing concentrations of HCO3- and CO2 for photosynthesis. Manipulating the external TA of the local environment may influence carbon availability in boundary layers and

  17. Functional Traits for Carbon Access in Macrophytes.

    PubMed

    Stepien, Courtney C; Pfister, Catherine A; Wootton, J Timothy

    2016-01-01

    Understanding functional trait distributions among organisms can inform impacts on and responses to environmental change. In marine systems, only 1% of dissolved inorganic carbon in seawater exists as CO2. Thus the majority of marine macrophytes not only passively access CO2 for photosynthesis, but also actively transport CO2 and the more common bicarbonate (HCO3-, 92% of seawater dissolved inorganic carbon) into their cells. Because species with these carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) are non-randomly distributed in ecosystems, we ask whether there is a phylogenetic pattern to the distribution of CCMs among algal species. To determine macrophyte traits that influence carbon uptake, we assessed 40 common macrophyte species from the rocky intertidal community of the Northeast Pacific Ocean to a) query whether macrophytes have a CCM and b) determine the evolutionary history of CCMs, using ancestral state reconstructions and stochastic character mapping based on previously published data. Thirty-two species not only depleted CO2, but also concentrated and depleted HCO3-, indicative of a CCM. While analysis of CCMs as a continuous trait in 30 families within Phylum Rhodophyta showed a significant phylogenetic signal under a Brownian motion model, analysis of CCMs as a discrete trait (presence or absence) indicated that red algal families are more divergent than expected in their CCM presence or absence; CCMs are a labile trait within the Rhodophyta. In contrast, CCMs were present in each of 18 Ochrophyta families surveyed, indicating that CCMs are highly conserved in the brown algae. The trait of CCM presence or absence was largely conserved within Families. Fifteen of 23 species tested also changed the seawater buffering capacity, or Total Alkalinity (TA), shifting DIC composition towards increasing concentrations of HCO3- and CO2 for photosynthesis. Manipulating the external TA of the local environment may influence carbon availability in boundary layers and

  18. The Deubiquitylase MATH-33 Controls DAF-16 Stability and Function in Metabolism and Longevity

    PubMed Central

    Heimbucher, Thomas; Liu, Zheng; Bossard, Carine; McCloskey, Richard; Carrano, Andrea C.; Riedel, Christian G.; Tanasa, Bogdan; Klammt, Christian; Fonslow, Bryan R.; Riera, Celine E.; Lillemeier, Bjorn F.; Kemphues, Kenneth; Yates, John R.; O'Shea, Clodagh; Hunter, Tony; Dillin, Andrew

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY One of the major determinants of aging in organisms ranging from worms to man are FOXO family transcription factors, which are downstream effectors of Insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS). The molecular mechanisms that actively promote DAF16/FOXO stability and function are unknown. Here we identify the deubiquitylating enzyme MATH-33 as an essential DAF-16 regulator in IIS, which stabilizes active DAF-16 protein levels and, as a consequence, influences DAF-16 functions, such as metabolism, stress response and longevity in C. elegans. MATH-33 associates with DAF-16 in cellulo and in vitro. MATH-33 functions as a deubiquitylase by actively removing ubiquitin moieties from DAF-16, thus counteracting the action of the RLE-1 E3-ubiquitin ligase. Our findings support a model in which MATH-33 promotes DAF-16 stability in response to decreased IIS by directly modulating its ubiquitylation state, suggesting that regulated oscillations in the stability of DAF-16 protein play an integral role in controlling processes such as metabolism and longevity. PMID:26154057

  19. Linking ethylene to nitrogen-dependent leaf longevity of grass species in a temperate steppe

    PubMed Central

    Ren, Haiyan; Xu, Zhuwen; Zhang, Wenhao; Jiang, Lin; Huang, Jianhui; Chen, Shiping; Wang, Lixin; Han, Xingguo

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims Leaf longevity is an important plant functional trait that often varies with soil nitrogen supply. Ethylene is a classical plant hormone involved in the control of senescence and abscission, but its role in nitrogen-dependent leaf longevity is largely unknown. Methods Pot and field experiments were performed to examine the effects of nitrogen addition on leaf longevity and ethylene production in two dominant plant species, Agropyron cristatum and Stipa krylovii, in a temperate steppe in northern China. Key Results Nitrogen addition increased leaf ethylene production and nitrogen concentration but shortened leaf longevity; the addition of cobalt chloride, an ethylene biosynthesis inhibitor, reduced leaf nitrogen concentration and increased leaf longevity. Path analysis indicated that nitrogen addition reduced leaf longevity mainly through altering leaf ethylene production. Conclusions These findings provide the first experimental evidence in support of the involvement of ethylene in nitrogen-induced decrease in leaf longevity. PMID:24136876

  20. 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

  1. SOD2 functions downstream of Sch9 to extend longevity in yeast.

    PubMed Central

    Fabrizio, Paola; Liou, Lee-Loung; Moy, Vanessa N; Diaspro, Alberto; SelverstoneValentine, Joan; Gralla, Edith Butler; Longo, Valter D

    2003-01-01

    Signal transduction pathways inactivated during periods of starvation are implicated in the regulation of longevity in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals, but the mechanisms responsible for life-span extension are poorly understood. Chronological life-span extension in S. cerevisiae cyr1 and sch9 mutants is mediated by the stress-resistance proteins Msn2/Msn4 and Rim15. Here we show that mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (Sod2) is required for survival extension in yeast. Deletion of SOD2 abolishes life-span extension in sch9Delta mutants and decreases survival in cyr1:mTn mutants. The overexpression of Sods--mitochondrial Sod2 and cytosolic CuZnSod (Sod1)--delays the age-dependent reversible inactivation of mitochondrial aconitase, a superoxide-sensitive enzyme, and extends survival by 30%. Deletion of the RAS2 gene, which functions upstream of CYR1, also doubles the mean life span by a mechanism that requires Msn2/4 and Sod2. These findings link mutations that extend chronological life span in S. cerevisiae to superoxide dismutases and suggest that the induction of other stress-resistance genes regulated by Msn2/4 and Rim15 is required for maximum longevity extension. PMID:12586694

  2. Physiological geroscience: targeting function to increase healthspan and achieve optimal longevity.

    PubMed

    Seals, Douglas R; Justice, Jamie N; LaRocca, Thomas J

    2016-04-15

    Most nations of the world are undergoing rapid and dramatic population ageing, which presents great socio-economic challenges, as well as opportunities, for individuals, families, governments and societies. The prevailing biomedical strategy for reducing the healthcare impact of population ageing has been 'compression of morbidity' and, more recently, to increase healthspan, both of which seek to extend the healthy period of life and delay the development of chronic diseases and disability until a brief period at the end of life. Indeed, a recently established field within biological ageing research, 'geroscience', is focused on healthspan extension. Superimposed on this background are new attitudes and demand for 'optimal longevity' - living long, but with good health and quality of life. A key obstacle to achieving optimal longevity is the progressive decline in physiological function that occurs with ageing, which causes functional limitations (e.g. reduced mobility) and increases the risk of chronic diseases, disability and mortality. Current efforts to increase healthspan centre on slowing the fundamental biological processes of ageing such as inflammation/oxidative stress, increased senescence, mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired proteostasis and reduced stress resistance. We propose that optimization of physiological function throughout the lifespan should be a major emphasis of any contemporary biomedical policy addressing global ageing. Effective strategies should delay, reduce in magnitude or abolish reductions in function with ageing (primary prevention) and/or improve function or slow further declines in older adults with already impaired function (secondary prevention). Healthy lifestyle practices featuring regular physical activity and ideal energy intake/diet composition represent first-line function-preserving strategies, with pharmacological agents, including existing and new pharmaceuticals and novel 'nutraceutical' compounds, serving as potential

  3. Global land model development: time to shift from a plant functional type to a plant functional trait approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reich, P. B.; Butler, E. E.

    2015-12-01

    This project will advance global land models by shifting from the current plant functional type approach to one that better utilizes what is known about the importance and variability of plant traits, within a framework of simultaneously improving fundamental physiological relations that are at the core of model carbon cycling algorithms. Existing models represent the global distribution of vegetation types using the Plant Functional Typeconcept. Plant Functional Types are classes of plant species with similar evolutionary and life history withpresumably similar responses to environmental conditions like CO2, water and nutrient availability. Fixedproperties for each Plant Functional Type are specified through a collection of physiological parameters, or traits.These traits, mostly physiological in nature (e.g., leaf nitrogen and longevity) are used in model algorithms to estimate ecosystem properties and/or drive calculated process rates. In most models, 5 to 15 functional types represent terrestrial vegetation; in essence, they assume there are a total of only 5 to 15 different kinds of plants on the entire globe. This assumption of constant plant traits captured within the functional type concept has serious limitations, as a single set of traits does not reflect trait variation observed within and between species and communities. While this simplification was necessary decades past, substantial improvement is now possible. Rather than assigning a small number of constant parameter values to all grid cells in a model, procedures will be developed that predict a frequency distribution of values for any given grid cell. Thus, the mean and variance, and how these change with time, will inform and improve model performance. The trait-based approach will improve land modeling by (1) incorporating patterns and heterogeneity of traits into model parameterization, thus evolving away from a framework that considers large areas of vegetation to have near identical trait

  4. Plant functional traits and the multidimensional nature of species coexistence

    PubMed Central

    Kraft, Nathan J. B.; Godoy, Oscar; Levine, Jonathan M.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the processes maintaining species diversity is a central problem in ecology, with implications for the conservation and management of ecosystems. Although biologists often assume that trait differences between competitors promote diversity, empirical evidence connecting functional traits to the niche differences that stabilize species coexistence is rare. Obtaining such evidence is critical because traits also underlie the average fitness differences driving competitive exclusion, and this complicates efforts to infer community dynamics from phenotypic patterns. We coupled field-parameterized mathematical models of competition between 102 pairs of annual plants with detailed sampling of leaf, seed, root, and whole-plant functional traits to relate phenotypic differences to stabilizing niche and average fitness differences. Single functional traits were often well correlated with average fitness differences between species, indicating that competitive dominance was associated with late phenology, deep rooting, and several other traits. In contrast, single functional traits were poorly correlated with the stabilizing niche differences that promote coexistence. Niche differences could only be described by combinations of traits, corresponding to differentiation between species in multiple ecological dimensions. In addition, several traits were associated with both fitness differences and stabilizing niche differences. These complex relationships between phenotypic differences and the dynamics of competing species argue against the simple use of single functional traits to infer community assembly processes but lay the groundwork for a theoretically justified trait-based community ecology. PMID:25561561

  5. Plant functional traits and the multidimensional nature of species coexistence.

    PubMed

    Kraft, Nathan J B; Godoy, Oscar; Levine, Jonathan M

    2015-01-20

    Understanding the processes maintaining species diversity is a central problem in ecology, with implications for the conservation and management of ecosystems. Although biologists often assume that trait differences between competitors promote diversity, empirical evidence connecting functional traits to the niche differences that stabilize species coexistence is rare. Obtaining such evidence is critical because traits also underlie the average fitness differences driving competitive exclusion, and this complicates efforts to infer community dynamics from phenotypic patterns. We coupled field-parameterized mathematical models of competition between 102 pairs of annual plants with detailed sampling of leaf, seed, root, and whole-plant functional traits to relate phenotypic differences to stabilizing niche and average fitness differences. Single functional traits were often well correlated with average fitness differences between species, indicating that competitive dominance was associated with late phenology, deep rooting, and several other traits. In contrast, single functional traits were poorly correlated with the stabilizing niche differences that promote coexistence. Niche differences could only be described by combinations of traits, corresponding to differentiation between species in multiple ecological dimensions. In addition, several traits were associated with both fitness differences and stabilizing niche differences. These complex relationships between phenotypic differences and the dynamics of competing species argue against the simple use of single functional traits to infer community assembly processes but lay the groundwork for a theoretically justified trait-based community ecology.

  6. Heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation enhances cardiac function and longevity.

    PubMed

    Kopp, Zachary A; Hsieh, Jo-Lin; Li, Andrew; Wang, William; Bhatt, Dhelni T; Lee, Angela; Kim, Sae Yeon; Fan, David; Shah, Veevek; Siddiqui, Emaad; Ragam, Radhika; Park, Kristen; Ardeshna, Dev; Park, Kunwoo; Wu, Rachel; Parikh, Hardik; Parikh, Ayush; Lin, Yuh-Ru; Park, Yongkyu

    2015-09-01

    Downregulation of Rpd3, a homologue of mammalian Histone Deacetylase 1 (HDAC1), extends lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster. Once revealed that long-lived fruit flies exhibit limited cardiac decline, we investigated whether Rpd3 downregulation would improve stress resistance and/or lifespan when targeted in the heart. Contested against three different stressors (oxidation, starvation and heat), heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation significantly enhanced stress resistance in flies. However, these higher levels of resistance were not observed when Rpd3 downregulation was targeted in other tissues or when other long-lived flies were tested in the heart-specific manner. Interestingly, the expressions of anti-aging genes such as sod2, foxo and Thor, were systemically increased as a consequence of heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation. Showing higher resistance to oxidative stress, the heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation concurrently exhibited improved cardiac functions, demonstrating an increased heart rate, decreased heart failure and accelerated heart recovery. Conversely, Rpd3 upregulation in cardiac tissue reduced systemic resistance against heat stress with decreased heart function, also specifying phosphorylated Rpd3 levels as a significant modulator. Continual downregulation of Rpd3 throughout aging increased lifespan, implicating that Rpd3 deacetylase in the heart plays a significant role in cardiac function and longevity to systemically modulate the fly's response to the environment.

  7. Heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation enhances cardiac function and longevity

    PubMed Central

    Kopp, Zachary A.; Hsieh, Jo-Lin; Li, Andrew; Wang, William; Bhatt, Dhelni T.; Lee, Angela; Kim, Sae Yeon; Fan, David; Shah, Veevek; Siddiqui, Emaad; Ragam, Radhika; Park, Kristen; Ardeshna, Dev; Park, Kunwoo; Wu, Rachel; Parikh, Hardik; Parikh, Ayush; Lin, Yuh-Ru; Park, Yongkyu

    2015-01-01

    Downregulation of Rpd3, a homologue of mammalian Histone Deacetylase 1 (HDAC1), extends lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster. Once revealed that long-lived fruit flies exhibit limited cardiac decline, we investigated whether Rpd3 downregulation would improve stress resistance and/or lifespan when targeted in the heart. Contested against three different stressors (oxidation, starvation and heat), heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation significantly enhanced stress resistance in flies. However, these higher levels of resistance were not observed when Rpd3 downregulation was targeted in other tissues or when other long-lived flies were tested in the heart-specific manner. Interestingly, the expressions of anti-aging genes such as sod2, foxo and Thor, were systemically increased as a consequence of heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation. Showing higher resistance to oxidative stress, the heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation concurrently exhibited improved cardiac functions, demonstrating an increased heart rate, decreased heart failure and accelerated heart recovery. Conversely, Rpd3 upregulation in cardiac tissue reduced systemic resistance against heat stress with decreased heart function, also specifying phosphorylated Rpd3 levels as a significant modulator. Continual downregulation of Rpd3 throughout aging increased lifespan, implicating that Rpd3 deacetylase in the heart plays a significant role in cardiac function and longevity to systemically modulate the fly's response to the environment. PMID:26399365

  8. Do community-weighted mean functional traits reflect optimal strategies?

    PubMed

    Muscarella, Robert; Uriarte, María

    2016-03-30

    The notion that relationships between community-weighted mean (CWM) traits (i.e. plot-level trait values weighted by species abundances) and environmental conditions reflect selection towards locally optimal phenotypes is challenged by the large amount of interspecific trait variation typically found within ecological communities. Reconciling these contrasting patterns is a key to advancing predictive theories of functional community ecology. We combined data on geographical distributions and three traits (wood density, leaf mass per area and maximum height) of 173 tree species in Puerto Rico. We tested the hypothesis that species are more likely to occur where their trait values are more similar to the local CWM trait values (the'CWM-optimality' hypothesis) by comparing species occurrence patterns (as a proxy for fitness) with the functional composition of forest plots across a precipitation gradient. While 70% of the species supported CWM-optimality for at least one trait, nearly 25% significantly opposed it for at least one trait, thereby contributing to local functional diversity. The majority (85%) of species that opposed CWM-optimality did so only for one trait and few species opposed CWM-optimality in multivariate trait space. Our study suggests that constraints to local functional variation act more strongly on multivariate phenotypes than on univariate traits.

  9. Do community-weighted mean functional traits reflect optimal strategies?

    PubMed

    Muscarella, Robert; Uriarte, María

    2016-03-30

    The notion that relationships between community-weighted mean (CWM) traits (i.e. plot-level trait values weighted by species abundances) and environmental conditions reflect selection towards locally optimal phenotypes is challenged by the large amount of interspecific trait variation typically found within ecological communities. Reconciling these contrasting patterns is a key to advancing predictive theories of functional community ecology. We combined data on geographical distributions and three traits (wood density, leaf mass per area and maximum height) of 173 tree species in Puerto Rico. We tested the hypothesis that species are more likely to occur where their trait values are more similar to the local CWM trait values (the'CWM-optimality' hypothesis) by comparing species occurrence patterns (as a proxy for fitness) with the functional composition of forest plots across a precipitation gradient. While 70% of the species supported CWM-optimality for at least one trait, nearly 25% significantly opposed it for at least one trait, thereby contributing to local functional diversity. The majority (85%) of species that opposed CWM-optimality did so only for one trait and few species opposed CWM-optimality in multivariate trait space. Our study suggests that constraints to local functional variation act more strongly on multivariate phenotypes than on univariate traits. PMID:27030412

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

    PubMed

    Pakeman, Robin J; Stockan, Jenni A

    2014-05-01

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

  11. Effects of breed and region on longevity traits through five years of age in Brown Swiss, Holstein, and Jersey cows in the United States.

    PubMed

    Garcia-Peniche, T B; Cassell, B G; Misztal, I

    2006-09-01

    The objective of this study was to assess breed, and breed x region interactions for several longevity-related traits, measured up to 5 yr of age in Brown Swiss, Holstein, and Jersey cows in 7 regions of the United States. Data were analyzed using logistic, poisson, and linear models, and survival analyses. The traits were stayability (yes/no survived to 5 yr of age), number of completed lactations, days lived, herd-life, and days in milk (DIM) to 5 yr of age. Probable lifetime DIM were also estimated using data from the first 5 yr of age of the cows. Herd-life was defined as the days lived up to 5 yr of age minus the age at first calving. Days in milk consisted of herd-life up to 5 yr of age minus the dry periods. Three data files were analyzed: herds with one breed of cows, herds with Holstein and Brown Swiss, and herds with Holstein and Jersey cows. Breed x region interaction was usually significant, with larger effects for the southern regions. Jerseys obtained largest values for the ratio of DIM to days lived, and for the number of completed lactations to 5 yr of age. Brown Swiss had the largest probabilities of surviving to 5 yr of age (stayabilities) in all regions. For the other traits, the results for Brown Swiss were inconsistent, but usually the cows of this breed had shorter herd-life and DIM to 5 yr of age than Holsteins. Brown Swiss cows were expected to have more total DIM in their lifetime in the Southeast than Holsteins. Survival analysis gave the most readily interpretable information, although the linear, poisson, and logistic analyses answered slightly different questions. Adjustment for herd size did not modify the results.

  12. Species longevity as a function of niche breadth: Evidence from fossil crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kammer, Thomas W.; Baumiller, Tomasz K.; Ausich, William I.

    1997-03-01

    High-resolution stratigraphic and taxonomic data indicate that species longevities among Paleozoic (Mississippian) crinoids (Echinodermata) were affected by differences in niche breadth. A strong positive relationship exists between niche breadth, measured as the number of environments occupied by a species, and stratigraphic range. The robustness of this pattern is verified by a variety of rarefaction and statistical techniques confirming the long-held supposition that among animals ecological “generalists” have greater species longevities than ecological “specialists.” The results also support the hypothesis that specialist clades have higher species richness.

  13. Predicting plants -modeling traits as a function of environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Franklin, Oskar

    2016-04-01

    A central problem in understanding and modeling vegetation dynamics is how to represent the variation in plant properties and function across different environments. Addressing this problem there is a strong trend towards trait-based approaches, where vegetation properties are functions of the distributions of functional traits rather than of species. Recently there has been enormous progress in in quantifying trait variability and its drivers and effects (Van Bodegom et al. 2012; Adier et al. 2014; Kunstler et al. 2015) based on wide ranging datasets on a small number of easily measured traits, such as specific leaf area (SLA), wood density and maximum plant height. However, plant function depends on many other traits and while the commonly measured trait data are valuable, they are not sufficient for driving predictive and mechanistic models of vegetation dynamics -especially under novel climate or management conditions. For this purpose we need a model to predict functional traits, also those not easily measured, and how they depend on the plants' environment. Here I present such a mechanistic model based on fitness concepts and focused on traits related to water and light limitation of trees, including: wood density, drought response, allocation to defense, and leaf traits. The model is able to predict observed patterns of variability in these traits in relation to growth and mortality, and their responses to a gradient of water limitation. The results demonstrate that it is possible to mechanistically predict plant traits as a function of the environment based on an eco-physiological model of plant fitness. References Adier, P.B., Salguero-Gómez, R., Compagnoni, A., Hsu, J.S., Ray-Mukherjee, J., Mbeau-Ache, C. et al. (2014). Functional traits explain variation in plant lifehistory strategies. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 111, 740-745. Kunstler, G., Falster, D., Coomes, D.A., Hui, F., Kooyman, R.M., Laughlin, D.C. et al. (2015). Plant functional traits

  14. Functional traits in agriculture: agrobiodiversity and ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Wood, Stephen A; Karp, Daniel S; DeClerck, Fabrice; Kremen, Claire; Naeem, Shahid; Palm, Cheryl A

    2015-09-01

    Functional trait research has led to greater understanding of the impacts of biodiversity in ecosystems. Yet, functional trait approaches have not been widely applied to agroecosystems and understanding of the importance of agrobiodiversity remains limited to a few ecosystem processes and services. To improve this understanding, we argue here for a functional trait approach to agroecology that adopts recent advances in trait research for multitrophic and spatially heterogeneous ecosystems. We suggest that trait values should be measured across environmental conditions and agricultural management regimes to predict how ecosystem services vary with farm practices and environment. This knowledge should be used to develop management strategies that can be easily implemented by farmers to manage agriculture to provide multiple ecosystem services.

  15. Functional traits, the phylogeny of function, and ecosystem service vulnerability

    PubMed Central

    Díaz, Sandra; Purvis, Andy; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Mace, Georgina M; Donoghue, Michael J; Ewers, Robert M; Jordano, Pedro; Pearse, William D

    2013-01-01

    People depend on benefits provided by ecological systems. Understanding how these ecosystem services – and the ecosystem properties underpinning them – respond to drivers of change is therefore an urgent priority. We address this challenge through developing a novel risk-assessment framework that integrates ecological and evolutionary perspectives on functional traits to determine species’ effects on ecosystems and their tolerance of environmental changes. We define Specific Effect Function (SEF) as the per-gram or per capita capacity of a species to affect an ecosystem property, and Specific Response Function (SRF) as the ability of a species to maintain or enhance its population as the environment changes. Our risk assessment is based on the idea that the security of ecosystem services depends on how effects (SEFs) and tolerances (SRFs) of organisms – which both depend on combinations of functional traits – correlate across species and how they are arranged on the species’ phylogeny. Four extreme situations are theoretically possible, from minimum concern when SEF and SRF are neither correlated nor show a phylogenetic signal, to maximum concern when they are negatively correlated (i.e., the most important species are the least tolerant) and phylogenetically patterned (lacking independent backup). We illustrate the assessment with five case studies, involving both plant and animal examples. However, the extent to which the frequency of the four plausible outcomes, or their intermediates, apply more widely in real-world ecological systems is an open question that needs empirical evidence, and suggests a research agenda at the interface of evolutionary biology and ecosystem ecology. PMID:24101986

  16. Plant functional traits predict green roof ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Tran, Stephanie; Gebert, Luke

    2015-02-17

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

  17. Plant functional traits predict green roof ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Tran, Stephanie; Gebert, Luke

    2015-02-17

    Plants make important contributions to the services provided by engineered ecosystems such as green roofs. Ecologists use plant species traits as generic predictors of geographical distribution, interactions with other species, and ecosystem functioning, but this approach has been little used to optimize engineered ecosystems. Four plant species traits (height, individual leaf area, specific leaf area, and leaf dry matter content) were evaluated as predictors of ecosystem properties and services in a modular green roof system planted with 21 species. Six indicators of ecosystem services, incorporating thermal, hydrological, water quality, and carbon sequestration functions, were predicted by the four plant traits directly or indirectly via their effects on aggregate ecosystem properties, including canopy density and albedo. Species average height and specific leaf area were the most useful traits, predicting several services via effects on canopy density or growth rate. This study demonstrates that easily measured plant traits can be used to select species to optimize green roof performance across multiple key services. PMID:25599106

  18. Functional Regression Models for Epistasis Analysis of Multiple Quantitative Traits.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Futao; Xie, Dan; Liang, Meimei; Xiong, Momiao

    2016-04-01

    To date, most genetic analyses of phenotypes have focused on analyzing single traits or analyzing each phenotype independently. However, joint epistasis analysis of multiple complementary traits will increase statistical power and improve our understanding of the complicated genetic structure of the complex diseases. Despite their importance in uncovering the genetic structure of complex traits, the statistical methods for identifying epistasis in multiple phenotypes remains fundamentally unexplored. To fill this gap, we formulate a test for interaction between two genes in multiple quantitative trait analysis as a multiple functional regression (MFRG) in which the genotype functions (genetic variant profiles) are defined as a function of the genomic position of the genetic variants. We use large-scale simulations to calculate Type I error rates for testing interaction between two genes with multiple phenotypes and to compare the power with multivariate pairwise interaction analysis and single trait interaction analysis by a single variate functional regression model. To further evaluate performance, the MFRG for epistasis analysis is applied to five phenotypes of exome sequence data from the NHLBI's Exome Sequencing Project (ESP) to detect pleiotropic epistasis. A total of 267 pairs of genes that formed a genetic interaction network showed significant evidence of epistasis influencing five traits. The results demonstrate that the joint interaction analysis of multiple phenotypes has a much higher power to detect interaction than the interaction analysis of a single trait and may open a new direction to fully uncovering the genetic structure of multiple phenotypes.

  19. Functional Regression Models for Epistasis Analysis of Multiple Quantitative Traits.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Futao; Xie, Dan; Liang, Meimei; Xiong, Momiao

    2016-04-01

    To date, most genetic analyses of phenotypes have focused on analyzing single traits or analyzing each phenotype independently. However, joint epistasis analysis of multiple complementary traits will increase statistical power and improve our understanding of the complicated genetic structure of the complex diseases. Despite their importance in uncovering the genetic structure of complex traits, the statistical methods for identifying epistasis in multiple phenotypes remains fundamentally unexplored. To fill this gap, we formulate a test for interaction between two genes in multiple quantitative trait analysis as a multiple functional regression (MFRG) in which the genotype functions (genetic variant profiles) are defined as a function of the genomic position of the genetic variants. We use large-scale simulations to calculate Type I error rates for testing interaction between two genes with multiple phenotypes and to compare the power with multivariate pairwise interaction analysis and single trait interaction analysis by a single variate functional regression model. To further evaluate performance, the MFRG for epistasis analysis is applied to five phenotypes of exome sequence data from the NHLBI's Exome Sequencing Project (ESP) to detect pleiotropic epistasis. A total of 267 pairs of genes that formed a genetic interaction network showed significant evidence of epistasis influencing five traits. The results demonstrate that the joint interaction analysis of multiple phenotypes has a much higher power to detect interaction than the interaction analysis of a single trait and may open a new direction to fully uncovering the genetic structure of multiple phenotypes. PMID:27104857

  20. Functional traits and root morphology of alpine plants

    PubMed Central

    Pohl, Mandy; Stroude, Raphaël; Buttler, Alexandre; Rixen, Christian

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims Vegetation has long been recognized to protect the soil from erosion. Understanding species differences in root morphology and functional traits is an important step to assess which species and species mixtures may provide erosion control. Furthermore, extending classification of plant functional types towards root traits may be a useful procedure in understanding important root functions. Methods In this study, pioneer data on traits of alpine plant species, i.e. plant height and shoot biomass, root depth, horizontal root spreading, root length, diameter, tensile strength, plant age and root biomass, from a disturbed site in the Swiss Alps are presented. The applicability of three classifications of plant functional types (PFTs), i.e. life form, growth form and root type, was examined for above- and below-ground plant traits. Key Results Plant traits differed considerably among species even of the same life form, e.g. in the case of total root length by more than two orders of magnitude. Within the same root diameter, species differed significantly in tensile strength: some species (Geum reptans and Luzula spicata) had roots more than twice as strong as those of other species. Species of different life forms provided different root functions (e.g. root depth and horizontal root spreading) that may be important for soil physical processes. All classifications of PFTs were helpful to categorize plant traits; however, the PFTs according to root type explained total root length far better than the other PFTs. Conclusions The results of the study illustrate the remarkable differences between root traits of alpine plants, some of which cannot be assessed from simple morphological inspection, e.g. tensile strength. PFT classification based on root traits seems useful to categorize plant traits, even though some patterns are better explained at the individual species level. PMID:21795278

  1. Species identity influences belowground arthropod assemblages via functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Gorman, Courtney E.; Read, Quentin D.; Van Nuland, Michael E.; Bryant, Jessica A. M.; Welch, Jessica N.; Altobelli, Joseph T.; Douglas, Morgan J.; Genung, Mark A.; Haag, Elliot N.; Jones, Devin N.; Long, Hannah E.; Wilburn, Adam D.; Schweitzer, Jennifer A.; Bailey, Joseph K.

    2013-01-01

    Plant species influence belowground communities in a variety of ways, ultimately impacting nutrient cycling. Functional plant traits provide a means whereby species identity can influence belowground community interactions, but little work has examined whether species identity influences belowground community processes when correcting for evolutionary history. Specifically, we hypothesized that closely related species would exhibit (i) more similar leaf and root functional traits than more distantly related species, and (ii) more similar associated soil arthropod communities. We found that after correcting for evolutionary history, tree species identity influenced belowground arthropod communities through plant functional traits. These data suggest that plant species structure may be an important predictor in shaping associated soil arthropod communities and further suggest the importance of better understanding the extended consequences of evolutionary history on ecological processes, as similarity in traits may not always reflect similar ecology.

  2. Leaf traits within communities: context may affect the mapping of traits to function.

    PubMed

    Funk, Jennifer L; Cornwell, William K

    2013-09-01

    The leaf economics spectrum (LES) has revolutionized the way many ecologists think about quantifying plant ecological trade-offs. In particular, the LES has connected a clear functional trade-off (long-lived leaves with slow carbon capture vs. short-lived leaves with fast carbon capture) to a handful of easily measured leaf traits. Building on this work, community ecologists are now able to quickly assess species carbon-capture strategies, which may have implications for community-level patterns such as competition or succession. However, there are a number of steps in this logic that require careful examination, and a potential danger arises when interpreting leaf-trait variation among species within communities where trait relationships are weak. Using data from 22 diverse communities, we show that relationships among three common functional traits (photosynthetic rate, leaf nitrogen concentration per mass, leaf mass per area) are weak in communities with low variation in leaf life span (LLS), especially communities dominated by herbaceous or deciduous woody species. However, globally there are few LLS data sets for communities dominated by herbaceous or deciduous species, and more data are needed to confirm this pattern. The context-dependent nature of trait relationships at the community level suggests that leaf-trait variation within communities, especially those dominated by herbaceous and deciduous woody species, should be interpreted with caution. PMID:24279259

  3. Borderline personality traits and disorder: predicting prospective patient functioning

    PubMed Central

    Hopwood, Christopher J.; Zanarini, Mary C.

    2011-01-01

    Objective Decisions about the composition of personality assessment in DSM-V will be heavily influenced by the clinical utility of candidate constructs. This study addressed one aspect of clinical utility by testing the incremental validity of five-factor model personality traits and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms for predicting prospective patient functioning. Method Five-factor personality traits and BPD features were correlated with one another and predicted 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10-year psychosocial functioning scores for 362 personality-disordered patients. Results Traits and symptom domains related significantly and pervasively to one another and to prospective functioning. FFM extraversion and agreeableness tended to be most incrementally predictive of psychosocial functioning across all intervals; cognitive and impulse action features of BPD features incremented FFM traits in some models. Conclusions These data suggest that BPD symptoms and personality traits are important long-term indicators of clinical functioning that both overlap with and increment one another in clinical predictions. Results support the integration of personality traits and disorders in DSM-V. PMID:20658814

  4. Multi-taxa trait and functional responses to physical disturbance.

    PubMed

    Pedley, Scott M; Dolman, Paul M

    2014-11-01

    . Trait-function linkage differed among taxa and was sometimes diffuse, with covariance among biological traits and the mapping of individual traits to multiple ecological functions. In particular, body size responses reflected correlations with life history, susceptibility to perturbation and dispersal ability that were inconsistent between the two arthropod groups. Selection of traits for assessment should therefore be taxa specific. Generalizations of trait responses across taxa should only be conducted where functional or ecological significance of assembly-level changes can be understood. PMID:24942040

  5. Functional traits explain variation in plant life history strategies.

    PubMed

    Adler, Peter B; Salguero-Gómez, Roberto; Compagnoni, Aldo; Hsu, Joanna S; Ray-Mukherjee, Jayanti; Mbeau-Ache, Cyril; Franco, Miguel

    2014-01-14

    Ecologists seek general explanations for the dramatic variation in species abundances in space and time. An increasingly popular solution is to predict species distributions, dynamics, and responses to environmental change based on easily measured anatomical and morphological traits. Trait-based approaches assume that simple functional traits influence fitness and life history evolution, but rigorous tests of this assumption are lacking, because they require quantitative information about the full lifecycles of many species representing different life histories. Here, we link a global traits database with empirical matrix population models for 222 species and report strong relationships between functional traits and plant life histories. Species with large seeds, long-lived leaves, or dense wood have slow life histories, with mean fitness (i.e., population growth rates) more strongly influenced by survival than by growth or fecundity, compared with fast life history species with small seeds, short-lived leaves, or soft wood. In contrast to measures of demographic contributions to fitness based on whole lifecycles, analyses focused on raw demographic rates may underestimate the strength of association between traits and mean fitness. Our results help establish the physiological basis for plant life history evolution and show the potential for trait-based approaches in population dynamics.

  6. Using Plant Functional Traits to Explain Diversity–Productivity Relationships

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Background The different hypotheses proposed to explain positive species richness–productivity relationships, i.e. selection effect and complementarity effect, imply that plant functional characteristics are at the core of a mechanistic understanding of biodiversity effects. Methodology/Principal Findings We used two community-wide measures of plant functional composition, (1) community-weighted means of trait values (CWM) and (2) functional trait diversity based on Rao’s quadratic diversity (FDQ) to predict biomass production and measures of biodiversity effects in experimental grasslands (Jena Experiment) with different species richness (2, 4, 8, 16 and 60) and different functional group number and composition (1 to 4; legumes, grasses, small herbs, tall herbs) four years after establishment. Functional trait composition had a larger predictive power for community biomass and measures of biodiversitity effects (40–82% of explained variation) than species richness per se (<1–13% of explained variation). CWM explained a larger amount of variation in community biomass (80%) and net biodiversity effects (70%) than FDQ (36 and 38% of explained variation respectively). FDQ explained similar proportions of variation in complementarity effects (24%, positive relationship) and selection effects (28%, negative relationship) as CWM (27% of explained variation for both complementarity and selection effects), but for all response variables the combination of CWM and FDQ led to significant model improvement compared to a separate consideration of different components of functional trait composition. Effects of FDQ were mainly attributable to diversity in nutrient acquisition and life-history strategies. The large spectrum of traits contributing to positive effects of CWM on biomass production and net biodiversity effects indicated that effects of dominant species were associated with different trait combinations. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that the

  7. Plant functional traits and soil carbon sequestration in contrasting biomes.

    PubMed

    De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Bardgett, Richard D

    2008-05-01

    Plant functional traits control a variety of terrestrial ecosystem processes, including soil carbon storage which is a key component of the global carbon cycle. Plant traits regulate net soil carbon storage by controlling carbon assimilation, its transfer and storage in belowground biomass, and its release from soil through respiration, fire and leaching. However, our mechanistic understanding of these processes is incomplete. Here, we present a mechanistic framework, based on the plant traits that drive soil carbon inputs and outputs, for understanding how alteration of vegetation composition will affect soil carbon sequestration under global changes. First, we show direct and indirect plant trait effects on soil carbon input and output through autotrophs and heterotrophs, and through modification of abiotic conditions, which need to be considered to determine the local carbon sequestration potential. Second, we explore how the composition of key plant traits and soil biota related to carbon input, release and storage prevail in different biomes across the globe, and address the biome-specific mechanisms by which plant trait composition may impact on soil carbon sequestration. We propose that a trait-based approach will help to develop strategies to preserve and promote carbon sequestration.

  8. Model Adequacy and the Macroevolution of Angiosperm Functional Traits.

    PubMed

    Pennell, Matthew W; FitzJohn, Richard G; Cornwell, William K; Harmon, Luke J

    2015-08-01

    Making meaningful inferences from phylogenetic comparative data requires a meaningful model of trait evolution. It is thus important to determine whether the model is appropriate for the data and the question being addressed. One way to assess this is to ask whether the model provides a good statistical explanation for the variation in the data. To date, researchers have focused primarily on the explanatory power of a model relative to alternative models. Methods have been developed to assess the adequacy, or absolute explanatory power, of phylogenetic trait models, but these have been restricted to specific models or questions. Here we present a general statistical framework for assessing the adequacy of phylogenetic trait models. We use our approach to evaluate the statistical performance of commonly used trait models on 337 comparative data sets covering three key angiosperm functional traits. In general, the models we tested often provided poor statistical explanations for the evolution of these traits. This was true for many different groups and at many different scales. Whether such statistical inadequacy will qualitatively alter inferences drawn from comparative data sets will depend on the context. Regardless, assessing model adequacy can provide interesting biological insights-how and why a model fails to describe variation in a data set give us clues about what evolutionary processes may have driven trait evolution across time. PMID:26655160

  9. Impact of calving ease on functional longevity and herd amortization costs in Basque Holsteins using survival analysis.

    PubMed

    López de Maturana, E; Ugarte, E; González-Recio, O

    2007-09-01

    The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of calving ease (CE) on functional longevity of Basque Holsteins, using a Weibull proportional hazards model. The data considered for the analysis were 53,353 calving records from 25,810 Holstein cows distributed across 781 herds and sired by 746 bulls. The effects included in the statistical model were age at first calving, stage of lactation, interaction between year and season of calving, 305-d adjusted milk yield, CE, herd, and sire. Calving ease was considered as a time-dependent covariate and, as was the case for the rest of covariates included in the model, had a significant effect on functional longevity. Calvings needing assistance or surgery increased culling risk by 18%, when compared with unassisted calvings. The effect of CE on length of productive life in primiparous and multiparous cows was also investigated. A second analysis was performed replacing the CE effect with the interaction between parity and CE to evaluate the effect of CE in primiparous and multiparous cows. An increase in calving difficulty had a greater impact on culling during first lactations than in subsequent ones. Therefore, difficult calvings, mainly at first parities, had a high impact on herd amortization costs, increasing them by 10% in relation to easy calvings. Therefore, calving difficulty should be avoided as much as possible, especially in primiparous cows, to avoid reduction of profitability. PMID:17699066

  10. Impact of calving ease on functional longevity and herd amortization costs in Basque Holsteins using survival analysis.

    PubMed

    López de Maturana, E; Ugarte, E; González-Recio, O

    2007-09-01

    The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of calving ease (CE) on functional longevity of Basque Holsteins, using a Weibull proportional hazards model. The data considered for the analysis were 53,353 calving records from 25,810 Holstein cows distributed across 781 herds and sired by 746 bulls. The effects included in the statistical model were age at first calving, stage of lactation, interaction between year and season of calving, 305-d adjusted milk yield, CE, herd, and sire. Calving ease was considered as a time-dependent covariate and, as was the case for the rest of covariates included in the model, had a significant effect on functional longevity. Calvings needing assistance or surgery increased culling risk by 18%, when compared with unassisted calvings. The effect of CE on length of productive life in primiparous and multiparous cows was also investigated. A second analysis was performed replacing the CE effect with the interaction between parity and CE to evaluate the effect of CE in primiparous and multiparous cows. An increase in calving difficulty had a greater impact on culling during first lactations than in subsequent ones. Therefore, difficult calvings, mainly at first parities, had a high impact on herd amortization costs, increasing them by 10% in relation to easy calvings. Therefore, calving difficulty should be avoided as much as possible, especially in primiparous cows, to avoid reduction of profitability.

  11. Phenological variation of leaf functional traits within species.

    PubMed

    Fajardo, Alex; Siefert, Andrew

    2016-04-01

    A basic assumption of the trait-based approach in plant ecology is that differences in functional trait values are greater between species than within species. We questioned this assumption by assessing (1) the relative extent of inter- and intraspecific leaf trait variation throughout a complete growing season (phenological variation) in a group of deciduous and evergreen woody species, and (2) whether species rankings based on leaf traits were maintained across the growing season. We analysed leaf mass per area (LMA) and leaf nutrient concentrations (C, N, P), including the C:N and N:P ratios. Intraspecific trait variation (ITV) due to phenology was significantly greater than interspecific variation for leaf N concentration on a mass basis (Nm; 68.90 %) and for the leaf C:N ratio (60.60 %), whereas interspecific variation was significantly higher than ITV for LMA (62.30 %) and for leaf C concentration on a mass (Cm) and area (Ca) basis (Cm 70.40 %; Ca 65.30 %). ITV was particularly low for LMA (<20 %). Species rankings were highly modified by phenology for a number of leaf traits (Pm, N:P ratio) but were relatively well conserved throughout the growing season for others (LMA, Nm). Patterns of ITV across the growing season differed significantly between deciduous and evergreen species for all traits except leaf P but did not vary between native and exotic species. Overall, our results show that intraspecific phenological variation in leaf traits may be similar to or greater than interspecific variation and that temporal patterns of ITV vary considerably among traits and species, especially for leaf nutrient concentrations, factors which can potentially affect quantitative interspecific relationships.

  12. Functional trait space and the latitudinal diversity gradient

    PubMed Central

    Lamanna, Christine; Blonder, Benjamin; Violle, Cyrille; Kraft, Nathan J. B.; Sandel, Brody; Šímová, Irena; Donoghue, John C.; Svenning, Jens-Christian; McGill, Brian J.; Boyle, Brad; Buzzard, Vanessa; Dolins, Steven; Jørgensen, Peter M.; Marcuse-Kubitza, Aaron; Morueta-Holme, Naia; Peet, Robert K.; Piel, William H.; Regetz, James; Schildhauer, Mark; Spencer, Nick; Thiers, Barbara; Wiser, Susan K.; Enquist, Brian J.

    2014-01-01

    The processes causing the latitudinal gradient in species richness remain elusive. Ecological theories for the origin of biodiversity gradients, such as competitive exclusion, neutral dynamics, and environmental filtering, make predictions for how functional diversity should vary at the alpha (within local assemblages), beta (among assemblages), and gamma (regional pool) scales. We test these predictions by quantifying hypervolumes constructed from functional traits representing major axes of plant strategy variation (specific leaf area, plant height, and seed mass) in tree assemblages spanning the temperate and tropical New World. Alpha-scale trait volume decreases with absolute latitude and is often lower than sampling expectation, consistent with environmental filtering theory. Beta-scale overlap decays with geographic distance fastest in the temperate zone, again consistent with environmental filtering theory. In contrast, gamma-scale trait space shows a hump-shaped relationship with absolute latitude, consistent with no theory. Furthermore, the overall temperate trait hypervolume was larger than the overall tropical hypervolume, indicating that the temperate zone permits a wider range of trait combinations or that niche packing is stronger in the tropical zone. Although there are limitations in the data, our analyses suggest that multiple processes have shaped trait diversity in trees, reflecting no consistent support for any one theory. PMID:25225365

  13. Functional trait space and the latitudinal diversity gradient.

    PubMed

    Lamanna, Christine; Blonder, Benjamin; Violle, Cyrille; Kraft, Nathan J B; Sandel, Brody; Šímová, Irena; Donoghue, John C; Svenning, Jens-Christian; McGill, Brian J; Boyle, Brad; Buzzard, Vanessa; Dolins, Steven; Jørgensen, Peter M; Marcuse-Kubitza, Aaron; Morueta-Holme, Naia; Peet, Robert K; Piel, William H; Regetz, James; Schildhauer, Mark; Spencer, Nick; Thiers, Barbara; Wiser, Susan K; Enquist, Brian J

    2014-09-23

    The processes causing the latitudinal gradient in species richness remain elusive. Ecological theories for the origin of biodiversity gradients, such as competitive exclusion, neutral dynamics, and environmental filtering, make predictions for how functional diversity should vary at the alpha (within local assemblages), beta (among assemblages), and gamma (regional pool) scales. We test these predictions by quantifying hypervolumes constructed from functional traits representing major axes of plant strategy variation (specific leaf area, plant height, and seed mass) in tree assemblages spanning the temperate and tropical New World. Alpha-scale trait volume decreases with absolute latitude and is often lower than sampling expectation, consistent with environmental filtering theory. Beta-scale overlap decays with geographic distance fastest in the temperate zone, again consistent with environmental filtering theory. In contrast, gamma-scale trait space shows a hump-shaped relationship with absolute latitude, consistent with no theory. Furthermore, the overall temperate trait hypervolume was larger than the overall tropical hypervolume, indicating that the temperate zone permits a wider range of trait combinations or that niche packing is stronger in the tropical zone. Although there are limitations in the data, our analyses suggest that multiple processes have shaped trait diversity in trees, reflecting no consistent support for any one theory. PMID:25225365

  14. Trait Routinization, Functional and Cognitive Status in Older Adults

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zisberg, Anna; Zysberg, Leehu; Young, Heather M.; Schepp, Karen G.

    2009-01-01

    This study examined the associations between trait routinization and functional and cognitive as well as demographic indicators. A sample of American older adults living independently in a retirement community (n = 80) were assessed regarding their functional status, cognitive status, and preference for routine. Robust associations between…

  15. Modulating executive functioning: trait motivational reactivity and resting HRV.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Rachel L; Potter, Robert F; Lang, Annie; Pisoni, David B

    2015-01-01

    This study assessed relationships among individual differences in trait motivational reactivity, executive functioning, and neurovisceral regulation of emotion and attention indexed via resting heart rate variability (rHRV). We derived predictions regarding these relationships according to neurovisceral neural network theory. Because lower rHRV has been suggested as an endophenotype of less adaptive behaviour, low rHRV individuals were predicted to have high aversive and low appetitive trait motivational reactivity, while high rHRV individuals were predicted to have high reactivity in both appetitive and aversive motivational systems. These predictions were supported. Motivational reactivity also was related to executive functioning deficits, although the pattern of results was not in the predicted direction. Results suggest that trait motivational reactivity scores are related to visceral responses proposed in the neurovisceral integration circuit as well as in the modulation of these responses by higher-order cognitive control systems related to executive function. PMID:24606341

  16. Genetics, lifestyle and longevity: Lessons from centenarians.

    PubMed

    Govindaraju, Diddahally; Atzmon, Gil; Barzilai, Nir

    2015-03-01

    Longevity as a complex life-history trait shares an ontogenetic relationship with other quantitative traits and varies among individuals, families and populations. Heritability estimates of longevity suggest that about a third of the phenotypic variation associated with the trait is attributable to genetic factors, and the rest is influenced by epigenetic and environmental factors. Individuals react differently to the environments that they are a part of, as well as to the environments they construct for their survival and reproduction; the latter phenomenon is known as niche construction. Lifestyle influences longevity at all the stages of development and levels of human diversity. Hence, lifestyle may be viewed as a component of niche construction. Here, we: a) interpret longevity using a combination of genotype-epigenetic-phenotype (GEP) map approach and niche-construction theory, and b) discuss the plausible influence of genetic and epigenetic factors in the distribution and maintenance of longevity among individuals with normal life span on the one hand, and centenarians on the other. Although similar genetic and environmental factors appear to be common to both of these groups, exceptional longevity may be influenced by polymorphisms in specific genes, coupled with superior genomic stability and homeostatic mechanisms, maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection. We suggest that a comparative analysis of longevity between individuals with normal life span and centenarians, along with insights from population ecology and evolutionary biology, would not only advance our knowledge of biological mechanisms underlying human longevity, but also provide deeper insights into extending healthy life span.

  17. Genetics, lifestyle and longevity: Lessons from centenarians

    PubMed Central

    Govindaraju, Diddahally; Atzmon, Gil; Barzilai, Nir

    2015-01-01

    Longevity as a complex life-history trait shares an ontogenetic relationship with other quantitative traits and varies among individuals, families and populations. Heritability estimates of longevity suggest that about a third of the phenotypic variation associated with the trait is attributable to genetic factors, and the rest is influenced by epigenetic and environmental factors. Individuals react differently to the environments that they are a part of, as well as to the environments they construct for their survival and reproduction; the latter phenomenon is known as niche construction. Lifestyle influences longevity at all the stages of development and levels of human diversity. Hence, lifestyle may be viewed as a component of niche construction. Here, we: a) interpret longevity using a combination of genotype-epigenetic-phenotype (GEP) map approach and niche-construction theory, and b) discuss the plausible influence of genetic and epigenetic factors in the distribution and maintenance of longevity among individuals with normal life span on the one hand, and centenarians on the other. Although similar genetic and environmental factors appear to be common to both of these groups, exceptional longevity may be influenced by polymorphisms in specific genes, coupled with superior genomic stability and homeostatic mechanisms, maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection. We suggest that a comparative analysis of longevity between individuals with normal life span and centenarians, along with insights from population ecology and evolutionary biology, would not only advance our knowledge of biological mechanisms underlying human longevity, but also provide deeper insights into extending healthy life span. PMID:26937346

  18. Quantitative Trait Loci for Morphological Traits and their Association with Functional Genes in Raphanus sativus

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Xiaona; Choi, Su Ryun; Dhandapani, Vignesh; Rameneni, Jana Jeevan; Li, Xiaonan; Pang, Wenxing; Lee, Ji-Young; Lim, Yong Pyo

    2016-01-01

    Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) governing morphologically important traits enables to comprehend their potential genetic mechanisms in the genetic breeding program. In this study, we used 210 F2 populations derived from a cross between two radish inbred lines (Raphanus sativus) “835” and “B2,” including 258 SSR markers were used to detect QTLs for 11 morphological traits that related to whole plant, leaf, and root yield in 3 years of replicated field test. Total 55 QTLs were detected which were distributed on each linkage group of the Raphanus genome. Individual QTLs accounted for 2.69–12.6 of the LOD value, and 0.82–16.25% of phenotypic variation. Several genomic regions have multiple traits that clustered together, suggested the existence of pleiotropy linkage. Synteny analysis of the QTL regions with A. thaliana genome selected orthologous genes in radish. InDels and SNPs in the parental lines were detected in those regions by Illumina genome sequence. Five identified candidate gene-based markers were validated by co-mapping with underlying QTLs affecting different traits. Semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR analysis showed the different expression levels of these five genes in parental lines. In addition, comparative QTL analysis with B. rapa revealed six common QTL regions and four key major evolutionarily conserved crucifer blocks (J, U, R, and W) harboring QTL for morphological traits. The QTL positions identified in this study will provide a valuable resource for identifying more functional genes when whole radish genome sequence is released. Candidate genes identified in this study that co-localized in QTL regions are expected to facilitate in radish breeding programs. PMID:26973691

  19. Quantitative Trait Loci for Morphological Traits and their Association with Functional Genes in Raphanus sativus.

    PubMed

    Yu, Xiaona; Choi, Su Ryun; Dhandapani, Vignesh; Rameneni, Jana Jeevan; Li, Xiaonan; Pang, Wenxing; Lee, Ji-Young; Lim, Yong Pyo

    2016-01-01

    Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) governing morphologically important traits enables to comprehend their potential genetic mechanisms in the genetic breeding program. In this study, we used 210 F2 populations derived from a cross between two radish inbred lines (Raphanus sativus) "835" and "B2," including 258 SSR markers were used to detect QTLs for 11 morphological traits that related to whole plant, leaf, and root yield in 3 years of replicated field test. Total 55 QTLs were detected which were distributed on each linkage group of the Raphanus genome. Individual QTLs accounted for 2.69-12.6 of the LOD value, and 0.82-16.25% of phenotypic variation. Several genomic regions have multiple traits that clustered together, suggested the existence of pleiotropy linkage. Synteny analysis of the QTL regions with A. thaliana genome selected orthologous genes in radish. InDels and SNPs in the parental lines were detected in those regions by Illumina genome sequence. Five identified candidate gene-based markers were validated by co-mapping with underlying QTLs affecting different traits. Semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR analysis showed the different expression levels of these five genes in parental lines. In addition, comparative QTL analysis with B. rapa revealed six common QTL regions and four key major evolutionarily conserved crucifer blocks (J, U, R, and W) harboring QTL for morphological traits. The QTL positions identified in this study will provide a valuable resource for identifying more functional genes when whole radish genome sequence is released. Candidate genes identified in this study that co-localized in QTL regions are expected to facilitate in radish breeding programs.

  20. Quantitative Trait Loci for Morphological Traits and their Association with Functional Genes in Raphanus sativus.

    PubMed

    Yu, Xiaona; Choi, Su Ryun; Dhandapani, Vignesh; Rameneni, Jana Jeevan; Li, Xiaonan; Pang, Wenxing; Lee, Ji-Young; Lim, Yong Pyo

    2016-01-01

    Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) governing morphologically important traits enables to comprehend their potential genetic mechanisms in the genetic breeding program. In this study, we used 210 F2 populations derived from a cross between two radish inbred lines (Raphanus sativus) "835" and "B2," including 258 SSR markers were used to detect QTLs for 11 morphological traits that related to whole plant, leaf, and root yield in 3 years of replicated field test. Total 55 QTLs were detected which were distributed on each linkage group of the Raphanus genome. Individual QTLs accounted for 2.69-12.6 of the LOD value, and 0.82-16.25% of phenotypic variation. Several genomic regions have multiple traits that clustered together, suggested the existence of pleiotropy linkage. Synteny analysis of the QTL regions with A. thaliana genome selected orthologous genes in radish. InDels and SNPs in the parental lines were detected in those regions by Illumina genome sequence. Five identified candidate gene-based markers were validated by co-mapping with underlying QTLs affecting different traits. Semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR analysis showed the different expression levels of these five genes in parental lines. In addition, comparative QTL analysis with B. rapa revealed six common QTL regions and four key major evolutionarily conserved crucifer blocks (J, U, R, and W) harboring QTL for morphological traits. The QTL positions identified in this study will provide a valuable resource for identifying more functional genes when whole radish genome sequence is released. Candidate genes identified in this study that co-localized in QTL regions are expected to facilitate in radish breeding programs. PMID:26973691

  1. Applications of spectral inversion to understanding vegetation functional trait relationships

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shiklomanov, A. N.; Dietze, M.; Viskari, T.; Townsend, P. A.; Serbin, S.

    2015-12-01

    Spectral data from both field observations and remote sensing platforms are a rich source of information for studying plant traits. Traditional approaches to using spectral data for studying vegetation have proven effective in sensor-, site-, or plant type-specific settings, but differences in model assumptions and failure to account for uncertainties have hindered efforts to synthesize observations from different sources and use spectral data in a predictive capacity. Here we present a novel approach that uses Bayesian inversion of the PROSPECT 5 leaf radiative transfer model (RTM) to investigate the ability of spectral data to inform our understanding of plant functional traits. First, we validated our method by comparing inversion results to independent measurements of relevant leaf structural and biochemical parameters. Second, we tested the accuracy and precision of RTM parameter retrieval as a function of spectral resolution and quality by performing inversions on simulated observations for a variety of common remote sensing platforms. We observed predictable increases in parameter uncertainty and covariance with declining spectral resolution, but we also found that the measurement characteristics of all sensors are capable of providing information about at least some of the parameters of interest. Finally, we applied our inversion to a large database of field spectra and plant traits spanning tropical, temperate, and boreal forests, agricultural plots, arid shrublands, and tundra to identify dominant sources of variability and characterize trade-offs in plant functional traits. We found substantial intraspecific variability in traits and explored the extent to which this variability falls along the same axes as the interspecific leaf economics spectrum. Ultimately, our results show that Bayesian RTM inversion provides a powerful framework for using spectral data to inform our understanding of plant functional traits and how they are linked with ecosystem

  2. Functional traits, convergent evolution, and periodic tables of niches.

    PubMed

    Winemiller, Kirk O; Fitzgerald, Daniel B; Bower, Luke M; Pianka, Eric R

    2015-08-01

    Ecology is often said to lack general theories sufficiently predictive for applications. Here, we examine the concept of a periodic table of niches and feasibility of niche classification schemes from functional trait and performance data. Niche differences and their influence on ecological patterns and processes could be revealed effectively by first performing data reduction/ordination analyses separately on matrices of trait and performance data compiled according to logical associations with five basic niche 'dimensions', or aspects: habitat, life history, trophic, defence and metabolic. Resultant patterns then are integrated to produce interpretable niche gradients, ordinations and classifications. Degree of scheme periodicity would depend on degrees of niche conservatism and convergence causing species clustering across multiple niche dimensions. We analysed a sample data set containing trait and performance data to contrast two approaches for producing niche schemes: species ordination within niche gradient space, and niche categorisation according to trait-value thresholds. Creation of niche schemes useful for advancing ecological knowledge and its applications will depend on research that produces functional trait and performance datasets directly related to niche dimensions along with criteria for data standardisation and quality. As larger databases are compiled, opportunities will emerge to explore new methods for data reduction, ordination and classification. PMID:26096695

  3. Plant functional traits have globally consistent effects on competition.

    PubMed

    Kunstler, Georges; Falster, Daniel; Coomes, David A; Hui, Francis; Kooyman, Robert M; Laughlin, Daniel C; Poorter, Lourens; Vanderwel, Mark; Vieilledent, Ghislain; Wright, S Joseph; Aiba, Masahiro; Baraloto, Christopher; Caspersen, John; Cornelissen, J Hans C; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie; Hanewinkel, Marc; Herault, Bruno; Kattge, Jens; Kurokawa, Hiroko; Onoda, Yusuke; Peñuelas, Josep; Poorter, Hendrik; Uriarte, Maria; Richardson, Sarah; Ruiz-Benito, Paloma; Sun, I-Fang; Ståhl, Göran; Swenson, Nathan G; Thompson, Jill; Westerlund, Bertil; Wirth, Christian; Zavala, Miguel A; Zeng, Hongcheng; Zimmerman, Jess K; Zimmermann, Niklaus E; Westoby, Mark

    2016-01-14

    Phenotypic traits and their associated trade-offs have been shown to have globally consistent effects on individual plant physiological functions, but how these effects scale up to influence competition, a key driver of community assembly in terrestrial vegetation, has remained unclear. Here we use growth data from more than 3 million trees in over 140,000 plots across the world to show how three key functional traits--wood density, specific leaf area and maximum height--consistently influence competitive interactions. Fast maximum growth of a species was correlated negatively with its wood density in all biomes, and positively with its specific leaf area in most biomes. Low wood density was also correlated with a low ability to tolerate competition and a low competitive effect on neighbours, while high specific leaf area was correlated with a low competitive effect. Thus, traits generate trade-offs between performance with competition versus performance without competition, a fundamental ingredient in the classical hypothesis that the coexistence of plant species is enabled via differentiation in their successional strategies. Competition within species was stronger than between species, but an increase in trait dissimilarity between species had little influence in weakening competition. No benefit of dissimilarity was detected for specific leaf area or wood density, and only a weak benefit for maximum height. Our trait-based approach to modelling competition makes generalization possible across the forest ecosystems of the world and their highly diverse species composition.

  4. Functional traits, convergent evolution, and periodic tables of niches.

    PubMed

    Winemiller, Kirk O; Fitzgerald, Daniel B; Bower, Luke M; Pianka, Eric R

    2015-08-01

    Ecology is often said to lack general theories sufficiently predictive for applications. Here, we examine the concept of a periodic table of niches and feasibility of niche classification schemes from functional trait and performance data. Niche differences and their influence on ecological patterns and processes could be revealed effectively by first performing data reduction/ordination analyses separately on matrices of trait and performance data compiled according to logical associations with five basic niche 'dimensions', or aspects: habitat, life history, trophic, defence and metabolic. Resultant patterns then are integrated to produce interpretable niche gradients, ordinations and classifications. Degree of scheme periodicity would depend on degrees of niche conservatism and convergence causing species clustering across multiple niche dimensions. We analysed a sample data set containing trait and performance data to contrast two approaches for producing niche schemes: species ordination within niche gradient space, and niche categorisation according to trait-value thresholds. Creation of niche schemes useful for advancing ecological knowledge and its applications will depend on research that produces functional trait and performance datasets directly related to niche dimensions along with criteria for data standardisation and quality. As larger databases are compiled, opportunities will emerge to explore new methods for data reduction, ordination and classification.

  5. Plant functional traits have globally consistent effects on competition.

    PubMed

    Kunstler, Georges; Falster, Daniel; Coomes, David A; Hui, Francis; Kooyman, Robert M; Laughlin, Daniel C; Poorter, Lourens; Vanderwel, Mark; Vieilledent, Ghislain; Wright, S Joseph; Aiba, Masahiro; Baraloto, Christopher; Caspersen, John; Cornelissen, J Hans C; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie; Hanewinkel, Marc; Herault, Bruno; Kattge, Jens; Kurokawa, Hiroko; Onoda, Yusuke; Peñuelas, Josep; Poorter, Hendrik; Uriarte, Maria; Richardson, Sarah; Ruiz-Benito, Paloma; Sun, I-Fang; Ståhl, Göran; Swenson, Nathan G; Thompson, Jill; Westerlund, Bertil; Wirth, Christian; Zavala, Miguel A; Zeng, Hongcheng; Zimmerman, Jess K; Zimmermann, Niklaus E; Westoby, Mark

    2016-01-14

    Phenotypic traits and their associated trade-offs have been shown to have globally consistent effects on individual plant physiological functions, but how these effects scale up to influence competition, a key driver of community assembly in terrestrial vegetation, has remained unclear. Here we use growth data from more than 3 million trees in over 140,000 plots across the world to show how three key functional traits--wood density, specific leaf area and maximum height--consistently influence competitive interactions. Fast maximum growth of a species was correlated negatively with its wood density in all biomes, and positively with its specific leaf area in most biomes. Low wood density was also correlated with a low ability to tolerate competition and a low competitive effect on neighbours, while high specific leaf area was correlated with a low competitive effect. Thus, traits generate trade-offs between performance with competition versus performance without competition, a fundamental ingredient in the classical hypothesis that the coexistence of plant species is enabled via differentiation in their successional strategies. Competition within species was stronger than between species, but an increase in trait dissimilarity between species had little influence in weakening competition. No benefit of dissimilarity was detected for specific leaf area or wood density, and only a weak benefit for maximum height. Our trait-based approach to modelling competition makes generalization possible across the forest ecosystems of the world and their highly diverse species composition. PMID:26700807

  6. An optimal strategy for functional mapping of dynamic trait loci.

    PubMed

    Jin, Tianbo; Li, Jiahan; Guo, Ying; Zhou, Xiaojing; Yang, Runqing; Wu, Rongling

    2010-02-01

    As an emerging powerful approach for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) responsible for dynamic traits, functional mapping models the time-dependent mean vector with biologically meaningful equations and are likely to generate biologically relevant and interpretable results. Given the autocorrelation nature of a dynamic trait, functional mapping needs the implementation of the models for the structure of the covariance matrix. In this article, we have provided a comprehensive set of approaches for modelling the covariance structure and incorporated each of these approaches into the framework of functional mapping. The Bayesian information criterion (BIC) values are used as a model selection criterion to choose the optimal combination of the submodels for the mean vector and covariance structure. In an example for leaf age growth from a rice molecular genetic project, the best submodel combination was found between the Gaussian model for the correlation structure, power equation of order 1 for the variance and the power curve for the mean vector. Under this combination, several significant QTLs for leaf age growth trajectories were detected on different chromosomes. Our model can be well used to study the genetic architecture of dynamic traits of agricultural values. PMID:20196894

  7. A meta-analysis of zooplankton functional traits influencing ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Hébert, Marie-Pier; Beisner, Beatrix E; Maranger, Roxane

    2016-04-01

    The use of functional traits to characterize community composition has been proposed as a more effective way to link community structure to ecosystem functioning. Organismal morphology, body stoichiometry, and physiology can be readily linked to large-scale ecosystem processes through functional traits that inform on interspecific and species-environment interactions; yet such effect traits are still poorly included in trait-based approaches. Given their key trophic position in aquatic ecosystems, individual zooplankton affect energy fluxes and elemental processing. We compiled a large database of zooplankton traits contributing to carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling and examined the effect of classification and habitat (marine vs. freshwater) on trait relationships. Respiration and nutrient excretion rates followed mass-dependent scaling in both habitats, with exponents ranging from 0.70 to 0.90. Our analyses revealed surprising differences in allometry and respiration between habitats, with freshwater species having lower length-specific mass and three times higher mass-specific respiration rates. These differences in traits point to implications for ecological strategies as well as overall carbon storage and fluxes based on habitat type. Our synthesis quantifies multiple trait relationships and links organisms to ecosystem processes they influence, enabling a more complete integration of aquatic community ecology and biogeochemistry through the promising use of effect traits. PMID:27220222

  8. A meta-analysis of zooplankton functional traits influencing ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Hébert, Marie-Pier; Beisner, Beatrix E; Maranger, Roxane

    2016-04-01

    The use of functional traits to characterize community composition has been proposed as a more effective way to link community structure to ecosystem functioning. Organismal morphology, body stoichiometry, and physiology can be readily linked to large-scale ecosystem processes through functional traits that inform on interspecific and species-environment interactions; yet such effect traits are still poorly included in trait-based approaches. Given their key trophic position in aquatic ecosystems, individual zooplankton affect energy fluxes and elemental processing. We compiled a large database of zooplankton traits contributing to carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling and examined the effect of classification and habitat (marine vs. freshwater) on trait relationships. Respiration and nutrient excretion rates followed mass-dependent scaling in both habitats, with exponents ranging from 0.70 to 0.90. Our analyses revealed surprising differences in allometry and respiration between habitats, with freshwater species having lower length-specific mass and three times higher mass-specific respiration rates. These differences in traits point to implications for ecological strategies as well as overall carbon storage and fluxes based on habitat type. Our synthesis quantifies multiple trait relationships and links organisms to ecosystem processes they influence, enabling a more complete integration of aquatic community ecology and biogeochemistry through the promising use of effect traits.

  9. Mycorrhizas influence functional traits of two tallgrass prairie species.

    PubMed

    Weremijewicz, Joanna; Seto, Kotaro

    2016-06-01

    Over the past decade, functional traits that influence plant performance and thus, population, community, and ecosystem biology have garnered increasing attention. Generally lacking, however, has been consideration of how ubiquitous arbuscular mycorrhizas influence plant allometric and stoichiometric functional traits. We assessed how plant dependence on and responsiveness to mycorrhizas influence plant functional traits of a warm-season, C4 grass, Andropogon gerardii Vitman, and the contrasting, cool-season, C3 grass, Elymus canadensis L. We grew both host species with and without inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi, across a broad gradient of soil phosphorus availabilities. Both host species were facultatively mycotrophic, able to grow without mycorrhizas at high soil phosphorus availability. A. gerardii was most dependent upon mycorrhizas and E. canadensis was weakly dependent, but highly responsive to mycorrhizas. The high dependence of A. gerardii on mycorrhizas resulted in higher tissue P and N concentrations of inoculated than noninoculated plants. When not inoculated, E. canadensis was able to take up both P and N in similar amounts to inoculated plants because of its weak dependence on mycorrhizas for nutrient uptake and its pronounced ability to change root-to-shoot ratios. Unlike other highly dependent species, A. gerardii had a high root-to-shoot ratio and was able to suppress colonization by mycorrhizal fungi at high soil fertilities. E. canadensis, however, was unable to suppress colonization and had a lower root-to shoot ratio than A. gerardii. The mycorrhiza-related functional traits of both host species likely influence their performance in nature: both species attained the maximum responsiveness from mycorrhizas at soil phosphorus availabilities similar to those of tallgrass prairies. Dependence upon mycorrhizas affects performance in the absence of mycorrhizas. Responsiveness to mycorrhizal fungi is also a function of the environment and

  10. Mycorrhizas influence functional traits of two tallgrass prairie species.

    PubMed

    Weremijewicz, Joanna; Seto, Kotaro

    2016-06-01

    Over the past decade, functional traits that influence plant performance and thus, population, community, and ecosystem biology have garnered increasing attention. Generally lacking, however, has been consideration of how ubiquitous arbuscular mycorrhizas influence plant allometric and stoichiometric functional traits. We assessed how plant dependence on and responsiveness to mycorrhizas influence plant functional traits of a warm-season, C4 grass, Andropogon gerardii Vitman, and the contrasting, cool-season, C3 grass, Elymus canadensis L. We grew both host species with and without inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi, across a broad gradient of soil phosphorus availabilities. Both host species were facultatively mycotrophic, able to grow without mycorrhizas at high soil phosphorus availability. A. gerardii was most dependent upon mycorrhizas and E. canadensis was weakly dependent, but highly responsive to mycorrhizas. The high dependence of A. gerardii on mycorrhizas resulted in higher tissue P and N concentrations of inoculated than noninoculated plants. When not inoculated, E. canadensis was able to take up both P and N in similar amounts to inoculated plants because of its weak dependence on mycorrhizas for nutrient uptake and its pronounced ability to change root-to-shoot ratios. Unlike other highly dependent species, A. gerardii had a high root-to-shoot ratio and was able to suppress colonization by mycorrhizal fungi at high soil fertilities. E. canadensis, however, was unable to suppress colonization and had a lower root-to shoot ratio than A. gerardii. The mycorrhiza-related functional traits of both host species likely influence their performance in nature: both species attained the maximum responsiveness from mycorrhizas at soil phosphorus availabilities similar to those of tallgrass prairies. Dependence upon mycorrhizas affects performance in the absence of mycorrhizas. Responsiveness to mycorrhizal fungi is also a function of the environment and

  11. Phenotypic plasticity to light and nutrient availability alters functional trait ranking across eight perennial grassland species

    PubMed Central

    Siebenkäs, Alrun; Schumacher, Jens; Roscher, Christiane

    2015-01-01

    Functional traits are often used as species-specific mean trait values in comparative plant ecology or trait-based predictions of ecosystem processes, assuming that interspecific differences are greater than intraspecific trait variation and that trait-based ranking of species is consistent across environments. Although this assumption is increasingly challenged, there is a lack of knowledge regarding to what degree the extent of intraspecific trait variation in response to varying environmental conditions depends on the considered traits and the characteristics of the studied species to evaluate the consequences for trait-based species ranking. We studied functional traits of eight perennial grassland species classified into different functional groups (forbs vs. grasses) and varying in their inherent growth stature (tall vs. small) in a common garden experiment with different environments crossing three levels of nutrient availability and three levels of light availability over 4 months of treatment applications. Grasses and forbs differed in almost all above- and belowground traits, while trait differences related to growth stature were generally small. The traits showing the strongest responses to resource availability were similarly for grasses and forbs those associated with allocation and resource uptake. The strength of trait variation in response to varying resource availability differed among functional groups (grasses > forbs) and species of varying growth stature (small-statured > tall-statured species) in many aboveground traits, but only to a lower extent in belowground traits. These differential responses altered trait-based species ranking in many aboveground traits, such as specific leaf area, tissue nitrogen and carbon concentrations and above-belowground allocation (leaf area ratio and root : shoot ratio) at varying resource supply, while trait-based species ranking was more consistent in belowground traits. Our study shows that species grouping

  12. Functional Linear Models for Association Analysis of Quantitative Traits

    PubMed Central

    Fan, Ruzong; Wang, Yifan; Mills, James L.; Wilson, Alexander F.; Bailey-Wilson, Joan E.; Xiong, Momiao

    2014-01-01

    Functional linear models are developed in this paper for testing associations between quantitative traits and genetic variants, which can be rare variants or common variants or the combination of the two. By treating multiple genetic variants of an individual in a human population as a realization of a stochastic process, the genome of an individual in a chromosome region is a continuum of sequence data rather than discrete observations. The genome of an individual is viewed as a stochastic function that contains both linkage and linkage disequilibrium (LD) information of the genetic markers. By using techniques of functional data analysis, both fixed and mixed effect functional linear models are built to test the association between quantitative traits and genetic variants adjusting for covariates. After extensive simulation analysis, it is shown that the F-distributed tests of the proposed fixed effect functional linear models have higher power than that of sequence kernel association test (SKAT) and its optimal unified test (SKAT-O) for three scenarios in most cases: (1) the causal variants are all rare, (2) the causal variants are both rare and common, and (3) the causal variants are common. The superior performance of the fixed effect functional linear models is most likely due to its optimal utilization of both genetic linkage and LD information of multiple genetic variants in a genome and similarity among different individuals, while SKAT and SKAT-O only model the similarities and pairwise LD but do not model linkage and higher order LD information sufficiently. In addition, the proposed fixed effect models generate accurate type I error rates in simulation studies. We also show that the functional kernel score tests of the proposed mixed effect functional linear models are preferable in candidate gene analysis and small sample problems. The methods are applied to analyze three biochemical traits in data from the Trinity Students Study. PMID:24130119

  13. Functional linear models for association analysis of quantitative traits.

    PubMed

    Fan, Ruzong; Wang, Yifan; Mills, James L; Wilson, Alexander F; Bailey-Wilson, Joan E; Xiong, Momiao

    2013-11-01

    Functional linear models are developed in this paper for testing associations between quantitative traits and genetic variants, which can be rare variants or common variants or the combination of the two. By treating multiple genetic variants of an individual in a human population as a realization of a stochastic process, the genome of an individual in a chromosome region is a continuum of sequence data rather than discrete observations. The genome of an individual is viewed as a stochastic function that contains both linkage and linkage disequilibrium (LD) information of the genetic markers. By using techniques of functional data analysis, both fixed and mixed effect functional linear models are built to test the association between quantitative traits and genetic variants adjusting for covariates. After extensive simulation analysis, it is shown that the F-distributed tests of the proposed fixed effect functional linear models have higher power than that of sequence kernel association test (SKAT) and its optimal unified test (SKAT-O) for three scenarios in most cases: (1) the causal variants are all rare, (2) the causal variants are both rare and common, and (3) the causal variants are common. The superior performance of the fixed effect functional linear models is most likely due to its optimal utilization of both genetic linkage and LD information of multiple genetic variants in a genome and similarity among different individuals, while SKAT and SKAT-O only model the similarities and pairwise LD but do not model linkage and higher order LD information sufficiently. In addition, the proposed fixed effect models generate accurate type I error rates in simulation studies. We also show that the functional kernel score tests of the proposed mixed effect functional linear models are preferable in candidate gene analysis and small sample problems. The methods are applied to analyze three biochemical traits in data from the Trinity Students Study.

  14. Functional associations of floret and inflorescence traits among grass species.

    PubMed

    Friedman, Jannice; Harder, Lawrence D

    2005-11-01

    The aerodynamics of wind pollination selects for an intimate relation between form and function in anemophilous plants. Inflorescence architecture and floral morphology vary extensively within the Poaceae, but the functional implication of this variation remains largely unknown. Here we quantify associations between floret, culm, and inflorescence characteristics for 25 grass species in Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada, and consider whether different architectures may implement unique mechanisms to aid pollination. The species cluster into four categories defined by all combinations of floret size (small vs. large) and inflorescence architecture (compact vs. diffuse). Species differed significantly for all 18 traits that we measured, with 12 traits differing only between floret-size classes, three differing only between inflorescence types, and three differing among both (independently or by an interaction). Based on these morphological associations, we discuss the aerodynamic and functional consequences of each category for wind pollination. The independence of inflorescence and floral traits has probably allowed exploration of all possible combinations of inflorescence architecture and floret size during the evolution of the Poaceae. PMID:21646103

  15. Advances in remote sensing of vegetation function and traits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Houborg, Rasmus; Fisher, Joshua B.; Skidmore, Andrew K.

    2015-12-01

    Remote sensing of vegetation function and traits has advanced significantly over the past half-century in the capacity to retrieve useful plant biochemical, physiological and structural quantities across a range of spatial and temporal scales. However, the translation of remote sensing signals into meaningful descriptors of vegetation function and traits is still associated with large uncertainties due to complex interactions between leaf, canopy, and atmospheric mediums, and significant challenges in the treatment of confounding factors in spectrum-trait relations. This editorial provides (1) a background on major advances in the remote sensing of vegetation, (2) a detailed timeline and description of relevant historical and planned satellite missions, and (3) an outline of remaining challenges, upcoming opportunities and key research objectives to be tackled. The introduction sets the stage for thirteen Special Issue papers here that focus on novel approaches for exploiting current and future advancements in remote sensor technologies. The described enhancements in spectral, spatial and temporal resolution and radiometric performance provide exciting opportunities to significantly advance the ability to accurately monitor and model the state and function of vegetation canopies at multiple scales on a timely basis.

  16. Functional trait responses to grazing are mediated by soil moisture and plant functional group identity.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Shuxia; Li, Wenhuai; Lan, Zhichun; Ren, Haiyan; Wang, Kaibo

    2015-12-11

    Abundant evidence has shown that grazing alters plant functional traits, community structure and ecosystem functioning of grasslands. Few studies, however, have tested how plant responses to grazing are mediated by resource availability and plant functional group identity. We examined the effects of grazing on functional traits across a broad range of species along a soil moisture gradient in Inner Mongolia grassland. Our results showed that trait syndromes of plant size (individual biomass) and shoot growth (leaf N content and leaf density) distinguished plant species responses to grazing. The effects of grazing on functional traits were mediated by soil moisture and dependent on functional group identity. For most species, grazing decreased plant height but increased leaf N and specific leaf area (SLA) along the moisture gradient. Grazing enhanced the community-weighted attributes (leaf NCWM and SLACWM), which were triggered mainly by the positive trait responses of annuals and biennials and perennial grasses, and increased relative abundance of perennial forbs. Our results suggest that grazing-induced species turnover and increased intraspecific trait variability are two drivers for the observed changes in community weighted attributes. The dominant perennial bunchgrasses exhibited mixed tolerance-resistance strategies to grazing and mixed acquisitive-conservative strategies in resource utilization.

  17. Functional trait responses to grazing are mediated by soil moisture and plant functional group identity.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Shuxia; Li, Wenhuai; Lan, Zhichun; Ren, Haiyan; Wang, Kaibo

    2015-01-01

    Abundant evidence has shown that grazing alters plant functional traits, community structure and ecosystem functioning of grasslands. Few studies, however, have tested how plant responses to grazing are mediated by resource availability and plant functional group identity. We examined the effects of grazing on functional traits across a broad range of species along a soil moisture gradient in Inner Mongolia grassland. Our results showed that trait syndromes of plant size (individual biomass) and shoot growth (leaf N content and leaf density) distinguished plant species responses to grazing. The effects of grazing on functional traits were mediated by soil moisture and dependent on functional group identity. For most species, grazing decreased plant height but increased leaf N and specific leaf area (SLA) along the moisture gradient. Grazing enhanced the community-weighted attributes (leaf NCWM and SLACWM), which were triggered mainly by the positive trait responses of annuals and biennials and perennial grasses, and increased relative abundance of perennial forbs. Our results suggest that grazing-induced species turnover and increased intraspecific trait variability are two drivers for the observed changes in community weighted attributes. The dominant perennial bunchgrasses exhibited mixed tolerance-resistance strategies to grazing and mixed acquisitive-conservative strategies in resource utilization. PMID:26655858

  18. Functional trait responses to grazing are mediated by soil moisture and plant functional group identity

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Shuxia; Li, Wenhuai; Lan, Zhichun; Ren, Haiyan; Wang, Kaibo

    2015-01-01

    Abundant evidence has shown that grazing alters plant functional traits, community structure and ecosystem functioning of grasslands. Few studies, however, have tested how plant responses to grazing are mediated by resource availability and plant functional group identity. We examined the effects of grazing on functional traits across a broad range of species along a soil moisture gradient in Inner Mongolia grassland. Our results showed that trait syndromes of plant size (individual biomass) and shoot growth (leaf N content and leaf density) distinguished plant species responses to grazing. The effects of grazing on functional traits were mediated by soil moisture and dependent on functional group identity. For most species, grazing decreased plant height but increased leaf N and specific leaf area (SLA) along the moisture gradient. Grazing enhanced the community-weighted attributes (leaf NCWM and SLACWM), which were triggered mainly by the positive trait responses of annuals and biennials and perennial grasses, and increased relative abundance of perennial forbs. Our results suggest that grazing-induced species turnover and increased intraspecific trait variability are two drivers for the observed changes in community weighted attributes. The dominant perennial bunchgrasses exhibited mixed tolerance–resistance strategies to grazing and mixed acquisitive–conservative strategies in resource utilization. PMID:26655858

  19. Assessment of the impact of somatic cell count on functional longevity in Holstein and Jersey cattle using survival analysis methodology.

    PubMed

    Caraviello, D Z; Weigel, K A; Shook, G E; Ruegg, P L

    2005-02-01

    Survival analysis in a Weibull proportional hazards model was used to evaluate the impact of somatic cell count (SCC) on the involuntary culling rate of US Holstein and Jersey cows with first calvings from 1990 to 2000. The full data set, consisting of records from 978,043 Holstein and 250,835 Jersey cows, was divided into subsets (5 for Holsteins and 3 for Jerseys) based on herd average lactation SCC values. Functional longevity (also known as herd life or length of productive life) was defined as days from first calving until culling or censoring, after correcting for milk production. Our model included the time-dependent effects of herd-year-season, parity by stage of lactation interaction, within-herd-year quintile ranking for mature equivalent production, and lactation average SCC (rounded to the nearest 50,000 cells/mL), as well as the time-independent effect of age at first calving. Parameters of the Weibull distribution, as well as variance components for herd-year-season effects, were estimated within each group of herds. Mean failure and censoring times decreased as herd average SCC increased, and a nonlinear relationship was observed between SCC and longevity in all groups. The risk of culling for Holstein cows with lactation average SCC > 700,000 cells/mL was 3.4, 2.7, or 2.3 times greater, respectively, than that of Holstein cows with SCC of 200,000 to 250,000 cells/mL in herds with low, medium, or high average SCC. Likewise, the risk of culling for Jersey cows with lactation average SCC > 700,000 cells/mL was 4.0, 2.9, or 2.2 times greater, respectively, than that of Jersey cows with SCC of 200,000 to 250,000 cells/mL in low, medium, or high SCC herds. These trends may reflect more stringent culling of high SCC cows in herds with few mastitis problems. In addition, cows with lactation average SCC <100,000 cells/mL had a slightly higher risk of culling than cows with SCC of 100,000 to 200,000 cells/mL in both breeds, particularly in herds with high

  20. Hunting alters seedling functional trait composition in a Neotropical forest.

    PubMed

    Kurten, Erin L; Wright, S Joseph; Carson, Walter P

    2015-07-01

    Defaunation alters trophic interactions between plants and vertebrates, whichmay disrupt trophic cascades, thereby favoring a subset of plant species and reducing diversity. If particular functional traits characterize the favored plant species,.then defaunation may alter community-wide patterns of functional trait composition. Changes in plant functional traits occurring with defaunation may help identify the species interactions affected by defaunation and the potential for other cascading effects of defaunation. We tested the hypotheses that defaunation would (1) disrupt seed dispersal, thereby favoring species whose dispersal agents are not affected (e.g., small birds, bats, and abiotic agents), (2) reduce seed predation, thereby favoring larger-seeded species, and (3) reduce herbivory, thereby favoring species with lower leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf toughness, and wood density. We examined how these six traits responded to vertebrate defaunation caused by hunters or by experimental exclosures among more than-30 000 woody seedlings in a lowland tropical moist forest. Exclosures reduced terrestrial frugivores, granivores, and herbivores, while hunters also reduced volant and arboreal frugivores and granivores. The comparison of exclosures and hunting allowed us to parse the impacts of arboreal and volant species (reduced by hunters only) and terrestrial species (reduced by both hunters and exclosures). The loss of terrestrial vertebrates alone had limited effects on plant trait composition. The additional loss of volant and arboreal vertebrates caused significant shifts in plant species composition towards communities with more species dispersed abiotically, including lianas and low wood-density tree species, and fewer species dispersed by large vertebrates. In contrast to previous studies, community seed mass did not decline significantly in hunted sites. Our exclosure results suggest this is because reducing seed predators disproportionately benefits large

  1. Multivariate identification of plant functional response and effect traits in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Pakeman, Robin J

    2011-06-01

    Plant functional traits have been proposed as a linkage between the environmental control of vegetation and ecosystem function. Identification of traits that mediate the response of plant species to the environment is well established, but the identification of effect traits and the linkage between the two sets is less developed. This was attempted for a study of eight contrasting land uses in a marginal agricultural landscape where data on vegetation, management controls of the disturbance regime, and soil characteristics, including nitrogen release, were measured simultaneously with measures of ecosystem function such as litter decomposition rates and primary productivity on 30 sites. Trait data were assembled from databases, and an iterative multivariate approach using the three table (species, trait, environment) method RLQ was employed to identify a parsimonious set of traits that predict plant species responses to the environment and a parsimonious set of traits that link vegetation to ecosystem function. The lists of response and effect traits were similar, and where differences were observed, traits were usually highly correlated with at least one trait in the other list. This approach identified a small number of traits (canopy height, leaf dry matter content, leaf size, and specific leaf area) that provide a means of linking vegetation responses to environmental change with changes in ecosystem function. Other response traits included vegetative spread strategy, start of flowering, and seed terminal velocity, but within the system studied these traits were all significantly correlated to the traits shared between the response and effect lists.

  2. Floral trait variation and integration as a function of sexual deception in Gorteria diffusa

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, Allan G.; Brockington, Samuel F.; de Jager, Marinus L.; Mellers, Gregory; Walker, Rachel H.; Glover, Beverley J.

    2014-01-01

    Phenotypic integration, the coordinated covariance of suites of morphological traits, is critical for proper functioning of organisms. Angiosperm flowers are complex structures comprising suites of traits that function together to achieve effective pollen transfer. Floral integration could reflect shared genetic and developmental control of these traits, or could arise through pollinator-imposed stabilizing correlational selection on traits. We sought to expose mechanisms underlying floral trait integration in the sexually deceptive daisy, Gorteria diffusa, by testing the hypothesis that stabilizing selection imposed by male pollinators on floral traits involved in mimicry has resulted in tighter integration. To do this, we quantified patterns of floral trait variance and covariance in morphologically divergent G. diffusa floral forms representing a continuum in the levels of sexual deception. We show that integration of traits functioning in visual attraction of male pollinators increases with pollinator deception, and is stronger than integration of non-mimicry trait modules. Consistent patterns of within-population trait variance and covariance across floral forms suggest that integration has not been built by stabilizing correlational selection on genetically independent traits. Instead pollinator specialization has selected for tightened integration within modules of linked traits. Despite potentially strong constraint on morphological evolution imposed by developmental genetic linkages between traits, we demonstrate substantial divergence in traits across G. diffusa floral forms and show that divergence has often occurred without altering within-population patterns of trait correlations. PMID:25002705

  3. Floral trait variation and integration as a function of sexual deception in Gorteria diffusa.

    PubMed

    Ellis, Allan G; Brockington, Samuel F; de Jager, Marinus L; Mellers, Gregory; Walker, Rachel H; Glover, Beverley J

    2014-08-19

    Phenotypic integration, the coordinated covariance of suites of morphological traits, is critical for proper functioning of organisms. Angiosperm flowers are complex structures comprising suites of traits that function together to achieve effective pollen transfer. Floral integration could reflect shared genetic and developmental control of these traits, or could arise through pollinator-imposed stabilizing correlational selection on traits. We sought to expose mechanisms underlying floral trait integration in the sexually deceptive daisy, Gorteria diffusa, by testing the hypothesis that stabilizing selection imposed by male pollinators on floral traits involved in mimicry has resulted in tighter integration. To do this, we quantified patterns of floral trait variance and covariance in morphologically divergent G. diffusa floral forms representing a continuum in the levels of sexual deception. We show that integration of traits functioning in visual attraction of male pollinators increases with pollinator deception, and is stronger than integration of non-mimicry trait modules. Consistent patterns of within-population trait variance and covariance across floral forms suggest that integration has not been built by stabilizing correlational selection on genetically independent traits. Instead pollinator specialization has selected for tightened integration within modules of linked traits. Despite potentially strong constraint on morphological evolution imposed by developmental genetic linkages between traits, we demonstrate substantial divergence in traits across G. diffusa floral forms and show that divergence has often occurred without altering within-population patterns of trait correlations.

  4. Individual Cell Longevity, 'Life's Timekeeper', and Metazoan Evolution.

    PubMed

    Neill, David

    2016-01-01

    It is proposed that a primary and fundamental aspect of metazoan evolution is an ability to control and extend the longevity of individual cells. This was achieved through an intracellular oscillator, dubbed 'Life's Timekeeper', which evolved in the hypothetical ancestor of all metazoans. Slower oscillatory frequencies directed metazoan evolution towards extended longevity of individual cells, enabling generation of many specialised types of terminally differentiated cells. As the longevity of these cells was still relatively short in more primitive metazoans, stem cells, capable of differentiating into all specialised cell types, were retained in order to replace senescent cells. With increasing cell longevity, continual replacement of all senescent cells was no longer necessary. Cells such as neurons could be sustained throughout life, enabling the evolution of brains, hence, complex behaviour and intelligence. In multicellular metazoans the oscillator remains synchronised across all cells. It coordinates the timing of all cell-cell signalling systems, hence controls the timing of development and aging/senescence. In advanced metazoans, where senescent cells are not continually replaced, it controls lifespan. With regards to morphological evolution the oscillator, through alterations to developmental timing, controls change in size and shape. With regards to life history theory it functions as the key variable mediating the correlation between life history traits. This theory is compatible with a prominent role for environmental selection but, as it implicates some degree of internal mediation and direction, it is not entirely compatible with the 'modern synthesis' view of natural selection. PMID:26777340

  5. A role for seed storage proteins in Arabidopsis seed longevity.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Thu-Phuong; Cueff, Gwendal; Hegedus, Dwayne D; Rajjou, Loïc; Bentsink, Leónie

    2015-10-01

    Proteomics approaches have been a useful tool for determining the biological roles and functions of individual proteins and identifying the molecular mechanisms that govern seed germination, vigour and viability in response to ageing. In this work the dry seed proteome of four Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes, that carry introgression fragments at the position of seed longevity quantitative trait loci and as a result display different levels of seed longevity, was investigated. Seeds at two physiological states, after-ripened seeds that had the full germination ability and aged (stored) seeds of which the germination ability was severely reduced, were compared. Aged dry seed proteomes were markedly different from the after-ripened and reflected the seed longevity level of the four genotypes, despite the fact that dry seeds are metabolically quiescent. Results confirmed the role of antioxidant systems, notably vitamin E, and indicated that protection and maintenance of the translation machinery and energy pathways are essential for seed longevity. Moreover, a new role for seed storage proteins (SSPs) was identified in dry seeds during ageing. Cruciferins (CRUs) are the most abundant SSPs in Arabidopsis and seeds of a triple mutant for three CRU isoforms (crua crub cruc) were more sensitive to artificial ageing and their seed proteins were highly oxidized compared with wild-type seeds. These results confirm that oxidation is involved in seed deterioration and that SSPs buffer the seed from oxidative stress, thus protecting important proteins required for seed germination and seedling formation.

  6. Do key dimensions of seed and seedling functional trait variation capture variation in recruitment probability?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    1. Plant functional traits provide a mechanistic basis for understanding ecological variation among plant species and the implications of this variation for species distribution, community assembly and restoration. 2. The bulk of our functional trait understanding, however, is centered on traits rel...

  7. Shortened Intervals during Heterologous Boosting Preserve Memory CD8 T Cell Function but Compromise Longevity.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Emily A; Beura, Lalit K; Nelson, Christine E; Anderson, Kristin G; Vezys, Vaiva

    2016-04-01

    Developing vaccine strategies to generate high numbers of Ag-specific CD8 T cells may be necessary for protection against recalcitrant pathogens. Heterologous prime-boost-boost immunization has been shown to result in large quantities of functional memory CD8 T cells with protective capacities and long-term stability. Completing the serial immunization steps for heterologous prime-boost-boost can be lengthy, leaving the host vulnerable for an extensive period of time during the vaccination process. We show in this study that shortening the intervals between boosting events to 2 wk results in high numbers of functional and protective Ag-specific CD8 T cells. This protection is comparable to that achieved with long-term boosting intervals. Short-boosted Ag-specific CD8 T cells display a canonical memory T cell signature associated with long-lived memory and have identical proliferative potential to long-boosted T cells Both populations robustly respond to antigenic re-exposure. Despite this, short-boosted Ag-specific CD8 T cells continue to contract gradually over time, which correlates to metabolic differences between short- and long-boosted CD8 T cells at early memory time points. Our studies indicate that shortening the interval between boosts can yield abundant, functional Ag-specific CD8 T cells that are poised for immediate protection; however, this is at the expense of forming stable long-term memory. PMID:26903479

  8. Association analysis of insulin-like growth factor-1 axis parameters with survival and functional status in nonagenarians of the Leiden Longevity Study

    PubMed Central

    Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J.; Slagboom, P. Eline; Beekman, Marian; de Craen, Anton J.M.; Westendorp, Rudi G.J.; van Heemst, Diana

    2015-01-01

    Reduced insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling has been associated with longevity in various model organisms. However, the role of insulin/IGF-1 signaling in human survival remains controversial. The aim of this study was to test whether circulating IGF-1 axis parameters associate with old age survival and functional status in nonagenarians from the Leiden Longevity Study. This study examined 858 Dutch nonagenarian (males≥89 years; females≥91 years) siblings from 409 families, without selection on health or demographic characteristics. Nonagenarians were divided over sex-specific strata according to their levels of IGF-1, IGF binding protein 3 and IGF-1/IGFBP3 molar ratio. We found that lower IGF-1/IGFBP3 ratios were associated with improved survival: nonagenarians in the quartile of the lowest ratio had a lower estimated hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) of 0.73 (0.59 – 0.91) compared to the quartile with the highest ratio (ptrend=0.002). Functional status was assessed by (Instrumental) Activities of Daily Living ((I)ADL) scales. Compared to those in the quartile with the highest IGF-1/IGFBP3 ratio, nonagenarians in the lowest quartile had higher scores for ADL (ptrend=0.001) and IADL (ptrend=0.003). These findings suggest that IGF-1 axis parameters are associated with increased old age survival and better functional status in nonagenarians from the Leiden Longevity Study. PMID:26568155

  9. Linking Tropical Forest Function to Hydraulic Traits in a Size-Structured and Trait-Based Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, B. O.; Gloor, M.; Fauset, S.; Fyllas, N.; Galbraith, D.; Baker, T. R.; Rowland, L.; Fisher, R.; Binks, O.; Sevanto, S.; Xu, C.; Jansen, S.; Choat, B.; Mencuccini, M.; McDowell, N. G.; Meir, P.

    2015-12-01

    A major weakness of forest ecosystem models is their inability to capture the diversity of responses to changes in water availability, severely hampering efforts to predict the fate of tropical forests under climate change. Such models often prescribe moisture sensitivity using heuristic response functions that are uniform across all individuals and lack important knowledge about trade-offs in hydraulic traits. We address this weakness by implementing a process representation of plant hydraulics into an individual- and trait-based model (Trait Forest Simulator; TFS) intended for application at discrete sites where community-level distributions of stem and leaf trait spectra (wood density, leaf mass per area, leaf nitrogen and phosphorus content) are known. The model represents a trade-off in the safety and efficiency of water conduction in xylem tissue through hydraulic traits, while accounting for the counteracting effects of increasing hydraulic path length and xylem conduit taper on whole-plant hydraulic resistance with increasing tree size. Using existing trait databases and additional meta-analyses from the rich literature on tropical tree ecophysiology, we obtained all necessary hydraulic parameters associated with xylem conductivity, vulnerability curves, pressure-volume curves, and hydraulic architecture (e.g., leaf-to-sapwood area ratios) as a function of the aforementioned traits and tree size. Incorporating these relationships in the model greatly improved the diversity of tree response to seasonal changes in water availability as well as in response to drought, as determined by comparison with field observations and experiments. Importantly, this individual- and trait-based framework provides a testbed for identifying both critical processes and functional traits needed for inclusion in coarse-scale Dynamic Global Vegetation Models, which will lead to reduced uncertainty in the future state of tropical forests.

  10. Scaling up functional traits for ecosystem services with remote sensing: concepts and methods.

    PubMed

    Abelleira Martínez, Oscar J; Fremier, Alexander K; Günter, Sven; Ramos Bendaña, Zayra; Vierling, Lee; Galbraith, Sara M; Bosque-Pérez, Nilsa A; Ordoñez, Jenny C

    2016-07-01

    Ecosystem service-based management requires an accurate understanding of how human modification influences ecosystem processes and these relationships are most accurate when based on functional traits. Although trait variation is typically sampled at local scales, remote sensing methods can facilitate scaling up trait variation to regional scales needed for ecosystem service management. We review concepts and methods for scaling up plant and animal functional traits from local to regional spatial scales with the goal of assessing impacts of human modification on ecosystem processes and services. We focus our objectives on considerations and approaches for (1) conducting local plot-level sampling of trait variation and (2) scaling up trait variation to regional spatial scales using remotely sensed data. We show that sampling methods for scaling up traits need to account for the modification of trait variation due to land cover change and species introductions. Sampling intraspecific variation, stratification by land cover type or landscape context, or inference of traits from published sources may be necessary depending on the traits of interest. Passive and active remote sensing are useful for mapping plant phenological, chemical, and structural traits. Combining these methods can significantly improve their capacity for mapping plant trait variation. These methods can also be used to map landscape and vegetation structure in order to infer animal trait variation. Due to high context dependency, relationships between trait variation and remotely sensed data are not directly transferable across regions. We end our review with a brief synthesis of issues to consider and outlook for the development of these approaches. Research that relates typical functional trait metrics, such as the community-weighted mean, with remote sensing data and that relates variation in traits that cannot be remotely sensed to other proxies is needed. Our review narrows the gap between

  11. Scaling up functional traits for ecosystem services with remote sensing: concepts and methods.

    PubMed

    Abelleira Martínez, Oscar J; Fremier, Alexander K; Günter, Sven; Ramos Bendaña, Zayra; Vierling, Lee; Galbraith, Sara M; Bosque-Pérez, Nilsa A; Ordoñez, Jenny C

    2016-07-01

    Ecosystem service-based management requires an accurate understanding of how human modification influences ecosystem processes and these relationships are most accurate when based on functional traits. Although trait variation is typically sampled at local scales, remote sensing methods can facilitate scaling up trait variation to regional scales needed for ecosystem service management. We review concepts and methods for scaling up plant and animal functional traits from local to regional spatial scales with the goal of assessing impacts of human modification on ecosystem processes and services. We focus our objectives on considerations and approaches for (1) conducting local plot-level sampling of trait variation and (2) scaling up trait variation to regional spatial scales using remotely sensed data. We show that sampling methods for scaling up traits need to account for the modification of trait variation due to land cover change and species introductions. Sampling intraspecific variation, stratification by land cover type or landscape context, or inference of traits from published sources may be necessary depending on the traits of interest. Passive and active remote sensing are useful for mapping plant phenological, chemical, and structural traits. Combining these methods can significantly improve their capacity for mapping plant trait variation. These methods can also be used to map landscape and vegetation structure in order to infer animal trait variation. Due to high context dependency, relationships between trait variation and remotely sensed data are not directly transferable across regions. We end our review with a brief synthesis of issues to consider and outlook for the development of these approaches. Research that relates typical functional trait metrics, such as the community-weighted mean, with remote sensing data and that relates variation in traits that cannot be remotely sensed to other proxies is needed. Our review narrows the gap between

  12. The meaning of functional trait composition of food webs for ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Albouy, Camille; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-05-19

    There is a growing interest in using trait-based approaches to characterize the functional structure of animal communities. Quantitative methods have been derived mostly for plant ecology, but it is now common to characterize the functional composition of various systems such as soils, coral reefs, pelagic food webs or terrestrial vertebrate communities. With the ever-increasing availability of distribution and trait data, a quantitative method to represent the different roles of animals in a community promise to find generalities that will facilitate cross-system comparisons. There is, however, currently no theory relating the functional composition of food webs to their dynamics and properties. The intuitive interpretation that more functional diversity leads to higher resource exploitation and better ecosystem functioning was brought from plant ecology and does not apply readily to food webs. Here we appraise whether there are interpretable metrics to describe the functional composition of food webs that could foster a better understanding of their structure and functioning. We first distinguish the various roles that traits have on food web topology, resource extraction (bottom-up effects), trophic regulation (top-down effects), and the ability to keep energy and materials within the community. We then discuss positive effects of functional trait diversity on food webs, such as niche construction and bottom-up effects. We follow with a discussion on the negative effects of functional diversity, such as enhanced competition (both exploitation and apparent) and top-down control. Our review reveals that most of our current understanding of the impact of functional trait diversity on food web properties and functioning comes from an over-simplistic representation of network structure with well-defined levels. We, therefore, conclude with propositions for new research avenues for both theoreticians and empiricists. PMID:27114571

  13. The meaning of functional trait composition of food webs for ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Albouy, Camille; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-05-19

    There is a growing interest in using trait-based approaches to characterize the functional structure of animal communities. Quantitative methods have been derived mostly for plant ecology, but it is now common to characterize the functional composition of various systems such as soils, coral reefs, pelagic food webs or terrestrial vertebrate communities. With the ever-increasing availability of distribution and trait data, a quantitative method to represent the different roles of animals in a community promise to find generalities that will facilitate cross-system comparisons. There is, however, currently no theory relating the functional composition of food webs to their dynamics and properties. The intuitive interpretation that more functional diversity leads to higher resource exploitation and better ecosystem functioning was brought from plant ecology and does not apply readily to food webs. Here we appraise whether there are interpretable metrics to describe the functional composition of food webs that could foster a better understanding of their structure and functioning. We first distinguish the various roles that traits have on food web topology, resource extraction (bottom-up effects), trophic regulation (top-down effects), and the ability to keep energy and materials within the community. We then discuss positive effects of functional trait diversity on food webs, such as niche construction and bottom-up effects. We follow with a discussion on the negative effects of functional diversity, such as enhanced competition (both exploitation and apparent) and top-down control. Our review reveals that most of our current understanding of the impact of functional trait diversity on food web properties and functioning comes from an over-simplistic representation of network structure with well-defined levels. We, therefore, conclude with propositions for new research avenues for both theoreticians and empiricists.

  14. Trait Rumination, Depression, and Executive Functions in Early Adolescence

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Clara A.; Alloy, Lauren B.; Abramson, Lyn Y.

    2014-01-01

    Although deficits in executive functions have been linked with both depression and rumination in adulthood, the nature of the relationship between these constructs is not well understood and remains understudied in adolescence. The present study examined the relationship of rumination and depression to deficits in executive functions in early adolescence, a critical developmental period for the emergence of depression and rumination and the development of executive functions. Participants were 486 early adolescents (52.7% female; 47.1% African American, 48.8% Caucasian; 4.2% Biracial/Multiracial/Other; M age = 12.88 years; SD = .62) and their mothers, recruited through local schools. Measures included (a) a semi-structured diagnostic interview of the mother and adolescent, (b) youth self-report forms assessing depressive symptoms and trait rumination, (c) mother-report forms assessing demographic information, and (d) behavioral tests of executive function (sustained, selective and divided attention, attentional set shifting, and working memory). Gender moderated rumination-set shifting associations, such that rumination predicted better set shifting in boys only. The current level of depressive symptoms moderated rumination-sustained attention associations, such that rumination predicted better sustained attention in those with low levels of depressive symptoms and worse sustained attention in those with high levels of depressive symptoms. Rumination did not predict performance on other measures of executive functions. Likewise, depressive symptoms and diagnosis were not associated with executive functions. Implications for future research are discussed. PMID:24839132

  15. Sugarcane Functional Genomics: Gene Discovery for Agronomic Trait Development

    PubMed Central

    Menossi, M.; Silva-Filho, M. C.; Vincentz, M.; Van-Sluys, M.-A.; Souza, G. M.

    2008-01-01

    Sugarcane is a highly productive crop used for centuries as the main source of sugar and recently to produce ethanol, a renewable bio-fuel energy source. There is increased interest in this crop due to the impending need to decrease fossil fuel usage. Sugarcane has a highly polyploid genome. Expressed sequence tag (EST) sequencing has significantly contributed to gene discovery and expression studies used to associate function with sugarcane genes. A significant amount of data exists on regulatory events controlling responses to herbivory, drought, and phosphate deficiency, which cause important constraints on yield and on endophytic bacteria, which are highly beneficial. The means to reduce drought, phosphate deficiency, and herbivory by the sugarcane borer have a negative impact on the environment. Improved tolerance for these constraints is being sought. Sugarcane's ability to accumulate sucrose up to 16% of its culm dry weight is a challenge for genetic manipulation. Genome-based technology such as cDNA microarray data indicates genes associated with sugar content that may be used to develop new varieties improved for sucrose content or for traits that restrict the expansion of the cultivated land. The genes can also be used as molecular markers of agronomic traits in traditional breeding programs. PMID:18273390

  16. Functional Traits in Parallel Evolutionary Radiations and Trait-Environment Associations in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Nora; Moore, Timothy E; Mollmann, Hayley Kilroy; Carlson, Jane E; Mocko, Kerri; Martinez-Cabrera, Hugo; Adams, Christopher; Silander, John A; Jones, Cynthia S; Schlichting, Carl D; Holsinger, Kent E

    2015-04-01

    Evolutionary radiations with extreme levels of diversity present a unique opportunity to study the role of the environment in plant evolution. If environmental adaptation played an important role in such radiations, we expect to find associations between functional traits and key climatic variables. Similar trait-environment associations across clades may reflect common responses, while contradictory associations may suggest lineage-specific adaptations. Here, we explore trait-environment relationships in two evolutionary radiations in the fynbos biome of the highly biodiverse Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of South Africa. Protea and Pelargonium are morphologically and evolutionarily diverse genera that typify the CFR yet are substantially different in growth form and morphology. Our analytical approach employs a Bayesian multiple-response generalized linear mixed-effects model, taking into account covariation among traits and controlling for phylogenetic relationships. Of the pairwise trait-environment associations tested, 6 out of 24 were in the same direction and 2 out of 24 were in opposite directions, with the latter apparently reflecting alternative life-history strategies. These findings demonstrate that trait diversity within two plant lineages may reflect both parallel and idiosyncratic responses to the environment, rather than all taxa conforming to a global-scale pattern. Such insights are essential for understanding how trait-environment associations arise and how they influence species diversification.

  17. Functional Traits in Parallel Evolutionary Radiations and Trait-Environment Associations in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Nora; Moore, Timothy E; Mollmann, Hayley Kilroy; Carlson, Jane E; Mocko, Kerri; Martinez-Cabrera, Hugo; Adams, Christopher; Silander, John A; Jones, Cynthia S; Schlichting, Carl D; Holsinger, Kent E

    2015-04-01

    Evolutionary radiations with extreme levels of diversity present a unique opportunity to study the role of the environment in plant evolution. If environmental adaptation played an important role in such radiations, we expect to find associations between functional traits and key climatic variables. Similar trait-environment associations across clades may reflect common responses, while contradictory associations may suggest lineage-specific adaptations. Here, we explore trait-environment relationships in two evolutionary radiations in the fynbos biome of the highly biodiverse Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of South Africa. Protea and Pelargonium are morphologically and evolutionarily diverse genera that typify the CFR yet are substantially different in growth form and morphology. Our analytical approach employs a Bayesian multiple-response generalized linear mixed-effects model, taking into account covariation among traits and controlling for phylogenetic relationships. Of the pairwise trait-environment associations tested, 6 out of 24 were in the same direction and 2 out of 24 were in opposite directions, with the latter apparently reflecting alternative life-history strategies. These findings demonstrate that trait diversity within two plant lineages may reflect both parallel and idiosyncratic responses to the environment, rather than all taxa conforming to a global-scale pattern. Such insights are essential for understanding how trait-environment associations arise and how they influence species diversification. PMID:25811086

  18. Applied genetic evaluations for production and functional traits in dairy cattle.

    PubMed

    Mark, T

    2004-08-01

    The objective of this study was to review the current status of genetic evaluation systems for production and functional traits as practiced in different Interbull member countries and to discuss that status in relation to research results and potential improvements. Thirty-one countries provided information. Substantial variation was evident for number of traits considered per country, trait definition, genetic evaluation procedure within trait, effects included, and how these were treated in genetic evaluation models. All countries lacked genetic evaluations for one or more economically important traits. Improvement in the genetic evaluation models, especially for many functional traits, could be achieved by closing the gaps between research and practice. More detailed and up to date information about national genetic evaluation systems for traits in different countries is available at www.interbull.org. Female fertility and workability traits were considered in many countries and could be next in line for international genetic evaluations.

  19. Functional traits explain light and size response of growth rates in tropical tree species.

    PubMed

    Rüger, Nadja; Wirth, Christian; Wright, S Joseph; Condit, Richard

    2012-12-01

    Relationships between functional traits and average or potential demographic rates have provided insight into the functional constraints and trade-offs underlying life-history strategies of tropical tree species. We have extended this framework by decomposing growth rates of -130 000 trees of 171 Neotropical tree species into intrinsic growth and the response of growth to light and size. We related these growth characteristics to multiple functional traits (wood density, adult stature, seed mass, leaf traits) in a hierarchical Bayesian model that accounted for measurement error and intraspecific variability of functional traits. Wood density was the most important trait determining all three growth characteristics. Intrinsic growth rates were additionally strongly related to adult stature, while all traits contributed to light response. Our analysis yielded a predictive model that allows estimation of growth characteristics for rare species on the basis of a few easily measurable morphological traits.

  20. Functional granulocyte/macrophage colony stimulating factor receptor is constitutively expressed on neoplastic plasma cells and mediates tumour cell longevity.

    PubMed

    Villunger, A; Egle, A; Kos, M; Egle, D; Tinhofer, I; Henn, T; Uberall, F; Maly, K; Greil, R

    1998-09-01

    It has been shown that granulocyte/macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is able to support myeloma cell propagation in cooperation with interleukin (IL)-6, the major growth factor for malignant plasma cells, although the biological mechanisms involved remain unknown. Therefore we investigated (i) the expression levels of the GM-CSF receptor (GM-CSFR) constituents in three malignant plasma cell lines and in native malignant plasma cells, (ii) the ability of the receptor to mediate common signalling pathways regulating proliferation and cell survival in malignant plasma cell lines, and (iii) the effects of GM-CSF on tumour cell biology. The GM-CSFRalpha subunit was detected in the malignant plasma cell lines RPMI-8226, MC/CAR, IM-9 as well as 6/6 native myeloma cell samples derived from the bone marrow of patients with overt disease. Furthermore, GM-CSFR expression was also detected in the CD19+ fraction from 2/3 bone marrow samples and 5/8 peripheral blood samples derived from patients with malignant plasma cell disorders, but not in the CD19+ fraction of peripheral blood from healthy donors. The expressed cytokine receptor alpha-subunit was able to constitute a functional signalling complex with the ubiquitously expressed GM-CSFRbeta subunit, as demonstrated by the fact that GM-CSF induced the p21-ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling cascade in malignant plasma cell lines. Since this signalling cascade plays an essential role in the mediation of both proliferation and cell survival, we investigated the impact of GM-CSF on these two events. Application of GM-CSF led to an increase of DNA-synthesis in MC/CAR, IM-9 and RPMI-8226 cells. Furthermore, it increased longevity of these malignant plasma cell lines by reducing the rates of spontaneous apoptosis. We conclude that (i) the functional GM-CSFR is commonly expressed on malignant plasma cells and that (ii) GM-CSF promotes the clonal expansion of myeloma cells by inhibiting spontaneous

  1. Confronting species distribution model predictions with species functional traits.

    PubMed

    Wittmann, Marion E; Barnes, Matthew A; Jerde, Christopher L; Jones, Lisa A; Lodge, David M

    2016-02-01

    Species distribution models are valuable tools in studies of biogeography, ecology, and climate change and have been used to inform conservation and ecosystem management. However, species distribution models typically incorporate only climatic variables and species presence data. Model development or validation rarely considers functional components of species traits or other types of biological data. We implemented a species distribution model (Maxent) to predict global climate habitat suitability for Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). We then tested the relationship between the degree of climate habitat suitability predicted by Maxent and the individual growth rates of both wild (N = 17) and stocked (N = 51) Grass Carp populations using correlation analysis. The Grass Carp Maxent model accurately reflected the global occurrence data (AUC = 0.904). Observations of Grass Carp growth rate covered six continents and ranged from 0.19 to 20.1 g day(-1). Species distribution model predictions were correlated (r = 0.5, 95% CI (0.03, 0.79)) with observed growth rates for wild Grass Carp populations but were not correlated (r = -0.26, 95% CI (-0.5, 0.012)) with stocked populations. Further, a review of the literature indicates that the few studies for other species that have previously assessed the relationship between the degree of predicted climate habitat suitability and species functional traits have also discovered significant relationships. Thus, species distribution models may provide inferences beyond just where a species may occur, providing a useful tool to understand the linkage between species distributions and underlying biological mechanisms.

  2. Linking Tropical Forest Function to Hydraulic Traits in a Size-Structured and Trait-Based Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, B. O.; Gloor, E. U.; Fauset, S.; Fyllas, N.; Galbraith, D.; Baker, T. R.; Rowland, L.; Fisher, R.; Binks, O.; Mencuccini, M.; Malhi, Y.; Stahl, C.; Wagner, F. H.; Bonal, D.; da Costa, A. C. L.; Ferreira, L.; Meir, P.

    2014-12-01

    A major weakness of forest ecosystem models applied to Amazonia is their inability to capture the diversity of responses to changes in water availability commonly observed within and across forest communities, severely hampering efforts to predict the fate of Amazon forests under climate change. Such models often prescribe moisture sensitivity using heuristic response functions which are uniform across all individuals and lack important knowledge about trade-offs in hydraulic traits. We address this weakness by implementing a process representation of plant hydraulics into an individual- and trait-based model (Trait Forest Simulator; TFS) intended for application at discrete sites across Amazonia. The model represents a trade-off in the safety and efficiency of water conduction in xylem tissue through hydraulic traits, which then lead to variation in plant water use and growth dynamics. The model accounts for the buffering effects of leaf and stem capacitance on leaf water potential at short time scales, and cavitation-induced reductions in whole-plant conductance over longer periods of water stress. We explore multiple possible links between this hydraulic trait spectrum and other whole-plant traits, such as maximum photosynthetic capacity and wood density. The model is shown to greatly improve the diversity of tree response to seasonal changes in water availability as well as response to drought, as determined by comparison with sap flux and stem dendrometry measurements. Importantly, this individual- and trait-based framework provides a testbed for identifying both critical processes and functional traits needed for inclusion in coarse-scale Dynamic Global Vegetation Models, which will lead to reduced uncertainty in the future state of Amazon tropical forests.

  3. Inference of Longevity-Related Genes from a Robust Coexpression Network of Seed Maturation Identifies Regulators Linking Seed Storability to Biotic Defense-Related Pathways.

    PubMed

    Righetti, Karima; Vu, Joseph Ly; Pelletier, Sandra; Vu, Benoit Ly; Glaab, Enrico; Lalanne, David; Pasha, Asher; Patel, Rohan V; Provart, Nicholas J; Verdier, Jerome; Leprince, Olivier; Buitink, Julia

    2015-10-01

    Seed longevity, the maintenance of viability during storage, is a crucial factor for preservation of genetic resources and ensuring proper seedling establishment and high crop yield. We used a systems biology approach to identify key genes regulating the acquisition of longevity during seed maturation of Medicago truncatula. Using 104 transcriptomes from seed developmental time courses obtained in five growth environments, we generated a robust, stable coexpression network (MatNet), thereby capturing the conserved backbone of maturation. Using a trait-based gene significance measure, a coexpression module related to the acquisition of longevity was inferred from MatNet. Comparative analysis of the maturation processes in M. truncatula and Arabidopsis thaliana seeds and mining Arabidopsis interaction databases revealed conserved connectivity for 87% of longevity module nodes between both species. Arabidopsis mutant screening for longevity and maturation phenotypes demonstrated high predictive power of the longevity cross-species network. Overrepresentation analysis of the network nodes indicated biological functions related to defense, light, and auxin. Characterization of defense-related wrky3 and nf-x1-like1 (nfxl1) transcription factor mutants demonstrated that these genes regulate some of the network nodes and exhibit impaired acquisition of longevity during maturation. These data suggest that seed longevity evolved by co-opting existing genetic pathways regulating the activation of defense against pathogens. PMID:26410298

  4. Inference of Longevity-Related Genes from a Robust Coexpression Network of Seed Maturation Identifies Regulators Linking Seed Storability to Biotic Defense-Related Pathways

    PubMed Central

    Righetti, Karima; Vu, Joseph Ly; Pelletier, Sandra; Vu, Benoit Ly; Glaab, Enrico; Lalanne, David; Pasha, Asher; Patel, Rohan V.; Provart, Nicholas J.; Verdier, Jerome; Leprince, Olivier

    2015-01-01

    Seed longevity, the maintenance of viability during storage, is a crucial factor for preservation of genetic resources and ensuring proper seedling establishment and high crop yield. We used a systems biology approach to identify key genes regulating the acquisition of longevity during seed maturation of Medicago truncatula. Using 104 transcriptomes from seed developmental time courses obtained in five growth environments, we generated a robust, stable coexpression network (MatNet), thereby capturing the conserved backbone of maturation. Using a trait-based gene significance measure, a coexpression module related to the acquisition of longevity was inferred from MatNet. Comparative analysis of the maturation processes in M. truncatula and Arabidopsis thaliana seeds and mining Arabidopsis interaction databases revealed conserved connectivity for 87% of longevity module nodes between both species. Arabidopsis mutant screening for longevity and maturation phenotypes demonstrated high predictive power of the longevity cross-species network. Overrepresentation analysis of the network nodes indicated biological functions related to defense, light, and auxin. Characterization of defense-related wrky3 and nf-x1-like1 (nfxl1) transcription factor mutants demonstrated that these genes regulate some of the network nodes and exhibit impaired acquisition of longevity during maturation. These data suggest that seed longevity evolved by co-opting existing genetic pathways regulating the activation of defense against pathogens. PMID:26410298

  5. Revealing how species loss affects ecosystem function: the trait-based Price Equation partition.

    PubMed

    Fox, Jeremy W; Harpole, W Stanley

    2008-01-01

    Species loss can alter ecosystem function. Recent work proposes a general theoretical framework, the "Price Equation partition," for understanding how species loss affects ecosystem functions that comprise the summed contributions of individual species (e.g., primary production). The Price Equation partition shows how the difference in function between a pre-species-loss site and a post-loss site can be partitioned into effects of random loss of species richness (species-richness effect; SRE), nonrandom loss of high- or low-functioning species (species-composition effect; SCE), and post-loss changes in the functional contributions of the remaining species (context-dependence effect; CDE). However, the Price Equation partition is silent on the underlying determinants of species' functional contributions. Here we extend the Price Equation partition by using multiple regression to describe how species' functional contributions depend on species' traits. This allows us to reexpress the SCE and CDE in terms of nonrandom loss of species with particular traits (trait-based SCE), and post-loss changes in species' traits and in the relationship between species' traits and species' functional contributions (trait-based CDE). We apply this new trait-based Price Equation partition to studies of species loss from grassland plant communities and protist microcosm food webs. In both studies, post-loss changes in the relationship between species' traits and their functional contributions alter ecosystem function more than nonrandom loss of species with particular traits. The protist microcosm data also illustrate how the trait-based Price Equation partition can be applied when species' functional contributions depend in part on the traits of other species. To do this, we define "synecological" traits that quantify how unique species are (e.g., in diet) compared to other species. Context dependence in the protist microcosm experiment arises in part because species loss alters the

  6. Mapping genomic features to functional traits through microbial whole genome sequences.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Wei; Zeng, Erliang; Liu, Dan; Jones, Stuart E; Emrich, Scott

    2014-01-01

    Recently, the utility of trait-based approaches for microbial communities has been identified. Increasing availability of whole genome sequences provide the opportunity to explore the genetic foundations of a variety of functional traits. We proposed a machine learning framework to quantitatively link the genomic features with functional traits. Genes from bacteria genomes belonging to different functional traits were grouped to Cluster of Orthologs (COGs), and were used as features. Then, TF-IDF technique from the text mining domain was applied to transform the data to accommodate the abundance and importance of each COG. After TF-IDF processing, COGs were ranked using feature selection methods to identify their relevance to the functional trait of interest. Extensive experimental results demonstrated that functional trait related genes can be detected using our method. Further, the method has the potential to provide novel biological insights.

  7. Evolutionary genetic bases of longevity and senescence.

    PubMed

    Govindaraju, Diddahally R

    2015-01-01

    Senescence, as a time-dependent developmental process, affects all organisms at every stage in their development and growth. During this process, genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors are known to introduce a wide range of variation for longevity among individuals. As an important life-history trait, longevity shows ontogenetic relationships with other complex traits, and hence may be viewed as a composite trait. Factors that influence the origin and maintenance of diversity of life are ultimately governed by Darwinian processes. Here we review evolutionary genetic mechanisms underlying longevity and senescence in humans from a life-history and genotype-epigenetic-phenotype (G-E-P) map prospective. We suggest that synergistic and cascading effects of cis-ruptive mechanisms in the genome, and epigenetic disruptive processes in relation to environmental factors may lead to sequential slippage in the G-E-P space. These mechanisms accompany age, stage and individual specific senescent processes, influenced by positive pleiotropy of certain genes, superior genome integrity, negative-frequency dependent selection and other factors that universally regulate rarity in nature. Finally we interpret life span as an inherent property of self-organizing systems that, accordingly, maintain species-specific limits for the entire complex of fitness traits. We conclude that Darwinian approaches provide unique opportunities to discover the biological bases of longevity as well as devise individual specific medical or other interventions toward improving health span.

  8. Translational genomics for improving sow reproductive longevity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sow reproductive longevity is a composite trait that is expressed throughout life that depends on the potential of females to resume ovarian cyclicity, re-breed, and farrow multiple parities. Approximately 50% of sows are culled annually with more than one third due to poor fertility. Age at puberty...

  9. Determining place and process: functional traits of ectomycorrhizal fungi that affect both community structure and ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Koide, Roger T; Fernandez, Christopher; Malcolm, Glenna

    2014-01-01

    There is a growing interest amongst community ecologists in functional traits. Response traits determine membership in communities. Effect traits influence ecosystem function. One goal of community ecology is to predict the effect of environmental change on ecosystem function. Environmental change can directly and indirectly affect ecosystem function. Indirect effects are mediated through shifts in community structure. It is difficult to predict how environmental change will affect ecosystem function via the indirect route when the change in effect trait distribution is not predictable from the change in response trait distribution. When response traits function as effect traits, however, it becomes possible to predict the indirect effect of environmental change on ecosystem function. Here we illustrate four examples in which key attributes of ectomycorrhizal fungi function as both response and effect traits. While plant ecologists have discussed response and effect traits in the context of community structuring and ecosystem function, this approach has not been applied to ectomycorrhizal fungi. This is unfortunate because of the large effects of ectomycorrhizal fungi on ecosystem function. We hope to stimulate further research in this area in the hope of better predicting the ecosystem- and landscape-level effects of the fungi as influenced by changing environmental conditions.

  10. Plant functional traits with particular reference to tropical deciduous forests: a review.

    PubMed

    Chaturvedi, R K; Raghubanshi, A S; Singh, J S

    2011-12-01

    Functional traits (FTs) integrate the ecological and evolutionary history of a species, and can potentially be used to predict its response as well as its influence on ecosystem functioning. Study of inter-specific variation in the FTs of plants aids in classifying species into plant functional types (PFTs) and provides insights into fundamental patterns and trade-offs in plant form and functioning and the effect of changing species composition on ecosystem functions. Specifically, this paper focuses on those FTs that make a species successful in the dry tropical environment. Following a brief overview, we discuss plant FTs that may be particularly relevant to tropical deciduous forests (TDFs). We consider the traits under the following categories: leaf traits, stem and root traits, reproductive traits, and traits particularly relevant to water availability. We compile quantitative information on functional traits of dry tropical forest species. We also discuss trait-based grouping of plants into PFTs. We recognize that there is incomplete knowledge about many FTs and their effects on TDFs and point out the need for further research on PFTs of TDF species, which can enable prediction of the dynamics of these forests in the face of disturbance and global climate change. Correlations between structural and ecophysiological traits and ecosystem functioning should also be established which could make it possible to generate predictions of changes in ecosystem services from changes in functional composition. PMID:22116295

  11. Plant functional traits with particular reference to tropical deciduous forests: a review.

    PubMed

    Chaturvedi, R K; Raghubanshi, A S; Singh, J S

    2011-12-01

    Functional traits (FTs) integrate the ecological and evolutionary history of a species, and can potentially be used to predict its response as well as its influence on ecosystem functioning. Study of inter-specific variation in the FTs of plants aids in classifying species into plant functional types (PFTs) and provides insights into fundamental patterns and trade-offs in plant form and functioning and the effect of changing species composition on ecosystem functions. Specifically, this paper focuses on those FTs that make a species successful in the dry tropical environment. Following a brief overview, we discuss plant FTs that may be particularly relevant to tropical deciduous forests (TDFs). We consider the traits under the following categories: leaf traits, stem and root traits, reproductive traits, and traits particularly relevant to water availability. We compile quantitative information on functional traits of dry tropical forest species. We also discuss trait-based grouping of plants into PFTs. We recognize that there is incomplete knowledge about many FTs and their effects on TDFs and point out the need for further research on PFTs of TDF species, which can enable prediction of the dynamics of these forests in the face of disturbance and global climate change. Correlations between structural and ecophysiological traits and ecosystem functioning should also be established which could make it possible to generate predictions of changes in ecosystem services from changes in functional composition.

  12. Phytoplankton traits predict ecosystem function in a global set of lakes.

    PubMed

    Zwart, Jacob A; Solomon, Christopher T; Jones, Stuart E

    2015-08-01

    Predicting ecosystem function from environmental conditions is a central goal of ecosystem ecology. However, many traditional ecosystem models are tailored for specific regions or ecosystem types, requiring several regional models to predict the same function. Alternatively, trait-based approaches have been effectively used to predict community structure in both terrestrial and aquatic environments and ecosystem function in a limited number of terrestrial examples. Here, we test the efficacy of a trait-based model in predicting gross primary production (GPP) in lake ecosystems. We incorporated data from >1000 United States lakes along with laboratory-generated phytoplankton trait data to build a trait-based model of GPP and then validated the model with GPP observations from a separate set of globally distributed lakes. The trait-based model performed as well as or outperformed two ecosystem models both spatially and temporally, demonstrating the efficacy of trait-based models for predicting ecosystem function over a range of environmental conditions.

  13. Fish functional traits correlated with environmental variables in a temperate biodiversity hotspot.

    PubMed

    Keck, Benjamin P; Marion, Zachary H; Martin, Derek J; Kaufman, Jason C; Harden, Carol P; Schwartz, John S; Strange, Richard J

    2014-01-01

    The global biodiversity crisis has invigorated the search for generalized patterns in most disciplines within the natural sciences. Studies based on organismal functional traits attempt to broaden implications of results by identifying the response of functional traits, instead of taxonomic units, to environmental variables. Determining the functional trait responses enables more direct comparisons with, or predictions for, communities of different taxonomic composition. The North American freshwater fish fauna is both diverse and increasingly imperiled through human mediated disturbances, including climate change. The Tennessee River, USA, contains one of the most diverse assemblages of freshwater fish in North America and has more imperiled species than other rivers, but there has been no trait-based study of community structure in the system. We identified 211 localities in the upper Tennessee River that were sampled by the Tennessee Valley Authority between 2009 and 2011 and compiled fish functional traits for the observed species and environmental variables for each locality. Using fourth corner analysis, we identified significant correlations between many fish functional traits and environmental variables. Functional traits associated with an opportunistic life history strategy were correlated with localities subject to greater land use disturbance and less flow regulation, while functional traits associated with a periodic life history strategy were correlated with localities subject to regular disturbance and regulated flow. These are patterns observed at the continental scale, highlighting the generalizability of trait-based methods. Contrary to studies that found no community structure differences when considering riparian buffer zones, we found that fish functional traits were correlated with different environmental variables between analyses with buffer zones vs. entire catchment area land cover proportions. Using existing databases and fourth corner

  14. Fish Functional Traits Correlated with Environmental Variables in a Temperate Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Keck, Benjamin P.; Marion, Zachary H.; Martin, Derek J.; Kaufman, Jason C.; Harden, Carol P.; Schwartz, John S.; Strange, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    The global biodiversity crisis has invigorated the search for generalized patterns in most disciplines within the natural sciences. Studies based on organismal functional traits attempt to broaden implications of results by identifying the response of functional traits, instead of taxonomic units, to environmental variables. Determining the functional trait responses enables more direct comparisons with, or predictions for, communities of different taxonomic composition. The North American freshwater fish fauna is both diverse and increasingly imperiled through human mediated disturbances, including climate change. The Tennessee River, USA, contains one of the most diverse assemblages of freshwater fish in North America and has more imperiled species than other rivers, but there has been no trait-based study of community structure in the system. We identified 211 localities in the upper Tennessee River that were sampled by the Tennessee Valley Authority between 2009 and 2011 and compiled fish functional traits for the observed species and environmental variables for each locality. Using fourth corner analysis, we identified significant correlations between many fish functional traits and environmental variables. Functional traits associated with an opportunistic life history strategy were correlated with localities subject to greater land use disturbance and less flow regulation, while functional traits associated with a periodic life history strategy were correlated with localities subject to regular disturbance and regulated flow. These are patterns observed at the continental scale, highlighting the generalizability of trait-based methods. Contrary to studies that found no community structure differences when considering riparian buffer zones, we found that fish functional traits were correlated with different environmental variables between analyses with buffer zones vs. entire catchment area land cover proportions. Using existing databases and fourth corner

  15. Resting-state functional connectivity predicts longitudinal change in autistic traits and adaptive functioning in autism.

    PubMed

    Plitt, Mark; Barnes, Kelly Anne; Wallace, Gregory L; Kenworthy, Lauren; Martin, Alex

    2015-12-01

    Although typically identified in early childhood, the social communication symptoms and adaptive behavior deficits that are characteristic of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) persist throughout the lifespan. Despite this persistence, even individuals without cooccurring intellectual disability show substantial heterogeneity in outcomes. Previous studies have found various behavioral assessments [such as intelligence quotient (IQ), early language ability, and baseline autistic traits and adaptive behavior scores] to be predictive of outcome, but most of the variance in functioning remains unexplained by such factors. In this study, we investigated to what extent functional brain connectivity measures obtained from resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) could predict the variance left unexplained by age and behavior (follow-up latency and baseline autistic traits and adaptive behavior scores) in two measures of outcome--adaptive behaviors and autistic traits at least 1 y postscan (mean follow-up latency = 2 y, 10 mo). We found that connectivity involving the so-called salience network (SN), default-mode network (DMN), and frontoparietal task control network (FPTCN) was highly predictive of future autistic traits and the change in autistic traits and adaptive behavior over the same time period. Furthermore, functional connectivity involving the SN, which is predominantly composed of the anterior insula and the dorsal anterior cingulate, predicted reliable improvement in adaptive behaviors with 100% sensitivity and 70.59% precision. From rs-fcMRI data, our study successfully predicted heterogeneity in outcomes for individuals with ASD that was unaccounted for by simple behavioral metrics and provides unique evidence for networks underlying long-term symptom abatement.

  16. Invited review: overview of new traits and phenotyping strategies in dairy cattle with a focus on functional traits

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    For several decades, breeding goals in dairy cattle focused on increased milk production. However, many functional traits have negative genetic correlations with milk yield and reductions in genetic merit for health and fitness have been observed. Herd management has been challenged to compensate fo...

  17. Seasonal variations alter the impact of functional traits on plankton dynamics.

    PubMed

    Rocha, Marcia R; Vasseur, David A; Gaedke, Ursula

    2012-01-01

    Gaining understanding of food-web processes often requires a simplified representation of natural diversity. One such simplification can be based on functional traits, as functionally similar species may provide a similar contribution to ecosystem level-processes. However, understanding how similarity in functional traits actually translates into similar contributions to ecosystem-level properties remains a challenge due to the complex ways in which traits can influence species' dynamics. Moreover, in many communities, seasonality alters the abiotic and biotic forcing regime, causing ongoing changes to patterns of species' dominance; groups of species do not stay intact but are rather continuously subjected to changes throughout the year. Using long-term high frequency measurements of phytoplankton in Lake Constance, we investigated the effect of seasonal changes on the relationship between functional similarity and temporal dynamics similarity of 36 morphotypes, and the relative contribution of different functional traits during the different parts of the year. Our results revealed seasonal differences in the overall degree of synchronization of morphotypes' temporal dynamics and how combinations of functional traits influence the relationship between functional trait similarity and temporal dynamics similarity, showing that different forcing regimes change how species cope with their environment based on their functional traits. Moreover, we show that the individual functional traits matter at different periods of the year indicating that species which are dynamically similar at certain parts of the year may not be at others. The differential strength of the overall and individual impact of functional traits on species' temporal dynamics makes the cohesion of a pair of functionally similar species dependent on the different forcing. Hence, simplifying food webs based solely on functional traits may not provide consistent estimates of functional groups over all

  18. Functional traits explain phytoplankton community structure and seasonal dynamics in a marine ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Kyle F; Litchman, Elena; Klausmeier, Christopher A

    2013-01-01

    A fundamental yet elusive goal of ecology is to predict the structure of communities from the environmental conditions they experience. Trait-based approaches to terrestrial plant communities have shown that functional traits can help reveal the mechanisms underlying community assembly, but such approaches have not been tested on the microbes that dominate ecosystem processes in the ocean. Here, we test whether functional traits can explain community responses to seasonal environmental fluctuation, using a time series of the phytoplankton of the English Channel. We show that interspecific variation in response to major limiting resources, light and nitrate, can be well-predicted by lab-measured traits characterising light utilisation, nitrate utilisation and maximum growth rate. As these relationships were predicted a priori, using independently measured traits, our results show that functional traits provide a strong mechanistic foundation for understanding the structure and dynamics of ecological communities.

  19. Associations between STR autosomal markers and longevity.

    PubMed

    Bediaga, N G; Aznar, J M; Elcoroaristizabal, X; Albóniga, O; Gómez-Busto, F; Artaza Artabe, I; Rocandio, Ana; de Pancorbo, M M

    2015-10-01

    Life span is a complex and multifactorial trait, which is shaped by genetic, epigenetic, environmental, and stochastic factors. The possibility that highly hypervariable short tandem repeats (STRs) associated with longevity has been largely explored by comparing the genotypic pools of long lived and younger individuals, but results so far have been contradictory. In view of these contradictory findings, the present study aims to investigate whether HUMTHO1 and HUMCSF1PO STRs, previously associated with longevity, exert a role as a modulator of life expectancy, as well as to assess the extent to which other autosomal STR markers are associated with human longevity in population from northern Spain. To that end, 21 autosomal microsatellite markers have been studied in 304 nonagenarian individuals (more than 90 years old) and 516 younger controls of European descent. Our results do not confirm the association found in previous studies between longevity and THO1 and CSF1PO loci. However, significant association between longevity and autosomal STR markers D12S391, D22S1045, and DS441 was observed. Even more, when we compared allelic frequency distribution of the 21 STR markers between cases and controls, we found that 6 out of the 21 STRs studied showed different allelic frequencies, thus suggesting that the genomic portrait of the human longevity is far complex and probably shaped by a high number of genomic loci. PMID:26335621

  20. Plant geography upon the basis of functional traits: an example from eastern North American trees.

    PubMed

    Swenson, Nathan G; Weiser, Michael D

    2010-08-01

    Plant geographers have sought for decades to describe and predict the geographic distribution of vegetation types on the basis of plant function and its relationship with the abiotic environment. Traditionally this has been accomplished using categorical representations such as plant functional types. Increasingly, plant functional ecologists have sought to refine categorical functional types via quantitative functional traits in order to understand the ecological implications of trade-offs in plant form and function. Fewer works have focused upon testing whether commonly measured functional traits enhance our understanding of plant biogeography broadly and the geographic distribution of vegetation types in particular. Here we combine a continental-scale forest inventory data set containing 18 111 plots with a plant functional trait data set to ask: (1) Is there a strong relationship between the abiotic environment and the distribution of functional trait values in forest inventory plots? And (2) can different Holdridge life zones be distinguished upon the basis of their functional trait distributions? The results show geographic patterns of functional trait distributions that are often strongly correlated with climate and also show that the Holdridge life zones in the study area can be differentiated using a combination of functional traits. PMID:20836445

  1. Epistasis analysis for quantitative traits by functional regression model.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Futao; Boerwinkle, Eric; Xiong, Momiao

    2014-06-01

    The critical barrier in interaction analysis for rare variants is that most traditional statistical methods for testing interactions were originally designed for testing the interaction between common variants and are difficult to apply to rare variants because of their prohibitive computational time and poor ability. The great challenges for successful detection of interactions with next-generation sequencing (NGS) data are (1) lack of methods for interaction analysis with rare variants, (2) severe multiple testing, and (3) time-consuming computations. To meet these challenges, we shift the paradigm of interaction analysis between two loci to interaction analysis between two sets of loci or genomic regions and collectively test interactions between all possible pairs of SNPs within two genomic regions. In other words, we take a genome region as a basic unit of interaction analysis and use high-dimensional data reduction and functional data analysis techniques to develop a novel functional regression model to collectively test interactions between all possible pairs of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within two genome regions. By intensive simulations, we demonstrate that the functional regression models for interaction analysis of the quantitative trait have the correct type 1 error rates and a much better ability to detect interactions than the current pairwise interaction analysis. The proposed method was applied to exome sequence data from the NHLBI's Exome Sequencing Project (ESP) and CHARGE-S study. We discovered 27 pairs of genes showing significant interactions after applying the Bonferroni correction (P-values < 4.58 × 10(-10)) in the ESP, and 11 were replicated in the CHARGE-S study.

  2. Economic values for production and functional traits of Small East African goat using profit functions.

    PubMed

    Mbuku, Samuel; Kosgey, Isaac; Okeyo, Mwai; Kahi, Alexander

    2014-06-01

    Economic values for production traits (milk yield, MY, g; 12-month live weight, yLW, kg; consumable meat percentage, CM, %) and functional traits (mature doe live weight, DoLW, kg; mature buck live weight, LWb, kg; kidding frequency, KF; pre-weaning survival rate, PrSR, %; post-weaning survival rate, PoSR,%; doe survival rate, DoSR, %; and residual feed intake, RFI, kg) were estimated using profit functions for the Small East African goat. The scenario evaluated was a fixed flock size, and the resultant economic values (Kes per doe per year) were 34.46 (MY), 62.35 (yLW), 40.69 (CM), 0.15 (DoLW), 2.84 (LWb), 8.69 (KF), 17.38 (PrSR), 16.60 (PoSR), 16.69 (DoSR) and -3.00 (RFI). Similarly, the economic values decreased by -14.7 % (MY), -2.7 % (yLW), -23.9 % (CM), -6.6 % (DoLW), -98 % (LWb), -8.6 % (KF), -8.2 % (PrSR), -8.9 % (PoSR), -8.1 % (DoSR) and 0 % (RFI) when they were risk rated. The economic values for production and functional traits, except RFI, were positive, which implies that genetic improvement of these traits would have a positive effect on the profitability in the pastoral production systems. The application of an Arrow-Pratt coefficient of absolute risk aversion (λ) at the level of 0.02 resulted in a decrease on the estimated economic values, implying that livestock keepers who were risk averse were willing to accept lower expected returns. The results indicate that there would be improvement in traits of economic importance, and, therefore, easy-to-manage genetic improvement programmes should be established.

  3. Scaling root processes based on plant functional traits (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eissenstat, D. M.; McCormack, M. L.; Gaines, K.; Adams, T.

    2013-12-01

    There are great challenges to scaling root processes as variation across species and variation of a particular species over different spatial and temporal scales is poorly understood. We have examined tree species variation using multispecies plantings, often referred to by ecologists as 'common gardens'. Choosing species with wide variation in growth rate, root morphology (diameter, branching intensity) and root chemistry (root N and Ca concentration), we found that variation in root lifespan was well correlated with plant functional traits across 12 species. There was also evidence that localized liquid N addition could increase root lifespan and localized water addition diminished root lifespan over untreated controls, with effects strongest in the species of finest root diameter. In an adjacent forest, we have also seen tree species variation in apparent depth of rooting using water isotopes. In particular species of wood anatomy that was ring porous (e.g. oaks) typically had the deepest rooting depth, whereas those that had either diffuse-porous sapwood (maples) or tracheid sapwood (pines) were shallower rooted. These differences in rooting depth were related to sap flux of trees during and immediately after periods of drought. The extent that the patterns observed in central Pennsylvania are modulated by environment or indicative of other plant species will be discussed.

  4. Long term in vitro functional stability and recording longevity of fully integrated wireless neural interfaces based on the Utah Slant Electrode Array.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Asha; Rieth, Loren; Tathireddy, Prashant; Harrison, Reid; Oppermann, Hermann; Klein, Matthias; Töpper, Michael; Jung, Erik; Normann, Richard; Clark, Gregory; Solzbacher, Florian

    2011-08-01

    We evaluate the encapsulation and packaging reliability of a fully integrated wireless neural interface based on a Utah Slant Electrode Array/integrated neural interface-recording version 5 (USEA/INI-R5) system by monitoring the long term in vitro functional stability and recording longevity. The INI encapsulated with 6 µm Parylene-C was immersed in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) for a period of over 276 days (with the monitoring of the functional device still ongoing). The full functionality (wireless radio-frequency power, command and signal transmission) and the ability of the electrodes to record artificial neural signals even after 276 days of PBS soaking with little change (within 14%) in signal/noise amplitude constitute a major milestone in long term stability and allow us to study and evaluate the encapsulation reliability, functional stability and its potential usefulness for a wireless neural interface for future chronic implants. PMID:21775785

  5. Using a multi-trait approach to manipulate plant functional diversity in a biodiversity-ecosystem function experiment.

    PubMed

    Schittko, Conrad; Hawa, Mahmoud; Wurst, Susanne

    2014-01-01

    A frequent pattern emerging from biodiversity-ecosystem function studies is that functional group richness enhances ecosystem functions such as primary productivity. However, the manipulation of functional group richness goes along with major disadvantages like the transformation of functional trait data into categories or the exclusion of functional differences between organisms in the same group. In a mesocosm study we manipulated plant functional diversity based on the multi-trait Functional Diversity (FD)-approach of Petchey and Gaston by using database data of seven functional traits and information on the origin of the species in terms of being native or exotic. Along a gradient ranging from low to high FD we planted 40 randomly selected eight-species mixtures under controlled conditions. We found a significant positive linear correlation of FD with aboveground productivity and a negative correlation with invasibility of the plant communities. Based on community-weighted mean calculations for each functional trait, we figured out that the traits N-fixation and species origin, i.e. being native or exotic, played the most important role for community productivity. Our results suggest that the identification of the impact of functional trait diversity and the relative contributions of relevant traits is essential for a mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functions such as aboveground biomass production and resistance against invasion.

  6. Using a Multi-Trait Approach to Manipulate Plant Functional Diversity in a Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Schittko, Conrad; Hawa, Mahmoud; Wurst, Susanne

    2014-01-01

    A frequent pattern emerging from biodiversity-ecosystem function studies is that functional group richness enhances ecosystem functions such as primary productivity. However, the manipulation of functional group richness goes along with major disadvantages like the transformation of functional trait data into categories or the exclusion of functional differences between organisms in the same group. In a mesocosm study we manipulated plant functional diversity based on the multi-trait Functional Diversity (FD)-approach of Petchey and Gaston by using database data of seven functional traits and information on the origin of the species in terms of being native or exotic. Along a gradient ranging from low to high FD we planted 40 randomly selected eight-species mixtures under controlled conditions. We found a significant positive linear correlation of FD with aboveground productivity and a negative correlation with invasibility of the plant communities. Based on community-weighted mean calculations for each functional trait, we figured out that the traits N-fixation and species origin, i.e. being native or exotic, played the most important role for community productivity. Our results suggest that the identification of the impact of functional trait diversity and the relative contributions of relevant traits is essential for a mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functions such as aboveground biomass production and resistance against invasion. PMID:24897501

  7. Using a multi-trait approach to manipulate plant functional diversity in a biodiversity-ecosystem function experiment.

    PubMed

    Schittko, Conrad; Hawa, Mahmoud; Wurst, Susanne

    2014-01-01

    A frequent pattern emerging from biodiversity-ecosystem function studies is that functional group richness enhances ecosystem functions such as primary productivity. However, the manipulation of functional group richness goes along with major disadvantages like the transformation of functional trait data into categories or the exclusion of functional differences between organisms in the same group. In a mesocosm study we manipulated plant functional diversity based on the multi-trait Functional Diversity (FD)-approach of Petchey and Gaston by using database data of seven functional traits and information on the origin of the species in terms of being native or exotic. Along a gradient ranging from low to high FD we planted 40 randomly selected eight-species mixtures under controlled conditions. We found a significant positive linear correlation of FD with aboveground productivity and a negative correlation with invasibility of the plant communities. Based on community-weighted mean calculations for each functional trait, we figured out that the traits N-fixation and species origin, i.e. being native or exotic, played the most important role for community productivity. Our results suggest that the identification of the impact of functional trait diversity and the relative contributions of relevant traits is essential for a mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functions such as aboveground biomass production and resistance against invasion. PMID:24897501

  8. Distribution of functional traits in subtropical trees across environmental and forest use gradients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blundo, Cecilia; Malizia, Lucio R.; González-Espinosa, Mario

    2015-11-01

    The relationship between functional traits and environmental factors contribute to understanding community structure and predicting which species will be able to elude environmental filters in different habitats. We selected 10 functional traits related to morphology, demography and regeneration niche in 54 subtropical premontane tree species to describe their main axes of functional differentiation. We derived species traits, environmental variables and species abundance data from 20 1-ha permanent plots established in a seasonal subtropical premontane forest in northwestern Argentina. We analyzed the relationship between species functional traits and environmental factors through RLQ and fourth-corner analyzes. We found an axis of structural differentiation that segregates understory from canopy species, and an axis of functional differentiation that segregates species that maximize resource acquisition from those that promote resource conservation. Environmental and forest use gradients operate hierarchically over subtropical premontane tree species influencing the distribution of demographic and morphological traits. The interaction between climatic and topographic factors influences the distribution of species functional traits at the regional scale. In addition, the history of forest use seems to operate at the landscape scale and explains the distribution of species traits reflecting a trade-off between resource acquisition and resource conservation strategies in secondary forests across different successional stages. Our results support the idea that functional traits may be used to analyze community structure and dynamics through niche differentiation and environmental filtering processes.

  9. Geographic variation in sandy beach macrofauna community and functional traits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodil, I. F.; Compton, T. J.; Lastra, M.

    2014-10-01

    Sandy beaches are a common ocean-dominated ecosystem along the north coast of Spain. We conducted field surveys at 39 beaches distributed between 1° and 9°W, ca. 2000 km along this geographic region to document broad patterns of macrobenthic communities, and to describe their association with variables characterising both the beach environment and the characteristics of the adjacent ocean waters. Macrofaunal functional traits are considered to be an informative measure that can be useful for many ecosystem-level questions, as they are based on what organisms do (i.e., their ecological function) rather than on their identification alone. Boosted regression-trees analysis showed that the occurrence of the main taxonomic groups and feeding guilds were differentially associated with the prevailing beach features along this coastline. The occurrence (presence/absence) of molluscs was best explained by the concentration of chlorophyll-a and wave exposure whereas those of crustaceans and polychaetes were best explained by an ensemble of variables including beach slope, sea surface temperature and grain size. A comparison of the feeding guilds demonstrated that the occurrence of suspension feeders was best explained by chlorophyll-a and wave exposure, whereas the occurrence of deposit feeders was best explained by beach slope, sea surface temperature and chlorophyll-a. The occurrence of predators and scavengers was best explained by sea surface temperature and beach slope. Based on the patterns presented here, we confirm that the upwelling events that occur regularly on this coastline are a structuring agent for beach communities. Future work needs to examine the role of the oceanographic conditions of the region for they might represent the driving forces behind large-scale shifts in macrofauna communities.

  10. Selection of bull dams for production and functional traits in an open nucleus herd.

    PubMed

    Hansen Axelsson, H; Johansson, K; Eriksson, S; Petersson, K-J; Rydhmer, L; Philipsson, J

    2011-05-01

    The aim of this study was to compare different scenarios for bull dam selection in a nucleus herd. A deterministic simulation study using selection index methodology was undertaken. In the scenarios studied, differing amounts of information on functional traits were available when bull dams were selected, and the resulting genetic responses in these traits were compared. Field-recorded fertility traits used in the scenarios were available as progeny test results of artificial insemination bulls: these included pregnant at first insemination (PFI), interval between calving and first insemination (CFI), and cases of reproductive disorders (RD). Similarly, field-recorded cases of clinical mastitis (CM), lactation somatic cell score (LSCS), and protein yield (PY) were included for pedigree selection. In the scenarios, heat intensity score and progesterone levels were treated as new indicator traits of fertility recorded in the nucleus herd. Traits CFI and LSCS were assumed to be better recorded with higher heritability in the nucleus herd than in ordinary herds. Economic weights currently used in Nordic Cattle Genetic Evaluation (NAV) were adapted and used in the scenarios. The results showed that these weights, if used in multiple trait genetic evaluation, would lead to undesirable genetic changes in functional traits for the bull dam selection path in a nucleus environment. More frequent recording of additional traits failed to improve selection for functional traits, as did more frequent recording of ordinary traits. Restriction index methodology was used to derive the bull dam total weights that gave no unfavorable response (i.e., zero genetic change) in traits PFI, CFI, and CM. When summarized over lactations, the new bull dam total weights, when additional records from nucleus were used, had to be 12 to 23 times higher for fertility, and 3 times higher for mastitis, than the presently used NAV weights, if these traits were to remain unchanged through the bull dam

  11. Parental effects modulate seed longevity: exploring parental and offspring phenotypes to elucidate pre-zygotic environmental influences.

    PubMed

    Kochanek, Jitka; Steadman, Kathryn J; Probert, Robin J; Adkins, Steve W

    2011-07-01

    • Seed longevity, which is essential for germplasm conservation and survival of many land plant species, can vary considerably within species and cultivars. Here, we explore the relationship between parental and offspring phenotypes to elucidate how pre-zygotic environment affects seed longevity. • Plants of the wild species Plantago cunninghamii were exposed to wet or dry soil within a warm or cool glasshouse until flowering and then moved to a common environment. Seeds subsequently produced were collected at maturity, and longevity was assessed by controlled ageing at 45°C, 60% relative humidity. Multivariate analysis was used to examine relationships between the parental and offspring phenotypes. • The pre-zygotic environment resulted in a highly plastic parental response which was passed on to offspring seeds and changed their longevity (p(50)) by more than a factor of 2. Seed longevity is a function of the seed population's distribution of deaths in time (σ) and quality (K(i)); σ was associated with plant size, and K(i) with reproductive plant traits. • The pre-zygotic growth environment modulated seed longevity via a parental effect. Reproductive performance and seed quality (K(i)) were highly correlated with each other and unrelated to the maternal plant phenotype. Hence seed quality may be associated with the paternal plant response to the environment. PMID:21434931

  12. Functional diversity and functional traits of periphytic algae during a short-term successional process in a Neotropical floodplain lake.

    PubMed

    Dunck, B; Rodrigues, L; Bicudo, D C

    2015-08-01

    Due to the lack of knowledge in periphytic algae functional diversity patterns during successional processes in floodplains, the present study aimed to analyze the dynamics of the functional traits and functional diversity of periphytic species during a short-term successional process in a floodplain lake. The functional traits analyzed were size class, growth form, strength of attachment to the substratum, and functional strategies. We evaluated the dynamics of these traits, considering richness, density and biovolume during an 18-day colonization in two hydrological periods. The functional diversity was assessed using the mean pairwise distance index (MPD). Dominant functional traits during the colonization changed in association with the flood pulse. Under the pulse effect, higher development of C-S strategist, loosely attached, filamentous and nanoperiphytic species occurred. The highest values of functional diversity were associated with the algal biomass peak during the colonization and the high water hydrological period, possibly indicating greater efficiency in the ecosystem functioning. These findings show the importance of the functional traits approach in periphyton studies and that the selection of functional traits must be performed taking into account traits that represent the species niche.

  13. Functional diversity and functional traits of periphytic algae during a short-term successional process in a Neotropical floodplain lake.

    PubMed

    Dunck, B; Rodrigues, L; Bicudo, D C

    2015-08-01

    Due to the lack of knowledge in periphytic algae functional diversity patterns during successional processes in floodplains, the present study aimed to analyze the dynamics of the functional traits and functional diversity of periphytic species during a short-term successional process in a floodplain lake. The functional traits analyzed were size class, growth form, strength of attachment to the substratum, and functional strategies. We evaluated the dynamics of these traits, considering richness, density and biovolume during an 18-day colonization in two hydrological periods. The functional diversity was assessed using the mean pairwise distance index (MPD). Dominant functional traits during the colonization changed in association with the flood pulse. Under the pulse effect, higher development of C-S strategist, loosely attached, filamentous and nanoperiphytic species occurred. The highest values of functional diversity were associated with the algal biomass peak during the colonization and the high water hydrological period, possibly indicating greater efficiency in the ecosystem functioning. These findings show the importance of the functional traits approach in periphyton studies and that the selection of functional traits must be performed taking into account traits that represent the species niche. PMID:26465723

  14. Invited review: overview of new traits and phenotyping strategies in dairy cattle with a focus on functional traits.

    PubMed

    Egger-Danner, C; Cole, J B; Pryce, J E; Gengler, N; Heringstad, B; Bradley, A; Stock, K F

    2015-02-01

    For several decades, breeding goals in dairy cattle focussed on increased milk production. However, many functional traits have negative genetic correlations with milk yield, and reductions in genetic merit for health and fitness have been observed. Herd management has been challenged to compensate for these effects and to balance fertility, udder health and metabolic diseases against increased production to maximize profit without compromising welfare. Functional traits, such as direct information on cow health, have also become more important because of growing concern about animal well-being and consumer demands for healthy and natural products. There are major concerns about the impact of drugs used in veterinary medicine on the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that can negatively impact human health. Sustainability and efficiency are also increasingly important because of the growing competition for high-quality, plant-based sources of energy and protein. Disruptions to global environments because of climate change may encourage yet more emphasis on these traits. To be successful, it is vital that there be a balance between the effort required for data recording and subsequent benefits. The motivation of farmers and other stakeholders involved in documentation and recording is essential to ensure good data quality. To keep labour costs reasonable, existing data sources should be used as much as possible. Examples include the use of milk composition data to provide additional information about the metabolic status or energy balance of the animals. Recent advances in the use of mid-infrared spectroscopy to measure milk have shown considerable promise, and may provide cost-effective alternative phenotypes for difficult or expensive-to-measure traits, such as feed efficiency. There are other valuable data sources in countries that have compulsory documentation of veterinary treatments and drug use. Additional sources of data outside of the farm

  15. Intraspecific variability in functional traits matters: case study of Scots pine.

    PubMed

    Laforest-Lapointe, Isabelle; Martínez-Vilalta, Jordi; Retana, Javier

    2014-08-01

    Although intraspecific trait variability is an important component of species ecological plasticity and niche breadth, its implications for community and functional ecology have not been thoroughly explored. We characterized the intraspecific functional trait variability of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in Catalonia (NE Spain) in order to (1) compare it to the interspecific trait variability of trees in the same region, (2) explore the relationships among functional traits and the relationships between them and stand and climatic variables, and (3) study the role of functional trait variability as a determinant of radial growth. We considered five traits: wood density (WD), maximum tree height (H max), leaf nitrogen content (Nmass), specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf biomass-to-sapwood area ratio (B L:A S). A unique dataset was obtained from the Ecological and Forest Inventory of Catalonia (IEFC), including data from 406 plots. Intraspecific trait variation was substantial for all traits, with coefficients of variation ranging between 8% for WD and 24% for B L:A S. In some cases, correlations among functional traits differed from those reported across species (e.g., H max and WD were positively related, whereas SLA and Nmass were uncorrelated). Overall, our model accounted for 47% of the spatial variability in Scots pine radial growth. Our study emphasizes the hierarchy of factors that determine intraspecific variations in functional traits in Scots pine and their strong association with spatial variability in radial growth. We claim that intraspecific trait variation is an important determinant of responses of plants to changes in climate and other environmental factors, and should be included in predictive models of vegetation dynamics.

  16. Plant functional traits and diversity in sand dune ecosystems across different biogeographic regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahdavi, P.; Bergmeier, E.

    2016-07-01

    Plant species of a functional group respond similarly to environmental pressures and may be expected to act similarly on ecosystem processes and habitat properties. However, feasibility and applicability of functional groups in ecosystems across very different climatic regions have not yet been studied. In our approach we specified the functional groups in sand dune ecosystems of the Mediterranean, Hyrcanian and Irano-Turanian phytogeographic regions. We examined whether functional groups are more influenced by region or rather by habitat characteristics, and identified trait syndromes associated with common habitat types in sand dunes (mobile dunes, stabilized dunes, salt marshes, semi-wet sands, disturbed habitats). A database of 14 traits, 309 species and 314 relevés was examined and trait-species, trait-plot and species-plot matrices were built. Cluster analysis revealed similar plant functional groups in sand dune ecosystems across regions of very different species composition and climate. Specifically, our study showed that plant traits in sand dune ecosystems are grouped reflecting habitat affiliation rather than region and species pool. Environmental factors and constraints such as sand mobility, soil salinity, water availability, nutrient status and disturbance are more important for the occurrence and distribution of plant functional groups than regional belonging. Each habitat is shown to be equipped with specific functional groups and can be described by specific sets of traits. In restoration ecology the completeness of functional groups and traits in a site may serve as a guideline for maintaining or restoring the habitat.

  17. Relationships between functional traits and inorganic nitrogen acquisition among eight contrasting European grass species

    PubMed Central

    Grassein, Fabrice; Lemauviel-Lavenant, Servane; Lavorel, Sandra; Bahn, Michael; Bardgett, Richard D.; Desclos-Theveniau, Marie; Laîné, Philippe

    2015-01-01

    Backgrounds and Aims Leaf functional traits have been used as a basis to categoize plants across a range of resource-use specialization, from those that conserve available resources to those that exploit them. However, the extent to which the leaf functional traits used to define the resource-use strategies are related to root traits and are good indicators of the ability of the roots to take up nitrogen (N) are poorly known. This is an important question because interspecific differences in N uptake have been proposed as one mechanism by which species’ coexistence may be determined. This study therefore investigated the relationships between functional traits and N uptake ability for grass species across a range of conservative to exploitative resource-use strategies. Methods Root uptake of NH4+ and NO3–, and leaf and root functional traits were measured for eight grass species sampled at three grassland sites across Europe, in France, Austria and the UK. Species were grown in hydroponics to determine functional traits and kinetic uptake parameters (Imax and Km) under standardized conditions. Key Results Species with high specific leaf area (SLA) and shoot N content, and low leaf and root dry matter content (LDMC and RDMC, respectively), which are traits associated with the exploitative syndrome, had higher uptake and affinity for both N forms. No trade-off was observed in uptake between the two forms of N, and all species expressed a higher preference for NH4+. Conclusions The results support the use of leaf traits, and especially SLA and LDMC, as indicators of the N uptake ability across a broad range of grass species. The difficulties associated with assessing root properties are also highlighted, as root traits were only weakly correlated with leaf traits, and only RDMC and, to a lesser extent, root N content were related to leaf traits. PMID:25471096

  18. Assessing the Importance of Intraspecific Variability in Dung Beetle Functional Traits.

    PubMed

    Griffiths, Hannah M; Louzada, Julio; Bardgett, Richard D; Barlow, Jos

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity indices are used to facilitate a mechanistic understanding of many theoretical and applied questions in current ecological research. The use of mean trait values in functional indices assumes that traits are robust, in that greater variability exists between than within species. While the assertion of robust traits has been explored in plants, there exists little information on the source and extent of variability in the functional traits of higher trophic level organisms. Here we investigated variability in two functionally relevant dung beetle traits, measured from individuals collected from three primary forest sites containing distinct beetle communities: body mass and back leg length. In doing so we too addressed the following questions: (i) what is the contribution of intra vs. interspecific differences in trait values; (ii) what sample size is needed to provide representative species mean trait values; and (iii) what impact does omission of intraspecific trait information have on the calculation of functional diversity (FD) indices from naturally assembled communities? At the population level, interspecific differences explained the majority of variability in measured traits (between 94% and 96%). In accordance with this, the error associated with calculating FD without inclusion of intraspecific variability was low, less than 20% in all cases. This suggests that complete sampling to capture intraspecific variance in traits is not necessary even when investigating the FD of small and/or naturally formed communities. To gain an accurate estimation of species mean trait values we encourage the measurement of 30-60 individuals and, where possible, these should be taken from specimens collected from the site of study.

  19. Assessing the Importance of Intraspecific Variability in Dung Beetle Functional Traits

    PubMed Central

    Griffiths, Hannah M.; Louzada, Julio; Bardgett, Richard D.; Barlow, Jos

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity indices are used to facilitate a mechanistic understanding of many theoretical and applied questions in current ecological research. The use of mean trait values in functional indices assumes that traits are robust, in that greater variability exists between than within species. While the assertion of robust traits has been explored in plants, there exists little information on the source and extent of variability in the functional traits of higher trophic level organisms. Here we investigated variability in two functionally relevant dung beetle traits, measured from individuals collected from three primary forest sites containing distinct beetle communities: body mass and back leg length. In doing so we too addressed the following questions: (i) what is the contribution of intra vs. interspecific differences in trait values; (ii) what sample size is needed to provide representative species mean trait values; and (iii) what impact does omission of intraspecific trait information have on the calculation of functional diversity (FD) indices from naturally assembled communities? At the population level, interspecific differences explained the majority of variability in measured traits (between 94% and 96%). In accordance with this, the error associated with calculating FD without inclusion of intraspecific variability was low, less than 20% in all cases. This suggests that complete sampling to capture intraspecific variance in traits is not necessary even when investigating the FD of small and/or naturally formed communities. To gain an accurate estimation of species mean trait values we encourage the measurement of 30–60 individuals and, where possible, these should be taken from specimens collected from the site of study. PMID:26939121

  20. Birth Month Affects Longevity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Abel, Ernest L.; Kruger, Michael L.

    2010-01-01

    The authors examined the association between birth month and longevity for major league baseball players. Players born in the month of November had the greatest longevities whereas those born in June had the shortest life spans. These differences remained after controlling for covariates such as birth year, career length, age at debut, height, and…

  1. Exercise, Aging and Longevity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brown, Stanley P.; Cundiff, David E.

    1988-01-01

    The question of whether or not a lifelong program of exercise actually has a bearing on longevity is discussed. The effects of exercise on the aging process, and the longevity-exercise relationship are reviewed. The conflicting evidence on the subject is presented. (JL)

  2. Functional traits explain phytoplankton responses to environmental gradients across lakes of the United States.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Kyle F; Litchman, Elena; Klausmeier, Christopher A

    2013-07-01

    Ecological communities exhibit regular shifts in structure along environmental gradients, but it has proved difficult to dissect the mechanisms by which environmental conditions determine the relative success of species. Functional traits may provide a link between environmental drivers and mechanisms of community membership, but this has not been well tested for phytoplankton, which dominate primary production in many aquatic ecosystems. Here we test whether functional traits of phytoplankton can explain how species respond to gradients of light and phosphorus across U.S. lakes. We find that traits related to light utilization and maximum growth rate can predict species' differential responses to the relative availability of these resources. These results show that laboratory-measured traits are predictive of species' performance under natural conditions, that functional traits provide a mechanistic foundation for community ecology, and that variation in community structure is predictable in spite of the complexity of ecological communities.

  3. Proteomics of red and white corolla limbs in petunia reveals a novel function of the anthocyanin regulator ANTHOCYANIN1 in determining flower longevity.

    PubMed

    Prinsi, Bhakti; Negri, Alfredo S; Quattrocchio, Francesca M; Koes, Ronald E; Espen, Luca

    2016-01-10

    The Petunia hybrida ANTHOCYANIN1 (AN1) gene encodes a transcription factor that regulates both the expression of genes involved in anthocyanin synthesis and the acidification of the vacuolar lumen in corolla epidermal cells. In this work, the comparison between the red flowers of the R27 line with the white flowers of the isogenic an1 mutant line W225 showed that the AN1 gene has further pleiotropic effects on flavonoid biosynthesis as well as on distant physiological traits. The proteomic profiling showed that the an1 mutation was associated to changes in accumulation of several proteins, affecting both anthocyanin synthesis and primary metabolism. The flavonoid composition study confirmed that the an1 mutation provoked a broad attenuation of the entire flavonoid pathway, probably by indirect biochemical events. Moreover, proteomic changes and variation of biochemical parameters revealed that the an1 mutation induced a delay in the onset of flower senescence in W225, as supported by the enhanced longevity of the W225 flowers in planta and the loss of sensitivity of cut flowers to sugar. This study suggests that AN1 is possibly involved in the perception and/or transduction of ethylene signal during flower senescence.

  4. Proteomics of red and white corolla limbs in petunia reveals a novel function of the anthocyanin regulator ANTHOCYANIN1 in determining flower longevity.

    PubMed

    Prinsi, Bhakti; Negri, Alfredo S; Quattrocchio, Francesca M; Koes, Ronald E; Espen, Luca

    2016-01-10

    The Petunia hybrida ANTHOCYANIN1 (AN1) gene encodes a transcription factor that regulates both the expression of genes involved in anthocyanin synthesis and the acidification of the vacuolar lumen in corolla epidermal cells. In this work, the comparison between the red flowers of the R27 line with the white flowers of the isogenic an1 mutant line W225 showed that the AN1 gene has further pleiotropic effects on flavonoid biosynthesis as well as on distant physiological traits. The proteomic profiling showed that the an1 mutation was associated to changes in accumulation of several proteins, affecting both anthocyanin synthesis and primary metabolism. The flavonoid composition study confirmed that the an1 mutation provoked a broad attenuation of the entire flavonoid pathway, probably by indirect biochemical events. Moreover, proteomic changes and variation of biochemical parameters revealed that the an1 mutation induced a delay in the onset of flower senescence in W225, as supported by the enhanced longevity of the W225 flowers in planta and the loss of sensitivity of cut flowers to sugar. This study suggests that AN1 is possibly involved in the perception and/or transduction of ethylene signal during flower senescence. PMID:26459403

  5. Predicting College Students' Positive Psychology Associated Traits with Executive Functioning Dimensions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marshall, Seth

    2016-01-01

    More research is needed that investigates how positive psychology-associated traits are predicted by neurocognitive processes. Correspondingly, the purpose of this study was to ascertain how, and to what extent, four traits, namely, grit, optimism, positive affect, and life satisfaction were predicted by the executive functioning (EF) dimensions…

  6. Schizotypal Personality Traits and Atypical Lateralization in Motor and Language Functions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Asai, Tomohisa; Sugimori, Eriko; Tanno, Yoshihiko

    2009-01-01

    Atypical cerebral lateralization in motor and language functions in regard to schizotypal personality traits in healthy populations, as well as among schizophrenic patients, has attracted attention because these traits may represent a risk factor for schizophrenia. Although the relationship between handedness and schizotypal personality has been…

  7. Using plant functional traits as a link between land use and bee foraging abundance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pakeman, R. J.; Stockan, J.

    2013-07-01

    Many recent studies have shown that plant functional traits can be used to predict the response of plant assemblages to management or other environmental change. A further challenge is to use them to predict changes in the assemblages of other groups. Using data from a study of the impact of land use on biodiversity, the linkages between management drivers, a range of plant functional traits and the overall foraging numbers and assemblage of bees was assessed. Bee foraging numbers were only weakly predicted by plant traits, though bee foraging assemblage was closely related to a number of different groups of plant traits (flower colour and Forage Index, as well as taxonomic group). In turn, the selected traits were significantly correlated to some of the response traits that linked the plant assemblage to management, indicating that there was a predictive pathway from management to bee abundance and assemblage structure. However, models developed with just the environmental drivers proved superior at predicting both bee numbers and assemblage. Plant traits proved to be a moderately effective predictor of bee assemblage structure. However, the use of plant traits as a link between the bees and management did not offer any improvement on models directly developed from management variables. This suggests that the bee assemblage is responding to traits that have not been quantified and that developing these trophic linkage models may have to take a different approach.

  8. Functional traits composition predict macrophytes community productivity along a water depth gradient in a freshwater lake.

    PubMed

    Fu, Hui; Zhong, Jiayou; Yuan, Guixiang; Ni, Leyi; Xie, Ping; Cao, Te

    2014-05-01

    Functional trait composition of plant communities has been proposed as a helpful key for understanding the mechanisms of biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning. In this study, we applied a step-wise modeling procedure to test the relative effects of taxonomic diversity, functional identity, and functional diversity on macrophytes community productivity along water depth gradient. We sampled 42 plots and 1513 individual plants and measured 16 functional traits and abundance of 17 macrophyte species. Results showed that there was a significant decrease in taxonomic diversity, functional identity (i.e., stem dry mass content, leaf [C] and leaf [N]), and functional diversity (i.e., floating leaf, mean Julian flowering date and rooting depth) with increasing water depth. For the multiple-trait functional diversity (FD) indices, functional richness decreased, while functional divergence increased with water depth gradient. Macrophyte community productivity was strongly determined by functional trait composition within community, but not significantly affected by taxonomic diversity. Community-weighted means (CWM) showed a two times higher explanatory power relative to FD indices in determining variations in community productivity. For nine of sixteen traits, CWM and FD showed significant correlations with community productivity, although the strength and direction of those relations depended on selected trait. Furthermore, functional composition in a community affected productivity through either additive or opposite effects of CWM and FD, depending on the particular traits being considered. Our results suggested both mechanisms of mass ratio and niche complementarity can operate simultaneously on variations in community productivity, and considering both CWM and FD would lead to a more profound understanding of traits-productivity relationships.

  9. Personality Traits as a Function of Beliefs and Childhood Experience.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Catlin, George

    The origins of personality traits and emotions have long been a subject of investigation and controversy. Beginning with Freud, an argument has been made from a wide variety of perspectives that early childhood relationships to parents are a primary factor in shaping personality. Within a cognitive paradigm, people's beliefs about themselves and…

  10. Filling the gap in functional trait databases: use of ecological hypotheses to replace missing data.

    PubMed

    Taugourdeau, Simon; Villerd, Jean; Plantureux, Sylvain; Huguenin-Elie, Olivier; Amiaud, Bernard

    2014-04-01

    Functional trait databases are powerful tools in ecology, though most of them contain large amounts of missing values. The goal of this study was to test the effect of imputation methods on the evaluation of trait values at species level and on the subsequent calculation of functional diversity indices at community level using functional trait databases. Two simple imputation methods (average and median), two methods based on ecological hypotheses, and one multiple imputation method were tested using a large plant trait database, together with the influence of the percentage of missing data and differences between functional traits. At community level, the complete-case approach and three functional diversity indices calculated from grassland plant communities were included. At the species level, one of the methods based on ecological hypothesis was for all traits more accurate than imputation with average or median values, but the multiple imputation method was superior for most of the traits. The method based on functional proximity between species was the best method for traits with an unbalanced distribution, while the method based on the existence of relationships between traits was the best for traits with a balanced distribution. The ranking of the grassland communities for their functional diversity indices was not robust with the complete-case approach, even for low percentages of missing data. With the imputation methods based on ecological hypotheses, functional diversity indices could be computed with a maximum of 30% of missing data, without affecting the ranking between grassland communities. The multiple imputation method performed well, but not better than single imputation based on ecological hypothesis and adapted to the distribution of the trait values for the functional identity and range of the communities. Ecological studies using functional trait databases have to deal with missing data using imputation methods corresponding to their specific

  11. Galactinol as marker for seed longevity.

    PubMed

    de Souza Vidigal, Deborah; Willems, Leo; van Arkel, Jeroen; Dekkers, Bas J W; Hilhorst, Henk W M; Bentsink, Leónie

    2016-05-01

    Reduced seed longevity or storability is a major problem in seed storage and contributes to increased costs in crop production. Here we investigated whether seed galactinol contents could be predictive for seed storability behavior in Arabidopsis, cabbage and tomato. The analyses revealed a positive correlation between galactinol content and seed longevity in the three species tested, which indicates that this correlation is conserved in the Brassicaceae and beyond. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping in tomato revealed a co-locating QTL for galactinol content and seed longevity on chromosome 2. A candidate for this QTL is the GALACTINOL SYNTHASE gene (Solyc02g084980.2.1) that is located in the QTL interval. GALACTINOL SYNTHASE is a key enzyme of the raffinose family oligosaccharide (RFO) pathway. To investigate the role of enzymes in the RFO pathway in more detail, we applied a reverse genetics approach using T-DNA knock-out lines in genes encoding enzymes of this pathway (GALACTINOL SYNTHASE 1, GALACTINOL SYNTHASE 2, RAFFINOSE SYNTHASE, STACHYOSE SYNTHASE and ALPHA-GALACTOSIDASE) and overexpressors of the cucumber GALACTINOL SYNTHASE 2 gene in Arabidopsis. The galactinol synthase 2 mutant and the galactinol synthase 1 galactinol synthase 2 double mutant contained the lowest seed galactinol content which coincided with lower seed longevity. These results show that galactinol content of mature dry seed can be used as a biomarker for seed longevity in Brassicaceae and tomato. PMID:26993241

  12. Predicting Species-environment Relationships with Functional Traits for the Understory Flora of Wisconsin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ash, J.; Li, D.; Johnson, S.; Rogers, D. A.; Waller, D. M.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the processes that structure species' abundance patterns is a central problem in ecology, both for explaining current species' distributions and predicting future changes. Environmental gradients affect species' distribution patterns with these responses likely depending on species' functional traits. Thus, tracking shifts in species' traits can provide insight into the mechanisms by which species respond to dynamic environmental conditions. We examined how functional traits are associated with long-term changes in the distribution and abundance of understory plants in Wisconsin forests over the last 50+ years. We relied on detailed surveys and resurveys of the same Wisconsin forest plots, data on 12 functional traits, and site-level environmental variables including soil and climate conditions. We then related changes in the abundance of 293 species across a network of 249 sites to these environmental variables and explored whether functional traits served to predict these relationships using multilevel models. Species abundance patterns were strongly related to variation in environmental conditions among sites, but species appear to be responding to distinct sets of environmental variables. Functional traits only weakly predicted these species-environment relationships, limiting our ability to generalize these results to other systems. Nonetheless, understanding how traits interact with environmental gradients to structure species distribution patterns helps us to disentangle the drivers of ecological change across diverse landscapes.

  13. Herbivores modify selection on plant functional traits in a temperate rainforest understory.

    PubMed

    Salgado-Luarte, Cristian; Gianoli, Ernesto

    2012-08-01

    There is limited evidence regarding the adaptive value of plant functional traits in contrasting light environments. It has been suggested that changes in these traits in response to light availability can increase herbivore susceptibility. We tested the adaptive value of plant functional traits linked with carbon gain in contrasting light environments and also evaluated whether herbivores can modify selection on these traits in each light environment. In a temperate rainforest, we examined phenotypic selection on functional traits in seedlings of the pioneer tree Aristotelia chilensis growing in sun (canopy gap) and shade (forest understory) and subjected to either natural herbivory or herbivore exclusion. We found differential selection on functional traits depending on light environment. In sun, there was positive directional selection on photosynthetic rate and relative growth rate (RGR), indicating that selection favors competitive ability in a high-resource environment. Seedlings with high specific leaf area (SLA) and intermediate RGR were selected in shade, suggesting that light capture and conservative resource use are favored in the understory. Herbivores reduced the strength of positive directional selection acting on SLA in shade. We provide the first demonstration that natural herbivory rates can change the strength of selection on plant ecophysiological traits, that is, attributes whose main function is resource uptake. Research addressing the evolution of shade tolerance should incorporate the selective role of herbivores.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  15. Pleiotropy Analysis of Quantitative Traits at Gene Level by Multivariate Functional Linear Models

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yifan; Liu, Aiyi; Mills, James L.; Boehnke, Michael; Wilson, Alexander F.; Bailey-Wilson, Joan E.; Xiong, Momiao; Wu, Colin O.; Fan, Ruzong

    2015-01-01

    In genetics, pleiotropy describes the genetic effect of a single gene on multiple phenotypic traits. A common approach is to analyze the phenotypic traits separately using univariate analyses and combine the test results through multiple comparisons. This approach may lead to low power. Multivariate functional linear models are developed to connect genetic variant data to multiple quantitative traits adjusting for covariates for a unified analysis. Three types of approximate F-distribution tests based on Pillai–Bartlett trace, Hotelling–Lawley trace, and Wilks’s Lambda are introduced to test for association between multiple quantitative traits and multiple genetic variants in one genetic region. The approximate F-distribution tests provide much more significant results than those of F-tests of univariate analysis and optimal sequence kernel association test (SKAT-O). Extensive simulations were performed to evaluate the false positive rates and power performance of the proposed models and tests. We show that the approximate F-distribution tests control the type I error rates very well. Overall, simultaneous analysis of multiple traits can increase power performance compared to an individual test of each trait. The proposed methods were applied to analyze (1) four lipid traits in eight European cohorts, and (2) three biochemical traits in the Trinity Students Study. The approximate F-distribution tests provide much more significant results than those of F-tests of univariate analysis and SKAT-O for the three biochemical traits. The approximate F-distribution tests of the proposed functional linear models are more sensitive than those of the traditional multivariate linear models that in turn are more sensitive than SKAT-O in the univariate case. The analysis of the four lipid traits and the three biochemical traits detects more association than SKAT-O in the univariate case. PMID:25809955

  16. Pleiotropy analysis of quantitative traits at gene level by multivariate functional linear models.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yifan; Liu, Aiyi; Mills, James L; Boehnke, Michael; Wilson, Alexander F; Bailey-Wilson, Joan E; Xiong, Momiao; Wu, Colin O; Fan, Ruzong

    2015-05-01

    In genetics, pleiotropy describes the genetic effect of a single gene on multiple phenotypic traits. A common approach is to analyze the phenotypic traits separately using univariate analyses and combine the test results through multiple comparisons. This approach may lead to low power. Multivariate functional linear models are developed to connect genetic variant data to multiple quantitative traits adjusting for covariates for a unified analysis. Three types of approximate F-distribution tests based on Pillai-Bartlett trace, Hotelling-Lawley trace, and Wilks's Lambda are introduced to test for association between multiple quantitative traits and multiple genetic variants in one genetic region. The approximate F-distribution tests provide much more significant results than those of F-tests of univariate analysis and optimal sequence kernel association test (SKAT-O). Extensive simulations were performed to evaluate the false positive rates and power performance of the proposed models and tests. We show that the approximate F-distribution tests control the type I error rates very well. Overall, simultaneous analysis of multiple traits can increase power performance compared to an individual test of each trait. The proposed methods were applied to analyze (1) four lipid traits in eight European cohorts, and (2) three biochemical traits in the Trinity Students Study. The approximate F-distribution tests provide much more significant results than those of F-tests of univariate analysis and SKAT-O for the three biochemical traits. The approximate F-distribution tests of the proposed functional linear models are more sensitive than those of the traditional multivariate linear models that in turn are more sensitive than SKAT-O in the univariate case. The analysis of the four lipid traits and the three biochemical traits detects more association than SKAT-O in the univariate case.

  17. How plant functional traits cascade to microbial function and ecosystem services in mountain grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lavorel, S.; Grigulis, K.; Krainer, U.; Legay, N.; Turner, C.; Dumont, M.; Kastl, E.; Arnoldi, C.; Bardgett, R.; Poly, F.; Pommier, T.; Schloter, M.; Tappeiner, U.; Bahn, M.; Clément, J.-C.

    2012-04-01

    1. There is growing evidence that plant functional diversity and microbial communities of soil are tightly coupled, and that this coupling influences a range of ecosystem functions. Moreover, it has been hypothesized that changes in the nature of interactions between plant functional diversity and microbial communities along environmental gradients contributes to variation in the delivery of ecosystem services. Although there is empirical support for such relationships using broad plant and microbial functional classifications, or from studies of plant monocultures, such relationships and their consequences for ecosystem services have not been quantified under complex field conditions with diverse plant communities. 2. We aimed to provide an explicit quantification of how plant and microbial functional properties interplay to determine key ecosystem functions underlying ecosystem services provided by grasslands. At three mountain grassland sites in the French Alps, Austrian Tyrol and northern England, we quantified, along gradients of management intensity, (i) plant functional diversity, (ii) soil microbial community composition and parameters associated with nitrogen cycling, and (iii) key ecosystem processes related to the carbon and nitrogen cycles including aboveground biomass production, standing litter, litter decomposition, soil organic matter and nitrate and ammonium leaching . Considering that plants strongly determine microbial communities, we used a hierarchical approach that considered first direct effects of plant traits and then effects of soil microorganisms on processes, to determine the relative effects of plant and microbial functional parameters on key ecosystem properties. 3. We identified a gradient of relative effects of plant and microbial traits from properties controlled mostly by aboveground processes, such as plant biomass production and standing litter, to properties controlled mostly by microbial processes, such as soil leaching of

  18. Cognitive Functions, Personality Traits, and Social Values in Heavy Marihuana Smokers and Nonsmoker Controls

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weckowicz, Thaddeus E.; Janssen, Doug V.

    1973-01-01

    To determine the effect of chronic marihuana smoking on cognitive functions, personality traits, and social values, a group of heavy marihuana smokers was compared with a matched control group. (Author)

  19. A multidimensional functional trait analysis of resource exploitation in European ants.

    PubMed

    Retana, Javier; Arnan, Xavier; Cerdá, Xim

    2015-10-01

    The major factors explaining ecological variation in plants have been widely discussed over the last decade thanks to numerous studies that have examined the covariation that exists between pairs of traits. However, multivariate relationships among traits remain poorly characterized in animals. In this study, we aimed to identify the main multivariate trait dimensions that explain variance in important functional traits related to resource exploitation in ants. To this end, we created a large ant trait database. This database includes information on 11 traits that are important in ant resource exploitation; data were obtained for 150 European species found in different biomes. First, we examined the pairwise correlations between the traits included in the database. Second, we used multivariate analyses to identify potential trait dimensions. Our study shows that, to a great extent, resource exploitation strategies align along two main trait dimensions. The first dimension emerged in both the overall and group-specific analyses, where it accounted for the same pairwise trait correlations. The second dimension was more variable, as species were grouped by levels of taxonomy, habitat, and climate. These two dimensions included most of the significant pairwise trait correlations, thus highlighting that complementarity, but also redundancy, exists among different pairs of traits. The first dimension was associated with behavioral dominance: dominance was associated with large colony size, presence of multiple nests per colony, worker polymorphism, and a collective foraging 'strategy. The second dimension was associated with resource partitioning along dietary and microhabitat lines: it ranged from species that consume liquid foods, engage in group foraging, and mainly nest in the vegetation to species that consume insects and seeds, engage in individual foraging, and demonstrate strictly diurnal activity. Our findings establish a proficient ecological trait-based animal

  20. A multidimensional functional trait analysis of resource exploitation in European ants.

    PubMed

    Retana, Javier; Arnan, Xavier; Cerdá, Xim

    2015-10-01

    The major factors explaining ecological variation in plants have been widely discussed over the last decade thanks to numerous studies that have examined the covariation that exists between pairs of traits. However, multivariate relationships among traits remain poorly characterized in animals. In this study, we aimed to identify the main multivariate trait dimensions that explain variance in important functional traits related to resource exploitation in ants. To this end, we created a large ant trait database. This database includes information on 11 traits that are important in ant resource exploitation; data were obtained for 150 European species found in different biomes. First, we examined the pairwise correlations between the traits included in the database. Second, we used multivariate analyses to identify potential trait dimensions. Our study shows that, to a great extent, resource exploitation strategies align along two main trait dimensions. The first dimension emerged in both the overall and group-specific analyses, where it accounted for the same pairwise trait correlations. The second dimension was more variable, as species were grouped by levels of taxonomy, habitat, and climate. These two dimensions included most of the significant pairwise trait correlations, thus highlighting that complementarity, but also redundancy, exists among different pairs of traits. The first dimension was associated with behavioral dominance: dominance was associated with large colony size, presence of multiple nests per colony, worker polymorphism, and a collective foraging 'strategy. The second dimension was associated with resource partitioning along dietary and microhabitat lines: it ranged from species that consume liquid foods, engage in group foraging, and mainly nest in the vegetation to species that consume insects and seeds, engage in individual foraging, and demonstrate strictly diurnal activity. Our findings establish a proficient ecological trait-based animal

  1. Gut Microbiota and Extreme Longevity.

    PubMed

    Biagi, Elena; Franceschi, Claudio; Rampelli, Simone; Severgnini, Marco; Ostan, Rita; Turroni, Silvia; Consolandi, Clarissa; Quercia, Sara; Scurti, Maria; Monti, Daniela; Capri, Miriam; Brigidi, Patrizia; Candela, Marco

    2016-06-01

    The study of the extreme limits of human lifespan may allow a better understanding of how human beings can escape, delay, or survive the most frequent age-related causes of morbidity, a peculiarity shown by long-living individuals. Longevity is a complex trait in which genetics, environment, and stochasticity concur to determine the chance to reach 100 or more years of age [1]. Because of its impact on human metabolism and immunology, the gut microbiome has been proposed as a possible determinant of healthy aging [2, 3]. Indeed, the preservation of host-microbes homeostasis can counteract inflammaging [4], intestinal permeability [5], and decline in bone and cognitive health [6, 7]. Aiming at deepening our knowledge on the relationship between the gut microbiota and a long-living host, we provide for the first time the phylogenetic microbiota analysis of semi-supercentenarians, i.e., 105-109 years old, in comparison to adults, elderly, and centenarians, thus reconstructing the longest available human microbiota trajectory along aging. We highlighted the presence of a core microbiota of highly occurring, symbiotic bacterial taxa (mostly belonging to the dominant Ruminococcaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Bacteroidaceae families), with a cumulative abundance decreasing along with age. Aging is characterized by an increasing abundance of subdominant species, as well as a rearrangement in their co-occurrence network. These features are maintained in longevity and extreme longevity, but peculiarities emerged, especially in semi-supercentenarians, describing changes that, even accommodating opportunistic and allochthonous bacteria, might possibly support health maintenance during aging, such as an enrichment and/or higher prevalence of health-associated groups (e.g., Akkermansia, Bifidobacterium, and Christensenellaceae). PMID:27185560

  2. How functional traits, herbivory, and genetic diversity interact in Echinacea: implications for fragmented populations.

    PubMed

    Kittelson, Pamela M; Wagenius, Stuart; Nielsen, Reina; Qazi, Sanjive; Howe, Michael; Kiefer, Gretel; Shaw, Ruth G

    2015-07-01

    Habitat fragmentation produces small, spatially isolated populations that promote inbreeding. Remnant populations often contain inbred and outbred individuals, but it is unclear how inbreeding relative to outbreeding affects the expression of functional traits and biotic interactions such as herbivory. We measured a suite of 12 functional traits and herbivore damage on three genotypic cross types in the prairie forb, Echinacea angustifolia: inbred, and outbred crosses resulting from matings within and between remnant populations. Inbreeding significantly affected the expression of all 12 functional traits that influence resource capture. Inbred individuals had consistently lower photosynthetic rates, water use efficiencies, specific leaf areas, and had higher trichome numbers, percent C, and percent N than outbred individuals. However, herbivore damage did not differ significantly among the cross types and was not correlated with other leaf functional traits. Leaf architecture and low physiological rates of the inbred compared to outbred individuals imply poorer capture or use of resources. Inbred plants also had lower survival and fitness relative to outbred plants. Our results show that inbreeding, a phenomenon predicted and observed to occur in fragmented populations, influences key functional traits such as plant structure, physiology and elemental composition. Because of their likely role in fitness of individuals and ecological dynamics plant functional traits can serve as a bridge between evolution and community or ecosystem ecology.

  3. [Dietary habit and longevity].

    PubMed

    Shimokata, Hiroshi

    2007-03-01

    Obesity is one of the most important causes of life-style related diseases, and recently its pathophysiology is emphasized as metabolic syndrome. Preventing obesity by good dietary habit is a key to achieve healthy longevity. However, a lean body is not always good for health. There is an ideal body size for each person. This ideal body size differs according to age. Especially in the elderly, to prevent weight loss is more important for maintaining health and longevity than to be obese. Malnutrition is a critical factor of diseases and death in the elderly. Problems in nutritional status, and dietary intake, and methods of nutritional assessment in the elderly are discussed. Ideal body size for health and longevity, the relationship of body fat distribution and intra-abdominal fat accumulation health, and the effects of rapid weight change are also discussed to clarify the association of dietary habit and nutrition with longevity.

  4. Functional traits and environmental filtering drive community assembly in a species-rich tropical system.

    PubMed

    Lebrija-Trejos, Edwin; Pérez-García, Eduardo A; Meave, Jorge A; Bongers, Frans; Poorter, Lourens

    2010-02-01

    Mechanistic models of community assembly state that biotic and abiotic filters constrain species establishment through selection on their functional traits. Predicting this assembly process is hampered because few studies directly incorporate environmental measurements and scale up from species to community level and because the functional traits' significance is environment dependent. We analyzed community assembly by measuring structure, environmental conditions, and species traits of secondary forests in a species-rich tropical system. We found, as hypothesized, that community structure shaped the local environment and that strong relationships existed between this environment and the traits of the most successful species of the regeneration communities. Path and multivariate analyses showed that temperature and leaf traits that regulate it were the most important factors of community differentiation. Comparisons between the trait composition of the forest's regeneration, juvenile, and adult communities showed a consistent community assembly pattern. These results allowed us to identify the major functional traits and environmental factors involved in the assembly of dry-forest communities and demonstrate that environmental filtering is a predictable and fundamental process of community assembly, even in a complex system such as a tropical forest.

  5. Predicting climate change effects on wetland ecosystem services using species distribution modeling and plant functional traits.

    PubMed

    Moor, Helen; Hylander, Kristoffer; Norberg, Jon

    2015-01-01

    Wetlands provide multiple ecosystem services, the sustainable use of which requires knowledge of the underlying ecological mechanisms. Functional traits, particularly the community-weighted mean trait (CWMT), provide a strong link between species communities and ecosystem functioning. We here combine species distribution modeling and plant functional traits to estimate the direction of change of ecosystem processes under climate change. We model changes in CWMT values for traits relevant to three key services, focusing on the regional species pool in the Norrström area (central Sweden) and three main wetland types. Our method predicts proportional shifts toward faster growing, more productive and taller species, which tend to increase CWMT values of specific leaf area and canopy height, whereas changes in root depth vary. The predicted changes in CWMT values suggest a potential increase in flood attenuation services, a potential increase in short (but not long)-term nutrient retention, and ambiguous outcomes for carbon sequestration.

  6. Functional traits predict relationship between plant abundance dynamic and long-term climate warming.

    PubMed

    Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A; Elumeeva, Tatiana G; Onipchenko, Vladimir G; Shidakov, Islam I; Salpagarova, Fatima S; Khubiev, Anzor B; Tekeev, Dzhamal K; Cornelissen, Johannes H C

    2013-11-01

    Predicting climate change impact on ecosystem structure and services is one of the most important challenges in ecology. Until now, plant species response to climate change has been described at the level of fixed plant functional types, an approach limited by its inflexibility as there is much interspecific functional variation within plant functional types. Considering a plant species as a set of functional traits greatly increases our possibilities for analysis of ecosystem functioning and carbon and nutrient fluxes associated therewith. Moreover, recently assembled large-scale databases hold comprehensive per-species data on plant functional traits, allowing a detailed functional description of many plant communities on Earth. Here, we show that plant functional traits can be used as predictors of vegetation response to climate warming, accounting in our test ecosystem (the species-rich alpine belt of Caucasus mountains, Russia) for 59% of variability in the per-species abundance relation to temperature. In this mountain belt, traits that promote conservative leaf water economy (higher leaf mass per area, thicker leaves) and large investments in belowground reserves to support next year's shoot buds (root carbon content) were the best predictors of the species increase in abundance along with temperature increase. This finding demonstrates that plant functional traits constitute a highly useful concept for forecasting changes in plant communities, and their associated ecosystem services, in response to climate change. PMID:24145400

  7. Functional traits predict relationship between plant abundance dynamic and long-term climate warming

    PubMed Central

    Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A.; Elumeeva, Tatiana G.; Onipchenko, Vladimir G.; Shidakov, Islam I.; Salpagarova, Fatima S.; Khubiev, Anzor B.; Tekeev, Dzhamal K.; Cornelissen, Johannes H. C.

    2013-01-01

    Predicting climate change impact on ecosystem structure and services is one of the most important challenges in ecology. Until now, plant species response to climate change has been described at the level of fixed plant functional types, an approach limited by its inflexibility as there is much interspecific functional variation within plant functional types. Considering a plant species as a set of functional traits greatly increases our possibilities for analysis of ecosystem functioning and carbon and nutrient fluxes associated therewith. Moreover, recently assembled large-scale databases hold comprehensive per-species data on plant functional traits, allowing a detailed functional description of many plant communities on Earth. Here, we show that plant functional traits can be used as predictors of vegetation response to climate warming, accounting in our test ecosystem (the species-rich alpine belt of Caucasus mountains, Russia) for 59% of variability in the per-species abundance relation to temperature. In this mountain belt, traits that promote conservative leaf water economy (higher leaf mass per area, thicker leaves) and large investments in belowground reserves to support next year’s shoot buds (root carbon content) were the best predictors of the species increase in abundance along with temperature increase. This finding demonstrates that plant functional traits constitute a highly useful concept for forecasting changes in plant communities, and their associated ecosystem services, in response to climate change. PMID:24145400

  8. Functional traits predict relationship between plant abundance dynamic and long-term climate warming.

    PubMed

    Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A; Elumeeva, Tatiana G; Onipchenko, Vladimir G; Shidakov, Islam I; Salpagarova, Fatima S; Khubiev, Anzor B; Tekeev, Dzhamal K; Cornelissen, Johannes H C

    2013-11-01

    Predicting climate change impact on ecosystem structure and services is one of the most important challenges in ecology. Until now, plant species response to climate change has been described at the level of fixed plant functional types, an approach limited by its inflexibility as there is much interspecific functional variation within plant functional types. Considering a plant species as a set of functional traits greatly increases our possibilities for analysis of ecosystem functioning and carbon and nutrient fluxes associated therewith. Moreover, recently assembled large-scale databases hold comprehensive per-species data on plant functional traits, allowing a detailed functional description of many plant communities on Earth. Here, we show that plant functional traits can be used as predictors of vegetation response to climate warming, accounting in our test ecosystem (the species-rich alpine belt of Caucasus mountains, Russia) for 59% of variability in the per-species abundance relation to temperature. In this mountain belt, traits that promote conservative leaf water economy (higher leaf mass per area, thicker leaves) and large investments in belowground reserves to support next year's shoot buds (root carbon content) were the best predictors of the species increase in abundance along with temperature increase. This finding demonstrates that plant functional traits constitute a highly useful concept for forecasting changes in plant communities, and their associated ecosystem services, in response to climate change.

  9. Variation in trait trade-offs allows differentiation among predefined plant functional types: implications for predictive ecology.

    PubMed

    Verheijen, Lieneke M; Aerts, Rien; Bönisch, Gerhard; Kattge, Jens; Van Bodegom, Peter M

    2016-01-01

    Plant functional types (PFTs) aggregate the variety of plant species into a small number of functionally different classes. We examined to what extent plant traits, which reflect species' functional adaptations, can capture functional differences between predefined PFTs and which traits optimally describe these differences. We applied Gaussian kernel density estimation to determine probability density functions for individual PFTs in an n-dimensional trait space and compared predicted PFTs with observed PFTs. All possible combinations of 1-6 traits from a database with 18 different traits (total of 18 287 species) were tested. A variety of trait sets had approximately similar performance, and 4-5 traits were sufficient to classify up to 85% of the species into PFTs correctly, whereas this was 80% for a bioclimatically defined tree PFT classification. Well-performing trait sets included combinations of correlated traits that are considered functionally redundant within a single plant strategy. This analysis quantitatively demonstrates how structural differences between PFTs are reflected in functional differences described by particular traits. Differentiation between PFTs is possible despite large overlap in plant strategies and traits, showing that PFTs are differently positioned in multidimensional trait space. This study therefore provides the foundation for important applications for predictive ecology. PMID:26352461

  10. Functional traits reveal processes driving natural afforestation at large spatial scales.

    PubMed

    Mason, Norman W H; Wiser, Susan K; Richardson, Sarah J; Thorsen, Michael J; Holdaway, Robert J; Dray, Stéphane; Thomson, Fiona J; Carswell, Fiona E

    2013-01-01

    An understanding of the processes governing natural afforestation over large spatial scales is vital for enhancing forest carbon sequestration. Models of tree species occurrence probability in non-forest vegetation could potentially identify the primary variables determining natural afforestation. However, inferring processes governing afforestation using tree species occurrence is potentially problematic, since it is impossible to know whether observed occurrences are due to recruitment or persistence of existing trees following disturbance. Plant functional traits have the potential to reveal the processes by which key environmental and land cover variables influence afforestation. We used 10,061 survey plots to identify the primary environmental and land cover variables influencing tree occurrence probability in non-forest vegetation in New Zealand. We also examined how these variables influenced diversity of functional traits linked to plant ecological strategy and dispersal ability. Mean annual temperature was the most important environmental predictor of tree occurrence. Local woody cover and distance to forest were the most important land cover variables. Relationships between these variables and ecological strategy traits revealed a trade-off between ability to compete for light and colonize sites that were marginal for tree occurrence. Biotically dispersed species occurred less frequently with declining temperature and local woody cover, suggesting that abiotic stress limited their establishment and that biotic dispersal did not increase ability to colonize non-woody vegetation. Functional diversity for ecological strategy traits declined with declining temperature and woody cover and increasing distance to forest. Functional diversity for dispersal traits showed the opposite trend. This suggests that low temperatures and woody cover and high distance to forest may limit tree species establishment through filtering on ecological strategy traits, but not on

  11. Statistical laws for career longevity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petersen, Alexander; Jung, Woo-Sung; Yang, Jae-Suk; Stanley, H. Eugene

    2009-03-01

    Career length distinguishes successful long tenures from unsuccessful short stints, and partially reflects the contributions of an employee to the goals of the employer. In some professions, there are well-defined metrics that quantify career longevity, prowess, and productivity, which together contribute to the overall success rating for an individual employee. In this talk, I motivate a stochastic model for career development that relies on two key ingredients, random progress within the career and random stopping times terminating the career. This model is exactly solvable, predicting the probability density function (pdf) of career longevity, characterized by two parameters, α and xc. The parameter α quantifies the power-law scaling of the pdf, which is terminated by an exponential cutoff after a crossover value xc, representing the mean career lifetime. We test the model with the large quantity of empirical data available for several professional sports leagues, American baseball, Korean baseball, American basketball, and English soccer, finding excellent agreement with the model's predictions. In all, the generality of the model suggests that there may be common stochastic forces that underly progress, success, and longevity in various professions.

  12. State and Trait Components of Functional Connectivity: Individual Differences Vary with Mental State

    PubMed Central

    Rubinov, Mikail; Cam-CAN; Henson, Richard N.

    2015-01-01

    Resting-state functional connectivity, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), is often treated as a trait, used, for example, to draw inferences about individual differences in cognitive function, or differences between healthy or diseased populations. However, functional connectivity can also depend on the individual's mental state. In the present study, we examined the relative contribution of state and trait components in shaping an individual's functional architecture. We used fMRI data from a large, population-based human sample (N = 587, age 18–88 years), as part of the Cambridge Centre for Aging and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN), which were collected in three mental states: resting, performing a sensorimotor task, and watching a movie. Whereas previous studies have shown commonalities across mental states in the average functional connectivity across individuals, we focused on the effects of states on the pattern of individual differences in functional connectivity. We found that state effects were as important as trait effects in shaping individual functional connectivity patterns, each explaining an approximately equal amount of variance. This was true when we looked at aging, as one specific dimension of individual differences, as well as when we looked at generic aspects of individual variation. These results show that individual differences in functional connectivity consist of state-dependent aspects, as well as more stable, trait-like characteristics. Studying individual differences in functional connectivity across a wider range of mental states will therefore provide a more complete picture of the mechanisms underlying factors such as cognitive ability, aging, and disease. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The brain's functional architecture is remarkably similar across different individuals and across different mental states, which is why many studies use functional connectivity as a trait measure. Despite these trait-like aspects, functional

  13. Local climate and cultivation, but not ploidy, predict functional trait variation in Bouteloua gracilis (Poaceae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Butterfield, Bradley J.; Wood, Troy E.

    2015-01-01

    Efforts to improve the diversity of seed 18 resources for important restoration species has become a high priority for land managers in many parts of the world. Relationships between functional trait values and the environment from which seed sources are collected can provide important insights into patterns of local adaptation and guidelines for seed transfer. However, little is known about which functional traits exhibit genetic differentiation across populations of restoration species and thus may contribute to local adaptation. Here, we report the results of a common garden experiment aimed at assessing genetic (including ploidy level) and environmental regulation of several functional traits among populations of Bouteloua gracilis, a dominant C4 grass and the most highly utilized restoration species across much of the Colorado Plateau. We found that leaf size and specific leaf area (SLA) varied significantly among populations, and were strongly correlated with the source population environment from which seeds were collected. However, variation in ploidy level had no significant effect on functional traits. Leaves of plants grown from commercial seed releases were significantly larger and had lower SLA than those from natural populations, a result that is concordant with the overall relation between climate and these two functional traits. We suggest that the patterns of functional trait variation shown here may extend to other grass species in the western USA, and may serve as useful proxies for more extensive genecology research. Furthermore, we argue that care should be taken to develop commercial seed lines with functional trait values that match those of natural populations occupying climates similar to target restoration sites.

  14. Longevity of Mycobacterium bovis in Raw and Traditional Souring Milk as a Function of Storage Temperature and Dose

    PubMed Central

    Hlokwe, Tiny; Raseleka, Keneilwe; Getz, Wayne M.; Marcotty, Tanguy

    2015-01-01

    Background Unpasteurised fresh and souring dairy products form an essential component of household diets throughout many rural communities in southern Africa. The presence of milk-borne zoonotic pathogens such as Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis and zoonotic tuberculosis in humans, constitute a public health threat, especially in remote areas with poor disease surveillance in livestock and highly compromised human health due to HIV/AIDS. Methods In this study we used culture to determine the longevity of M. bovis in experimentally inoculated fresh and naturally souring milk obtained from communal cattle in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The effect of bacterial load and storage temperature on the survival of M. bovis was evaluated by spiking mixtures of fresh milk and starter soured milk (aMasi) culture with three concentrations of bacteria (102, 104, 107 colony forming units/ml), followed by incubation under controlled laboratory conditions that mimicked ambient indoor (20°C) and outdoor (33°C) temperatures and periodic sampling and testing over time (0-56 days). Results M. bovis cultured from samples of the fresh and souring milk was identified by PCR analysis. At the highest spiking concentration (107cfu/ml), M. bovis survived for at least 2 weeks at 20°C; but, at all concentrations in the 33°C treatment, M. bovis was absent by three days after inoculation. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the effects of bacterial concentration and time since inoculation, as well as determine the potential half-life of M. bovis in raw souring milk. Given the most favourable tested conditions for bacterial survival (20°C), approximately 25% of mycobacteria were alive after one day of storage (95% CI: 9-53%), giving an estimated half-life of M. bovis in raw souring milk of approximately 12 hours (95% CI: 7-27 hours). Conclusions This study demonstrates that M. bovis may survive in fresh and souring milk for

  15. Interrelations between psychosocial functioning and adaptive- and maladaptive-range personality traits.

    PubMed

    Ro, Eunyoe; Clark, Lee Anna

    2013-08-01

    Decrements in one or more domains of psychosocial functioning (e.g., poor job performance, poor interpersonal relations) are commonly observed in psychiatric patients. The purpose of this study is to increase understanding of psychosocial functioning as a broad, multifaceted construct as well as its associations with both adaptive- and maladaptive-range personality traits in both nonclinical and psychiatric outpatient samples. The study was conducted in two phases. In Study 1, a nonclinical sample (N = 429) was administered seven psychosocial functioning and adaptive-range personality trait measures. In Study 2, psychiatric outpatients (N = 181) were administered the same psychosocial functioning measures, and maladaptive- as well as adaptive-range personality trait measures. Exploratory (both studies) and confirmatory (Study 2) factor analyses indicated a common three-factor, hierarchical structure of psychosocial functioning-Well Being, Social/Interpersonal Functioning, and Basic Functioning. These psychosocial functioning domains were closely--and differentially--linked with personality traits, especially strongly so in patients. Across samples, Well Being was associated with both Neuroticism/Negative Affectivity and Extraversion/Positive Affectivity, Social/Interpersonal Functioning was associated with both Agreeableness and Conscientiousness/Disinhibition, and Basic Functioning was associated with Conscientiousness/Disinhibition, although only modestly in the nonclinical sample. These relations generally were maintained even after partialing out current general dysphoric symptoms. These findings have implications for considering psychosocial functioning as an important third domain in a tripartite model together with personality and psychopathology. PMID:24016019

  16. Evaluating Functional Diversity: Missing Trait Data and the Importance of Species Abundance Structure and Data Transformation

    PubMed Central

    Bryndová, Michala; Kasari, Liis; Norberg, Anna; Weiss, Matthias; Bishop, Tom R.; Luke, Sarah H.; Sam, Katerina; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Lepš, Jan; Götzenberger, Lars; de Bello, Francesco

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity (FD) is an important component of biodiversity that quantifies the difference in functional traits between organisms. However, FD studies are often limited by the availability of trait data and FD indices are sensitive to data gaps. The distribution of species abundance and trait data, and its transformation, may further affect the accuracy of indices when data is incomplete. Using an existing approach, we simulated the effects of missing trait data by gradually removing data from a plant, an ant and a bird community dataset (12, 59, and 8 plots containing 62, 297 and 238 species respectively). We ranked plots by FD values calculated from full datasets and then from our increasingly incomplete datasets and compared the ranking between the original and virtually reduced datasets to assess the accuracy of FD indices when used on datasets with increasingly missing data. Finally, we tested the accuracy of FD indices with and without data transformation, and the effect of missing trait data per plot or per the whole pool of species. FD indices became less accurate as the amount of missing data increased, with the loss of accuracy depending on the index. But, where transformation improved the normality of the trait data, FD values from incomplete datasets were more accurate than before transformation. The distribution of data and its transformation are therefore as important as data completeness and can even mitigate the effect of missing data. Since the effect of missing trait values pool-wise or plot-wise depends on the data distribution, the method should be decided case by case. Data distribution and data transformation should be given more careful consideration when designing, analysing and interpreting FD studies, especially where trait data are missing. To this end, we provide the R package “traitor” to facilitate assessments of missing trait data. PMID:26881747

  17. Evaluating Functional Diversity: Missing Trait Data and the Importance of Species Abundance Structure and Data Transformation.

    PubMed

    Májeková, Maria; Paal, Taavi; Plowman, Nichola S; Bryndová, Michala; Kasari, Liis; Norberg, Anna; Weiss, Matthias; Bishop, Tom R; Luke, Sarah H; Sam, Katerina; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Lepš, Jan; Götzenberger, Lars; de Bello, Francesco

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity (FD) is an important component of biodiversity that quantifies the difference in functional traits between organisms. However, FD studies are often limited by the availability of trait data and FD indices are sensitive to data gaps. The distribution of species abundance and trait data, and its transformation, may further affect the accuracy of indices when data is incomplete. Using an existing approach, we simulated the effects of missing trait data by gradually removing data from a plant, an ant and a bird community dataset (12, 59, and 8 plots containing 62, 297 and 238 species respectively). We ranked plots by FD values calculated from full datasets and then from our increasingly incomplete datasets and compared the ranking between the original and virtually reduced datasets to assess the accuracy of FD indices when used on datasets with increasingly missing data. Finally, we tested the accuracy of FD indices with and without data transformation, and the effect of missing trait data per plot or per the whole pool of species. FD indices became less accurate as the amount of missing data increased, with the loss of accuracy depending on the index. But, where transformation improved the normality of the trait data, FD values from incomplete datasets were more accurate than before transformation. The distribution of data and its transformation are therefore as important as data completeness and can even mitigate the effect of missing data. Since the effect of missing trait values pool-wise or plot-wise depends on the data distribution, the method should be decided case by case. Data distribution and data transformation should be given more careful consideration when designing, analysing and interpreting FD studies, especially where trait data are missing. To this end, we provide the R package "traitor" to facilitate assessments of missing trait data. PMID:26881747

  18. Evaluating Functional Diversity: Missing Trait Data and the Importance of Species Abundance Structure and Data Transformation.

    PubMed

    Májeková, Maria; Paal, Taavi; Plowman, Nichola S; Bryndová, Michala; Kasari, Liis; Norberg, Anna; Weiss, Matthias; Bishop, Tom R; Luke, Sarah H; Sam, Katerina; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Lepš, Jan; Götzenberger, Lars; de Bello, Francesco

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity (FD) is an important component of biodiversity that quantifies the difference in functional traits between organisms. However, FD studies are often limited by the availability of trait data and FD indices are sensitive to data gaps. The distribution of species abundance and trait data, and its transformation, may further affect the accuracy of indices when data is incomplete. Using an existing approach, we simulated the effects of missing trait data by gradually removing data from a plant, an ant and a bird community dataset (12, 59, and 8 plots containing 62, 297 and 238 species respectively). We ranked plots by FD values calculated from full datasets and then from our increasingly incomplete datasets and compared the ranking between the original and virtually reduced datasets to assess the accuracy of FD indices when used on datasets with increasingly missing data. Finally, we tested the accuracy of FD indices with and without data transformation, and the effect of missing trait data per plot or per the whole pool of species. FD indices became less accurate as the amount of missing data increased, with the loss of accuracy depending on the index. But, where transformation improved the normality of the trait data, FD values from incomplete datasets were more accurate than before transformation. The distribution of data and its transformation are therefore as important as data completeness and can even mitigate the effect of missing data. Since the effect of missing trait values pool-wise or plot-wise depends on the data distribution, the method should be decided case by case. Data distribution and data transformation should be given more careful consideration when designing, analysing and interpreting FD studies, especially where trait data are missing. To this end, we provide the R package "traitor" to facilitate assessments of missing trait data.

  19. Covariation in plant functional traits and soil fertility within two species-rich forests.

    PubMed

    Liu, Xiaojuan; Swenson, Nathan G; Wright, S Joseph; Zhang, Liwen; Song, Kai; Du, Yanjun; Zhang, Jinlong; Mi, Xiangcheng; Ren, Haibao; Ma, Keping

    2012-01-01

    The distribution of plant species along environmental gradients is expected to be predictable based on organismal function. Plant functional trait research has shown that trait values generally vary predictably along broad-scale climatic and soil gradients. This work has also demonstrated that at any one point along these gradients there is a large amount of interspecific trait variation. The present research proposes that this variation may be explained by the local-scale sorting of traits along soil fertility and acidity axes. Specifically, we predicted that trait values associated with high resource acquisition and growth rates would be found on soils that are more fertile and less acidic. We tested the expected relationships at the species-level and quadrat-level (20 × 20 m) using two large forest plots in Panama and China that contain over 450 species combined. Predicted relationships between leaf area and wood density and soil fertility were supported in some instances, but the majority of the predicted relationships were rejected. Alternative resource axes, such as light gradients, therefore likely play a larger role in determining the interspecific variability in plant functional traits in the two forests studied.

  20. Predicting fine root lifespan from plant functional traits in temperate trees.

    PubMed

    Luke McCormack, M; Adams, Thomas S; Smithwick, Erica A H; Eissenstat, David M

    2012-09-01

    Although linkages of leaf and whole-plant traits to leaf lifespan have been rigorously investigated, there is a limited understanding of similar linkages of whole-plant and fine root traits to root lifespan. In comparisons across species, do suites of traits found in leaves also exist for roots, and can these traits be used to predict root lifespan? We observed the fine root lifespan of 12 temperate tree species using minirhizotrons in a common garden and compared their median lifespans with fine-root and whole-plant traits. We then determined which set of combined traits would be most useful in predicting patterns of root lifespan. Median root lifespan ranged widely among species (95-336 d). Root diameter, calcium content, and tree wood density were positively related to root lifespan, whereas specific root length, nitrogen (N) : carbon (C) ratio, and plant growth rate were negatively related to root lifespan. Root diameter and plant growth rate, together (R² = 0.62) or in combination with root N : C ratio (R² = 0.76), were useful predictors of root lifespan across the 12 species. Our results highlight linkages between fine root lifespan in temperate trees and plant functional traits that may reduce uncertainty in predictions of root lifespan or turnover across species at broader spatial scales.

  1. Genomics of human longevity.

    PubMed

    Slagboom, P E; Beekman, M; Passtoors, W M; Deelen, J; Vaarhorst, A A M; Boer, J M; van den Akker, E B; van Heemst, D; de Craen, A J M; Maier, A B; Rozing, M; Mooijaart, S P; Heijmans, B T; Westendorp, R G J

    2011-01-12

    In animal models, single-gene mutations in genes involved in insulin/IGF and target of rapamycin signalling pathways extend lifespan to a considerable extent. The genetic, genomic and epigenetic influences on human longevity are expected to be much more complex. Strikingly however, beneficial metabolic and cellular features of long-lived families resemble those in animals for whom the lifespan is extended by applying genetic manipulation and, especially, dietary restriction. Candidate gene studies in humans support the notion that human orthologues from longevity genes identified in lower species do contribute to longevity but that the influence of the genetic variants involved is small. Here we discuss how an integration of novel study designs, labour-intensive biobanking, deep phenotyping and genomic research may provide insights into the mechanisms that drive human longevity and healthy ageing, beyond the associations usually provided by molecular and genetic epidemiology. Although prospective studies of humans from the cradle to the grave have never been performed, it is feasible to extract life histories from different cohorts jointly covering the molecular changes that occur with age from early development all the way up to the age at death. By the integration of research in different study cohorts, and with research in animal models, biological research into human longevity is thus making considerable progress.

  2. Mapping functional traits: comparing abundance and presence-absence estimates at large spatial scales.

    PubMed

    Newbold, Tim; Butchart, Stuart H M; Sekercioğlu, Cağan H; Purves, Drew W; Scharlemann, Jörn P W

    2012-01-01

    Efforts to quantify the composition of biological communities increasingly focus on functional traits. The composition of communities in terms of traits can be summarized in several ways. Ecologists are beginning to map the geographic distribution of trait-based metrics from various sources of data, but the maps have not been tested against independent data. Using data for birds of the Western Hemisphere, we test for the first time the most commonly used method for mapping community trait composition - overlaying range maps, which assumes that the local abundance of a given species is unrelated to the traits in question - and three new methods that as well as the range maps include varying degrees of information about interspecific and geographic variation in abundance. For each method, and for four traits (body mass, generation length, migratory behaviour, diet) we calculated community-weighted mean of trait values, functional richness and functional divergence. The maps based on species ranges and limited abundance data were compared with independent data on community species composition from the American Christmas Bird Count (CBC) scheme coupled with data on traits. The correspondence with observed community composition at the CBC sites was mostly positive (62/73 correlations) but varied widely depending on the metric of community composition and method used (R(2): 5.6 × 10(-7) to 0.82, with a median of 0.12). Importantly, the commonly-used range-overlap method resulted in the best fit (21/22 correlations positive; R(2): 0.004 to 0.8, with a median of 0.33). Given the paucity of data on the local abundance of species, overlaying range maps appears to be the best available method for estimating patterns of community composition, but the poor fit for some metrics suggests that local abundance data are urgently needed to allow more accurate estimates of the composition of communities.

  3. On the Relationship between Autistic Traits and Executive Functioning in a Non-Clinical Dutch Student Population

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Maes, Joseph HR; Vissers, Constance ThWM; Egger, Jos IM; Eling, Paul ATM

    2013-01-01

    We examined the association between autistic traits and different aspects of executive functioning (EF), using non-clinical Social Science and Science students as participants. Autistic traits, and associated personality traits, were measured using the Autism Quotient (AQ) and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), respectively. EF was…

  4. Functional traits of soil invertebrates as indicators for exposure to soil disturbance.

    PubMed

    Hedde, Mickaël; van Oort, Folkert; Lamy, Isabelle

    2012-05-01

    We tested a trait-based approach to link a soil disturbance to changes in invertebrate communities. Soils and macro-invertebrates were sampled in sandy soils contaminated by long-term wastewater irrigation, adding notably organic matter and trace metals (TM). We hypothesized that functional traits of invertebrates depict ways of exposure and that exposure routes relate to specific TM pools. Geophages and soft-body invertebrates were chosen to inform on exposure by ingestion or contact, respectively. Trait-based indices depicted more accurately effects of pollution than community density and diversity did. Exposure by ingestion had more deleterious effects than by contact. Both types of exposed invertebrates were influenced by TM, but geophages mainly responded to changes in soil organic matter contents. The trait-based approach requires to be applied in various conditions to uncorrelate specific TM impacts from those of other environmental factors.

  5. Genetic variation in functional traits influences arthropod community composition in aspen (Populus tremula L.).

    PubMed

    Robinson, Kathryn M; Ingvarsson, Pär K; Jansson, Stefan; Albrectsen, Benedicte R

    2012-01-01

    We conducted a study of natural variation in functional leaf traits and herbivory in 116 clones of European aspen, Populus tremula L., the Swedish Aspen (SwAsp) collection, originating from ten degrees of latitude across Sweden and grown in a common garden. In surveys of phytophagous arthropods over two years, we found the aspen canopy supports nearly 100 morphospecies. We identified significant broad-sense heritability of plant functional traits, basic plant defence chemistry, and arthropod community traits. The majority of arthropods were specialists, those coevolved with P. tremula to tolerate and even utilize leaf defence compounds. Arthropod abundance and richness were more closely related to plant growth rates than general chemical defences and relationships were identified between the arthropod community and stem growth, leaf and petiole morphology, anthocyanins, and condensed tannins. Heritable genetic variation in plant traits in young aspen was found to structure arthropod community; however no single trait drives the preferences of arthropod folivores among young aspen genotypes. The influence of natural variation in plant traits on the arthropod community indicates the importance of maintaining genetic variation in wild trees as keystone species for biodiversity. It further suggests that aspen can be a resource for the study of mechanisms of natural resistance to herbivores.

  6. Necessity of angiotensin-converting enzyme-related gene for cardiac functions and longevity of Drosophila melanogaster assessed by optical coherence tomography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liao, Fang-Tsu; Chang, Cheng-Yi; Su, Ming-Tsan; Kuo, Wen-Chuan

    2014-01-01

    Prior studies have established the necessity of an angiotensin-converting enzyme-related (ACER) gene for heart morphogenesis of Drosophila. Nevertheless, the physiology of ACER has yet to be comprehensively understood. Herein, we employed RNA interference to down-regulate the expression of ACER in Drosophila's heart and swept source optical coherence tomography to assess whether ACER is required for cardiac functions in living adult flies. Several contractile parameters of Drosophila heart, including the heart rate (HR), end-diastolic diameter (EDD), end-systolic diameter (ESD), percent fractional shortening (%FS), and stress-induced cardiac performance, are shown, which are age dependent. These age-dependent cardiac functions declined significantly when ACER was down-regulated. Moreover, the lifespans of ACER knock-down flies were significantly shorter than those of wild-type control flies. Thus, we posit that ACER, the Drosophila ortholog of mammalian angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), is essential for both heart physiology and longevity of animals. Since mammalian ACE2 controls many cardiovascular physiological features and is implicated in cardiomyopathies, our findings that ACER plays conserved roles in genetically tractable animals will pave the way for uncovering the genetic pathway that controls the renin-angiotensin system.

  7. Individual species affect plant traits structure in their surroundings: evidence of functional mechanisms of assembly.

    PubMed

    Chacón-Labella, Julia; de la Cruz, Marcelino; Pescador, David S; Escudero, Adrián

    2016-04-01

    Evaluating community assembly through the use of functional traits is a promising tool for testing predictions arising from Niche and Coexistence theories. Although interactions among neighboring species and their inter-specific differences are known drivers of coexistence with a strong spatial signal, assessing the role of individual species on the functional structure of the community at different spatial scales remains a challenge. Here, we ask whether individual species exert a measurable effect on the spatial organization of different functional traits in local assemblages. We first propose and compute two functions that describe different aspects of functional trait organization around individual species at multiple scales: individual weighted mean area relationship and individual functional diversity area relationship. Secondly, we develop a conceptual model on the relationship and simultaneous variation of these two metrics, providing five alternative scenarios in response to the ability of some target species to modify its neighbor environment and the possible assembly mechanisms involved. Our results show that some species influence the spatial structure of specific functional traits, but their effects were always restricted to the finest spatial scales. In the basis of our conceptual model, the observed patterns point to two main mechanisms driving the functional structure of the community at the fine scale, "biotic" filtering meditated by individual species and resource partitioning driven by indirect facilitation rather than by competitive mechanisms.

  8. A comparison of hydrologic and functional trait domains from floodplain landscapes in Michigan and Maryland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Appledorn, M.; Baker, M. E.

    2013-12-01

    Riparian forest ecosystems are ecologically important areas strongly influenced by hydrologic processes. Although studies from different regions suggest that variation in flood dynamics structures plant communities within and among watersheds, we still lack the ability to predict biotic responses to different flow regimes. Functional traits have the potential to yield insight into community structuring mechanisms not apparent without controlled experimentation, and may lead to region-specific improvement of conservation and restoration practices. The objectives of this study are to 1) quantify patterns of flood dynamics and functional trait distributions for riparian forests across two disparate regions (Maryland and Michigan's lower peninsula), and 2) compare trait-environment domains to evaluate the transferability of inter-regional riparian studies. Flood frequency, intensity and duration were characterized using long-term USGS gauge data for over 200 Maryland and Michigan rivers. Species lists were obtained from riparian inventories throughout Maryland and Michigan's lower peninsula and were related to functional traits representing growth, competition, regenerative processes, and adaptive strategies for disturbance resistance and resilience. We found that floods in Maryland tend to be less frequent and more energetically intense than in Michigan, where high baseflow yields lead to longer duration floods and less tractive power. In contrast with the hydrologic domains, functional trait distributions had a high degree of overlap between Maryland and Michigan. Species from both regions comprised each of the 9 functional groups represented by the combined sample, and both regions had similar measures of functional diversity (FDis MD = 0.143, FDis MI = 0.161). Trait distributions suggest that the states have comparable trait pools despite distinct species composition and environmental settings. This study demonstrates that regional shifts in environmental domains

  9. Variable Effects of Dispersal on Productivity of Bacterial Communities Due to Changes in Functional Trait Composition

    PubMed Central

    Severin, Ina; Östman, Örjan; Lindström, Eva S.

    2013-01-01

    Previous studies have shown variable relationships between dispersal rate and ecosystem functioning, but the reasons for and mechanisms behind variable dispersal rate – functioning patterns are currently unknown. In this study we used six bacterial lake water communities in a laboratory experiment in order to investigate how dispersal among communities influences community productivity by evaluating three different mechanisms: 1) changes in taxonomic diversity, 2) changes in phylogenetic diversity or 3) changes in the composition of functional traits. The experiment was conducted in two phases; (A) a dialysis bag experiment where the dispersal rate among six communities was manipulated and the subsequent change in bacterial diversity and growth rate was recorded, and (B) a regrowth experiment where we manipulated available resources to study how well a taxon grows on certain organic carbon resources, i.e. their functional traits. From experiment (B) we could thus estimate changes in functional traits in communities in experiment (A). Bacterial production was affected by dispersal, but not consistently among lakes. Neither change in taxonomic or phylogenetic diversity with dispersal could explain the observed dispersal – productivity relationships. Instead, changes in trait composition with dispersal, especially the communities’ ability to use p-coumaric acid, an aromatic compound, could explain the observed dispersal – productivity relationships. Changes in this trait caused by dispersal seemed especially important for bacterial productivity in waters with a high aromaticity of the organic matter pool. We conclude that the effect of dispersal on bacterial communities can affect ecosystem functioning in different ways, through changes in functional key-traits which are important for the local environment. PMID:24324633

  10. Apparent plasticity in functional traits determining competitive ability and spatial distribution: a case from desert.

    PubMed

    Xie, Jiang-Bo; Xu, Gui-Qing; Jenerette, G Darrel; Bai, Yong-fei; Wang, Zhong-Yuan; Li, Yan

    2015-07-20

    Species competitive abilities and their distributions are closely related to functional traits such as biomass allocation patterns. When we consider how nutrient supply affects competitive abilities, quantifying the apparent and true plasticity in functional traits is important because the allometric relationships among traits are universal in plants. We propose to integrate the notion of allometry and the classical reaction norm into a composite theoretical framework that quantifies the apparent and true plasticity. Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert. We found that (1) the biomass allocation patterns of both Haloxylon species in responses to environmental conditions were apparent rather than true plasticity and (2) the allometric allocation patterns affected the plants' competition for soil nutrient supply. A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change. Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change.

  11. Phylogenetic trait conservatism and the evolution of functional trade-offs in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

    PubMed Central

    Powell, Jeff R.; Parrent, Jeri L.; Hart, Miranda M.; Klironomos, John N.; Rillig, Matthias C.; Maherali, Hafiz

    2009-01-01

    The diversity of functional and life-history traits of organisms depends on adaptation as well as the legacy of shared ancestry. Although the evolution of traits in macro-organisms is well studied, relatively little is known about character evolution in micro-organisms. Here, we surveyed an ancient and ecologically important group of microbial plant symbionts, the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, and tested hypotheses about the evolution of functional and life-history traits. Variation in the extent of root and soil colonization by AM fungi is constrained to a few nodes basal to the most diverse groups within the phylum, with relatively little variation associated with recent divergences. We found no evidence for a trade-off in biomass allocated to root versus soil colonization in three published glasshouse experiments; rather these traits were positively correlated. Partial support was observed for correlated evolution between fungal colonization strategies and functional benefits of the symbiosis to host plants. The evolution of increased soil colonization was positively correlated with total plant biomass and shoot phosphorus content. Although the effect of AM fungi on infection by root pathogens was phylogenetically conserved, there was no evidence for correlated evolution between the extent of AM fungal root colonization and pathogen infection. Variability in colonization strategies evolved early in the diversification of AM fungi, and we propose that these strategies were influenced by functional interactions with host plants, resulting in an evolutionary stasis resembling trait conservatism. PMID:19740877

  12. Apparent plasticity in functional traits determining competitive ability and spatial distribution: a case from desert

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Jiang-Bo; Xu, Gui-Qing; Jenerette, G. Darrel; Bai, Yong-fei; Wang, Zhong-Yuan; Li, Yan

    2015-01-01

    Species competitive abilities and their distributions are closely related to functional traits such as biomass allocation patterns. When we consider how nutrient supply affects competitive abilities, quantifying the apparent and true plasticity in functional traits is important because the allometric relationships among traits are universal in plants. We propose to integrate the notion of allometry and the classical reaction norm into a composite theoretical framework that quantifies the apparent and true plasticity. Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert. We found that (1) the biomass allocation patterns of both Haloxylon species in responses to environmental conditions were apparent rather than true plasticity and (2) the allometric allocation patterns affected the plants’ competition for soil nutrient supply. A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change. Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change. PMID:26190745

  13. Apparent plasticity in functional traits determining competitive ability and spatial distribution: a case from desert.

    PubMed

    Xie, Jiang-Bo; Xu, Gui-Qing; Jenerette, G Darrel; Bai, Yong-fei; Wang, Zhong-Yuan; Li, Yan

    2015-01-01

    Species competitive abilities and their distributions are closely related to functional traits such as biomass allocation patterns. When we consider how nutrient supply affects competitive abilities, quantifying the apparent and true plasticity in functional traits is important because the allometric relationships among traits are universal in plants. We propose to integrate the notion of allometry and the classical reaction norm into a composite theoretical framework that quantifies the apparent and true plasticity. Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert. We found that (1) the biomass allocation patterns of both Haloxylon species in responses to environmental conditions were apparent rather than true plasticity and (2) the allometric allocation patterns affected the plants' competition for soil nutrient supply. A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change. Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change. PMID:26190745

  14. Birth month affects longevity.

    PubMed

    Abel, Ernest L; Kruger, Michael L

    2010-09-01

    The authors examined the association between birth month and longevity for major league baseball players. Players born in the month of November had the greatest longevities whereas those born in June had the shortest life spans. These differences remained after controlling for covariates such as birth year, career length, age at debut, height, and player position. The authors determined that the most likely explanation is that those born during seasons when mortalities are highest are constitutionally weakened and more likely to succumb to life threatening conditions later in life. PMID:24482849

  15. Birth month affects longevity.

    PubMed

    Abel, Ernest L; Kruger, Michael L

    2010-09-01

    The authors examined the association between birth month and longevity for major league baseball players. Players born in the month of November had the greatest longevities whereas those born in June had the shortest life spans. These differences remained after controlling for covariates such as birth year, career length, age at debut, height, and player position. The authors determined that the most likely explanation is that those born during seasons when mortalities are highest are constitutionally weakened and more likely to succumb to life threatening conditions later in life.

  16. Functional trait differences influence neighbourhood interactions in a hyperdiverse Amazonian forest.

    PubMed

    Fortunel, Claire; Valencia, Renato; Wright, S Joseph; Garwood, Nancy C; Kraft, Nathan J B

    2016-09-01

    As distinct community assembly processes can produce similar community patterns, assessing the ecological mechanisms promoting coexistence in hyperdiverse rainforests remains a considerable challenge. We use spatially explicit neighbourhood models of tree growth to quantify how functional trait and phylogenetic similarities predict variation in growth and crowding effects for the 315 most abundant tree species in a 25-ha lowland rainforest plot in Ecuador. We find that functional trait differences reflect variation in (1) species maximum potential growth, (2) the intensity of interspecific interactions for some species, and (3) species sensitivity to neighbours. We find that neighbours influenced tree growth in 28% of the 315 focal tree species. Neighbourhood effects are not detected in the remaining 72%, which may reflect the low statistical power to model rare taxa and/or species insensitivity to neighbours. Our results highlight the spectrum of ways in which functional trait differences can shape community dynamics in highly diverse rainforests. PMID:27358248

  17. GWAS and Meta-Analysis in Aging/Longevity.

    PubMed

    Broer, Linda; van Duijn, Cornelia M

    2015-01-01

    Longevity is an extremely complex phenotype that is determined by environment, life style and genetics. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have been a powerful tool to identify the genetic origin of other complex outcome with a similar heritability. In this chapter we discuss the findings all GWAS of longevity conducted to date. Various cut-off to define longevity have been used varying from 85+, 90+ and 100+ years and the impact of these difference are addressed in this chapter. The only consistent association emerging from GWAS to data is the APOE gene that has been already identified as a candidate gene. Although (GWAS) have identified biologically plausible genes and pathways, no new loci for longevity have been conclusively proven. A reason for not finding any replicated associations for longevity could be the complexity of the phenotype, although heterogeneity also underlies many other traits for which GWAS has been successful. One may argue that rare variants explain the high heritability of longevity and the segregation of the trait in families. Yet, whole genome analyses of GWAS data still suggest that over 80 % of the heritability is explained by common variants. Although findings of GWAS to date have been disappointing, there is ample opportunity to improve the statistical power of studies to find common variants with small effects. In the near future, joining of the published studies and new ones emerging may bring to surface new loci.

  18. A comparative cellular and molecular biology of longevity database.

    PubMed

    Stuart, Jeffrey A; Liang, Ping; Luo, Xuemei; Page, Melissa M; Gallagher, Emily J; Christoff, Casey A; Robb, Ellen L

    2013-10-01

    Discovering key cellular and molecular traits that promote longevity is a major goal of aging and longevity research. One experimental strategy is to determine which traits have been selected during the evolution of longevity in naturally long-lived animal species. This comparative approach has been applied to lifespan research for nearly four decades, yielding hundreds of datasets describing aspects of cell and molecular biology hypothesized to relate to animal longevity. Here, we introduce a Comparative Cellular and Molecular Biology of Longevity Database, available at ( http://genomics.brocku.ca/ccmbl/ ), as a compendium of comparative cell and molecular data presented in the context of longevity. This open access database will facilitate the meta-analysis of amalgamated datasets using standardized maximum lifespan (MLSP) data (from AnAge). The first edition contains over 800 data records describing experimental measurements of cellular stress resistance, reactive oxygen species metabolism, membrane composition, protein homeostasis, and genome homeostasis as they relate to vertebrate species MLSP. The purpose of this review is to introduce the database and briefly demonstrate its use in the meta-analysis of combined datasets.

  19. [Cognitive functions and personality traits in patients with brain tumors: the role of lesion localization].

    PubMed

    Razumnikova, O M; Perfil'ev, A M; Stupak, V V

    2014-01-01

    Personality traits and cognitive functions were studied depending on a tumor localization in the brain in 21 neurosurgical patients and the results were compared with a control group. In patients with brain damage, mostly affected were personality traits associated with emotion regulation and social interaction (neuroticism, psychoticism and social conformity). Increases in psychoticism and decreases in neuroticism were more expressed in patients with a left-hemisphere localization of tumors. The tumor-induced decrease in cognitive abilities was more presented in performing figurative tasks and less in verbal ones. Verbal functions were more decreased in the group with frontal localization of tumor compared to that with parietal localization.

  20. Functional traits help to explain half-century long shifts in pollinator distributions.

    PubMed

    Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Jesús; Kissling, W Daniel; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; WallisDeVries, Michiel F; Franzén, Markus; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C

    2016-01-01

    Changes in climate and land use can have important impacts on biodiversity. Species respond to such environmental modifications by adapting to new conditions or by shifting their geographic distributions towards more suitable areas. The latter might be constrained by species' functional traits that influence their ability to move, reproduce or establish. Here, we show that functional traits related to dispersal, reproduction, habitat use and diet have influenced how three pollinator groups (bees, butterflies and hoverflies) responded to changes in climate and land-use in the Netherlands since 1950. Across the three pollinator groups, we found pronounced areal range expansions (>53%) and modelled range shifts towards the north (all taxa: 17-22 km), west (bees: 14 km) and east (butterflies: 11 km). The importance of specific functional traits for explaining distributional changes varied among pollinator groups. Larval diet preferences (i.e. carnivorous vs. herbivorous/detritivorous and nitrogen values of host plants, respectively) were important for hoverflies and butterflies, adult body size for hoverflies, and flight period length for all groups. Moreover, interactions among multiple traits were important to explain species' geographic range shifts, suggesting that taxon-specific multi-trait analyses are needed to predict how global change will affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. PMID:27079784

  1. Functional traits help to explain half-century long shifts in pollinator distributions

    PubMed Central

    Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Jesús; Kissling, W. Daniel; Carvalheiro, Luísa G.; WallisDeVries, Michiel F.; Franzén, Markus; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C.

    2016-01-01

    Changes in climate and land use can have important impacts on biodiversity. Species respond to such environmental modifications by adapting to new conditions or by shifting their geographic distributions towards more suitable areas. The latter might be constrained by species’ functional traits that influence their ability to move, reproduce or establish. Here, we show that functional traits related to dispersal, reproduction, habitat use and diet have influenced how three pollinator groups (bees, butterflies and hoverflies) responded to changes in climate and land-use in the Netherlands since 1950. Across the three pollinator groups, we found pronounced areal range expansions (>53%) and modelled range shifts towards the north (all taxa: 17–22 km), west (bees: 14 km) and east (butterflies: 11 km). The importance of specific functional traits for explaining distributional changes varied among pollinator groups. Larval diet preferences (i.e. carnivorous vs. herbivorous/detritivorous and nitrogen values of host plants, respectively) were important for hoverflies and butterflies, adult body size for hoverflies, and flight period length for all groups. Moreover, interactions among multiple traits were important to explain species’ geographic range shifts, suggesting that taxon-specific multi-trait analyses are needed to predict how global change will affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. PMID:27079784

  2. Functional traits help to explain half-century long shifts in pollinator distributions.

    PubMed

    Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Jesús; Kissling, W Daniel; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; WallisDeVries, Michiel F; Franzén, Markus; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C

    2016-04-15

    Changes in climate and land use can have important impacts on biodiversity. Species respond to such environmental modifications by adapting to new conditions or by shifting their geographic distributions towards more suitable areas. The latter might be constrained by species' functional traits that influence their ability to move, reproduce or establish. Here, we show that functional traits related to dispersal, reproduction, habitat use and diet have influenced how three pollinator groups (bees, butterflies and hoverflies) responded to changes in climate and land-use in the Netherlands since 1950. Across the three pollinator groups, we found pronounced areal range expansions (>53%) and modelled range shifts towards the north (all taxa: 17-22 km), west (bees: 14 km) and east (butterflies: 11 km). The importance of specific functional traits for explaining distributional changes varied among pollinator groups. Larval diet preferences (i.e. carnivorous vs. herbivorous/detritivorous and nitrogen values of host plants, respectively) were important for hoverflies and butterflies, adult body size for hoverflies, and flight period length for all groups. Moreover, interactions among multiple traits were important to explain species' geographic range shifts, suggesting that taxon-specific multi-trait analyses are needed to predict how global change will affect biodiversity and ecosystem services.

  3. Trait-based approaches for understanding microbial biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

    PubMed Central

    Krause, Sascha; Le Roux, Xavier; Niklaus, Pascal A.; Van Bodegom, Peter M.; Lennon, Jay T.; Bertilsson, Stefan; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Philippot, Laurent; Bodelier, Paul L. E.

    2014-01-01

    In ecology, biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has seen a shift in perspective from taxonomy to function in the last two decades, with successful application of trait-based approaches. This shift offers opportunities for a deeper mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity in maintaining multiple ecosystem processes and services. In this paper, we highlight studies that have focused on BEF of microbial communities with an emphasis on integrating trait-based approaches to microbial ecology. In doing so, we explore some of the inherent challenges and opportunities of understanding BEF using microbial systems. For example, microbial biologists characterize communities using gene phylogenies that are often unable to resolve functional traits. Additionally, experimental designs of existing microbial BEF studies are often inadequate to unravel BEF relationships. We argue that combining eco-physiological studies with contemporary molecular tools in a trait-based framework can reinforce our ability to link microbial diversity to ecosystem processes. We conclude that such trait-based approaches are a promising framework to increase the understanding of microbial BEF relationships and thus generating systematic principles in microbial ecology and more generally ecology. PMID:24904563

  4. A Cytoprotective Perspective on Longevity Regulation

    PubMed Central

    Shore, David E.; Ruvkun, Gary

    2014-01-01

    There are many mechanisms of lifespan extension, including the disruption of insulin/IGF-1 signaling, metabolism, translation, or feeding. Despite the disparate functions of these pathways, inhibition of each induces responses that buffer stress and damage. Here, emphasizing data from genetic analyses in C. elegans, we explore the effectors and upstream regulatory components of numerous cytoprotective mechanisms activated as major elements of longevity programs, including detoxification, innate immunity, proteostasis, and oxidative stress response. We show that their induction underpins longevity extension across functionally diverse triggers and across species. Intertwined with the evolution of longevity, cytoprotective pathways are coupled to the surveillance of core cellular components, with important implications in normal and aberrant responses to drugs, chemicals, and pathogens. PMID:23726168

  5. Changes in Tree Reproductive Traits Reduce Functional Diversity in a Fragmented Atlantic Forest Landscape

    PubMed Central

    Girão, Luciana Coe; Lopes, Ariadna Valentina; Tabarelli, Marcelo; Bruna, Emilio M.

    2007-01-01

    Functional diversity has been postulated to be critical for the maintenance of ecosystem functioning, but the way it can be disrupted by human-related disturbances remains poorly investigated. Here we test the hypothesis that habitat fragmentation changes the relative contribution of tree species within categories of reproductive traits (frequency of traits) and reduces the functional diversity of tree assemblages. The study was carried out in an old and severely fragmented landscape of the Brazilian Atlantic forest. We used published information and field observations to obtain the frequency of tree species and individuals within 50 categories of reproductive traits (distributed in four major classes: pollination systems, floral biology, sexual systems, and reproductive systems) in 10 fragments and 10 tracts of forest interior (control plots). As hypothesized, populations in fragments and control plots differed substantially in the representation of the four major classes of reproductive traits (more than 50% of the categories investigated). The most conspicuous differences were the lack of three pollination systems in fragments-pollination by birds, flies and non-flying mammals-and that fragments had a higher frequency of both species and individuals pollinated by generalist vectors. Hermaphroditic species predominate in both habitats, although their relative abundances were higher in fragments. On the contrary, self-incompatible species were underrepresented in fragments. Moreover, fragments showed lower functional diversity (H' scores) for pollination systems (−30.3%), floral types (−23.6%), and floral sizes (−20.8%) in comparison to control plots. In contrast to the overwhelming effect of fragmentation, patch and landscape metrics such as patch size and forest cover played a minor role on the frequency of traits. Our results suggest that habitat fragmentation promotes a marked shift in the relative abundance of tree reproductive traits and greatly

  6. Functional integration of skeletal traits: an intraskeletal assessment of bone size, mineralization, and volume covariance.

    PubMed

    Schlecht, Stephen H; Jepsen, Karl J

    2013-09-01

    Understanding the functional integration of skeletal traits and how they naturally vary within and across populations will benefit assessments of functional adaptation directed towards interpreting bone stiffness in contemporary and past humans. Moreover, investigating how these traits intraskeletally vary will guide us closer towards predicting fragility from a single skeletal site. Using an osteological collection of 115 young adult male and female African-Americans, we assessed the functional relationship between bone robustness (i.e. total area/length), cortical tissue mineral density (Ct.TMD), and cortical area (Ct.Ar) for the upper and lower limbs. All long bones demonstrated significant trait covariance (p < 0.005) independent of body size, with slender bones having 25-50% less Ct.Ar and 5-8% higher Ct.TMD compared to robust bones. Robustness statistically explained 10.2-28% of Ct.TMD and 26.6-64.6% of Ct.Ar within male and female skeletal elements. This covariance is systemic throughout the skeleton, with either the slender or robust phenotype consistently represented within all long bones for each individual. These findings suggest that each person attains a unique trait set by adulthood that is both predictable by robustness and partially independent of environmental influences. The variation in these functionally integrated traits allows for the maximization of tissue stiffness and minimization of mass so that regardless of which phenotype is present, a given bone is reasonably stiff and strong, and sufficiently adapted to perform routine, habitual loading activities. Covariation intrinsic to functional adaptation suggests that whole bone stiffness depends upon particular sets of traits acquired during growth, presumably through differing levels of cellular activity, resulting in differing tissue morphology and composition. The outcomes of this intraskeletal examination of robustness and its correlates may have significant value in our progression

  7. Phylogenetic Meta-Analysis of the Functional Traits of Clonal Plants Foraging in Changing Environments

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Xiu-Fang; Song, Yao-Bin; Zhang, Ya-Lin; Pan, Xu; Dong, Ming

    2014-01-01

    Foraging behavior, one of the adaptive strategies of clonal plants, has stimulated a tremendous amount of research. However, it is a matter of debate whether there is any general pattern in the foraging traits (functional traits related to foraging behavior) of clonal plants in response to diverse environments. We collected data from 97 published papers concerning the relationships between foraging traits (e.g., spacer length, specific spacer length, branch intensity and branch angle) of clonal plants and essential resources (e.g., light, nutrients and water) for plant growth and reproduction. We incorporated the phylogenetic information of 85 plant species to examine the universality of foraging hypotheses using phylogenetic meta-analysis. The trends toward forming longer spacers and fewer branches in shaded environments were detected in clonal plants, but no evidence for a relation between foraging traits and nutrient availability was detected, except that there was a positive correlation between branch intensity and nutrient availability in stoloniferous plants. The response of the foraging traits of clonal plants to water availability was also not obvious. Additionally, our results indicated that the foraging traits of stoloniferous plants were more sensitive to resource availability than those of rhizomatous plants. In consideration of plant phylogeny, these results implied that the foraging traits of clonal plants (notably stoloniferous plants) only responded to light intensity in a general pattern but did not respond to nutrient or water availability. In conclusion, our findings on the effects of the environment on the foraging traits of clonal plants avoided the confounding effects of phylogeny because we incorporated phylogeny into the meta-analysis. PMID:25216101

  8. Phylogenetic meta-analysis of the functional traits of clonal plants foraging in changing environments.

    PubMed

    Xie, Xiu-Fang; Song, Yao-Bin; Zhang, Ya-Lin; Pan, Xu; Dong, Ming

    2014-01-01

    Foraging behavior, one of the adaptive strategies of clonal plants, has stimulated a tremendous amount of research. However, it is a matter of debate whether there is any general pattern in the foraging traits (functional traits related to foraging behavior) of clonal plants in response to diverse environments. We collected data from 97 published papers concerning the relationships between foraging traits (e.g., spacer length, specific spacer length, branch intensity and branch angle) of clonal plants and essential resources (e.g., light, nutrients and water) for plant growth and reproduction. We incorporated the phylogenetic information of 85 plant species to examine the universality of foraging hypotheses using phylogenetic meta-analysis. The trends toward forming longer spacers and fewer branches in shaded environments were detected in clonal plants, but no evidence for a relation between foraging traits and nutrient availability was detected, except that there was a positive correlation between branch intensity and nutrient availability in stoloniferous plants. The response of the foraging traits of clonal plants to water availability was also not obvious. Additionally, our results indicated that the foraging traits of stoloniferous plants were more sensitive to resource availability than those of rhizomatous plants. In consideration of plant phylogeny, these results implied that the foraging traits of clonal plants (notably stoloniferous plants) only responded to light intensity in a general pattern but did not respond to nutrient or water availability. In conclusion, our findings on the effects of the environment on the foraging traits of clonal plants avoided the confounding effects of phylogeny because we incorporated phylogeny into the meta-analysis.

  9. Seed germination strategies: an evolutionary trajectory independent of vegetative functional traits.

    PubMed

    Hoyle, Gemma L; Steadman, Kathryn J; Good, Roger B; McIntosh, Emma J; Galea, Lucy M E; Nicotra, Adrienne B

    2015-01-01

    Seed germination strategies vary dramatically among species but relatively little is known about how germination traits correlate with other elements of plant strategy systems. Understanding drivers of germination strategy is critical to our understanding of the evolutionary biology of plant reproduction.We present a novel assessment of seed germination strategies focussing on Australian alpine species as a case study. We describe the distribution of germination strategies and ask whether these are correlated with, or form an independent axis to, other plant functional traits. Our approach to describing germination strategy mimicked realistic temperatures that seeds experience in situ following dispersal. Strategies were subsequently assigned using an objective clustering approach. We hypothesized that two main strategies would emerge, involving dormant or non-dormant seeds, and that while these strategies would be correlated with seed traits (e.g., mass or endospermy) they would be largely independent of vegetative traits when analysed in a phylogenetically structured manner.Across all species, three germination strategies emerged. The majority of species postponed germination until after a period of cold, winter-like temperatures indicating physiological and/or morphological dormancy mechanisms. Other species exhibited immediate germination at temperatures representative of those at dispersal. Interestingly, seeds of an additional 13 species "staggered" germination over time. Germination strategies were generally conserved within families. Across a broad range of ecological traits only seed mass and endospermy showed any correlation with germination strategy when phylogenetic relatedness was accounted for; vegetative traits showed no significant correlations with germination strategy. The results indicate that germination traits correlate with other aspects of seed ecology but form an independent axis relative to vegetative traits.

  10. Seed germination strategies: an evolutionary trajectory independent of vegetative functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Hoyle, Gemma L.; Steadman, Kathryn J.; Good, Roger B.; McIntosh, Emma J.; Galea, Lucy M. E.; Nicotra, Adrienne B.

    2015-01-01

    Seed germination strategies vary dramatically among species but relatively little is known about how germination traits correlate with other elements of plant strategy systems. Understanding drivers of germination strategy is critical to our understanding of the evolutionary biology of plant reproduction.We present a novel assessment of seed germination strategies focussing on Australian alpine species as a case study. We describe the distribution of germination strategies and ask whether these are correlated with, or form an independent axis to, other plant functional traits. Our approach to describing germination strategy mimicked realistic temperatures that seeds experience in situ following dispersal. Strategies were subsequently assigned using an objective clustering approach. We hypothesized that two main strategies would emerge, involving dormant or non-dormant seeds, and that while these strategies would be correlated with seed traits (e.g., mass or endospermy) they would be largely independent of vegetative traits when analysed in a phylogenetically structured manner.Across all species, three germination strategies emerged. The majority of species postponed germination until after a period of cold, winter-like temperatures indicating physiological and/or morphological dormancy mechanisms. Other species exhibited immediate germination at temperatures representative of those at dispersal. Interestingly, seeds of an additional 13 species “staggered” germination over time. Germination strategies were generally conserved within families. Across a broad range of ecological traits only seed mass and endospermy showed any correlation with germination strategy when phylogenetic relatedness was accounted for; vegetative traits showed no significant correlations with germination strategy. The results indicate that germination traits correlate with other aspects of seed ecology but form an independent axis relative to vegetative traits. PMID:26528294

  11. Relationships between Bacterial Community Composition, Functional Trait Composition and Functioning Are Context Dependent – but What Is the Context?

    PubMed Central

    Severin, Ina; Lindström, Eva S.; Östman, Örjan

    2014-01-01

    Bacterial communities are immensely diverse and drive many fundamental ecosystem processes. However, the role of bacterial community composition (BCC) for functioning is still unclear. Here we evaluate the relative importance of BCC (from 454-sequencing), functional traits (from Biolog Ecoplates) and environmental conditions for per cell biomass production (BPC; 3H-leucine incorporation) in six data sets of natural freshwater bacterial communities. BCC explained significant variation of BPC in all six data sets and most variation in four. BCC measures based on 16S rRNA (active bacteria) did not consistently explain more variation in BPC than measures based on the 16S rRNA-gene (total community), and adding phylogenetic information did not, in general, increase the explanatory power of BCC. In contrast to our hypothesis, the importance of BCC for BPC was not related to the anticipated dispersal rates in and out of communities. Functional traits, most notably the ability to use cyclic and aromatic compounds, as well as local environmental conditions, i.e. stoichiometric relationships of nutrients, explained some variation in all six data sets. In general there were weak associations between variation in BCC and variation in the functional traits contributing to productivity. This indicates that additional traits may be important for productivity as well. By comparing several data sets obtained in a similar way we conclude that no single measure of BCC was obviously better than another in explaining BPC. We identified some key functional traits for productivity, but although there was a coupling between BCC, functional traits and productivity, the strength of the coupling seems context dependent. However, the exact context is still unresolved. PMID:25380200

  12. Energetics and longevity in birds

    PubMed Central

    Furness, L. J.

    2008-01-01

    The links between energy expenditure and ageing are different at different levels of enquiry. When studies have examined the relationships between different species within a given class the association is generally negative—animals with greater metabolism per gram of tissue live shorter lives. Within species, or between classes (e.g. between birds and mammals) the association is the opposite—animals with higher metabolic rates live longer. We have previously shown in mammals that the negative association between lifespan and metabolic rate is in fact an artefact of using resting rather than daily energy expenditure, and of failing to adequately take into account the confounding effects of body size and the lack of phylogenetic independence of species data. When these factors are accounted for, across species of mammals, the ones with higher metabolism also have the largest lifetime expenditures of energy—consistent with the inter-class and intra-specific data. A previous analysis in birds did not yield the same pattern, but this may have been due to a lack of sufficient power in the analysis. Here we present an analysis of a much enlarged data set (>300 species) for metabolic and longevity traits in birds. These data show very similar patterns to those in mammals. Larger individuals have longer lives and lower per-gram resting and daily energy expenditures, hence there is a strong negative relationship between longevity and mass-specific metabolism. This relationship disappears when the confounding effects of body mass and phylogeny are accounted for. Across species of birds, lifetime expenditure of energy per gram of tissue based on both daily and resting energy expenditure is positively related to metabolic intensity, mirroring these statistical relationships in mammals and synergising with the positive associations of metabolism with lifespan within species and between vertebrate classes. PMID:19424858

  13. Hyper-longevity, a late-modern paradigm for understanding longevity, ageing and their complexities in Western developed globalised countries.

    PubMed

    Alzetta, Roberto; Cesario, Alfredo; Fini, Massimo

    2014-01-01

    If longevity is a biological and demographic indicator to determine human lifetime extension, hyper-longevity notion can represent a heuristic tool to better disentangle the complex bio-psycho-social implications of ageing and elderly in Western developed globalised countries. Departing from the assumption of a holistic approach to human condition understanding, it is possible to reveal the grounds and patterns of a multilayered and multidimensional structuring of longevity and ageing in our societies that would lead to a form of hyper-longevity. Socio-cultural processes, underlying hyper-longevity notion, rise the question of transition from modern/ latemodern societies to post-modern ones and it offers room for a cultural analysis of concepts, such as space time compression, digital capitalism, knowledge and mass information society. These are relevant ideas that can contribute to reshape and rethink the boundaries and traits of ageing experience in 21(st) century societies. To better catch the point emerging social category of Baby Boomers is presented and used to provide a concrete context related example on how hyper-longevity can better explain complex social evidences in many cultural respects and social domains. As a conclusive step some preliminary reflections, largely centered on the relation between Baby Boomers, hyper-longevity and bio-medical sciences are presented and discussed to provide a starting point for further future analyses within a trans and inter-disciplinary framework. PMID:24641235

  14. Aberrant functional connectivity of resting state networks associated with trait anxiety.

    PubMed

    Modi, Shilpi; Kumar, Mukesh; Kumar, Pawan; Khushu, Subash

    2015-10-30

    Trait anxiety, a personality dimension, has been characterized by functional consequences such as increased distractibility, attentional bias in favor of threat-related information and hyper-responsive amygdala. However, literature on the association between resting state brain functional connectivity, as studied using resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), and reported anxiety levels in the sub-clinical population is limited. In the present study, we employed rs-fMRI to investigate the possible alterations in the functional integrity of Resting State Networks (RSNs) associated with trait anxiety of the healthy subjects (15 high anxious and 14 low anxious). The rs-fMRI data was analyzed using independent component analysis and a dual regression approach that was applied on 12 RSNs that were identified using FSL. High anxious subjects showed significantly reduced functional connectivity in regions of the default mode network (posterior cingulate gyrus, middle and superior temporal gyrus, planum polare, supramarginal gyrus, temporal pole, angular gyrus and lateral occipital gyrus) which has been suggested to be involved in episodic memory, theory of mind, self-evaluation, and introspection, and perceptual systems including medial visual network, auditory network and another network involving temporal, parieto-occipital and frontal regions. Reduction in resting state connectivity in regions of the perceptual networks might underlie the perceptual, attentional and working memory deficits associated with trait anxiety. To our knowledge, this is the first study to relate trait anxiety to resting state connectivity using independent component analysis. PMID:26385540

  15. Plant functional traits of dominant native and invasive species in mediterranean-climate ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Funk, Jennifer L; Standish, Rachel J; Stock, William D; Valladares, Fernando

    2016-01-01

    The idea that dominant invasive plant species outperform neighboring native species through higher rates of carbon assimilation and growth is supported by several analyses of global data sets. However, theory suggests that native and invasive species occurring in low-resource environments will be functionally similar, as environmental factors restrict the range of observed physiological and morphological trait values. We measured resource-use traits in native and invasive plant species across eight diverse vegetation communities distributed throughout the five mediterranean-climate regions, which are drought prone and increasingly threatened by human activities, including the introduction of exotic species. Traits differed strongly across the five regions. In regions with functional differences between native and invasive species groups, invasive species displayed traits consistent with high resource acquisition; however, these patterns were largely attributable to differences in life form. We found that species invading mediterranean-climate regions were more likely to be annual than perennial: three of the five regions were dominated by native woody species and invasive annuals. These results suggest that trait differences between native and invasive species are context dependent and will vary across vegetation communities. Native and invasive species within annual and perennial groups had similar patterns of carbon assimilation and resource use, which contradicts the widespread idea that invasive species optimize resource acquisition rather than resource conservation. . PMID:27008777

  16. Plant functional traits of dominant native and invasive species in mediterranean-climate ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Funk, Jennifer L; Standish, Rachel J; Stock, William D; Valladares, Fernando

    2016-01-01

    The idea that dominant invasive plant species outperform neighboring native species through higher rates of carbon assimilation and growth is supported by several analyses of global data sets. However, theory suggests that native and invasive species occurring in low-resource environments will be functionally similar, as environmental factors restrict the range of observed physiological and morphological trait values. We measured resource-use traits in native and invasive plant species across eight diverse vegetation communities distributed throughout the five mediterranean-climate regions, which are drought prone and increasingly threatened by human activities, including the introduction of exotic species. Traits differed strongly across the five regions. In regions with functional differences between native and invasive species groups, invasive species displayed traits consistent with high resource acquisition; however, these patterns were largely attributable to differences in life form. We found that species invading mediterranean-climate regions were more likely to be annual than perennial: three of the five regions were dominated by native woody species and invasive annuals. These results suggest that trait differences between native and invasive species are context dependent and will vary across vegetation communities. Native and invasive species within annual and perennial groups had similar patterns of carbon assimilation and resource use, which contradicts the widespread idea that invasive species optimize resource acquisition rather than resource conservation. .

  17. Functional Traits and Water Transport Strategies in Lowland Tropical Rainforest Trees.

    PubMed

    Apgaua, Deborah M G; Ishida, Françoise Y; Tng, David Y P; Laidlaw, Melinda J; Santos, Rubens M; Rumman, Rizwana; Eamus, Derek; Holtum, Joseph A M; Laurance, Susan G W

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how tropical rainforest trees may respond to the precipitation extremes predicted in future climate change scenarios is paramount for their conservation and management. Tree species clearly differ in drought susceptibility, suggesting that variable water transport strategies exist. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we examined the hydraulic variability in trees in a lowland tropical rainforest in north-eastern Australia. We studied eight tree species representing broad plant functional groups (one palm and seven eudicot mature-phase, and early-successional trees). We characterised the species' hydraulic system through maximum rates of volumetric sap flow and velocities using the heat ratio method, and measured rates of tree growth and several stem, vessel, and leaf traits. Sap flow measures exhibited limited variability across species, although early-successional species and palms had high mean sap velocities relative to most mature-phase species. Stem, vessel, and leaf traits were poor predictors of sap flow measures. However, these traits exhibited different associations in multivariate analysis, revealing gradients in some traits across species and alternative hydraulic strategies in others. Trait differences across and within tree functional groups reflect variation in water transport and drought resistance strategies. These varying strategies will help in our understanding of changing species distributions under predicted drought scenarios. PMID:26087009

  18. Functional Traits and Water Transport Strategies in Lowland Tropical Rainforest Trees

    PubMed Central

    Apgaua, Deborah M. G.; Ishida, Françoise Y.; Tng, David Y. P.; Laidlaw, Melinda J.; Santos, Rubens M.; Rumman, Rizwana; Eamus, Derek; Holtum, Joseph A. M.; Laurance, Susan G. W.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how tropical rainforest trees may respond to the precipitation extremes predicted in future climate change scenarios is paramount for their conservation and management. Tree species clearly differ in drought susceptibility, suggesting that variable water transport strategies exist. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we examined the hydraulic variability in trees in a lowland tropical rainforest in north-eastern Australia. We studied eight tree species representing broad plant functional groups (one palm and seven eudicot mature-phase, and early-successional trees). We characterised the species’ hydraulic system through maximum rates of volumetric sap flow and velocities using the heat ratio method, and measured rates of tree growth and several stem, vessel, and leaf traits. Sap flow measures exhibited limited variability across species, although early-successional species and palms had high mean sap velocities relative to most mature-phase species. Stem, vessel, and leaf traits were poor predictors of sap flow measures. However, these traits exhibited different associations in multivariate analysis, revealing gradients in some traits across species and alternative hydraulic strategies in others. Trait differences across and within tree functional groups reflect variation in water transport and drought resistance strategies. These varying strategies will help in our understanding of changing species distributions under predicted drought scenarios. PMID:26087009

  19. Functional Traits and Water Transport Strategies in Lowland Tropical Rainforest Trees.

    PubMed

    Apgaua, Deborah M G; Ishida, Françoise Y; Tng, David Y P; Laidlaw, Melinda J; Santos, Rubens M; Rumman, Rizwana; Eamus, Derek; Holtum, Joseph A M; Laurance, Susan G W

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how tropical rainforest trees may respond to the precipitation extremes predicted in future climate change scenarios is paramount for their conservation and management. Tree species clearly differ in drought susceptibility, suggesting that variable water transport strategies exist. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we examined the hydraulic variability in trees in a lowland tropical rainforest in north-eastern Australia. We studied eight tree species representing broad plant functional groups (one palm and seven eudicot mature-phase, and early-successional trees). We characterised the species' hydraulic system through maximum rates of volumetric sap flow and velocities using the heat ratio method, and measured rates of tree growth and several stem, vessel, and leaf traits. Sap flow measures exhibited limited variability across species, although early-successional species and palms had high mean sap velocities relative to most mature-phase species. Stem, vessel, and leaf traits were poor predictors of sap flow measures. However, these traits exhibited different associations in multivariate analysis, revealing gradients in some traits across species and alternative hydraulic strategies in others. Trait differences across and within tree functional groups reflect variation in water transport and drought resistance strategies. These varying strategies will help in our understanding of changing species distributions under predicted drought scenarios.

  20. Changes in plant cover and functional traits induced by grazing in the arid Patagonian Monte

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bär Lamas, M. I.; Larreguy, C.; Carrera, A. L.; Bertiller, M. B.

    2013-08-01

    Grazing disturbance may affect the structure and functioning of arid rangelands. We analyzed the changes in plant cover and plant functional traits (plant height, SLA, N in green leaves) at the community, morphotype and species level in relation to grazing disturbance in arid ecosystems with more than 100 years of sheep grazing history. We identified two grazing areas and within each area we selected two representative and homogeneous sites located far (low grazing disturbance) and near (high grazing disturbance) from the single permanent watering point. We evaluated the plant cover at community, morphotype (evergreen tall shrubs, deciduous shrubs, dwarf shrubs, perennial herbs and perennial grasses) and species level at each site and randomly selected three individuals of modal size of each species to evaluate at them the selected plants traits. Plant cover was reduced by grazing disturbance at the community level. The cover of perennial grasses and evergreen tall shrubs decreased and that of dwarf shrubs increased with increasing grazing disturbance. Increasing cover of dwarf shrubs did not compensate the cover reduction of the other morphotypes. In contrast, plant height, SLA and N in green leaves were not affected by high grazing disturbance at community level as a consequence of positive and negative changes in these traits at morphotype and species levels induced by high grazing disturbance. We concluded that cover was the trait most affected by high grazing disturbance and positive and negative changes in other traits at plant morphotype or species level did not affect community attributes related to resistance against herbivory.

  1. Testing functional trait-based mechanisms underpinning plant responses to grazing and linkages to ecosystem functioning in grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, S. X.; Li, W. H.; Lan, Z. C.; Ren, H. Y.; Wang, K. B.; Bai, Y. F.

    2014-09-01

    Abundant evidence has shown that grazing alters plant functional traits, ecological strategies, community structure, and ecosystem functioning of grasslands. Few studies, however, have examined how plant responses to grazing are mediated by resource availability and functional group identity. We test functional trait-based mechanisms underlying the responses of different life forms to grazing and linkages to ecosystem functioning along a soil moisture gradient in the Inner Mongolia grassland. A principal component analysis (PCA) based on 9 traits × 276 species matrix showed that the plant size spectrum (i.e., individual biomass), leaf economics spectrum (leaf N content and leaf density), and light competition spectrum (height and stem-leaf biomass ratio) distinguished plant species responses to grazing. The three life forms exhibited differential strategies as indicated by trait responses to grazing. The annuals and biennials adopted grazing-tolerant strategies associated with high growth rate, reflected by high leaf N content and specific leaf area. The perennial grasses exhibited grazing-tolerant strategies associated with great regrowth capacity and high palatability scores, whereas perennial forbs showed grazing-avoidant strategies with short stature and low palatability scores. In addition, the dominant perennial bunchgrasses exhibited mixed tolerance-resistance strategies to grazing and mixed acquisitive-conservative strategies in resource utilization. Grazing increased the relative abundance of perennial forbs with low palatability in the wet and fertile meadow, but it promoted perennial grasses with high palatability in the dry and infertile typical steppe. Our findings suggest that the effects of grazing on plant functional traits are dependent on both the abiotic (e.g., soil moisture) and biotic (e.g., plant functional group identity and composition) factors. Grazing-induced shifts in functional group composition are largely dependent on resource

  2. Motor neuron disease. SMN2 splicing modifiers improve motor function and longevity in mice with spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Naryshkin, Nikolai A; Weetall, Marla; Dakka, Amal; Narasimhan, Jana; Zhao, Xin; Feng, Zhihua; Ling, Karen K Y; Karp, Gary M; Qi, Hongyan; Woll, Matthew G; Chen, Guangming; Zhang, Nanjing; Gabbeta, Vijayalakshmi; Vazirani, Priya; Bhattacharyya, Anuradha; Furia, Bansri; Risher, Nicole; Sheedy, Josephine; Kong, Ronald; Ma, Jiyuan; Turpoff, Anthony; Lee, Chang-Sun; Zhang, Xiaoyan; Moon, Young-Choon; Trifillis, Panayiota; Welch, Ellen M; Colacino, Joseph M; Babiak, John; Almstead, Neil G; Peltz, Stuart W; Eng, Loren A; Chen, Karen S; Mull, Jesse L; Lynes, Maureen S; Rubin, Lee L; Fontoura, Paulo; Santarelli, Luca; Haehnke, Daniel; McCarthy, Kathleen D; Schmucki, Roland; Ebeling, Martin; Sivaramakrishnan, Manaswini; Ko, Chien-Ping; Paushkin, Sergey V; Ratni, Hasane; Gerlach, Irene; Ghosh, Anirvan; Metzger, Friedrich

    2014-08-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disease caused by mutation or deletion of the survival of motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. A paralogous gene in humans, SMN2, produces low, insufficient levels of functional SMN protein due to alternative splicing that truncates the transcript. The decreased levels of SMN protein lead to progressive neuromuscular degeneration and high rates of mortality. Through chemical screening and optimization, we identified orally available small molecules that shift the balance of SMN2 splicing toward the production of full-length SMN2 messenger RNA with high selectivity. Administration of these compounds to Δ7 mice, a model of severe SMA, led to an increase in SMN protein levels, improvement of motor function, and protection of the neuromuscular circuit. These compounds also extended the life span of the mice. Selective SMN2 splicing modifiers may have therapeutic potential for patients with SMA.

  3. Brain functional connectivity changes in children that differ in impulsivity temperamental trait

    PubMed Central

    Inuggi, Alberto; Sanz-Arigita, Ernesto; González-Salinas, Carmen; Valero-García, Ana V.; García-Santos, Jose M.; Fuentes, Luis J.

    2014-01-01

    Impulsivity is a core personality trait forming part of normal behavior and contributing to adaptive functioning. However, in typically developing children, altered patterns of impulsivity constitute a risk factor for the development of behavioral problems. Since both pathological and non-pathological states are commonly characterized by continuous transitions, we used a correlative approach to investigate the potential link between personality and brain dynamics. We related brain functional connectivity of typically developing children, measured with magnetic resonance imaging at rest, with their impulsivity scores obtained from a questionnaire completed by their parents. We first looked for areas within the default mode network (DMN) whose functional connectivity might be modulated by trait impulsivity. Then, we calculated the functional connectivity among these regions and the rest of the brain in order to assess if impulsivity trait altered their relationships. We found two DMN clusters located at the posterior cingulate cortex and the right angular gyrus which were negatively correlated with impulsivity scores. The whole-brain correlation analysis revealed the classic network of correlating and anti-correlating areas with respect to the DMN. The impulsivity trait modulated such pattern showing that the canonical anti-phasic relation between DMN and action-related network was reduced in high impulsive children. These results represent the first evidence that the impulsivity, measured as personality trait assessed through parents' report, exerts a modulatory influence over the functional connectivity of resting state brain networks in typically developing children. The present study goes further to connect developmental approaches, mainly based on data collected through the use of questionnaires, and behavioral neuroscience, interested in how differences in brain structure and functions reflect in differences in behavior. PMID:24834038

  4. Brain functional connectivity changes in children that differ in impulsivity temperamental trait.

    PubMed

    Inuggi, Alberto; Sanz-Arigita, Ernesto; González-Salinas, Carmen; Valero-García, Ana V; García-Santos, Jose M; Fuentes, Luis J

    2014-01-01

    Impulsivity is a core personality trait forming part of normal behavior and contributing to adaptive functioning. However, in typically developing children, altered patterns of impulsivity constitute a risk factor for the development of behavioral problems. Since both pathological and non-pathological states are commonly characterized by continuous transitions, we used a correlative approach to investigate the potential link between personality and brain dynamics. We related brain functional connectivity of typically developing children, measured with magnetic resonance imaging at rest, with their impulsivity scores obtained from a questionnaire completed by their parents. We first looked for areas within the default mode network (DMN) whose functional connectivity might be modulated by trait impulsivity. Then, we calculated the functional connectivity among these regions and the rest of the brain in order to assess if impulsivity trait altered their relationships. We found two DMN clusters located at the posterior cingulate cortex and the right angular gyrus which were negatively correlated with impulsivity scores. The whole-brain correlation analysis revealed the classic network of correlating and anti-correlating areas with respect to the DMN. The impulsivity trait modulated such pattern showing that the canonical anti-phasic relation between DMN and action-related network was reduced in high impulsive children. These results represent the first evidence that the impulsivity, measured as personality trait assessed through parents' report, exerts a modulatory influence over the functional connectivity of resting state brain networks in typically developing children. The present study goes further to connect developmental approaches, mainly based on data collected through the use of questionnaires, and behavioral neuroscience, interested in how differences in brain structure and functions reflect in differences in behavior.

  5. Functional Dysphonia during Mental Imagery: Testing the Trait Theory of Voice Disorders

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    van Mersbergen, Miriam; Patrick, Christopher; Glaze, Leslie

    2008-01-01

    Purpose: Previous research has proposed that persons with functional dysphonia (FD) present with temperamental traits that predispose them to their voice disorder. We investigated this theory in a controlled experiment and compared them with social anxiety (SA) and healthy control (HC) groups. Method: Twelve participants with FD, 19 participants…

  6. Temporal variability in California grasslands: soil type and species functional traits mediate response to precipitation.

    PubMed

    Fernandez-Going, B M; Anacker, B L; Harrison, S P

    2012-09-01

    Plant communities on infertile soils may be relatively resistant to climatic variation if species in these communities have "stress-tolerant" functional traits that limit their ability to respond to climate. Alternatively, such communities may be more sensitive to climatic variation if their relatively sparse vegetative cover exposes species to more extreme changes in factors such as temperature or wind. We compared temporal variability in species richness and composition over 10 years between grasslands on infertile serpentine and "normal" sedimentary soils. Variability in species richness and species composition tracked mean annual precipitation on both soils, but variability was lower in serpentine grasslands. Communities on serpentine had lower functional diversity and had species with more "stress-tolerant" traits than non-serpentine communities (i.e., shorter stature, lower specific leaf area, and lower leaf area). Within and between soils, variability in species richness and temporal turnover were lower in communities scoring as more stress tolerant on a multivariate index of these traits; however, community variability was unrelated to functional diversity. Within 41 species found commonly on both soils, variability in occurrence and cover were also lower on serpentine soils, even though intraspecific trait differences between soils were minimal; this suggests a direct effect of soil type on species variability in addition to the indirect, trait-mediated effect. Communities with higher biomass had higher annual variability in species occurrence and cover. Our results suggest that infertile soils reduce compositional variability indirectly by selecting for stress-tolerant traits and directly by limiting productivity. We conclude that communities on infertile soils may respond more conservatively to predicted changes in precipitation, including increased variability, than communities on soils of normal fertility.

  7. The role of functional traits and individual variation in the co-occurrence of Ficus species.

    PubMed

    Lasky, Jesse R; Yang, Jie; Zhang, Guocheng; Cao, Min; Tang, Yong; Keitt, Timothy H

    2014-04-01

    The processes that structure assemblages of species in hyper-diverse genera, such as Ficus (Moraceae), are not well understood. Functional diversity of co-occurring species can reveal evidence for assembly processes; however, intraspecific variation may weaken species-level patterns. We studied whether functional and phylogenetic diversity of Ficus species indicated the effects of spatial variation in filters associated with topography or niche partitioning related to resource use and biotic interactions. We also asked whether individual trait patterns supported species-level patterns. We studied six traits (leaf area, succulence, specific leaf area [SLA], maximum diameter breast high [dbh], fruit size, and latex exudation) for 22 Ficus species and 335 individuals > or = 10 cm dbh on a 20-ha forest plot in China. We found that higher elevation was correlated to changes in mean and reduced diversity of five traits, possibly due to frequent disturbances at higher elevations that favored fast-growing, poorly defended species with high SLA. Maximum dbh showed phylogenetic conservatism but high diversity among co-occurring species, suggesting adult stature is an important axis of within-quadrat niche partitioning. At the individual level, trait patterns were qualitatively consistent but were stronger than species-level patterns, especially for the leaf traits with the greatest intraspecific variation (SLA and succulence). Individual-level SLA exhibited the strongest evidence for both traits among and within-quadrat niche partitioning and indicated elevational filtering. Local niche partitioning and elevational filtering likely play an important role in maintaining species and functional diversity in the most speciose genus at our study site. Our results highlight the importance of individual variation, as it may reveal otherwise obscured niche effects. PMID:24933816

  8. Grasshopper Lazarillo, a GPI-anchored Lipocalin, increases Drosophila longevity and stress resistance, and functionally replaces its secreted homolog NLaz.

    PubMed

    Ruiz, Mario; Wicker-Thomas, Claude; Sanchez, Diego; Ganfornina, Maria D

    2012-10-01

    Lazarillo (Laz) is a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked glycoprotein first characterized in the developing nervous system of the grasshopper Schistocerca americana. It belongs to the Lipocalins, a functionally diverse family of mostly secreted proteins. In this work we test whether the protective capacity known for Laz homologs in flies and vertebrates (NLaz, GLaz and ApoD) is evolutionarily conserved in grasshopper Laz, and can be exerted from the plasma membrane in a cell-autonomous manner. First we demonstrate that extracellular forms of Laz have autocrine and paracrine protecting effects for oxidative stress-challenged Drosophila S2 cells. Then we assay the effects of overexpressing GPI-linked Laz in adult Drosophila and whether it rescues both known and novel phenotypes of NLaz null mutants. Local effects of GPI-linked Laz inside and outside the nervous system promote survival upon different stress forms, and extend lifespan and healthspan of the flies in a cell-type dependent manner. Outside the nervous system, expression in fat body cells but not in hemocytes results in protection. Within the nervous system, glial cell expression is more effective than neuronal expression. Laz actions are sexually dimorphic in some expression domains. Fat storage promotion and not modifications in hydrocarbon profiles or quantities explain the starvation-desiccation resistance caused by Laz overexpression. This effect is exerted when Laz is expressed ubiquitously or in dopaminergic cells, but not in hemocytes. Grasshopper Laz functionally restores the loss of NLaz, rescuing stress-sensitivity as well as premature accumulation of aging-related damage, monitored by advanced glycation end products (AGEs). However Laz does not rescue NLaz courtship behavioral defects. Finally, the presence of two new Lipocalins with predicted GPI-anchors in mosquitoes shows that the functional advantages of GPI-linkage have been commonly exploited by Lipocalins in the arthropodan lineage.

  9. Neonatal body condition, immune responsiveness, and hematocrit predict longevity in a wild bird population

    PubMed Central

    Hodges, Christine J.; Forsman, Anna M.; Vogel, Laura A.; Masters, Brian S.; Johnson, Bonnie G. P.; Johnson, L. Scott; Thompson, Charles F.; Sakaluk, Scott K.

    2014-01-01

    Measures of body condition, immune function, and hematological health are widely used in ecological studies of vertebrate populations, predicated on the assumption that these traits are linked to fitness. However, compelling evidence that these traits actually predict long-term survival and reproductive success among individuals in the wild is lacking. Here, we show that body condition (i.e., size-adjusted body mass) and cutaneous immune responsiveness to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) injection among neonates positively predict recruitment and subsequent longevity in a wild, migratory population of house wrens (Troglodytes aedon). However, neonates with intermediate hematocrit had the highest recruitment and longevity. Neonates with the highest PHA responsiveness and intermediate hematocrit prior to independence eventually produced the most offspring during their lifetime breeding on the study site. Importantly, the effects of PHA responsiveness and hematocrit were revealed while controlling for variation in body condition, sex, and environmental variation. Thus, our data demonstrate that body condition, cutaneous immune responsiveness, and hematocrit as a neonate are associated with individual fitness. Although hematocrit's effect is more complex than traditionally thought, our results suggest a previously underappreciated role for this trait in influencing survival in the wild. PMID:25505800

  10. Linking suspended sediment transport metrics with fish functional traits in the Northwestern Great Plains (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwartz, J. S.; Simon, A.; Klimetz, L.

    2009-12-01

    Loss of ecological integrity due to excessive suspended sediment in rivers and streams is a major cause of water quality impairment in the United States. Although 32 states have developed numeric criteria for turbidity or suspended solids, or both according to the USEPA (2006), criteria is typically written as a percent exceedance above background and what constitutes background is not well defined. Defining a background level is problematic considering suspended sediments and related turbidity levels change with flow stage and season, and limited scientific data exists on relationships between sediment exposure and biotic response. Current assessment protocols for development of sediment total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) lack a means to link temporally-variable sediment transport rates with specific losses of ecological functions as loads increase. This study, within the in Northwestern Great Plains Ecoregion, co-located 58 USGS gauging stations with existing flow and suspended sediment data, and fish data from federal and state agencies. Suspended sediment concentration (SSC) transport metrics were quantified into exceedance frequencies of a given magnitude, duration as the number of consecutive days a given concentration was equaled or exceeded, dosage as concentration x duration, and mean annual suspended sediment yields. A functional traits-based approach was used to correlate SSC transport metrics with site occurrences of 20 fish traits organized into four main groups: preferred rearing mesohabitat, trophic structure, feeding habits, and spawning behavior. Negative correlations between SSC metrics and trait occurrences were assumed to represent potential conditions for impairment, specifically identifying an ecological loss by functional trait. Potential impairment conditions were linked with presence of the following traits: habitat preferences for stream pool and river shallow waters; feeding generalists, omnivores, piscivores; and several spawning

  11. Determination of longevities, chamber building rates and growth functions for Operculina complanata from long term cultivation experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woeger, Julia; Kinoshita, Shunichi; Wolfgang, Eder; Briguglio, Antonino; Hohenegger, Johann

    2016-04-01

    Operculina complanata was collected in 20 and 50 m depth around the Island of Sesoko belonging to Japans southernmost prefecture Okinawa in a series of monthly sampling over a period of 16 months (Apr.2014-July2015). A minimum of 8 specimens (4 among the smallest and 4 among the largest) per sampling were cultured in a long term experiment that was set up to approximate conditions in the field as closely as possible. A set up allowing recognition of individual specimens enabled consistent documentation of chamber formation, which in combination with μ-CT-scanning after the investigation period permitted the assignment of growth steps to specific time periods. These data were used to fit various mathematical models to describe growth (exponential-, logistic-, generalized logistic-, Gompertz-function) and chamber building rate (Michaelis-Menten-, Bertalanffy- function) of Operculina complanata. The mathematically retrieved maximum lifespan and mean chamber building rate found in cultured Operculina complanata were further compared to first results obtained by the simultaneously conducted "natural laboratory approach". Even though these comparisons hint at a somewhat stunted growth and truncated life spans of Operculina complanata in culture, they represent a possibility to assess and improve the quality of further cultivation set ups, opening new prospects to a better understanding of the their theoretical niches.

  12. Winter severity determines functional trait composition of phytoplankton in seasonally ice-covered lakes.

    PubMed

    Özkundakci, Deniz; Gsell, Alena S; Hintze, Thomas; Täuscher, Helgard; Adrian, Rita

    2016-01-01

    How climate change will affect the community dynamics and functionality of lake ecosystems during winter is still little understood. This is also true for phytoplankton in seasonally ice-covered temperate lakes which are particularly vulnerable to the presence or absence of ice. We examined changes in pelagic phytoplankton winter community structure in a north temperate lake (Müggelsee, Germany), covering 18 winters between 1995 and 2013. We tested how phytoplankton taxa composition varied along a winter-severity gradient and to what extent winter severity shaped the functional trait composition of overwintering phytoplankton communities using multivariate statistical analyses and a functional trait-based approach. We hypothesized that overwintering phytoplankton communities are dominated by taxa with trait combinations corresponding to the prevailing winter water column conditions, using ice thickness measurements as a winter-severity indicator. Winter severity had little effect on univariate diversity indicators (taxon richness and evenness), but a strong relationship was found between the phytoplankton community structure and winter severity when taxon trait identity was taken into account. Species responses to winter severity were mediated by the key functional traits: motility, nutritional mode, and the ability to form resting stages. Accordingly, one or the other of two functional groups dominated the phytoplankton biomass during mild winters (i.e., thin or no ice cover; phototrophic taxa) or severe winters (i.e., thick ice cover; exclusively motile taxa). Based on predicted milder winters for temperate regions and a reduction in ice-cover durations, phytoplankton communities during winter can be expected to comprise taxa that have a relative advantage when the water column is well mixed (i.e., need not be motile) and light is less limiting (i.e., need not be mixotrophic). A potential implication of this result is that winter severity promotes different

  13. Winter severity determines functional trait composition of phytoplankton in seasonally ice-covered lakes.

    PubMed

    Özkundakci, Deniz; Gsell, Alena S; Hintze, Thomas; Täuscher, Helgard; Adrian, Rita

    2016-01-01

    How climate change will affect the community dynamics and functionality of lake ecosystems during winter is still little understood. This is also true for phytoplankton in seasonally ice-covered temperate lakes which are particularly vulnerable to the presence or absence of ice. We examined changes in pelagic phytoplankton winter community structure in a north temperate lake (Müggelsee, Germany), covering 18 winters between 1995 and 2013. We tested how phytoplankton taxa composition varied along a winter-severity gradient and to what extent winter severity shaped the functional trait composition of overwintering phytoplankton communities using multivariate statistical analyses and a functional trait-based approach. We hypothesized that overwintering phytoplankton communities are dominated by taxa with trait combinations corresponding to the prevailing winter water column conditions, using ice thickness measurements as a winter-severity indicator. Winter severity had little effect on univariate diversity indicators (taxon richness and evenness), but a strong relationship was found between the phytoplankton community structure and winter severity when taxon trait identity was taken into account. Species responses to winter severity were mediated by the key functional traits: motility, nutritional mode, and the ability to form resting stages. Accordingly, one or the other of two functional groups dominated the phytoplankton biomass during mild winters (i.e., thin or no ice cover; phototrophic taxa) or severe winters (i.e., thick ice cover; exclusively motile taxa). Based on predicted milder winters for temperate regions and a reduction in ice-cover durations, phytoplankton communities during winter can be expected to comprise taxa that have a relative advantage when the water column is well mixed (i.e., need not be motile) and light is less limiting (i.e., need not be mixotrophic). A potential implication of this result is that winter severity promotes different

  14. Plasticity of functional traits varies clinally along a rainfall gradient in Eucalyptus tricarpa.

    PubMed

    McLean, Elizabeth H; Prober, Suzanne M; Stock, William D; Steane, Dorothy A; Potts, Brad M; Vaillancourt, René E; Byrne, Margaret

    2014-06-01

    Widespread species often occur across a range of climatic conditions, through a combination of local genetic adaptations and phenotypic plasticity. Species with greater phenotypic plasticity are likely to be better positioned to cope with rapid anthropogenic climate changes, while those displaying strong local adaptations might benefit from translocations to assist the movement of adaptive genes as the climate changes. Eucalyptus tricarpa occurs across a climatic gradient in south-eastern Australia, a region of increasing aridity, and we hypothesized that this species would display local adaptation to climate. We measured morphological and physiological traits reflecting climate responses in nine provenances from sites of 460 to 1040 mm annual rainfall, in their natural habitat and in common gardens near each end of the gradient. Local adaptation was evident in functional traits and differential growth rates in the common gardens. Some traits displayed complex combinations of plasticity and genetic divergence among provenances, including clinal variation in plasticity itself. Provenances from drier locations were more plastic in leaf thickness, whereas leaf size was more plastic in provenances from higher rainfall locations. Leaf density and stomatal physiology (as indicated by δ(13)C and δ(18)O) were highly and uniformly plastic. In addition to variation in mean trait values, genetic variation in trait plasticity may play a role in climate adaptation. PMID:24329726

  15. Variation in habitat suitability does not always relate to variation in species' plant functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Thuiller, Wilfried; Albert, Cécile H.; Dubuis, Anne; Randin, Christophe; Guisan, Antoine

    2010-01-01

    Habitat suitability models, which relate species occurrences to environmental variables, are assumed to predict suitable conditions for a given species. If these models are reliable, they should relate to change in plant growth and function. In this paper, we ask the question whether habitat suitability models are able to predict variation in plant functional traits, often assumed to be a good surrogate for a species' overall health and vigour. Using a thorough sampling design, we show a tight link between variation in plant functional traits and habitat suitability for some species, but not for others. Our contrasting results pave the way towards a better understanding of how species cope with varying habitat conditions and demonstrate that habitat suitability models can provide meaningful descriptions of the functional niche in some cases, but not in others. PMID:19793738

  16. Higher photosynthetic capacity and different functional trait scaling relationships in erect bryophytes compared with prostrate species.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhe; Liu, Xin; Bao, Weikai

    2016-02-01

    Ecophysiological studies of bryophytes have generally been conducted at the shoot or canopy scale. However, their growth forms are diverse, and knowledge of whether bryophytes with different shoot structures have different functional trait levels and scaling relationships is limited. We collected 27 bryophyte species and categorised them into two groups based on their growth forms: erect and prostrate species. Twenty-one morphological, nutrient and photosynthetic traits were quantified. Trait levels and bivariate trait scaling relationships across species were compared between the two groups. The two groups had similar mean values for shoot mass per area (SMA), light saturation point and mass-based nitrogen (N(mass)) and phosphorus concentrations. Erect bryophytes possessed higher values for mass-based chlorophyll concentration (Chl(mass)), light-saturated assimilation rate (A(mass)) and photosynthetic nitrogen/phosphorus use efficiency. N(mass), Chl(mass) and A(mass) were positively related, and these traits were negatively associated with SMA. Furthermore, the slope of the regression of N(mass) versus Chl(mass) was steeper for erect bryophytes than that for prostrate bryophytes, whereas this pattern was reversed for the relationship between Chl(mass) and A(mass). In conclusion, erect bryophytes possess higher photosynthetic capacities than prostrate species. Furthermore, erect bryophytes invest more nitrogen in chloroplast pigments to improve their light-harvesting ability, while the structure of prostrate species permits more efficient light capture. This study confirms the effect of growth form on the functional trait levels and scaling relationships of bryophytes. It also suggests that bryophytes could be good models for investigating the carbon economy and nutrient allocation of plants at the shoot rather than the leaf scale. PMID:26552378

  17. Higher photosynthetic capacity and different functional trait scaling relationships in erect bryophytes compared with prostrate species.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhe; Liu, Xin; Bao, Weikai

    2016-02-01

    Ecophysiological studies of bryophytes have generally been conducted at the shoot or canopy scale. However, their growth forms are diverse, and knowledge of whether bryophytes with different shoot structures have different functional trait levels and scaling relationships is limited. We collected 27 bryophyte species and categorised them into two groups based on their growth forms: erect and prostrate species. Twenty-one morphological, nutrient and photosynthetic traits were quantified. Trait levels and bivariate trait scaling relationships across species were compared between the two groups. The two groups had similar mean values for shoot mass per area (SMA), light saturation point and mass-based nitrogen (N(mass)) and phosphorus concentrations. Erect bryophytes possessed higher values for mass-based chlorophyll concentration (Chl(mass)), light-saturated assimilation rate (A(mass)) and photosynthetic nitrogen/phosphorus use efficiency. N(mass), Chl(mass) and A(mass) were positively related, and these traits were negatively associated with SMA. Furthermore, the slope of the regression of N(mass) versus Chl(mass) was steeper for erect bryophytes than that for prostrate bryophytes, whereas this pattern was reversed for the relationship between Chl(mass) and A(mass). In conclusion, erect bryophytes possess higher photosynthetic capacities than prostrate species. Furthermore, erect bryophytes invest more nitrogen in chloroplast pigments to improve their light-harvesting ability, while the structure of prostrate species permits more efficient light capture. This study confirms the effect of growth form on the functional trait levels and scaling relationships of bryophytes. It also suggests that bryophytes could be good models for investigating the carbon economy and nutrient allocation of plants at the shoot rather than the leaf scale.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  19. Sports and longevity.

    PubMed

    Karvonen, M J

    1976-01-01

    The mortality of 396 Finnish champion skiers born from 1845 to 1910 was followed up to the end of 1967. Their median life expectancy was 73.0 years, ie.e 4.3 years longer than that for the Finnish male population during the same period. Former skiers have low blood pressure, seldom smoke and are physically active. Increased longevity has been reported also for American college oarsmen and baseball players.

  20. Ecoregional, catchment, and reach-scale environmental factors shape functional-trait structure of stream fish assemblages

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Patterns of association between functional traits and environmental gradients can improve understanding of species assemblage structure from local to regional scales, and therefore may be useful for natural resource management. We measured functional traits related to trophic ecology, habitat use, a...

  1. The functional VNTR of IGH enhancer HS1.2 associates with human longevity and interacts with TNFA promoter diplotype in a population of Central Italy.

    PubMed

    Napolioni, Valerio; Serone, Eliseo; Iacoacci, Valentina; Carpi, Francesco M; Giambra, Vincenzo; Frezza, Domenico

    2014-11-10

    The dysregulation of both immune and inflammatory responses occurring with aging is believed to substantially contribute to morbidity and mortality in humans. We have already reported the association of the functional Variable Number of Tandem Repeat (VNTR) at the Immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) enhancer HS1.2 with Immunoglobulin levels and with several autoimmune diseases. Herein we tested the association of the VNTR at the HS1.2 enhancer with human longevity, also evaluating the possible modulatory effect of TNFA promoter diplotype (rs361525/rs1800629). HS1.2 enhancer genotypes have been determined for 193 unrelated healthy individuals from Central Italy divided into two groups: Group 1 (18-84 yrs, mean age 56.8 ± 19.4) and Group 2 (85-100 yrs, mean age 93.0 ± 3.5). Homozygous subjects for 2 allele were significantly disadvantaged in reaching higher life-expectancy (OR=0.457, p=0.021). A significant interaction between TNFA promoter diplotype status, HS1.2 2/2 genotype and the two Groups was found (p=0.014). Of note, TNFA -308A allele seems to exert a protective effect in HS1.2 2/2 carriers. These results support the hypothesis of an important role of HS1.2 VNTR in the puzzle of the immune-system regulation, evidenced also by the potential interaction with TNFA. Moreover, the previous results showing the association of HS1.2 2 allele with inflammatory phenomena are consistent with the hypothesis that this allele is a detrimental factor in reaching advanced age.

  2. Modalities of Thinking: State and Trait Effects on Cross-Frequency Functional Independent Brain Networks.

    PubMed

    Milz, Patricia; Pascual-Marqui, Roberto D; Lehmann, Dietrich; Faber, Pascal L

    2016-05-01

    Functional states of the brain are constituted by the temporally attuned activity of spatially distributed neural networks. Such networks can be identified by independent component analysis (ICA) applied to frequency-dependent source-localized EEG data. This methodology allows the identification of networks at high temporal resolution in frequency bands of established location-specific physiological functions. EEG measurements are sensitive to neural activity changes in cortical areas of modality-specific processing. We tested effects of modality-specific processing on functional brain networks. Phasic modality-specific processing was induced via tasks (state effects) and tonic processing was assessed via modality-specific person parameters (trait effects). Modality-specific person parameters and 64-channel EEG were obtained from 70 male, right-handed students. Person parameters were obtained using cognitive style questionnaires, cognitive tests, and thinking modality self-reports. EEG was recorded during four conditions: spatial visualization, object visualization, verbalization, and resting. Twelve cross-frequency networks were extracted from source-localized EEG across six frequency bands using ICA. RMANOVAs, Pearson correlations, and path modelling examined effects of tasks and person parameters on networks. Results identified distinct state- and trait-dependent functional networks. State-dependent networks were characterized by decreased, trait-dependent networks by increased alpha activity in sub-regions of modality-specific pathways. Pathways of competing modalities showed opposing alpha changes. State- and trait-dependent alpha were associated with inhibitory and automated processing, respectively. Antagonistic alpha modulations in areas of competing modalities likely prevent intruding effects of modality-irrelevant processing. Considerable research suggested alpha modulations related to modality-specific states and traits. This study identified the

  3. Individual differences in common factors of emotional traits and executive functions predict functional connectivity of the amygdala.

    PubMed

    Rohr, C S; Dreyer, F R; Aderka, I M; Margulies, D S; Frisch, S; Villringer, A; Okon-Singer, H

    2015-10-15

    Evidence suggests that individual differences in emotion control are associated with frontoparietal-limbic networks and linked to emotional traits and executive functions. In a first attempt to directly target the link between emotional traits and executive functions using resting-state fMRI analysis, 43 healthy adults completed a test battery including executive tasks and emotional trait self-assessments that were subjected to a principal component analysis. Of the three factors detected, two explained 40.4% of the variance and were further investigated. Both factors suggest a relation between emotional traits and executive functions. Specifically, the first factor consisted of measures related to inhibitory control and negative affect, and the second factor was related to reward and positive affect. To investigate whether this interplay between emotional traits and executive functions is reflected in neural connectivity, we used resting-state fMRI to explore the functional connectivity of the amygdala as a starting point, and progressed to other seed-based analyses based on the initial findings. We found that the first factor predicted the strength of connectivity between brain regions known to be involved in the cognitive control of emotion, including the amygdala and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, whereas the second factor predicted the strength of connectivity between brain regions known to be involved in reward and attention, including the amygdala, the caudate and the thalamus. These findings suggest that individual differences in the ability to inhibit negative affect are mediated by prefrontal-limbic pathways, while the ability to be positive and use rewarding information is mediated by a network that includes the amygdala and thalamostriatal regions.

  4. Relationships between phyllosphere bacterial communities and plant functional traits in a neotropical forest.

    PubMed

    Kembel, Steven W; O'Connor, Timothy K; Arnold, Holly K; Hubbell, Stephen P; Wright, S Joseph; Green, Jessica L

    2014-09-23

    The phyllosphere--the aerial surfaces of plants, including leaves--is a ubiquitous global habitat that harbors diverse bacterial communities. Phyllosphere bacterial communities have the potential to influence plant biogeography and ecosystem function through their influence on the fitness and function of their hosts, but the host attributes that drive community assembly in the phyllosphere are poorly understood. In this study we used high-throughput sequencing to quantify bacterial community structure on the leaves of 57 tree species in a neotropical forest in Panama. We tested for relationships between bacterial communities on tree leaves and the functional traits, taxonomy, and phylogeny of their plant hosts. Bacterial communities on tropical tree leaves were diverse; leaves from individual trees were host to more than 400 bacterial taxa. Bacterial communities in the phyllosphere were dominated by a core microbiome of taxa including Actinobacteria, Alpha-, Beta-, and Gammaproteobacteria, and Sphingobacteria. Host attributes including plant taxonomic identity, phylogeny, growth and mortality rates, wood density, leaf mass per area, and leaf nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations were correlated with bacterial community structure on leaves. The relative abundances of several bacterial taxa were correlated with suites of host plant traits related to major axes of plant trait variation, including the leaf economics spectrum and the wood density-growth/mortality tradeoff. These correlations between phyllosphere bacterial diversity and host growth, mortality, and function suggest that incorporating information on plant-microbe associations will improve our ability to understand plant functional biogeography and the drivers of variation in plant and ecosystem function.

  5. Association of vitamin D receptor with longevity and healthy aging.

    PubMed

    Najmi Varzaneh, Farnaz; Sharifi, Farshad; Hossein-Nezhad, Arash; Mirarefin, Mojde; Maghbooli, Zhila; Ghaderpanahi, Maryam; Larijani, Bagher; Fakhrzadeh, Hossein

    2013-01-01

    Longevity is a multifaceted trait in which variety of genes and environmental factors are involved. Newly, the role of vitamin D has been revived regarding its potential advantage on delaying the aging process. Vitamin D exerts its effect through vitamin D receptor (VDR). VDR-FokI is the only polymorphism which alters the VDR length. We examined the frequency of FokI genotypes in old age population as compared to young adults to determine the discerning genotype of FokI polymorphism leading to longer living. In addition, to highlight the position of FokІ polymorphism in quality of life; a cognitive function assessment was performed. 728 participants participated in this study of which 166 individuals were elderly residents of Kahrizak Charity Foundation. The rest were participants of Iranian Multicenter Osteoporosis Study (IMOS). Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood and VDR genotype was detected by the polymerase chain reaction. The participants in the elderly group underwent a cognitive function assessment. Cognitive function was measured with the mini mental state examination (MMSE). Data were analyzed by SPSS 16.5. The prevalence of ff genotype showed 48% decrease in elderly population as compared to young adults (P=0.06). In addition, F allele was over-represented in the elderly group as compared to controls (P=0.05). Also, "FF" participants of elderly group had higher MMSE as compared to "ff" genotype (18.16Vs17.12). Our data suggest that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in FokI may be possibly involved in longevity and cognitive function. PMID:23690102

  6. Plasticity in plant functional traits is shaped by variability in neighbourhood species composition.

    PubMed

    Abakumova, Maria; Zobel, Kristjan; Lepik, Anu; Semchenko, Marina

    2016-07-01

    Plant functional traits can vary widely as a result of phenotypic plasticity to abiotic conditions. Trait variation may also reflect responses to the identity of neighbours, although not all species are equally responsive to their biotic surroundings. We hypothesized that responses to neighbours are shaped by spatial community patterns and resulting variability in neighbour composition. More precisely, we tested the theoretical prediction that plasticity is most likely to evolve if alternative environments (in this case, different neighbour species) are common and encountered at similar frequencies. We estimated the frequencies of encountering different neighbour species in the field for 27 grassland species and measured the aboveground morphological responses of each species to conspecific vs heterospecific neighbours in a common garden. Responses to neighbour identity were dependent on how frequently the experimental neighbours were encountered by the focal species in their home community, with the greatest plasticity observed in species that encountered both neighbours (conspecific and heterospecific) with high and even frequency. Biotic interactions with neighbouring species can impose selection on plasticity in functional traits, which may feed back through trait divergence and niche differentiation to influence species coexistence and community structure.

  7. Plant diversity and root traits benefit physical properties key to soil function in grasslands.

    PubMed

    Gould, Iain J; Quinton, John N; Weigelt, Alexandra; De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Bardgett, Richard D

    2016-09-01

    Plant diversity loss impairs ecosystem functioning, including important effects on soil. Most studies that have explored plant diversity effects belowground, however, have largely focused on biological processes. As such, our understanding of how plant diversity impacts the soil physical environment remains limited, despite the fundamental role soil physical structure plays in ensuring soil function and ecosystem service provision. Here, in both a glasshouse and a long-term field study, we show that high plant diversity in grassland systems increases soil aggregate stability, a vital structural property of soil, and that root traits play a major role in determining diversity effects. We also reveal that the presence of particular plant species within mixed communities affects an even wider range of soil physical processes, including hydrology and soil strength regimes. Our results indicate that alongside well-documented effects on ecosystem functioning, plant diversity and root traits also benefit essential soil physical properties.

  8. Plant diversity and root traits benefit physical properties key to soil function in grasslands.

    PubMed

    Gould, Iain J; Quinton, John N; Weigelt, Alexandra; De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Bardgett, Richard D

    2016-09-01

    Plant diversity loss impairs ecosystem functioning, including important effects on soil. Most studies that have explored plant diversity effects belowground, however, have largely focused on biological processes. As such, our understanding of how plant diversity impacts the soil physical environment remains limited, despite the fundamental role soil physical structure plays in ensuring soil function and ecosystem service provision. Here, in both a glasshouse and a long-term field study, we show that high plant diversity in grassland systems increases soil aggregate stability, a vital structural property of soil, and that root traits play a major role in determining diversity effects. We also reveal that the presence of particular plant species within mixed communities affects an even wider range of soil physical processes, including hydrology and soil strength regimes. Our results indicate that alongside well-documented effects on ecosystem functioning, plant diversity and root traits also benefit essential soil physical properties. PMID:27459206

  9. Functional Multi-Locus QTL Mapping of Temporal Trends in Scots Pine Wood Traits

    PubMed Central

    Li, Zitong; Hallingbäck, Henrik R.; Abrahamsson, Sara; Fries, Anders; Gull, Bengt Andersson; Sillanpää, Mikko J.; García-Gil, M. Rosario

    2014-01-01

    Quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping of wood properties in conifer species has focused on single time point measurements or on trait means based on heterogeneous wood samples (e.g., increment cores), thus ignoring systematic within-tree trends. In this study, functional QTL mapping was performed for a set of important wood properties in increment cores from a 17-yr-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) full-sib family with the aim of detecting wood trait QTL for general intercepts (means) and for linear slopes by increasing cambial age. Two multi-locus functional QTL analysis approaches were proposed and their performances were compared on trait datasets comprising 2 to 9 time points, 91 to 455 individual tree measurements and genotype datasets of amplified length polymorphisms (AFLP), and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. The first method was a multilevel LASSO analysis whereby trend parameter estimation and QTL mapping were conducted consecutively; the second method was our Bayesian linear mixed model whereby trends and underlying genetic effects were estimated simultaneously. We also compared several different hypothesis testing methods under either the LASSO or the Bayesian framework to perform QTL inference. In total, five and four significant QTL were observed for the intercepts and slopes, respectively, across wood traits such as earlywood percentage, wood density, radial fiberwidth, and spiral grain angle. Four of these QTL were represented by candidate gene SNPs, thus providing promising targets for future research in QTL mapping and molecular function. Bayesian and LASSO methods both detected similar sets of QTL given datasets that comprised large numbers of individuals. PMID:25305041

  10. Using Phylogenetic, Functional and Trait Diversity to Understand Patterns of Plant Community Productivity

    PubMed Central

    Cadotte, Marc W.; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Tilman, David; Oakley, Todd H.

    2009-01-01

    Background Two decades of research showing that increasing plant diversity results in greater community productivity has been predicated on greater functional diversity allowing access to more of the total available resources. Thus, understanding phenotypic attributes that allow species to partition resources is fundamentally important to explaining diversity-productivity relationships. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we use data from a long-term experiment (Cedar Creek, MN) and compare the extent to which productivity is explained by seven types of community metrics of functional variation: 1) species richness, 2) variation in 10 individual traits, 3) functional group richness, 4) a distance-based measure of functional diversity, 5) a hierarchical multivariate clustering method, 6) a nonmetric multidimensional scaling approach, and 7) a phylogenetic diversity measure, summing phylogenetic branch lengths connecting community members together and may be a surrogate for ecological differences. Although most of these diversity measures provided significant explanations of variation in productivity, the presence of a nitrogen fixer and phylogenetic diversity were the two best explanatory variables. Further, a statistical model that included the presence of a nitrogen fixer, seed weight and phylogenetic diversity was a better explanation of community productivity than other models. Conclusions Evolutionary relationships among species appear to explain patterns of grassland productivity. Further, these results reveal that functional differences among species involve a complex suite of traits and that perhaps phylogenetic relationships provide a better measure of the diversity among species that contributes to productivity than individual or small groups of traits. PMID:19479086

  11. Conceptualizing functional traits and ecological characteristics of methane-oxidizing bacteria as life strategies.

    PubMed

    Ho, Adrian; Kerckhof, Frederiek-Maarten; Luke, Claudia; Reim, Andreas; Krause, Sascha; Boon, Nico; Bodelier, Paul L E

    2013-06-01

    Methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) possess the ability to use methane for energy generation and growth, thereby, providing a key ecosystem service that is highly relevant to the regulation of the global climate. MOB subgroups have different responses to key environmental controls, reflecting on their functional traits. Their unique features (C1-metabolism, unique lipids and congruence between the 16S rRNA and pmoA gene phylogeny) have facilitated numerous environmental studies, which in combination with the availability of cultured representatives, yield the most comprehensive ecological picture of any known microbial functional guild. Here, we focus on the broad MOB subgroups (type I and type II MOB), and aim to conceptualize MOB functional traits and observational characteristics derived primarily from these environmental studies to be interpreted as microbial life strategies. We focus on the functional traits, and the conditions under which these traits will render different MOB subgroups a selective advantage. We hypothesize that type I and type II MOB generally have distinct life strategies, enabling them to predominate under different conditions and maintain functionality. The ecological characteristics implicated in their adopted life strategies are discussed, and incorporated into the Competitor-Stress tolerator-Ruderal functional classification framework as put forward for plant communities. In this context, type I MOB can broadly be classified as competitor-ruderal while type II MOB fit more within the stress tolerator categories. Finally, we provide an outlook on MOB applications by exemplifying two approaches where their inferred life strategies could be exploited thereby, putting MOB into the context of microbial resource management. PMID:23754714

  12. Conceptualizing functional traits and ecological characteristics of methane-oxidizing bacteria as life strategies.

    PubMed

    Ho, Adrian; Kerckhof, Frederiek-Maarten; Luke, Claudia; Reim, Andreas; Krause, Sascha; Boon, Nico; Bodelier, Paul L E

    2013-06-01

    Methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) possess the ability to use methane for energy generation and growth, thereby, providing a key ecosystem service that is highly relevant to the regulation of the global climate. MOB subgroups have different responses to key environmental controls, reflecting on their functional traits. Their unique features (C1-metabolism, unique lipids and congruence between the 16S rRNA and pmoA gene phylogeny) have facilitated numerous environmental studies, which in combination with the availability of cultured representatives, yield the most comprehensive ecological picture of any known microbial functional guild. Here, we focus on the broad MOB subgroups (type I and type II MOB), and aim to conceptualize MOB functional traits and observational characteristics derived primarily from these environmental studies to be interpreted as microbial life strategies. We focus on the functional traits, and the conditions under which these traits will render different MOB subgroups a selective advantage. We hypothesize that type I and type II MOB generally have distinct life strategies, enabling them to predominate under different conditions and maintain functionality. The ecological characteristics implicated in their adopted life strategies are discussed, and incorporated into the Competitor-Stress tolerator-Ruderal functional classification framework as put forward for plant communities. In this context, type I MOB can broadly be classified as competitor-ruderal while type II MOB fit more within the stress tolerator categories. Finally, we provide an outlook on MOB applications by exemplifying two approaches where their inferred life strategies could be exploited thereby, putting MOB into the context of microbial resource management.

  13. Explaining forest productivity using tree functional traits and phylogenetic information: two sides of the same coin over evolutionary scale?

    PubMed Central

    Paquette, Alain; Joly, Simon; Messier, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Given evidences that diverse ecosystems provide more services than depauperate ones, much attention has now turned toward finding meaningful and operational diversity indices. We ask two questions: (1) Does phylogenetic diversity contain additional information not explained by functional traits? And (2) What are the strength and nature of the correlation between phylogeny and functional traits according to the evolutionary scale considered? We used data from permanent forest plots of northeastern Canada for which these links have been demonstrated and important functional traits identified. We show that the nature of the relationship between traits and phylogeny varies dramatically among traits, but also according to the evolutionary distance considered. The demonstration that different characters show phylogenetic autocorrelation at different evolutionary depths suggests that phylogenetic content of traits may be too crude to determine whether phylogenies contain relevant information. However, our study provides support for the use of phylogenies to assess ecosystem functioning when key functional traits are unavailable. We also highlight a potentially important contribution of phylogenetics for conservation and the study of the impact of biodiversity loss on ecosystem functioning and the provision of services, given the accumulating evidence that mechanisms promoting diversity effects shift over time to involve different traits. PMID:26140194

  14. Explaining forest productivity using tree functional traits and phylogenetic information: two sides of the same coin over evolutionary scale?

    PubMed

    Paquette, Alain; Joly, Simon; Messier, Christian

    2015-05-01

    Given evidences that diverse ecosystems provide more services than depauperate ones, much attention has now turned toward finding meaningful and operational diversity indices. We ask two questions: (1) Does phylogenetic diversity contain additional information not explained by functional traits? And (2) What are the strength and nature of the correlation between phylogeny and functional traits according to the evolutionary scale considered? We used data from permanent forest plots of northeastern Canada for which these links have been demonstrated and important functional traits identified. We show that the nature of the relationship between traits and phylogeny varies dramatically among traits, but also according to the evolutionary distance considered. The demonstration that different characters show phylogenetic autocorrelation at different evolutionary depths suggests that phylogenetic content of traits may be too crude to determine whether phylogenies contain relevant information. However, our study provides support for the use of phylogenies to assess ecosystem functioning when key functional traits are unavailable. We also highlight a potentially important contribution of phylogenetics for conservation and the study of the impact of biodiversity loss on ecosystem functioning and the provision of services, given the accumulating evidence that mechanisms promoting diversity effects shift over time to involve different traits.

  15. The search for Pleiades in trait constellations: functional integration and phenotypic selection in the complex flowers of Morrenia brachystephana (Apocynaceae).

    PubMed

    Baranzelli, M C; Sérsic, A N; Cocucci, A A

    2014-04-01

    Pollinator-mediated natural selection on single traits, such as corolla tube or spur length, has been well documented. However, flower phenotypes are usually complex, and selection is expected to act on several traits that functionally interact rather than on a single isolated trait. Despite the fact that selection on complex phenotypes is expectedly widespread, multivariate selection modelling on such phenotypes still remains under-explored in plants. Species of the subfamily Asclepiadoideae (Apocynaceae) provide an opportunity to study such complex flower contrivances integrated by fine-scaled organs from disparate developmental origin. We studied the correlation structure among linear floral traits (i) by testing a priori morphological, functional or developmental hypotheses among traits and (ii) by exploring the organization of flower covariation, considering alternative expectations of modular organization or whole flower integration through conditional dependence analysis (CDA) and integration matrices. The phenotypic selection approach was applied to determine whether floral traits involved in the functioning of the pollination mechanism were affected by natural selection. Floral integration was low, suggesting that flowers are organized in more than just one correlation pleiad; our hypothetical functional correlation matrix was significantly correlated with the empirical matrix, and the CDA revealed three putative modules. Analyses of phenotypic selection showed significant linear and correlational gradients, lending support to expectations of functional interactions between floral traits. Significant correlational selection gradients found involved traits of different floral whorls, providing evidence for the existence of functional integration across developmental domains.

  16. Power estimation for gene-longevity association analysis using concordant twins.

    PubMed

    Tan, Qihua; Zhao, Jing Hua; Kruse, Torben; Christensen, Kaare

    2014-01-01

    Statistical power is one of the major concerns in genetic association studies. Related individuals such as twins are valuable samples for genetic studies because of their genetic relatedness. Phenotype similarity in twin pairs provides evidence of genetic control over the phenotype variation in a population. The genetic association study on human longevity, a complex trait that is under control of both genetic and environmental factors, has been confronted by the small sample sizes of longevity subjects which limit statistical power. Twin pairs concordant for longevity have increased probability for carrying beneficial genes and thus are useful samples for gene-longevity association analysis. We conducted a computer simulation to estimate the power of association study using longevity concordant twin pairs. We observed remarkable power increases in using singletons from longevity concordant twin pairs as cases in comparison with cases of sporadic proband. A similar power would require doubled sample sizes for fraternal twins than for identical twins who are concordant for longevity suggesting that longevity concordant identical twins are more efficient samples than fraternal twins. We also observed an approximate of 2- to 3-fold increase in sample sizes needed for longevity cutoff at age 90 as compared with that at age 95. Overall, our results showed high value of twins in genetic association studies on human longevity. PMID:25309757

  17. Quantitative trait locus mapping and functional genomics of an organophosphate resistance trait in the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, is an insect pest of corn, and population suppression with chemical insecticides is an important management tool. Traits conferring organophosphate insecticide resistance have increased in frequency among WCR populations, resulting in...

  18. Functional traits determine plant co-occurrence more than environment or evolutionary relatedness in global drylands

    PubMed Central

    Soliveres, Santiago; Maestre, Fernando T.; Bowker, Matthew A.; Torices, Rubén; Quero, José L.; García-Gómez, Miguel; Cabrera, Omar; Cea, Alex; Coaguila, Daniel; Eldridge, David J.; Espinosa, Carlos I.; Hemmings, Frank; Monerris, Jorge J.; Tighe, Matthew; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Escolar, Cristina; García-Palacios, Pablo; Gozalo, Beatriz; Ochoa, Victoria; Blones, Julio; Derak, Mchich; Ghiloufi, Wahida; Gutiérrez, Julio R.; Hernández, Rosa M.; Noumi, Zouhaier

    2015-01-01

    Plant-plant interactions are driven by environmental conditions, evolutionary relationships (ER) and the functional traits of the plants involved. However, studies addressing the relative importance of these drivers are rare, but crucial to improve our predictions of the effects of plant-plant interactions on plant communities and of how they respond to differing environmental conditions. To analyze the relative importance of –and interrelationships among– these factors as drivers of plant-plant interactions, we analyzed perennial plant co-occurrence at 106 dryland plant communities established across rainfall gradients in nine countries. We used structural equation modeling to disentangle the relationships between environmental conditions (aridity and soil fertility), functional traits extracted from the literature, and ER, and to assess their relative importance as drivers of the 929 pairwise plant-plant co-occurrence levels measured. Functional traits, specifically facilitated plants’ height and nurse growth form, were of primary importance, and modulated the effect of the environment and ER on plant-plant interactions. Environmental conditions and ER were important mainly for those interactions involving woody and graminoid nurses, respectively. The relative importance of different plant-plant interaction drivers (ER, functional traits, and the environment) varied depending on the region considered, illustrating the difficulty of predicting the outcome of plant-plant interactions at broader spatial scales. In our global-scale study on drylands, plant-plant interactions were more strongly related to functional traits of the species involved than to the environmental variables considered. Thus, moving to a trait-based facilitation/competition approach help to predict that: 1) positive plant-plant interactions are more likely to occur for taller facilitated species in drylands, and 2) plant-plant interactions within woody-dominated ecosystems might be more

  19. Plastic responses in the metabolome and functional traits of maize plants to temperature variations.

    PubMed

    Sun, C X; Gao, X X; Li, M Q; Fu, J Q; Zhang, Y L

    2016-03-01

    Environmentally inducible phenotypic plasticity is a major player in plant responses to climate change. However, metabolic responses and their role in determining the phenotypic plasticity of plants that are subjected to temperature variations remain poorly understood. The metabolomic profiles and metabolite levels in the leaves of three maize inbred lines grown in different temperature conditions were examined with a nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomic technique. The relationship of functional traits to metabolome profiles and the metabolic mechanism underlying temperature variations were then explored. A comparative analysis showed that during heat and cold stress, maize plants shared common plastic responses in biomass accumulation, carbon, nitrogen, sugars, some amino acids and compatible solutes. We also found that the plastic response of maize plants to heat stress was different from that under cold stress, mainly involving biomass allocation, shikimate and its aromatic amino acid derivatives, and other non-polar metabolites. The plastic responsiveness of functional traits of maize lines to temperature variations was low, while the metabolic responsiveness in plasticity was high, indicating that functional and metabolic plasticity may play different roles in maize plant adaptation to temperature variations. A linear regression analysis revealed that the maize lines could adapt to growth temperature variations through the interrelation of plastic responses in the metabolomes and functional traits, such as biomass allocation and the status of carbon and nitrogen. We provide valuable insight into the plastic response strategy of maize plants to temperature variations that will permit the optimisation of crop cultivation in an increasingly variable environment. PMID:26280133

  20. Plastic responses in the metabolome and functional traits of maize plants to temperature variations.

    PubMed

    Sun, C X; Gao, X X; Li, M Q; Fu, J Q; Zhang, Y L

    2016-03-01

    Environmentally inducible phenotypic plasticity is a major player in plant responses to climate change. However, metabolic responses and their role in determining the phenotypic plasticity of plants that are subjected to temperature variations remain poorly understood. The metabolomic profiles and metabolite levels in the leaves of three maize inbred lines grown in different temperature conditions were examined with a nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomic technique. The relationship of functional traits to metabolome profiles and the metabolic mechanism underlying temperature variations were then explored. A comparative analysis showed that during heat and cold stress, maize plants shared common plastic responses in biomass accumulation, carbon, nitrogen, sugars, some amino acids and compatible solutes. We also found that the plastic response of maize plants to heat stress was different from that under cold stress, mainly involving biomass allocation, shikimate and its aromatic amino acid derivatives, and other non-polar metabolites. The plastic responsiveness of functional traits of maize lines to temperature variations was low, while the metabolic responsiveness in plasticity was high, indicating that functional and metabolic plasticity may play different roles in maize plant adaptation to temperature variations. A linear regression analysis revealed that the maize lines could adapt to growth temperature variations through the interrelation of plastic responses in the metabolomes and functional traits, such as biomass allocation and the status of carbon and nitrogen. We provide valuable insight into the plastic response strategy of maize plants to temperature variations that will permit the optimisation of crop cultivation in an increasingly variable environment.

  1. Bower-building behaviour is associated with increased sperm longevity in Tanganyikan cichlids.

    PubMed

    Morita, M; Awata, S; Yorifuji, M; Ota, K; Kohda, M; Ochi, H

    2014-12-01

    We investigated the evolutionary relationship between spawning behaviour and sperm motility traits among Tanganyikan mouth-brooding cichlid species that have developed diverse mating behaviours and male sexual traits. Mouth-brooding behaviour is common among these fish, but different species demonstrate a range of spawning behaviours, bower construction, male sexual traits and timing of gamete release. We observed spawning behaviours and compared sperm motility traits of 28 Tanganyikan mouth-brooding cichlids to elucidate the evolutionary correlations between these traits. Sperm longevity was considerably longer in bower-building species that construct crater-shaped spawning sites compared with species that do not build bowers. Male bower builders released sperm in the pit of the bower prior to spawning, and the time from ejaculation to fertilization was longer. Conversely, most mouth-brooding cichlids deposited semen directly into the female buccal cavity, and spawned eggs were immediately picked up to be placed inside the cavity; thus, the time from ejaculation to fertilization was short. These observations suggest that increased sperm longevity is favoured in bower builders. Comparative phylogenetic analyses suggested that bower-building behaviour and greater time from ejaculation to fertilization are associated with the extension of sperm longevity, whereas sperm competition rank does not play a major role. In addition, bower-building behaviour preceded the emergence of increased sperm longevity. These results indicate that the extension of sperm longevity as a result of the emergence of bower builders may have acted as an evolutionary attractor for sperm longevity. PMID:25330280

  2. Immune investment is explained by sexual selection and pace-of-life, but not longevity in parrots (Psittaciformes).

    PubMed

    Edwards, Darryl B

    2012-01-01

    Investment in current reproduction should come at the expense of traits promoting future reproduction, such as immunity and longevity. To date, comparative studies of pace-of-life traits have provided some support for this, with slower paced species having greater immune function. Another means of investment in current reproduction is through secondary sexual characters (SSC). Investment in SSC's is considered costly, both in terms of immunity and longevity, with greater costs being borne by species with more elaborate traits. Yet within species, females prefer more ornate males and those males are typically immunologically superior. Because of this, predictions about the relationship between immunity and SSC's across species are not clear. If traits are costly, brighter species should have reduced immune function, but the opposite is true if SSC's arise from selection for more immunocompetent individuals. My approach was to investigate immune investment in relation to SSC's, pace-of-life and longevity while considering potentially confounding ecological factors. To do so I assessed leukocyte counts from in a novel group, the Psittaciformes. Investment in SSC's best explained investment in immunity: species with brighter plumage had higher leukocyte counts and those with a greater degree of sexual dichromatism had fewer. Ecological variables and pace-of-life models tended to be poor predictors of immune investment. However, shorter incubation periods were associated with lower leukocyte counts supporting the notion that species with a fast pace-of-life invest less in immunity. These results suggest that investment in reproduction in terms of fast pace-of-life and sexual dichromatism results in reduced immunity; however, investment in plumage colour per se does not impose a cost on immunity across species.

  3. Core functional traits of bacterial communities in the Upper Mississippi River show limited variation in response to land cover.

    PubMed

    Staley, Christopher; Gould, Trevor J; Wang, Ping; Phillips, Jane; Cotner, James B; Sadowsky, Michael J

    2014-01-01

    Taxonomic characterization of environmental microbial communities via high-throughput DNA sequencing has revealed that patterns in microbial biogeography affect community structure. However, shifts in functional diversity related to variation in taxonomic composition are poorly understood. To overcome limitations due to the prohibitive cost of high-depth metagenomic sequencing, tools to infer functional diversity based on phylogenetic distributions of functional traits have been developed. In this study we characterized functional microbial diversity at 11 sites along the Mississippi River in Minnesota using both metagenomic sequencing and functional-inference-based (PICRUSt) approaches. This allowed us to determine how distance and variation in land cover throughout the river influenced the distribution of functional traits, as well as to validate PICRUSt inferences. The distribution and abundance of functional traits, by metagenomic analysis, were similar among sites, with a median standard deviation of 0.0002% among tier 3 functions in KEGG. Overall inferred functional variation was significantly different (P ≤ 0.035) between two water basins surrounded by agricultural vs. developed land cover, and abundances of bacterial orders that correlated with functional traits by metagenomic analysis were greater where abundances of the trait were inferred to be higher. PICRUSt inferences were significantly correlated (r = 0.147, P = 1.80 × 10(-30)) with metagenomic annotations. Discrepancies between metagenomic and PICRUSt taxonomic-functional relationships, however, suggested potential functional redundancy among abundant and rare taxa that impeded the ability to accurately assess unique functional traits among rare taxa at this sequencing depth. Results of this study suggest that a suite of "core functional traits" is conserved throughout the river and distributions of functional traits, rather than specific taxa, may shift in response to environmental heterogeneity.

  4. Risk assessment of salinity and turbidity in Victoria (Australia) to stream insects' community structure does not always protect functional traits.

    PubMed

    Kefford, Ben J; Schäfer, Ralf B; Metzeling, Leon

    2012-01-15

    Ecological risk assessments mostly consider measures of community composition (structure) across large spatial scales. These assessments, using species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) or the relative species retention (RSR), may not be protective of ecosystem functions and services at smaller spatial scales. Here we examine how changes in biological traits, as proxy for ecosystem functions/services, at a fine spatial scale relate to larger scale assessment of structure. We use functional traits of stream insect species in south-east Australia in two habitats (riffle and edge/pool). We find that the protection of community structure in terms of 95% of species over multiple sites against adverse effects of salinity (as electrical conductivity) and turbidity will mostly, but not always, protect traits at smaller scales. Considering different combinations of trait modalities, contaminants and habitat, a mean of 17.5% (range 0%-36.8) of cases would result in under-protection of trait modalities despite protecting species composition (in terms of Jaccard's Index). This under-protection of trait modalities is only because of the different spatial scales that community structure and the traits were considered. We recommend that where the protection of biological traits, ecosystem functions or ecosystem services from stressors is a management goal, protective targets should not be solely set using measures of community structure such as SSDs or RSR. To protect both structural and functional attributes separate risk assessments should be done.

  5. Relationships between Community Level Functional Traits of Trees and Seedlings during Secondary Succession in a Tropical Lowland Rainforest

    PubMed Central

    Lu, XingHui; Zang, RunGuo; Huang, JiHong

    2015-01-01

    Most of the previous studies on functional traits focus exclusively on either seedlings or trees. Little knowledge exists on the relationships between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings during succession. Here, we examine variations of the community-level functional traits for trees and seedlings and their correlations along a secondary successional and environmental gradient in a tropical lowland rainforest after shifting cultivation. The results showed that the dynamic patterns in community level functional traits of seedlings were generally consistent with those of the trees during secondary succession. Compared with seedlings, community level traits for trees were less affected by abiotic factors during secondary succession. Correlations between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings were significant for: leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 18-year-old fallow; leaf chlorophyll content in the 30-year-old fallow; specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 60-year-old fallow; and leaf nitrogen concentration in old growth. However, these traits except specific leaf area for the tree and seedling communities were all significantly correlated if all the successional stages were combined. Our results suggest that the correlations between community level functional traits of trees and those of seedlings depend on the actual traits and the successional stages examined. However, if all the four successional stages are combined, then four out of five of the community level functional traits for trees could be well predicted by those of the seedlings in the tropical lowland rain forest. PMID:26172543

  6. Relationships between Community Level Functional Traits of Trees and Seedlings during Secondary Succession in a Tropical Lowland Rainforest.

    PubMed

    Lu, XingHui; Zang, RunGuo; Huang, JiHong

    2015-01-01

    Most of the previous studies on functional traits focus exclusively on either seedlings or trees. Little knowledge exists on the relationships between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings during succession. Here, we examine variations of the community-level functional traits for trees and seedlings and their correlations along a secondary successional and environmental gradient in a tropical lowland rainforest after shifting cultivation. The results showed that the dynamic patterns in community level functional traits of seedlings were generally consistent with those of the trees during secondary succession. Compared with seedlings, community level traits for trees were less affected by abiotic factors during secondary succession. Correlations between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings were significant for: leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 18-year-old fallow; leaf chlorophyll content in the 30-year-old fallow; specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 60-year-old fallow; and leaf nitrogen concentration in old growth. However, these traits except specific leaf area for the tree and seedling communities were all significantly correlated if all the successional stages were combined. Our results suggest that the correlations between community level functional traits of trees and those of seedlings depend on the actual traits and the successional stages examined. However, if all the four successional stages are combined, then four out of five of the community level functional traits for trees could be well predicted by those of the seedlings in the tropical lowland rain forest. PMID:26172543

  7. Relationships between Community Level Functional Traits of Trees and Seedlings during Secondary Succession in a Tropical Lowland Rainforest.

    PubMed

    Lu, XingHui; Zang, RunGuo; Huang, JiHong

    2015-01-01

    Most of the previous studies on functional traits focus exclusively on either seedlings or trees. Little knowledge exists on the relationships between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings during succession. Here, we examine variations of the community-level functional traits for trees and seedlings and their correlations along a secondary successional and environmental gradient in a tropical lowland rainforest after shifting cultivation. The results showed that the dynamic patterns in community level functional traits of seedlings were generally consistent with those of the trees during secondary succession. Compared with seedlings, community level traits for trees were less affected by abiotic factors during secondary succession. Correlations between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings were significant for: leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 18-year-old fallow; leaf chlorophyll content in the 30-year-old fallow; specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 60-year-old fallow; and leaf nitrogen concentration in old growth. However, these traits except specific leaf area for the tree and seedling communities were all significantly correlated if all the successional stages were combined. Our results suggest that the correlations between community level functional traits of trees and those of seedlings depend on the actual traits and the successional stages examined. However, if all the four successional stages are combined, then four out of five of the community level functional traits for trees could be well predicted by those of the seedlings in the tropical lowland rain forest.

  8. Functional traits help predict post-disturbance demography of tropical trees.

    PubMed

    Flores, Olivier; Hérault, Bruno; Delcamp, Matthieu; Garnier, Éric; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie

    2014-01-01

    How tropical tree species respond to disturbance is a central issue of forest ecology, conservation and resource management. We define a hierarchical model to investigate how functional traits measured in control plots relate to the population change rate and to demographic rates for recruitment and mortality after disturbance by logging operations. Population change and demographic rates were quantified on a 12-year period after disturbance and related to seven functional traits measured in control plots. The model was calibrated using a Bayesian Network approach on 53 species surveyed in permanent forest plots (37.5 ha) at Paracou in French Guiana. The network analysis allowed us to highlight both direct and indirect relationships among predictive variables. Overall, 89% of interspecific variability in the population change rate after disturbance were explained by the two demographic rates, the recruitment rate being the most explicative variable. Three direct drivers explained 45% of the variability in recruitment rates, including leaf phosphorus concentration, with a positive effect, and seed size and wood density with negative effects. Mortality rates were explained by interspecific variability in maximum diameter only (25%). Wood density, leaf nitrogen concentration, maximum diameter and seed size were not explained by variables in the analysis and thus appear as independent drivers of post-disturbance demography. Relationships between functional traits and demographic parameters were consistent with results found in undisturbed forests. Functional traits measured in control conditions can thus help predict the fate of tropical tree species after disturbance. Indirect relationships also suggest how different processes interact to mediate species demographic response.

  9. Light acclimation optimizes leaf functional traits despite height-related constraints in a canopy shading experiment.

    PubMed

    Coble, Adam P; Cavaleri, Molly A

    2015-04-01

    Within-canopy gradients of leaf functional traits have been linked to both light availability and vertical gradients in leaf water potential. While observational studies can reveal patterns in leaf traits, within-canopy experimental manipulations can provide mechanistic insight to tease apart multiple interacting drivers. Our objectives were to disentangle effects of height and light environment on leaf functional traits by experimentally shading branches along vertical gradients within a sugar maple (Acer saccharum) forest. Shading reduced leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf density, area-based leaf nitrogen (N(area)), and carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratio, and increased mass-based leaf nitrogen (N(mass)), highlighting the importance of light availability on leaf morphology and chemistry. Early in the growing season, midday leaf water potential (Ψ(mid)), LMA, and N(area) were driven primarily by height; later in the growing season, light became the most important driver for LMA and Narea. Carbon isotope composition (δ(13)C) displayed strong, linear correlations with height throughout the growing season, but did not change with shading, implying that height is more influential than light on water use efficiency and stomatal behavior. LMA, leaf density, N(mass), C:N ratio, and δ(13)C all changed seasonally, suggesting that leaf ageing effects on leaf functional traits are equally as important as microclimatic conditions. Overall, our results indicate that: (1) stomatal sensitivity to vapor pressure deficit or Ψ(mid) constrains the supply of CO2 to leaves at higher heights, independent of light environment, and (2) LMA and N(area) distributions become functionally optimized through morphological acclimation to light with increasing leaf age despite height-related constraints.

  10. Light acclimation optimizes leaf functional traits despite height-related constraints in a canopy shading experiment.

    PubMed

    Coble, Adam P; Cavaleri, Molly A

    2015-04-01

    Within-canopy gradients of leaf functional traits have been linked to both light availability and vertical gradients in leaf water potential. While observational studies can reveal patterns in leaf traits, within-canopy experimental manipulations can provide mechanistic insight to tease apart multiple interacting drivers. Our objectives were to disentangle effects of height and light environment on leaf functional traits by experimentally shading branches along vertical gradients within a sugar maple (Acer saccharum) forest. Shading reduced leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf density, area-based leaf nitrogen (N(area)), and carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratio, and increased mass-based leaf nitrogen (N(mass)), highlighting the importance of light availability on leaf morphology and chemistry. Early in the growing season, midday leaf water potential (Ψ(mid)), LMA, and N(area) were driven primarily by height; later in the growing season, light became the most important driver for LMA and Narea. Carbon isotope composition (δ(13)C) displayed strong, linear correlations with height throughout the growing season, but did not change with shading, implying that height is more influential than light on water use efficiency and stomatal behavior. LMA, leaf density, N(mass), C:N ratio, and δ(13)C all changed seasonally, suggesting that leaf ageing effects on leaf functional traits are equally as important as microclimatic conditions. Overall, our results indicate that: (1) stomatal sensitivity to vapor pressure deficit or Ψ(mid) constrains the supply of CO2 to leaves at higher heights, independent of light environment, and (2) LMA and N(area) distributions become functionally optimized through morphological acclimation to light with increasing leaf age despite height-related constraints. PMID:25596955

  11. Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBV) and Plant Functional Traits (PFT) from Hyperspectral Remote Sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skidmore, A. K.

    2013-12-01

    Through the development of variables (EBVs), policy and scientific bodies such as IPBES and GEOSS seek consensus around which essential biodiversity variables could form the basis of a global monitoring program for biodiversity. It is argued that essential climate variables (ECVs) can be calculated directly or indirectly from remotely sensed data. However a number of the proposed essential biodiversity variables essential biodiversity variables are challenging to derive from remote sensing. In this presentation, the derivation of plant functional traits (PFTs) using hyperspectral remote sensing is explored. The plant functional traits are then examined as a proxy for a number of the proposed essential biodiversity variables. For example, suitable plant functional traits that may be used as proxies for essential biodiversity variables include ecosystem extent, species occurrence, cover (biomass, LAI, plant height) and leaf nitrogen content. The accurate derivation of plant functional traits from hyperspectral remote sensing using empirical as well as radiatve transfer models is described at a local scale. Radiative transfer models explain the transfer and interaction of radiation inside vegetation canopies based on physical laws, offering an explicit connection between biophysical and biochemical variables and canopy reflectance. However, specificity to local conditions limits the applicability of physical and empirical models to other regions - in other words the generalization of physical models to larger extents require information to constrain the parameter range. The generalization of physical models is a problem particularly where plant species heterogeneity limits accuracy. An emerging approach to generate essential biodiversity variables at a global level is to upscale empirical models. A possible solution to the problem of transferability and upscaling of both empirical and physical model approaches for essential biodiversity variables is to add data driven

  12. Functional Traits Help Predict Post-Disturbance Demography of Tropical Trees

    PubMed Central

    Flores, Olivier; Hérault, Bruno; Delcamp, Matthieu; Garnier, Éric; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie

    2014-01-01

    How tropical tree species respond to disturbance is a central issue of forest ecology, conservation and resource management. We define a hierarchical model to investigate how functional traits measured in control plots relate to the population change rate and to demographic rates for recruitment and mortality after disturbance by logging operations. Population change and demographic rates were quantified on a 12-year period after disturbance and related to seven functional traits measured in control plots. The model was calibrated using a Bayesian Network approach on 53 species surveyed in permanent forest plots (37.5 ha) at Paracou in French Guiana. The network analysis allowed us to highlight both direct and indirect relationships among predictive variables. Overall, 89% of interspecific variability in the population change rate after disturbance were explained by the two demographic rates, the recruitment rate being the most explicative variable. Three direct drivers explained 45% of the variability in recruitment rates, including leaf phosphorus concentration, with a positive effect, and seed size and wood density with negative effects. Mortality rates were explained by interspecific variability in maximum diameter only (25%). Wood density, leaf nitrogen concentration, maximum diameter and seed size were not explained by variables in the analysis and thus appear as independent drivers of post-disturbance demography. Relationships between functional traits and demographic parameters were consistent with results found in undisturbed forests. Functional traits measured in control conditions can thus help predict the fate of tropical tree species after disturbance. Indirect relationships also suggest how different processes interact to mediate species demographic response. PMID:25226586

  13. Genotypic variation in traits linked to climate and aboveground productivity in a widespread C₄ grass: evidence for a functional trait syndrome.

    PubMed

    Aspinwall, Michael J; Lowry, David B; Taylor, Samuel H; Juenger, Thomas E; Hawkes, Christine V; Johnson, Mari-Vaughn V; Kiniry, James R; Fay, Philip A

    2013-09-01

    Examining intraspecific variation in growth and function in relation to climate may provide insight into physiological evolution and adaptation, and is important for predicting species responses to climate change. Under common garden conditions, we grew nine genotypes of the C₄ species Panicum virgatum originating from different temperature and precipitation environments. We hypothesized that genotype productivity, morphology and physiological traits would be correlated with climate of origin, and a suite of adaptive traits would show high broad-sense heritability (H(2)). Genotype productivity and flowering time increased and decreased, respectively, with home-climate temperature, and home-climate temperature was correlated with genotypic differences in a syndrome of morphological and physiological traits. Genotype leaf and tiller size, leaf lamina thickness, leaf mass per area (LMA) and C : N ratios increased with home-climate temperature, whereas leaf nitrogen per unit mass (Nm ) and chlorophyll (Chl) decreased with home-climate temperature. Trait variation was largely explained by genotypic differences (H(2) = 0.33-0.85). Our results provide new insight into the role of climate in driving functional trait coordination, local adaptation and genetic divergence within species. These results emphasize the importance of considering intraspecific variation in future climate change scenarios.

  14. Naked Mole Rat Longevity — Possible Mechanism Identified —

    Cancer.gov

    University of Rochester researchers, who previously discovered a mechanism that may contribute to the species’ resistance to tumor formation, have announced that ribosome function may help account for the rats’ longevity.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-19

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

  16. Functional Traits, Flocking Propensity, and Perceived Predation Risk in an Amazonian Understory Bird Community.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Ari E; Gomez, Juan P; Ponciano, José Miguel; Robinson, Scott K

    2016-05-01

    Within a community, different species might share similar predation risks, and, thus, the ability of species to signal and interpret heterospecific threat information may determine species' associations. We combined observational, experimental, and phylogenetic approaches to determine the extent to which evolutionary history and functional traits determined flocking propensity and perceived predation risk (response to heterospecific alarm calls) in a lowland Amazonian bird community. We predicted that small birds that feed myopically and out in the open would have higher flocking propensities and account for a higher proportion of positive responses to alarms. Using generalized linear models and the incorporation of phylogeny on data from 56 species, our results suggest that phylogenetic relationships alongside body size, foraging height, vegetation density, and response to alarm calls influence flocking propensity. Conversely, phylogenetic relationships did not influence response to heterospecific alarm calls. Among functional traits, however, foraging strategy, foraging density, and flocking propensity partially explained responses to alarm calls. Our results suggest that flocking propensity and perceived predation risk are positively related and that functional ecological traits and evolutionary history may explain certain species' associations.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-19

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

  18. Auditory Multi-Stability: Idiosyncratic Perceptual Switching Patterns, Executive Functions and Personality Traits

    PubMed Central

    Farkas, Dávid; Denham, Susan L.; Bendixen, Alexandra; Tóth, Dénes; Kondo, Hirohito M.; Winkler, István

    2016-01-01

    Multi-stability refers to the phenomenon of perception stochastically switching between possible interpretations of an unchanging stimulus. Despite considerable variability, individuals show stable idiosyncratic patterns of switching between alternative perceptions in the auditory streaming paradigm. We explored correlates of the individual switching patterns with executive functions, personality traits, and creativity. The main dimensions on which individual switching patterns differed from each other were identified using multidimensional scaling. Individuals with high scores on the dimension explaining the largest portion of the inter-individual variance switched more often between the alternative perceptions than those with low scores. They also perceived the most unusual interpretation more often, and experienced all perceptual alternatives with a shorter delay from stimulus onset. The ego-resiliency personality trait, which reflects a tendency for adaptive flexibility and experience seeking, was significantly positively related to this dimension. Taking these results together we suggest that this dimension may reflect the individual’s tendency for exploring the auditory environment. Executive functions were significantly related to some of the variables describing global properties of the switching patterns, such as the average number of switches. Thus individual patterns of perceptual switching in the auditory streaming paradigm are related to some personality traits and executive functions. PMID:27135945

  19. Disgust trait modulates frontal-posterior coupling as a function of disgust domain

    PubMed Central

    de Jong, Peter J.; Renken, Remco J.; Georgiadis, Janniko R.

    2013-01-01

    Following the two-stage model of disgust, ‘core disgust’ (e.g. elicited by rotten food) is extended to stimuli that remind us of our animal nature ‘AR disgust’ (e.g. mutilations, animalistic instincts). There is ample evidence that core and AR represent distinct domains of disgust elicitors. Moreover, people show large differences in their tendency to respond with disgust to potential disgust elicitors (propensity), as well as in their appraisal of experiencing disgust (sensitivity). Thus these traits may be important moderators of people's response patterns. Here, we aimed to find brain mechanisms associated with these distinct disgust domains and traits, as well as the interaction between them. The right ventrolateral occipitotemporal cortex, which preferentially responded to visual AR, was functionally coupled to the middle cingulate cortex (MCC), thalamus and prefrontal cortex (medial, dorsolateral), as a function of disgust domain. Coupling with the anterior part of MCC was modulated by disgust ‘propensity’, which was strongest during AR. Coupling with anterior insula and ventral premotor cortex was weaker, but relied fully on this domain–trait interaction. Disgust ‘sensitivity’ modulated left anterior insula activity irrespective of domain, and did not affect functional connectivity. Thus a frontal-posterior network that interacts with disgust ‘propensity’ dissects AR and core disgust. PMID:22258801

  20. Auditory Multi-Stability: Idiosyncratic Perceptual Switching Patterns, Executive Functions and Personality Traits.

    PubMed

    Farkas, Dávid; Denham, Susan L; Bendixen, Alexandra; Tóth, Dénes; Kondo, Hirohito M; Winkler, István

    2016-01-01

    Multi-stability refers to the phenomenon of perception stochastically switching between possible interpretations of an unchanging stimulus. Despite considerable variability, individuals show stable idiosyncratic patterns of switching between alternative perceptions in the auditory streaming paradigm. We explored correlates of the individual switching patterns with executive functions, personality traits, and creativity. The main dimensions on which individual switching patterns differed from each other were identified using multidimensional scaling. Individuals with high scores on the dimension explaining the largest portion of the inter-individual variance switched more often between the alternative perceptions than those with low scores. They also perceived the most unusual interpretation more often, and experienced all perceptual alternatives with a shorter delay from stimulus onset. The ego-resiliency personality trait, which reflects a tendency for adaptive flexibility and experience seeking, was significantly positively related to this dimension. Taking these results together we suggest that this dimension may reflect the individual's tendency for exploring the auditory environment. Executive functions were significantly related to some of the variables describing global properties of the switching patterns, such as the average number of switches. Thus individual patterns of perceptual switching in the auditory streaming paradigm are related to some personality traits and executive functions. PMID:27135945

  1. Phylogenetic Distribution of Leaf Spectra and Optically Derived Functional Traits in the American Oaks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cavender-Bares, J.; Meireles, J. E.; Couture, J. J.; Kaproth, M.; Townsend, P. A.

    2015-12-01

    Detecting functional traits of species, genotypes and phylogenetic lineages is critical in monitoring functional biodiversity remotely. We examined the phylogenetic distribution of leaf spectra across the American Oaks for 35 species under greenhouse conditions as well as genetic variation in leaf spectra across Central American populations of a single species grown in common gardens in Honduras. We found significant phylogenetic signal in the leaf spectra (Blomberg's K > 1.0), indicating similarity in spectra among close relatives. Across species, full range leaf spectra were used in a Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) that allowed species calibration (kappa statistic = 0.55). Validation of the model used to detect species (kappa statistic = 0.4) indicated reasonably good detection of individual species within the same the genus. Among four populations from Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico within a single species (Quercus oleoides), leaf spectra were also able to differentiate populations. Ordination of population-level data using dissimilarities of predicted foliar traits, including leaf mass per area (LMA), lignin content, fiber content, chlorophyll a+b, and C:N ratio in genotypes in either watered or unwatered conditions showed significant differentiation among populations and treatments. These results provide promise for remote detection and differentiation of plant functional traits among plant phylogenetic lineages and genotypes, even among closely related populations and species.

  2. Multi-taxa approach shows consistent shifts in arthropod functional traits along grassland land-use intensity gradient.

    PubMed

    Simons, Nadja K; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Gossner, Martin M

    2016-03-01

    Intensification of land use reduces biodiversity but may also shift the trait composition of communities. Understanding how land use affects single traits and community trait composition, helps to understand why some species are more affected by land use than others. Trait-based analyses are common for plants, but rare for arthropods. We collected literature-based traits for nearly 1000 insect and spider species to test how land- use intensity (including mowing, fertilization, and grazing) across 124 grasslands in three regions of Germany affects community-weighted mean traits across taxa and in single taxa. We additionally measured morphometric traits for more than 150 Heteroptera species and tested whether the weighted mean morphometric traits change with increasing land-use intensity. Community average body size decreased and community average dispersal ability increased from low to high land-use intensity. Furthermore, the relative abundance of herbivores and of specialists among herbivores decreased and the relative abundance of species using the herb layer increased with increasing land-use intensity. Community-weighted means of the morphometric traits in Heteroptera also changed from low to high land-use intensity toward longer and thinner shapes as well as longer appendices (legs, wings, and antenna). While changes in traits with increasing mowing and fertilization intensity were consistent with the combined land-use intensity, community average traits did often not change or with opposite direction under increasing grazing intensity. We conclude that high land-use intensity acts as an environmental filter selecting for on average smaller, more mobile, and less specialized species across taxa. Although trait collection across multiple arthropod taxa is laborious and needs clear trait definitions, it is essential for understanding the functional consequences of biodiversity loss due to land-use intensification. PMID:27197401

  3. Multi-taxa approach shows consistent shifts in arthropod functional traits along grassland land-use intensity gradient.

    PubMed

    Simons, Nadja K; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Gossner, Martin M

    2016-03-01

    Intensification of land use reduces biodiversity but may also shift the trait composition of communities. Understanding how land use affects single traits and community trait composition, helps to understand why some species are more affected by land use than others. Trait-based analyses are common for plants, but rare for arthropods. We collected literature-based traits for nearly 1000 insect and spider species to test how land- use intensity (including mowing, fertilization, and grazing) across 124 grasslands in three regions of Germany affects community-weighted mean traits across taxa and in single taxa. We additionally measured morphometric traits for more than 150 Heteroptera species and tested whether the weighted mean morphometric traits change with increasing land-use intensity. Community average body size decreased and community average dispersal ability increased from low to high land-use intensity. Furthermore, the relative abundance of herbivores and of specialists among herbivores decreased and the relative abundance of species using the herb layer increased with increasing land-use intensity. Community-weighted means of the morphometric traits in Heteroptera also changed from low to high land-use intensity toward longer and thinner shapes as well as longer appendices (legs, wings, and antenna). While changes in traits with increasing mowing and fertilization intensity were consistent with the combined land-use intensity, community average traits did often not change or with opposite direction under increasing grazing intensity. We conclude that high land-use intensity acts as an environmental filter selecting for on average smaller, more mobile, and less specialized species across taxa. Although trait collection across multiple arthropod taxa is laborious and needs clear trait definitions, it is essential for understanding the functional consequences of biodiversity loss due to land-use intensification.

  4. Genotypic variation in traits linked to climate and aboveground productivity in a widespread C4 grass: Evidence for a functional trait syndrome

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Growth and leaf functional trait variation among genotypes of a geographically widespread dominant species could provide insight into mechanisms of local adaptation and may be important for predicting species and ecosystem responses to environmental change. Under common garden conditions, we grew n...

  5. Aging, longevity and health.

    PubMed

    Rasmussen, Lene Juel; Sander, Miriam; Wewer, Ulla M; Bohr, Vilhelm A

    2011-10-01

    The IARU Congress on Aging, Longevity and Health, held on 5-7 October 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark, was hosted by Rector Ralf Hemmingsen, University of Copenhagen and Dean Ulla Wewer, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen and was organized by Center for Healthy Aging (CEHA) under the leadership of CEHA Managing Director Lene Juel Rasmussen and Prof. Vilhelm Bohr, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, USA (associated to CEHA). The Congress was attended by approximately 125 researchers interested in and/or conducting research on aging and aging-related topics. The opening Congress Session included speeches by Ralf Hemmingsen, Ulla Wewer, and Lene Juel Rasmussen and Keynote Addresses by four world renowned aging researchers: Povl Riis (The Age Forum), Bernard Jeune (University of Southern Denmark), George Martin (University of Washington, USA) and Jan Vijg (Albert Einstein School of Medicine, USA) as well as a lecture discussing the art-science interface by Thomas Söderqvist (Director, Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen). The topics of the first six Sessions of the Congress were: Neuroscience and DNA damage, Aging and Stress, Life Course, Environmental Factors and Neuroscience, Muscle and Life Span and Life Span and Mechanisms. Two additional Sessions highlighted ongoing research in the recently established Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen. This report highlights outcomes of recent research on aging-related topics, as described at the IARU Congress on Aging, Longevity and Health.

  6. Relationships between phyllosphere bacterial communities and plant functional traits in a neotropical forest

    PubMed Central

    Kembel, Steven W.; O’Connor, Timothy K.; Arnold, Holly K.; Hubbell, Stephen P.; Wright, S. Joseph; Green, Jessica L.

    2014-01-01

    The phyllosphere—the aerial surfaces of plants, including leaves—is a ubiquitous global habitat that harbors diverse bacterial communities. Phyllosphere bacterial communities have the potential to influence plant biogeography and ecosystem function through their influence on the fitness and function of their hosts, but the host attributes that drive community assembly in the phyllosphere are poorly understood. In this study we used high-throughput sequencing to quantify bacterial community structure on the leaves of 57 tree species in a neotropical forest in Panama. We tested for relationships between bacterial communities on tree leaves and the functional traits, taxonomy, and phylogeny of their plant hosts. Bacterial communities on tropical tree leaves were diverse; leaves from individual trees were host to more than 400 bacterial taxa. Bacterial communities in the phyllosphere were dominated by a core microbiome of taxa including Actinobacteria, Alpha-, Beta-, and Gammaproteobacteria, and Sphingobacteria. Host attributes including plant taxonomic identity, phylogeny, growth and mortality rates, wood density, leaf mass per area, and leaf nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations were correlated with bacterial community structure on leaves. The relative abundances of several bacterial taxa were correlated with suites of host plant traits related to major axes of plant trait variation, including the leaf economics spectrum and the wood density–growth/mortality tradeoff. These correlations between phyllosphere bacterial diversity and host growth, mortality, and function suggest that incorporating information on plant–microbe associations will improve our ability to understand plant functional biogeography and the drivers of variation in plant and ecosystem function. PMID:25225376

  7. Core functional traits of bacterial communities in the Upper Mississippi River show limited variation in response to land cover

    PubMed Central

    Staley, Christopher; Gould, Trevor J.; Wang, Ping; Phillips, Jane; Cotner, James B.; Sadowsky, Michael J.

    2014-01-01

    Taxonomic characterization of environmental microbial communities via high-throughput DNA sequencing has revealed that patterns in microbial biogeography affect community structure. However, shifts in functional diversity related to variation in taxonomic composition are poorly understood. To overcome limitations due to the prohibitive cost of high-depth metagenomic sequencing, tools to infer functional diversity based on phylogenetic distributions of functional traits have been developed. In this study we characterized functional microbial diversity at 11 sites along the Mississippi River in Minnesota using both metagenomic sequencing and functional-inference-based (PICRUSt) approaches. This allowed us to determine how distance and variation in land cover throughout the river influenced the distribution of functional traits, as well as to validate PICRUSt inferences. The distribution and abundance of functional traits, by metagenomic analysis, were similar among sites, with a median standard deviation of 0.0002% among tier 3 functions in KEGG. Overall inferred functional variation was significantly different (P ≤ 0.035) between two water basins surrounded by agricultural vs. developed land cover, and abundances of bacterial orders that correlated with functional traits by metagenomic analysis were greater where abundances of the trait were inferred to be higher. PICRUSt inferences were significantly correlated (r = 0.147, P = 1.80 × 10−30) with metagenomic annotations. Discrepancies between metagenomic and PICRUSt taxonomic-functional relationships, however, suggested potential functional redundancy among abundant and rare taxa that impeded the ability to accurately assess unique functional traits among rare taxa at this sequencing depth. Results of this study suggest that a suite of “core functional traits” is conserved throughout the river and distributions of functional traits, rather than specific taxa, may shift in response to environmental

  8. Acetic acid bacteria genomes reveal functional traits for adaptation to life in insect guts.

    PubMed

    Chouaia, Bessem; Gaiarsa, Stefano; Crotti, Elena; Comandatore, Francesco; Degli Esposti, Mauro; Ricci, Irene; Alma, Alberto; Favia, Guido; Bandi, Claudio; Daffonchio, Daniele

    2014-04-01

    Acetic acid bacteria (AAB) live in sugar rich environments, including food matrices, plant tissues, and the gut of sugar-feeding insects. By comparing the newly sequenced genomes of Asaia platycodi and Saccharibacter sp., symbionts of Anopheles stephensi and Apis mellifera, respectively, with those of 14 other AAB, we provide a genomic view of the evolutionary pattern of this bacterial group and clues on traits that explain the success of AAB as insect symbionts. A specific pre-adaptive trait, cytochrome bo3 ubiquinol oxidase, appears ancestral in AAB and shows a phylogeny that is congruent with that of the genomes. The functional properties of this terminal oxidase might have allowed AAB to adapt to the diverse oxygen levels of arthropod guts.

  9. Acetic Acid Bacteria Genomes Reveal Functional Traits for Adaptation to Life in Insect Guts

    PubMed Central

    Chouaia, Bessem; Gaiarsa, Stefano; Crotti, Elena; Comandatore, Francesco; Degli Esposti, Mauro; Ricci, Irene; Alma, Alberto; Favia, Guido; Bandi, Claudio; Daffonchio, Daniele

    2014-01-01

    Acetic acid bacteria (AAB) live in sugar rich environments, including food matrices, plant tissues, and the gut of sugar-feeding insects. By comparing the newly sequenced genomes of Asaia platycodi and Saccharibacter sp., symbionts of Anopheles stephensi and Apis mellifera, respectively, with those of 14 other AAB, we provide a genomic view of the evolutionary pattern of this bacterial group and clues on traits that explain the success of AAB as insect symbionts. A specific pre-adaptive trait, cytochrome bo3 ubiquinol oxidase, appears ancestral in AAB and shows a phylogeny that is congruent with that of the genomes. The functional properties of this terminal oxidase might have allowed AAB to adapt to the diverse oxygen levels of arthropod guts. PMID:24682158

  10. Emotional susceptibility trait modulates insula responses and functional connectivity in flavor processing

    PubMed Central

    Ebisch, Sjoerd J. H.; Bello, Annalisa; Spitoni, Grazia F.; Perrucci, Mauro G.; Gallese, Vittorio; Committeri, Giorgia; Pastorelli, Concetta; Pizzamiglio, Luigi

    2015-01-01

    The present study aimed at investigating the relationship between Emotional Susceptibility (ES), an aspect of the personality trait Neuroticism, and individual differences in the neural responses in anterior insula to primary sensory stimuli colored by affective valence, i.e., distasting or pleasantly tasting oral stimuli. In addition, it was studied whether intrinsic functional connectivity patterns of brain regions characterized by such differential responses could be related to ES. To this purpose 25 female participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning, while being involved in a flavor experiment. During the experiment, flavor stimuli were administered consisting of small amounts of liquid with a different affective valence: neutral, pleasant, unpleasant. The results showed that individual differences in ES trait predicted distinct neural activity patterns to the different stimulus conditions in a region of left anterior insula that a previous meta-analysis revealed to be linked with olfacto-gustatory processing. Specifically, low ES was associated with enhanced neural responses to both pleasant and unpleasant stimuli, compared to neutral stimuli. By contrast, high ES participants showed equally strong neural responses to all types of stimuli without differentiating between the neutral and affective stimuli. Finally, during a task-free state, high ES trait appeared also to be related to decreased intrinsic functional connectivity between left anterior insula and left cerebellum. Our findings show that individual differences in ES are associated with differential anterior insula responses to primary sensory (flavor) stimuli as well as to intrinsic functional cortico-cerebellar connectivity, the latter suggesting a basis in the brain intrinsic functional architecture of the regulation of emotional experiences. PMID:26594159

  11. Emotional susceptibility trait modulates insula responses and functional connectivity in flavor processing.

    PubMed

    Ebisch, Sjoerd J H; Bello, Annalisa; Spitoni, Grazia F; Perrucci, Mauro G; Gallese, Vittorio; Committeri, Giorgia; Pastorelli, Concetta; Pizzamiglio, Luigi

    2015-01-01

    The present study aimed at investigating the relationship between Emotional Susceptibility (ES), an aspect of the personality trait Neuroticism, and individual differences in the neural responses in anterior insula to primary sensory stimuli colored by affective valence, i.e., distasting or pleasantly tasting oral stimuli. In addition, it was studied whether intrinsic functional connectivity patterns of brain regions characterized by such differential responses could be related to ES. To this purpose 25 female participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning, while being involved in a flavor experiment. During the experiment, flavor stimuli were administered consisting of small amounts of liquid with a different affective valence: neutral, pleasant, unpleasant. The results showed that individual differences in ES trait predicted distinct neural activity patterns to the different stimulus conditions in a region of left anterior insula that a previous meta-analysis revealed to be linked with olfacto-gustatory processing. Specifically, low ES was associated with enhanced neural responses to both pleasant and unpleasant stimuli, compared to neutral stimuli. By contrast, high ES participants showed equally strong neural responses to all types of stimuli without differentiating between the neutral and affective stimuli. Finally, during a task-free state, high ES trait appeared also to be related to decreased intrinsic functional connectivity between left anterior insula and left cerebellum. Our findings show that individual differences in ES are associated with differential anterior insula responses to primary sensory (flavor) stimuli as well as to intrinsic functional cortico-cerebellar connectivity, the latter suggesting a basis in the brain intrinsic functional architecture of the regulation of emotional experiences. PMID:26594159

  12. Effects of grazing on leaf traits and ecosystem functioning in Inner Mongolia grasslands: scaling from species to community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, S. X.; Ren, H. Y.; Lan, Z. C.; Li, W. H.; Wang, K. B.; Bai, Y. F.

    2010-03-01

    Understanding the mechanistic links between environmental drivers, human disturbance, plant functional traits, and ecosystem properties is a fundamental aspect of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research. Recent studies have focused mostly on leaf-level traits or community-level weighted traits to predict species responses to grazing and the consequent change in ecosystem functioning. However, studies of leaf-level traits or community-level weighted traits seldom identify the mechanisms linking grazing impact on leaf traits to ecosystem functioning. Here, using a multi-organization-level approach, we examined the effects of grazing on leaf traits (i.e., leaf area, leaf dry mass and specific leaf area) and ecosystem functioning across six communities of three vegetation types along a soil moisture gradient in the Xilin River Basin of Inner Mongolia grassland, China. Our results showed that the effects of grazing on leaf traits differed substantially when scaling up from leaf-level to species, functional group (i.e., life forms and water ecotype types), and community levels; and they also varied with vegetation type or site conditions. The effects of grazing on leaf traits diminished progressively along the hierarchy of organizational levels in the meadow, whereas the impacts were predominantly negative and the magnitude of the effects increased considerably at higher organizational levels in the typical steppe. Soil water and nutrient availability, functional trade-offs between leaf size and number of leaves per individual, and differentiation in avoidance and tolerance strategies among coexisting species are likely to be responsible for the observed responses of leaf traits to grazing at different levels of organization and among vegetation types. Our findings also demonstrate that, at both the functional group and community levels, standing aboveground biomass increased with leaf area and specific leaf area. Compared with the large changes in leaf traits and

  13. Experimentally reduced root–microbe interactions reveal limited plasticity in functional root traits in Acer and Quercus

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Mei-Ho; Comas, Louise H.; Callahan, Hilary S.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Interactions between roots and soil microbes are critical components of below-ground ecology. It is essential to quantify the magnitude of root trait variation both among and within species, including variation due to plasticity. In addition to contextualizing the magnitude of plasticity relative to differences between species, studies of plasticity can ascertain if plasticity is predictable and whether an environmental factor elicits changes in traits that are functionally advantageous. Methods To compare functional traits and trait plasticities in fine root tissues with natural and reduced levels of colonization by microbial symbionts, trimmed and surface-sterilized root segments of 2-year-old Acer rubrum and Quercus rubra seedlings were manipulated. Segments were then replanted into satellite pots filled with control or heat-treated soil, both originally derived from a natural forest. Mycorrhizal colonization was near zero in roots grown in heat-treated soil; roots grown in control soil matched the higher colonization levels observed in unmanipulated root samples collected from field locations. Key Results Between-treatment comparisons revealed negligible plasticity for root diameter, branching intensity and nitrogen concentration across both species. Roots from treated soils had decreased tissue density (approx. 10–20 %) and increased specific root length (approx. 10–30 %). In contrast, species differences were significant and greater than treatment effects in traits other than tissue density. Interspecific trait differences were also significant in field samples, which generally resembled greenhouse samples. Conclusions The combination of experimental and field approaches was useful for contextualizing trait plasticity in comparison with inter- and intra-specific trait variation. Findings that root traits are largely species dependent, with the exception of root tissue density, are discussed in the context of current literature on root

  14. Flow directionality, mountain barriers and functional traits determine diatom metacommunity structuring of high mountain streams.

    PubMed

    Dong, Xiaoyu; Li, Bin; He, Fengzhi; Gu, Yuan; Sun, Meiqin; Zhang, Haomiao; Tan, Lu; Xiao, Wen; Liu, Shuoran; Cai, Qinghua

    2016-04-19

    Stream metacommunities are structured by a combination of local (environmental filtering) and regional (dispersal) processes. The unique characters of high mountain streams could potentially determine metacommunity structuring, which is currently poorly understood. Aiming at understanding how these characters influenced metacommunity structuring, we explored the relative importance of local environmental conditions and various dispersal processes, including through geographical (overland), topographical (across mountain barriers) and network (along flow direction) pathways in shaping benthic diatom communities. From a trait perspective, diatoms were categorized into high-profile, low-profile and motile guild to examine the roles of functional traits. Our results indicated that both environmental filtering and dispersal processes influenced metacommunity structuring, with dispersal contributing more than environmental processes. Among the three pathways, stream corridors were primary pathway. Deconstructive analysis suggested different responses to environmental and spatial factors for each of three ecological guilds. However, regardless of traits, dispersal among streams was limited by mountain barriers, while dispersal along stream was promoted by rushing flow in high mountain stream. Our results highlighted that directional processes had prevailing effects on metacommunity structuring in high mountain streams. Flow directionality, mountain barriers and ecological guilds contributed to a better understanding of the roles that mountains played in structuring metacommunity.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-22

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

  16. 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

  17. Flow directionality, mountain barriers and functional traits determine diatom metacommunity structuring of high mountain streams

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Xiaoyu; Li, Bin; He, Fengzhi; Gu, Yuan; Sun, Meiqin; Zhang, Haomiao; Tan, Lu; Xiao, Wen; Liu, Shuoran; Cai, Qinghua

    2016-01-01

    Stream metacommunities are structured by a combination of local (environmental filtering) and regional (dispersal) processes. The unique characters of high mountain streams could potentially determine metacommunity structuring, which is currently poorly understood. Aiming at understanding how these characters influenced metacommunity structuring, we explored the relative importance of local environmental conditions and various dispersal processes, including through geographical (overland), topographical (across mountain barriers) and network (along flow direction) pathways in shaping benthic diatom communities. From a trait perspective, diatoms were categorized into high-profile, low-profile and motile guild to examine the roles of functional traits. Our results indicated that both environmental filtering and dispersal processes influenced metacommunity structuring, with dispersal contributing more than environmental processes. Among the three pathways, stream corridors were primary pathway. Deconstructive analysis suggested different responses to environmental and spatial factors for each of three ecological guilds. However, regardless of traits, dispersal among streams was limited by mountain barriers, while dispersal along stream was promoted by rushing flow in high mountain stream. Our results highlighted that directional processes had prevailing effects on metacommunity structuring in high mountain streams. Flow directionality, mountain barriers and ecological guilds contributed to a better understanding of the roles that mountains played in structuring metacommunity. PMID:27090223

  18. Development of functional trait biomarkers for trace metal exposure in freshwater clams (Musculium spp.).

    PubMed

    Schoonover, Cody M; Wieker, Jessica; Pope, Rachelle; Brown, Chelsea; Cooper, Emily; DeWitt, Jariel; Gunselman, Samuel; Jensen, Cory; Stevens, Whitney; Yri, Jenae; Nezat, Carmen; Joyner-Matos, Joanna

    2016-10-01

    Exposure to trace metals typically causes oxidative stress; these consequences are better-characterized in estuarine and marine species than in freshwater species. How cellular-level responses to metal pollution influence whole-organism and population-level traits is poorly understood. We tested whether exposure to single metals (zinc and cadmium) and to metal mixtures (water in equilibrium with sediment from a highly polluted lake) alters two ecologically-relevant traits in freshwater clams, locomotion and reproduction. Fingernail clams (Musculium spp.) from unimpacted habitats were exposed to single metals and the metal mixture for up to 49days. The single metal doses (≤5mg/L Zn and ≤20μg/L Cd) were not toxicologically meaningful as clam survival, burial, and climbing activity did not differ across treatments. Water in equilibrium with the lake sediment contained cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc. Clams exposed to this metal mixture had decreased climbing activity but no change in burial activity. Metal-exposed clams had lower fecundity (number of shelled juveniles extruded by adult clams) and patterns in metal accumulation corresponded with lake sediment dose and clam activity. In contrast to the functional traits, stress protein expression and whole-clam glycogen content did not vary across treatment groups. These results indicate that fingernail clams of the genus Musculium are appropriate for development as sentinel species for metal pollution and can serve as a model for determining how metal pollution alters metabolic allocation patterns in freshwater organisms. PMID:27085374

  19. Constraints on the evolution of function-valued traits: a study of growth in Tribolium castaneum.

    PubMed

    Irwin, K K; Carter, P A

    2013-12-01

    Growth trajectories often impact individual fitness. They are continuous by nature and so are amenable to analysis using a function-valued (FV) trait framework to reveal their underlying genetic architecture. Previous studies have found high levels of standing additive genetic (co)variance for growth trajectories despite the expectation that growth should be responding to frequent strong directional selection. In this study, the FV framework is used to estimate the additive genetic covariance function for growth trajectories in larval Tribolium castaneum to address questions about standing additive genetic (co)variance and possible evolutionary constraints on growth and to predict responses to four plausible selection regimes. Results show that additive genetic (co)variance is high at the early ages, but decreases towards later ages in the larval period. A selection gradient function of the same size and in the same direction of the first eigenfunction of the G-function should give the maximal response. However, evolutionary constraints may be acting to keep this maximal response from being realized, through either conflicting effects on survivability and fecundity of larger body size, few evolutionary directions having sufficient additive variance for a response, genetic trade-offs with other traits or physiological regulatory mechanisms. More light may be shed on these constraints through the development of more sophisticated statistical approaches and implementation of additional empirical studies to explicitly test for specific types of constraints.

  20. Cognitive empathy partially mediates the association between negative schizotypy traits and social functioning.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yi; Neumann, David L; Shum, David H K; Liu, Wen-Hua; Shi, Hai-Song; Yan, Chao; Lui, Simon S Y; Zhang, Qi; Li, Zhi; Cheung, Eric F C; Chan, Raymond C K

    2013-11-30

    The present study aimed to examine empathy in individuals with schizotypy and to explore whether empathy mediates the associations between schizotypy traits and social functioning in college students. 1083 (376 males, mean age 18.78 ± 0.86 years) Chinese university students completed questionnaires measuring empathy, social functioning, and schizotypy. Participants were categorized into four groups based on their scores on the Chapman Psychosis Proneness scales: mixed schizotypy, positive schizotypy, negative schizotypy, and healthy controls. Participants in the negative schizotypy group reported significantly poorer scores on both affective and cognitive empathy than those in the positive schizotypy and healthy control groups. The mixed schizotypy group showed lower affective empathy than the healthy control group. Scores on both cognitive and affective empathy in the positive schizotypy group were similar to those in the healthy control group. In addition, cognitive empathy was found to be a partial mediator of the association between negative schizotypy traits and social functioning. Results suggest that while individuals with negative schizotypy have deficits in empathy, individuals with positive schizotypy show empathy abilities comparable to that of healthy controls. Moreover, only cognitive empathy partially mediated the relationship between negative schizotypy and social functioning.

  1. Shifts in Functional Traits Elevate Risk of Fire-driven Tree Dieback in Tropical Savanna-forest Biomes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pellegrini, A.; Franco, A. C.; Hoffmann, W. A.

    2015-12-01

    Rising CO2 is predicted to accelerate the expansion of forests into savannas. Although encroaching forests can sequester carbon over the short-term, the carbon pools may become increasingly sensitive to fire due to a shift towards plant communities more susceptible to fire-driven dieback. We quantify how functional traits determine the ability of individual tree species to tolerate fire and subsequently determine the fire-sensitivity of ecosystem carbon across 180 plots throughout the 2.2-million km2 Cerrado region in Brazil. We find that accounting for variation in functional traits fundamentally changes fire-driven dieback predictions: savannas and forests switched from having similar amounts of potential carbon losses to forests containing substantially greater potential carbon losses when differences in functional traits were considered. In fact, we find that not accounting for variation in functional traits underestimated carbon losses in forests by ~50%, summing to an underestimation of 0.22PgC across the Cerrado region. In total, shifts in the fire sensitivity of forests due to changes in community composition and functional traits may offset a third of carbon gains during forest encroachment. These results illustrate that functional traits are critical for determining the climate-carbon-fire feedback in tropical savanna-forest biomes.

  2. Accuracy of direct genomic values for functional traits in Brown Swiss cattle.

    PubMed

    Kramer, M; Erbe, M; Seefried, F R; Gredler, B; Bapst, B; Bieber, A; Simianer, H

    2014-03-01

    In this study, direct genomic values for the functional traits general temperament, milking temperament, aggressiveness, rank order in herd, milking speed, udder depth, position of labia, and days to first heat in Brown Swiss dairy cattle were estimated based on ~777,000 (777 K) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) information from 1,126 animals. Accuracy of direct genomic values was assessed by a 5-fold cross-validation with 10 replicates. Correlations between deregressed proofs and direct genomic values were 0.63 for general temperament, 0.73 for milking temperament, 0.69 for aggressiveness, 0.65 for rank order in herd, 0.69 for milking speed, 0.71 for udder depth, 0.66 for position of labia, and 0.74 for days to first heat. Using the information of ~54,000 (54K) SNP led to only marginal deviations in the observed accuracy. Trying to predict the 20% youngest bulls led to correlations of 0.55, 0.77, 0.73, 0.55, 0.64, 0.59, 0.67, and 0.77, respectively, for the traits listed above. Using a novel method to estimate the accuracy of a direct genomic value (defined as correlation between direct genomic value and true breeding value and accounting for the correlation between direct genomic values and conventional breeding values) revealed accuracies of 0.37, 0.20, 0.19, 0.27, 0.48, 0.45, 0.36, and 0.12, respectively, for the traits listed above. These values are much smaller but probably also more realistic than accuracies based on correlations, given the heritabilities and samples sizes in this study. Annotation of the largest estimated SNP effects revealed 2 candidate genes affecting the traits general temperament and days to first heat.

  3. Predicting Changes in Macrophyte Community Structure from Functional Traits in a Freshwater Lake: A Test of Maximum Entropy Model

    PubMed Central

    Fu, Hui; Zhong, Jiayou; Yuan, Guixiang; Guo, Chunjing; Lou, Qian; Zhang, Wei; Xu, Jun; Ni, Leyi; Xie, Ping; Cao, Te

    2015-01-01

    Trait-based approaches have been widely applied to investigate how community dynamics respond to environmental gradients. In this study, we applied a series of maximum entropy (maxent) models incorporating functional traits to unravel the processes governing macrophyte community structure along water depth gradient in a freshwater lake. We sampled 42 plots and 1513 individual plants, and measured 16 functional traits and abundance of 17 macrophyte species. Study results showed that maxent model can be highly robust (99.8%) in predicting the species relative abundance of macrophytes with observed community-weighted mean (CWM) traits as the constraints, while relative low (about 30%) with CWM traits fitted from water depth gradient as the constraints. The measured traits showed notably distinct importance in predicting species abundances, with lowest for perennial growth form and highest for leaf dry mass content. For tuber and leaf nitrogen content, there were significant shifts in their effects on species relative abundance from positive in shallow water to negative in deep water. This result suggests that macrophyte species with tuber organ and greater leaf nitrogen content would become more abundant in shallow water, but would become less abundant in deep water. Our study highlights how functional traits distributed across gradients provide a robust path towards predictive community ecology. PMID:26167856

  4. Predicting Changes in Macrophyte Community Structure from Functional Traits in a Freshwater Lake: A Test of Maximum Entropy Model.

    PubMed

    Fu, Hui; Zhong, Jiayou; Yuan, Guixiang; Guo, Chunjing; Lou, Qian; Zhang, Wei; Xu, Jun; Ni, Leyi; Xie, Ping; Cao, Te

    2015-01-01

    Trait-based approaches have been widely applied to investigate how community dynamics respond to environmental gradients. In this study, we applied a series of maximum entropy (maxent) models incorporating functional traits to unravel the processes governing macrophyte community structure along water depth gradient in a freshwater lake. We sampled 42 plots and 1513 individual plants, and measured 16 functional traits and abundance of 17 macrophyte species. Study results showed that maxent model can be highly robust (99.8%) in predicting the species relative abundance of macrophytes with observed community-weighted mean (CWM) traits as the constraints, while relative low (about 30%) with CWM traits fitted from water depth gradient as the constraints. The measured traits showed notably distinct importance in predicting species abundances, with lowest for perennial growth form and highest for leaf dry mass content. For tuber and leaf nitrogen content, there were significant shifts in their effects on species relative abundance from positive in shallow water to negative in deep water. This result suggests that macrophyte species with tuber organ and greater leaf nitrogen content would become more abundant in shallow water, but would become less abundant in deep water. Our study highlights how functional traits distributed across gradients provide a robust path towards predictive community ecology.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-13

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

  7. Functional traits predict drought performance and distribution of Mediterranean woody species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lopez-Iglesias, Bárbara; Villar, Rafael; Poorter, Lourens

    2014-04-01

    Water availability is one of the key environmental factors that affect plant establishment and distribution. In many regions water availability will decline with climate change, exposing small seedlings to a greater likelihood of drought. In this study, 17 leaves, stem, root, and whole-plant traits of ten woody Mediterranean species were measured under favourable growing conditions and seedling drought survival was evaluated during a simulated dry-down episode. The aims of this study were: i) to assess drought survival of different species, ii) to analyse which functional traits predict drought survival time, and iii) to explain species distribution in the field, based on species drought survival and drought strategies. Drought survival time varied ten-fold across species, from 19 to 192 days. Across species, drought survival was positively related to the rooting depth per leaf area, i.e., the ability to acquire water from deeper soil layers while reducing transpiring leaf area. Drought survival time was negatively related to species ability to grow quickly, as indicated by high relative growth and net assimilation rates. Drought survival also explained species distribution in the field. It was found that species were sorted along a continuum, ranging between two contrasting species functional extremes based on functional traits and drought performance. One extreme consisted of acquisitive fast-growing deciduous species, with thin, soft metabolically active leaves, with high resource use and vulnerability to drought. The opposite extreme consisted of conservative slow-growing evergreen species with sclerophyllous leaves, deep roots, a low transpiring area, and low water use, resulting in high drought survival and drought tolerance. The results show that these drought strategies shape species distribution in this Mediterranean area.

  8. Contribution of above- and below-ground plant traits to the structure and function of grassland soil microbial communities

    PubMed Central

    Legay, N.; Baxendale, C.; Grigulis, K.; Krainer, U.; Kastl, E.; Schloter, M.; Bardgett, R. D.; Arnoldi, C.; Bahn, M.; Dumont, M.; Poly, F.; Pommier, T.; Clément, J. C.; Lavorel, S.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Abiotic properties of soil are known to be major drivers of the microbial community within it. Our understanding of how soil microbial properties are related to the functional structure and diversity of plant communities, however, is limited and largely restricted to above-ground plant traits, with the role of below-ground traits being poorly understood. This study investigated the relative contributions of soil abiotic properties and plant traits, both above-ground and below-ground, to variations in microbial processes involved in grassland nitrogen turnover. Methods In mountain grasslands distributed across three European sites, a correlative approach was used to examine the role of a large range of plant functional traits and soil abiotic factors on microbial variables, including gene abundance of nitrifiers and denitrifiers and their potential activities. Key Results Direct effects of soil abiotic parameters were found to have the most significant influence on the microbial groups investigated. Indirect pathways via plant functional traits contributed substantially to explaining the relative abundance of fungi and bacteria and gene abundances of the investigated microbial communities, while they explained little of the variance in microbial activities. Gene abundances of nitrifiers and denitrifiers were most strongly related to below-ground plant traits, suggesting that they were the most relevant traits for explaining variation in community structure and abundances of soil microbes involved in nitrification and denitrification. Conclusions The results suggest that consideration of plant traits, and especially below-ground traits, increases our ability to describe variation in the abundances and the functional characteristics of microbial communities in grassland soils. PMID:25122656

  9. Personality and health, subjective well-being, and longevity.

    PubMed

    Friedman, Howard S; Kern, Margaret L; Reynolds, Chandra A

    2010-02-01

    Personality traits can be employed to guide understanding of trajectories to health and longevity, but long-term longitudinal study and multifaceted assessment of healthy aging are crucial. Following up on the life span study initiated by Lewis Terman, we assessed 4 validated factors of personality in young adulthood in 1940, constructed a multifactor measure of participants' healthy aging in 1986, and collected death certificates through 2007 (to determine longevity) on a sample of 1,312 Terman participants (732 men). Neuroticism predicted worse physical health and subjective well-being in old age and, for women, higher mortality risk, but for men, neuroticism predicted decreased mortality risk. For both sexes, extraversion predicted old-age social competence, whereas conscientiousness predicted men's old-age productivity. Differential patterns of association between personality traits and healthy aging components are informative about individual personality characteristics and long-term health outcomes.

  10. Silver Nanoparticles Affect Functional Bioenergetic Traits in the Invasive Red Sea Mussel Brachidontes pharaonis

    PubMed Central

    Saggese, Ilenia; Sarà, Gianluca

    2016-01-01

    We investigated the functional trait responses to 5 nm metallic silver nanoparticle (AgNPs) exposure in the Lessepsian-entry bivalve B. pharaonis. Respiration rate (oxygen consumption), heartbeat rate, and absorption efficiency were evaluated across an 8-day exposure period in mesocosmal conditions. Basal reference values from not-exposed specimens were statistically compared with those obtained from animals treated with three sublethal nanoparticle concentrations (2 μg L−1, 20 μg L−1, and 40 μg L−1). Our data showed statistically significant effects on the average respiration rate of B. pharaonis. Moreover, complex nonlinear dynamics were observed as a function of the concentration level and time. Heartbeat rates largely increased with no acclimation in animals exposed to the two highest levels with similar temporal dynamics. Eventually, a decreasing trend for absorption efficiency might indicate energetic constraints. In general, these data support the possible impact of engineered nanomaterials in marine environments and support the relevance of functional trait assessment in present and future ecotoxicological studies. PMID:27800488

  11. Functional group-specific traits drive phytoplankton dynamics in the oligotrophic ocean

    PubMed Central

    Alexander, Harriet; Rouco, Mónica; Haley, Sheean T.; Wilson, Samuel T.; Karl, David M.; Dyhrman, Sonya T.

    2015-01-01

    A diverse microbial assemblage in the ocean is responsible for nearly half of global primary production. It has been hypothesized and experimentally demonstrated that nutrient loading can stimulate blooms of large eukaryotic phytoplankton in oligotrophic systems. Although central to balancing biogeochemical models, knowledge of the metabolic traits that govern the dynamics of these bloom-forming phytoplankton is limited. We used eukaryotic metatranscriptomic techniques to identify the metabolic basis of functional group-specific traits that may drive the shift between net heterotrophy and autotrophy in the oligotrophic ocean. Replicated blooms were simulated by deep seawater (DSW) addition to mimic nutrient loading in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, and the transcriptional responses of phytoplankton functional groups were assayed. Responses of the diatom, haptophyte, and dinoflagellate functional groups in simulated blooms were unique, with diatoms and haptophytes significantly (95% confidence) shifting their quantitative metabolic fingerprint from the in situ condition, whereas dinoflagellates showed little response. Significantly differentially abundant genes identified the importance of colimitation by nutrients, metals, and vitamins in eukaryotic phytoplankton metabolism and bloom formation in this system. The variable transcript allocation ratio, used to quantify transcript reallocation following DSW amendment, differed for diatoms and haptophytes, reflecting the long-standing paradigm of phytoplankton r- and K-type growth strategies. Although the underlying metabolic potential of the large eukaryotic phytoplankton was consistently present, the lack of a bloom during the study period suggests a crucial dependence on physical and biogeochemical forcing, which are susceptible to alteration with changing climate. PMID:26460011

  12. Functional group-specific traits drive phytoplankton dynamics in the oligotrophic ocean.

    PubMed

    Alexander, Harriet; Rouco, Mónica; Haley, Sheean T; Wilson, Samuel T; Karl, David M; Dyhrman, Sonya T

    2015-11-01

    A diverse microbial assemblage in the ocean is responsible for nearly half of global primary production. It has been hypothesized and experimentally demonstrated that nutrient loading can stimulate blooms of large eukaryotic phytoplankton in oligotrophic systems. Although central to balancing biogeochemical models, knowledge of the metabolic traits that govern the dynamics of these bloom-forming phytoplankton is limited. We used eukaryotic metatranscriptomic techniques to identify the metabolic basis of functional group-specific traits that may drive the shift between net heterotrophy and autotrophy in the oligotrophic ocean. Replicated blooms were simulated by deep seawater (DSW) addition to mimic nutrient loading in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, and the transcriptional responses of phytoplankton functional groups were assayed. Responses of the diatom, haptophyte, and dinoflagellate functional groups in simulated blooms were unique, with diatoms and haptophytes significantly (95% confidence) shifting their quantitative metabolic fingerprint from the in situ condition, whereas dinoflagellates showed little response. Significantly differentially abundant genes identified the importance of colimitation by nutrients, metals, and vitamins in eukaryotic phytoplankton metabolism and bloom formation in this system. The variable transcript allocation ratio, used to quantify transcript reallocation following DSW amendment, differed for diatoms and haptophytes, reflecting the long-standing paradigm of phytoplankton r- and K-type growth strategies. Although the underlying metabolic potential of the large eukaryotic phytoplankton was consistently present, the lack of a bloom during the study period suggests a crucial dependence on physical and biogeochemical forcing, which are susceptible to alteration with changing climate. PMID:26460011

  13. Functional group-specific traits drive phytoplankton dynamics in the oligotrophic ocean.

    PubMed

    Alexander, Harriet; Rouco, Mónica; Haley, Sheean T; Wilson, Samuel T; Karl, David M; Dyhrman, Sonya T

    2015-11-01

    A diverse microbial assemblage in the ocean is responsible for nearly half of global primary production. It has been hypothesized and experimentally demonstrated that nutrient loading can stimulate blooms of large eukaryotic phytoplankton in oligotrophic systems. Although central to balancing biogeochemical models, knowledge of the metabolic traits that govern the dynamics of these bloom-forming phytoplankton is limited. We used eukaryotic metatranscriptomic techniques to identify the metabolic basis of functional group-specific traits that may drive the shift between net heterotrophy and autotrophy in the oligotrophic ocean. Replicated blooms were simulated by deep seawater (DSW) addition to mimic nutrient loading in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, and the transcriptional responses of phytoplankton functional groups were assayed. Responses of the diatom, haptophyte, and dinoflagellate functional groups in simulated blooms were unique, with diatoms and haptophytes significantly (95% confidence) shifting their quantitative metabolic fingerprint from the in situ condition, whereas dinoflagellates showed little response. Significantly differentially abundant genes identified the importance of colimitation by nutrients, metals, and vitamins in eukaryotic phytoplankton metabolism and bloom formation in this system. The variable transcript allocation ratio, used to quantify transcript reallocation following DSW amendment, differed for diatoms and haptophytes, reflecting the long-standing paradigm of phytoplankton r- and K-type growth strategies. Although the underlying metabolic potential of the large eukaryotic phytoplankton was consistently present, the lack of a bloom during the study period suggests a crucial dependence on physical and biogeochemical forcing, which are susceptible to alteration with changing climate.

  14. Homocysteine and Familial Longevity: The Leiden Longevity Study

    PubMed Central

    Wijsman, Carolien A.; van Heemst, Diana; Rozing, Maarten P.; Slagboom, P. Eline; Beekman, Marian; de Craen, Anton J. M.; Maier, Andrea B.; Westendorp, Rudi G. J.; Blom, Henk J.; Mooijaart, Simon P.

    2011-01-01

    Homocysteine concentrations are a read-out of methionine metabolism and have been related to changes in lifespan in animal models. In humans, high homocysteine concentrations are an important predictor of age related disease. We aimed to explore the association of homocysteine with familial longevity by testing whether homocysteine is lower in individuals that are genetically enriched for longevity. We measured concentrations of total homocysteine in 1907 subjects from the Leiden Longevity Study consisting of 1309 offspring of nonagenarian siblings, who are enriched with familial factors promoting longevity, and 598 partners thereof as population controls. We found that homocysteine was related to age, creatinine, folate, vitamin B levels and medical history of hypertension and stroke in both groups (all p<0.001). However, levels of homocysteine did not differ between offspring enriched for longevity and their partners, and no differences in the age-related rise in homocysteine levels were found between groups (p for interaction 0.63). The results suggest that homocysteine metabolism is not likely to predict familial longevity. PMID:21408159

  15. A simple regression-based method to map quantitative trait loci underlying function-valued phenotypes.

    PubMed

    Kwak, Il-Youp; Moore, Candace R; Spalding, Edgar P; Broman, Karl W

    2014-08-01

    Most statistical methods for quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping focus on a single phenotype. However, multiple phenotypes are commonly measured, and recent technological advances have greatly simplified the automated acquisition of numerous phenotypes, including function-valued phenotypes, such as growth measured over time. While methods exist for QTL mapping with function-valued phenotypes, they are generally computationally intensive and focus on single-QTL models. We propose two simple, fast methods that maintain high power and precision and are amenable to extensions with multiple-QTL models using a penalized likelihood approach. After identifying multiple QTL by these approaches, we can view the function-valued QTL effects to provide a deeper understanding of the underlying processes. Our methods have been implemented as a package for R, funqtl. PMID:24931408

  16. Drivers of the composition and diversity of carabid functional traits in UK coniferous plantations

    PubMed Central

    Spake, Rebecca; Barsoum, Nadia; Newton, Adrian C.; Doncaster, C. Patrick

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity (FD) is increasingly used as a metric to evaluate the impact of forest management strategies on ecosystem functioning. Management interventions that aim to maximise FD require knowledge of multiple environmental drivers of FD, which have not been studied to date in temperate coniferous production forests. We quantified the relative importance of abiotic (forest management) and biotic (ground vegetation community) drivers of carabid FD and trait distribution in 44 coniferous plantation forest stands across the UK. Carabid FD declined with canopy cover and carabid body length correlated negatively with the percentage of open semi-natural area surrounding a plot. We conclude that forest management could enhance carabid FD through initiatives that emulate natural disturbance regimes through gap creation. We found that neither functional nor taxonomic metrics of vegetation diversity correlated with carabid FD, suggesting that restoration of plant communities, a major goal of forest restoration efforts, will not necessarily enhance carabid FD in coniferous plantations. PMID:26865748

  17. A simple regression-based method to map quantitative trait loci underlying function-valued phenotypes.

    PubMed

    Kwak, Il-Youp; Moore, Candace R; Spalding, Edgar P; Broman, Karl W

    2014-08-01

    Most statistical methods for quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping focus on a single phenotype. However, multiple phenotypes are commonly measured, and recent technological advances have greatly simplified the automated acquisition of numerous phenotypes, including function-valued phenotypes, such as growth measured over time. While methods exist for QTL mapping with function-valued phenotypes, they are generally computationally intensive and focus on single-QTL models. We propose two simple, fast methods that maintain high power and precision and are amenable to extensions with multiple-QTL models using a penalized likelihood approach. After identifying multiple QTL by these approaches, we can view the function-valued QTL effects to provide a deeper understanding of the underlying processes. Our methods have been implemented as a package for R, funqtl.

  18. Variation in Plant Traits Explains Global Biogeographic Variation in the Abundance of Major Forest Functional Types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Contrasting leaf types (needle vs. broadleaf) with different lifespans (annual vs. perennial) represent different adaptive strategies of plants under different environmental conditions. Previous studies explained adaptive advantages of different strategies using empirical models but cannot adequately explain the co-dominance of multiple plant functional types (PFTs) as observed in many parts of the world. Here we used a process-based model to explore whether observed inter- and intra-PFT variation in key plant traits can explain global biogeographic variation in co-dominance of major forest functional types. Using a parameter screening method, we identified the four most important plant traits for simulating annual net primary production (NPP) using the Australian Community Atmosphere-Biosphere-Land Exchange model (CABLE). Using ensemble CABLE simulations, we estimated the fraction of global land cover attributed to each PFT by comparing the simulated NPP for all three PFTs at each land point, globally. Our results were consistent with land area cover fractions of major forest types estimated from remote sensing data products; i.e., evergreen needle-leaf forests dominate in boreal regions, evergreen broadleaf forests dominate in tropical regions, and deciduous broadleaf forests are distributed widely across a broad range of environmental conditions. More importantly our approach successfully explained a paradox that has puzzled ecologists for over a century: why evergreen leaf types dominate in both boreal and tropical regions. We conclude that variation in and co-variation between key plant traits can explain significant fractions of global biogeographic variation of three major forest types, and should be taken into account when simulating global vegetation dynamics.

  19. The Use of Leaf Functional Traits for Modeling the Timing and Rate of Canopy Development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savoy, P.; Mackay, D. S.

    2015-12-01

    Leaves vary in their habit, with some being short lived and possessing high intrinsic photosynthetic rates and others being long lived with lower photosynthetic capacity. Longer lived leaves will thus tend to cost more to produce and be able to assimilate carbon over a longer period of time. The timing and seasonality of forest canopies is a cost benefit strategy for the exploitation of favorable environmental conditions and avoidance of unfavorable conditions. Because of the selective pressure for plants to gather a return on leaf investment in relation to their leaf habit we propose that there is a relationship between plant functional traits and the timing and rate of canopy development. In a recent study it was shown that errors in predicted canopy dynamics could be reduced via a single parameter (τ) which modified the timing and rate of canopy development (Savoy & Mackay 2015). If τ is related to underlying mechanisms of plant physiology then it should vary predictably. To test this we will first examine the relationship between τ and observable biophysical variables which vary in ecologically meaningful ways. Then we will develop a model based on leaf traits which will regulate the timing and rate at which vegetation reaches peak rates of assimilation. The model will then be tested at eddy covariance sites which span a range environmental conditions. Preliminary results demonstrate a strong relationship (R2 = 0.58) between estimated values of τ and leaf carbon to nitrogen ratio, which is important for representing the costs of leaf construction and nitrogen investment into photosynthetic machinery of leaves. By developing a canopy seasonality model based on plant functional traits and rooted in the framework of leaf economics it is possible to have a more flexible and generalized model. Such a model will be more adept at making predictions under novel environmental conditions than purely correlative empirical models.

  20. A Regulatory Network-Based Approach Dissects Late Maturation Processes Related to the Acquisition of Desiccation Tolerance and Longevity of Medicago truncatula Seeds1[C][W][OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Verdier, Jerome; Lalanne, David; Pelletier, Sandra; Torres-Jerez, Ivone; Righetti, Karima; Bandyopadhyay, Kaustav; Leprince, Olivier; Chatelain, Emilie; Vu, Benoit Ly; Gouzy, Jerome; Gamas, Pascal; Udvardi, Michael K.; Buitink, Julia

    2013-01-01

    In seeds, desiccation tolerance (DT) and the ability to survive the dry state for prolonged periods of time (longevity) are two essential traits for seed quality that are consecutively acquired during maturation. Using transcriptomic and metabolomic profiling together with a conditional-dependent network of global transcription interactions, we dissected the maturation events from the end of seed filling to final maturation drying during the last 3 weeks of seed development in Medicago truncatula. The network revealed distinct coexpression modules related to the acquisition of DT, longevity, and pod abscission. The acquisition of DT and dormancy module was associated with abiotic stress response genes, including late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) genes. The longevity module was enriched in genes involved in RNA processing and translation. Concomitantly, LEA polypeptides accumulated, displaying an 18-d delayed accumulation compared with transcripts. During maturation, gulose and stachyose levels increased and correlated with longevity. A seed-specific network identified known and putative transcriptional regulators of DT, including ABSCISIC ACID-INSENSITIVE3 (MtABI3), MtABI4, MtABI5, and APETALA2/ ETHYLENE RESPONSE ELEMENT BINDING PROTEIN (AtAP2/EREBP) transcription factor as major hubs. These transcriptional activators were highly connected to LEA genes. Longevity genes were highly connected to two MtAP2/EREBP and two basic leucine zipper transcription factors. A heat shock factor was found at the transition of DT and longevity modules, connecting to both gene sets. Gain- and loss-of-function approaches of MtABI3 confirmed 80% of its predicted targets, thereby experimentally validating the network. This study captures the coordinated regulation of seed maturation and identifies distinct regulatory networks underlying the preparation for the dry and quiescent states. PMID:23929721

  1. Longevity of emplacement drift ground support materials

    SciTech Connect

    Tang, David

    2000-04-01

    The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the factors affecting the longevity of emplacement drift ground support materials and to develop a basis for the selection of materials for ground support that will function throughout the preclosure period of a potential repository at Yucca Mountain. The Development Plan (DP) for this analysis is given in Longevity of Emplacement Drift Ground Support Materials (CRWMS M and O 1999a). The objective of this analysis is to update the previous analysis (CRWMS M and O 2000a) to account for related changes in the Ground Control System Description Document (CRWMS M and O 2000b), the Monitored Geologic Repository Project Description Document (CRWMS M and O 1999b), and in environmental conditions, and to provide updated information on candidate ground support materials.

  2. Phylogenetic diversity, functional trait diversity and extinction: avoiding tipping points and worst-case losses

    PubMed Central

    Faith, Daniel P.

    2015-01-01

    The phylogenetic diversity measure, (‘PD’), measures the relative feature diversity of different subsets of taxa from a phylogeny. At the level of feature diversity, PD supports the broad goal of biodiversity conservation to maintain living variation and option values. PD calculations at the level of lineages and features include those integrating probabilities of extinction, providing estimates of expected PD. This approach has known advantages over the evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE) methods. Expected PD methods also have limitations. An alternative notion of expected diversity, expected functional trait diversity, relies on an alternative non-phylogenetic model and allows inferences of diversity at the level of functional traits. Expected PD also faces challenges in helping to address phylogenetic tipping points and worst-case PD losses. Expected PD may not choose conservation options that best avoid worst-case losses of long branches from the tree of life. We can expand the range of useful calculations based on expected PD, including methods for identifying phylogenetic key biodiversity areas. PMID:25561672

  3. Independent effects of early-life experience and trait aggression on cardiovascular function.

    PubMed

    Rana, Samir; Pugh, Phyllis C; Katz, Erin; Stringfellow, Sara A; Lin, Chee Paul; Wyss, J Michael; Stauss, Harald M; White, C Roger; Clinton, Sarah M; Kerman, Ilan A

    2016-08-01

    Early-life experience (ELE) can significantly affect life-long health and disease, including cardiovascular function. Specific dimensions of emotionality also modify risk of disease, and aggressive traits along with social inhibition have been established as independent vulnerability factors for the progression of cardiovascular disease. Yet, the biological mechanisms mediating these associations remain poorly understood. The present study utilized the inherently stress-susceptible and socially inhibited Wistar-Kyoto rats to determine the potential influences of ELE and trait aggression (TA) on cardiovascular parameters throughout the lifespan. Pups were exposed to maternal separation (MS), consisting of daily 3-h separations of the entire litter from postnatal day (P)1 to P14. The rats were weaned at P21, and as adults were instrumented for chronic radiotelemetry recordings of blood pressure and heart rate (HR). Adult aggressive behavior was assessed using the resident-intruder test, which demonstrated that TA was independent of MS exposure. MS-exposed animals (irrespective of TA) had significantly lower resting HR accompanied by increases in HR variability. No effects of MS on resting blood pressure were detected. In contrast, TA correlated with increased resting mean, systolic, and diastolic arterial pressures but had no effect on HR. TA rats (relative to nonaggressive animals) also manifested increased wall-to-lumen ratio in the thoracic aorta, increased sensitivity to phenylephrine-induced vascular contractility, and increased norepinephrine content in the heart. Together these data suggest that ELE and TA are independent factors that impact baseline cardiovascular function.

  4. Gene Level Meta-Analysis of Quantitative Traits by Functional Linear Models.

    PubMed

    Fan, Ruzong; Wang, Yifan; Boehnke, Michael; Chen, Wei; Li, Yun; Ren, Haobo; Lobach, Iryna; Xiong, Momiao

    2015-08-01

    Meta-analysis of genetic data must account for differences among studies including study designs, markers genotyped, and covariates. The effects of genetic variants may differ from population to population, i.e., heterogeneity. Thus, meta-analysis of combining data of multiple studies is difficult. Novel statistical methods for meta-analysis are needed. In this article, functional linear models are developed for meta-analyses that connect genetic data to quantitative traits, adjusting for covariates. The models can be used to analyze rare variants, common variants, or a combination of the two. Both likelihood-ratio test (LRT) and F-distributed statistics are introduced to test association between quantitative traits and multiple variants in one genetic region. Extensive simulations are performed to evaluate empirical type I error rates and power performance of the proposed tests. The proposed LRT and F-distributed statistics control the type I error very well and have higher power than the existing methods of the meta-analysis sequence kernel association test (MetaSKAT). We analyze four blood lipid levels in data from a meta-analysis of eight European studies. The proposed methods detect more significant associations than MetaSKAT and the P-values of the proposed LRT and F-distributed statistics are usually much smaller than those of MetaSKAT. The functional linear models and related test statistics can be useful in whole-genome and whole-exome association studies. PMID:26058849

  5. Gene Level Meta-Analysis of Quantitative Traits by Functional Linear Models.

    PubMed

    Fan, Ruzong; Wang, Yifan; Boehnke, Michael; Chen, Wei; Li, Yun; Ren, Haobo; Lobach, Iryna; Xiong, Momiao

    2015-08-01

    Meta-analysis of genetic data must account for differences among studies including study designs, markers genotyped, and covariates. The effects of genetic variants may differ from population to population, i.e., heterogeneity. Thus, meta-analysis of combining data of multiple studies is difficult. Novel statistical methods for meta-analysis are needed. In this article, functional linear models are developed for meta-analyses that connect genetic data to quantitative traits, adjusting for covariates. The models can be used to analyze rare variants, common variants, or a combination of the two. Both likelihood-ratio test (LRT) and F-distributed statistics are introduced to test association between quantitative traits and multiple variants in one genetic region. Extensive simulations are performed to evaluate empirical type I error rates and power performance of the proposed tests. The proposed LRT and F-distributed statistics control the type I error very well and have higher power than the existing methods of the meta-analysis sequence kernel association test (MetaSKAT). We analyze four blood lipid levels in data from a meta-analysis of eight European studies. The proposed methods detect more significant associations than MetaSKAT and the P-values of the proposed LRT and F-distributed statistics are usually much smaller than those of MetaSKAT. The functional linear models and related test statistics can be useful in whole-genome and whole-exome association studies.

  6. Exome sequencing of three cases of familial exceptional longevity

    PubMed Central

    Cash, Timothy P; Pita, Guillermo; Domínguez, Orlando; Alonso, Maria R; Moreno, Leticia T; Borrás, Consuelo; Rodríguez-Mañas, Leocadio; Santiago, Catalina; Garatachea, Nuria; Lucia, Alejandro; Avellana, Juan A; Viña, Jose; González-Neira, Anna; Serrano, Manuel

    2014-01-01

    Exceptional longevity (EL) is a rare phenotype that can cluster in families, and co-segregation of genetic variation in these families may point to candidate genes that could contribute to extended lifespan. In this study, for the first time, we have sequenced a total of seven exomes from exceptionally long-lived siblings (probands ≥ 103 years and at least one sibling ≥ 97 years) that come from three separate families. We have focused on rare functional variants (RFVs) which have ≤ 1% minor allele frequency according to databases and that are likely to alter gene product function. Based on this, we have identified one candidate longevity gene carrying RFVs in all three families, APOB. Interestingly, APOB is a component of lipoprotein particles together with APOE, and variants in the genes encoding these two proteins have been previously associated with human longevity. Analysis of nonfamilial EL cases showed a trend, without reaching statistical significance, toward enrichment of APOB RFVs. We have also identified candidate longevity genes shared between two families (5–13) or within individual families (66–156 genes). Some of these genes have been previously linked to longevity in model organisms, such as PPARGC1A,NRG1,RAD52, RAD51, NCOR1, and ADCY5 genes. This work provides an initial catalog of genes that could contribute to exceptional familial longevity. PMID:25116423

  7. Longevity of aeolian megaripples

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yizhaq, H.; Katra, I.

    2015-07-01

    Megaripples are distinguished from regular ripples by their larger dimensions and bimodal grain-size distributions. The interplay between wind, grain size and ripple morphology (height and wavelength) controls their development. Two main mechanisms limit megaripple height. The first, megaripple flattening due to winds that are above the fluid threshold of the coarse grains, destroys the armoring layer of the megaripple. The second is megaripple erosion by the impacts of fast-moving, fine saltating grains that propel the coarse grains constituting the armoring layer. For any given wind regime and grain size distribution, the potential megaripple dimensions are limited by these two mechanisms. Here we study the first mechanism and estimate the duration of strong winds (sustained above the fluid threshold) needed to flatten megaripples. Strong gusts of wind, in contrast, cannot destroy the megaripples but can cause ripple migration. Based on data from previous works on megaripples, we find a scaling law between the ripple morphology and the coarse mode of grains at the crest. Using this scaling relation allows us to calculate the wind velocity and duration needed for megaripple flattening. In general, the coarser the particles at the megaripple crest, the stronger the wind needed to flatten the megaripples. Moreover, the greater the strength of the wind required to flatten the megaripples, the lower the recurrence probability. Taken together, these findings increase the longevity of megaripples. We apply the results for a megaripple field in the southern Arava valley (Israel).

  8. Thermosensation and longevity

    PubMed Central

    Xiao, Rui; Liu, Jianfeng; Xu, X.Z. Shawn

    2015-01-01

    Temperature has profound effects on behavior and aging in both poikilotherms and homeotherms. To thrive under the ever fluctuating environmental temperatures, animals have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to sense and adapt to temperature changes. Animals sense temperature through various molecular thermosensors, such as thermosensitive TRP channels expressed in neurons, keratinocytes, and intestine. These evolutionarily conserved thermosensitive TRP channels feature distinct activation thresholds, thereby covering a wide spectrum of ambient temperature. Temperature changes trigger complex thermosensory behaviors. Due to the simplicity of the nervous system in model organisms such as C. elegans and Drosophila, the mechanisms of thermosensory behaviors in these species have been extensively studied at the circuit and molecular levels. While much is known about temperature regulation of behavior, it remains largely unclear how temperature affects aging. Recent studies in C. elegans demonstrate that temperature modulation of longevity is not simply a passive thermodynamic phenomenon as suggested by the rate-of-living theory, but rather a process that is actively regulated by genes, including those encoding thermosensitive TRP channels. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of thermosensation and its role in aging. PMID:26101089

  9. Intraspecific growth and functional leaf trait responses to natural soil resource gradients for conifer species with contrasting leaf habit.

    PubMed

    Walters, Michael B; Gerlach, John P

    2013-03-01

    Interspecific relationships among species mean leaf traits, performance and species resource/climate distributions help provide the foundation for a predictive, functionally based plant ecology. Intraspecific responses of leaf traits and performance to resource gradients and how these vary among species may be equally important but have received less attention. Here, we examine relationships between proxies of soil resource availability, leaf traits and growth (height at 25 years, SI25) for winter deciduous Larix decidua Mill. and evergreen Pinus resinosa Ait. trees distributed over soil resource gradients in the Great Lakes region of North America. We predicted that (i) leaf trait responses to soil resources within species will be similar to reported distributions of mean leaf traits over soil resource gradients among species; (ii) soil resource-related variation in leaf traits can help explain SI25; and (iii) SI25 will be greater for Larix than Pinus at higher soil resources and greater for Pinus than Larix at lower soil resources and this pattern will be associated with species differences in leaf trait responses to soil resources. Among the measured leaf traits (live N, Mg, Ca, K, P, and Mn, litter N, N resorption, carbon isotope discrimination, specific leaf area, lifespan), soil resources only impacted live and litter N for both species and K for Pinus. In turn, only the leaf traits responsive to soil resources affected SI25 in the expected manner. Larix had greater SI25 than Pinus across soil resource gradients and both species had similar growth and leaf trait sensitivities to resources. In summary: (i) several leaf traits reported to be associated with performance and edaphic distributions across species were, within species, unresponsive to nitrogen and water availability and unrelated to growth; (ii) leaf N showed high plasticity to soil resources and this plasticity was functionally relevant to growth over its entire range of response; (iii) large

  10. The contribution of germination functional traits to population dynamics of a desert plant community.

    PubMed

    Huang, Zhenying; Liu, Shuangshuang; Bradford, Kent J; Huxman, Travis E; Venable, D Lawrence

    2016-01-01

    Early life-cycle events play critical roles in determining the population and community dynamics of plants. The ecology of seeds and their germination patterns can determine range limits, adaptation to environmental variation, species diversity, and community responses to climate change. Understanding the adaptive consequences and environmental filtering of such functional traits will allow us to explain and predict ecological dynamics. Here we quantify key functional aspects of germination physiology and relate them to an existing functional ecology framework to explain long-term population dynamics for 13 species of desert annuals near Tucson, Arizona, USA. Our goal was to assess the extent to which germination functional biology contributes to long-term population processes in nature. Some of the species differences in base, optimum, and maximum temperatures for germination, thermal times to germination, and base water potentials for germination were strongly related to 20-yr mean germination fractions, 25-yr average germination dates, seed size, and long-term demographic variation. Comparisons of germination fraction, survival, and fecundity vs. yearly changes in population size found significant roles for all three factors, although in varying proportions for different species. Relationships between species' germination physiologies and relative germination fractions varied across years, with fast-germinating species being favored in years with warm temperatures during rainfall events in the germination season. Species with low germination fractions and high demographic variance have low integrated water-use efficiency, higher vegetative growth rates, and smaller, slower-germinating seeds. We have identified and quantified a number of functional traits associated with germination biology that play critical roles in ecological population dynamics. PMID:27008793

  11. The contribution of germination functional traits to population dynamics of a desert plant community.

    PubMed

    Huang, Zhenying; Liu, Shuangshuang; Bradford, Kent J; Huxman, Travis E; Venable, D Lawrence

    2016-01-01

    Early life-cycle events play critical roles in determining the population and community dynamics of plants. The ecology of seeds and their germination patterns can determine range limits, adaptation to environmental variation, species diversity, and community responses to climate change. Understanding the adaptive consequences and environmental filtering of such functional traits will allow us to explain and predict ecological dynamics. Here we quantify key functional aspects of germination physiology and relate them to an existing functional ecology framework to explain long-term population dynamics for 13 species of desert annuals near Tucson, Arizona, USA. Our goal was to assess the extent to which germination functional biology contributes to long-term population processes in nature. Some of the species differences in base, optimum, and maximum temperatures for germination, thermal times to germination, and base water potentials for germination were strongly related to 20-yr mean germination fractions, 25-yr average germination dates, seed size, and long-term demographic variation. Comparisons of germination fraction, survival, and fecundity vs. yearly changes in population size found significant roles for all three factors, although in varying proportions for different species. Relationships between species' germination physiologies and relative germination fractions varied across years, with fast-germinating species being favored in years with warm temperatures during rainfall events in the germination season. Species with low germination fractions and high demographic variance have low integrated water-use efficiency, higher vegetative growth rates, and smaller, slower-germinating seeds. We have identified and quantified a number of functional traits associated with germination biology that play critical roles in ecological population dynamics.

  12. Longevity, mortality and body weight.

    PubMed

    Samaras, Thomas T; Storms, Lowell H; Elrick, Harold

    2002-09-01

    The purpose of this study was to analyze the relation of total body weight to longevity and mortality. The MEDLINE database was searched for data that allow analysis of the relationship between absolute body weight and longevity or mortality. Additional data were used involving US veterans and baseball players. Trend lines of age at death versus body weight are presented. Findings show absolute body size is negatively related to longevity and life expectancy and positively to mortality. Trend lines show an average age at death versus weight slope of -0.4 years/kg. We also found that gender differences in longevity may be due to differences in body size. Animal research is consistent with the findings presented. Biological mechanisms are also presented to explain why increased body mass may reduce longevity. Life expectancy has increased dramatically through improved public health measures and medical care and reduced malnutrition. However, overnourishment and increased body size have promoted an epidemic of chronic disease and reduced our potential longevity. In addition, both excess lean body mass and fat mass may promote chronic disease.

  13. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    PubMed

    Debouk, Haifa; de Bello, Francesco; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i) how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii) whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland) in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland). The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM) for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM) than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i) the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii) the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short-term warming

  14. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming

    PubMed Central

    Debouk, Haifa; de Bello, Francesco; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i) how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii) whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland) in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland). The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM) for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM) than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i) the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii) the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short-term warming

  15. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    PubMed

    Debouk, Haifa; de Bello, Francesco; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i) how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii) whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland) in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland). The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM) for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM) than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i) the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii) the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short-term warming

  16. A worldwide analysis of within-canopy variations in leaf structural, chemical and physiological traits across plant functional types.

    PubMed

    Niinemets, Ülo; Keenan, Trevor F; Hallik, Lea

    2015-02-01

    Extensive within-canopy light gradients importantly affect the photosynthetic productivity of leaves in different canopy positions and lead to light-dependent increases in foliage photosynthetic capacity per area (AA). However, the controls on AA variations by changes in underlying traits are poorly known. We constructed an unprecedented worldwide database including 831 within-canopy gradients with standardized light estimates for 304 species belonging to major vascular plant functional types, and analyzed within-canopy variations in 12 key foliage structural, chemical and physiological traits by quantitative separation of the contributions of different traits to photosynthetic acclimation. Although the light-dependent increase in AA is surprisingly similar in different plant functional types, they differ fundamentally in the share of the controls on AA by constituent traits. Species with high rates of canopy development and leaf turnover, exhibiting highly dynamic light environments, actively change AA by nitrogen reallocation among and partitioning within leaves. By contrast, species with slow leaf turnover exhibit a passive AA acclimation response, primarily determined by the acclimation of leaf structure to growth light. This review emphasizes that different combinations of traits are responsible for within-canopy photosynthetic acclimation in different plant functional types, and solves an old enigma of the role of mass- vs area-based traits in vegetation acclimation. PMID:25318596

  17. A worldwide analysis of within-canopy variations in leaf structural, chemical and physiological traits across plant functional types.

    PubMed

    Niinemets, Ülo; Keenan, Trevor F; Hallik, Lea

    2015-02-01

    Extensive within-canopy light gradients importantly affect the photosynthetic productivity of leaves in different canopy positions and lead to light-dependent increases in foliage photosynthetic capacity per area (AA). However, the controls on AA variations by changes in underlying traits are poorly known. We constructed an unprecedented worldwide database including 831 within-canopy gradients with standardized light estimates for 304 species belonging to major vascular plant functional types, and analyzed within-canopy variations in 12 key foliage structural, chemical and physiological traits by quantitative separation of the contributions of different traits to photosynthetic acclimation. Although the light-dependent increase in AA is surprisingly similar in different plant functional types, they differ fundamentally in the share of the controls on AA by constituent traits. Species with high rates of canopy development and leaf turnover, exhibiting highly dynamic light environments, actively change AA by nitrogen reallocation among and partitioning within leaves. By contrast, species with slow leaf turnover exhibit a passive AA acclimation response, primarily determined by the acclimation of leaf structure to growth light. This review emphasizes that different combinations of traits are responsible for within-canopy photosynthetic acclimation in different plant functional types, and solves an old enigma of the role of mass- vs area-based traits in vegetation acclimation.

  18. Use of fish functional traits to associate in-stream suspended sediment transport metrics with biological impairment.

    PubMed

    Schwartz, John S; Simon, Andrew; Klimetz, Lauren

    2011-08-01

    Loss of ecological integrity due to excessive suspended sediment in rivers and streams is a major cause of water quality impairment in the USA. Current assessment protocols for development of sediment total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) lack a means to link temporally variable sediment transport rates with specific losses of ecological functions as loads increase. In order to accomplish this linkage assessment, a functional traits-based approach was used to correlate site occurrences of 17 fish species traits in three main groups (preferred rearing habitat, trophic feeding guild, and spawning behavior) with suspended sediment transport metrics. The sediment transport metrics included concentrations, durations, and dosages for a range of exceedance frequencies; and mean annual suspended sediment yields (SSY). In addition, this study in the Northwestern Great Plains Ecoregion examined trait relationships with three environmental gradients: channel stability, drainage area, and elevation. Potential stressor responses due to elevated suspended sediment concentration (SSC) levels were correlated with occurrences of five traits: preferred pool habitat; feeding generalists, omnivores, piscivores, and nest-building spawners; and development of ecologically based TMDL targets were demonstrated for specific SSC exceedance frequencies. In addition, reduced site occurrences for preferred pool habitat and nest-building spawners traits were associated with unstable channels and higher SSY. At an ecoregion scale, a functional traits assessment approach provided a means to quantify relations between biological impairment and episodically elevated levels of suspended sediment, supporting efforts to develop ecologically based sediment TMDLs.

  19. Plant functional traits suggest a change in novel ecological strategies for dominant species in the stages of forest succession.

    PubMed

    Chai, Yongfu; Yue, Ming; Wang, Mao; Xu, Jinshi; Liu, Xiao; Zhang, Ruichang; Wan, Pengcheng

    2016-03-01

    In forest succession, the ecological strategies of the dominant species that are based on functional traits are important in the determination of both the mechanisms and the potential directions of succession. Thirty-one plots were established in the Loess Plateau region of northern Shaanxi in China. Fifteen leaf traits were measured for the 31 dominant species that represented the six stages of succession, and the traits included four that were related to morphology, seven to stoichiometry and four to physiological ecology. The species from the different successional stages had different patterns of distribution of the traits, and different key traits predicted the turnover of the species during succession. The ash and the cellulose contents were key regulatory factors of species turnover in the early successional communities, and the trait niche forces in sugar and leaf dry mass content might become more important with the progression of succession. When only the three herb stages were considered, a progressive replacement of the ruderal by the competitive-ruderal species occurred in the intermediate stages of succession, which was followed by the stress-tolerant-competitive or the competitive-stress tolerant-ruderal strategists late in the succession. Thus, the different species that occurred in the different stages of succession shared different trait-based ecological strategies. Additionally, these differences occurred concomitantly with a shift toward competitive-stress tolerant-ruderal strategies.

  20. Life-history trade-offs and ecological dynamics in the evolution of longevity.

    PubMed Central

    Bonsall, Michael B.; Mangel, Marc

    2004-01-01

    Longevity is a life-history trait that is shaped by natural selection. An unexplored consequence is how selection on this trait affects diversity and diversification in species assemblages. Motivated by the diverse rockfish (Sebastes) assemblage in the North Pacific, the effects of trade-offs in longevity against competitive ability are explored. A competition model is developed and used to explore the potential for species diversification and coexistence. Invasion analyses highlight that life-history trait trade-offs in longevity can mitigate the effects of competitive ability and favour the coexistence of a finite number of species. Our results have implications for niche differentiation, limiting similarity and assembly dynamics in multispecies interactions. PMID:15306364

  1. Functional Connectivity under Anticipation of Shock: Correlates of Trait Anxious Affect versus Induced Anxiety.

    PubMed

    Bijsterbosch, Janine; Smith, Stephen; Bishop, Sonia J

    2015-09-01

    Sustained anxiety about potential future negative events is an important feature of anxiety disorders. In this study, we used a novel anticipation of shock paradigm to investigate individual differences in functional connectivity during prolonged threat of shock. We examined the correlates of between-participant differences in trait anxious affect and induced anxiety, where the latter reflects changes in self-reported anxiety resulting from the shock manipulation. Dissociable effects of trait anxious affect and induced anxiety were observed. Participants with high scores on a latent dimension of anxious affect showed less increase in ventromedial pFC-amygdala connectivity between periods of safety and shock anticipation. Meanwhile, lower levels of induced anxiety were linked to greater augmentation of dorsolateral pFC-anterior insula connectivity during shock anticipation. These findings suggest that ventromedial pFC-amygdala and dorsolateral pFC-insula networks might both contribute to regulation of sustained fear responses, with their recruitment varying independently across participants. The former might reflect an evolutionarily old mechanism for reducing fear or anxiety, whereas the latter might reflect a complementary mechanism by which cognitive control can be implemented to diminish fear responses generated due to anticipation of aversive stimuli or events. These two circuits might provide complementary, alternate targets for exploration in future pharmacological and cognitive intervention studies. PMID:25961638

  2. Gene-Based Association Analysis for Censored Traits Via Fixed Effect Functional Regressions.

    PubMed

    Fan, Ruzong; Wang, Yifan; Yan, Qi; Ding, Ying; Weeks, Daniel E; Lu, Zhaohui; Ren, Haobo; Cook, Richard J; Xiong, Momiao; Swaroop, Anand; Chew, Emily Y; Chen, Wei

    2016-02-01

    Genetic studies of survival outcomes have been proposed and conducted recently, but statistical methods for identifying genetic variants that affect disease progression are rarely developed. Motivated by our ongoing real studies, here we develop Cox proportional hazard models using functional regression (FR) to perform gene-based association analysis of survival traits while adjusting for covariates. The proposed Cox models are fixed effect models where the genetic effects of multiple genetic variants are assumed to be fixed. We introduce likelihood ratio test (LRT) statistics to test for associations between the survival traits and multiple genetic variants in a genetic region. Extensive simulation studies demonstrate that the proposed Cox RF LRT statistics have well-controlled type I error rates. To evaluate power, we compare the Cox FR LRT with the previously developed burden test (BT) in a Cox model and sequence kernel association test (SKAT), which is based on mixed effect Cox models. The Cox FR LRT statistics have higher power than or similar power as Cox SKAT LRT except when 50%/50% causal variants had negative/positive effects and all causal variants are rare. In addition, the Cox FR LRT statistics have higher power than Cox BT LRT. The models and related test statistics can be useful in the whole genome and whole exome association studies. An age-related macular degeneration dataset was analyzed as an example. PMID:26782979

  3. Characterization of functional trait diversity among Indian cultivated and weedy rice populations

    PubMed Central

    Rathore, M.; Singh, Raghwendra; Kumar, B.; Chauhan, B. S.

    2016-01-01

    Weedy rice, a menace in rice growing areas globally, is biosimilar having attributes similar to cultivated and wild rice, and therefore is difficult to manage. A study was initiated to characterize the functional traits of 76 weedy rice populations and commonly grown rice cultivars from different agro-climatic zones for nine morphological, five physiological, and three phenological parameters in a field experiment under an augmented block design. Comparison between weedy and cultivated rice revealed a difference in duration (days) from panicle emergence to heading as the most variable trait and awn length as the least variable one, as evidenced from their coefficients of variation. The results of principal component analysis revealed the first three principal components to represent 47.3% of the total variation, which indicates an important role of transpiration, conductance, leaf-air temperature difference, days to panicle emergence, days to heading, flag leaf length, SPAD (soil-plant analysis development), grain weight, plant height, and panicle length to the diversity in weedy rice populations. The variations existing in weedy rice population are a major reason for its wider adaptability to varied environmental conditions and also a problem while trying to manage it. PMID:27072282

  4. Characterization of functional trait diversity among Indian cultivated and weedy rice populations.

    PubMed

    Rathore, M; Singh, Raghwendra; Kumar, B; Chauhan, B S

    2016-04-13

    Weedy rice, a menace in rice growing areas globally, is biosimilar having attributes similar to cultivated and wild rice, and therefore is difficult to manage. A study was initiated to characterize the functional traits of 76 weedy rice populations and commonly grown rice cultivars from different agro-climatic zones for nine morphological, five physiological, and three phenological parameters in a field experiment under an augmented block design. Comparison between weedy and cultivated rice revealed a difference in duration (days) from panicle emergence to heading as the most variable trait and awn length as the least variable one, as evidenced from their coefficients of variation. The results of principal component analysis revealed the first three principal components to represent 47.3% of the total variation, which indicates an important role of transpiration, conductance, leaf-air temperature difference, days to panicle emergence, days to heading, flag leaf length, SPAD (soil-plant analysis development), grain weight, plant height, and panicle length to the diversity in weedy rice populations. The variations existing in weedy rice population are a major reason for its wider adaptability to varied environmental conditions and also a problem while trying to manage it.

  5. Meta-analysis of genome-wide linkage scans for renal function traits

    PubMed Central

    Rao, Madhumathi; Mottl, Amy K.; Cole, Shelley A.; Umans, Jason G.; Freedman, Barry I.; Bowden, Donald W.; Langefeld, Carl D.; Fox, Caroline S.; Yang, Qiong; Cupples, Adrienne; Iyengar, Sudha K.; Hunt, Steven C.

    2012-01-01

    Background. Several genome scans have explored the linkage of chronic kidney disease phenotypes to chromosomic regions with disparate results. Genome scan meta-analysis (GSMA) is a quantitative method to synthesize linkage results from independent studies and assess their concordance. Methods. We searched PubMed to identify genome linkage analyses of renal function traits in humans, such as estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR), albuminuria, serum creatinine concentration and creatinine clearance. We contacted authors for numerical data and extracted information from individual studies. We applied the GSMA nonparametric approach to combine results across 14 linkage studies for GFR, 11 linkage studies for albumin creatinine ratio, 11 linkage studies for serum creatinine and 4 linkage studies for creatinine clearance. Results. No chromosomal region reached genome-wide statistical significance in the main analysis which included all scans under each phenotype; however, regions on Chromosomes 7, 10 and 16 reached suggestive significance for linkage to two or more phenotypes. Subgroup analyses by disease status or ethnicity did not yield additional information. Conclusions. While heterogeneity across populations, methodologies and study designs likely explain this lack of agreement, it is possible that linkage scan methodologies lack the resolution for investigating complex traits. Combining family-based linkage studies with genome-wide association studies may be a powerful approach to detect private mutations contributing to complex renal phenotypes. PMID:21622988

  6. Three-pronged assessment and diagnosis of personality disorder and its consequences: personality functioning, pathological traits, and psychosocial disability.

    PubMed

    Clark, Lee Anna; Ro, Eunyoe

    2014-01-01

    The alternative dimensional model of personality disorder (PD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), Section III, has two main criteria: impairment in personality functioning and one or more pathological personality traits. The former is defined as disturbances in self-functioning (viz., identity, self-direction), and/or interpersonal functioning (viz., empathy, intimacy). Distinguishing personality functioning and traits is important conceptually, because simply having extreme traits is not necessarily pathological. However, adding personality functioning to PD diagnosis represents an empirical challenge, because the constructs overlap conceptually. Further, there is debate regarding whether diagnosis of mental disorder requires either distress or disability, concepts that also overlap with maladaptive-range personality traits and personality dysfunction. We investigated interrelations among these constructs using multiple self-report measures of each domain in a mixed community-patient sample (N = 402). We examined the structures of functioning (psychosocial disability and personality) and personality traits, first independently, then jointly. The disability/functioning measures yielded the 3 dimensions we have found previously (Ro & Clark, 2013). Trait measures had a hierarchical structure which, at the 5-factor level, reflected neuroticism/negative affectivity (N/NA), (low) sociability, disinhibition, (dis)agreeableness, and rigid goal engagement. When all measures were cofactored, a hierarchical structure again emerged which, at the 5-factor level, included (a) internalizing (N/NA and self-pathology vs. quality-of-life/satisfaction); (b) externalizing (social/interpersonal dysfunction, low sociability, and disagreeableness); (c) disinhibition; (d) poor basic functioning; and (e) rigid goal engagement. Results are discussed in terms of developing an integrated PD diagnostic

  7. Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity.

    PubMed

    Stuart-Smith, Rick D; Bates, Amanda E; Lefcheck, Jonathan S; Duffy, J Emmett; Baker, Susan C; Thomson, Russell J; Stuart-Smith, Jemina F; Hill, Nicole A; Kininmonth, Stuart J; Airoldi, Laura; Becerro, Mikel A; Campbell, Stuart J; Dawson, Terence P; Navarrete, Sergio A; Soler, German A; Strain, Elisabeth M A; Willis, Trevor J; Edgar, Graham J

    2013-09-26

    Species richness has dominated our view of global biodiversity patterns for centuries. The dominance of this paradigm is reflected in the focus by ecologists and conservation managers on richness and associated occurrence-based measures for understanding drivers of broad-scale diversity patterns and as a biological basis for management. However, this is changing rapidly, as it is now recognized that not only the number of species but the species present, their phenotypes and the number of individuals of each species are critical in determining the nature and strength of the relationships between species diversity and a range of ecological functions (such as biomass production and nutrient cycling). Integrating these measures should provide a more relevant representation of global biodiversity patterns in terms of ecological functions than that provided by simple species counts. Here we provide comparisons of a traditional global biodiversity distribution measure based on richness with metrics that incorporate species abundances and functional traits. We use data from standardized quantitative surveys of 2,473 marine reef fish species at 1,844 sites, spanning 133 degrees of latitude from all ocean basins, to identify new diversity hotspots in some temperate regions and the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. These relate to high diversity of functional traits amongst individuals in the community (calculated using Rao's Q), and differ from previously reported patterns in functional diversity and richness for terrestrial animals, which emphasize species-rich tropical regions only. There is a global trend for greater evenness in the number of individuals of each species, across the reef fish species observed at sites ('community evenness'), at higher latitudes. This contributes to the distribution of functional diversity hotspots and contrasts with well-known latitudinal gradients in richness. Our findings suggest that the contribution of species diversity to a range of

  8. Representing life in the Earth system with soil microbial functional traits in the MIMICS model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieder, W. R.; Grandy, A. S.; Kallenbach, C. M.; Taylor, P. G.; Bonan, G. B.

    2015-02-01

    Projecting biogeochemical responses to global environmental change requires multi-scaled perspectives that consider organismal diversity, ecosystem processes and global fluxes. However, microbes, the drivers of soil organic matter decomposition and stabilization, remain notably absent from models used to project carbon cycle-climate feedbacks. We used a microbial trait-based soil carbon (C) model, with two physiologically distinct microbial communities to improve current estimates of soil C storage and their likely response to perturbations. Drawing from the application of functional traits used to model other ecosystems, we incorporate copiotrophic and oligotrophic microbial functional groups in the MIcrobial-MIneral Carbon Stabilization (MIMICS) model, which incorporates oligotrophic and copiotrophic functional groups, akin to "gleaner" vs. "opportunist" plankton in the ocean, or r vs. K strategists in plant and animals communities. Here we compare MIMICS to a conventional soil C model, DAYCENT, in cross-site comparisons of nitrogen (N) enrichment effects on soil C dynamics. MIMICS more accurately simulates C responses to N enrichment; moreover, it raises important hypotheses involving the roles of substrate availability, community-level enzyme induction, and microbial physiological responses in explaining various soil biogeochemical responses to N enrichment. In global-scale analyses, we show that current projections from Earth system models likely overestimate the strength of the land C sink in response to increasing C inputs with elevated carbon dioxide (CO2). Our findings illustrate that tradeoffs between theory and utility can be overcome to develop soil biogeochemistry models that evaluate and advance our theoretical understanding of microbial dynamics and soil biogeochemical responses to environmental change.

  9. Representing life in the Earth system with soil microbial functional traits in the MIMICS model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieder, W. R.; Grandy, A. S.; Kallenbach, C. M.; Taylor, P. G.; Bonan, G. B.

    2015-06-01

    Projecting biogeochemical responses to global environmental change requires multi-scaled perspectives that consider organismal diversity, ecosystem processes, and global fluxes. However, microbes, the drivers of soil organic matter decomposition and stabilization, remain notably absent from models used to project carbon (C) cycle-climate feedbacks. We used a microbial trait-based soil C model with two physiologically distinct microbial communities, and evaluate how this model represents soil C storage and response to perturbations. Drawing from the application of functional traits used to model other ecosystems, we incorporate copiotrophic and oligotrophic microbial functional groups in the MIcrobial-MIneral Carbon Stabilization (MIMICS) model; these functional groups are akin to "gleaner" vs. "opportunist" plankton in the ocean, or r- vs. K-strategists in plant and animal communities. Here we compare MIMICS to a conventional soil C model, DAYCENT (the daily time-step version of the CENTURY model), in cross-site comparisons of nitrogen (N) enrichment effects on soil C dynamics. MIMICS more accurately simulates C responses to N enrichment; moreover, it raises important hypotheses involving the roles of substrate availability, community-level enzyme induction, and microbial physiological responses in explaining various soil biogeochemical responses to N enrichment. In global-scale analyses, we show that MIMICS projects much slower rates of soil C accumulation than a conventional soil biogeochemistry in response to increasing C inputs with elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) - a finding that would reduce the size of the land C sink estimated by the Earth system. Our findings illustrate that tradeoffs between theory and utility can be overcome to develop soil biogeochemistry models that evaluate and advance our theoretical understanding of microbial dynamics and soil biogeochemical responses to environmental change.

  10. Spectral Characteristics of Vegetation Functional Traits across a Range of Thaw Gradients on Alaska's Seward Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goswami, S.; Hayes, D. J.; Sloan, V. L.; Liebig, J. A.; Norby, R. J.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2014-12-01

    The Arctic and Boreal regions are warming rapidly, leading to the thawing of the underlying permafrost and associated changes in vegetation structure and composition. The thawing of ice-rich permafrost drives land surface dynamics called thermokarst, characterized by a variety of geomorphic surface features across high latitude landscapes. The development of these thermokarst or thermo-erosional features depends on factors such as local permafrost conditions, hydrology, geomorphology, vegetation, and climate, but their degree of dependence are not well understood across scales. The structure, functions and traits of the vegetation can work as effective indicators of these landscape changes. Our ability to characterize these vegetation characteristics across a wide range of thaw gradients at the local scale could help us to better understand the dependency as well as the impacts of thermokarst processes on them. This will also help us to develop capabilities to quantify these characteristics and dependencies from local to regional scales by using remote sensing and ecosystem modeling techniques. During the months of June - July of 2013 and 2014, we conducted field surveys at various sites across the central Seward Peninsula in Alaska covering a range of thaw gradients to collect data for vegetation functional traits, ancillary data and also hyperspectral data in the 400-2500 nm range using a field spectrometer. Data were collected from plots established along 50 m transects to capture transitional states of these thaw features from the upland zone, transition zone, and thaw lake basins as well as in polygonal features. Here we discuss the characteristics of vegetation functional traits and how they relate to the ground-based spectral measurements. Some of these findings could be scaled up using airborne and satellite remote sensing data. The findings from this study can improve our understanding of disturbance patterns and their feedbacks to local scale plant and

  11. Architecture of 54 moist-forest tree species: traits, trade-offs, and functional groups.

    PubMed

    Poorter, Lourens; Bongers, Laurent; Bongers, Frans

    2006-05-01

    Tree architecture is an important determinant of the height extension, light capture, and mechanical stability of trees, and it allows species to exploit the vertical height gradient in the forest canopy and horizontal light gradients at the forest floor. Tropical tree species partition these gradients through variation in adult stature (Hmax) and light demand. In this study we compare 22 architectural traits for 54 Bolivian moist-forest tree species. We evaluate how architectural traits related to Hmax vary with tree size, and we present a conceptual scheme in which we combine the two axes into four different functional groups. Interspecific correlations between architecture and Hmax varied strongly from negative to positive, depending on the reference sizes used. Stem height was positively related to Hmax at larger reference diameters (14-80 cm). Species height vs. diameter curves often flattened toward their upper ends in association with reproductive maturity for species of all sizes. Thus, adult understory trees were typically shorter than similar-diameter juveniles of larger species. Crown area was negatively correlated with Hmax at small reference heights and positively correlated at larger reference heights (15-34 m). Wide crowns allow the small understory species to intercept light over a large area at the expense of a reduced height growth. Crown length was negatively correlated with Hmax at intermediate reference heights (4-14 m). A long crown enables small understory species to maximize light interception in a light-limited environment. Light-demanding species were characterized by orthotropic stems and branches, large leaves, and a monolayer leaf arrangement. They realized an efficient height growth through the formation of narrow and shallow crowns. Light demand turned out to be a much stronger predictor of tree architecture than Hmax, probably because of the relatively low, open, and semi-evergreen canopy at the research site. The existence of four

  12. Assessment of imputation methods using varying ecological information to fill the gaps in a tree functional trait database

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poyatos, Rafael; Sus, Oliver; Vilà-Cabrera, Albert; Vayreda, Jordi; Badiella, Llorenç; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Martínez-Vilalta, Jordi

    2016-04-01

    Plant functional traits are increasingly being used in ecosystem ecology thanks to the growing availability of large ecological databases. However, these databases usually contain a large fraction of missing data because measuring plant functional traits systematically is labour-intensive and because most databases are compilations of datasets with different sampling designs. As a result, within a given database, there is an inevitable variability in the number of traits available for each data entry and/or the species coverage in a given geographical area. The presence of missing data may severely bias trait-based analyses, such as the quantification of trait covariation or trait-environment relationships and may hamper efforts towards trait-based modelling of ecosystem biogeochemical cycles. Several data imputation (i.e. gap-filling) methods have been recently tested on compiled functional trait databases, but the performance of imputation methods applied to a functional trait database with a regular spatial sampling has not been thoroughly studied. Here, we assess the effects of data imputation on five tree functional traits (leaf biomass to sapwood area ratio, foliar nitrogen, maximum height, specific leaf area and wood density) in the Ecological and Forest Inventory of Catalonia, an extensive spatial database (covering 31900 km2). We tested the performance of species mean imputation, single imputation by the k-nearest neighbors algorithm (kNN) and a multiple imputation method, Multivariate Imputation with Chained Equations (MICE) at different levels of missing data (10%, 30%, 50%, and 80%). We also assessed the changes in imputation performance when additional predictors (species identity, climate, forest structure, spatial structure) were added in kNN and MICE imputations. We evaluated the imputed datasets using a battery of indexes describing departure from the complete dataset in trait distribution, in the mean prediction error, in the correlation matrix

  13. Floral longevity and autonomous selfing are altered by pollination and water availability in Collinsia heterophylla

    PubMed Central

    Jorgensen, Rachael; Arathi, H. S.

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims A plant investing in reproduction partitions resources between flowering and seed production. Under resource limitation, altered allocations may result in floral trait variations, leading to compromised fecundity. Floral longevity and timing of selfing are often the traits most likely to be affected. The duration of corolla retention determines whether fecundity results from outcrossing or by delayed selfing-mediated reproductive assurance. In this study, the role of pollination schedules and soil water availability on floral longevity and seed production is tested in Collinsia heterophylla (Plantaginaceae). Methods Using three different watering regimes and pollination schedules, effects on floral longevity and seed production were studied in this protandrous, flowering annual. Key Results The results reveal that soil water status and pollination together influence floral longevity with low soil water and hand-pollinations early in the floral lifespan reducing longevity. However, early pollinations under excess water did not extend longevity, implying that resource surplus does not lengthen the outcrossing period. The results also indicate that pollen receipt, a reliable cue for fecundity, accelerates flower drop. Early corolla abscission under drought stress could potentially exacerbate sexual conflict in this protandrous, hermaphroditic species by ensuring self-pollen paternity and enabling male control of floral longevity. While pollination schedules did not affect fecundity, water stress reduced per-capita seed numbers. Unmanipulated flowers underwent delayed autonomous selfing, producing very few seeds, suggesting that inbreeding depression may limit benefits of selfing. Conclusions In plants where herkogamy and dichogamy facilitate outcrossing, floral longevity determines reproductive success and mating system. Reduction in longevity under drought suggests a strong environmental effect that could potentially alter the preferred breeding

  14. Effects of changing precipitation and warming on functional traits of zonal Stipa plants from Inner Mongolian grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lü, Xiaomin; Zhou, Guangsheng; Wang, Yuhui; Song, Xiliang

    2016-06-01

    The mechanisms driving changes in dominant plant species are the key for understanding how grassland ecosystems respond to climate change. In this study, we examined plant functional traits (morphological characteristics: plant height, leaf area, and leaf number; biomasses: aboveground, belowground, and total; and growth indices: root-to-shoot ratio, specific leaf area, and leaf mass ratio) of four zonal Stipa species ( S. baicalensis, S. bungeana, S. grandis, and S. breviflora) from Inner Mongolian grassland in response to warming (control, +1.5, +2.0, +4.0, and +6.0?), changing precipitation (-30%, -15%, control, +15%, and +30%), and their combined effects via climate control chambers. The results showed that warming and changing precipitation had significant interactive effects, different from the accumulation of single-factor effects, on functional traits of Stipa species. The correlation and sensitivity of different plant functional traits to temperature and precipitation differed. Among the four species, the accumulation and variability of functional traits had greater partial correlation with precipitation than temperature, except for leaf number, leaf area, and specific leaf area, in S. breviflora, S. bungeana, and S. grandis. For S. baicalensis, the accumulation and variability of plant height, aboveground biomass, and root-to-shoot ratio only had significant partial correlation with precipitation. However, the variability of morphological characteristics, biomasses, and some growth indices, was more sensitive to temperature than precipitation in S. bungeana, S. grandis, and S. breviflora—except for aboveground biomass and plant height. These results reveal that precipitation is the key factor determining the growth and changes in plant functional traits in Stipa species, and that temperature mainly influences the quantitative fluctuations of the changes in functional traits.

  15. Initial colonization, community assembly and ecosystem function: fungal colonist traits and litter biochemistry mediate decay rate.

    PubMed

    Cline, Lauren C; Zak, Donald R

    2015-10-01

    Priority effects are an important ecological force shaping biotic communities and ecosystem processes, in which the establishment of early colonists alters the colonization success of later-arriving organisms via competitive exclusion and habitat modification. However, we do not understand which biotic and abiotic conditions lead to strong priority effects and lasting historical contingencies. Using saprotrophic fungi in a model leaf decomposition system, we investigated whether compositional and functional consequences of initial colonization were dependent on initial colonizer traits, resource availability or a combination thereof. To test these ideas, we factorially manipulated leaf litter biochemistry and initial fungal colonist identity, quantifying subsequent community composition, using neutral genetic markers, and community functional characteristics, including enzyme potential and leaf decay rates. During the first 3 months, initial colonist respiration rate and physiological capacity to degrade plant detritus were significant determinants of fungal community composition and leaf decay, indicating that rapid growth and lignolytic potential of early colonists contributed to altered trajectories of community assembly. Further, initial colonization on oak leaves generated increasingly divergent trajectories of fungal community composition and enzyme potential, indicating stronger initial colonizer effects on energy-poor substrates. Together, these observations provide evidence that initial colonization effects, and subsequent consequences on litter decay, are dependent upon substrate biochemistry and physiological traits within a regional species pool. Because microbial decay of plant detritus is important to global C storage, our results demonstrate that understanding the mechanisms by which initial conditions alter priority effects during community assembly may be key to understanding the drivers of ecosystem-level processes.

  16. Mapping the association of global executive functioning onto diverse measures of psychopathic traits

    PubMed Central

    Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R.; Brazil, Inti A.; Ryan, Jonathan; Kohlenberg, Nathaniel J.; Neumann, Craig S.; Newman, Joseph P.

    2015-01-01

    Psychopathic individuals display a callous-coldhearted approach to interpersonal and affective situations and engage in impulsive and antisocial behaviors. Despite early conceptualizations suggesting that psychopathy is related to enhanced cognitive functioning, research examining executive functioning (EF) in psychopathy has yielded few such findings. It is possible that some psychopathic trait dimensions are more related to EF than others. Research using a two-factor or four-facet model of psychopathy highlights some dimension-specific differences in EF, but this research is limited in scope. Another complicating factor in teasing apart the EF-psychopathy relationship is the tendency to use different psychopathy assessments for incarcerated versus community samples. In this study, an EF battery and multiple measures of psychopathic dimensions were administered to a sample of male prisoners (N=377). Results indicate that using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), the independent effect of Factor2 was related to worse EF, but neither the independent effect of Factor1 nor the unique variance of the Factors (1 or 2) were related to EF. Using a four facet model, the independent effects of Facet2 (Affect) and Facet4 (Antisocial) were related to worse EF, but when examining the unique effects, only Facet2 remained significant. Finally, the questionnaire-based measure, Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire-Brief, of Fearless Dominance was related to better EF performance, whereas PCL-R Factor1 was unrelated to EF. Overall, the results reveal the complex relationship among EF and behaviors characteristic of psychopathy-related dimensions. Moreover, they demonstrate the interpersonal and affective traits measured by these distinct assessments are differentially related to EF. PMID:26011576

  17. Initial colonization, community assembly and ecosystem function: fungal colonist traits and litter biochemistry mediate decay rate.

    PubMed

    Cline, Lauren C; Zak, Donald R

    2015-10-01

    Priority effects are an important ecological force shaping biotic communities and ecosystem processes, in which the establishment of early colonists alters the colonization success of later-arriving organisms via competitive exclusion and habitat modification. However, we do not understand which biotic and abiotic conditions lead to strong priority effects and lasting historical contingencies. Using saprotrophic fungi in a model leaf decomposition system, we investigated whether compositional and functional consequences of initial colonization were dependent on initial colonizer traits, resource availability or a combination thereof. To test these ideas, we factorially manipulated leaf litter biochemistry and initial fungal colonist identity, quantifying subsequent community composition, using neutral genetic markers, and community functional characteristics, including enzyme potential and leaf decay rates. During the first 3 months, initial colonist respiration rate and physiological capacity to degrade plant detritus were significant determinants of fungal community composition and leaf decay, indicating that rapid growth and lignolytic potential of early colonists contributed to altered trajectories of community assembly. Further, initial colonization on oak leaves generated increasingly divergent trajectories of fungal community composition and enzyme potential, indicating stronger initial colonizer effects on energy-poor substrates. Together, these observations provide evidence that initial colonization effects, and subsequent consequences on litter decay, are dependent upon substrate biochemistry and physiological traits within a regional species pool. Because microbial decay of plant detritus is important to global C storage, our results demonstrate that understanding the mechanisms by which initial conditions alter priority effects during community assembly may be key to understanding the drivers of ecosystem-level processes. PMID:26331892

  18. Phenotypically plastic traits regulate caste formation and soldier function in polyembryonic wasps.

    PubMed

    Smith, M S; Milton, I; Strand, M R

    2010-12-01

    Polyembryonic encyrtid wasps are parasitoids that have evolved a clonal form of embryogenesis and a caste system where some progeny become reproducing wasps whereas others develop into a sterile soldier caste. Theory based on the biology of Copidosoma floridanum predicts that the primary role of soldier larvae is to mediate conflict over sex ratio, which also favours female-biased soldier production. Other data, however, suggest that female-biased soldier production reflects a developmental constraint. Here, we assessed whether female-biased soldier function by polyembryonic wasps reflects sex-specific adaptation or constraint by conducting comparative studies with Copidosoma bakeri, a species that produces clutch sizes similar to C. floridanum yet rarely produces broods associated with sex ratio conflict. Our results indicate that the oviposition behaviour of adults, development of progeny and function of soldier larvae differ greatly between C. bakeri and C. floridanum. These findings indicate that caste formation and soldier function in polyembryonic encyrtid wasps are regulated by phenotypically plastic traits. Our results further suggest that the primary function of the soldier caste in some species is defence of host resources from competitors whereas in others it is the resolution of sex ratio conflict.

  19. Being cool: how body temperature influences ageing and longevity.

    PubMed

    Keil, Gerald; Cummings, Elizabeth; de Magalhães, João Pedro

    2015-08-01

    Temperature is a basic and essential property of any physical system, including living systems. Even modest variations in temperature can have profound effects on organisms, and it has long been thought that as metabolism increases at higher temperatures so should rates of ageing. Here, we review the literature on how temperature affects longevity, ageing and life history traits. From poikilotherms to homeotherms, there is a clear trend for lower temperature being associated with longer lifespans both in wild populations and in laboratory conditions. Many life-extending manipulations in rodents, such as caloric restriction, also decrease core body temperature. Nonetheless, an inverse relationship between temperature and lifespan can be obscured or reversed, especially when the range of body temperatures is small as in homeotherms. An example is observed in humans: women appear to have a slightly higher body temperature and yet live longer than men. The mechanisms involved in the relationship between temperature and longevity also appear to be less direct than once thought with neuroendocrine processes possibly mediating complex physiological responses to temperature changes. Lastly, we discuss species differences in longevity in mammals and how this relates to body temperature and argue that the low temperature of the long-lived naked mole-rat possibly contributes to its exceptional longevity.

  20. Being cool: how body temperature influences ageing and longevity.

    PubMed

    Keil, Gerald; Cummings, Elizabeth; de Magalhães, João Pedro

    2015-08-01

    Temperature is a basic and essential property of any physical system, including living systems. Even modest variations in temperature can have profound effects on organisms, and it has long been thought that as metabolism increases at higher temperatures so should rates of ageing. Here, we review the literature on how temperature affects longevity, ageing and life history traits. From poikilotherms to homeotherms, there is a clear trend for lower temperature being associated with longer lifespans both in wild populations and in laboratory conditions. Many life-extending manipulations in rodents, such as caloric restriction, also decrease core body temperature. Nonetheless, an inverse relationship between temperature and lifespan can be obscured or reversed, especially when the range of body temperatures is small as in homeotherms. An example is observed in humans: women appear to have a slightly higher body temperature and yet live longer than men. The mechanisms involved in the relationship between temperature and longevity also appear to be less direct than once thought with neuroendocrine processes possibly mediating complex physiological responses to temperature changes. Lastly, we discuss species differences in longevity in mammals and how this relates to body temperature and argue that the low temperature of the long-lived naked mole-rat possibly contributes to its exceptional longevity. PMID:25832892

  1. Functional Trait Strategies of Trees in Dry and Wet Tropical Forests Are Similar but Differ in Their Consequences for Succession

    PubMed Central

    Lohbeck, Madelon; Lebrija-Trejos, Edwin; Martínez-Ramos, Miguel; Meave, Jorge A.; Poorter, Lourens; Bongers, Frans

    2015-01-01

    Global plant trait studies have revealed fundamental trade-offs in plant resource economics. We evaluated such trait trade-offs during secondary succession in two species-rich tropical ecosystems that contrast in precipitation: dry deciduous and wet evergreen forests of Mexico. Species turnover with succession in dry forest largely relates to increasing water availability and in wet forest to decreasing light availability. We hypothesized that while functional trait trade-offs are similar in the two forest systems, the successful plant strategies in these communities will be different, as contrasting filters affect species turnover. Research was carried out in 15 dry secondary forest sites (5-63 years after abandonment) and in 17 wet secondary forest sites (<1-25 years after abandonment). We used 11 functional traits measured on 132 species to make species-trait PCA biplots for dry and wet forest and compare trait trade-offs. We evaluated whether multivariate plant strategies changed during succession, by calculating a ‘Community-Weighted Mean’ plant strategy, based on species scores on the first two PCA-axes. Trait spectra reflected two main trade-off axes that were similar for dry and wet forest species: acquisitive versus conservative species, and drought avoiding species versus evergreen species with large animal-dispersed seeds. These trait associations were consistent when accounting for evolutionary history. Successional changes in the most successful plant strategies reflected different functional trait spectra depending on the forest type. In dry forest the community changed from having drought avoiding strategies early in succession to increased abundance of evergreen strategies with larger seeds late in succession. In wet forest the community changed from species having mainly acquisitive strategies to those with more conservative strategies during succession. These strategy changes were explained by increasing water availability during dry forest

  2. Functional trait strategies of trees in dry and wet tropical forests are similar but differ in their consequences for succession.

    PubMed

    Lohbeck, Madelon; Lebrija-Trejos, Edwin; Martínez-Ramos, Miguel; Meave, Jorge A; Poorter, Lourens; Bongers, Frans

    2014-01-01

    Global plant trait studies have revealed fundamental trade-offs in plant resource economics. We evaluated such trait trade-offs during secondary succession in two species-rich tropical ecosystems that contrast in precipitation: dry deciduous and wet evergreen forests of Mexico. Species turnover with succession in dry forest largely relates to increasing water availability and in wet forest to decreasing light availability. We hypothesized that while functional trait trade-offs are similar in the two forest systems, the successful plant strategies in these communities will be different, as contrasting filters affect species turnover. Research was carried out in 15 dry secondary forest sites (5-63 years after abandonment) and in 17 wet secondary forest sites (<1-25 years after abandonment). We used 11 functional traits measured on 132 species to make species-trait PCA biplots for dry and wet forest and compare trait trade-offs. We evaluated whether multivariate plant strategies changed during succession, by calculating a 'Community-Weighted Mean' plant strategy, based on species scores on the first two PCA-axes. Trait spectra reflected two main trade-off axes that were similar for dry and wet forest species: acquisitive versus conservative species, and drought avoiding species versus evergreen species with large animal-dispersed seeds. These trait associations were consistent when accounting for evolutionary history. Successional changes in the most successful plant strategies reflected different functional trait spectra depending on the forest type. In dry forest the community changed from having drought avoiding strategies early in succession to increased abundance of evergreen strategies with larger seeds late in succession. In wet forest the community changed from species having mainly acquisitive strategies to those with more conservative strategies during succession. These strategy changes were explained by increasing water availability during dry forest

  3. Functional trait strategies of trees in dry and wet tropical forests are similar but differ in their consequences for succession.

    PubMed

    Lohbeck, Madelon; Lebrija-Trejos, Edwin; Martínez-Ramos, Miguel; Meave, Jorge A; Poorter, Lourens; Bongers, Frans

    2014-01-01

    Global plant trait studies have revealed fundamental trade-offs in plant resource economics. We evaluated such trait trade-offs during secondary succession in two species-rich tropical ecosystems that contrast in precipitation: dry deciduous and wet evergreen forests of Mexico. Species turnover with succession in dry forest largely relates to increasing water availability and in wet forest to decreasing light availability. We hypothesized that while functional trait trade-offs are similar in the two forest systems, the successful plant strategies in these communities will be different, as contrasting filters affect species turnover. Research was carried out in 15 dry secondary forest sites (5-63 years after abandonment) and in 17 wet secondary forest sites (<1-25 years after abandonment). We used 11 functional traits measured on 132 species to make species-trait PCA biplots for dry and wet forest and compare trait trade-offs. We evaluated whether multivariate plant strategies changed during succession, by calculating a 'Community-Weighted Mean' plant strategy, based on species scores on the first two PCA-axes. Trait spectra reflected two main trade-off axes that were similar for dry and wet forest species: acquisitive versus conservative species, and drought avoiding species versus evergreen species with large animal-dispersed seeds. These trait associations were consistent when accounting for evolutionary history. Successional changes in the most successful plant strategies reflected different functional trait spectra depending on the forest type. In dry forest the community changed from having drought avoiding strategies early in succession to increased abundance of evergreen strategies with larger seeds late in succession. In wet forest the community changed from species having mainly acquisitive strategies to those with more conservative strategies during succession. These strategy changes were explained by increasing water availability during dry forest

  4. Fine Root Longevity Still Under Debate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keel, S. G.; Blackburn, M.; Campbell, C.; Högberg, M. N.; Richter, A.; Wild, B.; Högberg, P.

    2008-12-01

    Assuming that fine roots (< 2 mm in diameter) turn over once per year, they represent a third of the global annual net primary productivity. These turnover estimates are based on rhizotron studies, where root longevity is determined by monitoring the appearance/disappearance of roots on a screen, which is inserted into the soil. Much slower fine root turnover rates were found using carbon (C) isotope methods (either 14C dating or continuous 13C-labelling), resulting in root longevities of several years. Stable C isotope tracer experiments, are argued to overestimate fine root longevities, mainly because the smallest roots with the highest turn over, are easily missed during sampling. The goal of the present study was therefore to carry out a C-labelling experiment, and specifically focus on the finest roots, namely root tips. In addition we sampled whole fine roots (<1 mm and 1-3 mm in diameter), as in other studies. We pulse labelled 14-year-old Pinus sylvestris (Pine) trees in the field for only three hours with highly 13C-enriched CO2 (24 atom percent). The mean residence time (MRT) of recently assimilated C in root tips was determined, as a measure for root longevity. Already two days after labelling, recent C had been translocated from the crowns to fine roots indicating rapid belowground C allocation. 13C signals in root tips were stronger than in whole roots, which shows that they are the most active part of the root system. MRT of C calculated using first order exponential decay functions of C in bulk roots were around 20 days in both <1mm and 1-3mm roots and 29 days in root tips. A rapid decline in 13C signals was observed which could be explained by a rapid decrease in the signal of the sucrose pool, which had a MRT of 5 days. However, part of the labelled C had been allocated to a pool with a slower turnover rate (most likely structural compounds such as cellulose) as indicated by persisting 13C signals measured 120 days after labelling. MRT of C in

  5. [Responses of plant functional traits to micro-topographical changes in hilly and gully region of the Loess Plateau, China].

    PubMed

    Yang, Shi-suo; Wen, Zhong-ming; Miao, Lian-peng; Qi, De-hui; Hua, Dong-wen

    2014-12-01

    Plant functional traits are closely tied to the performance of plants in specific microenvironments, and reflect their ability to adapt to those microenvironments. In areas with complex topography, analyzing the responses of plant functional traits to microtopographical changes is crucial to understanding the adaptive strategies of plants in diverse environments. This paper analyzed fluctuations in soil nutrients as well as correlations between plant functional traits and changes in topography at the family and community levels in selected natural vegetation communities in the foreststeppe zone of the loess hilly and gully region in Loess Plateau of China. Significant differences in plant functional traits were primarily driven by the phylogenetic background or species composition of the community. Slope aspect exerted less impact while slope positions had no significant effect on plant traits at the community level. No significant changes in plant functional traits were observed with changes in topography at the community level. However, leaf nitrogen and root nitrogen contents of Leguminous and Compositae species differed significantly With slope positions. The root tissue density of Graminaceous species differed significantly with slope positions. Root density exhibited significant positive correlations with soil nutrient and carbon contents at the community level. Both leaf nitrogen and root nitrogen contents of Leguminous species were positively correlated with soil phosphorus content, while leaf nitrogen and root nitrogen contents of both Graminaceous and Compositae species were significantly positively related to soil nitrogen content. The results demonstrate the different responses of species of different families to changes in micro-topography and their distinctive adaptive strategies to the environment.

  6. Utilization of information from gene networks towards a better understanding of functional similarities between complex traits: a dairy cattle model.

    PubMed

    Frąszczak, Magdalena; Suchocki, Tomasz; Szyda, Joanna

    2016-02-01

    Our study focused on quantifying functional similarities between complex traits recorded in dairy cattle: milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, somatic cell score and stature. Similarities were calculated based on gene sets forming gene networks and on gene ontology term sets underlying genes estimated as significant for the analysed traits. Gene networks were obtained by the Bisogenet and Gene Set Linkage Analysis (GSLA) software. The highest similarity was observed between milk yield and fat yield. A very low degree of similarity was attributed to protein yield and stature when using gene sets as a similarity criterion, as well as to protein yield and fat yield when using sets of gene ontology terms. Pearson correlation coefficients between gene effect estimates, representing additive polygenic similarities, were highest for protein yield and milk yield, and the lowest in case of protein yield and somatic cell score. Using the 50 K Illumina SNP chip from the national genomic selection data set only the most significant gene-trait associations can be retrieved, while enhancing it by the functional information contained in interaction data stored in public data bases and by metabolic pathways information facilitates a better characterization of the functional background of the traits and furthermore - trait comparison. The most interesting result of our study was that the functional similarity observed between protein yield and milk-/fat yields contradicted moderate genetic correlations estimated earlier for the same population based on a multivariate mixed model. The discrepancy indicates that an infinitesimal model assumed in that study reflects an averaged correlation due to polygenes, but fails to reveal the functional background underlying the traits, which is due to the cumulative composition of many genes involved in metabolic pathways, which appears to differ between protein-fat yield and protein-milk yield pairs.

  7. Health Consequences of Familial Longevity Influence Among the Chinese Elderly

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background. A comparative analysis between centenarians’ children and neighborhood controls is an efficient approach to learn how familial longevity influence and its interaction with environmental factors affect healthy aging. Yet, there are few extant studies that inform this topic; this study expands this literature. Methods. We analyze data from 417 children of centenarians and 560 neighborhood controls without family history of longevity in China (all participants aged 60–80) using ordered logit regression models. Results. We found that, compared to the neighborhood controls and adjusted for various potentially confounding factors, centenarians’ children had significantly better instrumental activities of daily living function(p < .001), smaller number of chronic conditions or health problems(p < .01), less anxiety and loneliness(p < .01), better cognitive function (p < .01), more resilience (p < .01), better self-rated health (p < .001), and better self-rated life satisfaction (p < .001). The results also reveal that interactions between familial longevity influence and one of three environmental factors (whether, as children, they received adequate medical care when ill, number of living children, and household economic conditions) may possibly affect health outcomes at old ages (p < .05). We discovered that effects of the environmental factors on health outcome are substantially stronger among elders who have no family history of longevity compared to centenarians’ children who probably carry positive genes and/or lifestyle behaviors from their long-lived parent(s), which may promote longevity. Conclusion. Familial longevity influence, through genetics and family lifestyle, is significantly associated with various aspects of health at older ages. Interactions between familial longevity influence and some environmental factors may affect health in old age. PMID:23064818

  8. Quantitative trait loci associated with functional stay-green SNU-SG1 in rice.

    PubMed

    Yoo, Soo-Cheul; Cho, Sung-Hwan; Zhang, Haitao; Paik, Hyo-Chung; Lee, Chung-Hee; Li, Jinjie; Yoo, Jeong-Hoon; Lee, Byun-Woo; Koh, Hee-Jong; Seo, Hak Soo; Paek, Nam-Chon

    2007-08-31

    During monocarpic senescence in higher plants, functional stay-green delays leaf yellowing, maintaining photosynthetic competence, whereas nonfunctional stay-green retains leaf greenness without sustaining photosynthetic activity. Thus, functional stay-green is considered a beneficial trait that can increase grain yield in cereal crops. A stay-green japonica rice 'SNU-SG1' had a good seed-setting rate and grain yield, indicating the presence of a functional stay-green genotype. SNU-SG1 was crossed with two regular cultivars to determine the inheritance mode and identify major QTLs conferring stay-green in SNU-SG1. For QTL analysis, linkage maps with 100 and 116 DNA marker loci were constructed using selective genotyping with F2 and RIL (recombinant inbred line) populations, respectively. Molecular marker-based QTL analyses with both populations revealed that the functional stay-green phenotype of SNU-SG1 is regulated by several major QTLs accounting for a large portion of the genetic variation. Three main-effect QTLs located on chromosomes 7 and 9 were detected in both populations and a number of epistatic-effect QTLs were also found. The amount of variation explained by several digenic interactions was larger than that explained by main-effect QTLs. Two main-effect QTLs on chromosome 9 can be considered the target loci that most influence the functional stay-green in SNU-SG1. The functional stay-green QTLs may help develop low-input high-yielding rice cultivars by QTL-marker-assisted breeding with SNU-SG1.

  9. Characterization of mineral phosphate solubilization traits from a barley rhizosphere soil functional metagenome.

    PubMed

    Chhabra, Sagar; Brazil, Dina; Morrissey, John; Burke, James I; O'Gara, Fergal; N Dowling, David

    2013-10-01

    Mineral phosphate solubilization (MPS) microorganisms are important for their provision of orthophosphate anions for plant growth promotion activity in soil. In this study, we applied a functional metagenomic approach to identify this trait directly from the microbiome in barley rhizosphere soil that had not received P fertilizer over a 15-year period. A fosmid system was used to clone the metagenome of which 18,000 clones (~666 Mb of DNA) was screened for MPS. Functional assays and High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis recognized gluconic acid production and MPS activity in the range 24.8-77.1 mmol/L and 27.6-38.16 μg/mL, respectively, when screened in an Escherichia coli host (at frequency of one MPS-positive clone hit per 114 Mb DNA tested). The MPS clones (with average insert size of ~37 kb) were analysed by 454 Roche sequencing and annotated. A number of genes/operons with homology to Phosphorous (P) uptake, regulatory and solubilization mechanisms were identified, linking the MPS function to the uncultivated microbiome present in barley rhizosphere soil.

  10. Ozone exposure and flux-based response functions for photosynthetic traits in wheat, maize and poplar.

    PubMed

    Bagard, Matthieu; Jolivet, Yves; Hasenfratz-Sauder, Marie-Paule; Gérard, Joëlle; Dizengremel, Pierre; Le Thiec, Didier

    2015-11-01

    Ozone exposure- and dose-response relationships based on photosynthetic leaf traits (CO2 assimilation, chlorophyll content, Rubisco and PEPc activities) were established for wheat, maize and poplar plants grown in identical controlled conditions, providing a comparison between crop and tree species, as well as between C3 and C4 plants. Intra-specific variability was addressed by comparing two wheat cultivars with contrasting ozone tolerance. Depending on plant models and ozone levels, first-order, second-order and segmented linear regression models were used to derive ozone response functions. Overall, flux-based functions appeared superior to exposure-based functions in describing the data, but the improvement remained modest. The best fit was obtained using the POD0.5 for maize and POD3 for poplar. The POD6 appeared relevant for wheat, although intervarietal differences were found. Our results suggest that taking into account the dynamics of leaf antioxidant capacity could improve current methods for ozone risk assessment for plants.

  11. Characterization of mineral phosphate solubilization traits from a barley rhizosphere soil functional metagenome.

    PubMed

    Chhabra, Sagar; Brazil, Dina; Morrissey, John; Burke, James I; O'Gara, Fergal; N Dowling, David

    2013-10-01

    Mineral phosphate solubilization (MPS) microorganisms are important for their provision of orthophosphate anions for plant growth promotion activity in soil. In this study, we applied a functional metagenomic approach to identify this trait directly from the microbiome in barley rhizosphere soil that had not received P fertilizer over a 15-year period. A fosmid system was used to clone the metagenome of which 18,000 clones (~666 Mb of DNA) was screened for MPS. Functional assays and High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis recognized gluconic acid production and MPS activity in the range 24.8-77.1 mmol/L and 27.6-38.16 μg/mL, respectively, when screened in an Escherichia coli host (at frequency of one MPS-positive clone hit per 114 Mb DNA tested). The MPS clones (with average insert size of ~37 kb) were analysed by 454 Roche sequencing and annotated. A number of genes/operons with homology to Phosphorous (P) uptake, regulatory and solubilization mechanisms were identified, linking the MPS function to the uncultivated microbiome present in barley rhizosphere soil. PMID:23894099

  12. Characterization of mineral phosphate solubilization traits from a barley rhizosphere soil functional metagenome

    PubMed Central

    Chhabra, Sagar; Brazil, Dina; Morrissey, John; Burke, James I; O'Gara, Fergal; N Dowling, David

    2013-01-01

    Mineral phosphate solubilization (MPS) microorganisms are important for their provision of orthophosphate anions for plant growth promotion activity in soil. In this study, we applied a functional metagenomic approach to identify this trait directly from the microbiome in barley rhizosphere soil that had not received P fertilizer over a 15-year period. A fosmid system was used to clone the metagenome of which 18,000 clones (∼666 Mb of DNA) was screened for MPS. Functional assays and High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis recognized gluconic acid production and MPS activity in the range 24.8–77.1 mmol/L and 27.6–38.16 μg/mL, respectively, when screened in an Escherichia coli host (at frequency of one MPS-positive clone hit per 114 Mb DNA tested). The MPS clones (with average insert size of ∼37 kb) were analysed by 454 Roche sequencing and annotated. A number of genes/operons with homology to Phosphorous (P) uptake, regulatory and solubilization mechanisms were identified, linking the MPS function to the uncultivated microbiome present in barley rhizosphere soil. PMID:23894099

  13. Interindividual differences in cognitive flexibility: influence of gray matter volume, functional connectivity and trait impulsivity

    PubMed Central

    Langner, Robert; Cieslik, Edna C.; Rottschy, Claudia; Eickhoff, Simon B.

    2016-01-01

    Cognitive flexibility, a core aspect of executive functioning, is required for the speeded shifting between different tasks and sets. Using an interindividual differences approach, we examined whether cognitive flexibility, as assessed by the Delis–Kaplan card-sorting test, is associated with gray matter volume (GMV) and functional connectivity (FC) of regions of a core network of multiple cognitive demands as well as with different facets of trait impulsivity. The core multiple-demand network was derived from three large-scale neuroimaging meta-analyses and only included regions that showed consistent associations with sustained attention, working memory as well as inhibitory control. We tested to what extent self-reported impulsivity as well as GMV and resting-state FC in this core network predicted cognitive flexibility independently and incrementally. Our analyses revealed that card-sorting performance correlated positively with GMV of the right anterior insula, FC between bilateral anterior insula and midcingulate cortex/supplementary motor area as well as the impulsivity dimension “Premeditation.” Importantly, GMV, FC and impulsivity together accounted for more variance of card-sorting performance than every parameter alone. Our results therefore indicate that various factors contribute individually to cognitive flexibility, underlining the need to search across multiple modalities when aiming to unveil the mechanisms behind executive functioning. PMID:24878823

  14. Dental functional traits of mammals resolve productivity in terrestrial ecosystems past and present.

    PubMed

    Liu, Liping; Puolamäki, Kai; Eronen, Jussi T; Ataabadi, Majid M; Hernesniemi, Elina; Fortelius, Mikael

    2012-07-22

    We have recently shown that rainfall, one of the main climatic determinants of terrestrial net primary productivity (NPP), can be robustly estimated from mean molar tooth crown height (hypsodonty) of mammalian herbivores. Here, we show that another functional trait of herbivore molar surfaces, longitudinal loph count, can be similarly used to extract reasonable estimates of rainfall but also of temperature, the other main climatic determinant of terrestrial NPP. Together, molar height and the number of longitudinal lophs explain 73 per cent of the global variation in terrestrial NPP today and resolve the main terrestrial biomes in bivariate space. We explain the functional interpretation of the relationships between dental function and climate variables in terms of long- and short-term demands. We also show how the spatially and temporally dense fossil record of terrestrial mammals can be used to investigate the relationship between biodiversity and productivity under changing climates in geological time. The placement of the fossil chronofaunas in biome space suggests that they most probably represent multiple palaeobiomes, at least some of which do not correspond directly to any biomes of today's world.

  15. Differential accuracy in person perception across traits: examination of a functional hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Gangestad, S W; Simpson, J A; DiGeronimo, K; Biek, M

    1992-04-01

    Although strangers can assess certain traits of unacquainted others with moderate validity, overall validity is low. Differential validity across traits may be due to (a) the extent to which targets display valid cues or (b) the extent to which perceivers validly use cues. A functionalist perspective suggests that valid cue utilization should vary with how important the consequences of accurate trait assessment are. It was predicted from this perspective that perceivers would judge strangers' sociosexuality more accurately than 3 other traits--social potency, social closeness, and stress reaction. Perceivers viewed 1-min videotaped segments of targets being interviewed and rated them on the 4 traits. Ratings were correlated with target-reported trait measures. As predicted, perceivers' ratings of male sociosexuality agreed relatively well with self-reports. This effect was moderated by sex of target and sex of perceiver.

  16. Cascading extinctions, functional complementarity, and selection in two-trophic-level model communities: a trait-based mechanistic approach.

    PubMed

    Sapijanskas, Jurgis; Loreau, Michel

    2010-12-01

    The influence of diversity on ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services is now well established. Yet predictive mechanistic models that link species traits and community-level processes remain scarce, particularly for multitrophic systems. Here we revisit MacArthur's classical consumer resource model and develop a trait-based approach to predict the effects of consumer diversity on cascading extinctions and aggregated ecosystem processes in a two-trophic-level system. We show that functionally redundant efficient consumers generate top-down cascading extinctions. This counterintuitive result reveals the limits of the functional redundancy concept to predict the consequences of species deletion. Our model also predicts that the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship is different for different ecosystem processes and depends on the range of variation of consumer traits in the regional species pool, which determines the sign of selection effects. Lastly, competition among resources and consumer generalism both weaken complementarity effects, which suggests that selection effects may prevail at higher trophic levels. Our work emphasizes the potential of trait-based approaches for transforming biodiversity and ecosystem functioning research into a more predictive science.

  17. Plant functional trait diversity regulates the nonlinear response of productivity to regional climate change in Tibetan alpine grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Jianshuang; Wurst, Susanne; Zhang, Xianzhou

    2016-01-01

    The biodiversity-productivity relationship is still under debate for alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau. We know little about direct and indirect effects of biotic and abiotic drivers on this relationship, especially in regard to plant functional trait diversity. Here, we examine how aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and precipitation use efficiency (PUE) respond to climate, soil and community structure across alpine grasslands on the Northern Tibetan Plateau. We found that both ANPP and PUE showed nonlinear patterns along water availability and site altitude variation, which together accounted for 80.3% and 68.8% of variation in ANPP and PUE, respectively, by optimal generalized additive models. Functional trait divergence (FTD) and community weighted mean (CWM) of plant functional traits were as important as plant species diversity (PSD) for explaining the nonlinear productivity-climate relationship. These findings were confirmed by results from principal component analyses and structural equation models. We also found that FTD was negatively correlated with PSD across different alpine grasslands. Our results implicate: first, the combinatorial influences of temperature and precipitation gradients are important for predicting alpine grassland dynamics; second, the convergence and divergence of plant functional traits may have the potential to elucidate the effect of plant diversity on ecosystem functionality. PMID:27759112

  18. Disentangling Coordination among Functional Traits Using an Individual-Centred Model: Impact on Plant Performance at Intra- and Inter-Specific Levels

    PubMed Central

    Hill, David; Martin, Raphaël; Wirth, Christian; Wright, Ian J.; Soussana, Jean-François

    2013-01-01

    Background Plant functional traits co-vary along strategy spectra, thereby defining trade-offs for resource acquisition and utilization amongst other processes. A main objective of plant ecology is to quantify the correlations among traits and ask why some of them are sufficiently closely coordinated to form a single axis of functional specialization. However, due to trait co-variations in nature, it is difficult to propose a mechanistic and causal explanation for the origin of trade-offs among traits observed at both intra- and inter-specific level. Methodology/Principal Findings Using the Gemini individual-centered model which coordinates physiological and morphological processes, we investigated with 12 grass species the consequences of deliberately decoupling variation of leaf traits (specific leaf area, leaf lifespan) and plant stature (height and tiller number) on plant growth and phenotypic variability. For all species under both high and low N supplies, simulated trait values maximizing plant growth in monocultures matched observed trait values. Moreover, at the intraspecific level, plastic trait responses to N addition predicted by the model were in close agreement with observed trait responses. In a 4D trait space, our modeling approach highlighted that the unique trait combination maximizing plant growth under a given environmental condition was determined by a coordination of leaf, root and whole plant processes that tended to co-limit the acquisition and use of carbon and of nitrogen. Conclusion/Significance Our study provides a mechanistic explanation for the origin of trade-offs between plant functional traits and further predicts plasticity in plant traits in response to environmental changes. In a multidimensional trait space, regions occupied by current plant species can therefore be viewed as adaptive corridors where trait combinations minimize allometric and physiological constraints from the organ to the whole plant levels. The regions outside

  19. Functional traits contributed to the superior performance of the exotic species Robinia pseudoacacia: a comparison with the native tree Sophora japonica.

    PubMed

    Luo, Yujie; Yuan, Yifu; Wang, Renqing; Liu, Jian; Du, Ning; Guo, Weihua

    2016-03-01

    Functional traits determine the ecological strategies of plants and therefore are widely considered to feature in the success of invasive species. By comparing a widespread exotic invasive species Robinia pseudoacacia L. with a related native one Sophora japonica L., this research aimed to study strategies of R. pseudoacacia for superior performance from the perspective of functional traits. We conducted a greenhouse experiment in which seedlings of R. pseudoacacia and S. japonica were grown separately under a factorial combination of two light regimes and three levels of nitrogen (N) fertilization, including a control and two levels intended to represent ambient and future levels of N deposition in Chinese forests. After 90 days of treatment, performance and functional traits were determined for the two species, the former referred to as the total biomass (TB) that directly affected fitness. Trait plasticity and integration (the pattern and extent of functional covariance among different plant traits) were analyzed and compared. We found that the two species showed significantly different plastic responses to light increase: in the low-light regime, they were similar in performance and functional traits, while in the high-light regime, R. pseudoacacia achieved a significantly higher TB and a suite of divergent but advantageous functional traits versus S. japonica, such as significantly greater photosynthetic capacity and leaf N concentration, and lower carbon-to-N ratio and root-to-shoot ratio, which conferred it the greater performance. Moreover, across the light gradient, R. pseudoacacia showed higher correlations between photosynthetic capacity and other functional traits than S. japonica. In contrast, N deposition showed little impact on our experiment. Our results suggested that across light regimes, three aspects of functional traits contributed to the superior performance of R. pseudoacacia: functional trait divergence, significantly different plasticity of

  20. Functional traits contributed to the superior performance of the exotic species Robinia pseudoacacia: a comparison with the native tree Sophora japonica.

    PubMed

    Luo, Yujie; Yuan, Yifu; Wang, Renqing; Liu, Jian; Du, Ning; Guo, Weihua

    2016-03-01

    Functional traits determine the ecological strategies of plants and therefore are widely considered to feature in the success of invasive species. By comparing a widespread exotic invasive species Robinia pseudoacacia L. with a related native one Sophora japonica L., this research aimed to study strategies of R. pseudoacacia for superior performance from the perspective of functional traits. We conducted a greenhouse experiment in which seedlings of R. pseudoacacia and S. japonica were grown separately under a factorial combination of two light regimes and three levels of nitrogen (N) fertilization, including a control and two levels intended to represent ambient and future levels of N deposition in Chinese forests. After 90 days of treatment, performance and functional traits were determined for the two species, the former referred to as the total biomass (TB) that directly affected fitness. Trait plasticity and integration (the pattern and extent of functional covariance among different plant traits) were analyzed and compared. We found that the two species showed significantly different plastic responses to light increase: in the low-light regime, they were similar in performance and functional traits, while in the high-light regime, R. pseudoacacia achieved a significantly higher TB and a suite of divergent but advantageous functional traits versus S. japonica, such as significantly greater photosynthetic capacity and leaf N concentration, and lower carbon-to-N ratio and root-to-shoot ratio, which conferred it the greater performance. Moreover, across the light gradient, R. pseudoacacia showed higher correlations between photosynthetic capacity and other functional traits than S. japonica. In contrast, N deposition showed little impact on our experiment. Our results suggested that across light regimes, three aspects of functional traits contributed to the superior performance of R. pseudoacacia: functional trait divergence, significantly different plasticity of

  1. Metabotropic GABA signalling modulates longevity in C. elegans

    PubMed Central

    Chun, Lei; Gong, Jianke; Yuan, Fengling; Zhang, Bi; Liu, Hongkang; Zheng, Tianlin; Yu, Teng; Xu, X. Z. Shawn; Liu, Jianfeng

    2015-01-01

    The nervous system plays an important but poorly understood role in modulating longevity. GABA, a prominent inhibitory neurotransmitter, is best known to regulate nervous system function and behaviour in diverse organisms. Whether GABA signalling affects aging, however, has not been explored. Here we examined mutants lacking each of the major neurotransmitters in C. elegans, and find that deficiency in GABA signalling extends lifespan. This pro-longevity effect is mediated by the metabotropic GABAB receptor GBB-1, but not ionotropic GABAA receptors. GBB-1 regulates lifespan through G protein-PLCβ signalling, which transmits longevity signals to the transcription factor DAF-16/FOXO, a key regulator of lifespan. Mammalian GABAB receptors can functionally substitute for GBB-1 in lifespan control in C. elegans. Our results uncover a new role of GABA signalling in lifespan regulation in C. elegans, raising the possibility that a similar process may occur in other organisms. PMID:26537867

  2. 28 CFR 345.55 - Longevity pay.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 28 Judicial Administration 2 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Longevity pay. 345.55 Section 345.55... (FPI) INMATE WORK PROGRAMS Inmate Pay and Benefits § 345.55 Longevity pay. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an inmate earns longevity pay raises after 18 months spent in FPI work...

  3. 28 CFR 345.55 - Longevity pay.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 28 Judicial Administration 2 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Longevity pay. 345.55 Section 345.55... (FPI) INMATE WORK PROGRAMS Inmate Pay and Benefits § 345.55 Longevity pay. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an inmate earns longevity pay raises after 18 months spent in FPI work...

  4. Nestling diet, secondary sexual traits and fitness in the zebra finch

    PubMed Central

    Birkhead, T. R.; Fletcher, F.; Pellatt, E. J.

    1999-01-01

    We examined the effect of nestling diet quality on a suite of physiological, morphological and life-history traits in adult male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata. Compared with birds reared on a supplemented diet, nestlings reared on a seed-only diet showed a reduced rate of growth and reduced cell-mediated immune function as measured by an in vivo response to a T lymphocyte-dependent mitogen. There were no differences between birds reared on the two diets in any of the following adult traits: body size, primary sexual traits (testes mass, numbers of stored sperm, sperm function, velocity and morphology), secondary sexual traits (beak colour and song rate), serological traits or immunological traits. The only differences we detected were a lower body mass and a greater proportion of individuals with plumage abnormalities among those reared on a seed-only diet (this latter effect was transient). The fact that male zebra finches reared on a seed-only diet were, as adults, virtually indistinguishable from those reared on a supplemented diet, despite having reduced growth and immune function as nestlings, demonstrates that they subsequently compensated through the differential allocation of resources. Our results indicate that differential allocation is costly in terms of fitness since birds reared on a seed-only diet experienced a significantly greater mortality rate than those reared on a supplemented diet. This in turn suggests the existence of a trade-off between the development of traits important for reproduction, such as primary and secondary sexual traits and longevity.

  5. Typologies of Extreme Longevity Myths

    PubMed Central

    Young, Robert D.; Desjardins, Bertrand; McLaughlin, Kirsten; Poulain, Michel; Perls, Thomas T.

    2010-01-01

    Purpose. Political, national, religious, and other motivations have led the media and even scientists to errantly accept extreme longevity claims prima facie. We describe various causes of false claims of extraordinary longevity. Design and Methods. American Social Security Death Index files for the period 1980–2009 were queried for individuals with birth and death dates yielding ages 110+ years of age. Frequency was compared to a list of age-validated supercentenarians maintained by the Gerontology Research Group who died during the same time period. Age claims of 110+ years and the age validation experiences of the authors facilitated a list of typologies of false age claims. Results. Invalid age claim rates increase with age from 65% at age 110-111 to 98% by age 115 to 100% for 120+ years. Eleven typologies of false claims were: Religious Authority Myth, Village Elder Myth, Fountain of Youth Myth (substance), Shangri-La Myth (geographic), Nationalist Pride, Spiritual Practice, Familial Longevity, Individual and/or Family Notoriety, Military Service, Administrative Entry Error, and Pension-Social Entitlement Fraud. Conclusions. Understanding various causes of false extreme age claims is important for placing current, past, and future extreme longevity claims in context and for providing a necessary level of skepticism. PMID:21461047

  6. Female Superintendent Longevity in California

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rohlfing, Tracy

    2011-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate, through narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), the leadership evolution of five female superintendents in California with longevity of 5 or more years in their current school district positions. The research question addressed was, "How do California female superintendents evolve to…

  7. Longevity Of Dry Film Lubricants

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kannel, J. W.; Stockwell, R. D.

    1993-01-01

    Report describes evaluation of dry film lubricants candidate for use in rotary joints of proposed Space Station. Study included experiments and theoretical analyses focused on longevity of sputtered molybdenum disulfide films and ion-plated lead films under conditions partially simulating rolling contact.

  8. For longevity, perception is everything.

    PubMed

    Lakhina, Vanisha; Murphy, Coleen T

    2015-02-26

    Aging is a risk factor for chronic diseases, and identifying targets for intervention is a goal of the aging field. Burkewitz et al. now describe a mechanism that mediates the specific role for AMPK in longevity, whereby its activity in neurons modulates metabolism and mitochondrial integrity in peripheral tissues.

  9. Comparison of Physicochemical and Functional Traits of Hanwoo Steer Beef by the Quality Grade

    PubMed Central

    Lim, Dong-Gyun; Jo, Cheorun; Lee, Kyung Haeng; Kim, Jong-Ju

    2014-01-01

    The physicochemical and functional traits for loin muscles of Hanwoo steers were compared by quality grade (QG). A total of 500 Hanwoo steers were slaughtered, their carcasses were categorized into four groups (QG 1++, 1+, 1, and 2), and the longissimus dorsi muscles were analyzed. QG 1++ group had the highest fat and lowest moisture content (p<0.05). QG 1++ showed higher L* and b* color values, higher cooking loss, and lower shear force values, compared with the other groups (p<0.05). The flavor, tenderness, juiciness, and preference scores by sensory evaluation were highly ranked for premium QG groups (1++ and 1+). Regarding the micro compounds, QG 1 and QG 2 had greater amounts of inosine monophosphate, and QG 2 had greater amounts of anserine, carnosine, and creatine, than QG 1++ (p<0.05). QG 1++ and 1+ had higher percentages of oleic acid (C18:1) than QG 2 (p<0.05). Within premium QG 1++ and 1+, the results of the nucleotides, free amino acids, dipeptides, and fatty acids did not show any distinctive differences. Hanwoo beef as determined by the current grading system was not significantly different in terms of functional components; the only significant difference was in intramuscular fat content. PMID:26761169

  10. RNA silencing as a tool to uncover gene function and engineer novel traits in soybean

    PubMed Central

    Kasai, Megumi; Kanazawa, Akira

    2012-01-01

    RNA silencing refers collectively to diverse RNA-mediated pathways of nucleotide-sequence-specific inhibition of gene expression. It has been used to analyze gene function and engineer novel traits in various organisms. Here, we review the application of RNA silencing in soybean. To produce soybean lines, in which a particular gene is stably silenced, researchers have frequently used a transgene that transcribes inverted repeats of a target gene segment. Suppression of gene expression in developing soybean embryos has been one of the main focuses of metabolic engineering using transgene-induced silencing. Plants that have enhanced resistance against diseases caused by viruses or cyst nematode have also been produced. Meanwhile, Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation has been used to induce RNA silencing in roots, which enabled analysis of the roles of gene products in nodulation or disease resistance. RNA silencing has also been induced using viral vectors, which is particularly useful for gene function analysis. So far, three viral vectors for virus-induced gene silencing have been developed for soybean. One of the features of the soybean genome is the presence of a large number of duplicated genes. Potential use of RNA silencing technology in combination with forward genetic approaches for analyzing duplicated genes is discussed. PMID:23136487

  11. Systematic Functional Dissection of Common Genetic Variation Affecting Red Blood Cell Traits.

    PubMed

    Ulirsch, Jacob C; Nandakumar, Satish K; Wang, Li; Giani, Felix C; Zhang, Xiaolan; Rogov, Peter; Melnikov, Alexandre; McDonel, Patrick; Do, Ron; Mikkelsen, Tarjei S; Sankaran, Vijay G

    2016-06-01

    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified thousands of associations between common genetic variants and human disease phenotypes, but the majority of these variants are non-coding, often requiring genetic fine-mapping, epigenomic profiling, and individual reporter assays to delineate potential causal variants. We employ a massively parallel reporter assay (MPRA) to simultaneously screen 2,756 variants in strong linkage disequilibrium with 75 sentinel variants associated with red blood cell traits. We show that this assay identifies elements with endogenous erythroid regulatory activity. Across 23 sentinel variants, we conservatively identified 32 MPRA functional variants (MFVs). We used targeted genome editing to demonstrate endogenous enhancer activity across 3 MFVs that predominantly affect the transcription of SMIM1, RBM38, and CD164. Functional follow-up of RBM38 delineates a key role for this gene in the alternative splicing program occurring during terminal erythropoiesis. Finally, we provide evidence for how common GWAS-nominated variants can disrupt cell-type-specific transcriptional regulatory pathways. PMID:27259154

  12. Individual and species-specific traits explain niche size and functional role in spiders as generalist predators.

    PubMed

    Sanders, Dirk; Vogel, Esther; Knop, Eva

    2015-01-01

    The function of a predator within a community is greatly based on its trophic niche, that is the number and the strength of feeding links. In generalist predators, which feed on a wide range of prey, the size and position of the trophic niche is likely determined by traits such as hunting mode, the stratum they occur in, their body size and age. We used stable isotope analyses ((13)C and (15)N) to measure the trophic niche size of nine spider species within a forest hedge community and tested for species traits and individual traits that influence stable isotope enrichment, niche size and resource use. The spiders Enoplognatha, Philodromus, Floronia, and Heliophanus had large isotopic niches, which correspond to a more generalistic feeding behaviour. In contrast, Araneus, Metellina and Agelena, as top predators in the system, had rather narrow niches. We found a negative correlation between trophic position and niche size. Differences in trophic position in spiders were explained by body size, hunting modes and stratum, while niche size was influenced by hunting mode. In Philodromus, the size of the trophic niche increased significantly with age. Fitting spiders to functional groups according to their mean body size, hunting mode and their habitat domain resulted in largely separated niches, which indicates that these traits are meaningful for separating functional entities in spiders. Functional groups based on habitat domain (stratum) caught the essential functional differences between the species with species higher up in the vegetation feeding on flying insects and herb and ground species also preying on forest floor decomposers. Interestingly, we found a gradient from large species using a higher habitat domain and having a smaller niche to smaller species foraging closer to the ground and having a larger niche. This shows that even within generalist predators, such as spiders, there is a gradient of specialism that can be predicted by functional traits.

  13. Variation in species diversity and functional traits of sponge communities near human populations in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    PubMed

    Easson, Cole G; Matterson, Kenan O; Freeman, Christopher J; Archer, Stephanie K; Thacker, Robert W

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies have renewed interest in sponge ecology by emphasizing the functional importance of sponges in a broad array of ecosystem services. Many critically important habitats occupied by sponges face chronic stressors that might lead to alterations in their diversity, relatedness, and functional attributes. We addressed whether proximity to human activity might be a significant factor in structuring sponge community composition, as well as potential functional roles, by monitoring sponge diversity and abundance at two structurally similar sites that vary in distance to areas of high coastal development in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We surveyed sponge communities at each site using belt transects and differences between two sites were compared using the following variables: (1) sponge species richness, Shannon diversity, and inverse Simpson's diversity; (2) phylogenetic diversity; (3) taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; (4) trait diversity and dissimilarity; and (5) phylogenetic and trait patterns in community structure. We observed significantly higher sponge diversity at Punta Caracol, the site most distant from human development (∼5 km). Although phylogenetic diversity was lower at Saigon Bay, the site adjacent to a large village including many houses, businesses, and an airport, the sites did not exhibit significantly different patterns of phylogenetic relatedness in species composition. However, each site had a distinct taxonomic and phylogenetic composition (beta diversity). In addition, the sponge community at Saigon included a higher relative abundance of sponges with high microbial abundance and high chlorophyll a concentration, whereas the community at Punta Caracol had a more even distribution of these traits, yielding a significant difference in functional trait diversity between sites. These results suggest that lower diversity and potentially altered community function might be associated with proximity to human populations. This study

  14. Variation in species diversity and functional traits of sponge communities near human populations in Bocas del Toro, Panama

    PubMed Central

    Matterson, Kenan O.; Freeman, Christopher J.; Archer, Stephanie K.; Thacker, Robert W.

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies have renewed interest in sponge ecology by emphasizing the functional importance of sponges in a broad array of ecosystem services. Many critically important habitats occupied by sponges face chronic stressors that might lead to alterations in their diversity, relatedness, and functional attributes. We addressed whether proximity to human activity might be a significant factor in structuring sponge community composition, as well as potential functional roles, by monitoring sponge diversity and abundance at two structurally similar sites that vary in distance to areas of high coastal development in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We surveyed sponge communities at each site using belt transects and differences between two sites were compared using the following variables: (1) sponge species richness, Shannon diversity, and inverse Simpson’s diversity; (2) phylogenetic diversity; (3) taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; (4) trait diversity and dissimilarity; and (5) phylogenetic and trait patterns in community structure. We observed significantly higher sponge diversity at Punta Caracol, the site most distant from human development (∼5 km). Although phylogenetic diversity was lower at Saigon Bay, the site adjacent to a large village including many houses, businesses, and an airport, the sites did not exhibit significantly different patterns of phylogenetic relatedness in species composition. However, each site had a distinct taxonomic and phylogenetic composition (beta diversity). In addition, the sponge community at Saigon included a higher relative abundance of sponges with high microbial abundance and high chlorophyll a concentration, whereas the community at Punta Caracol had a more even distribution of these traits, yielding a significant difference in functional trait diversity between sites. These results suggest that lower diversity and potentially altered community function might be associated with proximity to human populations. This study

  15. Variation in species diversity and functional traits of sponge communities near human populations in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    PubMed

    Easson, Cole G; Matterson, Kenan O; Freeman, Christopher J; Archer, Stephanie K; Thacker, Robert W

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies have renewed interest in sponge ecology by emphasizing the functional importance of sponges in a broad array of ecosystem services. Many critically important habitats occupied by sponges face chronic stressors that might lead to alterations in their diversity, relatedness, and functional attributes. We addressed whether proximity to human activity might be a significant factor in structuring sponge community composition, as well as potential functional roles, by monitoring sponge diversity and abundance at two structurally similar sites that vary in distance to areas of high coastal development in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We surveyed sponge communities at each site using belt transects and differences between two sites were compared using the following variables: (1) sponge species richness, Shannon diversity, and inverse Simpson's diversity; (2) phylogenetic diversity; (3) taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; (4) trait diversity and dissimilarity; and (5) phylogenetic and trait patterns in community structure. We observed significantly higher sponge diversity at Punta Caracol, the site most distant from human development (∼5 km). Although phylogenetic diversity was lower at Saigon Bay, the site adjacent to a large village including many houses, businesses, and an airport, the sites did not exhibit significantly different patterns of phylogenetic relatedness in species composition. However, each site had a distinct taxonomic and phylogenetic composition (beta diversity). In addition, the sponge community at Saigon included a higher relative abundance of sponges with high microbial abundance and high chlorophyll a concentration, whereas the community at Punta Caracol had a more even distribution of these traits, yielding a significant difference in functional trait diversity between sites. These results suggest that lower diversity and potentially altered community function might be associated with proximity to human populations. This study

  16. Using functional traits to assess the resistance of subalpine grassland to trampling by mountain biking and hiking.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Catherine Marina; Barros, Agustina

    2015-12-01

    Functional traits reflect plant responses to disturbance, including from visitor impacts. The impacts of mountain biking and hiking on functional composition were compared using a common experimental protocol in a subalpine grassland in the Australian Alps. The overlapping cover of all species was recorded two weeks after different intensities of hiking (200 and 500 passes) and mountain biking (none, 25, 75, 200 and 500 passes). Species' functional trait data were combined with their relative cover to calculate community trait weighted means for plant height, leaf area, percentage leaf dry matter content and Specific Leaf Area (SLA). Species such as Poa fawcettiae with larger leaves and SLA but lower dry weight content of leaves were more resistant to use, with differences between bikers and hikers only apparent at the highest levels of use tested. This differs from some vegetation communities in Europe where plants with smaller leaves were more resistant to hiking. More research using functional traits may account for differences in species responses to trampling. Managers of conservation areas used for hiking and biking need to minimise off trail use by both user groups.

  17. Interpreting the Climatic Effects on Xylem Functional Traits in Two Mediterranean Oak Species: The Role of Extreme Climatic Events.

    PubMed

    Rita, Angelo; Borghetti, Marco; Todaro, Luigi; Saracino, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    In the Mediterranean region, the widely predicted rise in temperature, change in the precipitation pattern, and increase in the frequency of extreme climatic events are expected to alter the shape of ecological communities and to affect plant physiological processes that regulate ecosystem functioning. Although change in the mean values are important, there is increasing evidence that plant distribution, survival, and productivity respond to extremes rather than to the average climatic condition. The present study aims to assess the effects of both mean and extreme climatic conditions on radial growth and functional anatomical traits using long-term tree-ring time series of two co-existing Quercus spp. from a drought-prone site in Southern Italy. In particular, this is the first attempt to apply the Generalized Additive Model for Location, Scale, and Shape (GAMLSS) technique and Bayesian modeling procedures to xylem traits data set, with the aim of (i) detecting non-linear long-term responses to climate and (ii) exploring relationships between climate extreme and xylem traits variability in terms of probability of occurrence. This study demonstrates the usefulness of long-term xylem trait chronologies as records of environmental conditions at annual resolution. Statistical analyses revealed that most of the variability in tree-ring width and specific hydraulic conductivity might be explained by cambial age. Additionally, results highlighted appreciable relationships between xylem traits and climate variability more than tree-ring width, supporting also the evidence that the plant hydraulic traits are closely linked to local climate extremes rather than average climatic conditions. We reported that the probability of extreme departure in specific hydraulic conductivity (Ks) rises at extreme values of Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Therefore, changing frequency or intensity of extreme events might overcome the adaptive limits of vascular transport, resulting

  18. Dissecting genome-wide association signals for loss-of-function phenotypes in sorghum flavonoid pigmentation traits.

    PubMed

    Morris, Geoffrey P; Rhodes, Davina H; Brenton, Zachary; Ramu, Punna; Thayil, Vinayan Madhumal; Deshpande, Santosh; Hash, C Thomas; Acharya, Charlotte; Mitchell, Sharon E; Buckler, Edward S; Yu, Jianming; Kresovich, Stephen

    2013-11-06

    Genome-wide association studies are a powerful method to dissect the genetic basis of traits, although in practice the effects of complex genetic architecture and population structure remain poorly understood. To compare mapping strategies we dissected the genetic control of flavonoid pigmentation traits in the cereal grass sorghum by using high-resolution genotyping-by-sequencing single-nucleotide polymorphism markers. Studying the grain tannin trait, we find that general linear models (GLMs) are not able to precisely map tan1-a, a known loss-of-function allele of the Tannin1 gene, with either a small panel (n = 142) or large association panel (n = 336), and that indirect associations limit the mapping of the Tannin1 locus to Mb-resolution. A GLM that accounts for population structure (Q) or standard mixed linear model that accounts for kinship (K) can identify tan1-a, whereas a compressed mixed linear model performs worse than the naive GLM. Interestingly, a simple loss-of-function genome scan, for genotype-phenotype covariation only in the putative loss-of-function allele, is able to precisely identify the Tannin1 gene without considering relatedness. We also find that the tan1-a allele can be mapped with gene resolution in a biparental recombinant inbred line family (n = 263) using genotyping-by-sequencing markers but lower precision in the mapping of vegetative pigmentation traits suggest that consistent gene-level resolution will likely require larger families or multiple recombinant inbred lines. These findings highlight that complex association signals can emerge from even the simplest traits given epistasis and structured alleles, but that gene-resolution mapping of these traits is possible with high marker density and appropriate models.

  19. Dissecting Genome-Wide Association Signals for Loss-of-Function Phenotypes in Sorghum Flavonoid Pigmentation Traits

    PubMed Central

    Morris, Geoffrey P.; Rhodes, Davina H.; Brenton, Zachary; Ramu, Punna; Thayil, Vinayan Madhumal; Deshpande, Santosh; Hash, C. Thomas; Acharya, Charlotte; Mitchell, Sharon E.; Buckler, Edward S.; Yu, Jianming; Kresovich, Stephen

    2013-01-01

    Genome-wide association studies are a powerful method to dissect the genetic basis of traits, although in practice the effects of complex genetic architecture and population structure remain poorly understood. To compare mapping strategies we dissected the genetic control of flavonoid pigmentation traits in the cereal grass sorghum by using high-resolution genotyping-by-sequencing single-nucleotide polymorphism markers. Studying the grain tannin trait, we find that general linear models (GLMs) are not able to precisely map tan1-a, a known loss-of-function allele of the Tannin1 gene, with either a small panel (n = 142) or large association panel (n = 336), and that indirect associations limit the mapping of the Tannin1 locus to Mb-resolution. A GLM that accounts for population structure (Q) or standard mixed linear model that accounts for kinship (K) can identify tan1-a, whereas a compressed mixed linear model performs worse than the naive GLM. Interestingly, a simple loss-of-function genome scan, for genotype-phenotype covariation only in the putative loss-of-function allele, is able to precisely identify the Tannin1 gene without considering relatedness. We also find that the tan1-a allele can be mapped with gene resolution in a biparental recombinant inbred line family (n = 263) using genotyping-by-sequencing markers but lower precision in the mapping of vegetative pigmentation traits suggest that consistent gene-level resolution will likely require larger families or multiple recombinant inbred lines. These findings highlight that complex association signals can emerge from even the simplest traits given epistasis and structured alleles, but that gene-resolution mapping of these traits is possible with high marker density and appropriate models. PMID:24048646

  20. Interpreting the Climatic Effects on Xylem Functional Traits in Two Mediterranean Oak Species: The Role of Extreme Climatic Events.

    PubMed

    Rita, Angelo; Borghetti, Marco; Todaro, Luigi; Saracino, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    In the Mediterranean region, the widely predicted rise in temperature, change in the precipitation pattern, and increase in the frequency of extreme climatic events are expected to alter the shape of ecological communities and to affect plant physiological processes that regulate ecosystem functioning. Although change in the mean values are important, there is increasing evidence that plant distribution, survival, and productivity respond to extremes rather than to the average climatic condition. The present study aims to assess the effects of both mean and extreme climatic conditions on radial growth and functional anatomical traits using long-term tree-ring time series of two co-existing Quercus spp. from a drought-prone site in Southern Italy. In particular, this is the first attempt to apply the Generalized Additive Model for Location, Scale, and Shape (GAMLSS) technique and Bayesian modeling procedures to xylem traits data set, with the aim of (i) detecting non-linear long-term responses to climate and (ii) exploring relationships between climate extreme and xylem traits variability in terms of probability of occurrence. This study demonstrates the usefulness of long-term xylem trait chronologies as records of environmental conditions at annual resolution. Statistical analyses revealed that most of the variability in tree-ring width and specific hydraulic conductivity might be explained by cambial age. Additionally, results highlighted appreciable relationships between xylem traits and climate variability more than tree-ring width, supporting also the evidence that the plant hydraulic traits are closely linked to local climate extremes rather than average climatic conditions. We reported that the probability of extreme departure in specific hydraulic conductivity (Ks) rises at extreme values of Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Therefore, changing frequency or intensity of extreme events might overcome the adaptive limits of vascular transport, resulting

  1. Interpreting the Climatic Effects on Xylem Functional Traits in Two Mediterranean Oak Species: The Role of Extreme Climatic Events

    PubMed Central

    Rita, Angelo; Borghetti, Marco; Todaro, Luigi; Saracino, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    In the Mediterranean region, the widely predicted rise in temperature, change in the precipitation pattern, and increase in the frequency of extreme climatic events are expected to alter the shape of ecological communities and to affect plant physiological processes that regulate ecosystem functioning. Although change in the mean values are important, there is increasing evidence that plant distribution, survival, and productivity respond to extremes rather than to the average climatic condition. The present study aims to assess the effects of both mean and extreme climatic conditions on radial growth and functional anatomical traits using long-term tree-ring time series of two co-existing Quercus spp. from a drought-prone site in Southern Italy. In particular, this is the first attempt to apply the Generalized Additive Model for Location, Scale, and Shape (GAMLSS) technique and Bayesian modeling procedures to xylem traits data set, with the aim of (i) detecting non-linear long-term responses to climate and (ii) exploring relationships between climate extreme and xylem traits variability in terms of probability of occurrence. This study demonstrates the usefulness of long-term xylem trait chronologies as records of environmental conditions at annual resolution. Statistical analyses revealed that most of the variability in tree-ring width and specific hydraulic conductivity might be explained by cambial age. Additionally, results highlighted appreciable relationships between xylem traits and climate variability more than tree-ring width, supporting also the evidence that the plant hydraulic traits are closely linked to local climate extremes rather than average climatic conditions. We reported that the probability of extreme departure in specific hydraulic conductivity (Ks) rises at extreme values of Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Therefore, changing frequency or intensity of extreme events might overcome the adaptive limits of vascular transport, resulting

  2. Polygamy and the evolution of human longevity.

    PubMed

    Strehler, B