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Sample records for litter environment affects

  1. Litter Environment Affects Behavior and Brain Metabolic Activity of Adult Knockout Mice

    PubMed Central

    Crews, David; Rushworth, David; Gonzalez-Lima, Francisco; Ogawa, Sonoko

    2009-01-01

    In mammals, the formative environment for social and anxiety-related behaviors is the family unit; in the case of rodents, this is the litter and the mother-young bond. A deciding factor in this environment is the sex ratio of the litter and, in the case of mice lacking functional copies of gene(s), the ratio of the various genotypes in the litter. Both Sex and Genotype ratios of the litter affect the nature and quality of the individual's behavior later in adulthood, as well as metabolic activity in brain nuclei that underlie these behaviors. Mice were raised in litters reconstituted shortly after to birth to control for sex ratio and genotype ratio (wild type pups versus pups lacking a functional estrogen receptor α). In both males and females, the Sex and Genotype of siblings in the litter affected aggressive behaviors as well as patterns of metabolic activity in limbic nuclei in the social behavior network later in adulthood. Further, this pattern in males varied depending upon the Genotype of their brothers and sisters. Principal Components Analysis revealed two components comprised of several amygdalar and hypothalamic nuclei; the VMH showed strong correlations in both clusters, suggesting its pivotal nature in the organization of two neural networks. PMID:19707539

  2. Factors affecting arsenic and copper runoff from fields fertilized with poultry litter.

    PubMed

    DeLaune, P B; Moore, P A

    2014-07-01

    Arsenic (As) and copper (Cu) runoff from fields fertilized with poultry litter has received increasing attention in recent years, although it is not known if heavy metal runoff from poultry litter poses a significant threat to the environment. The objective of this study was to determine the main factors affecting As and Cu concentrations in runoff water from pastures receiving poultry litter applications. Rainfall simulation studies were conducted to determine the effects of the following treatments on metal runoff: (i) aluminum sulfate (alum) additions, (ii) diet modification using phytase or high available phosphorus corn, (iii) fertilizer type, (iv) poultry litter application rate, and (v) time until the first runoff event occurs after poultry litter application. Results showed that alum additions to poultry litter significantly decreased As and Cu concentrations in runoff water. Copper concentrations were highest in runoff from poultry litter from birds fed phytase diets compared with other diets; however, this effect may have been a result of wet storage conditions rather than diet. Triple superphosphate applications resulted in the lowest heavy metal concentrations in runoff water among all fertilizer treatments, while normal poultry litter resulted in the highest concentrations. Arsenic and Cu concentrations increased in runoff water as poultry litter application rates increased and decreased with increasing time until the first runoff event. These data indicate that adding alum to poultry litter, a cost-effective best management practice, which also results in lower P runoff and ammonia emissions, may also be an effective tool in reducing metal runoff. PMID:25603088

  3. Future increase in temperature more than decrease in litter quality can affect microbial litter decomposition in streams.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Chauvet, Eric

    2011-09-01

    The predicted increase in atmospheric CO(2) concentration for this century is expected to lead to increases in temperature and changes in litter quality that can affect small woodland streams, where water temperature is usually low and allochthonous organic matter constitutes the basis of the food web. We have assessed the individual and interactive effect of water temperature (5 and 10°C) and alder litter quality produced under ambient CO(2) levels (ambient litter) or under CO(2) concentrations predicted for 2050 (elevated litter) on litter decomposition and on fungal activity and assemblage structure. Litter decomposition rates and fungal respiration rates were significantly faster at 10 than at 5°C, but they were not affected by litter quality. Litter quality affected mycelial biomass accrual at 5 but not at 10°C, while increases in temperature stimulated biomass accrual on ambient but not on elevated litter. A similar pattern was observed for conidial production. All variables were stimulated on elevated litter at 10°C (future scenario) compared with ambient litter at 5°C (present scenario), but interactions between temperature and litter quality were additive. Temperature was the factor that most strongly affected the structure of aquatic hyphomycete assemblages. Our results indicate that if future increases in atmospheric CO(2) lead to only slight modifications in litter quality, the litter decomposition and fungal activities and community structure will be strongly controlled by increased water temperature. This may have serious consequences for aquatic systems as faster litter decomposition may lead to food depletion for higher trophic levels. PMID:21461934

  4. Increasing shrub abundance and N addition in Arctic tundra affect leaf and root litter decomposition differently

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLaren, J.; van de Weg, M. J.; Shaver, G. R.; Gough, L.

    2013-12-01

    Changes in global climate have resulted in a ';greening' of the Arctic as the abundance of deciduous shrub species increases. Consequently, not only the living plant community, but also the litter composition changes, which in turn can affect carbon turnover patterns in the Arctic. We examined effects of changing litter composition (both root and leaf litter) on decomposition rates with a litter bag study, and specifically focused on the impact of deciduous shrub Betula nana litter on litter decomposition from two evergreen shrubs (Ledum palustre, and Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and one graminoid (Eriophorum vaginatum) species. Additionally, we investigated how decomposition was affected by nutrient availability by placing the litterbags in an ambient and a fertilized moist acidic tundra environment. Measurements were carried out seasonally over 2 years (after snow melt, mid-growing season, end growing season). We measured litter mass loss over time, as well as the respiration rates (standardized for temperature and moisture) and temperature sensitivity of litter respiration at the time of harvesting the litter bags. For leaves, Betula litter decomposed faster than the other three species, with Eriophorum leaves decomposing the slowest. This pattern was observed for both mass loss and litter respiration rates, although the differences in respiration became smaller over time. Surprisingly, combining Betula with any other species resulted in slower overall weight loss rates than would be predicted based on monoculture weight loss rates. This contrasted with litter respiration at the time of sampling, which showed a positive mixing effect of adding Betula leaf liter to the other species. Apparently, during the first winter months (September - May) Betula litter decomposition is negatively affected by mixing the species and this legacy can still be observed in the total mass loss results later in the year. For root litter there were fewer effects of species identity on root

  5. Impacts of poultry house environment on poultry litter bacterial community composition.

    PubMed

    Dumas, Michael D; Polson, Shawn W; Ritter, Don; Ravel, Jacques; Gelb, Jack; Morgan, Robin; Wommack, K Eric

    2011-01-01

    Viral and bacterial pathogens are a significant economic concern to the US broiler industry and the ecological epicenter for poultry pathogens is the mixture of bedding material, chicken excrement and feathers that comprises the litter of a poultry house. This study used high-throughput sequencing to assess the richness and diversity of poultry litter bacterial communities, and to look for connections between these communities and the environmental characteristics of a poultry house including its history of gangrenous dermatitis (GD). Cluster analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed differences in the distribution of bacterial phylotypes between Wet and Dry litter samples and between houses. Wet litter contained greater diversity with 90% of total bacterial abundance occurring within the top 214 OTU clusters. In contrast, only 50 clusters accounted for 90% of Dry litter bacterial abundance. The sixth largest OTU cluster across all samples classified as an Arcobacter sp., an emerging human pathogen, occurring in only the Wet litter samples of a house with a modern evaporative cooling system. Ironically, the primary pathogenic clostridial and staphylococcal species associated with GD were not found in any house; however, there were thirteen 16S rRNA gene phylotypes of mostly gram-positive phyla that were unique to GD-affected houses and primarily occurred in Wet litter samples. Overall, the poultry house environment appeared to substantially impact the composition of litter bacterial communities and may play a key role in the emergence of food-borne pathogens.

  6. The Effects of Litter on Littering Behavior in a Forest Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crump, S. Larry; And Others

    1977-01-01

    The effects of littered and nonlittered areas on littering behavior were determined in picnic areas in the Uinta National Forest, Utah. Littered and nonlittered conditions were controlled by spreading or removing litter from specified areas. Observations revealed that in the nonlittered areas there was more litter than in the littered areas. (CS)

  7. Multiple Applications of Sodium Bisulfate to Broiler Litter Affect Ammonia Release and Litter Properties.

    PubMed

    Hunolt, Alicia E; Maguire, Rory O; Ogejo, Jactone A; Badgley, Brian D; Frame, W Hunter; Reiter, Mark S

    2015-11-01

    Ammonia (NH) emissions from animal manures can cause air and water quality problems. Poultry litter treatment (PLT, sodium bisulfate; Jones-Hamilton Co.) is an acidic amendment that is applied to litter in poultry houses to decrease NH emissions, but currently it can only be applied once before birds are placed in the houses. This project analyzed the effect of multiple PLT applications on litter properties and NH release. Volatility chambers were used to compare multiple, single, and no application of PLT to poultry litter, all with and without fresh manure applications. A field component consisted of two commercial broiler houses: one had a single, preflock PLT application, while the other received PLT reapplications during the flock using an overhead application system. In the volatility chambers, single and reapplied PLT caused greater litter moisture and lower litter pH and , relative to no PLT. After 14 d, NH released from litter treated with reapplied PLT was significantly less than litter with both single and no applications. Furthermore, total N in litter was greatest in litter treated with reapplied PLT, increasing its fertilizer value. In the commercial poultry houses, PLT reapplication led to a temporary decrease in litter pH and , but these effects did not last because of continued bird excretion. Although one preflock PLT application is currently used as a successful strategy to control NH during early flock growth, repeat PLT application using the overhead reapplication system was not successful because of problems with the reapplication system and litter moisture concerns. PMID:26641342

  8. Intestinal Microbiota of Broiler Chickens As Affected by Litter Management Regimens.

    PubMed

    Wang, Lingling; Lilburn, Mike; Yu, Zhongtang

    2016-01-01

    Poultry litter is a mixture of bedding materials and enteric bacteria excreted by chickens, and it is typically reused for multiple growth cycles in commercial broiler production. Thus, bacteria can be transmitted from one growth cycle to the next via litter. However, it remains poorly understood how litter reuse affects development and composition of chicken gut microbiota. In this study, the effect of litter reuse on the microbiota in litter and in chicken gut was investigated using 2 litter management regimens: fresh vs. reused litter. Samples of ileal mucosa and cecal digesta were collected from young chicks (10 days of age) and mature birds (35 days of age). Based on analysis using DGGE and pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons, the microbiota of both the ileal mucosa and the cecal contents was affected by both litter management regimen and age of birds. Faecalibacterium, Oscillospira, Butyricicoccus, and one unclassified candidate genus closely related to Ruminococcus were most predominant in the cecal samples, while Lactobacillus was predominant in the ileal samples at both ages and in the cecal samples collected at day 10. At days 10 and 35, 8 and 3 genera, respectively, in the cecal luminal microbiota differed significantly in relative abundance between the 2 litter management regimens. Compared to the fresh litter, reused litter increased predominance of halotolerant/alkaliphilic bacteria and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a butyrate-producing gut bacterium. This study suggests that litter management regimens affect the chicken GI microbiota, which may impact the host nutritional status and intestinal health.

  9. Poultry litter and the environment: Physiochemical properties of litter and soil during successive flock rotations and after remote site deposition.

    PubMed

    Crippen, Tawni L; Sheffield, Cynthia L; Byrd, J Allen; Esquivel, Jesus F; Beier, Ross C; Yeater, Kathleen

    2016-05-15

    The U.S. broiler meat market has grown over the past 16 years and destinations for U.S. broiler meat exports expanded to over 150 countries. This market opportunity has spurred a corresponding increase in industrialized poultry production, which due to the confined space in which high numbers of animals are housed, risks accumulating nutrients and pollutants. The purpose of this research was to determine the level of pollutants within poultry litter and the underlying soil within a production facility; and to explore the impact of spent litter deposition into the environment. The study follows a production facility for the first 2.5 years of production. It monitors the effects of successive flocks and management practices on 15 physiochemical parameters: Ca, Cu, electrical conductivity, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, moisture, Na, NO3(-)/N, organic matter, P, pH, S, and Zn. Litter samples were collected in-house, after clean-outs and during stockpiling. The soil before house placement, after the clean-outs and following litter stockpiling was monitored. Management practices markedly altered the physiochemical profiles of the litter in-house. A canonical discriminant analysis was used to describe the relationship between the parameters and sampling times. The litter profiles grouped into five clusters corresponding to time and management practices. The soil in-house exhibited mean increases in all physiochemical parameters (2-297 fold) except Fe, Mg, %M, and pH. The spent litter was followed after deposition onto a field for use as fertilizer. After 20 weeks, the soil beneath the litter exhibited increases in EC, Cu, K, Na, NO3(-)/N, %OM, P, S and Zn; while %M decreased. Understanding the impacts of industrialized poultry farms on the environment is vital as the cumulative ecological impact of this land usage could be substantial if not properly managed to reduce the risk of potential pollutant infiltration into the environment. PMID:26990075

  10. Poultry litter and the environment: Physiochemical properties of litter and soil during successive flock rotations and after remote site deposition.

    PubMed

    Crippen, Tawni L; Sheffield, Cynthia L; Byrd, J Allen; Esquivel, Jesus F; Beier, Ross C; Yeater, Kathleen

    2016-05-15

    The U.S. broiler meat market has grown over the past 16 years and destinations for U.S. broiler meat exports expanded to over 150 countries. This market opportunity has spurred a corresponding increase in industrialized poultry production, which due to the confined space in which high numbers of animals are housed, risks accumulating nutrients and pollutants. The purpose of this research was to determine the level of pollutants within poultry litter and the underlying soil within a production facility; and to explore the impact of spent litter deposition into the environment. The study follows a production facility for the first 2.5 years of production. It monitors the effects of successive flocks and management practices on 15 physiochemical parameters: Ca, Cu, electrical conductivity, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, moisture, Na, NO3(-)/N, organic matter, P, pH, S, and Zn. Litter samples were collected in-house, after clean-outs and during stockpiling. The soil before house placement, after the clean-outs and following litter stockpiling was monitored. Management practices markedly altered the physiochemical profiles of the litter in-house. A canonical discriminant analysis was used to describe the relationship between the parameters and sampling times. The litter profiles grouped into five clusters corresponding to time and management practices. The soil in-house exhibited mean increases in all physiochemical parameters (2-297 fold) except Fe, Mg, %M, and pH. The spent litter was followed after deposition onto a field for use as fertilizer. After 20 weeks, the soil beneath the litter exhibited increases in EC, Cu, K, Na, NO3(-)/N, %OM, P, S and Zn; while %M decreased. Understanding the impacts of industrialized poultry farms on the environment is vital as the cumulative ecological impact of this land usage could be substantial if not properly managed to reduce the risk of potential pollutant infiltration into the environment.

  11. How does litter cover, litter diversity and fauna affect sediment discharge and runoff?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goebes, Philipp; Seitz, Steffen; Kühn, Peter; Scholten, Thomas

    2013-04-01

    Litter cover plays a major role in soil erosion processes. It is known that litter cover reduces erosivity of raindrops, decreases sediment discharge and lowers runoff volume compared to bare ground. However, in the context of biodiversity, the composition of litter cover, its effect on sediment discharge and runoff volume and their influence on soil erosion have not yet been analyzed in detail. Focusing on initial soil erosion (splash), our experimental design is designated to get a better understanding of these mechanisms. The experiments were carried out within the DFG research unit "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (BEF)-China" in subtropical China. The "New Integrated Litter Experiment (NILEx)" used as platform combining different subprojects of BEF-China dealing with "decomposition and nutrient cycling", "mechanisms of soil erosion" and "functional effects of herbivores, predators and saproxylics" in one experiment. In NILEx, 96 40cm x 40cm runoff plots on two hill slopes inside a castanea molissima forest plantation have been installed and filled with seven different types of litter cover. 16 one-species plots, 24 two-species plots, 4 four-species plots and 4 bare ground plots have been set up, each replicated once. We prepared 48 Plots with traps (Renner solution) for soil macrofauna (diplopods and collembola), so half of the plots were kept free from fauna while the other half was accessible for fauna. Rainfall was generated artificially by using a rainfall simulator with a continuous and stable intensity of 60 mm/h. Our experiments included two runs of 20 minutes duration each, both conducted at two different time steps (summer 2012 and autumn 2012). Runoff volume and sediment discharge were measured every 5 minutes during one rainfall run. Litter coverage and litter mass were recorded at the beginning (summer 2012) and at the end of the experiment (autumn 2012). Our results show that sediment discharge as well as runoff volume decreases

  12. The Evaluation of Litter Behavior Modification in a River Environment.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wagstaff, Mark C.; Wilson, Beth E.

    1988-01-01

    Behavior modification techniques were evaluated by observing litter collection behavior of commercial rafting groups. The number of litter pieces retrieved by treatment and control groups was significantly different. Results support the idea that verbal appeal and role modeling can be effective litter control techniques. (Author/CW)

  13. Intestinal Microbiota of Broiler Chickens As Affected by Litter Management Regimens.

    PubMed

    Wang, Lingling; Lilburn, Mike; Yu, Zhongtang

    2016-01-01

    Poultry litter is a mixture of bedding materials and enteric bacteria excreted by chickens, and it is typically reused for multiple growth cycles in commercial broiler production. Thus, bacteria can be transmitted from one growth cycle to the next via litter. However, it remains poorly understood how litter reuse affects development and composition of chicken gut microbiota. In this study, the effect of litter reuse on the microbiota in litter and in chicken gut was investigated using 2 litter management regimens: fresh vs. reused litter. Samples of ileal mucosa and cecal digesta were collected from young chicks (10 days of age) and mature birds (35 days of age). Based on analysis using DGGE and pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons, the microbiota of both the ileal mucosa and the cecal contents was affected by both litter management regimen and age of birds. Faecalibacterium, Oscillospira, Butyricicoccus, and one unclassified candidate genus closely related to Ruminococcus were most predominant in the cecal samples, while Lactobacillus was predominant in the ileal samples at both ages and in the cecal samples collected at day 10. At days 10 and 35, 8 and 3 genera, respectively, in the cecal luminal microbiota differed significantly in relative abundance between the 2 litter management regimens. Compared to the fresh litter, reused litter increased predominance of halotolerant/alkaliphilic bacteria and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a butyrate-producing gut bacterium. This study suggests that litter management regimens affect the chicken GI microbiota, which may impact the host nutritional status and intestinal health. PMID:27242676

  14. Intestinal Microbiota of Broiler Chickens As Affected by Litter Management Regimens

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Lingling; Lilburn, Mike; Yu, Zhongtang

    2016-01-01

    Poultry litter is a mixture of bedding materials and enteric bacteria excreted by chickens, and it is typically reused for multiple growth cycles in commercial broiler production. Thus, bacteria can be transmitted from one growth cycle to the next via litter. However, it remains poorly understood how litter reuse affects development and composition of chicken gut microbiota. In this study, the effect of litter reuse on the microbiota in litter and in chicken gut was investigated using 2 litter management regimens: fresh vs. reused litter. Samples of ileal mucosa and cecal digesta were collected from young chicks (10 days of age) and mature birds (35 days of age). Based on analysis using DGGE and pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons, the microbiota of both the ileal mucosa and the cecal contents was affected by both litter management regimen and age of birds. Faecalibacterium, Oscillospira, Butyricicoccus, and one unclassified candidate genus closely related to Ruminococcus were most predominant in the cecal samples, while Lactobacillus was predominant in the ileal samples at both ages and in the cecal samples collected at day 10. At days 10 and 35, 8 and 3 genera, respectively, in the cecal luminal microbiota differed significantly in relative abundance between the 2 litter management regimens. Compared to the fresh litter, reused litter increased predominance of halotolerant/alkaliphilic bacteria and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a butyrate-producing gut bacterium. This study suggests that litter management regimens affect the chicken GI microbiota, which may impact the host nutritional status and intestinal health. PMID:27242676

  15. Litter lipid content affects dustbathing behavior in laying hens.

    PubMed

    Scholz, B; Kjaer, J B; Urselmans, S; Schrader, L

    2011-11-01

    Within the European Union, the provision of dustbathing material in layer housing systems will be compulsory beginning in 2012. In cage systems, food particles are mainly used as litter material and are provided on scratching mats by an automatic transporting system. However, because dustbathing is a means for hens to remove stale lipids from their plumage, lipid content of a substrate may be an important asset with regard to its adequacy. This study analyzes dustbathing behavior as affected by lipid content of feed used as litter material. A total of 72 laying hens of 2 genotypes (Lohmann Selected Leghorn, Lohmann Brown) were kept in 12 compartments (6 hens each). Compartments were equipped with a plastic grid floor (G) and additionally contained 3 different dustbathing trays (each 1,000 cm(2)/hen) holding low-lipid (0.82%; L), normal-lipid (4.2%; N), and high-lipid (15.7%; H) food particles. The experiment began at 20 wk of life, and video recordings were done at wk 23, 26, and 29. Number of dustbaths, time spent dustbathing, average dustbath duration, foraging, and single behaviors within dustbaths were analyzed during the light period over 2 d in each observation week. Dustbaths occurred most frequently in the L compared with the N, H, and G treatments (all P < 0.001). Total time spent dustbathing was longest in the L treatment compared with the N and H treatments (P < 0.001). No difference in the average duration of single dustbaths was found between the L, N, and H treatments. However, when dustbath interruptions (less than 10 min) were excluded, the duration of single dustbaths was longer in the H compared with the L (P = 0.009) and N (P = 0.024) treatments. Foraging was most frequently observed in the N compared with the L, H, and G treatments (all P < 0.001). More body wing shakes occurred in the L compared with the N treatment, and the number of vertical wing shakes was higher in the N compared with the H treatment (all P ≤ 0.05). Our results showed

  16. Invertebrate grazers affect metal/metalloid fixation during litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Jörg; Brackhage, Carsten

    2015-01-01

    Plant litter and organic sediments are main sinks for metals and metalloids in aquatic ecosystems. The effect of invertebrates as key species in aquatic litter decomposition on metal/metalloid fixation by organic matter is described only for shredders, but for grazers as another important animal group less is known. Consequently, a laboratory batch experiment was conducted to examine the effect of invertebrate grazers (Lymnaea stagnalis L.) on metal/metalloid fixation/remobilization during aquatic litter decomposition. It could be shown that invertebrate grazers facilitate significantly the formation of smaller sizes of particulate organic matter (POM), as shown previously for invertebrate shredders. The metal/metalloid binding capacity of these smaller particles of POM is higher compared to leaf litter residuals. But element enrichment is not as high as shown previously for the effect by invertebrate shredders. Invertebrate grazers enhance also the mobilization of selected elements to the water, in the range also proven for invertebrate shredders but different for the different elements. Nonetheless invertebrate grazers activity during aquatic litter decomposition leads to a metal/metalloid fixation into leaf litter as part of sediment organic matter. Hence, the effect of invertebrate grazers on metal/metalloid fixation/remobilization contrasts partly with former assessments revealing the possibility of an enhanced metal/metalloid fixation.

  17. Positive reinforcement of litter removal in the natural environment12

    PubMed Central

    Powers, Richard B.; Osborne, J. Grayson; Anderson, Emmett G.

    1973-01-01

    Litter is an especially large and costly problem in unsupervised high-use recreational areas. This study investigated procedures to induce visitors to remove litter from an unsupervised U.S. Forest Service area in which signs attached to two litter stations instructed people to pick up and deposit litter. A small sum of money or chances on a larger sum given for participation usually resulted in more bags of litter being picked up per week. Although only a small proportion of the area's users participated in the project, ground surveys indicated the areas sampled were somewhat freer of litter during the payment condition. The results suggest that small monetary rewards may be a promising approach to litter control in unsupervised as well as supervised areas. ImagesFig. 2 PMID:16795442

  18. Positive reinforcement of litter removal in the natural environment.

    PubMed

    Powers, R B; Osborne, J G; Anderson, E G

    1973-01-01

    Litter is an especially large and costly problem in unsupervised high-use recreational areas. This study investigated procedures to induce visitors to remove litter from an unsupervised U.S. Forest Service area in which signs attached to two litter stations instructed people to pick up and deposit litter. A small sum of money or chances on a larger sum given for participation usually resulted in more bags of litter being picked up per week. Although only a small proportion of the area's users participated in the project, ground surveys indicated the areas sampled were somewhat freer of litter during the payment condition. The results suggest that small monetary rewards may be a promising approach to litter control in unsupervised as well as supervised areas.

  19. Riparian forest composition affects stream litter decomposition despite similar microbial and invertebrate communities.

    PubMed

    Kominoski, John S; Marczak, Laurie B; Richardson, John S

    2011-01-01

    Cross-boundary flows of energy and nutrients link biodiversity and functioning in adjacent ecosystems. The composition of forest tree species can affect the structure and functioning of stream ecosystems due to physical and chemical attributes, as well as changes in terrestrial resource subsidies. We examined how variation in riparian canopy composition (coniferous, deciduous, mixed) affects adjacent trophic levels (invertebrate and microbial consumers) and decomposition of organic matter in small, coastal rainforest streams in southwestern British Columbia. Breakdown rates of higher-quality red alder (Alnus rubra) litter were faster in streams with a greater percentage of deciduous than coniferous riparian canopy, whereas breakdown rates of lower-quality western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) litter were independent of riparian forest composition. When invertebrates were excluded using fine mesh, breakdown rates of both litter species were an order of magnitude less and were not significantly affected by riparian forest composition. Stream invertebrate and microbial communities were similar among riparian forest composition, with most variation attributed to leaf litter species. Invertebrate taxa richness and shredder biomass were higher in A. rubra litter; however, taxa evenness was greatest for T. heterophylla litter and both litter species in coniferous streams. Microbial community diversity (determined from terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms) was unaffected by riparian forest or litter species. Fungal allele richness was higher than bacterial allele richness, and microbial communities associated with lower-quality T. heterophylla litter had higher diversity (allele uniqueness and richness) than those associated with higher-quality A. rubra litter. Percent variation in breakdown rates was mostly attributed to riparian forest composition in the presence of invertebrates and microbes; however, stream consumer biodiversity at adjacent trophic levels

  20. Habitat, food, and climate affecting leaf litter anuran assemblages in an Atlantic Forest remnant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rievers, Camila Rabelo; Pires, Maria Rita Silvério; Eterovick, Paula Cabral

    2014-07-01

    Leaf litter anuran assemblages include both species that have terrestrial development and species that, during the breeding season, aggregate around bodies of water where their tadpoles develop. The resources used by these two groups in the leaf litter are likely to differ, as well as their sampled species richness, abundance and biomass as resource availability changes. We conducted a 12-month survey of leaf litter anuran assemblages at three forest areas in the largest Atlantic Forest remnant in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. Each month we estimated, based on capture rates, anuran species richness, abundance, and biomass as assemblage descriptors. We also measured variables that could potentially affect these descriptors in space and time: invertebrate litter fauna (abundance and richness of taxa), leaf litter biomass, and microclimatic conditions (air humidity, air and soil temperature, soil water content, and rainfall). We tested for differences in these variables among areas. We used general linear models to search for the variables that best explained variation in anuran abundance (based on capture rates) throughout the year. We analyzed species with terrestrial development (TD) and with aquatic larvae (AL) separately. We recorded 326 anurans of 15 species. Sampled anuran abundance (correlated to species richness and biomass) was explained by air humidity and/or invertebrate abundance for species with TD, and by soil water content or air humidity and leaf litter biomass for species with AL. The variability in the results of studies on leaf litter frogs that try to find variables to explain changes in community descriptors may be due to spatial variation of resources among areas and also to the fact that TD and AL species are frequently analyzed together, when in fact they are likely to show different responses to resources present in the leaf litter habitat, reflected on capture rates.

  1. Litter type affects the activity of aerobic decomposers in a boreal peatland more than site nutrient and water table regimes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Straková, P.; Niemi, R. M.; Freeman, C.; Peltoniemi, K.; Toberman, H.; Heiskanen, I.; Fritze, H.; Laiho, R.

    2011-09-01

    acquisition. This caused an increase in the rate of litter decomposition. The effects of the short-term WT drawdown were minor compared to those of the long-term WT drawdown: e.g., the increase in the activity of C-acquiring enzymes was up to 120 % (bog) or 320 % (fen) higher after the long-term WT drawdown compared to the short-term WT drawdown. In general, the patterns of microbial activity as well as their responses to WT drawdown depended on peatland type: e.g., the shift in activity allocation to C-acquisition was up to 100 % stronger at the fen compared to the bog. Our results imply that changes in plant community composition in response to persistent WT drawdown will strongly affect the C dynamics of peatlands. The predictions of decomposer activity under changing climate and/or land-use thus cannot be based on the direct effects of the changed environment only, but need to consider the indirect effects of environmental changes: the changes in plant community composition, their dependence on peatland type, and their time scale.

  2. Evidence for mild sediment Pb contamination affecting leaf-litter decomposition in a lake.

    PubMed

    Oguma, Andrew Y; Klerks, Paul L

    2015-08-01

    Much work has focused on the effects of metal-contaminated sediment on benthic community structure, but effects on ecosystem functions have received far less attention. Decomposition has been widely used as an integrating metric of ecosystem function in lotic systems, but not for lentic ones. We assessed the relationship between low-level sediment lead (Pb) contamination and leaf-litter decomposition in a lentic system. We measured 30-day weight loss in 30 litter-bags that were deployed along a Pb-contamination gradient in a cypress-forested lake. At each deployment site we also quantified macrobenthos abundance, dissolved oxygen, water depth, sediment organic content, sediment silt/clay content, and both total sediment and porewater concentrations of Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn. Principal components (PC) analysis revealed a negative relationship between Pb concentration and benthic macroinvertebrate abundance, and this covariation dominated the first PC axis (PC1). Subsequent correlation analyses revealed a negative relationship between PC1 and percent leaf-litter loss. Our results indicate that leaf-litter decomposition was related to sediment Pb and benthic macroinvertebrate abundance. They also showed that ecosystem function may be affected even where sediment Pb concentrations are mostly below threshold-effects sediment quality guidelines--a finding with potential implications for sediment risk assessment. Additionally, the litter-bag technique used in this study showed promise as a tool in risk assessments of metal-contaminated sediments in lentic systems.

  3. Whole-stream nitrate addition affects litter decomposition and associated fungi but not invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Gulis, Vladislav; Graça, Manuel A S

    2006-10-01

    We assessed the effect of whole-stream nitrate enrichment on decomposition of three substrates differing in nutrient quality (alder and oak leaves and balsa veneers) and associated fungi and invertebrates. During the 3-month nitrate enrichment of a headwater stream in central Portugal, litter was incubated in the reference site (mean NO3-N 82 microg l-1) and four enriched sites along the nitrate gradient (214-983 microg NO3-N l-1). A similar decomposition experiment was also carried out in the same sites at ambient nutrient conditions the following year (33-104 microg NO3-N l-1). Decomposition rates and sporulation of aquatic hyphomycetes associated with litter were determined in both experiments, whereas N and P content of litter, associated fungal biomass and invertebrates were followed only during the nitrate addition experiment. Nitrate enrichment stimulated decomposition of oak leaves and balsa veneers, fungal biomass accrual on alder leaves and balsa veneers and sporulation of aquatic hyphomycetes on all substrates. Nitrate concentration in stream water showed a strong asymptotic relationship (Michaelis-Menten-type saturation model) with temperature-adjusted decomposition rates and percentage initial litter mass converted into aquatic hyphomycete conidia for all substrates. Fungal communities did not differ significantly among sites but some species showed substrate preferences. Nevertheless, certain species were sensitive to nitrogen concentration in water by increasing or decreasing their sporulation rate accordingly. N and P content of litter and abundances or richness of litter-associated invertebrates were not affected by nitrate addition. It appears that microbial nitrogen demands can be met at relatively low levels of dissolved nitrate, suggesting that even minor increases in nitrogen in streams due to, e.g., anthropogenic eutrophication may lead to significant shifts in microbial dynamics and ecosystem functioning.

  4. Prior Hydrologic Disturbance Affects Competition between Aedes Mosquitoes via Changes in Leaf Litter.

    PubMed

    Smith, Cassandra D; Freed, T Zachary; Leisnham, Paul T

    2015-01-01

    Allochthonous leaf litter is often the main resource base for invertebrate communities in ephemeral water-filled containers, and detritus quality can be affected by hydrologic conditions. The invasive mosquito Aedes albopictus utilizes container habitats for its development where it competes as larvae for detritus and associated microorganisms with the native Aedes triseriatus. Different hydrologic conditions that containers are exposed to prior to mosquito utilization affect litter decay and associated water quality. We tested the hypothesis that larval competition between A. albopictus and A. triseriatus would be differentially affected by prior hydrologic conditions. Experimental microcosms provisioned with Quercus alba L. litter were subjected to one of three different hydrologic treatments prior to the addition of water and mosquito larvae: dry, flooded, and a wet/dry cycle. Interspecific competition between A. albopictus and A. triseriatus was mediated by hydrologic treatment, and was strongest in the dry treatment vs. the flooded or wet/dry treatments. Aedes triseriatus estimated rate of population change (λ') was lowest in the dry treatment. Aedes albopictus λ' was unaffected by hydrologic treatment, and was on average always increasing (i.e., > 1). Aedes triseriatus λ' was affected by the interaction of hydrologic treatment with interspecific competition, and was on average declining (i.e., < 1.0), at the highest interspecific densities in the dry treatment. Dry treatment litter had the slowest decay rate and leached the highest concentration of tannin-lignin, but supported more total bacteria than the other treatments. These results suggest that dry conditions negatively impact A. triseriatus population performance and may result in the competitive exclusion of A. triseriatus by A. albopictus, possibly by reducing microbial taxa that Aedes species browse. Changing rainfall patterns with climate change are likely to affect competition between A

  5. Prior Hydrologic Disturbance Affects Competition between Aedes Mosquitoes via Changes in Leaf Litter.

    PubMed

    Smith, Cassandra D; Freed, T Zachary; Leisnham, Paul T

    2015-01-01

    Allochthonous leaf litter is often the main resource base for invertebrate communities in ephemeral water-filled containers, and detritus quality can be affected by hydrologic conditions. The invasive mosquito Aedes albopictus utilizes container habitats for its development where it competes as larvae for detritus and associated microorganisms with the native Aedes triseriatus. Different hydrologic conditions that containers are exposed to prior to mosquito utilization affect litter decay and associated water quality. We tested the hypothesis that larval competition between A. albopictus and A. triseriatus would be differentially affected by prior hydrologic conditions. Experimental microcosms provisioned with Quercus alba L. litter were subjected to one of three different hydrologic treatments prior to the addition of water and mosquito larvae: dry, flooded, and a wet/dry cycle. Interspecific competition between A. albopictus and A. triseriatus was mediated by hydrologic treatment, and was strongest in the dry treatment vs. the flooded or wet/dry treatments. Aedes triseriatus estimated rate of population change (λ') was lowest in the dry treatment. Aedes albopictus λ' was unaffected by hydrologic treatment, and was on average always increasing (i.e., > 1). Aedes triseriatus λ' was affected by the interaction of hydrologic treatment with interspecific competition, and was on average declining (i.e., < 1.0), at the highest interspecific densities in the dry treatment. Dry treatment litter had the slowest decay rate and leached the highest concentration of tannin-lignin, but supported more total bacteria than the other treatments. These results suggest that dry conditions negatively impact A. triseriatus population performance and may result in the competitive exclusion of A. triseriatus by A. albopictus, possibly by reducing microbial taxa that Aedes species browse. Changing rainfall patterns with climate change are likely to affect competition between A

  6. Tadpoles of Early Breeding Amphibians are Negatively Affected by Leaf Litter From Invasive Chinese Tallow Trees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonard, N. E.

    2005-05-01

    As wetlands are invaded by Chinese tallow trees (Triadica sebifera), native trees are displaced and detrital inputs to amphibian breeding ponds are altered. I used a mesocosm experiment to examine the effect of Chinese tallow leaf litter on the survival to, size at, and time to metamorphosis of amphibian larvae. Fifty 1000-L cattle watering tanks were treated with 1500 g dry weight of one of five leaf litter treatments: Chinese tallow, laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), or a 3:1:1:1 mixture. Each tank received 45 tadpoles of Pseudacris feriarum, Bufo terrestris, and Hyla cinerea in sequence according to their natural breeding phonologies. Every Pseudacris feriarum and Bufo terrestris tadpole exposed to Chinese tallow died prior to metamorphosis. Hyla cinerea survival in tanks with tallow-only was significantly lower than that observed for all other leaf treatments. Hyla cinerea tadpoles from tallow-only and mixed-leaf treatments were larger at metamorphosis and transformed faster than those in tanks with native leaves only. These results suggest that Chinese tallow leaf litter may negatively affect tadpoles of early breeding frogs and that Chinese tallow invasion may change the structure of amphibian communities in temporary ponds.

  7. Flower litters of alpine plants affect soil nitrogen and phosphorus rapidly in the eastern Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Jinniu; Xu, Bo; Wu, Yan; Gao, Jing; Shi, Fusun

    2016-10-01

    Litters of reproductive organs have rarely been studied despite their role in allocating nutrients for offspring reproduction. This study determines the mechanism through which flower litters efficiently increase the available soil nutrient pool. Field experiments were conducted to collect plant litters and calculate biomass production in an alpine meadow of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. C, N, P, lignin, cellulose content, and their relevant ratios of litters were analyzed to identify their decomposition features. A pot experiment was performed to determine the effects of litter addition on the soil nutrition pool by comparing the treated and control samples. The litter-bag method was used to verify decomposition rates. The flower litters of phanerophyte plants were comparable with non-flower litters. Biomass partitioning of other herbaceous species accounted for 10-40 % of the aboveground biomass. Flower litter possessed significantly higher N and P levels but less C / N, N / P, lignin / N, and lignin and cellulose concentrations than leaf litter. The litter-bag experiment confirmed that the flower litters of Rhododendron przewalskii and Meconopsis integrifolia decompose approximately 3 times faster than mixed litters within 50 days. Pot experiment findings indicated that flower litter addition significantly increased the available nutrient pool and soil microbial productivity. The time of litter fall significantly influenced soil available N and P, and soil microbial biomass. Flower litters fed the soil nutrition pool and influenced nutrition cycling in alpine ecosystems more efficiently because of their non-ignorable production, faster decomposition rate, and higher nutrient contents compared with non-flower litters. The underlying mechanism can enrich nutrients, which return to the soil, and non-structural carbohydrates, which feed and enhance the transitions of soil microorganisms.

  8. Does Proximity to Subsurface Poultry Litter Affect Corn Seedling Survival and Growth?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Poultry litter provides a rich nutrient source for crops, but the usual practice of surface broadcasting litter can degrade water quality by allowing storm runoff to transport nutrients into streams and lakes, while much of the ammonia N escapes into the atmosphere. Subsurface application of litter...

  9. How does litter quality affect the community of soil protists (testate amoebae) of tropical montane rainforests?

    PubMed

    Krashevska, Valentyna; Maraun, Mark; Scheu, Stefan

    2012-06-01

    Litter quality and diversity are major factors structuring decomposer communities. However, little is known on the relationship between litter quality and the community structure of soil protists in tropical forests. We analyzed the diversity, density, and community structure of a major group of soil protists of tropical montane rainforests, that is, testate amoebae. Litterbags containing pure and mixed litter of two abundant tree species at the study sites (Graffenrieda emarginata and Purdiaea nutans) differing in nitrogen concentrations were exposed in the field for 12 months. The density and diversity of testate amoebae were higher in the nitrogen-rich Graffenrieda litter suggesting that nitrogen functions as an important driving factor for soil protist communities. No additive effects of litter mixing were found, rather density of testate amoebae was reduced in litter mixtures as compared to litterbags with Graffenrieda litter only. However, adding of high-quality litter to low-quality litter markedly improved habitat quality, as evaluated by the increase in diversity and density of testate amoebae. The results suggest that local factors, such as litter quality, function as major forces shaping the structure and density of decomposer microfauna that likely feed back to decomposition processes.

  10. Increased plastic litter cover affects the foraging activity of the sandy intertidal gastropod Nassarius pullus.

    PubMed

    Aloy, Alexander B; Vallejo, Benjamin M; Juinio-Meñez, Marie Antonette

    2011-08-01

    This study analyzed the foraging behavior of the gastropod Nassarius pullus on garbage-impacted sandy shores of Talim Bay, Batangas, Philippines. The effect of different levels of plastic garbage cover on foraging efficiency was investigated. Controlled in situ baiting experiments were conducted to quantify aspects of foraging behavior as affected by the levels of plastic litter cover in the foraging area. The results of the study indicated that the gastropod's efficiency in locating and in moving towards a food item generally decreased as the level of plastic cover increased. Prolonged food searching time and increased self-burial in sand were highly correlated with increased plastic cover. The accuracy of orientation towards the actual position of the bait decreased significantly when the amount of plastic cover increased to 50%. These results are consistent with the significant decreases in the abundance of the gastropod observed during periods of deposition of large amounts of plastic and other debris on the shore.

  11. Genetic by environment interactions affect plant–soil linkages

    PubMed Central

    Pregitzer, Clara C; Bailey, Joseph K; Schweitzer, Jennifer A

    2013-01-01

    The role of plant intraspecific variation in plant–soil linkages is poorly understood, especially in the context of natural environmental variation, but has important implications in evolutionary ecology. We utilized three 18- to 21-year-old common gardens across an elevational gradient, planted with replicates of five Populus angustifolia genotypes each, to address the hypothesis that tree genotype (G), environment (E), and G × E interactions would affect soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics beneath individual trees. We found that soil nitrogen and carbon varied by over 50% and 62%, respectively, across all common garden environments. We found that plant leaf litter (but not root) traits vary by genotype and environment while soil nutrient pools demonstrated genotype, environment, and sometimes G × E interactions, while process rates (net N mineralization and net nitrification) demonstrated G × E interactions. Plasticity in tree growth and litter chemistry was significantly related to the variation in soil nutrient pools and processes across environments, reflecting tight plant–soil linkages. These data overall suggest that plant genetic variation can have differential affects on carbon storage and nitrogen cycling, with implications for understanding the role of genetic variation in plant–soil feedback as well as management plans for conservation and restoration of forest habitats with a changing climate. PMID:23919173

  12. Female prairie vole mate-choice is affected by the males' birth litter composition.

    PubMed

    Curtis, J Thomas

    2010-08-01

    Experimental testing and retrospective examination of breeding records were used to examine the influence of sex composition and/or size of males' birth litters on female mate-choice. Sexually naïve female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) avoided males derived from all-male litters, but showed no preference for, or aversion to, males from single-male litters or from more typical mixed-sex litters. Examination of the pregnancy status of females after two weeks of pairing with a male allowed us to estimate the probabilites of a pups' intrauterine position relative to siblings for various litter sizes. The typical prairie vole pup derived from a mixed-sex litter comprised of 4.4 pups, and had a 13% chance of being isolated from siblings in utero and a 22% chance of being between siblings in utero. Pups from single-sex litters tended to be larger at weaning than did pups from mixed-sex litters; however, male size did not influence female choice behavior. These results suggest that some aspect of the perinatal experience of prairie vole pups from single sex litters can influence social interactions later in life.

  13. Soil Fauna Affects Dissolved Carbon and Nitrogen in Foliar Litter in Alpine Forest and Alpine Meadow

    PubMed Central

    Liao, Shu; Yang, Wanqin; Tan, Yu; Peng, Yan; Li, Jun; Tan, Bo; Wu, Fuzhong

    2015-01-01

    Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) are generally considered important active biogeochemical pools of total carbon and nitrogen. Many studies have documented the contributions of soil fauna to litter decomposition, but the effects of the soil fauna on labile substances (i.e., DOC and TDN) in litter during early decomposition are not completely clear. Therefore, a field litterbag experiment was carried out from 13th November 2013 to 23rd October 2014 in an alpine forest and an alpine meadow located on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Litterbags with different mesh sizes were used to provide access to or prohibit the access of the soil fauna, and the concentrations of DOC and TDN in the foliar litter were measured during the winter (the onset of freezing, deep freezing and thawing stage) and the growing season (early and late). After one year of field incubation, the concentration of DOC in the litter significantly decreased, whereas the TDN concentration in the litter increased. Similar dynamic patterns were detected under the effects of the soil fauna on both DOC and TDN in the litter between the alpine forest and the alpine meadow. The soil fauna showed greater positive effects on decreasing DOC concentration in the litter in the winter than in the growing season. In contrast, the dynamics of TND in the litter were related to seasonal changes in environmental factors, rather than the soil fauna. In addition, the soil fauna promoted a decrease in litter DOC/TDN ratio in both the alpine forest and the alpine meadow throughout the first year of decomposition, except for in the late growing season. These results suggest that the soil fauna can promote decreases in DOC and TDN concentrations in litter, contributing to early litter decomposition in these cold biomes. PMID:26406249

  14. Differences in the sensitivity of fungi and bacteria to season and invertebrates affect leaf litter decomposition in a Mediterranean stream.

    PubMed

    Mora-Gómez, Juanita; Elosegi, Arturo; Duarte, Sofia; Cássio, Fernanda; Pascoal, Cláudia; Romaní, Anna M

    2016-08-01

    Microorganisms are key drivers of leaf litter decomposition; however, the mechanisms underlying the dynamics of different microbial groups are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of seasonal variation and invertebrates on fungal and bacterial dynamics, and on leaf litter decomposition. We followed the decomposition of Populus nigra litter in a Mediterranean stream through an annual cycle, using fine and coarse mesh bags. Irrespective of the season, microbial decomposition followed two stages. Initially, bacterial contribution to total microbial biomass was higher compared to later stages, and it was related to disaccharide and lignin degradation; in a later stage, bacteria were less important and were associated with hemicellulose and cellulose degradation, while fungi were related to lignin decomposition. The relevance of microbial groups in decomposition differed among seasons: fungi were more important in spring, whereas in summer, water quality changes seemed to favour bacteria and slowed down lignin and hemicellulose degradation. Invertebrates influenced litter-associated microbial assemblages (especially bacteria), stimulated enzyme efficiencies and reduced fungal biomass. We conclude that bacterial and fungal assemblages play distinctive roles in microbial decomposition and differ in their sensitivity to environmental changes, ultimately affecting litter decomposition, which might be particularly relevant in highly seasonal ecosystems, such as intermittent streams.

  15. Simulated browsing affects leaf shedding phenology and litter quality of oak and birch saplings.

    PubMed

    Palacio, S; Hester, A J; Maestro, M; Millard, P

    2013-04-01

    Herbivore effects on leaf litter can have a strong impact on ecosystem nutrient cycling. Although such effects are well described for insect herbivory, research on the impacts of browsing by mammalian herbivores on leaf litter dynamics and nutrient cycling has been more limited, particularly at the level of the individual plant. Clipping treatments (66% shoot removal twice, plus unclipped) were applied to analyse the effect of browsing on the phenology (start date and pattern of leaf shedding) and leaf litter quality (nitrogen (N), soluble sugars, starch and total non-structural carbohydrate concentrations, plus C : N ratios) of Betula pubescens Ehrh. and Quercus petraea [Matt.] Liebl. saplings. Clipping decreased leaf litter biomass and delayed leaf senescence and shedding, but did not change the phenological timing of litterfall between senescence and shedding. The quality of leaf litter of both species was increased by simulated browsing, through an increase in N and carbohydrate concentrations (mainly soluble sugars) and a decreased C : N ratio. This is the first evidence we are aware of that browsing may cause changes in leaf shedding phenology, delaying the process without altering its pattern. Our results also indicate that simulated browsing increases the quality of leaf litter. However, the potential positive effect of browsing on N cycling through litter quality may be offset by its negative impact on the amount of N shed per tree.

  16. Initial phylogenetic relatedness of saprotrophic fungal communities affects subsequent litter decomposition rates.

    PubMed

    Kivlin, Stephanie N; Treseder, Kathleen K

    2015-05-01

    Ecosystem-level consequences of biodiversity loss of macroorganisms are well understood, while the repercussions of species extirpation in microbial systems are not. We manipulated species richness and phylogenetic relatedness of saprotrophic fungi in situ in a boreal forest to address this issue. Litter decomposition rates (as total mass loss) after 2 months were significantly higher in the least phylogenetically related fungal assemblages. Likewise, cellulose loss was also highest in the most distantly related treatments after 1 year. There were marginal effects of species richness on mass loss that only affected decomposition after 2 months. At the end of 1 year of decomposition, most fungal communities had collapsed from their original diversity to two species, mainly in the Penicillium or Hypocrea clades. Two concurrent processes may explain these results: competition between closely related fungal taxa and phylogenetic conservation in cellulose decomposition. Our results suggest that phylogenetic relatedness of fungal communities may be a more appropriate metric than species richness or community composition to predict functional responses of fungal communities to global change.

  17. Initial phylogenetic relatedness of saprotrophic fungal communities affects subsequent litter decomposition rates.

    PubMed

    Kivlin, Stephanie N; Treseder, Kathleen K

    2015-05-01

    Ecosystem-level consequences of biodiversity loss of macroorganisms are well understood, while the repercussions of species extirpation in microbial systems are not. We manipulated species richness and phylogenetic relatedness of saprotrophic fungi in situ in a boreal forest to address this issue. Litter decomposition rates (as total mass loss) after 2 months were significantly higher in the least phylogenetically related fungal assemblages. Likewise, cellulose loss was also highest in the most distantly related treatments after 1 year. There were marginal effects of species richness on mass loss that only affected decomposition after 2 months. At the end of 1 year of decomposition, most fungal communities had collapsed from their original diversity to two species, mainly in the Penicillium or Hypocrea clades. Two concurrent processes may explain these results: competition between closely related fungal taxa and phylogenetic conservation in cellulose decomposition. Our results suggest that phylogenetic relatedness of fungal communities may be a more appropriate metric than species richness or community composition to predict functional responses of fungal communities to global change. PMID:25331109

  18. Intensive cattle grazing affects pasture litter-fall: an unrecognized nitrous oxide source.

    PubMed

    Pal, Pranoy; Clough, Tim J; Kelliher, Francis M; van Koten, Chikako; Sherlock, Robert R

    2012-01-01

    The rationale for this study came from observing grazing dairy cattle dropping freshly harvested plant material onto the soil surface, hereafter called litter-fall. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines include NO emissions during pasture renewal but do not consider NO emissions that may result from litter-fall. The objectives of this study were to determine litter-fall rates and to assess indicative NO emission factors (EFs) for the dominant pasture species (perennial ryegrass [ L.] and white clover [ L.]). Herbage was vacuumed from intensively managed dairy pastures before and after 30 different grazing events when cows (84 cows ha) grazed for 24 h according to a rotational system; the interval between grazing events ranged from 21 to 30 d. A laboratory incubation study was performed to assess potential EF values for the pasture species at two soil moisture contents. Finely ground pasture material was incubated under controlled laboratory conditions with soil, and the NO emissions were measured until rates returned to control levels. On average, pre- and postgrazing dry matter yields per grazing event were 2516 ± 636 and 1167 ± 265 kg DM ha (±SD), respectively. Pregrazing litter was absent, whereas postgrazing fresh and senesced litter-fall rates were 53 ± 24 and 19 ± 18 kg DM ha, respectively. Annually, the rotational grazing system resulted in 12 grazing events where fresh litter-fall equaed to 16 kg N ha yr to the soil. Emission factors in the laboratory experiment indicated that the EF for perennial ryegrass and white clover ranged from 0.7 to 3.1%. If such EF values should also occur under field conditions, then we estimate that litter-fall induces an NO emission rate of 0.3 kg NO ha yr. Litter-fall as a source of NO in grazed pastures requires further assessment.

  19. Does Litter Size Variation Affect Models of Terrestrial Carnivore Extinction Risk and Management?

    PubMed Central

    Devenish-Nelson, Eleanor S.; Stephens, Philip A.; Harris, Stephen; Soulsbury, Carl; Richards, Shane A.

    2013-01-01

    Background Individual variation in both survival and reproduction has the potential to influence extinction risk. Especially for rare or threatened species, reliable population models should adequately incorporate demographic uncertainty. Here, we focus on an important form of demographic stochasticity: variation in litter sizes. We use terrestrial carnivores as an example taxon, as they are frequently threatened or of economic importance. Since data on intraspecific litter size variation are often sparse, it is unclear what probability distribution should be used to describe the pattern of litter size variation for multiparous carnivores. Methodology/Principal Findings We used litter size data on 32 terrestrial carnivore species to test the fit of 12 probability distributions. The influence of these distributions on quasi-extinction probabilities and the probability of successful disease control was then examined for three canid species – the island fox Urocyon littoralis, the red fox Vulpes vulpes, and the African wild dog Lycaon pictus. Best fitting probability distributions differed among the carnivores examined. However, the discretised normal distribution provided the best fit for the majority of species, because variation among litter-sizes was often small. Importantly, however, the outcomes of demographic models were generally robust to the distribution used. Conclusion/Significance These results provide reassurance for those using demographic modelling for the management of less studied carnivores in which litter size variation is estimated using data from species with similar reproductive attributes. PMID:23469140

  20. 40 CFR 1502.15 - Affected environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 33 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Affected environment. 1502.15 Section 1502.15 Protection of Environment COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT § 1502.15 Affected environment. The environmental impact statement shall succinctly describe...

  1. 40 CFR 1502.15 - Affected environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 34 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Affected environment. 1502.15 Section 1502.15 Protection of Environment COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT § 1502.15 Affected environment. The environmental impact statement shall succinctly describe...

  2. 40 CFR 1502.15 - Affected environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 34 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Affected environment. 1502.15 Section 1502.15 Protection of Environment COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT § 1502.15 Affected environment. The environmental impact statement shall succinctly describe...

  3. 40 CFR 1502.15 - Affected environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 33 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Affected environment. 1502.15 Section 1502.15 Protection of Environment COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT § 1502.15 Affected environment. The environmental impact statement shall succinctly describe...

  4. 40 CFR 1502.15 - Affected environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 32 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Affected environment. 1502.15 Section 1502.15 Protection of Environment COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT § 1502.15 Affected environment. The environmental impact statement shall succinctly describe...

  5. MINERALIZATION OF NITROGEN FROM BROILER LITTER AS AFFECTED BY SOIL TEXTURE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN COASTAL PLAIN

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A field study was conducted during 2004-2005 to determine nitrogen (N) mineralization of broiler litter (BL) in two Coastal Plain soils of differing texture, sandy or clayey. The soils were a Tifton loamy sand (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic, Plinthic Kandiudults) and a Greenville sandy clay loam (...

  6. Field Experiments in Litter Control

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Finnie, William C.

    1973-01-01

    A series of urban and highway litter experiments in Richmond (Virginia), St. Louis, and Philadelphia indicated well-designed litter cans reduced littering about 15 percent along city streets and nearly 30 percent along highways. Also, the propensity to litter is critically affected by the characteristics of the individual and environmental…

  7. Factors affecting the abundance of leaf-litter arthropods in unburned and thrice-burned seasonally-dry Amazonian forests.

    PubMed

    Silveira, Juliana M; Barlow, Jos; Louzada, Julio; Moutinho, Paulo

    2010-01-01

    Fire is frequently used as a land management tool for cattle ranching and annual crops in the Amazon. However, these maintenance fires often escape into surrounding forests, with potentially severe impacts for forest biodiversity. We examined the effect of experimental fires on leaf-litter arthropod abundance in a seasonally-dry forest in the Brazilian Amazon. The study plots (50 ha each) included a thrice-burned forest and an unburned control forest. Pitfall-trap samples were collected at 160 randomly selected points in both plots, with sampling stratified across four intra-annual replicates across the dry and wet seasons, corresponding to 6, 8, 10 and 12 months after the most recent fire. Arthropods were identified to the level of order (separating Formicidae). In order to better understand the processes that determine arthropod abundance in thrice-burned forests, we measured canopy openness, understory density and litter depth. All arthropod taxa were significantly affected by fire and season. In addition, the interactions between burn treatment and season were highly significant for all taxa but Isoptera. The burned plot was characterized by a more open canopy, lower understory density and shallower litter depth. Hierarchical partitioning revealed that canopy openness was the most important factor explaining arthropod order abundances in the thrice-burned plot, whereas all three environmental variables were significant in the unburned control plot. These results reveal the marked impact of recurrent wildfires and seasonality on litter arthropods in this transitional forest, and demonstrate the overwhelming importance of canopy-openness in driving post-fire arthropod abundance. PMID:20877720

  8. Factors affecting the abundance of leaf-litter arthropods in unburned and thrice-burned seasonally-dry Amazonian forests.

    PubMed

    Silveira, Juliana M; Barlow, Jos; Louzada, Julio; Moutinho, Paulo

    2010-09-21

    Fire is frequently used as a land management tool for cattle ranching and annual crops in the Amazon. However, these maintenance fires often escape into surrounding forests, with potentially severe impacts for forest biodiversity. We examined the effect of experimental fires on leaf-litter arthropod abundance in a seasonally-dry forest in the Brazilian Amazon. The study plots (50 ha each) included a thrice-burned forest and an unburned control forest. Pitfall-trap samples were collected at 160 randomly selected points in both plots, with sampling stratified across four intra-annual replicates across the dry and wet seasons, corresponding to 6, 8, 10 and 12 months after the most recent fire. Arthropods were identified to the level of order (separating Formicidae). In order to better understand the processes that determine arthropod abundance in thrice-burned forests, we measured canopy openness, understory density and litter depth. All arthropod taxa were significantly affected by fire and season. In addition, the interactions between burn treatment and season were highly significant for all taxa but Isoptera. The burned plot was characterized by a more open canopy, lower understory density and shallower litter depth. Hierarchical partitioning revealed that canopy openness was the most important factor explaining arthropod order abundances in the thrice-burned plot, whereas all three environmental variables were significant in the unburned control plot. These results reveal the marked impact of recurrent wildfires and seasonality on litter arthropods in this transitional forest, and demonstrate the overwhelming importance of canopy-openness in driving post-fire arthropod abundance.

  9. Factors Affecting the Abundance of Leaf-Litter Arthropods in Unburned and Thrice-Burned Seasonally-Dry Amazonian Forests

    PubMed Central

    Silveira, Juliana M.; Barlow, Jos; Louzada, Julio; Moutinho, Paulo

    2010-01-01

    Fire is frequently used as a land management tool for cattle ranching and annual crops in the Amazon. However, these maintenance fires often escape into surrounding forests, with potentially severe impacts for forest biodiversity. We examined the effect of experimental fires on leaf-litter arthropod abundance in a seasonally-dry forest in the Brazilian Amazon. The study plots (50 ha each) included a thrice-burned forest and an unburned control forest. Pitfall-trap samples were collected at 160 randomly selected points in both plots, with sampling stratified across four intra-annual replicates across the dry and wet seasons, corresponding to 6, 8, 10 and 12 months after the most recent fire. Arthropods were identified to the level of order (separating Formicidae). In order to better understand the processes that determine arthropod abundance in thrice-burned forests, we measured canopy openness, understory density and litter depth. All arthropod taxa were significantly affected by fire and season. In addition, the interactions between burn treatment and season were highly significant for all taxa but Isoptera. The burned plot was characterized by a more open canopy, lower understory density and shallower litter depth. Hierarchical partitioning revealed that canopy openness was the most important factor explaining arthropod order abundances in the thrice-burned plot, whereas all three environmental variables were significant in the unburned control plot. These results reveal the marked impact of recurrent wildfires and seasonality on litter arthropods in this transitional forest, and demonstrate the overwhelming importance of canopy-openness in driving post-fire arthropod abundance. PMID:20877720

  10. Supplementation of dextrose to the diet during the weaning to estrus interval affects subsequent variation in within-litter piglet birth weight.

    PubMed

    Van den Brand, H; Soede, N M; Kemp, B

    2006-02-01

    Effects of supplementation of dextrose to the diet of sows during the weaning-to-estrus interval (WEI) on subsequent litter size and within-litter variation were investigated. After weaning, 223 sows (first to fifth parity) were fed 3.5 kg/d. Half of the sows additionally received 150 g of dextrose per day as topdressing on the feed. WEI and estrus duration were determined as well as subsequent pregnancy rate and litter size. Piglets were weighed individually at birth and at weaning (day 26.4; S.D.: 2.5). Supplementation of dextrose to the diet during the WEI did not affect WEI (106 h), pregnancy rate (88.2%), farrowing rate (84.2%), subsequent litter size (total born: 13.70), or birth weight (1599 g). The within-litter variation in birth weight was lower in sows on the dextrose treatment (CV: 17.5% versus 21.2% for the dextrose and control group, respectively, P=0.03). From this experiment, we concluded that addition of dextrose during the weaning to estrus interval did not increase litter size, but seems to affect the uniformity in birth weight of the litter. PMID:15967602

  11. Fungal diversity of saprotrophic litter fungi in a Mediterranean maquis environment.

    PubMed

    Lunghini, D; Granito, V M; Di Lonardo, D P; Maggi, O; Persiani, A M

    2013-01-01

    Monospecific and mixed-leaf litters from plant species of Mediterranean maquis (Quercus ilex, Phillyrea angustifolia, Pistacia lentiscus, Cistus spp.) in an undisturbed area in southern Italy were studied with respect to the structure and composition of their decomposer fungal community over an incubation period of 403 d. The data matrix structure was analyzed by means of detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), while indicator species analysis (ISA) was used to determine the preferential association of species with a substrate, a succession phase and monospecific/mixed experimental conditions. The ecological nature of the gradient expressed by the DCA axes was investigated by means of experimental and main chemical leaf-litter variables. The litter mixture had non-additive effects on the decomposition process even though the fungal species richness of the mixed litter was considerably higher than that of the monospecific litter. Our findings highlight the occurrence of shifts in the fungal community during decomposition in response to changes in the substrate, such as those related to the cellulose content and lignin/N ratio. PMID:23921238

  12. Succession of Phylogeny and Function During Plant Litter Decomposition (2013 DOE JGI Genomics of Energy and Environment 8th Annual User Meeting)

    SciTech Connect

    Brodie, Eoin

    2013-03-01

    Eoin Brodie of Berkeley Lab on "Succession of phylogeny and function during plant litter decomposition" at the 8th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting on March 27, 2013 in Walnut Creek, Calif.

  13. Temperature affects leaf litter decomposition in low-order forest streams: field and microcosm approaches.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Aingeru; Larrañaga, Aitor; Pérez, Javier; Descals, Enrique; Pozo, Jesús

    2014-01-01

    Despite predicted global warming, the temperature effects on headwater stream functioning are poorly understood. We studied these effects on microbial-mediated leaf decomposition and the performance of associated aquatic hyphomycete assemblages. Alder leaves were incubated in three streams differing in winter water temperature. Simultaneously, in laboratory, leaf discs conditioned in these streams were incubated at 5, 10 and 15 °C. We determined mass loss, leaf N and sporulation rate and diversity of aquatic hyphomycete communities. In the field, decomposition rate correlated positively with temperature. Decomposition rate and leaf N presented a positive trend with dissolved nutrients, suggesting that temperature was not the only factor determining the process velocity. Under controlled conditions, it was confirmed that decomposition rate and leaf N were positively correlated with temperature, leaves from the coldest stream responding most clearly. Sporulation rate correlated positively with temperature after 9 days of incubation, but negatively after 18 and 27 days. Temperature rise affected negatively the sporulating fungi richness and diversity only in the material from the coldest stream. Our results suggest that temperature is an important factor determining leaf processing and aquatic hyphomycete assemblages and that composition and activity of fungal communities adapted to cold environments could be more affected by temperature rises. Highlight: Leaf decomposition rate and associated fungal communities respond to temperature shifts in headwater streams. PMID:24111990

  14. Temperature affects leaf litter decomposition in low-order forest streams: field and microcosm approaches.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Aingeru; Larrañaga, Aitor; Pérez, Javier; Descals, Enrique; Pozo, Jesús

    2014-01-01

    Despite predicted global warming, the temperature effects on headwater stream functioning are poorly understood. We studied these effects on microbial-mediated leaf decomposition and the performance of associated aquatic hyphomycete assemblages. Alder leaves were incubated in three streams differing in winter water temperature. Simultaneously, in laboratory, leaf discs conditioned in these streams were incubated at 5, 10 and 15 °C. We determined mass loss, leaf N and sporulation rate and diversity of aquatic hyphomycete communities. In the field, decomposition rate correlated positively with temperature. Decomposition rate and leaf N presented a positive trend with dissolved nutrients, suggesting that temperature was not the only factor determining the process velocity. Under controlled conditions, it was confirmed that decomposition rate and leaf N were positively correlated with temperature, leaves from the coldest stream responding most clearly. Sporulation rate correlated positively with temperature after 9 days of incubation, but negatively after 18 and 27 days. Temperature rise affected negatively the sporulating fungi richness and diversity only in the material from the coldest stream. Our results suggest that temperature is an important factor determining leaf processing and aquatic hyphomycete assemblages and that composition and activity of fungal communities adapted to cold environments could be more affected by temperature rises. Highlight: Leaf decomposition rate and associated fungal communities respond to temperature shifts in headwater streams.

  15. Influence of raised plastic floors compared with pine shaving litter on environment and Pekin duck condition.

    PubMed

    Karcher, D M; Makagon, M M; Fraley, G S; Fraley, S M; Lilburn, M S

    2013-03-01

    Commercial poultry production management practices have been under increased public scrutiny driven by concerns for food safety and animal welfare. Within the United States, wood shavings and raised plastic floors are common flooring systems used in duck production. It is intuitive that each flooring type would present different management challenges influencing physical characteristics of growing ducks. This study evaluated the relationship between flooring type and duck condition during the winter. Random samples of 20 ducks from 5 predetermined areas (n = 100) were examined in commercial duck houses (n = 9, litter; n = 11, raised plastic slats). Ducks were assessed at 7, 21, and 32 d of age for eye, nostril, and feather cleanliness, feather and foot pad quality, and gait. The data were analyzed to determine the proportion of ducks with a given score. In both housing types, the proportion of 0 scores for foot pad quality improved during the production cycle (P < 0.0001). Feather hygiene declined with age in ducks reared on litter flooring, whereas ducks reared on slatted flooring had cleaner feathers at d 32 (P < 0.011). With the exception of foot pad scores, the majority of ducks had no detectable problems for any single trait. The only main effect due to flooring pertained to feather quality with the proportion of ducks having a 0 or 1 score greater in litter flooring systems than slats (P < 0.05). Overall, the condition of ducks reared, regardless of flooring system, was considered to be good.

  16. Foliar litter nitrogen dynamics as affected by forest gap in the alpine forest of eastern Tibet Plateau.

    PubMed

    Wu, Qiqian; Wu, Fuzhong; Yang, Wanqin; Zhao, Yeyi; He, Wei; Tan, Bo

    2014-01-01

    There is increasing attention on the effects of seasonal snowpack on wintertime litter decomposition, as well as the processes following it, in cold biomes. However, little information is available on how litter nitrogen (N) dynamics vary with snowpack variations created by tree crown canopies in alpine forests. Therefore, to understand the effects of seasonal snowpack on litter N dynamics during different critical stages, litterbags with fir (Abies faxoniana), birch (Betula albo-sinensis), larch (Larix mastersiana) and cypress (Sabina saltuaria) foliar litter were placed on the forest floor beneath snowpack created by forest gaps in the eastern Tibet Plateau. The litterbags were sampled at the onset of freezing, deep freezing, thawing and growing stages from October 2010 to October 2012. Mass loss and N concentrations in litter were measured. Over two years of decomposition, N release occurred mainly during the first year, especially during the first winter. Litter N release rates (both in the first year and during the entire two-year decomposition study period) were higher in the center of canopy gaps than under closed canopy, regardless of species. Litter N release rates in winter were also highest in the center of canopy gaps and lowest under closed canopy, regardless of species, however the reverse was found during the growing season. Compared with broadleaf litter, needle litter N release comparisons of gap center to closed canopy showed much stronger responses to the changes in snow cover in winter and availability of sunshine during the growing season. As the decomposition proceeded, decomposing litter quality, microbial biomass and environmental temperature were important factors related to litter N release rate. This suggests that if winter warm with climate change, reduced snow cover in winter might slow down litter N release in alpine forest. PMID:24820771

  17. Foliar Litter Nitrogen Dynamics as Affected by Forest Gap in the Alpine Forest of Eastern Tibet Plateau

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Qiqian; Wu, Fuzhong; Yang, Wanqin; Zhao, Yeyi; He, Wei; Tan, Bo

    2014-01-01

    There is increasing attention on the effects of seasonal snowpack on wintertime litter decomposition, as well as the processes following it, in cold biomes. However, little information is available on how litter nitrogen (N) dynamics vary with snowpack variations created by tree crown canopies in alpine forests. Therefore, to understand the effects of seasonal snowpack on litter N dynamics during different critical stages, litterbags with fir (Abies faxoniana), birch (Betula albo-sinensis), larch (Larix mastersiana) and cypress (Sabina saltuaria) foliar litter were placed on the forest floor beneath snowpack created by forest gaps in the eastern Tibet Plateau. The litterbags were sampled at the onset of freezing, deep freezing, thawing and growing stages from October 2010 to October 2012. Mass loss and N concentrations in litter were measured. Over two years of decomposition, N release occurred mainly during the first year, especially during the first winter. Litter N release rates (both in the first year and during the entire two-year decomposition study period) were higher in the center of canopy gaps than under closed canopy, regardless of species. Litter N release rates in winter were also highest in the center of canopy gaps and lowest under closed canopy, regardless of species, however the reverse was found during the growing season. Compared with broadleaf litter, needle litter N release comparisons of gap center to closed canopy showed much stronger responses to the changes in snow cover in winter and availability of sunshine during the growing season. As the decomposition proceeded, decomposing litter quality, microbial biomass and environmental temperature were important factors related to litter N release rate. This suggests that if winter warm with climate change, reduced snow cover in winter might slow down litter N release in alpine forest. PMID:24820771

  18. Grazing-induced changes in plant composition affect litter quality and nutrient cycling in flooding Pampa grasslands.

    PubMed

    Garibaldi, Lucas A; Semmartin, María; Chaneton, Enrique J

    2007-04-01

    Changes in plant community composition induced by vertebrate grazers have been found to either accelerate or slow C and nutrient cycling in soil. This variation may reflect the differential effects of grazing-promoted (G+) plant species on overall litter quality and decomposition processes. Further, site conditions associated with prior grazing history are expected to influence litter decay and nutrient turnover. We studied how grazing-induced changes in plant life forms and species identity modified the quality of litter inputs to soil, decomposition rate and nutrient release in a flooding Pampa grassland, Argentina. Litter from G+ forbs and grasses (two species each) and grazing-reduced (G-) grasses (two species) was incubated in long-term grazed and ungrazed sites. G+ species, overall, showed higher rates of decomposition and N and P release from litter. However, this pattern was primarily driven by the low-growing, high litter-quality forbs included among G+ species. Forbs decomposed and released nutrients faster than either G+ or G- grasses. While no consistent differences between G+ and G- grasses were observed, patterns of grass litter decay and nutrient release corresponded with interspecific differences in phenology and photosynthetic pathway. Litter decomposition, N release and soil N availability were higher in the grazed site, irrespective of species litter type. Our results contradict the notion that grazing, by reducing more palatable species and promoting less palatable ones, should decrease nutrient cycling from litter. Plant tissue quality and palatability may not unequivocally link patterns of grazing resistance and litter decomposability within a community, especially where grazing causes major shifts in life form composition. Thus, plant functional groups defined by species' "responses" to grazing may only partially overlap with functional groups based on species "effects" on C and nutrient cycling. PMID:17242908

  19. A Fungal Endosymbiont Affects Host Plant Recruitment Through Seed- and Litter-mediated Mechanisms

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    1. Many grass species are associated with maternally transmitted fungal endophytes. Increasing evidence shows that endophytes enhance host plant success under varied conditions, yet studies have rarely considered alternative mechanisms whereby these mutualistic symbionts may affect regeneration from...

  20. Microbial mineralization of organic nitrogen forms in poultry litters.

    PubMed

    Rothrock, Michael J; Cook, Kimberly L; Warren, Jason G; Eiteman, Mark A; Sistani, Karamat

    2010-01-01

    Ammonia volatilization from the mineralization of uric acid and urea has a major impact on the poultry industry and the environment. Dry acids are commonly used to reduce ammonia emissions from poultry houses; however, little is known about how acidification affects the litter biologically. The goal of this laboratory incubation was to compare the microbiological and physiochemical effects of dry acid amendments (Al+Clear, Poultry Litter Treatment, Poultry Guard) on poultry litter to an untreated control litter and to specifically correlate uric acid and urea contents of these litters to the microbes responsible for their mineralization. Although all three acidifiers eventually produced similar effects within the litter, there was at least a 2-wk delay in the microbiological responses using Poultry Litter Treatment. Acidification of the poultry litter resulted in >3 log increases in total fungal concentrations, with both uricolytic (uric acid degrading) and ureolytic (urea degrading) fungi increasing by >2 logs within the first 2 to 4 wk of the incubation. Conversely, total, uricolytic, and ureolytic bacterial populations all significantly declined during this same time period. While uric acid and urea mineralization occurred within the first 2 wk in the untreated control litter, acidification resulted in delayed mineralization events for both uric acid and urea (2 and 4 wk delay, respectively) once fungal cell concentrations exceeded a threshold level. Therefore, fungi, and especially uricolytic fungi, appear to have a vital role in the mineralization of organic N in low-pH, high-N environments, and the activity of these fungi should be considered in best management practices to reduce ammonia volatilization from acidified poultry litter.

  1. Microbial mineralization of organic nitrogen forms in poultry litters.

    PubMed

    Rothrock, Michael J; Cook, Kimberly L; Warren, Jason G; Eiteman, Mark A; Sistani, Karamat

    2010-01-01

    Ammonia volatilization from the mineralization of uric acid and urea has a major impact on the poultry industry and the environment. Dry acids are commonly used to reduce ammonia emissions from poultry houses; however, little is known about how acidification affects the litter biologically. The goal of this laboratory incubation was to compare the microbiological and physiochemical effects of dry acid amendments (Al+Clear, Poultry Litter Treatment, Poultry Guard) on poultry litter to an untreated control litter and to specifically correlate uric acid and urea contents of these litters to the microbes responsible for their mineralization. Although all three acidifiers eventually produced similar effects within the litter, there was at least a 2-wk delay in the microbiological responses using Poultry Litter Treatment. Acidification of the poultry litter resulted in >3 log increases in total fungal concentrations, with both uricolytic (uric acid degrading) and ureolytic (urea degrading) fungi increasing by >2 logs within the first 2 to 4 wk of the incubation. Conversely, total, uricolytic, and ureolytic bacterial populations all significantly declined during this same time period. While uric acid and urea mineralization occurred within the first 2 wk in the untreated control litter, acidification resulted in delayed mineralization events for both uric acid and urea (2 and 4 wk delay, respectively) once fungal cell concentrations exceeded a threshold level. Therefore, fungi, and especially uricolytic fungi, appear to have a vital role in the mineralization of organic N in low-pH, high-N environments, and the activity of these fungi should be considered in best management practices to reduce ammonia volatilization from acidified poultry litter. PMID:21043291

  2. Photodegradation of roxarsone in poultry litter leachates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bednar, A.J.; Garbarino, J.R.; Ferrer, I.; Rutherford, D.W.; Wershaw, R. L.; Ranville, J.F.; Wildeman, T.R.

    2003-01-01

    Arsenic compounds have been used extensively in agriculture in the US for applications ranging from cotton herbicides to animal feed supplements. Roxarsone (3-nitro-4-hydroxyphenylarsonic acid), in particular, is used widely in poultry production to control coccidial intestinal parasites. It is excreted unchanged in the manure and introduced into the environment when litter is applied to farmland as fertilizer. Although the toxicity of roxarsone is less than that of inorganic arsenic, roxarsone can degrade, biotically and abiotically, to produce more toxic inorganic forms of arsenic, such as arsenite and arsenate. Experiments were conducted on aqueous litter leachates to test the stability of roxarsone under different conditions. Laboratory experiments have shown that arsenite can be cleaved photolytically from the roxarsone moiety at pH 4-8 and that the degradation rate increases with increasing pH. Furthermore, the rate of photodegradation increases with nitrate and natural organic matter concentration, reactants that are commonly found in poultry-litter-water leachates. Additional photochemical reactions rapidly oxidize the cleaved arsenite to arsenate. The formation of arsenate is not entirely undesirable, because it is less mobile in soil systems and less toxic than arsenite. A possible mechanism for the degradation of roxarsone in poultry litter leachates is proposed. The results suggest that poultry litter storage and field application practices could affect the degradation of roxarsone and subsequent mobilization of inorganic arsenic species. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Transcriptomic Analysis of Ovaries from Pigs with High And Low Litter Size

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Yifang; Ding, Yueyun; Ye, Pengfei; Yin, Zongjun

    2015-01-01

    Litter size is one of the most important economic traits for pig production as it is directly related to the production efficiency. Litter size is affected by interactions between multiple genes and the environment. While recent studies have identified some genes associated with prolificacy in pigs, transcriptomic studies of specific genes affecting litter size in porcine ovaries are rare. In order to identify candidate genes associated with litter size in swine, we assessed gene expression differences between the ovaries of Yorkshire pigs with extremely high and low litter sizes using the RNA-Seq method. A total of 1 243 differentially expressed genes were identified: 897 genes were upregulated and 346 genes were downregulated in high litter size ovary samples compared with low litter size ovary samples. A large number of these genes related to steroid hormone regulation in animal ovaries, including 59 Gene Ontology terms and 27 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways involved in steroid biosynthesis and ovarian steroidogenesis. From these differentially expressed genes, we identified a total of 11 genes using a bioinformatics screen that may be associated with high litter size in Yorkshire pigs. These results provide a list of new candidate genes for porcine litter size and prolificacy to be further investigated. PMID:26426260

  4. Effects of litter manipulation on litter decomposition in a successional gradients of tropical forests in southern China.

    PubMed

    Chen, Hao; Gurmesa, Geshere A; Liu, Lei; Zhang, Tao; Fu, Shenglei; Liu, Zhanfeng; Dong, Shaofeng; Ma, Chuan; Mo, Jiangming

    2014-01-01

    Global changes such as increasing CO2, rising temperature, and land-use change are likely to drive shifts in litter inputs to forest floors, but the effects of such changes on litter decomposition remain largely unknown. We initiated a litter manipulation experiment to test the response of litter decomposition to litter removal/addition in three successional forests in southern China, namely masson pine forest (MPF), mixed coniferous and broadleaved forest (MF) and monsoon evergreen broadleaved forest (MEBF). Results showed that litter removal decreased litter decomposition rates by 27%, 10% and 8% and litter addition increased litter decomposition rates by 55%, 36% and 14% in MEBF, MF and MPF, respectively. The magnitudes of changes in litter decomposition were more significant in MEBF forest and less significant in MF, but not significant in MPF. Our results suggest that change in litter quantity can affect litter decomposition, and this impact may become stronger with forest succession in tropical forest ecosystem.

  5. Litter chemistry prevails over litter consumers in mediating effects of past steel industry activities on leaf litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    Lucisine, Pierre; Lecerf, Antoine; Danger, Michaël; Felten, Vincent; Aran, Delphine; Auclerc, Apolline; Gross, Elisabeth M; Huot, Hermine; Morel, Jean-Louis; Muller, Serge; Nahmani, Johanne; Maunoury-Danger, Florence

    2015-12-15

    Soil pollution has adverse effects on the performance and life history traits of microorganisms, plants, and animals, yet evidence indicates that even the most polluted sites can support structurally-complex and dynamic ecosystems. The present study aims at determining whether and how litter decomposition, one of the most important soil ecological processes leaf, is affected in a highly trace-metal polluted site. We postulated that past steel mill activities resulting in soil pollution and associated changes in soil characteristics would influence the rate of litter decomposition through two non-exclusive pathways: altered litter chemistry and responses of decomposers to lethal and sub-lethal toxic stress. We carried out a litter-bag experiment using Populus tremula L. leaf litter collected at, and allowed to decompose in, a trace metal polluted site and in three unpolluted sites used as controls. We designed a fully-factorial transplant experimental design to assess effects of litter origin and exposure site on the rate of litter decomposition. We further determined initial litter chemistry, fungal biomass, mesofauna abundance in litter bags, and the soil macrofauna community. Irrespective of the site of litter exposure, litter originating from the polluted site had a two-fold faster decomposition than litter from the unpolluted sites. Litter chemistry, notably the lignin content, seemed most important in explaining the degradation rate of the leaf litter. Abundance of meso and macro-detritivores was higher at the polluted site than at the unpolluted sites. However, litter decomposition proceeded at similar rates in polluted and unpolluted sites. Our results show that trace metal pollution and associated soil and litter changes do not necessarily weaken consumer control on litter decomposition through lethal and sub-lethal toxic stress.

  6. Litter-of-origin trait effects on gilt development

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The preweaning litter environment of gilts can affect subsequent development. In a recent experiment designed to test the effects of diet on gilt development, individual birth weights, immunocrits, sow parity, number weaned, and individual weaning weights were collected for gilts during the preweani...

  7. Litter composition effects on decomposition across the litter-soil interface

    EPA Science Inventory

    Background/Question/Methods Many studies have investigated the influence of plant litter species composition on decomposition dynamics, but given the variety of communities and environments around the world, a variety of consequences of litter-mixing have been reported. Litter ...

  8. Decreased Toxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis to Mosquito Larvae after Contact with Leaf Litter

    PubMed Central

    Stalinski, Renaud; Kersusan, Dylann; Veyrenc, Sylvie; David, Jean-Philippe; Reynaud, Stéphane; Després, Laurence

    2012-01-01

    Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis is a bacterium producing crystals containing Cry and Cyt proteins, which are toxic for mosquito larvae. Nothing is known about the interaction between crystal toxins and decaying leaf litter, which is a major component of several mosquito breeding sites and represents an important food source. In the present work, we investigated the behavior of B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis toxic crystals sprayed on leaf litter. In the presence of leaf litter, a 60% decrease in the amount of Cyt toxin detectable by immunology (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays [ELISAs]) was observed, while the respective proportions of Cry toxins were not affected. The toxicity of Cry toxins toward Aedes aegypti larvae was not affected by leaf litter, while the synergistic effect of Cyt toxins on all B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis Cry toxins was decreased by about 20% when mixed with leaf litter. The toxicity of two commercial B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis strains (VectoBac WG and VectoBac 12AS) and a laboratory-produced B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis strain decreased by about 70% when mixed with leaf litter. Taken together, these results suggest that Cyt toxins interact with leaf litter, resulting in a decreased toxicity of B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis in litter-rich environments and thereby dramatically reducing the efficiency of mosquitocidal treatments. PMID:22610426

  9. Decomposition of diverse litter mixtures in streams.

    PubMed

    Lecerf, Antoine; Risnoveanu, Geta; Popescu, Cristina; Gessner, Mark O; Chauvet, Eric

    2007-01-01

    In view of growing interest in understanding how biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning, we investigated effects of riparian plant diversity on litter decomposition in forest streams. Leaf litter from 10 deciduous tree species was collected during natural leaf fall at two locations (Massif Central in France and Carpathians in Romania) and exposed in the field in litter bags. There were 35 species combinations, with species richness ranging 1-10. Nonadditive effects on the decomposition of mixed-species litter were minor, although a small synergistic effect was observed in the Massif Central stream where observed litter mass remaining was significantly lower overall than expected from data on single-species litter. In addition, variability in litter mass remaining decreased with litter diversity at both locations. Mean nitrogen concentration of single- and mixed-species litters (0.68-4.47% of litter ash-free dry mass) accounted for a large part of the variation in litter mass loss across species combinations. For a given species or mixture, litter mass loss was also consistently faster in the Massif Central than in the Carpathians, and the similarity in general stream characteristics, other than temperature, suggests that this effect was largely due to differences in thermal regimes. These results support the notion that decomposition of litter mixtures is primarily driven by litter quality and environmental factors, rather than by species richness per se. However, the observed consistent decrease in variability of decomposition rate with increasing plant species richness indicates that conservation of riparian tree diversity is important even when decomposition rates are not greatly influenced by litter mixing.

  10. Considering Affective Responses towards Environments for Enhancing Location Based Services

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, H.; Gartner, G.; Klettner, S.; Schmidt, M.

    2014-04-01

    A number of studies in the field of environmental psychology show that humans perceive and evaluate their surroundings affectively. Some places are experienced as unsafe, while some others as attractive and interesting. Experiences from daily life show that many of our daily behaviours and decision-making are often influenced by this kind of affective responses towards environments. Location based services (LBS) are often designed to assist and support people's behaviours and decision-making in space. In order to provide services with high usefulness (usability and utility), LBS should consider these kinds of affective responses towards environments. This paper reports on the results of a research project, which studies how people's affective responses towards environments can be modelled and acquired, as well as how LBS can benefit by considering these affective responses. As one of the most popular LBS applications, mobile pedestrian navigation systems are used as an example for illustration.

  11. Litter sex composition influences dominance status of Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota).

    PubMed

    Dupont, Pierre; Pradel, Roger; Lardy, Sophie; Allainé, Dominique; Cohas, Aurélie

    2015-11-01

    In social species, the hierarchical status of an individual has important consequences for its fitness. While many studies have focused on individual condition to explain access to dominance, very few have investigated the influence of the social environment, especially during early life. Yet it is known that environmental conditions early in life may influence several traits at adulthood. Here, we examine the influence of early social environment on accession to dominance by investigating the influence of litter size and sex composition on survival and the probability of ascending to dominance later in life using a 20-year dataset from a wild population of Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota). Although litter size had no effect on the fate of individuals, litter sex composition affected male juvenile survival and both male and female probabilities of reaching dominant status when adult. Male juveniles incur lower survival when the number of male juveniles in the litter increases, and individuals of both sexes from male-biased litters are more likely to become dominant than individuals from female-biased litters. However, the absolute number of sisters in the litter, rather than the sex ratio, seems to be an important predictor of the probability of acquiring dominant status: pups having more sisters are less likely to become dominant. Several potential mechanisms to explain these results are discussed.

  12. Litter sex composition influences dominance status of Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota).

    PubMed

    Dupont, Pierre; Pradel, Roger; Lardy, Sophie; Allainé, Dominique; Cohas, Aurélie

    2015-11-01

    In social species, the hierarchical status of an individual has important consequences for its fitness. While many studies have focused on individual condition to explain access to dominance, very few have investigated the influence of the social environment, especially during early life. Yet it is known that environmental conditions early in life may influence several traits at adulthood. Here, we examine the influence of early social environment on accession to dominance by investigating the influence of litter size and sex composition on survival and the probability of ascending to dominance later in life using a 20-year dataset from a wild population of Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota). Although litter size had no effect on the fate of individuals, litter sex composition affected male juvenile survival and both male and female probabilities of reaching dominant status when adult. Male juveniles incur lower survival when the number of male juveniles in the litter increases, and individuals of both sexes from male-biased litters are more likely to become dominant than individuals from female-biased litters. However, the absolute number of sisters in the litter, rather than the sex ratio, seems to be an important predictor of the probability of acquiring dominant status: pups having more sisters are less likely to become dominant. Several potential mechanisms to explain these results are discussed. PMID:26169393

  13. The abiotic litter decomposition in the drylands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, H.; Throop, H.; Rahn, T. A.

    2009-12-01

    The decomposition of litter is an important ecosystem function that controls carbon and nutrient cycling, which is well understood from the relationship between temperature and moisture. However, the decomposition in the arid and semiarid environments (hereafter drylands) is relatively poorly predicted due to several abiotic factors such as the effect of ultraviolet radiation and physical mixing of fallen litter with soil. The relative magnitude of these abiotic factors to ecosystem scale litter decomposition is still in debate. Here, we examine the effect of two major abiotic factors in the drylands litter decomposition by conducting a controlled laboratory study using plant litter and soil collected from Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert areas. The first part of the experiment focused on the effect of soil-litter mixing. We established a complete block design of three levels of soil and litter mixing (no mixing, light soil-litter mixing, and complete soil-litter mixing) in combination with three levels of soil moisture (1%, 2%, and 6% volumetric water content) using 2g of two most dominant species litter, grass and mesquite, and 50g of air-dried soils in 500ml mason jar and incubated them under 25C. We measured CO2 fluxes from these soil-litter incubations and harvested the soil and litter at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 weeks and analyzed them of carbon and nitrogen content as well as the actual mass loss in the litter. The second part of the experiment focused on the effect of ultraviolet radiation. We established short-term litter incubation on a quartz chamber and used different temperature, moisture, and minerals to find the mechanism of photodegradation of litter. We measured CO2 fluxes from the litter incubation under ultraviolet radiation and also measured 13CO2 from these emissions. We were able to detect changes in the rate of carbon mineralization as a result of our treatments in the first week of soil-litter mixing experiment. The carbon mineralization rate was

  14. Water addition, evaporation and water holding capacity of poultry litter.

    PubMed

    Dunlop, Mark W; Blackall, Patrick J; Stuetz, Richard M

    2015-12-15

    Litter moisture content has been related to ammonia, dust and odour emissions as well as bird health and welfare. Improved understanding of the water holding properties of poultry litter as well as water additions to litter and evaporation from litter will contribute to improved litter moisture management during the meat chicken grow-out. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how management and environmental conditions over the course of a grow-out affect the volume of water A) applied to litter, B) able to be stored in litter, and C) evaporated from litter on a daily basis. The same unit of measurement has been used to enable direct comparison-litres of water per square metre of poultry shed floor area, L/m(2), assuming a litter depth of 5cm. An equation was developed to estimate the amount of water added to litter from bird excretion and drinking spillage, which are sources of regular water application to the litter. Using this equation showed that water applied to litter from these sources changes over the course of a grow-out, and can be as much as 3.2L/m(2)/day. Over a 56day grow-out, the total quantity of water added to the litter was estimated to be 104L/m(2). Litter porosity, water holding capacity and water evaporation rates from litter were measured experimentally. Litter porosity decreased and water holding capacity increased over the course of a grow-out due to manure addition. Water evaporation rates at 25°C and 50% relative humidity ranged from 0.5 to 10L/m(2)/day. Evaporation rates increased with litter moisture content and air speed. Maintaining dry litter at the peak of a grow-out is likely to be challenging because evaporation rates from dry litter may be insufficient to remove the quantity of water added to the litter on a daily basis.

  15. Evidence for Extraintestinal Growth of Bacteroidales Originating from Poultry Litter

    PubMed Central

    Mantha, Sirisha; Hair, Elliott; Nayak, Bina; Harwood, Valerie J.

    2014-01-01

    Water quality monitoring techniques that target microorganisms in the order Bacteroidales are potential alternatives to conventional methods for detection of fecal indicator bacteria. Bacteroidales and members of the genus Bacteroides have been the focus of microbial source tracking (MST) investigations for discriminating sources of fecal pollution (e.g., human or cattle feces) in environmental waters. For accurate source apportionment to occur, one needs to understand both the abundance of Bacteroides in host feces and the survival of these host-associated microbial markers after deposition in the environment. Studies were undertaken to evaluate the abundance, persistence, and potential for growth of Bacteroidales originating from poultry litter under oxic and anoxic environmental conditions. Bacteroidales abundance, as determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR) with GenBac primers and probe, increased 2 to 5 log gene copies ml−1 and 2 log gene copies g litter−1 under most conditions during incubation of poultry litter in a variety of laboratory microcosm and field mesocosm studies. DNA sequencing of the Bacteroidales organisms in the litter identified taxa with sequences corresponding exactly to the GenBac primer and probe sequences and that were closely related to Bacteroides uniformis, B. ovatus, and B. vulgatus. These results suggest that MST studies using qPCR methods targeting Bacteroidales in watersheds that are affected by poultry litter should be interpreted cautiously. Growth of Bacteroidales originating from poultry litter in environmental waters may occur while Bacteroidales growth from other fecal sources declines, thus confounding the interpretation of MST results. PMID:25326306

  16. Microbial environment affects innate immunity in two closely related earthworm species Eisenia andrei and Eisenia fetida.

    PubMed

    Dvořák, Jiří; Mančíková, Veronika; Pižl, Václav; Elhottová, Dana; Silerová, Marcela; Roubalová, Radka; Skanta, František; Procházková, Petra; Bilej, Martin

    2013-01-01

    Survival of earthworms in the environment depends on their ability to recognize and eliminate potential pathogens. This work is aimed to compare the innate defense mechanisms of two closely related earthworm species, Eisenia andrei and Eisenia fetida, that inhabit substantially different ecological niches. While E. andrei lives in a compost and manure, E. fetida can be found in the litter layer in forests. Therefore, the influence of environment-specific microbiota on the immune response of both species was followed. Firstly, a reliable method to discern between E. andrei and E. fetida based on species-specific primers for cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) and stringent PCR conditions was developed. Secondly, to analyze the immunological profile in both earthworm species, the activity and expression of lysozyme, pattern recognition protein CCF, and antimicrobial proteins with hemolytic function, fetidin and lysenins, have been assessed. Whereas, CCF and lysozyme showed only slight differences in the expression and activity, fetidin/lysenins expression as well as the hemolytic activity was considerably higher in E. andrei as compared to E. fetida. The expression of fetidin/lysenins in E. fetida was not affected upon the challenge with compost microbiota, suggesting more substantial changes in the regulation of the gene expression. Genomic DNA analyses revealed significantly higher level of fetidin/lysenins (determined using universal primer pairs) in E. andrei compared to E. fetida. It can be hypothesized that E. andrei colonizing compost as a new habitat acquired an evolutionary selection advantage resulting in a higher expression of antimicrobial proteins.

  17. Microbial Environment Affects Innate Immunity in Two Closely Related Earthworm Species Eisenia andrei and Eisenia fetida

    PubMed Central

    Dvořák, Jiří; Mančíková, Veronika; Pižl, Václav; Elhottová, Dana; Šilerová, Marcela; Roubalová, Radka; Škanta, František; Procházková, Petra; Bilej, Martin

    2013-01-01

    Survival of earthworms in the environment depends on their ability to recognize and eliminate potential pathogens. This work is aimed to compare the innate defense mechanisms of two closely related earthworm species, Eisenia andrei and Eisenia fetida, that inhabit substantially different ecological niches. While E. andrei lives in a compost and manure, E. fetida can be found in the litter layer in forests. Therefore, the influence of environment-specific microbiota on the immune response of both species was followed. Firstly, a reliable method to discern between E. andrei and E. fetida based on species-specific primers for cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) and stringent PCR conditions was developed. Secondly, to analyze the immunological profile in both earthworm species, the activity and expression of lysozyme, pattern recognition protein CCF, and antimicrobial proteins with hemolytic function, fetidin and lysenins, have been assessed. Whereas, CCF and lysozyme showed only slight differences in the expression and activity, fetidin/lysenins expression as well as the hemolytic activity was considerably higher in E. andrei as compared to E. fetida. The expression of fetidin/lysenins in E. fetida was not affected upon the challenge with compost microbiota, suggesting more substantial changes in the regulation of the gene expression. Genomic DNA analyses revealed significantly higher level of fetidin/lysenins (determined using universal primer pairs) in E. andrei compared to E. fetida. It can be hypothesized that E. andrei colonizing compost as a new habitat acquired an evolutionary selection advantage resulting in a higher expression of antimicrobial proteins. PMID:24223917

  18. Evaluation of broiler litter transportation in northern Alabama, USA.

    PubMed

    Paudel, Krishna P; Adhikari, Murali; Martin, Neil R

    2004-10-01

    The profitability of using broiler litter as a source of crop nutrients was calculated using a phosphorus-consistent litter application rule. A ton of litter can cost effectively be transported up to 164 miles from the production facility. A cost-minimizing phosphorus-consistent transportation model developed to meet the nutrient needs of 29 counties in northern Alabama revealed that not all of the litter can be utilized in the region. The total cost increased when transportation of the litter out of the heavily surplus counties was prioritized. Total litter use was minimally affected by changes in chemical fertilizer prices. Shadow prices indicated the robustness of the model.

  19. High litter moisture content suppresses litter ammonia volatilization.

    PubMed

    Miles, D M; Rowe, D E; Cathcart, T C

    2011-07-01

    With global food demand expected to increase by 100% in the next 50 yr, urgency to combine comprehensive strategies for sustainable, efficacious, and environmentally sensible agronomic practices has never been greater. One effort for US meat bird management is to reduce NH(3) volatilization from litter to create a better growing environment for the birds, improve production efficiency, retain N in litter for fertilizer value, and negate the detrimental environmental impacts of NH(3) loss to the air. To derive the fundamental effects of temperature and moisture on litter NH(3) volatilization over the range of conditions found in commercial houses, experiments were conducted using commercial broiler litter that had moisture contents of approximately 20 to 55% while controlling temperatures ranging from 18.3 to 40.6°C. Litter samples (100 g) were placed in 1-L containers that received humidified air at approximately 113 mL/min. Volatilized NH(3) in exhaust air was captured in H(3)BO(3) traps. Ammonia loss (log(10) transformation) was modeled via an equation using linear coefficients for temperature and moisture, an interaction term for temperature × moisture, and a quadratic term for moisture. The surface responses resembled parabolic cylinders, indicating a critical moisture level at which NH(3) no longer increases but is diminished as moisture continues to increase. The critical moisture level lies between 37.4 and 51.1% litter moisture, depending on the temperature. An increase in temperature consistently increased NH(3) generation. When the temperature extremes were compared, the maximum NH(3) was up to 7 times greater at 40.6 vs. 18.3°C. The upper moisture limit at which NH(3) release is maximized and subsequently arrested as moisture continues to increase had not been defined previously for commercial broiler litter. The poultry industry and researchers can use these results as a decision tool to enable management strategies that limit NH(3) production. PMID

  20. Do learning style and learning environment affect learning outcome?

    PubMed

    DiBartola, L M; Miller, M K; Turley, C L

    2001-01-01

    This study compared learning outcomes of students with different learning styles, as identified by the Kolb Learning Style Inventory indicators, in a traditional in-class environment with those taking the same course via distance education. The above-average scores were evenly distributed, 47% of the in-class group and 43% of the distance group. For three of the four learning styles, there was no relationship to learning outcome or environment. The Diverger group did show a relationship with above-average scores in the distance group (83%). The findings support that the classroom or distance environment did not influence learning outcome. Learning style did not appear to affect learning outcome in either group, except that the Diverger learning style may have a positive relationship to learning in the distance environment.

  1. Microarthropods accelerate litter decomposition and alter the fate of litter carbon and nitrogen in the soil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soong, Jennifer; Horton, Andrew; Wall, Diana; Cotrufo, Francesca

    2015-04-01

    Soil fauna have been found to accelerate litter decomposition in some ecosystems, with calls for the need to include them in global models of C and N cycling. However, their influence on the fate of decomposing litter C and N is not clear. Does the acceleration of mass loss affect how much litter C and N end up stored as soil organic matter (SOM), or how much C and N are lost to the atmosphere during decomposition? We will present the results from our three-year, 100% mass loss, tracking of 13C and 15N labeled Andropogon gerardii leaf litter decomposing at a tallgrass prairie site, where we used a naphthalene treatment to suppress microarthropods and examine their effects on the fate of decomposing litter C and N. Initially, leaching was the main pathway of litter inputs to the mineral associated SOM. We found that microarthropods accelerated the first 18 months of litter mass loss, but after 24 months mass loss rates converged. This early acceleration of mass loss was associated with an increase of litter fragment inputs to the soil. This increase in litter inputs to the soil caused by microarthropods resulted in an increase in microbial uptake of litter C (measured by tracing 13C into phospholipid fatty acids), and a shift in the microbial community. The C:N ratio of litter inputs to the soil was significantly increased by the presence of microarthropods. Together these results demonstrate how microarthropods accelerate shredding, mass loss, and litter fragment inputs to the soil during the early stages of decomposition but they do not affect the total amount of litter contribution to SOM over the entire course of decomposition. However, microarthropods do alter the C:N composition of litter inputs to the soil through their top-down influence on the microbial community responsible for decomposing and transforming litter inputs to the soil. Our results reveal the complex interactions between microarthropods, litter mass loss, soil microbes and C:N dynamics, and

  2. Cigarette litter: smokers' attitudes and behaviors.

    PubMed

    Rath, Jessica M; Rubenstein, Rebecca A; Curry, Laurel E; Shank, Sarah E; Cartwright, Julia C

    2012-06-01

    Cigarette butts are consistently the most collected items in litter clean-up efforts, which are a costly burden to local economies. In addition, tobacco waste may be detrimental to our natural environment. The tobacco industry has conducted or funded numerous studies on smokers' littering knowledge and behavior, however, non-industry sponsored research is rare. We sought to examine whether demographics and smokers' knowledge and beliefs toward cigarette waste as litter predicts littering behavior. Smokers aged 18 and older (n = 1,000) were interviewed about their knowledge and beliefs towards cigarette waste as litter. Respondents were members of the Research Now panel, an online panel of over three million respondents in the United States. Multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to determine factors significantly predictive of ever having littered cigarette butts or having littered cigarette butts within the past month (p-value < 0.05). The majority (74.1%) of smokers reported having littered cigarette butts at least once in their life, by disposing of them on the ground or throwing them out of a car window. Over half (55.7%) reported disposing of cigarette butts on the ground, in a sewer/gutter, or down a drain in the past month. Those who did not consider cigarette butts to be litter were over three and half times as likely to report having ever littered cigarette butts (OR = 3.68, 95%CI = 2.04, 6.66) and four times as likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month (OR = 4.00, 95%CI = 2.53, 6.32). Males were significantly more likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month compared to females (OR = 1.49, 95%CI = 1.14, 1.94). Holding the belief that cigarette butts are not litter was the only belief in this study that predicted ever or past-month littering of cigarette waste. Messages in anti-cigarette-litter campaigns should emphasize that cigarette butts are not just litter but are toxic waste and are harmful when disposed of

  3. Cigarette Litter: Smokers’ Attitudes and Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Rath, Jessica M.; Rubenstein, Rebecca A.; Curry, Laurel E.; Shank, Sarah E.; Cartwright, Julia C.

    2012-01-01

    Cigarette butts are consistently the most collected items in litter clean-up efforts, which are a costly burden to local economies. In addition, tobacco waste may be detrimental to our natural environment. The tobacco industry has conducted or funded numerous studies on smokers’ littering knowledge and behavior, however, non-industry sponsored research is rare. We sought to examine whether demographics and smokers’ knowledge and beliefs toward cigarette waste as litter predicts littering behavior. Smokers aged 18 and older (n = 1,000) were interviewed about their knowledge and beliefs towards cigarette waste as litter. Respondents were members of the Research Now panel, an online panel of over three million respondents in the United States. Multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to determine factors significantly predictive of ever having littered cigarette butts or having littered cigarette butts within the past month (p-value < 0.05). The majority (74.1%) of smokers reported having littered cigarette butts at least once in their life, by disposing of them on the ground or throwing them out of a car window. Over half (55.7%) reported disposing of cigarette butts on the ground, in a sewer/gutter, or down a drain in the past month. Those who did not consider cigarette butts to be litter were over three and half times as likely to report having ever littered cigarette butts (OR = 3.68, 95%CI = 2.04, 6.66) and four times as likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month (OR = 4.00, 95%CI = 2.53, 6.32). Males were significantly more likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month compared to females (OR = 1.49, 95%CI = 1.14, 1.94). Holding the belief that cigarette butts are not litter was the only belief in this study that predicted ever or past-month littering of cigarette waste. Messages in anti-cigarette-litter campaigns should emphasize that cigarette butts are not just litter but are toxic waste and are harmful when disposed of

  4. Cigarette litter: smokers' attitudes and behaviors.

    PubMed

    Rath, Jessica M; Rubenstein, Rebecca A; Curry, Laurel E; Shank, Sarah E; Cartwright, Julia C

    2012-06-01

    Cigarette butts are consistently the most collected items in litter clean-up efforts, which are a costly burden to local economies. In addition, tobacco waste may be detrimental to our natural environment. The tobacco industry has conducted or funded numerous studies on smokers' littering knowledge and behavior, however, non-industry sponsored research is rare. We sought to examine whether demographics and smokers' knowledge and beliefs toward cigarette waste as litter predicts littering behavior. Smokers aged 18 and older (n = 1,000) were interviewed about their knowledge and beliefs towards cigarette waste as litter. Respondents were members of the Research Now panel, an online panel of over three million respondents in the United States. Multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to determine factors significantly predictive of ever having littered cigarette butts or having littered cigarette butts within the past month (p-value < 0.05). The majority (74.1%) of smokers reported having littered cigarette butts at least once in their life, by disposing of them on the ground or throwing them out of a car window. Over half (55.7%) reported disposing of cigarette butts on the ground, in a sewer/gutter, or down a drain in the past month. Those who did not consider cigarette butts to be litter were over three and half times as likely to report having ever littered cigarette butts (OR = 3.68, 95%CI = 2.04, 6.66) and four times as likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month (OR = 4.00, 95%CI = 2.53, 6.32). Males were significantly more likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month compared to females (OR = 1.49, 95%CI = 1.14, 1.94). Holding the belief that cigarette butts are not litter was the only belief in this study that predicted ever or past-month littering of cigarette waste. Messages in anti-cigarette-litter campaigns should emphasize that cigarette butts are not just litter but are toxic waste and are harmful when disposed of

  5. How Environment Affects Galaxy Metallicity: Lessons from the Illustris Simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Genel, S.

    2016-06-01

    Recent studies have found higher galaxy metallicities in richer environments. It is not yet clear, however, whether metallicity-environment dependencies are merely an indirect consequence of environmentally dependent formation histories, or of environment related processes directly affecting metallicity. Here, we present a detailed study of metallicity-environment correlations in a cosmological hydrodynamical simulation, in particular the Illustris simulation. Illustris galaxies display similar relations to those observed. Utilizing our knowledge of simulated formation histories, and leveraging the large simulation volume, we construct galaxy samples of satellites and centrals that are matched in formation histories. This allows us to find that ˜1/3 of the metallicity-environment correlation is due to different formation histories in different environments. This is a combined effect of satellites (in particular, in denser environments) having on average lower z=0 star formation rates (SFRs), and of their older stellar ages, even at a given z=0 SFR. Most of the difference, ˜2/3, however, is caused by the higher concentration of star-forming disks of satellite galaxies, as this biases their SFR-weighted metallicities toward their inner, more metal-rich parts. With a newly defined quantity, the `radially averaged' metallicity, which captures the metallicity profile but is independent of the SFR profile, the metallicities of satellites and centrals become environmentally independent once they are matched in formation history. This effect may also explain most of the differences between metallicities of galaxies in different large-scale environmental densities. A prediction for observations is that those differences become smaller as smaller apertures are considered.

  6. Litter Ammonia Generation: Moisture Content and Organic vs. Inorganic Bedding Materials

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Negative impacts on the environment, bird well-being, and farm worker health indicate the need for abatement strategies for poultry litter NH3 generation. Type of bedding affects many parameters related to poultry production including NH3 losses. Broiler excrement was mixed with pine wood shavings, ...

  7. Litter of origin effects on gilt development in a commercial setting

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The preweaning litter environment of gilts can affect subsequent development. In a recent experiment designed to test the effects of dietary ME and lysine on gilt development, individual birth weights, immunocrits (related to colostrum intake), sow parity, number weaned, individual weaning weights, ...

  8. Microbial abundance and composition influence litter decomposition response to environmental change.

    PubMed

    Allison, Steven D; Lu, Ying; Weihe, Claudia; Goulden, Michael L; Martiny, Adam C; Treseder, Kathleen K; Martiny, Jennifer B H

    2013-03-01

    Rates of ecosystem processes such as decomposition are likely to change as a result of human impacts on the environment. In southern California, climate change and nitrogen (N) deposition in particular may alter biological communities and ecosystem processes. These drivers may affect decomposition directly, through changes in abiotic conditions, and indirectly through changes in plant and decomposer communities. To assess indirect effects on litter decomposition, we reciprocally transplanted microbial communities and plant litter among control and treatment plots (either drought or N addition) in a grassland ecosystem. We hypothesized that drought would reduce decomposition rates through moisture limitation of decomposers and reductions in plant litter quality before and during decomposition. In contrast, we predicted that N deposition would stimulate decomposition by relieving N limitation of decomposers and improving plant litter quality. We also hypothesized that adaptive mechanisms would allow microbes to decompose litter more effectively in their native plot and litter environments. Consistent with our first hypothesis, we found that drought treatment reduced litter mass loss from 20.9% to 15.3% after six months. There was a similar decline in mass loss of litter inoculated with microbes transplanted from the drought treatment, suggesting a legacy effect of drought driven by declines in microbial abundance and possible changes in microbial community composition. Bacterial cell densities were up to 86% lower in drought plots and at least 50% lower on litter derived from the drought treatment, whereas fungal hyphal lengths increased by 13-14% in the drought treatment. Nitrogen effects on decomposition rates and microbial abundances were weaker than drought effects, although N addition significantly altered initial plant litter chemistry and litter chemistry during decomposition. However, we did find support for microbial adaptation to N addition with N

  9. Fate of tannins in Corsican pine litter.

    PubMed

    Nierop, Klaas G J; Verstraten, Jacobus M

    2006-12-01

    Tannins are ubiquitous in higher plants and also in litter and soils where they affect many biogeochemical processes. Despite this well-recognized role, their fate in litter and mineral soils is hardly known, as often only trace amounts, if any, are measured. In this study, we conducted an incubation experiment with Corsican pine litter to which known amounts of tannic acid (TA) or condensed tannins (CTs) from Corsican pine were added. Using Folin-Ciocalteu as a measure for total phenolics and HCl-butanol as an assay specific for CTs, acetone/water extractable phenolics and tannins decreased with time towards very low levels. Application of thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation to litter before and after acetone/water extraction revealed that TA concentration decreased. By contrast, CTs remained to a great extent in the litter and could not be extracted suggesting that they were tightly bound.

  10. Litter quality versus soil microbial community controls over decomposition: a quantitative analysis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cleveland, Cory C.; Reed, Sasha C.; Keller, Adrienne B.; Nemergut, Diana R.; O'Neill, Sean P.; Ostertag, Rebecca; Vitousek, Peter M.

    2014-01-01

    The possible effects of soil microbial community structure on organic matter decomposition rates have been widely acknowledged, but are poorly understood. Understanding these relationships is complicated by the fact that microbial community structure and function are likely to both affect and be affected by organic matter quality and chemistry, thus it is difficult to draw mechanistic conclusions from field studies. We conducted a reciprocal soil inoculum × litter transplant laboratory incubation experiment using samples collected from a set of sites that have similar climate and plant species composition but vary significantly in bacterial community structure and litter quality. The results showed that litter quality explained the majority of variation in decomposition rates under controlled laboratory conditions: over the course of the 162-day incubation, litter quality explained nearly two-thirds (64 %) of variation in decomposition rates, and a smaller proportion (25 %) was explained by variation in the inoculum type. In addition, the relative importance of inoculum type on soil respiration increased over the course of the experiment, and was significantly higher in microcosms with lower litter quality relative to those with higher quality litter. We also used molecular phylogenetics to examine the relationships between bacterial community composition and soil respiration in samples through time. Pyrosequencing revealed that bacterial community composition explained 32 % of the variation in respiration rates. However, equal portions (i.e., 16 %) of the variation in bacterial community composition were explained by inoculum type and litter quality, reflecting the importance of both the meta-community and the environment in bacterial assembly. Taken together, these results indicate that the effects of changing microbial community composition on decomposition are likely to be smaller than the potential effects of climate change and/or litter quality changes in

  11. Litter quality versus soil microbial community controls over decomposition: a quantitative analysis.

    PubMed

    Cleveland, Cory C; Reed, Sasha C; Keller, Adrienne B; Nemergut, Diana R; O'Neill, Sean P; Ostertag, Rebecca; Vitousek, Peter M

    2014-01-01

    The possible effects of soil microbial community structure on organic matter decomposition rates have been widely acknowledged, but are poorly understood. Understanding these relationships is complicated by the fact that microbial community structure and function are likely to both affect and be affected by organic matter quality and chemistry, thus it is difficult to draw mechanistic conclusions from field studies. We conducted a reciprocal soil inoculum × litter transplant laboratory incubation experiment using samples collected from a set of sites that have similar climate and plant species composition but vary significantly in bacterial community structure and litter quality. The results showed that litter quality explained the majority of variation in decomposition rates under controlled laboratory conditions: over the course of the 162-day incubation, litter quality explained nearly two-thirds (64%) of variation in decomposition rates, and a smaller proportion (25%) was explained by variation in the inoculum type. In addition, the relative importance of inoculum type on soil respiration increased over the course of the experiment, and was significantly higher in microcosms with lower litter quality relative to those with higher quality litter. We also used molecular phylogenetics to examine the relationships between bacterial community composition and soil respiration in samples through time. Pyrosequencing revealed that bacterial community composition explained 32 % of the variation in respiration rates. However, equal portions (i.e., 16%) of the variation in bacterial community composition were explained by inoculum type and litter quality, reflecting the importance of both the meta-community and the environment in bacterial assembly. Taken together, these results indicate that the effects of changing microbial community composition on decomposition are likely to be smaller than the potential effects of climate change and/or litter quality changes in

  12. Non-native plant litter enhances soil carbon dioxide emissions in an invaded annual grassland.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ling; Wang, Hong; Zou, Jianwen; Rogers, William E; Siemann, Evan

    2014-01-01

    Litter decomposition is a fundamental ecosystem process in which breakdown and decay of plant detritus releases carbon and nutrients. Invasive exotic plants may produce litter that differs from native plant litter in quality and quantity. Such differences may impact litter decomposition and soil respiration in ways that depend on whether exotic and native plant litters decompose in mixtures. However, few field experiments have examined how exotic plants affect soil respiration via litter decomposition. Here, we conducted an in situ study of litter decomposition of an annual native grass (Eragrostis pilosa), a perennial exotic forb (Alternanthera philoxeroides), and their mixtures in an annual grassland in China to examine potential invasion effects on soil respiration. Alternanthera litter decomposed faster than Eragrostis litter when each was incubated separately. Mass loss in litter mixes was more rapid than predicted from rates in single species bags (only 35% of predicted mass remained at 8 months) showing synergistic effects. Notably, exotic plant litter decomposition rate was unchanged but native plant litter decomposition rate was accelerated in mixtures (decay constant k = 0.20 month(-1)) compared to in isolation (k = 0.10 month(-1)). On average, every litter type increased soil respiration compared to bare soil from which litter was removed. However, the increases were larger for mixed litter (1.82 times) than for Alternanthera litter (1.58 times) or Eragrostis litter (1.30 times). Carbon released as CO2 relative to litter carbon input was also higher for mixed litter (3.34) than for Alternathera litter (2.29) or Eragrostis litter (1.19). Our results indicated that exotic Alternanthera produces rapidly decomposing litter which also accelerates the decomposition of native plant litter in litter mixtures and enhances soil respiration rates. Thus, this exotic invasive plant species will likely accelerate carbon cycling and increase soil respiration

  13. Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads in an Agricultural Watershed Affected by Poultry Litter Application and Wastewater Effluent, Northeastern Oklahoma and Northwestern Arkansas, 2002-2009

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esralew, R.; Tortorelli, R. L.

    2010-12-01

    The Eucha-Spavinaw Basin in Northeastern Oklahoma and Northwestern Arkansas is the source of water for Lake Eucha and Spavinaw Lake, which are part of the water supply for the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lake Eucha and Spavinaw Lakes have experienced deteriorating water quality largely due to growth of algae, notably cyanobacteria, from the excess input of nutrients. As a result, the city of Tulsa has spent millions of dollars to eliminate taste and odor problems resulting from production of algal and bacterial byproducts. To evaluate changes in nutrient loading resulting from a reduction in land application of poultry litter, installation of best management practices, and reductions in the phosphorus concentrations in wastewater effluent, the U.S. Geological Survey investigated nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations from samples collected during baseflow and runoff and used regression models to estimate nitrogen and phosphorus loads, yields, and flow-weighted concentrations in two major tributaries to Lake Eucha, Spavinaw and Beaty Creeks, for the period 2002-2009. Estimated mean flow-weighted total unfiltered nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in the basin were about 5 to 10 times greater than the 75th percentile of flow-weighted nutrient concentrations in other mostly undeveloped basins of the United States. Spavinaw and Beaty Creeks contributed an estimated mean annual total load of about 762,500 kilograms of nitrogen and 49,200 kilograms of phosphorus per year, 76 to 91 percent of which was transported to Lake Eucha by runoff. Thirty-four percent of the nitrogen load and 48 percent of the phosphorus load to Lake Eucha occurred during the year 2008 which was the wettest year on record for the Eucha-Spavinaw Basin. The results of this analysis indicate that although efforts were made to control nutrient loading, nutrient concentrations, especially phosphorus, were substantially augmented by non-point sources and that most loading occurs during runoff events

  14. Effects of forest litter and aeolian dust deposition on snow surface albedo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perrot, D.; Pugh, E. T.; Molotch, N. P.; Small, E. E.

    2011-12-01

    Litter from bark beetle-infested trees and aeolian dust deposition are current perturbations to the snowpack surface albedo in subalpine forested environments in the Colorado River Basin. We examine the combined effects of dust and litter on snow surface albedo through field and controlled laboratory modification of snow surface dust and litter concentrations. From field experiments, applications of needles resulted in an albedo decrease of 0.0146 per percent increase in litter cover. Dust application resulted in an albedo decrease of 0.0061 per percent increase in litter cover. Needle application to a dusty snow surface resulted in 0.0043 albedo reduction per percent litter cover, and dust application to a snow surface with needles already present resulted in 0.0036 albedo reduction per percent litter cover. We tested the effects of yellow and red lodgepole needles on albedo reduction both in the field and the laboratory, and though yellow needles are slightly smaller, found that there is no significant difference between the slopes of yellow and red needles. However, there is a significant difference between the laboratory and field experiments resulting from different media (snow in the field and a whiteboard in the lab) that litter was applied to. Generally, we also find that it takes 120.7 lodgepole pine needles to affect the same increase in percent litter cover as 1 g/m2 of dust, and that it takes 53.2 needles to affect the same reduction in albedo as 1 g/m2 of dust. This suggests that per unit surface area, needles are more important than dust for albedo reduction. Experiments performed in the field and in the lab demonstrate the stronger albedo reducing effect of needles. However, dust has a greater capacity to cover more snow surface area than needles, increasing its overall importance. Because dust can cover more snow surface area than needles can, we suspect that dust deposition in forested environments will serve to significantly reduce subcanopy

  15. Changes in litter quality induced by nutrient addition alter litter decomposition in an alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Wenyan; Wang, Jinzhou; Zhang, Zhenhua; Ren, Fei; Chen, Litong; He, Jin-Sheng

    2016-01-01

    The effects of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) addition on litter decomposition are poorly understood in Tibetan alpine meadows. Leaf litter was collected from plots within a factorial N × P addition experiment and allowed to decompose over 708 days in an unfertilized plot to determine the effects of N and/or P addition on litter decomposition. Results showed that nutrient addition significantly affected initial P and P-related biochemical properties of litter from all four species. However, the responses of litter N and N-related biochemical properties to nutrient addition were quite species-specific. Litter C decomposition and N release were species-specific. However, N and P addition significantly affected litter P release. Ratios of Hemicellulose + Cellulose to N and P were significantly related to litter C decomposition; C:N ratio was a determinant of litter N release; and C:P and (Hemicellulose + Cellulose):P controlled litter P release. Overall, litter C decomposition was controlled by litter quality of different plant species, and strongly affected by P addition. Increasing N availability is likely to affect litter C decomposition more indirectly by shifting plant species composition than directly by improving litter quality, and may accelerate N and P cycles, but shift the ecosystem to P limitation. PMID:27694948

  16. Carbon redistribution during interrill erosion in subtropical forests: Effects of leaf litter diversity and soil fauna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goebes, Philipp; Seitz, Steffen; Kühn, Peter; Scholten, Thomas

    2016-04-01

    Soil erosion is crucial for degradation of carbon (C) from their pools in the soil. If C of the eroded sediment and runoff are not only related to soil pools but also resulting additively from decomposition of litter cover, the system gets more complex. The role of these amounts for C cycling in a forest environment is not yet known properly and thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the role of leaf litter diversity, litter cover and soil fauna on C redistribution during interrill erosion. We established 96 runoff plots that were deployed with seven domestic leaf litter species resulting in none species (bare ground), 1-species, 2-species and 4-species mixtures. Every second runoff plot was equipped with a fauna extinction feature to investigate the role of soil meso- and macrofauna. Erosion processes were initiated using a rainfall simulator at two time steps (summer 2012 and autumn 2012) to investigate the role of leaf litter decomposition on C redistribution. C fluxes during 20 min rainfall simulation were 99.13 ± 94.98 g/m². C fluxes and C contents both were affected by soil fauna. C fluxes were higher with presence of soil fauna due to loosening and slackening of the soil surface rather than due to faster decomposition of leaves. In contrast, C contents were higher in the absence of soil fauna possibly resulting from a missing dilution effect in the top soil layer. Leaf litter diversity did not affect C fluxes, but indirectly affected C contents as it increased the soil fauna effect with higher leaf litter diversity due to superior food supply. Initial C contents in the soil mainly determined those of the eroded sediment. For future research, it will be essential to introduce a long-term decomposition experiment to get further insights into the processes of C redistribution.

  17. Mixing effects on litter decomposition rates in a young tree diversity experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Setiawan, Nuri Nurlaila; Vanhellemont, Margot; De Schrijver, An; Schelfhout, Stephanie; Baeten, Lander; Verheyen, Kris

    2016-01-01

    Litter decomposition is an essential process for biogeochemical cycling and for the formation of new soil organic matter. Mixing litter from different tree species has been reported to increase litter decomposition rates through synergistic effects. We assessed the decomposition rates of leaf litter from five tree species in a recently established tree diversity experiment on a post-agriculture site in Belgium. We used 20 different leaf litter compositions with diversity levels ranging from 1 up to 4 species. Litter mass loss in litterbags was assessed 10, 20, 25, 35, and 60 weeks after installation in the field. We found that litter decomposition rates were higher for high-quality litters, i.e., with high nitrogen content and low lignin content. The decomposition rates of mixed litter were more affected by the identity of the litter species within the mixture than by the diversity of the litter per se, but the variability in litter decomposition rates decreased as the litter diversity increased. Among the 15 different mixed litter compositions in our study, only three litter combinations showed synergistic effects. Our study suggests that admixing tree species with high-quality litter in post-agricultural plantations helps in increasing the mixture's early-stage litter decomposition rate.

  18. Effect of Fresh Poultry Litter and Compost on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carr, Stacy; Tsegaye, Teferi; Coleman, Tommy

    1998-01-01

    Application of poultry litter and compost as a substitute for fertilizer not only uses unwanted waste and decreases expenditures for commercial fertilizer, it adds nutrients to soil for plant uptake. The properties of soil affected by poultry litter were analyzed to determine the positive and negative aspects of using this substitute fertilizer. This study focused on changes associated with saturated hydraulic conductivity, bulk density, nitrate concentrations, and pH after application of varying concentrations of poultry litter and compost. Soil samples from Tennessee Valley Substation in Alabama were analyzed in a laboratory at Alabama A&M University. As a result of the application of fresh poultry litter and compost, we found that the saturated hydraulic conductivity increased and the bulk density decreased, while the pH was generally not affected. Using poultry litter and compost as an alternative commercial fertilizers could be adapted by the farming community to protect the sustainability of our environment. Unwanted waste is used productively and soil is enriched for farming.

  19. Watching eyes on potential litter can reduce littering: evidence from two field experiments.

    PubMed

    Bateson, Melissa; Robinson, Rebecca; Abayomi-Cole, Tim; Greenlees, Josh; O'Connor, Abby; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Littering constitutes a major societal problem, and any simple intervention that reduces its prevalence would be widely beneficial. In previous research, we have found that displaying images of watching eyes in the environment makes people less likely to litter. Here, we investigate whether the watching eyes images can be transferred onto the potential items of litter themselves. In two field experiments on a university campus, we created an opportunity to litter by attaching leaflets that either did or did not feature an image of watching eyes to parked bicycles. In both experiments, the watching eyes leaflets were substantially less likely to be littered than control leaflets (odds ratios 0.22-0.32). We also found that people were less likely to litter when there other people in the immediate vicinity than when there were not (odds ratios 0.04-0.25) and, in one experiment but not the other, that eye leaflets only reduced littering when there no other people in the immediate vicinity. We suggest that designing cues of observation into packaging could be a simple but fruitful strategy for reducing littering. PMID:26644979

  20. Watching eyes on potential litter can reduce littering: evidence from two field experiments.

    PubMed

    Bateson, Melissa; Robinson, Rebecca; Abayomi-Cole, Tim; Greenlees, Josh; O'Connor, Abby; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Littering constitutes a major societal problem, and any simple intervention that reduces its prevalence would be widely beneficial. In previous research, we have found that displaying images of watching eyes in the environment makes people less likely to litter. Here, we investigate whether the watching eyes images can be transferred onto the potential items of litter themselves. In two field experiments on a university campus, we created an opportunity to litter by attaching leaflets that either did or did not feature an image of watching eyes to parked bicycles. In both experiments, the watching eyes leaflets were substantially less likely to be littered than control leaflets (odds ratios 0.22-0.32). We also found that people were less likely to litter when there other people in the immediate vicinity than when there were not (odds ratios 0.04-0.25) and, in one experiment but not the other, that eye leaflets only reduced littering when there no other people in the immediate vicinity. We suggest that designing cues of observation into packaging could be a simple but fruitful strategy for reducing littering.

  1. Watching eyes on potential litter can reduce littering: evidence from two field experiments

    PubMed Central

    Bateson, Melissa; Robinson, Rebecca; Abayomi-Cole, Tim; Greenlees, Josh; O’Connor, Abby

    2015-01-01

    Littering constitutes a major societal problem, and any simple intervention that reduces its prevalence would be widely beneficial. In previous research, we have found that displaying images of watching eyes in the environment makes people less likely to litter. Here, we investigate whether the watching eyes images can be transferred onto the potential items of litter themselves. In two field experiments on a university campus, we created an opportunity to litter by attaching leaflets that either did or did not feature an image of watching eyes to parked bicycles. In both experiments, the watching eyes leaflets were substantially less likely to be littered than control leaflets (odds ratios 0.22–0.32). We also found that people were less likely to litter when there other people in the immediate vicinity than when there were not (odds ratios 0.04–0.25) and, in one experiment but not the other, that eye leaflets only reduced littering when there no other people in the immediate vicinity. We suggest that designing cues of observation into packaging could be a simple but fruitful strategy for reducing littering. PMID:26644979

  2. Environmental fate of roxarsone in poultry litter. Part II. Mobility of arsenic in soils amended with poultry litter

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rutherford, D.W.; Bednar, A.J.; Garbarino, J.R.; Needham, R.; Staver, K.W.; Wershaw, R. L.

    2003-01-01

    Poultry litter often contains arsenic as a result of organo-arsenical feed additives. When the poultry litter is applied to agricultural fields, the arsenic is released to the environment and may result in increased arsenic in surface and groundwater and increased uptake by plants. The release of arsenic from poultry litter, litter-amended soils, and soils without litter amendment was examined by extraction with water and strong acids (HCI and HN03). The extracts were analyzed for As, C, P, Cu, Zn, and Fe. Copper, zinc, and iron are also poultry feed additives. Soils with a known history of litter application and controlled application rate of arsenic-containing poultry litter were obtained from the University of Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station. Soils from fields with long-term application of poultry litter were obtained from a tilled field on the Delmarva Peninsula (MD) and an untilled Oklahoma pasture. Samples from an adjacent forest or nearby pasture that had no history of litter application were used as controls. Depth profiles were sampled for the Oklahoma pasture soils. Analysis of the poultry litter showed that 75% of the arsenic was readily soluble in water. Extraction of soils shows that weakly bound arsenic mobilized by water correlates positively with C, P, Cu, and Zn in amended fields and appears to come primarily from the litter. Strongly bound arsenic correlates positively with Fe in amended fields and suggests sorption or coprecipitation of As and Fe in the soil column.

  3. Video-Based Affect Detection in Noninteractive Learning Environments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chen, Yuxuan; Bosch, Nigel; D'Mello, Sidney

    2015-01-01

    The current paper explores possible solutions to the problem of detecting affective states from facial expressions during text/diagram comprehension, a context devoid of interactive events that can be used to infer affect. These data present an interesting challenge for face-based affect detection because likely locations of affective facial…

  4. Influence of waste management policy on the characteristics of beach litter in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Liu, Ta-Kang; Wang, Meng-Wei; Chen, Ping

    2013-07-15

    Marine debris is a ubiquitous problem that poses a serious threat to the global oceans; it has motivated public participation in clean-up campaigns, as well as governmental involvement in developing mitigation strategies. While it is known that the problem of marine litter may be affected by waste management practices on land, beach survey results have seldom been compared with them. In this study, marine litter surveys on four beaches of Cijin Island were conducted to explore the effects of waste management and policy implications. Indirect evidence shows that chances for land-based litter, such as plastic bags and bottles, entering the marine environment can be greatly decreased if they can be properly reduced, reused and recycled. We suggest that mitigation measures should focus on source reduction, waste recycling and management, utilizing effective economic instruments, and pursuing a long-term public education campaign to raise the public awareness of this problem. PMID:23673204

  5. 49 CFR 520.5 - Guidelines for identifying major actions significantly affecting the environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... significantly affecting the environment. 520.5 Section 520.5 Transportation Other Regulations Relating to... significantly affecting the environment. (a) General guidelines. The phrase, “major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” as used in this part, shall be construed with...

  6. 49 CFR 520.5 - Guidelines for identifying major actions significantly affecting the environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... significantly affecting the environment. 520.5 Section 520.5 Transportation Other Regulations Relating to... significantly affecting the environment. (a) General guidelines. The phrase, “major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” as used in this part, shall be construed with...

  7. 49 CFR 520.5 - Guidelines for identifying major actions significantly affecting the environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... significantly affecting the environment. 520.5 Section 520.5 Transportation Other Regulations Relating to... significantly affecting the environment. (a) General guidelines. The phrase, “major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” as used in this part, shall be construed with...

  8. 49 CFR 520.5 - Guidelines for identifying major actions significantly affecting the environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... significantly affecting the environment. 520.5 Section 520.5 Transportation Other Regulations Relating to... significantly affecting the environment. (a) General guidelines. The phrase, “major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” as used in this part, shall be construed with...

  9. 49 CFR 520.5 - Guidelines for identifying major actions significantly affecting the environment.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... significantly affecting the environment. 520.5 Section 520.5 Transportation Other Regulations Relating to... significantly affecting the environment. (a) General guidelines. The phrase, “major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” as used in this part, shall be construed with...

  10. Environmentally friendly animal litter

    SciTech Connect

    Chett, Boxley; McKelvie, Jessica

    2013-08-20

    A method of making an animal litter that includes geopolymerized ash, wherein, the animal litter is made from a quantity of a pozzolanic ash mixed with a sufficient quantity of water and an alkaline activator to initiate a geopolymerization reaction that forms geopolymerized ash. After the geopolymerized ash is formed, it is dried, broken into particulates, and sieved to a desired size. These geopolymerized ash particulates are used to make a non-clumping or clumping animal litter. Odor control may be accomplished with the addition of a urease inhibitor, pH buffer, an odor eliminating agent, and/or fragrance.

  11. UVB Exposure Does Not Accelerate Rates of Litter Decomposition in a Semiarid Riparian Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uselman, S. M.; Snyder, K. A.; Blank, R. R.; Jones, T. J.

    2010-12-01

    Aboveground litter decomposition is controlled mainly by substrate quality and climate factors across terrestrial ecosystems, but photodegradation from exposure to high-intensity ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation may also be important in arid and semi-arid environments. We investigated the interactive effects of UVB exposure and litter quality on decomposition in a Tamarix-invaded riparian ecosystem during the establishment of an insect biological control agent in northern Nevada. Feeding by the northern tamarisk beetle (Diorhabda carinulata) on Tamarix spp. trees leads to altered leaf litter quality and increased exposure to solar UVB radiation from canopy opening. In addition, we examined the dynamics of litter decomposition of the invasive exotic Lepidium latifolium, because it is well-situated to invade beetle-infested Tamarix sites. Three leaf litter types (natural Tamarix, beetle-affected Tamarix, and L. latifolium) differing in substrate quality were decomposed in litterbags for one year in the field. Litterbags were subjected to one of three treatments: (1) Ambient UVB or (2) Reduced UVB (where UVB was manipulated by using clear plastic films that transmit or block UVB), and (3) No Cover (a control used to test for the effect of using the plastic films, i.e. a cover effect). Results showed a large cover effect on rates of decomposition and nutrient release, and our findings suggested that frequent cycles of freeze-thaw, and possibly rainfall intensity, influenced decomposition at this site. Contrary to our expectations, greater UVB exposure did not result in faster rates of decomposition. Greater UVB exposure resulted in decreased rates of decomposition and P release for the lower quality litter and no change in rates of decomposition and nutrient release for the two higher quality litter types, possibly due to a negative effect of UVB on soil microbes. Among litter types, rates of decomposition and net release of N and P followed this ranking: L. latifolium

  12. Littering Behavior in Public Places

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robinson, Stuart N.

    1976-01-01

    This review summarizes the present state of knowledge concerning littering behavior. Available studies are categorized according to the variables that influence littering--individual and environmental. Theoretical issues of attitude-behavior consistency and incentive effectiveness are analyzed with respect to littering and litter control. Results…

  13. Mixing effects of understory plant litter on decomposition and nutrient release of tree litter in two plantations in Northeast China.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Lei; Hu, Ya-Lin; Lin, Gui-Gang; Gao, Yong-chao; Fang, Yun-Ting; Zeng, De-Hui

    2013-01-01

    Understory vegetation plays a crucial role in carbon and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems; however, it is not clear how understory species affect tree litter decomposition and nutrient dynamics. In this study, we examined the impacts of understory litter on the decomposition and nutrient release of tree litter both in a pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) and a poplar (Populus × xiaozhuanica) plantation in Northeast China. Leaf litter of tree species, and senesced aboveground materials from two dominant understory species, Artemisia scoparia and Setaria viridis in the pine stand and Elymus villifer and A. sieversiana in the poplar stand, were collected. Mass loss and N and P fluxes of single-species litter and three-species mixtures in each of the two forests were quantified. Data from single-species litterbags were used to generate predicted mass loss and N and P fluxes for the mixed-species litterbags. In the mixture from the pine stand, the observed mass loss and N release did not differ from the predicted value, whereas the observed P release was greater than the predicted value. However, the presence of understory litter decelerated the mass loss and did not affect N and P releases from the pine litter. In the poplar stand, litter mixture presented a positive non-additive effect on litter mass loss and P release, but an addition effect on N release. The presence of understory species accelerated only N release of poplar litter. Moreover, the responses of mass loss and N and P releases of understory litter in the mixtures varied with species in both pine and poplar plantations. Our results suggest that the effects of understory species on tree litter decomposition vary with tree species, and also highlight the importance of understory species in litter decomposition and nutrient cycles in forest ecosystems. PMID:24143184

  14. Parents and Early Life Environment Affect Behavioral Development of Laying Hen Chickens

    PubMed Central

    de Haas, Elske N.; Bolhuis, J. Elizabeth; Kemp, Bas; Groothuis, Ton G. G.; Rodenburg, T. Bas

    2014-01-01

    Severe feather pecking (SFP) in commercial laying hens is a maladaptive behavior which is associated with anxiety traits. Many experimental studies have shown that stress in the parents can affect anxiety in the offspring, but until now these effects have been neglected in addressing the problem of SFP in commercially kept laying hens. We therefore studied whether parental stock (PS) affected the development of SFP and anxiety in their offspring. We used flocks from a brown and white genetic hybrid because genetic background can affect SFP and anxiety. As SFP can also be influenced by housing conditions on the rearing farm, we included effects of housing system and litter availability in the analysis. Forty-seven rearing flocks, originating from ten PS flocks were followed. Behavioral and physiological parameters related to anxiety and SFP were studied in the PS at 40 weeks of age and in the rearing flocks at one, five, ten and fifteen weeks of age. We found that PS had an effect on SFP at one week of age and on anxiety at one and five weeks of age. In the white hybrid, but not in the brown hybrid, high levels of maternal corticosterone, maternal feather damage and maternal whole-blood serotonin levels showed positive relations with offsprings’ SFP at one week and offsprings’ anxiety at one and five weeks of age. Disruption and limitation of litter supply at an early age on the rearing farms increased SFP, feather damage and fearfulness. These effects were most prominent in the brown hybrid. It appeared that hens from a brown hybrid are more affected by environmental conditions, while hens from a white hybrid were more strongly affected by parental effects. These results are important for designing measures to prevent the development of SFP, which may require a different approach in brown and white flocks. PMID:24603500

  15. Abundance of litter on Condor seamount (Azores, Portugal, Northeast Atlantic)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pham, C. K.; Gomes-Pereira, J. N.; Isidro, E. J.; Santos, R. S.; Morato, T.

    2013-12-01

    Marine litter is an emerging problem for the world's ocean health but little is known on its distribution and abundance on seamounts and how it affects deep-sea ecosystems. The scientific underwater laboratory set up on Condor seamount offered an ideal case study for the first documentation of litter distribution on a shallow seamount with historical fishing. A total of 48 video transects deployed on the summit (n=45) and the northern flank (n=3) covered an area of 0.031 and 0.025km2, respectively, revealing 55 litter items. Litter density on the summit was 1439 litter items km-2, whilst on the deeper northern flank, estimates indicate densities of 397 litter items km-2. Lost fishing line was the dominant litter item encountered on both areas (73% of total litter on the summit and 50% on northern flank), all being entirely or partly entangled in the locally abundant gorgonians Dentomuricea cf. meteor and Viminella flagellum. Other items included lost weights, anchors and glass bottles. The predominance of lost fishing gear identifies the source of litter on Condor seamount as exclusively ocean-based and related to fishing activities. Abundance of litter on the Condor seamount was much lower than that reported from other locations closer to populated areas.

  16. Litter supply as a driver of microbial activity and community structure on decomposing leaves: a test in experimental streams.

    PubMed

    Frossard, Aline; Gerull, Linda; Mutz, Michael; Gessner, Mark O

    2013-08-01

    Succession of newly created landscapes induces profound changes in plant litter supplied to streams. Grasses dominate inputs into open-land streams, whereas tree litter is predominant in forested streams. We set out to elucidate whether the activity and structure of microbial communities on decomposing leaves are determined by litter quality (i.e., grass or tree leaves colonized) or whether changes during riparian succession affecting litter standing stocks on the stream bed play an overriding role. We used 15 outdoor experimental streams to simulate changes in litter supplies reflecting five stages of riparian succession: (i) a biofilm stage with no litter, (ii) an open-land stage characterized by grass litter inputs, (iii) a transitional stage with a mix of grass and tree litter, (iv) an early forested stage with tree litter, and (v) an advanced forested stage with 2.5 times the amount of tree litter. Microbial activities on tree (Betula pendula) and grass (Calamagrostis epigejos) litter were unaffected by either the quantity or type of litter supplied to the experimental streams (i.e., litter standing stock) but differed between the two litter types. This was in stark contrast with bacterial and fungal community structure, which markedly differed on grass and tree litter and, to a lesser extent, also among streams receiving different litter inputs. These patterns reveal distinct responses of microbial community structure and activity to the bulk litter available in streams but consistent responses to the litter type colonized.

  17. Odour emissions from poultry litter - A review litter properties, odour formation and odorant emissions from porous materials.

    PubMed

    Dunlop, Mark W; Blackall, Patrick J; Stuetz, Richard M

    2016-07-15

    Odour emissions from meat chicken sheds can at times cause odour impacts on surrounding communities. Litter is seen as the primary source of this odour. Formation and emission of odour from meat chicken litter during the grow-out period are influenced by various factors such as litter conditions, the environment, microbial activity, properties of the odorous gases and management practices. Odour emissions vary spatially and temporally. This variability has made it challenging to understand how specific litter conditions contribute to odour emissions from the litter and production sheds. Existing knowledge on odorants, odour formation mechanisms and emission processes that contribute to odour emissions from litter are reviewed. Litter moisture content and water thermodynamics (i.e. water activity, Aw) are also examined as factors that contribute to microbial odour formation, physical litter conditions and the exchange of individual odorant gases at the air-water interface. Substantial opportunities exist for future research on litter conditions and litter formation mechanisms and how these contribute to odour emissions. Closing this knowledge gap will improve management strategies that intercept and interfere with odour formation and emission processes leading to an overall reduction in the potential to cause community impacts. PMID:27111649

  18. How Ten Years of Change Affected One College Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rowe, Frederick B.

    1970-01-01

    Pace's College and University Environmental Scales (CUES), used to test the environment of Randolph-Macon Woman's College 1959-69, showed that stability in administrative personnel and faculty along with student body drawn mostly from same social and educational backgrounds over period of time produces basically stable environment despite period…

  19. Control of climate and litter quality on leaf litter decomposition in different climatic zones.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xinyue; Wang, Wei

    2015-09-01

    Climate and initial litter quality are the major factors influencing decomposition rates on large scales. We established a comprehensive database of terrestrial leaf litter decomposition, including 785 datasets, to examine the relationship between climate and litter quality and evaluate the factors controlling decomposition on a global scale, the arid and semi-arid (AS) zone, the humid middle and humid low (HL) latitude zones. Initial litter nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentration only increased with mean annual temperature (MAT) in the AS zone and decreased with mean annual precipitation (MAP) in the HL zone. Compared with nutrient content, MAT imposed less effect on initial litter lignin content than MAP. MAT were the most important decomposition driving factors on a global scale as well as in different climatic zones. MAP only significantly affected decomposition constants in AS zone. Although litter quality parameters also showed significant influence on decomposition, their importance was less than the climatic factors. Besides, different litter quality parameters exerted significant influence on decomposition in different climatic zones. Our results emphasized that climate consistently exerted important effects on decomposition constants across different climatic zones.

  20. Litter ammonia losses amplified by higher air flow rates

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    ABSTRACT Broiler litter utilization has largely been associated with land application as fertilizer. Reducing ammonia (NH3) released from litter enhances its fertilizer value and negates detrimental impacts to the environment. A laboratory study was conducted to quantify the effect of air flow var...

  1. Anti-Litter Curriculum Packet, Interdisciplinary, K-12.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tillis, Richard

    This curriculum packet consists of 20 illustrated cards with 15 activities designed to create "positive feelings" about a clean environment. Activities range from picture coloring for younger students, to lessons such as the economic and health problems litter creates for older students. Objectives include encouraging anti-litter and…

  2. Ingestion of marine litter by loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, in Portuguese continental waters.

    PubMed

    Nicolau, Lídia; Marçalo, Ana; Ferreira, Marisa; Sá, Sara; Vingada, José; Eira, Catarina

    2016-02-15

    The accumulation of litter in marine and coastal environments is a major threat to marine life. Data on marine litter in the gastrointestinal tract of stranded loggerhead turtles, Caretta caretta, found along the Portuguese continental coast was presented. Out of the 95 analysed loggerheads, litter was present in 56 individuals (59.0%) and most had less than 10 litter items (76.8%) and less than 5 g (dm) (96.8%). Plastic was the main litter category (frequency of occurrence=56.8%), while sheet (45.3%) was the most relevant plastic sub-category. There was no influence of loggerhead stranding season, cause of stranding or size on the amount of litter ingested (mean number and dry mass of litter items per turtle). The high ingested litter occurrence frequency in this study supports the use of the loggerhead turtle as a suitable tool to monitor marine litter trends, as required by the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive. PMID:26763321

  3. Ingestion of marine litter by loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, in Portuguese continental waters.

    PubMed

    Nicolau, Lídia; Marçalo, Ana; Ferreira, Marisa; Sá, Sara; Vingada, José; Eira, Catarina

    2016-02-15

    The accumulation of litter in marine and coastal environments is a major threat to marine life. Data on marine litter in the gastrointestinal tract of stranded loggerhead turtles, Caretta caretta, found along the Portuguese continental coast was presented. Out of the 95 analysed loggerheads, litter was present in 56 individuals (59.0%) and most had less than 10 litter items (76.8%) and less than 5 g (dm) (96.8%). Plastic was the main litter category (frequency of occurrence=56.8%), while sheet (45.3%) was the most relevant plastic sub-category. There was no influence of loggerhead stranding season, cause of stranding or size on the amount of litter ingested (mean number and dry mass of litter items per turtle). The high ingested litter occurrence frequency in this study supports the use of the loggerhead turtle as a suitable tool to monitor marine litter trends, as required by the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

  4. LIGHT-INDUCED PROCESSES AFFECTING ENTEROCOCCI IN AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fecal indicator bacteria such as enterococci have been used to assess contamination of freshwater and marine environments by pathogenic microorganisms. Various past studies have shown that sunlight plays an important role in reducing concentrations of culturable enterococci and ...

  5. [Effects of environmental factors on litter decomposition in arid and semi-arid regions: A review].

    PubMed

    Wang, Xin-Yuan; Zhao, Xue-Yong; Li, Yu-Lin; Lian, Jie; Qu, Hao; Yue, Xiang-Fei

    2013-11-01

    Litter decomposition is one of the important biochemical processes in arid and semi-arid regions, and a key component of regional nutrient turnover and carbon cycling, which is mainly affected by climate, litter quality, and decomposer community. In order to deeply understand the relationships between litter decomposition and environmental factors in arid and semi-arid regions, this paper summarized the research progress in the effects of abiotic factors (soil temperature, precipitation, and ultraviolet-B radiation) and biotic factors (litter quality, soil microbial and animal composition and community structure) on the litter decomposition in these regions. Among the factors, precipitation and ultraviolet-B radiation are considered to be the main limiting factors of litter decomposition. In arid and semi-arid regions, precipitation can significantly increase the litter decomposition rate in a short term, while the photo-degradation induced by ultraviolet-B radiation, due to the strong and long-term radiation, can increase the decomposition rate of terrestrial litter. Litter quality, soil microbial and animal composition and community structure are mainly affected by the type of ecosystems in a long term. However, the affecting mechanisms of these environmental factors on litter decomposition are still not very clear. It was suggested that the future litter ecological research should be paid more attention to the interaction of environmental factors under climate change, the variations of litter decomposition at different spatial scales, and the establishment of litter decomposition models in relation to the synergistic interactions of multiple factors. PMID:24564163

  6. [Effects of environmental factors on litter decomposition in arid and semi-arid regions: A review].

    PubMed

    Wang, Xin-Yuan; Zhao, Xue-Yong; Li, Yu-Lin; Lian, Jie; Qu, Hao; Yue, Xiang-Fei

    2013-11-01

    Litter decomposition is one of the important biochemical processes in arid and semi-arid regions, and a key component of regional nutrient turnover and carbon cycling, which is mainly affected by climate, litter quality, and decomposer community. In order to deeply understand the relationships between litter decomposition and environmental factors in arid and semi-arid regions, this paper summarized the research progress in the effects of abiotic factors (soil temperature, precipitation, and ultraviolet-B radiation) and biotic factors (litter quality, soil microbial and animal composition and community structure) on the litter decomposition in these regions. Among the factors, precipitation and ultraviolet-B radiation are considered to be the main limiting factors of litter decomposition. In arid and semi-arid regions, precipitation can significantly increase the litter decomposition rate in a short term, while the photo-degradation induced by ultraviolet-B radiation, due to the strong and long-term radiation, can increase the decomposition rate of terrestrial litter. Litter quality, soil microbial and animal composition and community structure are mainly affected by the type of ecosystems in a long term. However, the affecting mechanisms of these environmental factors on litter decomposition are still not very clear. It was suggested that the future litter ecological research should be paid more attention to the interaction of environmental factors under climate change, the variations of litter decomposition at different spatial scales, and the establishment of litter decomposition models in relation to the synergistic interactions of multiple factors.

  7. The Effect of Litter Position on Ultraviolet Photodegradation of Standing Dead Litter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Y.; King, J. Y.

    2012-12-01

    In dryland ecosystems, models incorporating only biotic mechanisms usually underestimate the decay rate of plant litter. Photodegradation, an abiotic process through which solar radiation breaks down organic matter, has recently been proposed as an important pathway of litter decomposition in dryland ecosystems, accounting for as much as 25 to 60% of mass loss. However, it remains unclear what factors control the relative importance of photodegradation and biotic decomposition. It is hypothesized that this balance is affected by the location of litter within the litter layer (or thatch): in upper layers of thatch, photodegradation is significant because litter is exposed to sunlight; in lower layers where litter is strongly shaded, photodegradation is negligible compared to biotic decomposition. In August 2011, a field experiment was initiated at the University of California's Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Ynez, CA, in order to understand how ultraviolet (UV) radiation and litter position within the thatch affect litter decomposition. Two levels of UV radiation (280-400 nm) are achieved by screens: "UV-Pass" (transmitting > 81% of UV radiation) and "UV-Block" (transmitting < 8% of UV radiation). Litterbags were placed either at the top or at the bottom of the thatch. Results after 9 months of field exposure show that at the top of the thatch, litter mass loss was 13% higher in UV-Pass than in UV-Block, suggesting the occurrence of UV photodegradation. Surprisingly, litter mass loss was 52% higher in UV-Pass at the bottom of the thatch, even though very limited UV radiation penetrated through the thatch (at least 10 cm thick). The relative humidity in the thatch was higher in UV-Pass than in UV-Block treatments, especially at night; thus it is speculated that the UV manipulation not only alters the incoming radiation spectrum but also affects microclimate, consequently changing biotic decomposition. At the bottom of the thatch, lignin concentration of plant litter was 19

  8. A meta-analysis of the effects of nutrient enrichment on litter decomposition in streams.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Castagneyrol, Bastien; Koricheva, Julia; Gulis, Vladislav; Chauvet, Eric; Graça, Manuel A S

    2015-08-01

    The trophic state of many streams is likely to deteriorate in the future due to the continuing increase in human-induced nutrient availability. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to understand how nutrient enrichment affects plant litter decomposition, a key ecosystem-level process in forest streams. Here, we present a meta-analysis of 99 studies published between 1970 and 2012 that reported the effects of nutrient enrichment on litter decomposition in running waters. When considering the entire database, which consisted of 840 case studies, nutrient enrichment stimulated litter decomposition rate by approximately 50%. The stimulation was higher when the background nutrient concentrations were low and the magnitude of the nutrient enrichment was high, suggesting that oligotrophic streams are most vulnerable to nutrient enrichment. The magnitude of the nutrient-enrichment effect on litter decomposition was higher in the laboratory than in the field experiments, suggesting that laboratory experiments overestimate the effect and their results should be interpreted with caution. Among field experiments, effects of nutrient enrichment were smaller in the correlative than in the manipulative experiments since in the former the effects of nutrient enrichment on litter decomposition were likely confounded by other environmental factors, e.g. pollutants other than nutrients commonly found in streams impacted by human activity. However, primary studies addressing the effect of multiple stressors on litter decomposition are still few and thus it was not possible to consider the interaction between factors in this review. In field manipulative experiments, the effect of nutrient enrichment on litter decomposition depended on the scale at which the nutrients were added: stream reach > streamside channel > litter bag. This may have resulted from a more uniform and continuous exposure of microbes and detritivores to nutrient enrichment at the stream-reach scale. By

  9. Affective Behavior and Nonverbal Interaction in Collaborative Virtual Environments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peña, Adriana; Rangel, Nora; Muñoz, Mirna; Mejia, Jezreel; Lara, Graciela

    2016-01-01

    While a person's internal state might not be easily inferred through an automatic computer system, within a group, people express themselves through their interaction with others. The group members' interaction can be then helpful to understand, to certain extent, its members' affective behavior in any case toward the task at hand. In this…

  10. Designing for Automatic Affect Inference in Learning Environments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Afzal, Shazia; Robinson, Peter

    2011-01-01

    Emotions play a significant role in healthy cognitive functioning; they impact memory, attention, decision-making and attitude; and are therefore influential in learning and achievement. Consequently, affective diagnoses constitute an important aspect of human teacher-learner interactions motivating efforts to incorporate skills of affect…

  11. Habitat structure alters top-down control in litter communities.

    PubMed

    Kalinkat, Gregor; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn Christian

    2013-07-01

    The question whether top-down or bottom-up forces dominate trophic relationships, energy flow, and abundances within food webs has fuelled much ecological research with particular focus on soil litter ecosystems. Because litter simultaneously provides habitat structure and a basal resource, disentangling direct trophic and indirect non-trophic effects on different trophic levels remains challenging. Here, we focussed on short-term per capita interaction strengths of generalist predators (centipedes) on their microbi-detritivore prey (springtails) and addressed how the habitat structuring effects of the leaf litter modifies this interaction. We performed a series of laboratory functional response experiments where four levels of habitat structure were constructed by adding different amounts of leaf litter to the experimental arenas. We found that increased leaf litter reduced the consumption rate of the predator. We interpreted this as a dilution effect of the augmented habitat size provided by the increasing leaf litter surface available to the species. Dilution of the prey population decreased encounter rates, whereas the capture success was not affected. Interestingly, our results imply that top-down control by centipedes decreased with increasing resource supply for the microbi-detritivore prey (i.e. the leaf litter that simultaneously provides habitat structure). Therefore, effective top-down control of predators on microbi-detritvore populations seems unlikely in litter-rich ecosystems due to the non-trophic, habitat-structuring effect of the basal litter resource.

  12. Habitat structure alters top-down control in litter communities.

    PubMed

    Kalinkat, Gregor; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn Christian

    2013-07-01

    The question whether top-down or bottom-up forces dominate trophic relationships, energy flow, and abundances within food webs has fuelled much ecological research with particular focus on soil litter ecosystems. Because litter simultaneously provides habitat structure and a basal resource, disentangling direct trophic and indirect non-trophic effects on different trophic levels remains challenging. Here, we focussed on short-term per capita interaction strengths of generalist predators (centipedes) on their microbi-detritivore prey (springtails) and addressed how the habitat structuring effects of the leaf litter modifies this interaction. We performed a series of laboratory functional response experiments where four levels of habitat structure were constructed by adding different amounts of leaf litter to the experimental arenas. We found that increased leaf litter reduced the consumption rate of the predator. We interpreted this as a dilution effect of the augmented habitat size provided by the increasing leaf litter surface available to the species. Dilution of the prey population decreased encounter rates, whereas the capture success was not affected. Interestingly, our results imply that top-down control by centipedes decreased with increasing resource supply for the microbi-detritivore prey (i.e. the leaf litter that simultaneously provides habitat structure). Therefore, effective top-down control of predators on microbi-detritvore populations seems unlikely in litter-rich ecosystems due to the non-trophic, habitat-structuring effect of the basal litter resource. PMID:23188055

  13. The Unintended Effects of a Posted Sign on Littering Attitudes and Stated Intentions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Horsley, A. Doyne

    1988-01-01

    Compares the effect of two different anti-littering signs. Results suggest that the ambiguously worded litterbug sign was interpreted differently by individuals and that it did not encourage an anti-littering attitude or affect stated intention to litter. (CW)

  14. Effects of neonatal litter size and age on ovarian gene expression and follicular development in gilts

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Gilts raised in small litters have greater ovulation rate, stay in the herd longer and produce more pigs. The objective was to understand how neonatal litter size affects gilt development. The hypothesis is that gilts reared in smaller litters have greater ovarian follicular development. Within 24 h...

  15. Critical processes affecting Cryptosporidium oocyst survival in the environment.

    PubMed

    King, B J; Monis, P T

    2007-03-01

    Cryptosporidium are parasitic protozoans that cause gastrointestinal disease and represent a significant risk to public health. Cryptosporidium oocysts are prevalent in surface waters as a result of human, livestock and native animal faecal contamination. The resistance of oocysts to the concentrations of chlorine and monochloramine used to disinfect potable water increases the risk of waterborne transmission via drinking water. In addition to being resistant to commonly used disinfectants, it is thought that oocysts can persist in the environment and be readily mobilized by precipitation events. This paper will review the critical processes involved in the inactivation or removal of oocysts in the terrestrial and aquatic environments and consider how these processes will respond in the context of climate change. PMID:17096874

  16. Highly reduced mass loss rates and increased litter layer in radioactively contaminated areas.

    PubMed

    Mousseau, Timothy A; Milinevsky, Gennadi; Kenney-Hunt, Jane; Møller, Anders Pape

    2014-05-01

    The effects of radioactive contamination from Chernobyl on decomposition of plant material still remain unknown. We predicted that decomposition rate would be reduced in the most contaminated sites due to an absence or reduced densities of soil invertebrates. If microorganisms were the main agents responsible for decomposition, exclusion of large soil invertebrates should not affect decomposition. In September 2007 we deposited 572 bags with uncontaminated dry leaf litter from four species of trees in the leaf litter layer at 20 forest sites around Chernobyl that varied in background radiation by more than a factor 2,600. Approximately one quarter of these bags were made of a fine mesh that prevented access to litter by soil invertebrates. These bags were retrieved in June 2008, dried and weighed to estimate litter mass loss. Litter mass loss was 40% lower in the most contaminated sites relative to sites with a normal background radiation level for Ukraine. Similar reductions in litter mass loss were estimated for individual litter bags, litter bags at different sites, and differences between litter bags at pairs of neighboring sites differing in level of radioactive contamination. Litter mass loss was slightly greater in the presence of large soil invertebrates than in their absence. The thickness of the forest floor increased with the level of radiation and decreased with proportional loss of mass from all litter bags. These findings suggest that radioactive contamination has reduced the rate of litter mass loss, increased accumulation of litter, and affected growth conditions for plants. PMID:24590204

  17. Physical processes affecting the sedimentary environments of Long Island Sound

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Signell, R.P.; Knebel, H. J.; List, J.H.; Farris, A.S.; ,

    1997-01-01

    A modeling study was undertaken to simulate the bottom tidal-, wave-, and wind-driven currents in Long Island Sound in order to provide a general physical oceanographic framework for understanding the characteristics and distribution of seafloor sedimentary environments. Tidal currents are important in the funnel-shaped eastern part of the Sound, where a strong gradient of tidal-current speed was found. This current gradient parallels the general westward progression of sedimentary environments from erosion or non-deposition, through bedload transport and sediment sorting, to fine-grained deposition. Wave-driven currents, meanwhile, appear to be important along the shallow margins of the basin, explaining the occurrence of relatively coarse sediments in regions where tidal currents alone are not strong enough to move sediment. Finally, westerly wind events are shown to locally enhance bottom currents along the axial depression of the sound, providing a possible explanation for the relatively coarse sediments found in the depression despite tide- and wave-induced currents below the threshold of sediment movement. The strong correlation between the near-bottom current intensity based on the model results and the sediment response as indicated by the distribution of sedimentary environments provides a framework for predicting the long-term effects of anthropogenic activities.

  18. Developmental and evolutionary history affect survival in stressful environments.

    PubMed

    Hopkins, Gareth R; Brodie, Edmund D; French, Susannah S

    2014-01-01

    The world is increasingly impacted by a variety of stressors that have the potential to differentially influence life history stages of organisms. Organisms have evolved to cope with some stressors, while with others they have little capacity. It is thus important to understand the effects of both developmental and evolutionary history on survival in stressful environments. We present evidence of the effects of both developmental and evolutionary history on survival of a freshwater vertebrate, the rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) in an osmotically stressful environment. We compared the survival of larvae in either NaCl or MgCl2 that were exposed to salinity either as larvae only or as embryos as well. Embryonic exposure to salinity led to greater mortality of newt larvae than larval exposure alone, and this reduced survival probability was strongly linked to the carry-over effect of stunted embryonic growth in salts. Larval survival was also dependent on the type of salt (NaCl or MgCl2) the larvae were exposed to, and was lowest in MgCl2, a widely-used chemical deicer that, unlike NaCl, amphibian larvae do not have an evolutionary history of regulating at high levels. Both developmental and evolutionary history are critical factors in determining survival in this stressful environment, a pattern that may have widespread implications for the survival of animals increasingly impacted by substances with which they have little evolutionary history.

  19. Developmental and Evolutionary History Affect Survival in Stressful Environments

    PubMed Central

    Hopkins, Gareth R.; Brodie, Edmund D.; French, Susannah S.

    2014-01-01

    The world is increasingly impacted by a variety of stressors that have the potential to differentially influence life history stages of organisms. Organisms have evolved to cope with some stressors, while with others they have little capacity. It is thus important to understand the effects of both developmental and evolutionary history on survival in stressful environments. We present evidence of the effects of both developmental and evolutionary history on survival of a freshwater vertebrate, the rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) in an osmotically stressful environment. We compared the survival of larvae in either NaCl or MgCl2 that were exposed to salinity either as larvae only or as embryos as well. Embryonic exposure to salinity led to greater mortality of newt larvae than larval exposure alone, and this reduced survival probability was strongly linked to the carry-over effect of stunted embryonic growth in salts. Larval survival was also dependent on the type of salt (NaCl or MgCl2) the larvae were exposed to, and was lowest in MgCl2, a widely-used chemical deicer that, unlike NaCl, amphibian larvae do not have an evolutionary history of regulating at high levels. Both developmental and evolutionary history are critical factors in determining survival in this stressful environment, a pattern that may have widespread implications for the survival of animals increasingly impacted by substances with which they have little evolutionary history. PMID:24748021

  20. Occurrence and sorption of fluoroquinolones in poultry litters and soils from São Paulo State, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Leal, Rafael Marques Pereira; Figueira, Rafael Fernandes; Tornisielo, Valdemar Luiz; Regitano, Jussara Borges

    2012-08-15

    Animal production is one of the most expressive sectors of Brazilian agro-economy. Although antibiotics are routinely used in this activity, their occurrence, fate, and potential impacts to the local environment are largely unknown. This research evaluated sorption-desorption and occurrence of four commonly used fluoroquinolones (norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, danofloxacin, and enrofloxacin) in poultry litter and soil samples from São Paulo State, Brazil. The sorption-desorption studies involved batch equilibration technique and followed the OECD guideline for pesticides. All compounds were analyzed by HPLC, using fluorescence detector. Fluoroquinolones' sorption potential to the poultry litters (K(d) ≤65 L kg(-1)) was lower than to the soil (K(d) ~40,000 L kg(-1)), but was always high (≥69% of applied amount) indicating a higher specificity of fluoroquinolones interaction with soils. The addition of poultry litter (5%) to the soil had not affected sorption or desorption of these compounds. Desorption was negligible in the soil (≤0.5% of sorbed amount), but not in the poultry litters (up to 42% of sorbed amount). Fluoroquinolones' mean concentrations found in the poultry litters (1.37 to 6.68 mg kg(-1)) and soils (22.93 μg kg(-1)) were compatible to those found elsewhere (Austria, China, and Turkey). Enrofloxacin was the most often detected compound (30% of poultry litters and 27% of soils) at the highest mean concentrations (6.68 mg kg(-1) for poultry litters and 22.93 μg kg(-1) for soils). These results show that antibiotics are routinely used in poultry production and might represent one potential source of pollution to the environment that has been largely ignored and should be further investigated in Brazil.

  1. The Experimental Control of Littering

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clark, Roger N.; And Others

    1972-01-01

    Behavior, incentives, and education programs were researched as factors relating to littering. Experiments in theaters, forest campgrounds, and hiking and dispersed car camping areas indicate incentive systems are necessary and feasible for curbing litter problems. (BL)

  2. Rearing environment affects development of the immune system in neonates.

    PubMed

    Inman, C F; Haverson, K; Konstantinov, S R; Jones, P H; Harris, C; Smidt, H; Miller, B; Bailey, M; Stokes, C

    2010-06-01

    Early-life exposure to appropriate microbial flora drives expansion and development of an efficient immune system. Aberrant development results in increased likelihood of allergic disease or increased susceptibility to infection. Thus, factors affecting microbial colonization may also affect the direction of immune responses in later life. There is a need for a manipulable animal model of environmental influences on the development of microbiota and the immune system during early life. We assessed the effects of rearing under low- (farm, sow) and high-hygiene (isolator, milk formula) conditions on intestinal microbiota and immune development in neonatal piglets, because they can be removed from the mother in the first 24 h for rearing under controlled conditions and, due to placental structure, neither antibody nor antigen is transferred in utero. Microbiota in both groups was similar between 2 and 5 days. However, by 12-28 days, piglets reared on the mother had more diverse flora than siblings reared in isolators. Dendritic cells accumulated in the intestinal mucosa in both groups, but more rapidly in isolator piglets. Importantly, the minority of 2-5-day-old farm piglets whose microbiota resembled that of an older (12-28-day-old) pig also accumulated dendritic cells earlier than the other farm-reared piglets. Consistent with dendritic cell control of T cell function, the effects on T cells occurred at later time-points, and mucosal T cells from high-hygiene, isolator pigs made less interleukin (IL)-4 while systemic T cells made more IL-2. Neonatal piglets may be a valuable model for studies of the effects of interaction between microbiota and immune development on allergy.

  3. Factors affecting pollutant concentrations in the near-road environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baldwin, Nichole; Gilani, Owais; Raja, Suresh; Batterman, Stuart; Ganguly, Rajiv; Hopke, Philip; Berrocal, Veronica; Robins, Thomas; Hoogterp, Sarah

    2015-08-01

    An improved understanding of traffic-related air pollutants is needed to estimate exposures and adverse health impacts in traffic corridors and near-road environments. In this study, concentrations of black carbon (BC), nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2, NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, ultrafine particles, and accumulation mode particles, AMP) were measured using a mobile air pollutant laboratory along nine transects across major roads in Detroit, MI in winter 2012. Repeated measurements were taken during rush-hour periods at sites in residential neighborhoods located 50-500 m from both sides of the road. Concentration gradients attributable to on-road emissions were estimated by accounting for traffic volume and mix, wind speed, wind direction, and background concentrations. BC, NO, NOx, and UFP had the strongest gradients, and elevated concentrations of NOx, NO2, PM2.5 and PM10, as well as decreased particle size, were found at the 50 m sites compared to background levels. Exponential models incorporating effects of road size, wind speed, and up- and downwind distance explained from 31 to 53% of the variability in concentration gradients for BC, NO, NOx, UFP and particle size. The expected concentration increments 50 m from the study roads were 17.0 ppb for NO, 17.7 ppb for NOx, 2245 particles/cm3 for UFP, and 0.24 μg/m3 for BC, and the expected distance to decrease increments by half was 89-129 m in the downwind direction, and 14-20 m in the upwind direction. While accounting for portion of the temporal and spatial variability across transects and measurement periods, these results highlight the influence of road-to-road differences and other locally-varying factors important in urban and industrial settings. The study demonstrates a methodology to quantify near-road concentrations and influences on these concentrations while accounting for temporal and spatial variability, and it provides information useful for estimating exposures of

  4. Distribution of beach litter along the coastline of Cádiz, Spain.

    PubMed

    Williams, Allan Thomas; Randerson, Peter; Di Giacomo, Carlo; Anfuso, Giorgio; Macias, Ana; Perales, José Antonio

    2016-06-15

    A total of 59 categories of litter items were found at 20 beaches (13 mechanically cleaned, 7 non-cleaned) in the Cádiz tourist environment, Spain. Cluster Analysis and Principal Components Analysis were used to highlight similarities and contrasts between sites and/or associations between litter categories. Multivariate analyses separated beaches according to the total numbers of litter items present. Non-cleaned sites showed a variety of litter category abundance with distinct origins and abundant, ubiquitous items (plastic and glass fragments). Of the 7 non-cleaned beaches (49 litter categories) river-mouth sites were distinct due with high numbers of litter items. The sheltered inner part of Cádiz Bay beaches had a wide range of litter type. Many sites were associated with locally deposited recreational litter categories; while industrial/commercial/fishing categories were abundant only at a few sites, indicating items transported onto the shore from the Guadalete river.

  5. Distribution of beach litter along the coastline of Cádiz, Spain.

    PubMed

    Williams, Allan Thomas; Randerson, Peter; Di Giacomo, Carlo; Anfuso, Giorgio; Macias, Ana; Perales, José Antonio

    2016-06-15

    A total of 59 categories of litter items were found at 20 beaches (13 mechanically cleaned, 7 non-cleaned) in the Cádiz tourist environment, Spain. Cluster Analysis and Principal Components Analysis were used to highlight similarities and contrasts between sites and/or associations between litter categories. Multivariate analyses separated beaches according to the total numbers of litter items present. Non-cleaned sites showed a variety of litter category abundance with distinct origins and abundant, ubiquitous items (plastic and glass fragments). Of the 7 non-cleaned beaches (49 litter categories) river-mouth sites were distinct due with high numbers of litter items. The sheltered inner part of Cádiz Bay beaches had a wide range of litter type. Many sites were associated with locally deposited recreational litter categories; while industrial/commercial/fishing categories were abundant only at a few sites, indicating items transported onto the shore from the Guadalete river. PMID:27117354

  6. Understanding processes affecting mineral deposits in humid environments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Seal, Robert R., II; Ayuso, Robert A.

    2011-01-01

    Recent interdisciplinary studies by the U.S. Geological Survey have resulted in substantial progress toward understanding the influence that climate and hydrology have on the geochemical signatures of mineral deposits and the resulting mine wastes in the eastern United States. Specific areas of focus include the release, transport, and fate of acid, metals, and associated elements from inactive mines in temperate coastal areas and of metals from unmined mineral deposits in tropical to subtropical areas; the influence of climate, geology, and hydrology on remediation options for abandoned mines; and the application of radiogenic isotopes to uniquely apportion source contributions that distinguish natural from mining sources and extent of metal transport. The environmental effects of abandoned mines and unmined mineral deposits result from a complex interaction of a variety of chemical and physical factors. These include the geology of the mineral deposit, the hydrologic setting of the mineral deposit and associated mine wastes, the chemistry of waters interacting with the deposit and associated waste material, the engineering of a mine as it relates to the reactivity of mine wastes, and climate, which affects such factors as temperature and the amounts of precipitation and evapotranspiration; these factors, in turn, influence the environmental behavior of mineral deposits. The role of climate is becoming increasingly important in environmental investigations of mineral deposits because of the growing concerns about climate change.

  7. Mediterranean marine biodiversity under threat: Reviewing influence of marine litter on species.

    PubMed

    Deudero, Salud; Alomar, Carme

    2015-09-15

    The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most polluted seas worldwide, especially with regard to plastics. The presence of this emerging man made contaminant in marine environments precludes large effects and interactions with species exposed to massive litter quantities. In this review, available data of floating and seafloor litter around Mediterranean sub-basins are reported. A review of scientific literature on the interaction of plastic with marine biota resulted in the identification of 134 species, several taxa and feeding strategies affected from 1986 to 2014. Data from 17,334 individuals showed different levels of ingestion and effects on catalogued IUCN species (marine mammals and sea turtles) in addition to several pelagic fish and elasmobranchs. Biodiversity is certainly under threat, and knowledge of the extent of taxa affected is of concern considering the increasing plastic loads in the Mediterranean Sea and worldwide. PMID:26183308

  8. Labile compounds in plant litter reduce the sensitivity of decomposition to warming and altered precipitation.

    PubMed

    Suseela, Vidya; Tharayil, Nishanth; Xing, Baoshan; Dukes, Jeffrey S

    2013-10-01

    Together, climate and litter quality strongly regulate decomposition rates. Although these two factors and their interaction have been studied across species in continent-scale experiments, few researchers have studied how labile and recalcitrant compounds interact to influence decomposition, or the climate sensitivity of decomposition, within a litter type. Over a period of 3 yr, we studied the effects of warming and altered precipitation on mass loss and compound-specific decomposition using two litter types that possessed similar heteropolymer chemistry, but different proportions of labile and recalcitrant compounds. Climate treatments immediately affected the mass loss of the more recalcitrant litter, but affected the more labile litter only after 2 yr. After 3 yr, although both litter types had lost similar amounts of mass, warming (c. 4°C) and supplemental precipitation (150% of ambient) together accelerated the degradation of alkyl-carbon and lignin only in the more recalcitrant litter, highlighting the role of initial litter quality in determining whether the chemistry of litter residues converges or diverges under different climates. Our finding that labile compounds in litter reduce the climate sensitivity of mass loss and the decomposition of recalcitrant matrix is novel. Our results highlight the potential for litter quality to regulate the effect of climatic changes on the sequestration of litter-derived carbon. PMID:23822593

  9. The influence of litter quality and micro-habitat on litter decomposition and soil properties in a silvopasture system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tripathi, G.; Deora, R.; Singh, G.

    2013-07-01

    Studies to understand litter processes and soil properties are useful for maintaining pastureland productivity as animal husbandry is the dominant occupation in the hot arid region. We aimed to quantify how micro-habitats and combinations of litters of the introduced leguminous tree Colophospermum mopane with the grasses Cenchrus ciliaris or Lasiurus sindicus influence decomposition rate and soil nutrient changes in a hot desert silvopasture system. Litter bags with tree litter alone (T), tree + C. ciliaris in 1:1 ratio (TCC) and tree + L. sindicus 1:1 ratio (TLS) litter were placed inside and outside of the C. mopane canopy and at the surface, 3-7 cm and 8-12 cm soil depths. We examined litter loss, soil fauna abundance, organic carbon (SOC), total (TN), ammonium (NH4-N) and nitrate (NO3-N) nitrogen, phosphorus (PO4-P), soil respiration (SR) and dehydrogenase activity (DHA) in soil adjacent to each litter bag. After 12 months exposure, the mean residual litter was 40.2% of the initial value and annual decomposition rate constant (k) was 0.98 (0.49-1.80). Highest (p < 0.01) litter loss was in the first four months, when faunal abundance, SR, DHA and humidity were highest but it decreased with time. These variables and k were highest under the tree canopies. The litter loss and k were highest (p < 0.01) in TLS under the tree canopy, but the reverse trend was found for litter outside the canopy. Faunal abundance, litter loss, k, nutrient release and biochemical activities were highest (p < 0.01) in the 3-7 cm soil layer. Positive correlations of litter loss and soil fauna abundance with soil nutrients, SR and DHA demonstrated the interactions of litter quality and micro-habitats together with soil fauna on increased soil fertility. These results suggest that a Colophospermum mopane and L. sindicus silvopasture system best promotes faunal abundance, litter decomposition and soil fertility. The properties of these species and the associated faunal resources may be

  10. Within-litter differences in personality and physiology relate to size differences among siblings in cavies.

    PubMed

    Guenther, A; Trillmich, F

    2015-06-01

    Many aspects of an animal's early life potentially contribute to long-term individual differences in physiology and behaviour. From several studies on birds and mammals it is known that the early family environment is one of the most prominent factors influencing early development. Most of these studies were conducted on highly altricial species. Here we asked whether in the highly precocial cavy (Cavia aperea) the size rank within a litter, i.e. whether an individual is born as the heaviest, the lightest or an intermediate sibling, affects personality traits directly after birth and after independence. Furthermore, we investigated whether individual states (early growth, baseline cortisol and resting metabolic rate) differ between siblings of different size ranks and assessed their relation to personality traits. Siblings of the same litter differed in personality traits as early as three days after birth. Pups born heaviest in the litter were more explorative and in general more risk-prone than their smaller siblings. Physiological state variables were tightly correlated with personality traits and also influenced by the size rank within litter, suggesting that the size relative to littermates constitutes an important factor in shaping an individual's developmental trajectory. Our data add valuable information on how personalities are shaped during early phases of life and indicate the stability of developmentally influenced behavioural and physiological traits.

  11. Labile Compounds in Plant Litter Reduce the Sensitivity of Decomposition to Warming and Altered Precipitation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suseela, V.; Tharayil, N.; Xing, B.; Dukes, J. S.

    2013-12-01

    Together, climate and litter quality strongly regulate decomposition rates. While these two factors and their interaction have been studied across species in continent-scale experiments, few researchers have studied how labile and recalcitrant compounds interact to influence decomposition, or the climate sensitivity of decomposition, within a litter type. Over a period of three years, we studied the effects climate change on mass loss and compound-specific decomposition using two litter types that differed in the relative proportions of labile and recalcitrant compounds, but that had heteropolymers with similar molecular structure. We examined how warming and altered precipitation affected the decomposition of two types of Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed) litter (stem litter that was either newly senesced or one year old), at the Boston-Area Climate Experiment (BACE), in Massachusetts, USA. We placed litter bags in an old-field ecosystem exposed to four levels of warming (up to 4oC) and three levels of precipitation (ambient, drought (-50%) and wet (+50%) treatments. The compound-specific degradation of litter was assessed using Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy and 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Climate treatments immediately affected mass loss of the more recalcitrant litter, but affected the more labile litter only after two years. After three years, although both litter types had lost similar amounts of mass, warming (~4oC) and supplemental precipitation (150% of ambient) together accelerated degradation of alkyl-carbon and lignin only in the more recalcitrant litter, highlighting the role of initial litter quality in determining whether the chemistry of litter residues converges or diverges under different climates. The results from this study indicate that the effect of climate on litter decomposition depends on the quality of litter; litter with a greater initial proportion of labile compounds was less

  12. Genotypic diversity of an invasive plant species promotes litter decomposition and associated processes.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiao-Yan; Miao, Yuan; Yu, Shuo; Chen, Xiao-Yong; Schmid, Bernhard

    2014-03-01

    Following studies that showed negative effects of species loss on ecosystem functioning, newer studies have started to investigate if similar consequences could result from reductions of genetic diversity within species. We tested the influence of genotypic richness and dissimilarity (plots containing one, three, six or 12 genotypes) in stands of the invasive plant Solidago canadensis in China on the decomposition of its leaf litter and associated soil animals over five monthly time intervals. We found that the logarithm of genotypic richness was positively linearly related to mass loss of C, N and P from the litter and to richness and abundance of soil animals on the litter samples. The mixing proportion of litter from two sites, but not genotypic dissimilarity of mixtures, had additional effects on measured variables. The litter diversity effects on soil animals were particularly strong under the most stressful conditions of hot weather in July: at this time richness and abundance of soil animals were higher in 12-genotype litter mixtures than even in the highest corresponding one-genotype litter. The litter diversity effects on decomposition were in part mediated by soil animals: the abundance of Acarina, when used as covariate in the analysis, fully explained the litter diversity effects on mass loss of N and P. Overall, our study shows that high genotypic richness of S. canadensis leaf litter positively affects richness and abundance of soil animals, which in turn accelerate litter decomposition and P release from litter. PMID:24276771

  13. Reducing Children's Littering on a Nature Trail

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    LaHart, David E.; Bailey, Jon S.

    1975-01-01

    This study compared incentives and educational methods to motivate children to pick up litter and to prevent littering. Incentives did aid in getting litter picked up. One-sentence anti-litter statements, educational materials, and lectures reduced littering, but incentives did not. (MR)

  14. Experiences and Implications of Social Workers Practicing in a Pediatric Hospital Environment Affected by SARS

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gearing, Robin Edward; Saini, Michael; McNeill, Ted

    2007-01-01

    This phenomenological study's purpose was threefold: to detail the experiences of social workers practicing in a hospital environment affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), to describe essential themes and structures of social work practices within this crisis environment, and to explore recommendations for better preparedness to…

  15. Early prediction of student goals and affect in narrative-centered learning environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Sunyoung

    Recent years have seen a growing recognition of the role of goal and affect recognition in intelligent tutoring systems. Goal recognition is the task of inferring users' goals from a sequence of observations of their actions. Because of the uncertainty inherent in every facet of human computer interaction, goal recognition is challenging, particularly in contexts in which users can perform many actions in any order, as is the case with intelligent tutoring systems. Affect recognition is the task of identifying the emotional state of a user from a variety of physical cues, which are produced in response to affective changes in the individual. Accurately recognizing student goals and affect states could contribute to more effective and motivating interactions in intelligent tutoring systems. By exploiting knowledge of student goals and affect states, intelligent tutoring systems can dynamically modify their behavior to better support individual students. To create effective interactions in intelligent tutoring systems, goal and affect recognition models should satisfy two key requirements. First, because incorrectly predicted goals and affect states could significantly diminish the effectiveness of interactive systems, goal and affect recognition models should provide accurate predictions of user goals and affect states. When observations of users' activities become available, recognizers should make accurate early" predictions. Second, goal and affect recognition models should be highly efficient so they can operate in real time. To address key issues, we present an inductive approach to recognizing student goals and affect states in intelligent tutoring systems by learning goals and affect recognition models. Our work focuses on goal and affect recognition in an important new class of intelligent tutoring systems, narrative-centered learning environments. We report the results of empirical studies of induced recognition models from observations of students

  16. Mower/Litter Removal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1996-01-01

    The Burg Corporation needed to get more power out of the suction system in their Vac 'N Bag grass mower/litter remover. The president submitted a problem statement to the Marshall Space Flight Center Technology Transfer Office, which devised a way to guide heavier items of trash to a point where suction was greatest, and made changes to the impeller and the exhaust port, based on rocket propulsion technology. The improved system is used by highway departments, city governments and park authorities, reducing work time by combining the tasks of grass cutting and vacuuming trash and grass clippings.

  17. Size dependent differences in litter consumption of isopods: preliminary results

    PubMed Central

    Vilisics, Ferenc; Szekeres, Sándor; Hornung, Elisabeth

    2012-01-01

    Abstract A series of experiments were applied to test how leaf orientation within microcosms affect consumption rates (Experiment 1), and to discover intra-specific differences in leaf litter consumption (Experiment 2) of the common isopod species Porcellio scaber and Porcellionides pruinosus. A standardised microcosm setup was developed for feeding experiments to maintain standard conditions. A constant amount of freshly fallen black poplar litter was provided to three distinct size class (small, medium, large) of woodlice. We measured litter consumption after a fortnight. We maintained appr. constant isopod biomass for all treatments, and equal densities within each size class. We hypothesized that different size classes differ in their litter consumption, therefore such differences should occur even within populations of the species. We also hypothesized a marked difference in consumption rates for different leaf orientation within microcosms. Our results showed size-specific consumption patterns for Porcellio scaber: small adults showed the highest consumption rates (i.e. litter mass loss / isopod biomass) in high density microcosms, while medium-sized adults of lower densities ate the most litter in containers. Leaf orientation posed no significant effect on litter consumption. PMID:22536112

  18. Size dependent differences in litter consumption of isopods: preliminary results.

    PubMed

    Vilisics, Ferenc; Szekeres, Sándor; Hornung, Elisabeth

    2012-01-01

    A series of experiments were applied to test how leaf orientation within microcosms affect consumption rates (Experiment 1), and to discover intra-specific differences in leaf litter consumption (Experiment 2) of the common isopod species Porcellio scaber and Porcellionides pruinosus. A standardised microcosm setup was developed for feeding experiments to maintain standard conditions. A constant amount of freshly fallen black poplar litter was provided to three distinct size class (small, medium, large) of woodlice. We measured litter consumption after a fortnight. We maintained appr. constant isopod biomass for all treatments, and equal densities within each size class. We hypothesized that different size classes differ in their litter consumption, therefore such differences should occur even within populations of the species. We also hypothesized a marked difference in consumption rates for different leaf orientation within microcosms. Our results showed size-specific consumption patterns for Porcellio scaber: small adults showed the highest consumption rates (i.e. litter mass loss / isopod biomass) in high density microcosms, while medium-sized adults of lower densities ate the most litter in containers. Leaf orientation posed no significant effect on litter consumption.

  19. Effects of radionuclide contamination on leaf litter decomposition in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

    PubMed

    Bonzom, Jean-Marc; Hättenschwiler, Stephan; Lecomte-Pradines, Catherine; Chauvet, Eric; Gaschak, Sergey; Beaugelin-Seiller, Karine; Della-Vedova, Claire; Dubourg, Nicolas; Maksimenko, Andrey; Garnier-Laplace, Jacqueline; Adam-Guillermin, Christelle

    2016-08-15

    The effects of radioactive contamination on ecosystem processes such as litter decomposition remain largely unknown. Because radionuclides accumulated in soil and plant biomass can be harmful for organisms, the functioning of ecosystems may be altered by radioactive contamination. Here, we tested the hypothesis that decomposition is impaired by increasing levels of radioactivity in the environment by exposing uncontaminated leaf litter from silver birch and black alder at (i) eleven distant forest sites differing in ambient radiation levels (0.22-15μGyh(-1)) and (ii) along a short distance gradient of radioactive contamination (1.2-29μGyh(-1)) within a single forest in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. In addition to measuring ambient external dose rates, we estimated the average total dose rates (ATDRs) absorbed by decomposers for an accurate estimate of dose-induced ecological consequences of radioactive pollution. Taking into account potential confounding factors (soil pH, moisture, texture, and organic carbon content), the results from the eleven distant forest sites, and from the single forest, showed increased litter mass loss with increasing ATDRs from 0.3 to 150μGyh(-1). This unexpected result may be due to (i) overcompensation of decomposer organisms exposed to radionuclides leading to a higher decomposer abundance (hormetic effect), and/or (ii) from preferred feeding by decomposers on the uncontaminated leaf litter used for our experiment compared to locally produced, contaminated leaf litter. Our data indicate that radio-contamination of forest ecosystems over more than two decades does not necessarily have detrimental effects on organic matter decay. However, further studies are needed to unravel the underlying mechanisms of the results reported here, in order to draw firmer conclusions on how radio-contamination affects decomposition and associated ecosystem processes. PMID:27110974

  20. Effects of radionuclide contamination on leaf litter decomposition in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

    PubMed

    Bonzom, Jean-Marc; Hättenschwiler, Stephan; Lecomte-Pradines, Catherine; Chauvet, Eric; Gaschak, Sergey; Beaugelin-Seiller, Karine; Della-Vedova, Claire; Dubourg, Nicolas; Maksimenko, Andrey; Garnier-Laplace, Jacqueline; Adam-Guillermin, Christelle

    2016-08-15

    The effects of radioactive contamination on ecosystem processes such as litter decomposition remain largely unknown. Because radionuclides accumulated in soil and plant biomass can be harmful for organisms, the functioning of ecosystems may be altered by radioactive contamination. Here, we tested the hypothesis that decomposition is impaired by increasing levels of radioactivity in the environment by exposing uncontaminated leaf litter from silver birch and black alder at (i) eleven distant forest sites differing in ambient radiation levels (0.22-15μGyh(-1)) and (ii) along a short distance gradient of radioactive contamination (1.2-29μGyh(-1)) within a single forest in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. In addition to measuring ambient external dose rates, we estimated the average total dose rates (ATDRs) absorbed by decomposers for an accurate estimate of dose-induced ecological consequences of radioactive pollution. Taking into account potential confounding factors (soil pH, moisture, texture, and organic carbon content), the results from the eleven distant forest sites, and from the single forest, showed increased litter mass loss with increasing ATDRs from 0.3 to 150μGyh(-1). This unexpected result may be due to (i) overcompensation of decomposer organisms exposed to radionuclides leading to a higher decomposer abundance (hormetic effect), and/or (ii) from preferred feeding by decomposers on the uncontaminated leaf litter used for our experiment compared to locally produced, contaminated leaf litter. Our data indicate that radio-contamination of forest ecosystems over more than two decades does not necessarily have detrimental effects on organic matter decay. However, further studies are needed to unravel the underlying mechanisms of the results reported here, in order to draw firmer conclusions on how radio-contamination affects decomposition and associated ecosystem processes.

  1. Warming and Nitrogen Addition Increase Litter Decomposition in a Temperate Meadow Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Gong, Shiwei; Guo, Rui; Zhang, Tao; Guo, Jixun

    2015-01-01

    Background Litter decomposition greatly influences soil structure, nutrient content and carbon sequestration, but how litter decomposition is affected by climate change is still not well understood. Methodology/Principal Findings A field experiment with increased temperature and nitrogen (N) addition was established in April 2007 to examine the effects of experimental warming, N addition and their interaction on litter decomposition in a temperate meadow steppe in northeastern China. Warming, N addition and warming plus N addition reduced the residual mass of L. chinensis litter by 3.78%, 7.51% and 4.53%, respectively, in 2008 and 2009, and by 4.73%, 24.08% and 16.1%, respectively, in 2010. Warming, N addition and warming plus N addition had no effect on the decomposition of P. communis litter in 2008 or 2009, but reduced the residual litter mass by 5.58%, 15.53% and 5.17%, respectively, in 2010. Warming and N addition reduced the cellulose percentage of L. chinensis and P. communis, specifically in 2010. The lignin percentage of L. chinensis and P. communis was reduced by warming but increased by N addition. The C, N and P contents of L. chinensis and P. communis litter increased with time. Warming and N addition reduced the C content and C:N ratios of L. chinensisand P. communis litter, but increased the N and P contents. Significant interactive effects of warming and N addition on litter decomposition were observed (P<0.01). Conclusion/Significance The litter decomposition rate was highly correlated with soil temperature, soil water content and litter quality. Warming and N addition significantly impacted the litter decomposition rate in the Songnen meadow ecosystem, and the effects of warming and N addition on litter decomposition were also influenced by the quality of litter. These results highlight how climate change could alter grassland ecosystem carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus contents in soil by influencing litter decomposition. PMID:25774776

  2. Riparian litter inputs to streams in the central Oregon Coast Range

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hart, Stephanie K.; Hibbs, David E.; Perakis, Steven S.

    2013-01-01

    Riparian-zone vegetation can influence terrestrial and aquatic food webs through variation in the amount, timing, and nutritional content of leaf and other litter inputs. We investigated how riparian-forest community composition, understory density, and lateral slope shaped vertical and lateral litter inputs to 16 streams in the Oregon Coast Range. Riparian forests dominated by deciduous red alder delivered greater annual vertical litter inputs to streams (504 g m−2 y−1) than did riparian forests dominated by coniferous Douglas-fir (394 g m−2 y−1). Deciduous forests also contributed greater lateral litter inputs per meter of stream bank on one side (109 g m−1 y−1) than did coniferous forests (63 g m−1 y−1). Total litter inputs from deciduous forests exceeded those from coniferous forests most strongly in November, coincident with an autumn peak in litter inputs. Lateral litter inputs contributed most to total inputs during winter in both forest types. Annual lateral litter movement increased with slope at deciduous sites, but only in spring/summer months at coniferous sites. Neither experimental removal of understory vegetation nor installation of mesh fences to block downslope litter movement affected lateral litter inputs to streams, suggesting that ground litter moves <5 m downslope annually. N concentrations of several litter fractions were higher at deciduous sites and, when combined with greater litter amounts, yielded twice as much total litter N flux to streams in deciduous than coniferous sites. The presence of red alder in riparian forests along many small streams of the deeply incised and highly dendritic basins of the Oregon Coast Range enhances total fluxes and seasonality of litter delivery to both terrestrial and aquatic food webs in this region and complements the shade and large woody debris provided by large coniferous trees.

  3. In situ characterization of forest litter using ground-penetrating radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    André, Frédéric; Jonard, François; Jonard, Mathieu; Lambot, Sébastien

    2016-03-01

    Decomposing litter accumulated on the soil surface in forests plays a major role in several ecosystem processes; its detailed characterization is therefore essential for thorough understanding of ecosystem functioning. In addition, litter is known to affect remote sensing radar data over forested areas and their proper processing requires accurate quantification of litter scattering properties. In the present study, ultrawideband (0.8-2.2 GHz) ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data were collected in situ for a wide range of litter types to investigate the potential of the technique to reconstruct litter horizons in undisturbed natural conditions. Radar data were processed resorting to full-wave inversion. Good agreement was generally found between estimated and measured litter layer thicknesses, with root-mean-square error values around 1 cm for recently fallen litter (OL layer) and around 2 cm for fragmented litter in partial decomposition (OF layer) and total litter (OL + OF). Nevertheless, significant correlations between estimated and measured thicknesses were found for total litter only. Inaccuracies in the reconstruction of the individual litter horizons were mainly attributed to weak dielectric contrasts amongst litter layers, with absolute differences in relative dielectric permittivity values often lower than 2 between humus horizons, and to uncertainties in the ground truth values. Radar signal inversions also provided reliable estimates of litter electromagnetic properties, with average relative dielectric permittivity values around 2.9 and 6.3 for OL and OF litters, respectively. These results are encouraging for the use of GPR for noninvasive characterization and mapping of forest litter. Perspectives for the application of the technique in biogeosciences are discussed.

  4. Influence of in-house composting of reused litter on litter quality, ammonia volatilisation and incidence of broiler foot pad dermatitis.

    PubMed

    Martins, R S; Hötzel, M J; Poletto, R

    2013-01-01

    1. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the residual effects of two windrow composting methods for reused litter on its quality (pH, moisture, ammonia), ammonia (NH3) volatilisation and the prevalence (scores 0-4) of foot pad dermatitis (FPD) and hock burn (HB) on d 1, 7, 14 and 21 of age in broilers. Litter was allowed to compost for 8 d within a 14-d interval between flocks. 2. The composting methods studied were with or without a PVC plastic sheet. The same procedures were applied for three consecutive flocks, with litter initially having been used for 12 flocks. Data were analysed with a mixed model of repeated measures of day, with main effects and interactions of day, composting method, litter age (block) and house nested within method. 3. At d 1, litter NH3 and NH3 volatilisation were higher in the covered litter method. Litter moisture increased to 45.3% as broilers aged. The incidence of FPD also increased with age. No signs of HB were found in any bird throughout the trials. 4. There was no effect of litter composting methods on the prevalence of FPD or body weight at any age. 5. Litter moisture should be controlled to avoid NH3 volatilisation reaching critical levels. Windrow composting of litter with a PVC plastic sheet may not be required when considering the broiler housing environment.

  5. Influence of in-house composting of reused litter on litter quality, ammonia volatilisation and incidence of broiler foot pad dermatitis.

    PubMed

    Martins, R S; Hötzel, M J; Poletto, R

    2013-01-01

    1. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the residual effects of two windrow composting methods for reused litter on its quality (pH, moisture, ammonia), ammonia (NH3) volatilisation and the prevalence (scores 0-4) of foot pad dermatitis (FPD) and hock burn (HB) on d 1, 7, 14 and 21 of age in broilers. Litter was allowed to compost for 8 d within a 14-d interval between flocks. 2. The composting methods studied were with or without a PVC plastic sheet. The same procedures were applied for three consecutive flocks, with litter initially having been used for 12 flocks. Data were analysed with a mixed model of repeated measures of day, with main effects and interactions of day, composting method, litter age (block) and house nested within method. 3. At d 1, litter NH3 and NH3 volatilisation were higher in the covered litter method. Litter moisture increased to 45.3% as broilers aged. The incidence of FPD also increased with age. No signs of HB were found in any bird throughout the trials. 4. There was no effect of litter composting methods on the prevalence of FPD or body weight at any age. 5. Litter moisture should be controlled to avoid NH3 volatilisation reaching critical levels. Windrow composting of litter with a PVC plastic sheet may not be required when considering the broiler housing environment. PMID:24397504

  6. [Litter production and breakdown in swamps dominated by palms (Arecaceae) in northeastern Costa Rica].

    PubMed

    Myers, Ronald L

    2013-09-01

    In Raffia (Raphia taedigera) palm-swamps, it is frequent to observe high mounds at the base of the palm clumps. These mounds are formed by the accumulation of litter and organic matter, or might result from upturned roots of wind-thrown trees. The mounds serve as anchorage site for the palms, and could be important for the establishment of woody tree species in the swamp. The formation of these mounds might be explained by the unequal accumulation of organic matter in the wetland, or by differences in decomposition rates between Raffia litter versus the litter produced in adjacent mixed forests. To distinguish between these hypotheses, I compared the spatial distribution of litter in a R. taedigera swamp with the litter distribution on an adjacent slope forest, where litter distribution is expected to be homogeneous. In addition, I compared decomposition rates of major components of fine litter in three different environments: two wetlands dominated by palms (R. taedigera and Manicaria saccifera) and a slope forest that experiences lower inundation effects. On the palm swamp, noticeable concentration of litter was observed near the bases of clumps of palm as opposed to the swamp floor. In the adjacent slope forest, the magnitude of the differences in the distribution of litter is small and there is no accumulation at the base of emergent trees. It was also found that litter production increases during heavy rains and storms that follow dry periods. The swamp environment, independent of the litter, showed significantly lower decomposition rates than the surrounding forest slope. Furthermore, R. taedigera litter decomposes as fast as the slope forest litter. Overall, these results suggest that resistance to decomposition is not a major factor in the formation of mounds at the bases of R. taedigera clumps. Instead, litter accumulation contributes to the formation of the mounds that rise above the surface of the swamp. PMID:24459754

  7. [Litter production and breakdown in swamps dominated by palms (Arecaceae) in northeastern Costa Rica].

    PubMed

    Myers, Ronald L

    2013-09-01

    In Raffia (Raphia taedigera) palm-swamps, it is frequent to observe high mounds at the base of the palm clumps. These mounds are formed by the accumulation of litter and organic matter, or might result from upturned roots of wind-thrown trees. The mounds serve as anchorage site for the palms, and could be important for the establishment of woody tree species in the swamp. The formation of these mounds might be explained by the unequal accumulation of organic matter in the wetland, or by differences in decomposition rates between Raffia litter versus the litter produced in adjacent mixed forests. To distinguish between these hypotheses, I compared the spatial distribution of litter in a R. taedigera swamp with the litter distribution on an adjacent slope forest, where litter distribution is expected to be homogeneous. In addition, I compared decomposition rates of major components of fine litter in three different environments: two wetlands dominated by palms (R. taedigera and Manicaria saccifera) and a slope forest that experiences lower inundation effects. On the palm swamp, noticeable concentration of litter was observed near the bases of clumps of palm as opposed to the swamp floor. In the adjacent slope forest, the magnitude of the differences in the distribution of litter is small and there is no accumulation at the base of emergent trees. It was also found that litter production increases during heavy rains and storms that follow dry periods. The swamp environment, independent of the litter, showed significantly lower decomposition rates than the surrounding forest slope. Furthermore, R. taedigera litter decomposes as fast as the slope forest litter. Overall, these results suggest that resistance to decomposition is not a major factor in the formation of mounds at the bases of R. taedigera clumps. Instead, litter accumulation contributes to the formation of the mounds that rise above the surface of the swamp.

  8. Effects of anthropogenic heavy metal contamination on litter decomposition in streams - A meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Koricheva, Julia; Duarte, Sofia; Niyogi, Dev K; Guérold, François

    2016-03-01

    Many streams worldwide are affected by heavy metal contamination, mostly due to past and present mining activities. Here we present a meta-analysis of 38 studies (reporting 133 cases) published between 1978 and 2014 that reported the effects of heavy metal contamination on the decomposition of terrestrial litter in running waters. Overall, heavy metal contamination significantly inhibited litter decomposition. The effect was stronger for laboratory than for field studies, likely due to better control of confounding variables in the former, antagonistic interactions between metals and other environmental variables in the latter or differences in metal identity and concentration between studies. For laboratory studies, only copper + zinc mixtures significantly inhibited litter decomposition, while no significant effects were found for silver, aluminum, cadmium or zinc considered individually. For field studies, coal and metal mine drainage strongly inhibited litter decomposition, while drainage from motorways had no significant effects. The effect of coal mine drainage did not depend on drainage pH. Coal mine drainage negatively affected leaf litter decomposition independently of leaf litter identity; no significant effect was found for wood decomposition, but sample size was low. Considering metal mine drainage, arsenic mines had a stronger negative effect on leaf litter decomposition than gold or pyrite mines. Metal mine drainage significantly inhibited leaf litter decomposition driven by both microbes and invertebrates, independently of leaf litter identity; no significant effect was found for microbially driven decomposition, but sample size was low. Overall, mine drainage negatively affects leaf litter decomposition, likely through negative effects on invertebrates.

  9. Long-term effects of poultry litter, alum-treated litter, and ammonium nitrate on aluminum availability in soils.

    PubMed

    Moore, P A; Edwards, D R

    2005-01-01

    Research has shown that alum [Al(2)(SO(4))(3).14H(2)O] applications to poultry litter can greatly reduce phosphorus (P) runoff, as well as decrease ammonia (NH(3)) volatilization. However, the long-term effects of fertilizing with alum-treated litter are unknown. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the long-term effects of normal poultry litter, alum-treated litter, and ammonium nitrate (NH(4)NO(3)) on aluminum (Al) availability in soils, Al uptake by tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), and tall fescue yields. A long-term study was initiated in April of 1995. There were 13 treatments (unfertilized control, four rates of normal litter, four rates of alum-treated litter, and four rates of NH(4)NO(3)) in a randomized block design. All fertilizers were broadcast applied to 52 small plots (3.05 x 1.52 m) cropped to tall fescue annually in the spring. Litter application rates were 2.24, 4.49, 6.73, and 8.98 Mg ha(-1) (1, 2, 3, and 4 tons acre(-1)); NH(4)NO(3) rates were 65, 130, 195, and 260 kg N ha(-1) and were based on the amount of N applied with alum-treated litter. Soil pH, exchangeable Al (extracted with potassium chloride), Al uptake by fescue, and fescue yields were monitored periodically over time. Ammonium nitrate applications resulted in reductions in soil pH beginning in Year 3, causing exchangeable Al values to increase from less than 1 mg Al kg(-1) soil in Year 2 to over 100 mg Al kg(-1) soil in Year 7 for many of the NH(4)NO(3) plots. In contrast, normal and alum-treated litter resulted in an increase in soil pH, which decreased exchangeable Al when compared to unfertilized controls. Severe yield reductions were observed with NH(4)NO(3) beginning in Year 6, which were due to high levels of acidity and exchangeable Al. Aluminum uptake by forage and Al runoff from the plots were not affected by treatment. Fescue yields were highest with alum-treated litter (annual average = 7.36 Mg ha(-1)), followed by normal litter (6.93 Mg ha(-1)), NH(4)NO

  10. Flammability across the gymnosperm phylogeny: the importance of litter particle size.

    PubMed

    Cornwell, William K; Elvira, Alba; van Kempen, Lute; van Logtestijn, Richard S P; Aptroot, André; Cornelissen, J Hans C

    2015-04-01

    Fire is important to climate, element cycles and plant communities, with many fires spreading via surface litter. The influence of species on the spread of surface fire is mediated by their traits which, after senescence and abscission, have 'afterlife' effects on litter flammability. We hypothesized that differences in litter flammability among gymnosperms are determined by litter particle size effects on litterbed packing. We performed a mesocosm fire experiment comparing 39 phylogenetically wide-ranging gymnosperms, followed by litter size and shape manipulations on two chemically contrasting species, to isolate the underlying mechanism. The first-order control on litter flammability was, indeed, litter particle size in both experiments. Most gymnosperms were highly flammable, but a prominent exception was the non-Pinus Pinaceae, in which small leaves abscised singly produced dense, non-flammable litterbeds. There are two important implications: first, ecosystems dominated by gymnosperms that drop small leaves separately will develop dense litter layers, which will be less prone to and inhibit the spread of surface litter fire. Second, some of the needle-leaved species previously considered to be flammable in single-leaf experiments were among the least flammable in litter fuel beds, highlighting the role of the litter traits of species in affecting surface fire regimes. PMID:25675853

  11. Flammability across the gymnosperm phylogeny: the importance of litter particle size.

    PubMed

    Cornwell, William K; Elvira, Alba; van Kempen, Lute; van Logtestijn, Richard S P; Aptroot, André; Cornelissen, J Hans C

    2015-04-01

    Fire is important to climate, element cycles and plant communities, with many fires spreading via surface litter. The influence of species on the spread of surface fire is mediated by their traits which, after senescence and abscission, have 'afterlife' effects on litter flammability. We hypothesized that differences in litter flammability among gymnosperms are determined by litter particle size effects on litterbed packing. We performed a mesocosm fire experiment comparing 39 phylogenetically wide-ranging gymnosperms, followed by litter size and shape manipulations on two chemically contrasting species, to isolate the underlying mechanism. The first-order control on litter flammability was, indeed, litter particle size in both experiments. Most gymnosperms were highly flammable, but a prominent exception was the non-Pinus Pinaceae, in which small leaves abscised singly produced dense, non-flammable litterbeds. There are two important implications: first, ecosystems dominated by gymnosperms that drop small leaves separately will develop dense litter layers, which will be less prone to and inhibit the spread of surface litter fire. Second, some of the needle-leaved species previously considered to be flammable in single-leaf experiments were among the least flammable in litter fuel beds, highlighting the role of the litter traits of species in affecting surface fire regimes.

  12. Effect of mountain climatic elevation gradient and litter origin on decomposition processes: long-term experiment with litter-bags

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klimek, Beata; Niklińska, Maria; Chodak, Marcin

    2013-04-01

    Temperature is one of the most important factors affecting soil organic matter decomposition. Mountain areas with vertical gradients of temperature and precipitation provide an opportunity to observe climate changes similar to those observed at various latitudes and may serve as an approximation for climatic changes. The aim of the study was to compare the effects of climatic conditions and initial properties of litter on decomposition processes and thermal sensitivity of forest litter. The litter was collected at three altitudes (600, 900, 1200 m a.s.l.) in the Beskidy Mts (southern Poland), put into litter-bags and exposed in the field since autumn 2011. The litter collected at single altitude was exposed at the altitude it was taken and also at the two other altitudes. The litter-bags were laid out on five mountains, treated as replicates. Starting on April 2012, single sets of litter-bags were collected every five weeks. The laboratory measurements included determination of dry mass loss and chemical composition (Corg, Nt, St, Mg, Ca, Na, K, Cu, Zn) of the litter. In the additional litter-bag sets, taken in spring and autumn 2012, microbial properties were measured. To determine the effect of litter properties and climatic conditions of elevation sites on decomposing litter thermal sensitivity the respiration rate of litter was measured at 5°C, 15°C and 25°C and calculated as Q10 L and Q10 H (ratios of respiration rate between 5° and 15°C and between 15°C and 25°C, respectively). The functional diversity of soil microbes was measured with Biolog® ECO plates, structural diversity with phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA). Litter mass lost during first year of incubation was characterized by high variability and mean mass lost ranged up to a 30% of initial mass. After autumn sampling we showed, that mean respiration rate of litter (dry mass) from the 600m a.s.l site exposed on 600m a.s.l. was the highest at each tested temperature. In turn, the lowest mean

  13. Contrasting effects of plant species traits and moisture on the decomposition of multiple litter fractions.

    PubMed

    Riggs, Charlotte E; Hobbie, Sarah E; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Savage, Jessica A; Wei, Xiaojing

    2015-10-01

    Environmental variation in moisture directly influences plant litter decomposition through effects on microbial activity, and indirectly via plant species traits. Whether the effects of moisture and plant species traits are mutually reinforcing or counteracting during decomposition are unknown. To disentangle the effects of moisture from the effects of species traits that vary with moisture, we decomposed leaf litter from 12 plant species in the willow family (Salicaceae) with different native habitat moisture preferences in paired mesic and wetland plots. We fit litter mass loss data to an exponential decomposition model and estimated the decay rate of the rapidly cycling litter fraction and size of the remaining fraction that decays at a rate approaching zero. Litter traits that covaried with moisture in the species' native habitat significantly influenced the decomposition rate of the rapidly cycling litter fraction, but moisture in the decomposition environment did not. In contrast, for the slowly cycling litter fraction, litter traits that did not covary with moisture in the species' native habitat and moisture in the decomposition environment were significant. Overall, the effects of moisture and plant species traits on litter decomposition were somewhat reinforcing along a hydrologic gradient that spanned mesic upland to wetland (but not permanently surface-saturated) plots. In this system, plant trait and moisture effects may lead to greater in situ decomposition rates of wetland species compared to upland species; however, plant traits that do not covary with moisture will also influence decomposition of the slowest cycling litter fraction.

  14. Effect of litter layer on soil-atmosphere N2O flux of a subtropical pine plantation in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yidong; Wang, Huimin; Wang, Zhong-Liang; Ma, Zeqing; Dai, Xiaoqin; Wen, Xuefa; Liu, Yunfen

    2014-01-01

    Forest soils are important sources for nitrous oxide (N2O), but how the surface litter layer affects these sources is still unclear. Seasonal rainfall in the subtropical monsoon climate provides a unique opportunity to examine soil-atmosphere N2O flux under a wide range of soil water content. We studied this question over 3 years using a litter removal method in a 20-year-old pine plantation (Pinus elliottii) in subtropical China. Annual mean chamber-based soil-atmosphere N2O fluxes of the control (FCK) and litter-free (FLF) treatments were 6.07 and 5.17 μg N2O m-2 h-1, respectively. Removal of the litter layer reduced 15% of soil N2O emissions, suggesting the mineral soil as the dominant factor that determines soil N2O emissions. Seasonal FCK and FLF were both significantly influenced by water-filled pore space (WFPS) but not by soil temperature (TS). However, FCK and FLF were both correlated with TS during the wet season (January-June) but not during the dry season (July-December). During the wet season, FCK and FLF were 84% and 132% higher than during the dry season, respectively. In contrast, seasonal litter-based N2O fluxes (FCK-LF = FCK - FLF) were not correlated with WFPS and TS. During the dry season, however, a positive relationship was observed for FCK-LF and WFPS. In the context of climate change and human activities, future changes in soil environment and surface litter management will alter the strength of soil N2O emissions of the subtropical pine forests in China.

  15. Forest composition modifies litter dynamics and decomposition in regenerating tropical dry forest.

    PubMed

    Schilling, Erik M; Waring, Bonnie G; Schilling, Jonathan S; Powers, Jennifer S

    2016-09-01

    We investigated how forest composition, litter quality, and rainfall interact to affect leaf litter decomposition across three successional tropical dry forests in Costa Rica. We monitored litter stocks and bulk litter turnover in 18 plots that exhibit substantial variation in soil characteristics, tree community structure, fungal communities (including forests dominated by ecto- or arbuscular mycorrhizal host trees), and forest age. Simultaneously, we decomposed three standard litter substrates over a 6-month period spanning an unusually intense drought. Decay rates of standard substrates depended on the interaction between litter identity and forest type. Decomposition rates were correlated with tree and soil fungal community composition as well as soil fertility, but these relationships differed among litter types. In low fertility soils dominated by ectomycorrhizal oak trees, bulk litter turnover rates were low, regardless of soil moisture. By contrast, in higher fertility soils that supported mostly arbuscular mycorrhizal trees, bulk litter decay rates were strongly dependent on seasonal water availability. Both measures of decomposition increased with forest age, as did the frequency of termite-mediated wood decay. Taken together, our results demonstrate that soils and forest age exert strong control over decomposition dynamics in these tropical dry forests, either directly through effects on microclimate and nutrients, or indirectly by affecting tree and microbial community composition and traits, such as litter quality. PMID:27236291

  16. Forest composition modifies litter dynamics and decomposition in regenerating tropical dry forest.

    PubMed

    Schilling, Erik M; Waring, Bonnie G; Schilling, Jonathan S; Powers, Jennifer S

    2016-09-01

    We investigated how forest composition, litter quality, and rainfall interact to affect leaf litter decomposition across three successional tropical dry forests in Costa Rica. We monitored litter stocks and bulk litter turnover in 18 plots that exhibit substantial variation in soil characteristics, tree community structure, fungal communities (including forests dominated by ecto- or arbuscular mycorrhizal host trees), and forest age. Simultaneously, we decomposed three standard litter substrates over a 6-month period spanning an unusually intense drought. Decay rates of standard substrates depended on the interaction between litter identity and forest type. Decomposition rates were correlated with tree and soil fungal community composition as well as soil fertility, but these relationships differed among litter types. In low fertility soils dominated by ectomycorrhizal oak trees, bulk litter turnover rates were low, regardless of soil moisture. By contrast, in higher fertility soils that supported mostly arbuscular mycorrhizal trees, bulk litter decay rates were strongly dependent on seasonal water availability. Both measures of decomposition increased with forest age, as did the frequency of termite-mediated wood decay. Taken together, our results demonstrate that soils and forest age exert strong control over decomposition dynamics in these tropical dry forests, either directly through effects on microclimate and nutrients, or indirectly by affecting tree and microbial community composition and traits, such as litter quality.

  17. [Theoretical analysis of factors affecting heat exchange stability of human body with environment].

    PubMed

    Wu, Q; Wang, X

    1998-06-01

    Life could not be normal without the heat produced by metabolism of human body being transmitted into environment. This paper discussed the ways of heat exchange of human body with the environment, and analyzed their effects on the stability of heat exchange theoretically. In addition, factors that affects the stability of heat exchange were studied. The results indicate that the environmental temperature is the most important factor.

  18. Fertilisation is not a new beginning: sperm environment affects offspring developmental success.

    PubMed

    Ritchie, Hannah; Marshall, Dustin J

    2013-08-15

    For organisms with complex life histories, the direction and magnitude of phenotypic links among life-history stages can have important ecological and evolutionary effects. While the phenotypic links between mothers and offspring, as well as between larvae and adults, are well recognised, the links between sperm phenotype and offspring phenotype have been less well explored. Here, we used a split-clutch/split-ejaculate design to examine whether the environment that sperm experience affects the subsequent performance of larvae in the broadcast spawning marine invertebrate Galeolaria gemineoa. The environment that sperm experienced affected the developmental success of larvae sired by these sperm; larvae sired by sperm that experienced low salinities had poorer developmental success than larvae sired by sperm that experienced a normal salinity. When we explored the interactive effects of the sperm environment and the larval environment with an orthogonal design, we found an interaction; when sperm and larvae experienced the same environment, performance was generally higher than when the sperm and larval environments differed. These effects could be due to selection on specific sperm phenotypes, phenotypic modification of the sperm or both. Together, our results challenge the traditional notion that sperm are merely transporters of genetic material; instead, significant covariance between sperm and offspring phenotypes exists. Our study adds to a growing list that demonstrates that fertilisation does have a homogenising effect on the phenotype of the zygote, and that events before fertilisation during the gamete phase can carry through to affect performance in later life-history stages.

  19. Runoff quality from no-till cotton fertilized with broiler litter in subsurface bands.

    PubMed

    Adeli, A; Tewolde, H; Shankle, M W; Way, T R; Brooks, J P; McLaughlin, M R

    2013-01-01

    Surface broadcast of broiler litter to no-till row crops exposes the litter and its nutrients to risks of loss in runoff water and volatilization and may limit the potential benefit of litter to the crops. Subsurface banding of litter could alleviate these risks. A field study was conducted in 2008 and 2009 on an upland Falkner silt loam soil to determine the effect of broiler litter placement on runoff nutrient losses from no-till cotton ( L.). Treatments included surface broadcast broiler litter applied manually, subsurface-banded litter applied by tractor-drawn equipment, and no broiler litter, all in combination with or without winter wheat ( L.) cover crop residue. Broiler litter rate was 5.6 Mg ha. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with a split-plot arrangement of treatments replicated three times. In 2008, simulated rainfall was used to generate runoff 27 d after litter application. Subsurface-banded litter reduced runoff total C, N, P, NH, NO, Cu, Zn and water-soluble P (WP) concentrations by 72, 64, 51, 49, 70, 36, 65, and 77%, respectively, compared with surface broadcast. The reductions were greater in 2009 where runoff occurred 1 d after litter application. Bacterial runoff was decreased by one log with subsurface-banded litter compared to surface broadcast. Except for C, NH, N, and WP, the presence of winter cover crop residue did not affect the load or runoff nutrient concentrations in either year. The results indicate that subsurface banding litter to no-till cotton substantially reduces nutrient and bacterial losses in runoff compared with surface broadcasting.

  20. Countervailing effects on pine and oak leaf litter decomposition in human-altered Mediterranean ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sheffer, Efrat; Canham, Charles D; Kigel, Jaime; Perevolotsky, Avi

    2015-04-01

    Species affect the dynamics of litter decay through the intrinsic properties of their litter, but also by influencing the environmental conditions imposed by their canopy, roots, and litter layers. We examined how human-induced changes in the relative abundances of two dominant Mediterranean trees-Pinus halepensis and Quercus calliprinos-impact leaf litter decomposition. A reciprocal transplant experiment tested decomposition of pine, oak, and mixed leaf litter in oak woodland and pine forest ecosystems with different relative abundances of pine and oak. Using likelihood methods, we tested the importance and magnitude of the environmental effects of local species abundance, litter layer composition, and soil properties on litter mass loss. Oak litter decomposition was slower than pine, and had an antagonistic effect on mixed litter decay. These results differ from other reported pine-oak associations, and are probably associated with a higher content of tannins and phenols in oak compared to pine litter in our study sites. The environmental effects of the two species were opposite to their litter decomposition dynamics. An increased proportion of pine in the oak woodlands and a higher content of pine needles in the litter layer of pine forests reduced decay rates. The presence of more oak and broadleaf litter in the litter layer accelerated decomposition in pine forests. Our results highlight the importance of considering multidimensional species effects mediated by both chemical and physical properties, and imply that man-made changes in the composition and configuration of plant communities may result in complex unpredicted consequences to ecosystem biogeochemistry.

  1. Runoff quality from no-till cotton fertilized with broiler litter in subsurface bands.

    PubMed

    Adeli, A; Tewolde, H; Shankle, M W; Way, T R; Brooks, J P; McLaughlin, M R

    2013-01-01

    Surface broadcast of broiler litter to no-till row crops exposes the litter and its nutrients to risks of loss in runoff water and volatilization and may limit the potential benefit of litter to the crops. Subsurface banding of litter could alleviate these risks. A field study was conducted in 2008 and 2009 on an upland Falkner silt loam soil to determine the effect of broiler litter placement on runoff nutrient losses from no-till cotton ( L.). Treatments included surface broadcast broiler litter applied manually, subsurface-banded litter applied by tractor-drawn equipment, and no broiler litter, all in combination with or without winter wheat ( L.) cover crop residue. Broiler litter rate was 5.6 Mg ha. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with a split-plot arrangement of treatments replicated three times. In 2008, simulated rainfall was used to generate runoff 27 d after litter application. Subsurface-banded litter reduced runoff total C, N, P, NH, NO, Cu, Zn and water-soluble P (WP) concentrations by 72, 64, 51, 49, 70, 36, 65, and 77%, respectively, compared with surface broadcast. The reductions were greater in 2009 where runoff occurred 1 d after litter application. Bacterial runoff was decreased by one log with subsurface-banded litter compared to surface broadcast. Except for C, NH, N, and WP, the presence of winter cover crop residue did not affect the load or runoff nutrient concentrations in either year. The results indicate that subsurface banding litter to no-till cotton substantially reduces nutrient and bacterial losses in runoff compared with surface broadcasting. PMID:23673763

  2. Influence of Litter Diversity on Dissolved Organic Matter Release and Soil Carbon Formation in a Mixed Beech Forest

    PubMed Central

    Scheibe, Andrea; Gleixner, Gerd

    2014-01-01

    We investigated the effect of leaf litter on below ground carbon export and soil carbon formation in order to understand how litter diversity affects carbon cycling in forest ecosystems. 13C labeled and unlabeled leaf litter of beech (Fagus sylvatica) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior), characterized by low and high decomposability, were used in a litter exchange experiment in the Hainich National Park (Thuringia, Germany). Litter was added in pure and mixed treatments with either beech or ash labeled with 13C. We collected soil water in 5 cm mineral soil depth below each treatment biweekly and determined dissolved organic carbon (DOC), δ13C values and anion contents. In addition, we measured carbon concentrations and δ13C values in the organic and mineral soil (collected in 1 cm increments) up to 5 cm soil depth at the end of the experiment. Litter-derived C contributes less than 1% to dissolved organic matter (DOM) collected in 5 cm mineral soil depth. Better decomposable ash litter released significantly more (0.50±0.17%) litter carbon than beech litter (0.17±0.07%). All soil layers held in total around 30% of litter-derived carbon, indicating the large retention potential of litter-derived C in the top soil. Interestingly, in mixed (ash and beech litter) treatments we did not find a higher contribution of better decomposable ash-derived carbon in DOM, O horizon or mineral soil. This suggest that the known selective decomposition of better decomposable litter by soil fauna has no or only minor effects on the release and formation of litter-derived DOM and soil organic matter. Overall our experiment showed that 1) litter-derived carbon is of low importance for dissolved organic carbon release and 2) litter of higher decomposability is faster decomposed, but litter diversity does not influence the carbon flow. PMID:25486628

  3. Influence of litter diversity on dissolved organic matter release and soil carbon formation in a mixed beech forest.

    PubMed

    Scheibe, Andrea; Gleixner, Gerd

    2014-01-01

    We investigated the effect of leaf litter on below ground carbon export and soil carbon formation in order to understand how litter diversity affects carbon cycling in forest ecosystems. 13C labeled and unlabeled leaf litter of beech (Fagus sylvatica) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior), characterized by low and high decomposability, were used in a litter exchange experiment in the Hainich National Park (Thuringia, Germany). Litter was added in pure and mixed treatments with either beech or ash labeled with 13C. We collected soil water in 5 cm mineral soil depth below each treatment biweekly and determined dissolved organic carbon (DOC), δ13C values and anion contents. In addition, we measured carbon concentrations and δ13C values in the organic and mineral soil (collected in 1 cm increments) up to 5 cm soil depth at the end of the experiment. Litter-derived C contributes less than 1% to dissolved organic matter (DOM) collected in 5 cm mineral soil depth. Better decomposable ash litter released significantly more (0.50±0.17%) litter carbon than beech litter (0.17±0.07%). All soil layers held in total around 30% of litter-derived carbon, indicating the large retention potential of litter-derived C in the top soil. Interestingly, in mixed (ash and beech litter) treatments we did not find a higher contribution of better decomposable ash-derived carbon in DOM, O horizon or mineral soil. This suggest that the known selective decomposition of better decomposable litter by soil fauna has no or only minor effects on the release and formation of litter-derived DOM and soil organic matter. Overall our experiment showed that 1) litter-derived carbon is of low importance for dissolved organic carbon release and 2) litter of higher decomposability is faster decomposed, but litter diversity does not influence the carbon flow.

  4. Environmentally-friendly animal litter

    DOEpatents

    Boxley, Chett; McKelvie, Jessica

    2013-09-03

    An animal litter composition that includes geopolymerized ash particulates having a network of repeating aluminum-silicon units is described herein. Generally, the animal litter is made from a quantity of a pozzolanic ash mixed with an alkaline activator to initiate a geopolymerization reaction that forms geopolymerized ash. This geopolymerization reaction may occur within a pelletizer. After the geopolymerized ash is formed, it may be dried and sieved to a desired size. These geopolymerized ash particulates may be used to make a non-clumping or clumping animal litter or other absorbing material. Aluminum sulfate, clinoptilolite, silica gel, sodium alginate and mineral oil may be added as additional ingredients.

  5. Environmentally-friendly animal litter

    DOEpatents

    Boxley, Chett; McKelvie, Jessica

    2012-08-28

    An animal litter composition including geopolymerized ash particulates having a network of repeating aluminum-silicon units is described herein. Generally, the animal litter is made from a quantity of a pozzolanic ash mixed with a sufficient quantity of water and an alkaline activator to initiate a geopolymerization reaction that forms geopolymerized ash. After the geopolymerized ash is formed, it is dried, broken into particulates, and sieved to a desired size. These geopolymerized ash particulates are used to make a non-clumping or clumping animal litter. Odor control is accomplished with the addition of a urease inhibitor, pH buffer, an odor eliminating agent, and/or fragrance.

  6. Maternal environment affects the genetic basis of seed dormancy in Arabidopsis thaliana.

    PubMed

    Postma, Froukje M; Ågren, Jon

    2015-02-01

    The genetic basis of seed dormancy, a key life history trait important for adaptive evolution in plant populations, has yet been studied only using seeds produced under controlled conditions in greenhouse environments. However, dormancy is strongly affected by maternal environmental conditions, and interactions between seed genotype and maternal environment have been reported. Consequently, the genetic basis of dormancy of seeds produced under natural field conditions remains unclear. We examined the effect of maternal environment on the genetic architecture of seed dormancy using a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from a cross between two locally adapted populations of Arabidopsis thaliana from Italy and Sweden. We mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) for dormancy of seeds produced in the greenhouse and at the native field sites of the parental genotypes. The Italian genotype produced seeds with stronger dormancy at fruit maturation than did the Swedish genotype in all three environments, and the maternal field environments induced higher dormancy levels compared to the greenhouse environment in both genotypes. Across the three maternal environments, a total of nine dormancy QTL were detected, three of which were only detected among seeds matured in the field, and six of which showed significant QTL × maternal environment interactions. One QTL had a large effect on dormancy across all three environments and colocalized with the candidate gene DOG1. Our results demonstrate the importance of studying the genetic basis of putatively adaptive traits under relevant conditions.

  7. Direct and indirect effects of UV-B exposure on litter decomposition: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Song, Xinzhang; Peng, Changhui; Jiang, Hong; Zhu, Qiuan; Wang, Weifeng

    2013-01-01

    Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) exposure in the course of litter decomposition may have a direct effect on decomposition rates via changing states of photodegradation or decomposer constitution in litter while UV-B exposure during growth periods may alter chemical compositions and physical properties of plants. Consequently, these changes will indirectly affect subsequent litter decomposition processes in soil. Although studies are available on both the positive and negative effects (including no observable effects) of UV-B exposure on litter decomposition, a comprehensive analysis leading to an adequate understanding remains unresolved. Using data from 93 studies across six biomes, this introductory meta-analysis found that elevated UV-B directly increased litter decomposition rates by 7% and indirectly by 12% while attenuated UV-B directly decreased litter decomposition rates by 23% and indirectly increased litter decomposition rates by 7%. However, neither positive nor negative effects were statistically significant. Woody plant litter decomposition seemed more sensitive to UV-B than herbaceous plant litter except under conditions of indirect effects of elevated UV-B. Furthermore, levels of UV-B intensity significantly affected litter decomposition response to UV-B (P<0.05). UV-B effects on litter decomposition were to a large degree compounded by climatic factors (e.g., MAP and MAT) (P<0.05) and litter chemistry (e.g., lignin content) (P<0.01). Results suggest these factors likely have a bearing on masking the important role of UV-B on litter decomposition. No significant differences in UV-B effects on litter decomposition were found between study types (field experiment vs. laboratory incubation), litter forms (leaf vs. needle), and decay duration. Indirect effects of elevated UV-B on litter decomposition significantly increased with decay duration (P<0.001). Additionally, relatively small changes in UV-B exposure intensity (30%) had significant direct effects on litter

  8. Effects of chemically amended litter on broiler performances, atmospheric ammonia concentration, and phosphorus solubility in litter.

    PubMed

    Do, J C; Choi, I H; Nahm, K H

    2005-05-01

    The effects of 6 different litter amendments on broiler performance, level of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) concentration, and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) in litter was determined. Through 3 experiments conducted on 2 different commercial farms, one chemical amendment was added to the litter and then was compared with a control. Broiler performance was not affected by any of the amendments except the ferrous sulfate amendment for which mortality was 25.5%. Application of aluminum chloride (AlCl3 x 6H2O) to the litter lowered atmospheric ammonia concentrations at 42 d by 97.2%, whereas ferrous sulfate (FeSO4 x 7H2O) lowered it by 90.77%. Ammonia concentrations were reduced by 86.18, 78.66, 75.52, and 69.00% by aluminum sulfate [alum or Al2(SO4)3 x 14H2O)], alum + CaCO3, aluminum chloride + CaCO3, and potassium permanganate (KMnO4), respectively, when compared with each control at 42 d. Each amendment except KMnO4 significantly reduced SRP contents. Alum and aluminum chloride were the effective compounds evaluated on the commercial farms with respect to reducing ammonia contents, phosphorus solubility, and mortality.

  9. Adolescents' Cognitive "Habitus", Learning Environments, Affective Outcomes of Schooling, and Young Adults' Educational Attainment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marjoribanks, Kevin

    2006-01-01

    A moderation-mediation model was constructed to examine relationships among adolescents' cognitive "habitus" (their cognitive dispositions), learning environments, affective outcomes of schooling, and young adults' educational attainment. Data were collected as part of a longitudinal survey of Australian youth (4,171 females, 3,718 males). The…

  10. Assessing the Utility of a Virtual Environment for Enhancing Facial Affect Recognition in Adolescents with Autism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bekele, Esubalew; Crittendon, Julie; Zheng, Zhi; Swanson, Amy; Weitlauf, Amy; Warren, Zachary; Sarkar, Nilanjan

    2014-01-01

    Teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and age-matched controls participated in a dynamic facial affect recognition task within a virtual reality (VR) environment. Participants identified the emotion of a facial expression displayed at varied levels of intensity by a computer generated avatar. The system assessed performance (i.e.,…

  11. Subsurface band application of poultry litter

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Broiler litter is commonly used as a fertilizer on pastures and cropland. Poultry litter is typically land-applied by broadcasting the litter on the soil surface. Rain falling on soil to which poultry litter has been applied, may carry phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) nutrients from the soil into s...

  12. Foliar litter decomposition in an alpine forest meta-ecosystem on the eastern Tibetan Plateau.

    PubMed

    Yue, Kai; Yang, Wanqin; Peng, Changhui; Peng, Yan; Zhang, Chuan; Huang, Chunping; Tan, Yu; Wu, Fuzhong

    2016-10-01

    Litter decomposition is a biological process fundamental to element cycling and a main nutrient source within forest meta-ecosystems, but few studies have looked into this process simultaneously in individual ecosystems, where environmental factors can vary substantially. A two-year field study conducted in an alpine forest meta-ecosystem with four litter species (i.e., willow: Salix paraplesia, azalea: Rhododendron lapponicum, cypress: Sabina saltuaria, and larch: Larix mastersiana) that varied widely in chemical traits showed that both litter species and ecosystem type (i.e., forest floor, stream and riparian zone) are important factors affecting litter decomposition, and their effects can be moderated by local-scale environmental factors such as temperature and nutrient availability. Litter decomposed fastest in the streams followed by the riparian zone and forest floor regardless of species. For a given litter species, both the k value and limit value varied significantly among ecosystems, indicating that the litter decomposition rate and extent (i.e., reaching a limit value) can be substantially affected by ecosystem type and the local-scale environmental factors. Apart from litter initial acid unhydrolyzable residue (AUR) concentration and its ratio to nitrogen concentration (i.e., AUR/N ratio), the initial nutrient concentrations of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) were also important litter traits that affected decomposition depending on the ecosystem type. PMID:27220105

  13. Foliar litter decomposition in an alpine forest meta-ecosystem on the eastern Tibetan Plateau.

    PubMed

    Yue, Kai; Yang, Wanqin; Peng, Changhui; Peng, Yan; Zhang, Chuan; Huang, Chunping; Tan, Yu; Wu, Fuzhong

    2016-10-01

    Litter decomposition is a biological process fundamental to element cycling and a main nutrient source within forest meta-ecosystems, but few studies have looked into this process simultaneously in individual ecosystems, where environmental factors can vary substantially. A two-year field study conducted in an alpine forest meta-ecosystem with four litter species (i.e., willow: Salix paraplesia, azalea: Rhododendron lapponicum, cypress: Sabina saltuaria, and larch: Larix mastersiana) that varied widely in chemical traits showed that both litter species and ecosystem type (i.e., forest floor, stream and riparian zone) are important factors affecting litter decomposition, and their effects can be moderated by local-scale environmental factors such as temperature and nutrient availability. Litter decomposed fastest in the streams followed by the riparian zone and forest floor regardless of species. For a given litter species, both the k value and limit value varied significantly among ecosystems, indicating that the litter decomposition rate and extent (i.e., reaching a limit value) can be substantially affected by ecosystem type and the local-scale environmental factors. Apart from litter initial acid unhydrolyzable residue (AUR) concentration and its ratio to nitrogen concentration (i.e., AUR/N ratio), the initial nutrient concentrations of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) were also important litter traits that affected decomposition depending on the ecosystem type.

  14. Statistical analysis of litter experiments in teratology

    SciTech Connect

    Williams, R.; Buschbom, R.L.

    1982-11-01

    Teratological data is binary response data (each fetus is either affected or not) in which the responses within a litter are usually not independent. As a result, the litter should be taken as the experimental unit. For each litter, its size, n, and the number of fetuses, x, possessing the effect of interest are recorded. The ratio p = x/n is then the basic data generated by the experiment. There are currently three general approaches to the analysis of teratological data: nonparametric, transformation followed by t-test or ANOVA, and parametric. The first two are currently in wide use by practitioners while the third is relatively new to the field. These first two also appear to possess comparable power levels while maintaining the nominal level of significance. When transformations are employed, care must be exercised to check that the transformed data has the required properties. Since the data is often highly asymmetric, there may be no transformation which renders the data nearly normal. The parametric procedures, including the beta-binomial model, offer the possibility of increased power.

  15. Arsenic speciation and reactivity in poultry litter

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arai, Y.; Lanzirotti, A.; Sutton, S.; Davis, J.A.; Sparks, D.L.

    2003-01-01

    Recent U.S. government action to lower the maximum concentration levels (MCL) of total arsenic (As) (10 ppb) in drinking water has raised serious concerns about the agricultural use of As-containing biosolids such as poultry litter (PL). In this study, solid-state chemical speciation, desorbability, and total levels of As in PL and long-term amended soils were investigated using novel synchrotronbased probing techniques (microfocused (??) synchrotron X-ray fluorescence (SXRF) and ??-X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopies) coupled with chemical digestion and batch experiments. The total As levels in the PL were as high as ???50 mg kg-1, and As(II/III and V) was always concentrated in abundant needle-shaped microscopic particles (???20/ ??m x 850 ??m) associated with Ca, Cu, and Fe and to a lesser extent with S, CI, and Zn. Postedge XANES features of litter particles are dissimilar to those of the organo-As(V) compound in poultry feed (i.e., roxarsone), suggesting possible degradation/transformation of roxarsone in the litter and/or in poultry digestive tracts. The extent of As desorption from the litter increased with increasing time and pH from 4.5 to 7, but at most 15% of the total As was released after 5 d at pH 7, indicating the presence of insoluble phases and/or strongly retained soluble compounds. No significant As accumulation (< 15 mg kg-1) was found in long-term PL-a mended agricultural surface soils. This suggests that As in the PL may have undergone surface and subsurface transport processes. Our research results raise concerns about long-term PL amendment effects on As contamination in surrounding soilwater environments.

  16. Consequences of biodiversity loss for litter decomposition across biomes.

    PubMed

    Handa, I Tanya; Aerts, Rien; Berendse, Frank; Berg, Matty P; Bruder, Andreas; Butenschoen, Olaf; Chauvet, Eric; Gessner, Mark O; Jabiol, Jérémy; Makkonen, Marika; McKie, Brendan G; Malmqvist, Björn; Peeters, Edwin T H M; Scheu, Stefan; Schmid, Bernhard; van Ruijven, Jasper; Vos, Veronique C A; Hättenschwiler, Stephan

    2014-05-01

    The decomposition of dead organic matter is a major determinant of carbon and nutrient cycling in ecosystems, and of carbon fluxes between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Decomposition is driven by a vast diversity of organisms that are structured in complex food webs. Identifying the mechanisms underlying the effects of biodiversity on decomposition is critical given the rapid loss of species worldwide and the effects of this loss on human well-being. Yet despite comprehensive syntheses of studies on how biodiversity affects litter decomposition, key questions remain, including when, where and how biodiversity has a role and whether general patterns and mechanisms occur across ecosystems and different functional types of organism. Here, in field experiments across five terrestrial and aquatic locations, ranging from the subarctic to the tropics, we show that reducing the functional diversity of decomposer organisms and plant litter types slowed the cycling of litter carbon and nitrogen. Moreover, we found evidence of nitrogen transfer from the litter of nitrogen-fixing plants to that of rapidly decomposing plants, but not between other plant functional types, highlighting that specific interactions in litter mixtures control carbon and nitrogen cycling during decomposition. The emergence of this general mechanism and the coherence of patterns across contrasting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems suggest that biodiversity loss has consistent consequences for litter decomposition and the cycling of major elements on broad spatial scales. PMID:24805346

  17. Consequences of biodiversity loss for litter decomposition across biomes.

    PubMed

    Handa, I Tanya; Aerts, Rien; Berendse, Frank; Berg, Matty P; Bruder, Andreas; Butenschoen, Olaf; Chauvet, Eric; Gessner, Mark O; Jabiol, Jérémy; Makkonen, Marika; McKie, Brendan G; Malmqvist, Björn; Peeters, Edwin T H M; Scheu, Stefan; Schmid, Bernhard; van Ruijven, Jasper; Vos, Veronique C A; Hättenschwiler, Stephan

    2014-05-01

    The decomposition of dead organic matter is a major determinant of carbon and nutrient cycling in ecosystems, and of carbon fluxes between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Decomposition is driven by a vast diversity of organisms that are structured in complex food webs. Identifying the mechanisms underlying the effects of biodiversity on decomposition is critical given the rapid loss of species worldwide and the effects of this loss on human well-being. Yet despite comprehensive syntheses of studies on how biodiversity affects litter decomposition, key questions remain, including when, where and how biodiversity has a role and whether general patterns and mechanisms occur across ecosystems and different functional types of organism. Here, in field experiments across five terrestrial and aquatic locations, ranging from the subarctic to the tropics, we show that reducing the functional diversity of decomposer organisms and plant litter types slowed the cycling of litter carbon and nitrogen. Moreover, we found evidence of nitrogen transfer from the litter of nitrogen-fixing plants to that of rapidly decomposing plants, but not between other plant functional types, highlighting that specific interactions in litter mixtures control carbon and nitrogen cycling during decomposition. The emergence of this general mechanism and the coherence of patterns across contrasting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems suggest that biodiversity loss has consistent consequences for litter decomposition and the cycling of major elements on broad spatial scales.

  18. Challenges in researching violence affecting health service delivery in complex security environments.

    PubMed

    Foghammar, Ludvig; Jang, Suyoun; Kyzy, Gulzhan Asylbek; Weiss, Nerina; Sullivan, Katherine A; Gibson-Fall, Fawzia; Irwin, Rachel

    2016-08-01

    Complex security environments are characterized by violence (including, but not limited to "armed conflict" in the legal sense), poverty, environmental disasters and poor governance. Violence directly affecting health service delivery in complex security environments includes attacks on individuals (e.g. doctors, nurses, administrators, security guards, ambulance drivers and translators), obstructions (e.g. ambulances being stopped at checkpoints), discrimination (e.g. staff being pressured to treat one patient instead of another), attacks on and misappropriation of health facilities and property (e.g. vandalism, theft and ambulance theft by armed groups), and the criminalization of health workers. This paper examines the challenges associated with researching the context, scope and nature of violence directly affecting health service delivery in these environments. With a focus on data collection, it considers how these challenges affect researchers' ability to analyze the drivers of violence and impact of violence. This paper presents key findings from two research workshops organized in 2014 and 2015 which convened researchers and practitioners in the fields of health and humanitarian aid delivery and policy, and draws upon an analysis of organizational efforts to address violence affecting healthcare delivery and eleven in-depth interviews with representatives of organizations working in complex security environments. Despite the urgency and impact of violence affecting healthcare delivery, there is an overall lack of research that is of health-specific, publically accessible and comparable, as well as a lack of gender-disaggregated data, data on perpetrator motives and an assessment of the 'knock-on' effects of violence. These gaps limit analysis and, by extension, the ability of organizations operating in complex security environments to effectively manage the security of their staff and facilities and to deliver health services. Increased research

  19. Challenges in researching violence affecting health service delivery in complex security environments.

    PubMed

    Foghammar, Ludvig; Jang, Suyoun; Kyzy, Gulzhan Asylbek; Weiss, Nerina; Sullivan, Katherine A; Gibson-Fall, Fawzia; Irwin, Rachel

    2016-08-01

    Complex security environments are characterized by violence (including, but not limited to "armed conflict" in the legal sense), poverty, environmental disasters and poor governance. Violence directly affecting health service delivery in complex security environments includes attacks on individuals (e.g. doctors, nurses, administrators, security guards, ambulance drivers and translators), obstructions (e.g. ambulances being stopped at checkpoints), discrimination (e.g. staff being pressured to treat one patient instead of another), attacks on and misappropriation of health facilities and property (e.g. vandalism, theft and ambulance theft by armed groups), and the criminalization of health workers. This paper examines the challenges associated with researching the context, scope and nature of violence directly affecting health service delivery in these environments. With a focus on data collection, it considers how these challenges affect researchers' ability to analyze the drivers of violence and impact of violence. This paper presents key findings from two research workshops organized in 2014 and 2015 which convened researchers and practitioners in the fields of health and humanitarian aid delivery and policy, and draws upon an analysis of organizational efforts to address violence affecting healthcare delivery and eleven in-depth interviews with representatives of organizations working in complex security environments. Despite the urgency and impact of violence affecting healthcare delivery, there is an overall lack of research that is of health-specific, publically accessible and comparable, as well as a lack of gender-disaggregated data, data on perpetrator motives and an assessment of the 'knock-on' effects of violence. These gaps limit analysis and, by extension, the ability of organizations operating in complex security environments to effectively manage the security of their staff and facilities and to deliver health services. Increased research

  20. Research Into the Role of Students’ Affective Domain While Learning Geology in Field Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elkins, J.

    2009-12-01

    Existing research programs in field-based geocognition include assessment of cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains. Assessment of the affective domain often involves the use of instruments and techniques uncommon to the geosciences. Research regarding the affective domain also commonly results in the collection and production of qualitative data that is difficult for geoscientists to analyze due to their lack of familiarity with these data sets. However, important information about students’ affective responses to learning in field environments can be obtained by using these methods. My research program focuses on data produced by students’ affective responses to field-based learning environments, primarily among students at the introductory level. For this research I developed a Likert-scale Novelty Space Survey, which presents student ‘novelty space’ (Orion and Hofstien, 1993) as a polygon; the larger the polygons, the more novelty students are experiencing. The axises for these polygons correspond to novelty domains involving geographic, social, cognitive, and psychological factors. In addition to the Novelty Space Survey, data which I have collected/generated includes focus group interviews on the role of recreational experiences in geology field programs. I have also collected data concerning the motivating factors that cause students to take photographs on field trips. The results of these studies give insight to the emotional responses students have to learning in the field and are important considerations for practitioners of teaching in these environments. Collaborative investigations among research programs that cross university departments and include multiple institutions is critical at this point in development of geocognition as a field due to unfamiliarity with cognitive science methodology by practitioners teaching geosciences and the dynamic nature of field work by cognitive scientists. However, combining the efforts of cognitive

  1. Links between plant litter chemistry, species diversity, and below-ground ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Meier, Courtney L; Bowman, William D

    2008-12-16

    Decomposition is a critical source of plant nutrients, and drives the largest flux of terrestrial C to the atmosphere. Decomposing soil organic matter typically contains litter from multiple plant species, yet we lack a mechanistic understanding of how species diversity influences decomposition processes. Here, we show that soil C and N cycling during decomposition are controlled by the composition and diversity of chemical compounds within plant litter mixtures, rather than by simple metrics of plant species diversity. We amended native soils with litter mixtures containing up to 4 alpine plant species, and we used 9 litter chemical traits to evaluate the chemical composition (i.e., the identity and quantity of compounds) and chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. The chemical composition of the litter mixtures was the strongest predictor of soil respiration, net N mineralization, and microbial biomass N. Soil respiration and net N mineralization rates were also significantly correlated with the chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. In contrast, soil C and N cycling rates were poorly correlated with plant species richness, and there was no relationship between species richness and the chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. These results indicate that the composition and diversity of chemical compounds in litter are potentially important functional traits affecting decomposition, and simple metrics like plant species richness may fail to capture variation in these traits. Litter chemical traits therefore provide a mechanistic link between organisms, species diversity, and key components of below-ground ecosystem function.

  2. Litter contribution to soil organic carbon in the agriculture abandons processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Novara, Agata; Francaviglia, Dario; La Mantia, tommaso; Gristina, Luciano; La Bella, Salvatore; Tuttolomondo, Teresa

    2015-04-01

    Mechanisms of litter decomposition, translocation and stabilization into soil layers are fundamental processes in ecosystem functioning as it regulates the cycle of soil organic matter (SOM), CO2 emission into the atmosphere, carbon sequestration into the soil. In this study, it was investigated the contribution of litters of different stages of Mediterranean secondary succession on Carbon sequestration, analyzing the role of earthworms on translocation of SOM into soil profile. For this purpose δ13C difference between meadow C4-C soil and C3-C litter were used in a field experiment. Four undisturbed litters of different stages of succession were collected (45, 70, 100 and 120 since agriculture abandon) and placed on the top of isolated soil cores. The litter contribution to C stock was affected by plant species and increased with the age of the stage of secondary succession. The soil organic carbon after 1 year since litter position increased up to 40% in comparison to no litter treatment in soil with litter of 120 years since abandon. The new carbon derived from C3-litter was decomposed and transferred into soil profile thanks to earthworms and dissolved organic carbon leaching. After 1 years the carbon increase attributed to earthworm activity ranged from 6% to 13% in soil under litter in field abandoned since 120 and 45 years, respectively.

  3. No evidence for leaf-trait dissimilarity effects on litter decomposition, fungal decomposers, and nutrient dynamics.

    PubMed

    Frainer, André; Moretti, Marcelo S; Xu, Wenjing; Gessner, Mark O

    2015-02-01

    Biodiversity and ecosystem-functioning theory suggest that litter mixtures composed of dissimilar leaf species can enhance decomposition due to species trait complementarity. Here we created a continuous gradient of litter chemistry trait variability within species mixtures to assess effects of litter dissimilarity on three related processes in a natural stream: litter decomposition, fungal biomass accrual in the litter, and nitrogen and phosphorus immobilization. Litter from a pool of eight leaf species was analyzed for chemistry traits affecting decomposition (lignin, nitrogen, and phosphorus) and assembled in all of the 28 possible two-species combinations. Litter dissimilarity was characterized in terms of a range of trait-diversity measures, using Euclidean and Gower distances and dendrogram-based indices. We found large differences in decomposition rates among leaf species, but no significant relationships between decomposition rate of individual leaf species and litter trait dissimilarity, irrespective of whether decomposition was mediated by microbes alone or by both microbes and litter-consuming invertebrates. Likewise, no effects of trait dissimilarity emerged on either fungal biomass accrual or changes during decomposition of nitrogen or phosphorus concentrations in individual leaf species. In line with recent meta-analyses, these results provide support for the contention that litter diversity effects on decomposition, at least in streams, are less pronounced than effects on terrestrial primary productivity.

  4. Increased rainfall variability and N addition accelerate litter decomposition in a restored prairie.

    PubMed

    Schuster, Michael J

    2016-03-01

    Anthropogenic nitrogen deposition and projected increases in rainfall variability (the frequency of drought and heavy rainfall events) are expected to strongly influence ecosystem processes such as litter decomposition. However, how these two global change factors interact to influence litter decomposition is largely unknown. I examined how increased rainfall variability and nitrogen addition affected mass and nitrogen loss of litter from two tallgrass prairie species, Schizachyrium scoparium and Solidago canadensis, and isolated the effects of each during plant growth and during litter decomposition. I increased rainfall variability by consolidating ambient rainfall into larger events and simulated chronic nitrogen deposition using a slow-release urea fertilizer. S. scoparium litter decay was more strongly regulated by the treatments applied during plant growth than by those applied during decomposition. During plant growth, increased rainfall variability resulted in S. scoparium litter that subsequently decomposed more slowly and immobilized more nitrogen than litter grown under ambient conditions, whereas nitrogen addition during plant growth accelerated subsequent mass loss of S. scoparium litter. In contrast, S. canadensis litter mass and N losses were enhanced under either N addition or increased rainfall variability both during plant growth and during decomposition. These results suggest that ongoing changes in rainfall variability and nitrogen availability are accelerating nutrient cycling in tallgrass prairies through their combined effects on litter quality, environmental conditions, and plant community composition. PMID:26216200

  5. Decomposition of Phragmites australis litter retarded by invasive Solidago canadensis in mixtures: an antagonistic non-additive effect

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Ling; Zhang, Yaojun; Zou, Jianwen; Siemann, Evan

    2014-01-01

    Solidago canadensis is an aggressive invader in China. Solidago invasion success is partially attributed to allelopathic compounds release and more benefits from AM fungi, which potentially makes the properties of Solidago litter different from co-occurring natives. These properties may comprehensively affect litter decomposition of co-occurring natives. We conducted a field experiment to examine litter mixing effects in a Phragmites australis dominated community invaded by Solidago in southeast China. Solidago had more rapid mass and N loss rate than Phragmites when they decomposed separately. Litter mixing decreased N loss rate in Phragmites litter and increased that of Solidago. Large decreases in Phragmites mass loss and smaller increases in Solidago mass loss caused negative non-additive effect. Solidago litter extracts reduced soil C decomposition and N processes, suggested an inhibitory effect of Solidago secondary compounds. These results are consistent with the idea that nutrient transfer and secondary compounds both affected litter mixtures decomposition. PMID:24976274

  6. Decomposition of Phragmites australis litter retarded by invasive Solidago canadensis in mixtures: an antagonistic non-additive effect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Ling; Zhang, Yaojun; Zou, Jianwen; Siemann, Evan

    2014-06-01

    Solidago canadensis is an aggressive invader in China. Solidago invasion success is partially attributed to allelopathic compounds release and more benefits from AM fungi, which potentially makes the properties of Solidago litter different from co-occurring natives. These properties may comprehensively affect litter decomposition of co-occurring natives. We conducted a field experiment to examine litter mixing effects in a Phragmites australis dominated community invaded by Solidago in southeast China. Solidago had more rapid mass and N loss rate than Phragmites when they decomposed separately. Litter mixing decreased N loss rate in Phragmites litter and increased that of Solidago. Large decreases in Phragmites mass loss and smaller increases in Solidago mass loss caused negative non-additive effect. Solidago litter extracts reduced soil C decomposition and N processes, suggested an inhibitory effect of Solidago secondary compounds. These results are consistent with the idea that nutrient transfer and secondary compounds both affected litter mixtures decomposition.

  7. Decomposition of Phragmites australis litter retarded by invasive Solidago canadensis in mixtures: an antagonistic non-additive effect.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ling; Zhang, Yaojun; Zou, Jianwen; Siemann, Evan

    2014-06-30

    Solidago canadensis is an aggressive invader in China. Solidago invasion success is partially attributed to allelopathic compounds release and more benefits from AM fungi, which potentially makes the properties of Solidago litter different from co-occurring natives. These properties may comprehensively affect litter decomposition of co-occurring natives. We conducted a field experiment to examine litter mixing effects in a Phragmites australis dominated community invaded by Solidago in southeast China. Solidago had more rapid mass and N loss rate than Phragmites when they decomposed separately. Litter mixing decreased N loss rate in Phragmites litter and increased that of Solidago. Large decreases in Phragmites mass loss and smaller increases in Solidago mass loss caused negative non-additive effect. Solidago litter extracts reduced soil C decomposition and N processes, suggested an inhibitory effect of Solidago secondary compounds. These results are consistent with the idea that nutrient transfer and secondary compounds both affected litter mixtures decomposition.

  8. Decomposition of Phragmites australis litter retarded by invasive Solidago canadensis in mixtures: an antagonistic non-additive effect.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ling; Zhang, Yaojun; Zou, Jianwen; Siemann, Evan

    2014-01-01

    Solidago canadensis is an aggressive invader in China. Solidago invasion success is partially attributed to allelopathic compounds release and more benefits from AM fungi, which potentially makes the properties of Solidago litter different from co-occurring natives. These properties may comprehensively affect litter decomposition of co-occurring natives. We conducted a field experiment to examine litter mixing effects in a Phragmites australis dominated community invaded by Solidago in southeast China. Solidago had more rapid mass and N loss rate than Phragmites when they decomposed separately. Litter mixing decreased N loss rate in Phragmites litter and increased that of Solidago. Large decreases in Phragmites mass loss and smaller increases in Solidago mass loss caused negative non-additive effect. Solidago litter extracts reduced soil C decomposition and N processes, suggested an inhibitory effect of Solidago secondary compounds. These results are consistent with the idea that nutrient transfer and secondary compounds both affected litter mixtures decomposition. PMID:24976274

  9. The effects of physical environments in medical wards on medication communication processes affecting patient safety.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wei; Manias, Elizabeth; Gerdtz, Marie

    2014-03-01

    Physical environments of clinical settings play an important role in health communication processes. Effective medication management requires seamless communication among health professionals of different disciplines. This paper explores how physical environments affect communication processes for managing medications and patient safety in acute care hospital settings. Findings highlighted the impact of environmental interruptions on communication processes about medications. In response to frequent interruptions and limited space within working environments, nurses, doctors and pharmacists developed adaptive practices in the local clinical context. Communication difficulties were associated with the ward physical layout, the controlled drug key and the medication retrieving device. Health professionals should be provided with opportunities to discuss the effects of ward environments on medication communication processes and how this impacts medication safety. Hospital administrators and architects need to consider health professionals' views and experiences when designing hospital spaces. PMID:24486620

  10. The effects of physical environments in medical wards on medication communication processes affecting patient safety.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wei; Manias, Elizabeth; Gerdtz, Marie

    2014-03-01

    Physical environments of clinical settings play an important role in health communication processes. Effective medication management requires seamless communication among health professionals of different disciplines. This paper explores how physical environments affect communication processes for managing medications and patient safety in acute care hospital settings. Findings highlighted the impact of environmental interruptions on communication processes about medications. In response to frequent interruptions and limited space within working environments, nurses, doctors and pharmacists developed adaptive practices in the local clinical context. Communication difficulties were associated with the ward physical layout, the controlled drug key and the medication retrieving device. Health professionals should be provided with opportunities to discuss the effects of ward environments on medication communication processes and how this impacts medication safety. Hospital administrators and architects need to consider health professionals' views and experiences when designing hospital spaces.

  11. The Effect of Leaf Litter Cover on Surface Runoff and Soil Erosion in Northern China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Xiang; Niu, Jianzhi; Xie, Baoyuan

    2014-01-01

    The role of leaf litter in hydrological processes and soil erosion of forest ecosystems is poorly understood. A field experiment was conducted under simulated rainfall in runoff plots with a slope of 10%. Two common types of litter in North China (from Quercus variabilis, representing broadleaf litter, and Pinus tabulaeformis, representing needle leaf litter), four amounts of litter, and five rainfall intensities were tested. Results revealed that the litter reduced runoff and delayed the beginning of runoff, but significantly reduced soil loss (p<0.05). Average runoff yield was 29.5% and 31.3% less than bare-soil plot, and for Q. variabilis and P. tabulaeformis, respectively, and average sediment yield was 85.1% and 79.9% lower. Rainfall intensity significantly affected runoff (R = 0.99, p<0.05), and the efficiency in runoff reduction by litter decreased considerably. Runoff yield and the runoff coefficient increased dramatically by 72.9 and 5.4 times, respectively. The period of time before runoff appeared decreased approximately 96.7% when rainfall intensity increased from 5.7 to 75.6 mm h−1. Broadleaf and needle leaf litter showed similarly relevant effects on runoff and soil erosion control, since no significant differences (p≤0.05) were observed in runoff and sediment variables between two litter-covered plots. In contrast, litter mass was probably not a main factor in determining runoff and sediment because a significant correlation was found only with sediment in Q. variabilis litter plot. Finally, runoff yield was significantly correlated (p<0.05) with sediment yield. These results suggest that the protective role of leaf litter in runoff and erosion processes was crucial, and both rainfall intensity and litter characteristics had an impact on these processes. PMID:25232858

  12. The effect of leaf litter cover on surface runoff and soil erosion in Northern China.

    PubMed

    Li, Xiang; Niu, Jianzhi; Xie, Baoyuan

    2014-01-01

    The role of leaf litter in hydrological processes and soil erosion of forest ecosystems is poorly understood. A field experiment was conducted under simulated rainfall in runoff plots with a slope of 10%. Two common types of litter in North China (from Quercus variabilis, representing broadleaf litter, and Pinus tabulaeformis, representing needle leaf litter), four amounts of litter, and five rainfall intensities were tested. Results revealed that the litter reduced runoff and delayed the beginning of runoff, but significantly reduced soil loss (p<0.05). Average runoff yield was 29.5% and 31.3% less than bare-soil plot, and for Q. variabilis and P. tabulaeformis, respectively, and average sediment yield was 85.1% and 79.9% lower. Rainfall intensity significantly affected runoff (R = 0.99, p<0.05), and the efficiency in runoff reduction by litter decreased considerably. Runoff yield and the runoff coefficient increased dramatically by 72.9 and 5.4 times, respectively. The period of time before runoff appeared decreased approximately 96.7% when rainfall intensity increased from 5.7 to 75.6 mm h-1. Broadleaf and needle leaf litter showed similarly relevant effects on runoff and soil erosion control, since no significant differences (p≤0.05) were observed in runoff and sediment variables between two litter-covered plots. In contrast, litter mass was probably not a main factor in determining runoff and sediment because a significant correlation was found only with sediment in Q. variabilis litter plot. Finally, runoff yield was significantly correlated (p<0.05) with sediment yield. These results suggest that the protective role of leaf litter in runoff and erosion processes was crucial, and both rainfall intensity and litter characteristics had an impact on these processes.

  13. Manganese Cycling in a Long-term Plant Litter Decomposition Time Series

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keiluweit, M.; Nico, P. S.; Kleber, M.; Bougoure, J.; Harmon, M. E.; Pett-Ridge, J.

    2012-12-01

    Climate change is predicted to affect the chemical composition of plant litter, and global warming may increase microbial and enzymatic activity, with uncertain consequences for litter decomposition rates in soils. This uncertainty has highlighted the need to better understand the controls on litter decomposition rates and pathways. A key controlling processes that is poorly understood is the coupling between decomposition pathways and the inorganic resources available in fresh litter or the underlying soil. For example, a strong correlation was established between the concentration of manganese (Mn) in needle litter and the degradation of litter lignocellulose across boreal forest ecosystems, suggesting that litter decomposition proceeds more efficiently in the presence of Mn. There is good reason to assume that this is due to the critical role of Mn(III)-ligand complexes acting as potent oxidizers in the fungal decomposition of lignocellulose. Here we investigated how litter decomposing organisms redistribute and repurpose the Mn inherently present in fresh plant litter in order to enhance decomposition. For this purpose, we used two 7-year litter decomposition time series collected at sites at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest with widely differing decomposition rates. Spatially-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy and wet-chemical extractions were used to track pathways of microbially-mediated Mn transport and associated changes in its speciation in each annual litter layer. The cycling of Mn and other metal cations (e.g., Ca and Fe) was then related to changes in the litter chemistry as documented by 13C TMAH and FTIR. Our results show that, as litter decomposition progresses, reduced Mn in the vascular system of fresh needles is transformed into oxidized forms concentrated in Mn oxide precipitates. This transformation of Mn into more reactive forms proceeds faster at the site of greater decomposition. Our imaging data suggests that during this process Mn

  14. Interactions of tissue and fertilizer nitrogen on decomposition dynamics of lignin-rich conifer litter

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Perakis, Steven S.; Matkins, Joselin J.; Hibbs, David E.

    2012-01-01

    High tissue nitrogen (N) accelerates decomposition of high-quality leaf litter in the early phases of mass loss, but the influence of initial tissue N variation on the decomposition of lignin-rich litter is less resolved. Because environmental changes such as atmospheric N deposition and elevated CO2 can alter tissue N levels within species more rapidly than they alter the species composition of ecosystems, it is important to consider how within-species variation in tissue N may shape litter decomposition and associated N dynamics. Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ) is a widespread lignin-rich conifer that dominates forests of high carbon (C) storage across western North America, and displays wide variation in tissue and litter N that reflects landscape variation in soil N. We collected eight unique Douglas-fir litter sources that spanned a two-fold range in initial N concentrations (0.67–1.31%) with a narrow range of lignin (29–35%), and examined relationships between initial litter chemistry, decomposition, and N dynamics in both ambient and N fertilized plots at four sites over 3 yr. High initial litter N slowed decomposition rates in both early (0.67 yr) and late (3 yr) stages in unfertilized plots. Applications of N fertilizer to litters accelerated early-stage decomposition, but slowed late-stage decomposition, and most strongly affected low-N litters, which equalized decomposition rates across litters regardless of initial N concentrations. Decomposition of N-fertilized litters correlated positively with initial litter manganese (Mn) concentrations, with litter Mn variation reflecting faster turnover of canopy foliage in high N sites, producing younger litterfall with high N and low Mn. Although both internal and external N inhibited decomposition at 3 yr, most litters exhibited net N immobilization, with strongest immobilization in low-N litter and in N-fertilized plots. Our observation for lignin-rich litter that high initial N can slow decomposition

  15. External built residential environment characteristics that affect mental health of adults.

    PubMed

    Ochodo, Charles; Ndetei, D M; Moturi, W N; Otieno, J O

    2014-10-01

    External built residential environment characteristics include aspects of building design such as types of walls, doors and windows, green spaces, density of houses per unit area, and waste disposal facilities. Neighborhoods that are characterized by poor quality external built environment can contribute to psychosocial stress and increase the likelihood of mental health disorders. This study investigated the relationship between characteristics of external built residential environment and mental health disorders in selected residences of Nakuru Municipality, Kenya. External built residential environment characteristics were investigated for 544 residents living in different residential areas that were categorized by their socioeconomic status. Medically validated interview schedules were used to determine mental health of residents in the respective neighborhoods. The relationship between characteristics of the external built residential environment and mental health of residents was determined by multivariable logistic regression analyses and chi-square tests. The results show that walling materials used on buildings, density of dwelling units, state of street lighting, types of doors, states of roofs, and states of windows are some built external residential environment characteristics that affect mental health of adult males and females. Urban residential areas that are characterized by poor quality external built environment substantially expose the population to daily stressors and inconveniences that increase the likelihood of developing mental health disorders.

  16. Enriching early adult environment affects the copulation behaviour of a tephritid fly.

    PubMed

    Díaz-Fleischer, Francisco; Arredondo, José; Aluja, Martín

    2009-07-01

    Early adult experiences in enriched environments favours animal brain and behavioural development ultimately resulting in an increased fitness. However, measuring the effect of environmental enrichment in animal behaviour in nature is often a complicated task, considering the complexity of the natural environment. We expanded previous studies to evaluate how early experience in an enriched environment affects copulation behaviour when animals are confronted with a complex semi-natural environment. Anastrepha ludens flies are an ideal model system for studying these effects because their natural habitats differ significantly from the cage environments in which these flies are reared for biological control purposes. For example, in the field, males form leks of up to six individuals. Each male defends a territory represented by a tree leaf whereas in rearing cages, territories are completely reduced because of the high population density. In a series of three experiments, we observed that male density represented the most influential stimulus for A. ludens male copulation success. Males that experienced lower densities in early adulthood obtained the highest proportion of copulations. By contrast, female copulation behaviour was not altered by female density. However, exposure to natural or artificial leaves in cages in which flies were kept until tested influenced female copulation behaviour. Females that were exposed to enriched environments exhibited a shorter latency to mate and shorter copulation durations with males than females reared in poor environments. We discuss the influence of early experience on male copulation success and female-mating choosiness.

  17. Effects of multiple but low pesticide loads on aquatic fungal communities colonizing leaf litter.

    PubMed

    Talk, Anne; Kublik, Susanne; Uksa, Marie; Engel, Marion; Berghahn, Rüdiger; Welzl, Gerhard; Schloter, Michael; Mohr, Silvia

    2016-08-01

    In the first tier risk assessment (RA) of pesticides, risk for aquatic communities is estimated by using results from standard laboratory tests with algae, daphnids and fish for single pesticides such as herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. However, fungi as key organisms for nutrient cycling in ecosystems as well as multiple pesticide applications are not considered in the RA. In this study, the effects of multiple low pesticide pulses using regulatory acceptable concentrations (RACs) on the dynamics of non-target aquatic fungi were investigated in a study using pond mesocosm. For that, fungi colonizing black alder (Alnus glutinosa) leaves were exposed to multiple, low pulses of 11 different pesticides over a period of 60days using a real farmer's pesticide application protocol for apple cropping. Four pond mesocosms served as treatments and 4 as controls. The composition of fungal communities colonizing the litter material was analyzed using a molecular fingerprinting approach based on the terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (t-RFLP) of the fungal Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) gene(s). Our data indicated a clear fluctuation of fungal communities based on the degree of leaf litter degradation. However significant effects of the applied spraying sequence were not observed. Consequently also degradation rates of the litter material were not affected by the treatments. Our results indicate that the nutrient rich environment of the leaf litter material gave fungal communities the possibility to express genes that induce tolerance against the applied pesticides. Thus our data may not be transferred to other fresh water habitats with lower nutrient availability. PMID:27521943

  18. Effects of personal relevance and simulated darkness on the affective appraisal of a virtual environment

    PubMed Central

    Houtkamp, Joske M.; Vreugdenhil, Paul E.

    2016-01-01

    This study investigated whether personal relevance influences the affective appraisal of a desktop virtual environment (VE) in simulated darkness. In the real world, darkness often evokes thoughts of vulnerability, threat, and danger, and may automatically precipitate emotional responses consonant with those thoughts (fear of darkness). This influences the affective appraisal of a given environment after dark and the way humans behave in that environment in conditions of low lighting. Desktop VEs are increasingly deployed to study the effects of environmental qualities and (architectural or lighting) interventions on human behaviour and feelings of safety. Their (ecological) validity for these purposes depends critically on their ability to correctly address the user’s cognitive and affective experience. Previous studies with desktop (i.e., non-immersive) VEs found that simulated darkness only slightly affects the user’s behavioral and emotional responses to the represented environment, in contrast to the responses observed for immersive VEs. We hypothesize that the desktop VE scenarios used in previous studies less effectively induced emotional and behavioral responses because they lacked personal relevance. In addition, factors like signs of social presence and relatively high levels of ambient lighting may also have limited these responses. In this study, young female volunteers explored either a daytime or a night-time (low ambient light level) version of a desktop VE representing a deserted (no social presence) prototypical Dutch polder landscape. To enhance the personal relevance of the simulation, a fraction of the participants were led to believe that the virtual exploration tour would prepare them for a follow-up tour through the real world counterpart of the VE. The affective appraisal of the VE and the emotional response of the participants were measured through self-report. The results show that the VE was appraised as slightly less pleasant and

  19. Effects of personal relevance and simulated darkness on the affective appraisal of a virtual environment.

    PubMed

    Toet, Alexander; Houtkamp, Joske M; Vreugdenhil, Paul E

    2016-01-01

    This study investigated whether personal relevance influences the affective appraisal of a desktop virtual environment (VE) in simulated darkness. In the real world, darkness often evokes thoughts of vulnerability, threat, and danger, and may automatically precipitate emotional responses consonant with those thoughts (fear of darkness). This influences the affective appraisal of a given environment after dark and the way humans behave in that environment in conditions of low lighting. Desktop VEs are increasingly deployed to study the effects of environmental qualities and (architectural or lighting) interventions on human behaviour and feelings of safety. Their (ecological) validity for these purposes depends critically on their ability to correctly address the user's cognitive and affective experience. Previous studies with desktop (i.e., non-immersive) VEs found that simulated darkness only slightly affects the user's behavioral and emotional responses to the represented environment, in contrast to the responses observed for immersive VEs. We hypothesize that the desktop VE scenarios used in previous studies less effectively induced emotional and behavioral responses because they lacked personal relevance. In addition, factors like signs of social presence and relatively high levels of ambient lighting may also have limited these responses. In this study, young female volunteers explored either a daytime or a night-time (low ambient light level) version of a desktop VE representing a deserted (no social presence) prototypical Dutch polder landscape. To enhance the personal relevance of the simulation, a fraction of the participants were led to believe that the virtual exploration tour would prepare them for a follow-up tour through the real world counterpart of the VE. The affective appraisal of the VE and the emotional response of the participants were measured through self-report. The results show that the VE was appraised as slightly less pleasant and more

  20. Patterns of litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest invaded by exotic earthworms.

    PubMed

    Suárez, Esteban R; Fahey, Timothy J; Yavitt, Joseph B; Groffman, Peter M; Bohlen, Patrick J

    2006-02-01

    A field study was conducted to evaluate the effects of exotic earthworm invasions on the rates of leaf litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest in southcentral New York, USA. Specifically, we assessed whether differences in litter quality and the species composition of exotic earthworm communities affected leaf litter disappearance rates. Two forest sites with contrasting communities of exotic earthworms were selected, and disappearance rates of sugar maple and red oak litter were estimated in litter boxes in adjacent earthworm-free, transition, and earthworm-invaded plots within each site. After 540 days in the field, 1.7-3 times more litter remained in the reference plots than in the earthworm-invaded plots. In the earthworm-invaded plots, rates of disappearance of sugar maple litter were higher than for oak litter during the first year, but by the end of the experiment, the amount of sugar maple and oak litter remaining in the earthworm-invaded plots was identical within each site. The composition of the earthworm communities significantly affected the patterns of litter disappearance. In the site dominated by the anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris and the endogeic Aporrectodea tuberculata, the percentage of litter remaining after 540 days (approximately 17%) was significantly less than at the site dominated by L. rubellus and Octolasion tyrtaeum (approximately 27%). This difference may be attributed to the differences in feeding behavior of the two litter-feeding species: L. terrestris buries entire leaves in vertical burrows, whereas L. rubellus usually feeds on litter at the soil surface, leaving behind leaf petioles and veins. Our results showed that earthworms not only accelerate litter disappearance rates, but also may reduce the differences in decomposition rates that result from different litter qualities at later stages of decay. Similarly, our results indicate that earthworm effects on decomposition vary with earthworm community

  1. Patterns of litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest invaded by exotic earthworms.

    PubMed

    Suárez, Esteban R; Fahey, Timothy J; Yavitt, Joseph B; Groffman, Peter M; Bohlen, Patrick J

    2006-02-01

    A field study was conducted to evaluate the effects of exotic earthworm invasions on the rates of leaf litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest in southcentral New York, USA. Specifically, we assessed whether differences in litter quality and the species composition of exotic earthworm communities affected leaf litter disappearance rates. Two forest sites with contrasting communities of exotic earthworms were selected, and disappearance rates of sugar maple and red oak litter were estimated in litter boxes in adjacent earthworm-free, transition, and earthworm-invaded plots within each site. After 540 days in the field, 1.7-3 times more litter remained in the reference plots than in the earthworm-invaded plots. In the earthworm-invaded plots, rates of disappearance of sugar maple litter were higher than for oak litter during the first year, but by the end of the experiment, the amount of sugar maple and oak litter remaining in the earthworm-invaded plots was identical within each site. The composition of the earthworm communities significantly affected the patterns of litter disappearance. In the site dominated by the anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris and the endogeic Aporrectodea tuberculata, the percentage of litter remaining after 540 days (approximately 17%) was significantly less than at the site dominated by L. rubellus and Octolasion tyrtaeum (approximately 27%). This difference may be attributed to the differences in feeding behavior of the two litter-feeding species: L. terrestris buries entire leaves in vertical burrows, whereas L. rubellus usually feeds on litter at the soil surface, leaving behind leaf petioles and veins. Our results showed that earthworms not only accelerate litter disappearance rates, but also may reduce the differences in decomposition rates that result from different litter qualities at later stages of decay. Similarly, our results indicate that earthworm effects on decomposition vary with earthworm community

  2. Considerations on the effects of tidal regimes in the movement of floating litter in an estuarine environment: Case study of the estuarine system of Santos-São Vicente, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Fernandino, Gerson; Elliff, Carla Isobel; Frutuoso, Gabriela Amado; Silva, Eric Vinícius Nascimento Malaquias da; Gama, Guilherme Santiago; Sousa, João Henrique de Oliveira; Silva, Iracema Reimão

    2016-09-15

    Floating litter in the estuarine system of Santos-São Vicente is common and is part of day-to-day activities of various users of the area. The objective of the present study was to carry out a quali-quantitative evaluation of the occurrence of floating litter, to infer their sources, and to identify environmental factors that are likely to control occurrence and distribution, with particular emphasis on the effects of tidal regimes. Six sampling stations were selected along the aforementioned estuary and visited monthly between July 2010 and January 2012. Floating litter was counted from a fixed sampling station. Plastics prevailed (89.64%) and their main source was domestic activities (55.41%). More litter was found during ebb spring tides, with higher concentrations obeying confluence patterns of the estuary's channels. Results indicated that occurrence can be attributed to the deficiency in basic sewage system in the area and the deliberate disposal into the estuary by the local population. PMID:27263980

  3. Radiocesium leaching from contaminated litter in forest streams.

    PubMed

    Sakai, Masaru; Gomi, Takashi; Naito, Risa S; Negishi, Junjiro N; Sasaki, Michiko; Toda, Hiroto; Nunokawa, Masanori; Murase, Kaori

    2015-06-01

    In Japanese forests suffering from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, litter fall provides a large amount of radiocesium from forests to streams. Submerged litter is processed to become a vital food resource for various stream organisms through initial leaching and subsequent decomposition. Although leaching from litter can detach radiocesium similarly to potassium, radiocesium leaching and its migration are poorly understood. We examined both radiocesium and potassium leaching to the water column and radiocesium allocation to minerals (glass beads, silica sand, and vermiculite) in the laboratory using soaked litter with and without minerals on a water column. The mineral types did not affect radiocesium leaching from litter, but soaking in water for 1, 7, and 30 days decreased the radiocesium concentration in litter by ×0.71, ×0.66, and ×0.56, respectively. Meanwhile, the 1-, 7-, and 30-day experiments decreased potassium concentration in litter by ×0.17, ×0.11, and ×0.09, respectively. Leached radiocesium remained in a dissolved form when there was no mineral phases present in the water, whereas there was sorption onto the minerals when they were present. In particular, vermiculite adsorbed radiocesium by two to three orders of magnitude more effectively than the other minerals. Because radiocesium forms (such as that dissolved or adsorbed to organic matter or minerals) can further mobilize to ecosystems, our findings will increase our understanding regarding the dynamics of radiocesium in stream ecosystems. PMID:25791899

  4. Role of leaf litter nitrogen immobilization in the nitrogen budget of a swamp stream

    SciTech Connect

    Qualls, R.G.

    1984-01-01

    Attempts were made to determine if immobilization-mobilization of N in the litter layer is of a sufficient magnitude to affect the concentrations of inorganic N in the overlying water, and to determine the effect of concentrations of dissolved nutrients and hydroperiod on litter decomposition, N uptake, and N release by litter. The study was conducted in two blackwater stream swamps in North Carolina: Creeping Swamp (CR) and Chicod Creek (CH). With the low levels of dissolved nutrients in CR, there was little difference in litter decomposition rate along elevation gradients. Decomposition was faster at the inundated sites in CH and the faster decomposition was associated with nutrient enrichment. Exogenous N immobilized in litter reached higher levels in the enriched swamp CH. Despite faster decomposition in CH, no substantial mineralization of litter N had occurred prior to June. A budget of litter N and dissolved inorganic N inflow showed that immobilization by flooded litter over 1 linear km of CR during the sampling period was 87 kg, equivalent to about 25% of the inorganic N inflow. This proportion shows that litter can play a significant role in controlling N concentration in stream water in small swamp streams. 24 references, 3 figures, 3 tables.

  5. Litter contribution to soil organic carbon in the processes of agriculture abandon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Novara, A.; Rühl, J.; La Mantia, T.; Gristina, L.; La Bella, S.; Tuttolomondo, T.

    2015-04-01

    The mechanisms of litter decomposition, translocation and stabilization into soil layers are fundamental processes in the functioning of the ecosystem, as they regulate the cycle of soil organic matter (SOM) and CO2 emission into the atmosphere. In this study the contribution of litters of different stages of Mediterranean secondary succession on carbon sequestration was investigated, analyzing the role of earthworms in the translocation of SOM into the soil profile. For this purpose the δ13C difference between meadow C4-C soil and C3-C litter was used in a field experiment. Four undisturbed litters of different stages of succession (45, 70, 100 and 120 since agriculture abandon) were collected and placed on the top of isolated C4 soil cores. The litter contribution to C stock was affected by plant species and it increased with the age of the stage of secondary succession. One year after the litter position, the soil organic carbon increased up to 40% in comparison to soils not treated with litter after 120 years of abandon. The new carbon derived from C3 litter was decomposed and transferred into soil profile thanks to earthworms and the leaching of dissolved organic carbon. After 1 year the carbon increase attributed to earthworm activity was 6 and 13% in the soils under litter of fields abandoned for 120 and 45 years, respectively.

  6. Litter contribution to soil organic carbon in the agriculture abandons processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Novara, A.; Rühl, J.; La Mantia, T.; Gristina, L.; La Bella, S.; Tuttolomondo, T.

    2015-02-01

    Mechanisms of litter decomposition, translocation and stabilization into soil layers are fundamental processes in ecosystem functioning as it regulates the cycle of soil organic matter (SOM), CO2 emission into the atmosphere, carbon sequestration into the soil. In this study, it was investigated the contribution of litters of different stages of Mediterranean secondary succession on Carbon sequestration, analyzing the role of earthworms on translocation of SOM into soil profile. For this purpose δ13C difference between meadow C4-Csoil and C3-Clitter were used in a field experiment. Four undisturbed litters of different stages of succession were collected (45, 70, 100 and 120 since agriculture abandon) and placed on the top of isolated soil cores. The litter contribution to C stock was affected by plant species and increased with the age of the stage of secondary succession. The soil organic carbon after 1 year since litter position increased up to 40% in comparison to no litter treatment in soil with litter of 120 years since abandon. The new carbon derived from C3-litter was decomposed and transferred into soil profile thanks to earthworms and dissolved organic carbon leaching. After 1 years the carbon increase attributed to earthworm activity ranged from 6 to 13% in soil under litter in field abandoned since 120 and 45 years, respectively.

  7. The use of beached bird surveys for marine plastic litter monitoring in Ireland.

    PubMed

    Acampora, Heidi; Lyashevska, Olga; Van Franeker, Jan Andries; O'Connor, Ian

    2016-09-01

    Marine plastic litter has become a major threat to wildlife. Marine animals are highly susceptible to entanglement and ingestion of debris at sea. Governments all around the world are being urged to monitor litter sources and inputs, and to mitigate the impacts of marine litter, which is primarily composed of plastics. European policies, such as Oslo-Paris Convention (OSPAR) and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) have adopted the monitoring of a seabird species, the Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), as an environmental quality indicator through the analysis of stomach contents of beached Fulmar specimens. The aims of this research were to: firstly set a baseline investigation of multispecies of seabirds in Ireland affected by the ingestion of litter and, secondly to investigate the feasibility of using Fulmar and/or other potential species of seabird as an indicator for marine debris in Ireland through beached bird surveys. Within 30 months, 121 birds comprising 16 different species were collected and examined for the presence of litter. Of these, 27.3% (n = 33) comprising 12 different species were found to ingest litter, mainly plastics. The average mass of ingested litter was 0.141 g. Among 14 sampled Northern Fulmars, 13 (93%) had ingested plastic litter, all of them over the 0.1 g threshold used in OSPAR and MSFD policy target definitions. Results show that seabirds in Ireland are ingesting marine litter, as in many other countries in the world. Monitoring seabird litter ingestion has the potential to form part of a wider marine litter monitoring programme that can help to inform mitigation and management measures for marine litter. PMID:27500454

  8. Effects of Elevated CO2 on Litter Chemistry and Subsequent Invertebrate Detritivore Feeding Responses

    PubMed Central

    Dray, Matthew W.; Crowther, Thomas W.; Thomas, Stephen M.; A’Bear, A. Donald; Godbold, Douglas L.; Ormerod, Steve J.; Hartley, Susan E.; Jones, T. Hefin

    2014-01-01

    Elevated atmospheric CO2 can change foliar tissue chemistry. This alters leaf litter palatability to macroinvertebrate detritivores with consequences for decomposition, nutrient turnover, and food-web structure. Currently there is no consensus on the link between CO2 enrichment, litter chemistry, and macroinvertebrate-mediated leaf decomposition. To identify any unifying mechanisms, we presented eight invertebrate species from aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems with litter from Alnus glutinosa (common alder) or Betula pendula (silver birch) trees propagated under ambient (380 ppm) or elevated (ambient +200 ppm) CO2 concentrations. Alder litter was largely unaffected by CO2 enrichment, but birch litter from leaves grown under elevated CO2 had reduced nitrogen concentrations and greater C/N ratios. Invertebrates were provided individually with either (i) two litter discs, one of each CO2 treatment (‘choice’), or (ii) one litter disc of each CO2 treatment alone (‘no-choice’). Consumption was recorded. Only Odontocerum albicorne showed a feeding preference in the choice test, consuming more ambient- than elevated-CO2 birch litter. Species’ responses to alder were highly idiosyncratic in the no-choice test: Gammarus pulex and O. albicorne consumed more elevated-CO2 than ambient-CO2 litter, indicating compensatory feeding, while Oniscus asellus consumed more of the ambient-CO2 litter. No species responded to CO2 treatment when fed birch litter. Overall, these results show how elevated atmospheric CO2 can alter litter chemistry, affecting invertebrate feeding behaviour in species-specific ways. The data highlight the need for greater species-level information when predicting changes to detrital processing–a key ecosystem function–under atmospheric change. PMID:24465985

  9. Changing leaf litter feedbacks on plant production across contrasting sub-arctic peatland species and growth forms.

    PubMed

    Dorrepaal, Ellen; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Aerts, Rien

    2007-03-01

    Plant species and growth forms differ widely in litter chemistry, which affects decay and may have important consequences for plant growth via e.g. the release of nutrients and growth-inhibitory compounds. We investigated the overall short-term (9.5 months) and medium-term (21.5 months) feedback effects of leaf litter quality and quantity on plant production, and tested whether growth forms can be used to generalise differences among litter species. Leaf litter effects of 21 sub-arctic vascular peatland species on Poa alpina test plants changed clearly with time. Across all growth forms, litter initially reduced plant biomass compared with untreated plants, particularly litters with a high decomposition rate or low initial lignin/P ratio. In the second year, however, litter effects were neutral or positive, and related to initial litter N concentration (positive), C/N, polyphenol/N and polyphenol/P ratios (all negative), but not to decomposability. Differences in effect size among several litter species were large, while differences in response to increasing litter quantities were not significant or of similar magnitude to differences in response to three contrasting litter species. Growth forms did not differ in initial litter effects, but second-year plant production showed a trend (P<0.10) for differences in response to litters of different growth forms: evergreen shrubslitter effects were predominant across all growth forms, our data indicate that even within nutrient-constrained ecosystems such as northern peatlands, vascular plant species, and possibly growth forms, differ in litter feedbacks to plant growth. Differences in the composition of undisturbed plant communities or species shifts induced by external disturbance, such as climate change, may therefore feedback strongly to plant biomass production and probably nutrient cycling rates in northern peatlands. PMID:17089140

  10. Negative and positive interactions among plants: effects of competitors and litter on seedling emergence and growth of forest and grassland species.

    PubMed

    Loydi, A; Donath, T W; Otte, A; Eckstein, R L

    2015-05-01

    Living plant neighbours, but also their dead aboveground remains (i.e. litter), may individually exert negative or positive effects on plant recruitment. Although living plants and litter co-occur in most ecosystems, few studies have addressed their combined effects, and conclusions are ambivalent. Therefore, we examined the response in terms of seedling emergence and growth of herbaceous grassland and forest species to different litter types and amounts and the presence of competitors. We conducted a pot experiment testing the effects of litter type (grass, oak), litter amount (low, medium, high) and interspecific competition (presence or absence of four Festuca arundinacea individuals) on seedling emergence and biomass of four congeneric pairs of hemicryptophytes from two habitat types (woodland, grassland). Interactions between litter and competition were weak. Litter presence increased competitor biomass. It also had positive effects on seedling emergence at low litter amounts and negative effects at high litter amounts, while competition had no effect on seedling emergence. Seedling biomass was negatively affected by the presence of competitors, and this effect was stronger in combination with high amounts of litter. Litter affected seedling emergence while competition determined the biomass of the emerged individuals, both affecting early stages of seedling recruitment. High litter accumulation also reduced seedling biomass, but this effect seemed to be additive to competitor effects. This suggests that live and dead plant mass can affect species recruitment in natural systems, but the mechanisms by which they operate and their timing differ. PMID:25381837

  11. Negative and positive interactions among plants: effects of competitors and litter on seedling emergence and growth of forest and grassland species.

    PubMed

    Loydi, A; Donath, T W; Otte, A; Eckstein, R L

    2015-05-01

    Living plant neighbours, but also their dead aboveground remains (i.e. litter), may individually exert negative or positive effects on plant recruitment. Although living plants and litter co-occur in most ecosystems, few studies have addressed their combined effects, and conclusions are ambivalent. Therefore, we examined the response in terms of seedling emergence and growth of herbaceous grassland and forest species to different litter types and amounts and the presence of competitors. We conducted a pot experiment testing the effects of litter type (grass, oak), litter amount (low, medium, high) and interspecific competition (presence or absence of four Festuca arundinacea individuals) on seedling emergence and biomass of four congeneric pairs of hemicryptophytes from two habitat types (woodland, grassland). Interactions between litter and competition were weak. Litter presence increased competitor biomass. It also had positive effects on seedling emergence at low litter amounts and negative effects at high litter amounts, while competition had no effect on seedling emergence. Seedling biomass was negatively affected by the presence of competitors, and this effect was stronger in combination with high amounts of litter. Litter affected seedling emergence while competition determined the biomass of the emerged individuals, both affecting early stages of seedling recruitment. High litter accumulation also reduced seedling biomass, but this effect seemed to be additive to competitor effects. This suggests that live and dead plant mass can affect species recruitment in natural systems, but the mechanisms by which they operate and their timing differ.

  12. Neural networks underlying affective states in a multimodal virtual environment: contributions to boredom

    PubMed Central

    Mathiak, Krystyna A.; Klasen, Martin; Zvyagintsev, Mikhail; Weber, René; Mathiak, Klaus

    2013-01-01

    The interaction of low perceptual stimulation or goal-directed behavior with a negative subjective evaluation may lead to boredom. This contribution to boredom may shed light on its neural correlates, which are poorly characterized so far. A video game served as simulation of free interactive behavior without interruption of the game’s narrative. Thirteen male German volunteers played a first-person shooter game (Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror) during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Two independent coders performed the time-based analysis of the audio-visual game content. Boredom was operationalized as interaction of prolonged absence of goal-directed behavior with lowered affect in the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). A decrease of positive affect (PA) correlated with response amplitudes in bilateral insular clusters extending into the amygdala to prolonged inactive phases in a game play and an increase in negative affect (NA) was associated with higher responses in bilateral ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Precuneus and hippocampus responses were negatively correlated with changes in NA. We describe for the first time neural contributions to boredom, using a video game as complex virtual environment. Further our study confirmed that PA and NA are separable constructs, reflected by distinct neural patterns. PA may be associated with afferent limbic activity whereas NA with affective control. PMID:24348366

  13. Long-term marine litter monitoring in the remote Great Australian Bight, South Australia.

    PubMed

    Edyvane, K S; Dalgetty, A; Hone, P W; Higham, J S; Wace, N M

    2004-06-01

    , fishing-related litter in the Bight has reduced at a slower rate than domestic litter. While the level of glass and soft plastics on the beach have both reduced by almost 93% (i.e. 103-7 kg and 119-8 kg, respectively), the level of hard plastics, has diminished at a slower rate, with reductions of only 75% (i.e. 122-30 kg). Some fisheries (i.e. rock lobster, Southern Shark Fishery) have shown marked reductions in fishing-related litter. This is probably due, to some extent, to significant reductions in fishing effort in the region, although this requires further investigation. The information from the Anxious Bay beach litter survey is crucial in monitoring trends in ocean litter in Australia's southern oceans and compliance with international litter regulations. While fishing-related litter remains the major source of ship-based or ocean litter in Australia's southern oceans, the continued reduction in ship-based litter since 1991 supports increasing compliance to MARPOL (Annex V) by commercial fisheries and shipping in the Great Australian Bight. While Australia participates in marine debris monitoring programs in the Antarctic (under CCAMLR), there is currently no national program or management framework to assess, manage and monitor ocean-based litter along Australia's coasts, and monitor compliance with MARPOL. Apart from the commitments under CCAMLR for Antarctic (and sub-Antarctic) marine environments, there are no other regional programs, guidelines or monitoring protocols or to assess and manage ocean litter in the Southern Ocean. PMID:15172812

  14. Decomposition and nitrogen dynamics of 15N-labeled leaf, root, and twig litter in temperate coniferous forests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    van Huysen, Tiff L.; Harmon, Mark E.; Perakis, Steven S.; Chen, Hua

    2013-01-01

    Litter nutrient dynamics contribute significantly to biogeochemical cycling in forest ecosystems. We examined how site environment and initial substrate quality influence decomposition and nitrogen (N) dynamics of multiple litter types. A 2.5-year decomposition study was installed in the Oregon Coast Range and West Cascades using 15N-labeled litter from Acer macrophyllum, Picea sitchensis, and Pseudotsuga menziesii. Mass loss for leaf litter was similar between the two sites, while root and twig litter exhibited greater mass loss in the Coast Range. Mass loss was greatest from leaves and roots, and species differences in mass loss were more prominent in the Coast Range. All litter types and species mineralized N early in the decomposition process; only A. macrophyllum leaves exhibited a net N immobilization phase. There were no site differences with respect to litter N dynamics despite differences in site N availability, and litter N mineralization patterns were species-specific. For multiple litter × species combinations, the difference between gross and net N mineralization was significant, and gross mineralization was 7–20 % greater than net mineralization. The mineralization results suggest that initial litter chemistry may be an important driver of litter N dynamics. Our study demonstrates that greater amounts of N are cycling through these systems than may be quantified by only measuring net mineralization and challenges current leaf-based biogeochemical theory regarding patterns of N immobilization and mineralization.

  15. Above and belowground controls on litter decomposition in semiarid ecosystems: effects of solar radiation, water availability and litter quality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Austin, A. T.; Araujo, P. I.; Leva, P. E.; Ballare, C. L.

    2008-12-01

    The integrated controls on soil organic matter formation in arid and semiarid ecosystems are not well understood and appear to stem from a number of interacting controls affecting above- and belowground carbon turnover. While solar radiation has recently been shown to have an important direct effect on carbon loss in semiarid ecosystems as a result of photochemical mineralization of aboveground plant material, the mechanistic basis for photodegradative losses is poorly understood. In addition, there are large potential differences in major controls on above- and belowground decomposition in low rainfall ecosystems. We report on a mesocosm and field study designed to examine the relative importance of different wavelengths of solar radiation, water availability, position of senescent material above- and belowground and the importance of carbon litter quality in determining rates of abiotic and biotic decomposition. In a factorial experiment of mesocosms, we incubated leaf and root litter simultaneously above- and belowground and manipulated water availability with large and small pulses. Significant interactions between position-litter type and position-pulse sizes demonstrated interactive controls on organic mass loss. Aboveground decomposition showed no response to pulse size or litter type, as roots and leaves decomposed equally rapidly under all circumstances. In contrast, belowground decomposition was significantly altered by litter type and water pulses, with roots decomposing significantly slower and small water pulses reducing belowground decomposition. In the field site, using plastic filters which attenuated different wavelengths of natural solar radiation, we found a highly significant effect of radiation exclusion on mass loss and demonstrated that both UV-A and short-wave visible light can have important impacts on photodegradative carbon losses. The combination of position and litter quality effects on litter decomposition appear to be critical for the

  16. The effects of litter carrying on rifle shooting.

    PubMed

    Tharion, W J; Rice, V; Sharp, M A; Marlowe, B E

    1993-08-01

    This study investigated whether the use of a shoulder harness would affect shooting accuracy after patient litter carrying. Two- and four-person teams, 12 male and 9 female soldiers, fired at targets before and after (1) a 15-minute bout of rapid, short litter carries and lifts, and (2) a moderate speed 30-minute litter carry with and without a harness for both types of carries. Shooting accuracy was 10% poorer (p < 0.05) after the 15-minute bout (mean +/- SD = 8.9 +/- 1.9 mm) than after the 30-minute carry (8.1 +/- 1.7 mm). Four-person teams using litter-carriage harnesses had 17% tighter shot groups (45.5 +/- 30.4 mm2) (p < 0.05) than four-person teams that did not use harnesses (54.5 +/- 26.1 mm2) and two-person teams with (56.3 +/- 29.1 mm2) or without harnesses (54.9 +/- 30.7 mm2). The harness can potentially improve shooting accuracy after litter carrying. PMID:8414084

  17. Precipitation pulse size and frequency controls on dryland litter decomposition rates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurupas, K. L.; Throop, H.

    2014-12-01

    Drylands are an important component of the global carbon (C) cycle, accounting for 40% of the land area and 20% of the soil organic C globally. Litter decomposition is a key biogeochemical process, controlling C and nutrient cycling. While simple decomposition models successfully predict decomposition rates in many systems based on climate variables, there is a disconnect between the modeled and measured rates decomposition in drylands. This disconnect may stem from abiotic factors of importance in drylands, such as photodegradation and soil-litter mixing, not being taken into account. Soil-litter mixing can accelerate decomposition, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Potential mechanisms include microclimate buffering, physical abrasion, and enhanced microbial colonization. Recent work suggests that litter decomposition is remarkably insensitive to climate variables, at least when variables are presented as long temporal-scale values (e.g., annual precipitation). We hypothesized that decomposition would be more strongly affected by litter moisture content than total precipitation (PPT) alone. Thus, frequent, small PPT pulses would accelerate decomposition more than larger, but infrequent pulses. Furthermore, soil-litter mixing would enhance decomposition by buffering litter moisture content. To test the combined influence of soil-litter mixing and PPT pulses on decomposition, we incubated litter and soil in a semi-controlled greenhouse which simulated dryland summer temperatures. Two litter types (grass and shrub) were incubated under two levels of soil-litter mixing (no mixing and complete soil-litter mixing) and with 16 different PPT treatments (a factorial combination of four PPT pulses sizes and four PPT frequencies). We measured instantaneous CO2 flux throughout the 30 day incubation and mass loss at the end of the incubation. Shrub litter decomposed faster than grass litter. Flux rates generally peaked at day 8 and declined thereafter. CO2

  18. COVERING THEIR BUTTS: RESPONSES TO THE CIGARETTE LITTER PROBLEM

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Elizabeth A.; McDaniel, Patricia A.

    2011-01-01

    Background Cigarette butt litter is a potential target of tobacco control. In addition to its toxicity and non-biodegradability, it can justify environmental regulation and policies that raise the price of tobacco and further denormalize its use. This paper examines how the tobacco industry has managed the cigarette butt litter issue and how the issue has been covered in the media. Methods We searched the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu) using a snowball strategy. We analyzed data from approximately 700 documents, dated 1959–2006, using an interpretive approach. We also searched two newspaper databases, Lexis/Nexis and Newsbank, and found 406 relevant articles, dated 1982–2009 which we analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Results The tobacco industry monitored and developed strategies for dealing with the cigarette litter issue because it affected the social acceptability of smoking, created the potential for alliances between tobacco control and environmental advocates, and created a target for regulation. The industry developed anti-litter programs with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and similar organizations. Media coverage focused on industry-acceptable solutions, such as volunteer clean-ups and installation of ashtrays; stories that mentioned KAB were also more frequently positive toward the tobacco industry. Among alternative approaches, clean outdoor air laws received the most media attention. Conclusions Cigarette litter, like secondhand smoke, is the result of smoker behavior and affects nonsmokers. The tobacco industry has tried and failed to mitigate the impact of cigarette litter. Tobacco control advocates should explore alliances with environmental groups and propose policy options that hold the industry accountable for cigarette waste. PMID:20966130

  19. Effects of arctic shrub expansion on biophysical vs. biogeochemical drivers of litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    DeMarco, Jennie; Mack, Michelle C; Bret-Harte, M Syndonia

    2014-07-01

    Climate warming in arctic tundra may shift dominant vegetation from graminoids to deciduous shrubs, whose functional traits could, in turn, alter biotic and abiotic controls over biogeochemical cycling of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). We investigated whether shrub-induced changes in microclimate have stronger effects on litter decomposition and nutrient release than changes in litter quality and quantity. In arctic tundra near Toolik Lake, Alaska, USA, we incubated a common substrate in a snow-addition experiment to test whether snow accumulation around arctic deciduous shrubs altered the environment enough to increase litter decomposition rates. We compared the influence of litter quality on the rate of litter and N loss by decomposing litter from four different plant functional types in a common site. We used aboveground net primary production values and estimated decay constant (k) values from our decomposition experiments to calculate community-weighted mass loss for each site. Snow addition had no effect on decomposition of the common substrate, and the site with the highest abundance of shrubs had the lowest decomposition rates. Species varied in their decomposition rates, with species from the same functional type not always following similar patterns. Community-weighted mass loss was 1.5 times greater in the high shrub site, and only slightly decreased when adjusted for soil environment, suggesting that litter quality and quantity are the primary drivers of community decomposition. Our findings suggest that on a short time scale, the changes in soil environment associated with snow trapping by shrubs are unlikely to influence litter nutrient turnover enough to drive positive snow-shrub feedbacks. The mechanisms driving shrub expansion are more likely to do with shrub-litter feedbacks, where the higher growth rates and N uptake by shrubs allows them to produce more leaves, resulting in a larger litter N pool and faster internal cycling of nutrients. PMID

  20. Effects of arctic shrub expansion on biophysical vs. biogeochemical drivers of litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    DeMarco, Jennie; Mack, Michelle C; Bret-Harte, M Syndonia

    2014-07-01

    Climate warming in arctic tundra may shift dominant vegetation from graminoids to deciduous shrubs, whose functional traits could, in turn, alter biotic and abiotic controls over biogeochemical cycling of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). We investigated whether shrub-induced changes in microclimate have stronger effects on litter decomposition and nutrient release than changes in litter quality and quantity. In arctic tundra near Toolik Lake, Alaska, USA, we incubated a common substrate in a snow-addition experiment to test whether snow accumulation around arctic deciduous shrubs altered the environment enough to increase litter decomposition rates. We compared the influence of litter quality on the rate of litter and N loss by decomposing litter from four different plant functional types in a common site. We used aboveground net primary production values and estimated decay constant (k) values from our decomposition experiments to calculate community-weighted mass loss for each site. Snow addition had no effect on decomposition of the common substrate, and the site with the highest abundance of shrubs had the lowest decomposition rates. Species varied in their decomposition rates, with species from the same functional type not always following similar patterns. Community-weighted mass loss was 1.5 times greater in the high shrub site, and only slightly decreased when adjusted for soil environment, suggesting that litter quality and quantity are the primary drivers of community decomposition. Our findings suggest that on a short time scale, the changes in soil environment associated with snow trapping by shrubs are unlikely to influence litter nutrient turnover enough to drive positive snow-shrub feedbacks. The mechanisms driving shrub expansion are more likely to do with shrub-litter feedbacks, where the higher growth rates and N uptake by shrubs allows them to produce more leaves, resulting in a larger litter N pool and faster internal cycling of nutrients.

  1. Measuring feeding traits of a range of litter-consuming terrestrial snails: leaf litter consumption, faeces production and scaling with body size.

    PubMed

    Astor, Tina; Lenoir, Lisette; Berg, Matty P

    2015-07-01

    Plant litter decomposition is an essential ecosystem function that contributes to energy and nutrient cycling above- and belowground. Terrestrial gastropods can affect this process in various ways: they consume and fragment leaf litter and create suitable habitats for microorganisms through the production of faeces and mucus. We assessed the contributions of ten litter-feeding terrestrial snail species to leaf litter mass loss and checked whether consumption rate and faeces production scale with body size (i.e. shell size and shape), which may indicate that morphological traits can serve as proxies for consumption rate. Additionally, we compared the consumption rates of a subset of these species among litter types of two plant species which differ in resource quality (Fraxinus excelsior and Betula pendula). These snail species differed in their litter consumption rates. Consumption rates differed between the two litter types, whereas the rank order of litter consumption by the different species was independent of litter quality. Consumption rate and faeces production were positively related to shell size, whereas relative consumption rate and faeces production were related to shell shape, with more elongated snail species having lower relative consumption rates and faeces production rates. Our results show that easily measurable morphological traits scale with the feeding traits of snails, and represent useful proxies for consumption rate and faeces production, which are laborious to measure. Thus, estimated potential total consumption rates of snail communities along environmental gradients may be inferred from shell-size distributions. Our study contributes to a systematic trait-based evaluation of the importance of gastropods to litter decomposition.

  2. [Decomposition and phosphorus dynamics of the litters in standing and litterbag of the Hangzhou Bay coastal wetland ].

    PubMed

    Shao, Xue-xin; Liang, Xin-qiang; Wu, Ming; Ye, Xiao-qi; Jiang, Ke-yi

    2014-09-01

    Wetlands litter decomposition affects wetlands nutrient cycling. The decomposition progress of standing litter was monitored and the litterbag simulation experiment was carried out in order to analyze dynamics of litter decomposition and phosphorus release in Phragmites australis (PA), Spartina alterniflora (SA) and Scirpus mariqueter (SM) marshes of Hangzhou Bay coastal wetland. Results show that the dry mass of standing litter and P concentration decrease gradually and the litter drops to the sediment surface after 180 d. There are distinctive stages of the plant litter decomposition in litterbag simulation experiments. The loss rate is faster during 0- 15 d than that of later days. The loss rate in root decomposition of three plants are SM > PA > SA, while the trend is opposite for that of aboveground tissues. The time needed for 95% of dry mass decomposition in the plant tissues is between 1. 2- 8. 3 a. The P concentration in litters decreases rapidly in the initial stage and then increases slowly while the net P pools decreases all the time. Pearson's correlation coefficient shows that there is no significant correlation between the litter decomposition rate and C/N ratio. However, the litter C/P ratio affects greatly on plant decomposition rate. Environmental factors in the atmospheric temperature also have an impact on the decomposition rate of leaves. The different decomposition progresses between standing litter and litterbag are caused by environmental factors. PMID:25518655

  3. [Decomposition and phosphorus dynamics of the litters in standing and litterbag of the Hangzhou Bay coastal wetland ].

    PubMed

    Shao, Xue-xin; Liang, Xin-qiang; Wu, Ming; Ye, Xiao-qi; Jiang, Ke-yi

    2014-09-01

    Wetlands litter decomposition affects wetlands nutrient cycling. The decomposition progress of standing litter was monitored and the litterbag simulation experiment was carried out in order to analyze dynamics of litter decomposition and phosphorus release in Phragmites australis (PA), Spartina alterniflora (SA) and Scirpus mariqueter (SM) marshes of Hangzhou Bay coastal wetland. Results show that the dry mass of standing litter and P concentration decrease gradually and the litter drops to the sediment surface after 180 d. There are distinctive stages of the plant litter decomposition in litterbag simulation experiments. The loss rate is faster during 0- 15 d than that of later days. The loss rate in root decomposition of three plants are SM > PA > SA, while the trend is opposite for that of aboveground tissues. The time needed for 95% of dry mass decomposition in the plant tissues is between 1. 2- 8. 3 a. The P concentration in litters decreases rapidly in the initial stage and then increases slowly while the net P pools decreases all the time. Pearson's correlation coefficient shows that there is no significant correlation between the litter decomposition rate and C/N ratio. However, the litter C/P ratio affects greatly on plant decomposition rate. Environmental factors in the atmospheric temperature also have an impact on the decomposition rate of leaves. The different decomposition progresses between standing litter and litterbag are caused by environmental factors.

  4. Effects of subsidy quality on reciprocal subsidies: how leaf litter species changes frog biomass export.

    PubMed

    Earl, Julia E; Castello, Paula O; Cohagen, Kara E; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2014-05-01

    Spatial subsidies are resources transferred from one ecosystem to another and which can greatly affect recipient systems. Increased subsidy quantity is known to increase these effects, but subsidy quality is likely also important. We examined the effects of leaf litter quality (varying in nutrient and tannin content) in pond mesocosms on gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) biomass export, as well as water quality and ecosystem processes. We used litter from three different tree species native to Missouri [white oak (Quercus alba), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), and sugar maple (Acer saccharum)], one non-native tree [white pine (Pinus strobus)], and a common aquatic grass [prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata)]. We found that leaf litter species affected almost every variable we measured. Gray treefrog biomass export was greatest in mesocosms with grass litter and lowest with white oak litter. Differences in biomass export were affected by high tannin concentrations (or possibly the correlated variable, dissolved oxygen) via their effects on survival, and by primary production, which altered mean body mass. Effects of litter species could often be traced back to the characteristics of the litter itself: leaf nitrogen, phosphorus, and tannin content, which highlights the importance of plant functional traits in affecting aquatic ecosystems. This work and others stress that changes in forest species composition could greatly influence aquatic systems and aquatic-terrestrial linkages. PMID:24399483

  5. Effects of anthropogenic heavy metal contamination on litter decomposition in streams - A meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Koricheva, Julia; Duarte, Sofia; Niyogi, Dev K; Guérold, François

    2016-03-01

    Many streams worldwide are affected by heavy metal contamination, mostly due to past and present mining activities. Here we present a meta-analysis of 38 studies (reporting 133 cases) published between 1978 and 2014 that reported the effects of heavy metal contamination on the decomposition of terrestrial litter in running waters. Overall, heavy metal contamination significantly inhibited litter decomposition. The effect was stronger for laboratory than for field studies, likely due to better control of confounding variables in the former, antagonistic interactions between metals and other environmental variables in the latter or differences in metal identity and concentration between studies. For laboratory studies, only copper + zinc mixtures significantly inhibited litter decomposition, while no significant effects were found for silver, aluminum, cadmium or zinc considered individually. For field studies, coal and metal mine drainage strongly inhibited litter decomposition, while drainage from motorways had no significant effects. The effect of coal mine drainage did not depend on drainage pH. Coal mine drainage negatively affected leaf litter decomposition independently of leaf litter identity; no significant effect was found for wood decomposition, but sample size was low. Considering metal mine drainage, arsenic mines had a stronger negative effect on leaf litter decomposition than gold or pyrite mines. Metal mine drainage significantly inhibited leaf litter decomposition driven by both microbes and invertebrates, independently of leaf litter identity; no significant effect was found for microbially driven decomposition, but sample size was low. Overall, mine drainage negatively affects leaf litter decomposition, likely through negative effects on invertebrates. PMID:26774191

  6. [Dynamics of microbes and enzyme activities during litter decomposition of Pinus massoniana forest in mid-subtropical area].

    PubMed

    Song, Ying; Gu, Xi-Rong; Yan, Hai-Yuan; Mao, Wen-Tao; Wu, Xue-Lian; Wan, Yu-Xuan

    2014-03-01

    The dynamics of microbial quantity and enzyme activities during decomposition process of masson pine (Pinus massoniana) leaf litter, oak (Quercus aliena) leaf litter and their mixture (at natural mass ratio, 8: 2) were studied with litterbag method in the pinus forest typical vegetations of mid-subtropical Jinyun Mountain nature reserve. The results showed that the decomposition constant K of leaf litter ranked as follows: mixture (0.94) > oak (0.86) > masson pine (0.67). Microbial groups and enzyme activity exhibited some similar responses to the litter decomposition process. After 135 days, fungal and microbial quantities reached the maximum while bacterial and actinomycetic number reached the minimum, presumably due to the high-temperature environment. The correlative analysis showed that the cellulase and acid phosphatase activity had significant positive relationship with the dry weight remaining rate (P < 0.05), which played a key role for microbes in utilizing the substrates at early stages. Meanwhile, the polyphenol oxidase activity showed highly significant negative correlation with the dry weight remaining rate (P < 0.01) in pine litter and the mixed litter, which worked on further decay of recalcitrant compound at late stages. Through the whole process, the microbial quantity and polyphenol oxidase activity were generally in the order of oak litter > mixed litter > pine litter, while in most cases the oak litter showed the lowest acid phosphatase activity, the ranking of which had some differences with the order of the decomposition constant K, indicating that litter decomposition was the result of integrated action by microbe and many kinds of enzymes. The results suggested that differences in litter composition and seasonal climate strongly influenced the microbial communities and the ecosystem processes they mediate. When mixed with oak leaves in given stand, the pine litter had an accelerating decomposition rate, which might depend on the higher

  7. Assessing the Utility of a Virtual Environment for Enhancing Facial Affect Recognition in Adolescents with Autism

    PubMed Central

    Crittendon, Julie; Zheng, Zhi; Swanson, Amy; Weitlauf, Amy; Warren, Zachary; Sarkar, Nilanjan

    2014-01-01

    Teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and age-matched controls participated in a dynamic facial affect recognition task within a virtual reality (VR) environment. Participants identified the emotion of a facial expression displayed at varied levels of intensity by a computer generated avatar. The system assessed performance (i.e., accuracy, confidence ratings, response latency, and stimulus discrimination) as well as how participants used their gaze to process facial information using an eye tracker. Participants in both groups were similarly accurate at basic facial affect recognition at varied levels of intensity. Despite similar performance characteristics, ASD participants endorsed lower confidence in their responses and substantial variation in gaze patterns in absence of perceptual discrimination deficits. These results add support to the hypothesis that deficits in emotion and face recognition for individuals with ASD are related to fundamental differences in information processing. We discuss implications of this finding in a VR environment with regards to potential future applications and paradigms targeting not just enhanced performance, but enhanced social information processing within intelligent systems capable of adaptation to individual processing differences. PMID:24419871

  8. Variability of aboveground litter inputs alters soil physicochemical and biological processes: a meta-analysis of litterfall-manipulation experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, S.; Liu, L.; Sayer, E. J.

    2013-03-01

    Global change has been shown to greatly alter the amount of aboveground litter inputs to soil, which could cause substantial cascading effects on belowground biogeochemical cyling. Although having been studied extensively, there is uncertainty about how changes in aboveground litter inputs affect soil carbon and nutrient turnover and transformation. Here, we conducted a comprehensive compilation of 68 studies on litter addition or removal experiments, and used meta-analysis to assess the responses of soil physicochemical properties and carbon and nutrient cycling under changed aboveground litter inputs. Our results suggested that litter addition or removal could significantly alter soil temperature and moisture, but not soil pH. Litter inputs were more crucial in buffering soil temperature and moisture fluctuations in grassland than in forest. Soil respiration, soil microbial biomass carbon and total carbon in the mineral soil increased with increasing litter inputs, suggesting that soil acted as a~net carbon sink although carbon loss and transformation increased with increasing litter inputs. Total nitrogen and the C : N ratio in the mineral soil increased with increased litter inputs. However, there was no correlation between litter inputs and extractable inorganic nitrogen in the mineral soil. Compared to other ecosystems, tropical and subtropical forests are more sensitive to variation in litter inputs. Increased or decreased litter inputs altered the turnover and accumulation of soil carbon and nutrient in tropical and subtropical forests more substantially over a shorter time period compared to other ecosystems. Overall, our study suggested that, although the magnitude of responses differed greatly among ecosystems, increased litter inputs generally accelerated the decomposition and accumulation of carbon and nutrients in soil, and decreased litter inputs reduced them.

  9. Litter of the hemiparasite Bartsia alpina enhances plant growth: evidence for a functional role in nutrient cycling.

    PubMed

    Quested, Helen M; Press, Malcolm C; Callaghan, Terry V

    2003-05-01

    Hemiparasitic angiosperms concentrate nutrients in their leaves and also produce high quality litter, which can decompose faster and release more nutrients than that of surrounding species. The impact of these litters on plant growth may be particularly important in nutrient-poor communities where hemiparisites can be abundant, such as the sub-Arctic. We tested the hypothesis that plant growth is enhanced by the litter of the hemiparasite Bartsia alpina, in comparison with litter of co-occurring dwarf shrub species, using a pot based bioassay approach. Growth of Betula nana and Poa alpina was up to 51% and 41% greater, respectively, in the presence of Bartsia alpina litter than when grown with dwarf shrub litter (Vaccinium uliginosum, Betula nana and Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum). The nutrient concentrations of Betula nana plants grown with Bartsia alpina litter were almost double those of plants grown with dwarf shrub litter, and a significantly greater proportion of biomass was allocated to shoots rather than roots, strongly suggesting that nutrient availability was higher where Bartsia alpina litter was present. The presence of litter from dwarf shrubs, or the moss Hylocomium splendens, did not reduce the positive effect of Bartsia alpina litter on plant growth. E. nigrum litter did not appear to affect plant growth substantially differently from litter of other dwarf shrub species, despite earlier reports of its allelopathic action. The enhanced nutrient uptake and growth of plants in the presence of Bartsia alpina (and potentially other hemiparasitic species) litter could have important implications for communities in which it occurs, including enhanced survival of seedlings of co-occurring species and increased resource patchiness. PMID:12684861

  10. Influence of litter chemistry and stoichiometry on glucan depolymerization during decomposition of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) litter.

    PubMed

    Leitner, Sonja; Wanek, Wolfgang; Wild, Birgit; Haemmerle, Ieda; Kohl, Lukas; Keiblinger, Katharina M; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, Sophie; Richter, Andreas

    2012-07-01

    highly correlated to cellulase activities, suggesting that cellulose was the primary substrate for glucan depolymerization at this stage of decomposition. Litter stoichiometry did not affect glucan depolymerization or glucose consumption rates early in decomposition. At later stages, however, we found significant negative relationships between glucan depolymerization and litter C:N and AUR:N ratio and a positive relationship between glucan depolymerization and litter N concentration. Litter C:N and C:P ratios were negatively related to cellulase, peroxidase and phenoloxidase activities three and six months after incubation, further corroborating the importance of resource stoichiometry for glucan depolymerization after the initial pulse of starch degradation.

  11. Influence of litter chemistry and stoichiometry on glucan depolymerization during decomposition of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) litter

    PubMed Central

    Leitner, Sonja; Wanek, Wolfgang; Wild, Birgit; Haemmerle, Ieda; Kohl, Lukas; Keiblinger, Katharina M.; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, Sophie; Richter, Andreas

    2012-01-01

    highly correlated to cellulase activities, suggesting that cellulose was the primary substrate for glucan depolymerization at this stage of decomposition. Litter stoichiometry did not affect glucan depolymerization or glucose consumption rates early in decomposition. At later stages, however, we found significant negative relationships between glucan depolymerization and litter C:N and AUR:N ratio and a positive relationship between glucan depolymerization and litter N concentration. Litter C:N and C:P ratios were negatively related to cellulase, peroxidase and phenoloxidase activities three and six months after incubation, further corroborating the importance of resource stoichiometry for glucan depolymerization after the initial pulse of starch degradation. PMID:22761539

  12. Winter broiler litter gases and nitrogen compounds: Temporal and spatial trends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miles, D. M.; Rowe, D. E.; Owens, P. R.

    Understanding how animal activities, management, and barn structure affect litter gases and nutrients is fundamental to developing accurate emission models for meat-bird facilities. This research characterized the temporal and spatial variability of litter ammonia (NH 3) and nitrous oxide (N 2O) flux via a chamber method, as well as determined litter nitrogen (N) compounds by intensive sampling in two commercial broiler houses on aged litter. Thirty-six grid samples were taken during a winter flock in Mississippi on days 2, 22, and 45. On day 45, eight additional samples were taken near the feeders and waterers (F/W). Geostatistical contour plots indicate NH 3 flux on day 2 was elevated in the brood area of house one (H1) where litter and air temperatures were highest; a commercial litter treatment held the NH 3 flux near zero for approximately 45% of the brood area in house two (H2). Day 45 NH 3 fluxes were similar, averaging 694 mg m -2 h -1 in H1 vs. 644 mg m -2 h -1 in H2; both houses exhibited greater NH 3 flux near the cooling pads. Ammonia flux, litter moisture and pH were diminished at the F/W locations. Heavy cake near the exhaust fans provided the lowest recorded litter pH, highest litter moisture and ammonium (NH 4) with no NH 3 flux at the flock's end. Trends in litter condition based on bird activity were evident, but individual differences persisted between the houses. The importance of cake formation over the litter surface and differences based on location, both related to bird activity and house structure, should be considered in NH 3 mitigation strategies.

  13. Annual litter fall in an intact mixed dipterocarp forest of Brunei Darussalam

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roh, Yujin; Lee, Jongyeol; Lee, Sohye; Abu Salim, Kamariah; Davies, Stuart James; Son, Yowhan

    2016-04-01

    Estimating litter dynamics in an intact tropical forests is important for understanding tropical forests. Litter fall varies with seasonality, forest type or species composition, forest age, soil water retention, and soil fertility. These parameters are known to be strongly affected by elevation. The objective of this study was to estimate annual litter fall along a relative elevation in an intact mixed dipterocarp forest of Brunei Darussalam. This study was conducted in the Kuala Belalong lowland MDF, which is part of the Ulu Tembulong National Park, Brunei Darussalam. Five 0.36 ha plots were established within the permanent 25 ha UBD-CTFS plot. The plots were divided into three groups by relative elevation of the site: 1) high (N = 1), 2) middle (N = 2) and 3) low (N = 2). In January 2015, nine litter traps were installed in each plot and falling litter was collected every month from February to November, 2015. The collected litter was separated into leaves and other materials, and then weighed after drying at 80oC. The average annual litter fall in this site was 8.70 ± 0.16 Mg ha-1 yr-1, and this was within the range reported in previous studies which were conducted in tropical forests. Litter fall at high, middle and low plots was 9.09 ± 0.46, 8.90 ± 0.29 and 8.06 ± 0.29 Mg ha-1 yr-1, respectively. Litter fall was not significantly different among the groups (P>0.05). The results of regression analysis showed that litter fall was not significantly increased with altitude. We suppose that litter fall may be relatively constant in this site. *Supported by research grants from the Korea Forest Service (S121314L130100)

  14. Early Life in a Barren Environment Adversely Affects Spatial Cognition in Laying Hens (Gallus gallus domesticus).

    PubMed

    Tahamtani, Fernanda M; Nordgreen, Janicke; Nordquist, Rebecca E; Janczak, Andrew M

    2015-01-01

    Spatial cognition in vertebrates is adversely affected by a lack of environmental complexity during early life. However, to our knowledge, no previous studies have tested the effect of early exposure to varying degrees of environmental complexity on specific components of spatial cognition in chickens. There are two main rearing systems for laying hens in the EU: aviaries and cages. These two systems differ from one another in environmental complexity. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that rearing in a barren cage environment relative to a complex aviary environment causes long-lasting deficits in the ability to perform spatial tasks. For this purpose, 24 white Dekalb laying hens, half of which had been reared in an aviary system and the other half in a conventional cage system, were tested in a holeboard task. Birds from both treatment groups learnt the task; however, the cage-reared hens required more time to locate rewards and had poorer levels of working memory. The latter finding supports the hypothesis that rearing in a barren environment causes long-term impairment of short-term memory in chickens. PMID:26664932

  15. Early Life in a Barren Environment Adversely Affects Spatial Cognition in Laying Hens (Gallus gallus domesticus)

    PubMed Central

    Tahamtani, Fernanda M.; Nordgreen, Janicke; Nordquist, Rebecca E.; Janczak, Andrew M.

    2015-01-01

    Spatial cognition in vertebrates is adversely affected by a lack of environmental complexity during early life. However, to our knowledge, no previous studies have tested the effect of early exposure to varying degrees of environmental complexity on specific components of spatial cognition in chickens. There are two main rearing systems for laying hens in the EU: aviaries and cages. These two systems differ from one another in environmental complexity. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that rearing in a barren cage environment relative to a complex aviary environment causes long-lasting deficits in the ability to perform spatial tasks. For this purpose, 24 white Dekalb laying hens, half of which had been reared in an aviary system and the other half in a conventional cage system, were tested in a holeboard task. Birds from both treatment groups learnt the task; however, the cage-reared hens required more time to locate rewards and had poorer levels of working memory. The latter finding supports the hypothesis that rearing in a barren environment causes long-term impairment of short-term memory in chickens. PMID:26664932

  16. Interaction between parental environment and genotype affects plant and seed performance in Arabidopsis

    PubMed Central

    He, Hanzi; de Souza Vidigal, Deborah; Snoek, L. Basten; Schnabel, Sabine; Nijveen, Harm; Hilhorst, Henk; Bentsink, Leónie

    2014-01-01

    Seed performance after dispersal is highly dependent on parental environmental cues, especially during seed formation and maturation. Here we examine which environmental factors are the most dominant in this respect and whether their effects are dependent on the genotypes under investigation. We studied the influence of light intensity, photoperiod, temperature, nitrate, and phosphate during seed development on five plant attributes and thirteen seed attributes, using 12 Arabidopsis genotypes that have been reported to be affected in seed traits. As expected, the various environments during seed development resulted in changed plant and/or seed performances. Comparative analysis clearly indicated that, overall, temperature plays the most dominant role in both plant and seed performance, whereas light has a prominent impact on plant traits. In comparison to temperature and light, nitrate mildly affected some of the plant and seed traits while phosphate had even less influence on those traits. Moreover, clear genotype-by-environment interactions were identified. This was shown by the fact that individual genotypes responded differentially to the environmental conditions. Low temperature significantly increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG1 and cyp707a1-1, whereas low light intensity increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG3 and NILDOG6. This also indicates that different genetic and molecular pathways are involved in the plant and seed responses. By identifying environmental conditions that affect the dormancy vs longevity correlation in the same way as previously identified naturally occurring loci, we have identified selective forces that probably shaped evolution for these important seed traits. PMID:25240065

  17. Bacterial communities from shoreline environments (costa da morte, northwestern Spain) affected by the prestige oil spill.

    PubMed

    Alonso-Gutiérrez, Jorge; Figueras, Antonio; Albaigés, Joan; Jiménez, Núria; Viñas, Marc; Solanas, Anna M; Novoa, Beatriz

    2009-06-01

    The bacterial communities in two different shoreline matrices, rocks and sand, from the Costa da Morte, northwestern Spain, were investigated 12 months after being affected by the Prestige oil spill. Culture-based and culture-independent approaches were used to compare the bacterial diversity present in these environments with that at a nonoiled site. A long-term effect of fuel on the microbial communities in the oiled sand and rock was suggested by the higher proportion of alkane and polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) degraders and the differences in denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis patterns compared with those of the reference site. Members of the classes Alphaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria were the prevailing groups of bacteria detected in both matrices, although the sand bacterial community exhibited higher species richness than the rock bacterial community did. Culture-dependent and -independent approaches suggested that the genus Rhodococcus could play a key role in the in situ degradation of the alkane fraction of the Prestige fuel together with other members of the suborder Corynebacterineae. Moreover, other members of this suborder, such as Mycobacterium spp., together with Sphingomonadaceae bacteria (mainly Lutibacterium anuloederans), were related as well to the degradation of the aromatic fraction of the Prestige fuel. The multiapproach methodology applied in the present study allowed us to assess the complexity of autochthonous microbial communities related to the degradation of heavy fuel from the Prestige and to isolate some of their components for a further physiological study. Since several Corynebacterineae members related to the degradation of alkanes and PAHs were frequently detected in this and other supralittoral environments affected by the Prestige oil spill along the northwestern Spanish coast, the addition of mycolic acids to bioremediation amendments is proposed to favor the presence of these degraders in long-term fuel pollution-affected

  18. Gravitational environment produced by a superconducting magnet affects osteoblast morphology and functions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qian, Airong; Zhang, Wei; Weng, Yuanyuan; Tian, Zongcheng; Di, Shengmeng; Yang, Pengfei; Yin, Dachuan; Hu, Lifang; Wang, Zhe; Xu, Huiyun; Shang, Peng

    The aims of this study are to investigate the effects of gravitational environment produced by a superconducting magnet on osteoblast morphology, proliferation and adhesion. A superconducting magnet which can produce large gradient high magnetic field (LGHMF) and provide three apparent gravity levels (0g,1gand2g) was employed to simulate space gravity environment. The effects of LGHMF on osteoblast morphology, proliferation, adhesion and the gene expression of fibronectin and collagen I were detected by scanning electron microscopy, immunocytochemistry, adhesion assays and real time PCR, respectively, after exposure of osteoblasts to LGHMF for 24 h. Osteoblast morphology was affected by LGHMF (0g,1gand2g) and the most evident morphology alteration was observed at 0g condition. Proliferative abilities of MC3T3 and MG-63 cell were affected under LGHMF (0g,1gand2g) conditions compared to control condition. The adhesive abilities of MC3T3 and MG-63 cells to extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins (fibronectin, laminin, collagen IV) were also affected by LGHMF (0g,1gand2g), moreover, the effects of LGHMF on osteoblast adhesion to different ECM proteins were different. Fibronectin gene expression in MG63 cells under zero gravity condition was increased significantly compared to other conditions. Collagen I gene expression in MG-63 and MC3T3 cells was altered by both magnetic field and alerted gravity. The study indicates that the superconducting magnet which can produce LGHMF may be a novel ground-based space gravity simulator and can be used for biological experiment at cellular level.

  19. Interaction between parental environment and genotype affects plant and seed performance in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    He, Hanzi; de Souza Vidigal, Deborah; Snoek, L Basten; Schnabel, Sabine; Nijveen, Harm; Hilhorst, Henk; Bentsink, Leónie

    2014-12-01

    Seed performance after dispersal is highly dependent on parental environmental cues, especially during seed formation and maturation. Here we examine which environmental factors are the most dominant in this respect and whether their effects are dependent on the genotypes under investigation. We studied the influence of light intensity, photoperiod, temperature, nitrate, and phosphate during seed development on five plant attributes and thirteen seed attributes, using 12 Arabidopsis genotypes that have been reported to be affected in seed traits. As expected, the various environments during seed development resulted in changed plant and/or seed performances. Comparative analysis clearly indicated that, overall, temperature plays the most dominant role in both plant and seed performance, whereas light has a prominent impact on plant traits. In comparison to temperature and light, nitrate mildly affected some of the plant and seed traits while phosphate had even less influence on those traits. Moreover, clear genotype-by-environment interactions were identified. This was shown by the fact that individual genotypes responded differentially to the environmental conditions. Low temperature significantly increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG1 and cyp707a1-1, whereas low light intensity increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG3 and NILDOG6. This also indicates that different genetic and molecular pathways are involved in the plant and seed responses. By identifying environmental conditions that affect the dormancy vs longevity correlation in the same way as previously identified naturally occurring loci, we have identified selective forces that probably shaped evolution for these important seed traits.

  20. Galling by Rhopalomyia solidaginis alters Solidago altissima architecture and litter nutrient dynamics in an old-field ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Crutsinger, Greg; Habenicht, Melissa N; Classen, Aimee T; Schweitzer, Jennifer A; Sanders, Dr. Nathan James

    2008-01-01

    Plant-insect interactions can alter ecosystem processes, especially if the insects modify plant architecture, quality, or the quantity of leaf litter inputs. In this study, we investigated the interactions between the gall midge Rhopalomyia solidaginis and tall goldenrod, Solidago altissima, to quantify the degree to which the midge alters plant architecture and how the galls affect rates of litter decomposition and nutrient release in an old-field ecosystem. R. solidaginis commonly leads to the formation of a distinct apical rosette gall on S. altissima and approximately 15% of the ramets in a S. altissima patch were galled (range: 3-34%). Aboveground biomass of galled ramets was 60% higher and the leaf area density was four times greater on galled leaf tissue relative to the portions of the plant that were not affected by the gall. Overall decomposition rate constants did not differ between galled and ungalled leaf litter. However, leaf-litter mass loss was lower in galled litter relative to ungalled litter, which was likely driven by modest differences in initial litter chemistry; this effect diminished after 12 weeks of decomposition in the field. The proportion of N remaining was always higher in galled litter than in ungalled litter at each collection date indicating differential release of nitrogen in galled leaf litter. Several studies have shown that plant-insect interactions on woody species can alter ecosystem processes by affecting the quality or quantity of litter inputs. Our results illustrate how plant-insect interactions in an herbaceous species can affect ecosystem processes by altering the quality and quantity of litter inputs. Given that S. altissima dominates fields and roadsides and that R. solidaginis galls are highly abundant throughout eastern North America, these interactions are likely to be important for both the structure and function of old-field ecosystems.

  1. Marine Litter Distribution and Density in European Seas, from the Shelves to Deep Basins

    PubMed Central

    Pham, Christopher K.; Ramirez-Llodra, Eva; Alt, Claudia H. S.; Amaro, Teresa; Bergmann, Melanie; Canals, Miquel; Company, Joan B.; Davies, Jaime; Duineveld, Gerard; Galgani, François; Howell, Kerry L.; Huvenne, Veerle A. I.; Isidro, Eduardo; Jones, Daniel O. B.; Lastras, Galderic; Morato, Telmo; Gomes-Pereira, José Nuno; Purser, Autun; Stewart, Heather; Tojeira, Inês; Tubau, Xavier; Van Rooij, David; Tyler, Paul A.

    2014-01-01

    Anthropogenic litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote points in the oceans. On the seafloor, marine litter, particularly plastic, can accumulate in high densities with deleterious consequences for its inhabitants. Yet, because of the high cost involved with sampling the seafloor, no large-scale assessment of distribution patterns was available to date. Here, we present data on litter distribution and density collected during 588 video and trawl surveys across 32 sites in European waters. We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor. Litter from fishing activities (derelict fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments. PMID:24788771

  2. Marine litter distribution and density in European seas, from the shelves to deep basins.

    PubMed

    Pham, Christopher K; Ramirez-Llodra, Eva; Alt, Claudia H S; Amaro, Teresa; Bergmann, Melanie; Canals, Miquel; Company, Joan B; Davies, Jaime; Duineveld, Gerard; Galgani, François; Howell, Kerry L; Huvenne, Veerle A I; Isidro, Eduardo; Jones, Daniel O B; Lastras, Galderic; Morato, Telmo; Gomes-Pereira, José Nuno; Purser, Autun; Stewart, Heather; Tojeira, Inês; Tubau, Xavier; Van Rooij, David; Tyler, Paul A

    2014-01-01

    Anthropogenic litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote points in the oceans. On the seafloor, marine litter, particularly plastic, can accumulate in high densities with deleterious consequences for its inhabitants. Yet, because of the high cost involved with sampling the seafloor, no large-scale assessment of distribution patterns was available to date. Here, we present data on litter distribution and density collected during 588 video and trawl surveys across 32 sites in European waters. We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor. Litter from fishing activities (derelict fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments. PMID:24788771

  3. Marine litter distribution and density in European seas, from the shelves to deep basins.

    PubMed

    Pham, Christopher K; Ramirez-Llodra, Eva; Alt, Claudia H S; Amaro, Teresa; Bergmann, Melanie; Canals, Miquel; Company, Joan B; Davies, Jaime; Duineveld, Gerard; Galgani, François; Howell, Kerry L; Huvenne, Veerle A I; Isidro, Eduardo; Jones, Daniel O B; Lastras, Galderic; Morato, Telmo; Gomes-Pereira, José Nuno; Purser, Autun; Stewart, Heather; Tojeira, Inês; Tubau, Xavier; Van Rooij, David; Tyler, Paul A

    2014-01-01

    Anthropogenic litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote points in the oceans. On the seafloor, marine litter, particularly plastic, can accumulate in high densities with deleterious consequences for its inhabitants. Yet, because of the high cost involved with sampling the seafloor, no large-scale assessment of distribution patterns was available to date. Here, we present data on litter distribution and density collected during 588 video and trawl surveys across 32 sites in European waters. We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor. Litter from fishing activities (derelict fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments.

  4. Using experimental manipulation to assess the roles of leaf litter in the functioning of forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sayer, Emma J

    2006-02-01

    The widespread use of forest litter as animal bedding in central Europe for many centuries gave rise to the first litter manipulation studies, and their results demonstrated that litter and its decomposition are a vital part of ecosystem function. Litter plays two major roles in forest ecosystems: firstly, litterfall is an inherent part of nutrient and carbon cycling, and secondly, litter forms a protective layer on the soil surface that also regulates microclimatic conditions. By reviewing 152 years of litter manipulation experiments, I show that the effects of manipulating litter stem from changes in one, or both, of these two functions, and interactions between the variables influenced by the accumulation of litter can result in feedback mechanisms that may intensify treatment effects or mask responses, making the interpretation of results difficult.Long-term litter removal increased soil bulk density, overland flow, erosion, and temperature fluctuations and upset the soil water balance, causing lower soil water content during dry periods. Soil pH increased or decreased in response to manipulation treatments depending on forest type and initial soil pH, but it is unclear why there was no uniform response. Long-term litter harvesting severely depleted the forests of nutrients. Decreases in the concentrations of available P, Ca, Mg, and K in the soil occurred after only three to five years. The decline in soil N occurred over longer periods of time, and the relative loss was greater in soils with high initial nitrogen concentration. Tree growth declined with long-term litter removal, probably due to lower nutrient availability. Litter manipulation also added or removed large amounts of carbon thereby affecting microbial communities and altering soil respiration rates. Litter manipulation experiments have shown that litter cover acts as a physical barrier to the shoot emergence of small-seeded species; further, the microclimate maintained by the litter layer may be

  5. Effects of nutrient enrichment on mangrove leaf litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    Keuskamp, Joost A; Hefting, Mariet M; Dingemans, Bas J J; Verhoeven, Jos T A; Feller, Ilka C

    2015-03-01

    Nutrient enrichment of mangroves, a common phenomenon along densely populated coastlines, may negatively affect mangrove ecosystems by modifying internal carbon and nutrient cycling. The decomposition of litter exerts a strong influence on these processes and is potentially modified by eutrophication. This study describes effects of N and P enrichment on litter decomposition rate and mineralisation/immobilisation patterns. By making use of reciprocal litter transplantation experiments among fertiliser treatments, it was tested if nutrient addition primarily acts on the primary producers (i.e. changes in litter quantity and quality) or on the microbial decomposers (i.e. changes in nutrient limitation for decomposition). Measurements were done in two mangrove forests where primary production was either limited by N or by P, which had been subject to at least 5 years of experimental N and P fertilisation. Results of this study indicated that decomposers were always N-limited regardless of the limitation of the primary producers. This leads to a differential nutrient limitation between decomposers and primary producers in sites where mangrove production was P-limited. In these sites, fertilisation with P caused litter quality to change, resulting in a higher decomposition rate. This study shows that direct effects of fertilisation on decomposition through an effect on decomposer nutrient availability might be non-significant, while the indirect effects through modifying litter quality might be quite substantial in mangroves. Our results show no indication that eutrophication increases decomposition without stimulating primary production. Therefore we do not expect a decline in carbon sequestration as a result of eutrophication of mangrove ecosystems.

  6. Allelopathic Effects of Litter Axonopus compressus against Two Weedy Species and Its Persistence in Soil

    PubMed Central

    Samedani, B.; Juraimi, A. S.; Rafii, M. Y.; Anuar, A. R.; Sheikh Awadz, S. A.; Anwar, M. P.

    2013-01-01

    This study investigated the allelopathic effect of Axonopus compressus litter on Asystasia gangetica and Pennisetum polystachion. In experiment 1 the bioassays with 0, 10, 30, and 50 g L−1 of aqueous A. compressus litter leachate were conducted. Experiment 2 was carried out by incorporating 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 g L−1 of A. compressus litter leachate into soil. In experiment 3, the fate of A. compressus litter leachate phenolics in the soil was investigated. A. compressus leachates did not affect the germination percentage of A. gangetica and P. polystachion, but delayed germination of A. gangetica seeds and decreased seed germination time of P. polystachion. A. compressus litter leachates affected weeds hypocotyl length. Hypocotyl length reductions of 18 and 31% were observed at the highest concentration (50 g L−1) compared to the control in A. gangetica and P. polystachion, respectively. When concentration of A. compressus litter leachate-amended soil increased A. gangetica and P. polystachion seedling shoot length, root length, seedling weight and chlorophyll concentration were not affected. The 5-week decomposition study of A. compressus showed that the phenolic compounds in A. compressus litter abruptly decreased about 52% after two weeks and remained steady until the end of the incubation. PMID:24260020

  7. Allelopathic effects of litter Axonopus compressus against two weedy species and its persistence in soil.

    PubMed

    Samedani, B; Juraimi, A S; Rafii, M Y; Anuar, A R; Sheikh Awadz, S A; Anwar, M P

    2013-01-01

    This study investigated the allelopathic effect of Axonopus compressus litter on Asystasia gangetica and Pennisetum polystachion. In experiment 1 the bioassays with 0, 10, 30, and 50 g L⁻¹ of aqueous A. compressus litter leachate were conducted. Experiment 2 was carried out by incorporating 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 g L⁻¹ of A. compressus litter leachate into soil. In experiment 3, the fate of A. compressus litter leachate phenolics in the soil was investigated. A. compressus leachates did not affect the germination percentage of A. gangetica and P. polystachion, but delayed germination of A. gangetica seeds and decreased seed germination time of P. polystachion. A. compressus litter leachates affected weeds hypocotyl length. Hypocotyl length reductions of 18 and 31% were observed at the highest concentration (50 g L⁻¹) compared to the control in A. gangetica and P. polystachion, respectively. When concentration of A. compressus litter leachate-amended soil increased A. gangetica and P. polystachion seedling shoot length, root length, seedling weight and chlorophyll concentration were not affected. The 5-week decomposition study of A. compressus showed that the phenolic compounds in A. compressus litter abruptly decreased about 52% after two weeks and remained steady until the end of the incubation. PMID:24260020

  8. Genetic Based Plant Resistance and Susceptibility Traits to Herbivory Influence Needle and Root Litter Nutrient Dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Classen, Aimee T; Chapman, Samantha K.; Whitham, Thomas G; Hart, Stephen C; Koch, George W

    2007-01-01

    It is generally assumed that leaf and root litter decomposition have similar drivers and that nutrient release from these substrates is synchronized. Few studies have examined these assumptions, and none has examined how plant genetics (i.e., plant susceptibility to herbivory) could affect these relationships. Here we examine the effects of herbivore susceptibility and resistance on needle and fine root litter decomposition of pi on pine, Pinus edulis. The study population consists of individual trees that are either susceptible or resistant to herbivory by the pi on needle scale, Matsucoccus acalyptus, or the stem-boring moth, Dioryctria albovittella. Genetic analyses and experimental removals and additions of these insects have identified trees that are naturally resistant and susceptible to these insects. These herbivores increase the chemical quality of litter inputs and alter soil microclimate, both of which are important decomposition drivers. Our research leads to four major conclusions: Herbivore susceptibility and resistance effects on 1) needle litter mass loss and phosphorus (P) retention in moth susceptible and resistant litter are governed by microclimate, 2) root litter nitrogen (N) and P retention, and needle litter N retention are governed by litter chemical quality, 3) net nutrient release from litter can reverse over time, 4) root and needle litter mass loss and nutrient release are determined by location (above- vs. belowground), suggesting that the regulators of needle and root decomposition differ at the local scale. Understanding of decomposition and nutrient retention in ecosystems requires consideration of herbivore effects on above- and belowground processes and how these effects may be governed by plant genotype. Because an underlying genetic component to herbivory is common to most ecosystems of the world and herbivory may increase in climatic change scenarios, it is important to evaluate the role of plant genetics in affecting carbon and

  9. Litter Size Predicts Adult Stereotypic Behavior in Female Laboratory Mice

    PubMed Central

    Bechard, Allison; Nicholson, Anthony; Mason, Georgia

    2012-01-01

    Stereotypic behaviors are repetitive invariant behaviors that are common in many captive species and potentially indicate compromised welfare and suitability as research subjects. Adult laboratory mice commonly perform stereotypic bar-gnawing, route-tracing, and back-flipping, although great individual variation in frequency occurs. Early life factors (for example, level of maternal care received) have lasting effects on CNS functioning and abilities to cope with stress and therefore may also affect stereotypic behavior in offspring. Access to maternal resources and care are influenced by the number of pups in a litter; therefore, we examined both litter size and its potential correlate, weight at weaning, as early environmental predictors of adult stereotypic behavior in laboratory mice. Further, we assessed the effects on offspring stereotypic behavior of delaying the separation of mother and pups (weaning) beyond the standard 21 d of age. Analyzing stereotypic behavior in 3 different mouse colonies composed of 2 inbred strains (C57BL/6N and C57BL/6J) and an outbred stock (CD1[ICR]) revealed significant positive correlation between litter size and stereotypic behavior in female, but not male, mice. Weight and age at weaning did not significantly affect levels of stereotypy in either sex. Litter size therefore may be a useful indicator of individual predisposition to stereotypic behavior in female laboratory mice. PMID:23043805

  10. ARTIE: An Integrated Environment for the Development of Affective Robot Tutors

    PubMed Central

    Imbernón Cuadrado, Luis-Eduardo; Manjarrés Riesco, Ángeles; De La Paz López, Félix

    2016-01-01

    Over the last decade robotics has attracted a great deal of interest from teachers and researchers as a valuable educational tool from preschool to highschool levels. The implementation of social-support behaviors in robot tutors, in particular in the emotional dimension, can make a significant contribution to learning efficiency. With the aim of contributing to the rising field of affective robot tutors we have developed ARTIE (Affective Robot Tutor Integrated Environment). We offer an architectural pattern which integrates any given educational software for primary school children with a component whose function is to identify the emotional state of the students who are interacting with the software, and with the driver of a robot tutor which provides personalized emotional pedagogical support to the students. In order to support the development of affective robot tutors according to the proposed architecture, we also provide a methodology which incorporates a technique for eliciting pedagogical knowledge from teachers, and a generic development platform. This platform contains a component for identiying emotional states by analysing keyboard and mouse interaction data, and a generic affective pedagogical support component which specifies the affective educational interventions (including facial expressions, body language, tone of voice,…) in terms of BML (a Behavior Model Language for virtual agent specification) files which are translated into actions of a robot tutor. The platform and the methodology are both adapted to primary school students. Finally, we illustrate the use of this platform to build a prototype implementation of the architecture, in which the educational software is instantiated with Scratch and the robot tutor with NAO. We also report on a user experiment we carried out to orient the development of the platform and of the prototype. We conclude from our work that, in the case of primary school students, it is possible to identify, without

  11. ARTIE: An Integrated Environment for the Development of Affective Robot Tutors.

    PubMed

    Imbernón Cuadrado, Luis-Eduardo; Manjarrés Riesco, Ángeles; De La Paz López, Félix

    2016-01-01

    Over the last decade robotics has attracted a great deal of interest from teachers and researchers as a valuable educational tool from preschool to highschool levels. The implementation of social-support behaviors in robot tutors, in particular in the emotional dimension, can make a significant contribution to learning efficiency. With the aim of contributing to the rising field of affective robot tutors we have developed ARTIE (Affective Robot Tutor Integrated Environment). We offer an architectural pattern which integrates any given educational software for primary school children with a component whose function is to identify the emotional state of the students who are interacting with the software, and with the driver of a robot tutor which provides personalized emotional pedagogical support to the students. In order to support the development of affective robot tutors according to the proposed architecture, we also provide a methodology which incorporates a technique for eliciting pedagogical knowledge from teachers, and a generic development platform. This platform contains a component for identiying emotional states by analysing keyboard and mouse interaction data, and a generic affective pedagogical support component which specifies the affective educational interventions (including facial expressions, body language, tone of voice,…) in terms of BML (a Behavior Model Language for virtual agent specification) files which are translated into actions of a robot tutor. The platform and the methodology are both adapted to primary school students. Finally, we illustrate the use of this platform to build a prototype implementation of the architecture, in which the educational software is instantiated with Scratch and the robot tutor with NAO. We also report on a user experiment we carried out to orient the development of the platform and of the prototype. We conclude from our work that, in the case of primary school students, it is possible to identify, without

  12. ARTIE: An Integrated Environment for the Development of Affective Robot Tutors.

    PubMed

    Imbernón Cuadrado, Luis-Eduardo; Manjarrés Riesco, Ángeles; De La Paz López, Félix

    2016-01-01

    Over the last decade robotics has attracted a great deal of interest from teachers and researchers as a valuable educational tool from preschool to highschool levels. The implementation of social-support behaviors in robot tutors, in particular in the emotional dimension, can make a significant contribution to learning efficiency. With the aim of contributing to the rising field of affective robot tutors we have developed ARTIE (Affective Robot Tutor Integrated Environment). We offer an architectural pattern which integrates any given educational software for primary school children with a component whose function is to identify the emotional state of the students who are interacting with the software, and with the driver of a robot tutor which provides personalized emotional pedagogical support to the students. In order to support the development of affective robot tutors according to the proposed architecture, we also provide a methodology which incorporates a technique for eliciting pedagogical knowledge from teachers, and a generic development platform. This platform contains a component for identiying emotional states by analysing keyboard and mouse interaction data, and a generic affective pedagogical support component which specifies the affective educational interventions (including facial expressions, body language, tone of voice,…) in terms of BML (a Behavior Model Language for virtual agent specification) files which are translated into actions of a robot tutor. The platform and the methodology are both adapted to primary school students. Finally, we illustrate the use of this platform to build a prototype implementation of the architecture, in which the educational software is instantiated with Scratch and the robot tutor with NAO. We also report on a user experiment we carried out to orient the development of the platform and of the prototype. We conclude from our work that, in the case of primary school students, it is possible to identify, without

  13. Climate and litter quality differently modulate the effects of soil fauna on litter decomposition across biomes.

    PubMed

    García-Palacios, Pablo; Maestre, Fernando T; Kattge, Jens; Wall, Diana H

    2013-08-01

    Climate and litter quality have been identified as major drivers of litter decomposition at large spatial scales. However, the role played by soil fauna remains largely unknown, despite its importance for litter fragmentation and microbial activity. We synthesised litterbag studies to quantify the effect sizes of soil fauna on litter decomposition rates at the global and biome scales, and to assess how climate, litter quality and soil fauna interact to determine such rates. Soil fauna consistently enhanced litter decomposition at both global and biome scales (average increment ~ 37%). [corrected]. However, climate and litter quality differently modulated the effects of soil fauna on decomposition rates between biomes, from climate-driven biomes to those where climate effects were mediated by changes in litter quality. Our results advocate for the inclusion of biome-specific soil fauna effects on litter decomposition as a mean to reduce the unexplained variation in large-scale decomposition models.

  14. Climate and litter quality differently modulate the effects of soil fauna on litter decomposition across biomes

    PubMed Central

    García-Palacios, Pablo; Maestre, Fernando T.; Kattge, Jens; Wall, Diana H.

    2015-01-01

    Climate and litter quality have been identified as major drivers of litter decomposition at large spatial scales. However, the role played by soil fauna remains largely unknown, despite its importance for litter fragmentation and microbial activity. We synthesized litterbag studies to quantify the effect sizes of soil fauna on litter decomposition rates at the global and biome scales, and to assess how climate, litter quality and soil fauna interact to determine such rates. Soil fauna consistently enhanced litter decomposition at both global and biome scales (average increment ~27%). However, climate and litter quality differently modulated the effects of soil fauna on decomposition rates between biomes, from climate-driven biomes to those where climate effects were mediated by changes in litter quality. Our results advocate for the inclusion of biome-specific soil fauna effects on litter decomposition as a mean to reduce the unexplained variation in large-scale decomposition models. PMID:23763716

  15. Biodegradation of veterinary ionophore antibiotics in broiler litter and soil microcosms.

    PubMed

    Sun, Peizhe; Cabrera, Miguel L; Huang, Ching-Hua; Pavlostathis, Spyros G

    2014-01-01

    Ionophore antibiotics (IPAs) are polyether compounds used in broiler feed to promote growth and control coccidiosis. Most of the ingested IPAs are excreted into broiler litter (BL), a mixture of excreta and bedding material. BL is considered a major source of IPAs released into the environment as BL is commonly used to fertilize agricultural fields. This study investigated IPA biodegradation in BL and soil microcosms, as a process affecting the fate of IPAs in the environment. The study focused on the most widely used IPAs, monensin (MON), salinomycin (SAL), and narasin (NAR). MON was stable in BL microcosms at 24-72% water content (water/wet litter, w/w) and 35-60 °C, whereas SAL and NAR degraded under certain conditions. Factor analysis was conducted to delineate the interaction of water and temperature on SAL and NAR degradation in the BL. A major transformation product of SAL and NAR was identified. Abiotic reaction(s) were primarily responsible for the degradation of MON and SAL in nonfertilized soil microcosms, whereas biodegradation contributed significantly in BL-fertilized soil microcosms. SAL biotransformation in soil microcosms yielded the same product as in the BL microcosms. A new primary biotransformation product of MON was identified in soil microcosms. A field study showed that MON and SAL were stable during BL stacking, whereas MON degraded after BL was applied to grassland. The biotransformation product of MON was also detected in the top soil layer where BL was applied.

  16. Does prey community composition affect the way different behavioral types interact with their environment?

    PubMed

    Nannini, Michael A; Wahl, David H

    2016-10-01

    We examined how different exploratory behavioral types of largemouth bass responded to differing prey communities by determining effects on growth, survival and diet in experimental ponds. We found evidence that non-explorer largemouth bass target young-of-year bluegill early on in life, but bluegill were not an important diet item by late summer. The presence of young-of-year bluegill as prey does appear to affect the foraging strategy of the two exploring types differently. In the absence of small bluegill, both behavioral types feed primarily on benthic invertebrates and zooplankton. When small bluegill were present, we saw a shift away from zooplankton as prey for largemouth bass. However, that shift was toward more benthic invertebrates for non-exploring behavioral types and toward terrestrial insects for exploring behavioral types. Thus, it appears that prey community composition can have important effects on the way in which different behavioral types interact with their environment. PMID:27334870

  17. Does prey community composition affect the way different behavioral types interact with their environment?

    PubMed

    Nannini, Michael A; Wahl, David H

    2016-10-01

    We examined how different exploratory behavioral types of largemouth bass responded to differing prey communities by determining effects on growth, survival and diet in experimental ponds. We found evidence that non-explorer largemouth bass target young-of-year bluegill early on in life, but bluegill were not an important diet item by late summer. The presence of young-of-year bluegill as prey does appear to affect the foraging strategy of the two exploring types differently. In the absence of small bluegill, both behavioral types feed primarily on benthic invertebrates and zooplankton. When small bluegill were present, we saw a shift away from zooplankton as prey for largemouth bass. However, that shift was toward more benthic invertebrates for non-exploring behavioral types and toward terrestrial insects for exploring behavioral types. Thus, it appears that prey community composition can have important effects on the way in which different behavioral types interact with their environment.

  18. Emotion and auditory virtual environments: affect-based judgments of music reproduced with virtual reverberation times.

    PubMed

    Västfjäll, Daniel; Larsson, Pontus; Kleiner, Mendel

    2002-02-01

    Emotions are experienced both in real and virtual environments (VEs). Most research to date have focused on the content that causes emotional reactions, but noncontent features of a VE (such as the realism and quality of object rendering) may also influence emotional reactions to the mediated object. The present research studied how noncontent features (different reverberation times) of an auditory VE influenced 76 participants' ratings of emotional reactions and expressed emotional qualities of the sounds. The results showed that the two emotion dimensions of pleasantness and arousal were systematically affected if the same musical piece was rendered with different reverberation times. Overall, it was found that high reverberation time was perceived as most unpleasant. Taken together, the results suggested that noncontent features of a VE influence emotional reactions to mediated objects. Moreover, the study suggests that emotional reactions may be a important aspect of the VE experience that can help complementing standard presence questionnaires and quality evaluations.

  19. [Relationships between decomposition rate of leaf litter and initial quality across the alpine timberline ecotone in Western Sichuan, China].

    PubMed

    Yang, Lin; Deng, Chang-chun; Chen Ya-mei; He, Run-lian; Zhang, Jian; Liu, Yang

    2015-12-01

    The relationships between litter decomposition rate and their initial quality of 14 representative plants in the alpine forest ecotone of western Sichuan were investigated in this paper. The decomposition rate k of the litter ranged from 0.16 to 1.70. Woody leaf litter and moss litter decomposed much slower, and shrubby litter decomposed a little faster. Then, herbaceous litters decomposed fastest among all plant forms. There were significant linear regression relationships between the litter decomposition rate and the N content, lignin content, phenolics content, C/N, C/P and lignin/N. Lignin/N and hemicellulose content could explain 78.4% variation of the litter decomposition rate (k) by path analysis. The lignin/N could explain 69.5% variation of k alone, and the direct path coefficient of lignin/N on k was -0.913. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the contribution rate of the first sort axis to k and the decomposition time (t) reached 99.2%. Significant positive correlations existed between lignin/N, lignin content, C/N, C/P and the first sort axis, and the closest relationship existed between lignin/N and the first sort axis (r = 0.923). Lignin/N was the key quality factor affecting plant litter decomposition rate across the alpine timberline ecotone, with the higher the initial lignin/N, the lower the decomposition rate of leaf litter. PMID:27111995

  20. [Relationships between decomposition rate of leaf litter and initial quality across the alpine timberline ecotone in Western Sichuan, China].

    PubMed

    Yang, Lin; Deng, Chang-chun; Chen Ya-mei; He, Run-lian; Zhang, Jian; Liu, Yang

    2015-12-01

    The relationships between litter decomposition rate and their initial quality of 14 representative plants in the alpine forest ecotone of western Sichuan were investigated in this paper. The decomposition rate k of the litter ranged from 0.16 to 1.70. Woody leaf litter and moss litter decomposed much slower, and shrubby litter decomposed a little faster. Then, herbaceous litters decomposed fastest among all plant forms. There were significant linear regression relationships between the litter decomposition rate and the N content, lignin content, phenolics content, C/N, C/P and lignin/N. Lignin/N and hemicellulose content could explain 78.4% variation of the litter decomposition rate (k) by path analysis. The lignin/N could explain 69.5% variation of k alone, and the direct path coefficient of lignin/N on k was -0.913. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the contribution rate of the first sort axis to k and the decomposition time (t) reached 99.2%. Significant positive correlations existed between lignin/N, lignin content, C/N, C/P and the first sort axis, and the closest relationship existed between lignin/N and the first sort axis (r = 0.923). Lignin/N was the key quality factor affecting plant litter decomposition rate across the alpine timberline ecotone, with the higher the initial lignin/N, the lower the decomposition rate of leaf litter.

  1. Effects of litter addition on ectomycorrhizal associates of a lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stand in Yellowstone National Park.

    PubMed

    Cullings, Kenneth W; New, Michael H; Makhija, Shilpa; Parker, V Thomas

    2003-07-01

    Increasing soil nutrients through litter manipulation, pollution, or fertilization can adversely affect ectomycorrhizal (EM) communities by inhibiting fungal growth. In this study, we used molecular genetic methods to determine the effects of litter addition on the EM community of a Pinus contorta stand in Yellowstone National Park that regenerated after a stand-replacing fire. Two controls were used; in unmodified control plots nothing was added to the soil, and in perlite plots perlite, a chemically neutral substance, was added to maintain soil moisture and temperature at levels similar to those under litter. We found that (i) species richness did not change significantly following perlite addition (2.6 +/- 0.3 species/core in control plots, compared with 2.3 +/- 0.3 species/core in perlite plots) but decreased significantly (P < 0.05) following litter addition (1.8 +/- 0.3 species/core); (ii) EM infection was not affected by the addition of perlite but increased significantly (P < 0.001) in response to litter addition, and the increase occurred only in the upper soil layer, directly adjacent to the added litter; and (iii) Suillus granulatus, Wilcoxina mikolae, and agaricoid DD were the dominant organisms in controls, but the levels of W. mikolae and agaricoid DD decreased significantly in response to both perlite and litter addition. The relative levels of S. granulatus and a fourth fungus, Cortinariaceae species 2, increased significantly (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively) following litter addition. Thus, litter addition resulted in some negative effects that may be attributable to moisture-temperature relationships rather than to the increased nutrients associated with litter. Some species respond positively to litter addition, indicating that there are differences in their physiologies. Hence, changes in the EM community induced by litter accumulation also may affect ecosystem function. PMID:12839743

  2. Effects of litter addition on ectomycorrhizal associates of a lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stand in Yellowstone National Park

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cullings, Kenneth W.; New, Michael H.; Makhija, Shilpa; Parker, V. Thomas

    2003-01-01

    Increasing soil nutrients through litter manipulation, pollution, or fertilization can adversely affect ectomycorrhizal (EM) communities by inhibiting fungal growth. In this study, we used molecular genetic methods to determine the effects of litter addition on the EM community of a Pinus contorta stand in Yellowstone National Park that regenerated after a stand-replacing fire. Two controls were used; in unmodified control plots nothing was added to the soil, and in perlite plots perlite, a chemically neutral substance, was added to maintain soil moisture and temperature at levels similar to those under litter. We found that (i) species richness did not change significantly following perlite addition (2.6 +/- 0.3 species/core in control plots, compared with 2.3 +/- 0.3 species/core in perlite plots) but decreased significantly (P < 0.05) following litter addition (1.8 +/- 0.3 species/core); (ii) EM infection was not affected by the addition of perlite but increased significantly (P < 0.001) in response to litter addition, and the increase occurred only in the upper soil layer, directly adjacent to the added litter; and (iii) Suillus granulatus, Wilcoxina mikolae, and agaricoid DD were the dominant organisms in controls, but the levels of W. mikolae and agaricoid DD decreased significantly in response to both perlite and litter addition. The relative levels of S. granulatus and a fourth fungus, Cortinariaceae species 2, increased significantly (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively) following litter addition. Thus, litter addition resulted in some negative effects that may be attributable to moisture-temperature relationships rather than to the increased nutrients associated with litter. Some species respond positively to litter addition, indicating that there are differences in their physiologies. Hence, changes in the EM community induced by litter accumulation also may affect ecosystem function.

  3. Measurement of broiler litter production rates and nutrient content using recycled litter.

    PubMed

    Coufal, C D; Chavez, C; Niemeyer, P R; Carey, J B

    2006-03-01

    It is important for broiler producers to know litter production rates and litter nutrient content when developing nutrient management plans. Estimation of broiler litter production varies widely in the literature due to factors such as geographical region, type of housing, size of broiler produced, and number of flocks reared on the same litter. Published data for N, P, and K content are also highly variable. In addition, few data are available regarding the rate of production, characteristics, and nutrient content of caked litter (cake). In this study, 18 consecutive flocks of broilers were reared on the same litter in experimental pens under simulated commercial conditions. The mass of litter and cake produced was measured after each flock. Samples of all litter materials were analyzed for pH, moisture, N, P, and K. Average litter and cake moisture content were 26.4 and 46.9%, respectively. Significant variation in litter and cake nutrient content was observed and can largely be attributed to ambient temperature differences. Average litter, cake, and total litter (litter plus cake) production rates were 153.3, 74.8, and 228.2 g of dry litter material per kg of live broiler weight (g/kg) per flock, respectively. Significant variation in litter production rates among flocks was also observed. Cumulative litter, cake, and total litter production rates after 18 flocks were 170.3, 78.7, and 249.0 g/kg, respectively. The data produced from this research can be used by broiler producers to estimate broiler litter and cake production and the nutrient content of these materials.

  4. The geomagnetic environment in which sea turtle eggs incubate affects subsequent magnetic navigation behaviour of hatchlings.

    PubMed

    Fuxjager, Matthew J; Davidoff, Kyla R; Mangiamele, Lisa A; Lohmann, Kenneth J

    2014-09-22

    Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings (Caretta caretta) use regional magnetic fields as open-ocean navigational markers during trans-oceanic migrations. Little is known, however, about the ontogeny of this behaviour. As a first step towards investigating whether the magnetic environment in which hatchlings develop affects subsequent magnetic orientation behaviour, eggs deposited by nesting female loggerheads were permitted to develop in situ either in the natural ambient magnetic field or in a magnetic field distorted by magnets placed around the nest. In orientation experiments, hatchlings that developed in the normal ambient field oriented approximately south when exposed to a field that exists near the northern coast of Portugal, a direction consistent with their migratory route in the northeastern Atlantic. By contrast, hatchlings that developed in a distorted magnetic field had orientation indistinguishable from random when tested in the same north Portugal field. No differences existed between the two groups in orientation assays involving responses to orbital movements of waves or sea-finding, neither of which involves magnetic field perception. These findings, to our knowledge, demonstrate for the first time that the magnetic environment present during early development can influence the magnetic orientation behaviour of a neonatal migratory animal.

  5. A review on factors affecting microcystins production by algae in aquatic environments.

    PubMed

    Dai, Ruihua; Wang, Pinfei; Jia, Peili; Zhang, Yi; Chu, Xincheng; Wang, Yifei

    2016-03-01

    Microcystins, a toxin produced by Microcystis aeruginosa have become a global environmental issue in recent years. As a consequence of eutrophication, microcystins have become widely disseminated in drinking water sources, seriously impairing drinking water quality. This review focuses on the relationship between microcystins synthesis and physical, chemical, and biological environmental factors that are significant in controlling their production. Light intensity and temperature are the more important physical factors, and in many cases, an optimum level for these two factors has been observed. Nitrogen and phosphorus are the key chemical factors causing frequent occurrence of harmful algal blooms and microcystins production. The absorption of nutrients and metabolic activities of algae are affected by different concentrations and forms of nitrogen and phosphorus, leading to variations in microcystins production Metal ions and emerging pollutants are other significant chemical factors, whose comprehensive impact is still being studied. Algae can also interact with biological agents like predators and competitors in aquatic environments, and such interactions are suggested to promote MCs production and release. This review further highlights areas that require further research in order to gain a better understanding of microcystins production. It provides a theoretical basis for the control of microcystins production and releasing into aquatic environments. PMID:26874538

  6. The geomagnetic environment in which sea turtle eggs incubate affects subsequent magnetic navigation behaviour of hatchlings

    PubMed Central

    Fuxjager, Matthew J.; Davidoff, Kyla R.; Mangiamele, Lisa A.; Lohmann, Kenneth J.

    2014-01-01

    Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings (Caretta caretta) use regional magnetic fields as open-ocean navigational markers during trans-oceanic migrations. Little is known, however, about the ontogeny of this behaviour. As a first step towards investigating whether the magnetic environment in which hatchlings develop affects subsequent magnetic orientation behaviour, eggs deposited by nesting female loggerheads were permitted to develop in situ either in the natural ambient magnetic field or in a magnetic field distorted by magnets placed around the nest. In orientation experiments, hatchlings that developed in the normal ambient field oriented approximately south when exposed to a field that exists near the northern coast of Portugal, a direction consistent with their migratory route in the northeastern Atlantic. By contrast, hatchlings that developed in a distorted magnetic field had orientation indistinguishable from random when tested in the same north Portugal field. No differences existed between the two groups in orientation assays involving responses to orbital movements of waves or sea-finding, neither of which involves magnetic field perception. These findings, to our knowledge, demonstrate for the first time that the magnetic environment present during early development can influence the magnetic orientation behaviour of a neonatal migratory animal. PMID:25100699

  7. Factors Affecting the Hydrogen Environment Assisted Cracking Resistance of an AL-Zn-Mg-(Cu) Alloy

    SciTech Connect

    Young, G A; Scully, J R

    2002-04-09

    Precipitation hardenable Al-Zn-Mg alloys are susceptible to hydrogen environment assisted cracking (HEAC) when exposed to aqueous environments. In Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys, overaged tempers are used to increase HEAC resistance at the expense of strength but overaging has little benefit in low copper alloys. However, the mechanism or mechanisms by which overaging imparts HEAC resistance is poorly understood. The present research investigated hydrogen uptake, diffusion, and crack growth rate in 90% relative humidity (RH) air for both a commercial copper bearing Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloy (AA 7050) and a low copper variant of this alloy in order to better understand the factors which affect HEAC resistance. Experimental methods used to evaluate hydrogen concentrations local to a surface and near a crack tip include nuclear reaction analysis (NRA), focused ion beam, secondary ion mass spectroscopy (FIB/SIMS) and thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS). Results show that overaging the copper bearing alloys both inhibits hydrogen ingress from oxide covered surfaces and decreases the apparent hydrogen diffusion rates in the metal.

  8. A review on factors affecting microcystins production by algae in aquatic environments.

    PubMed

    Dai, Ruihua; Wang, Pinfei; Jia, Peili; Zhang, Yi; Chu, Xincheng; Wang, Yifei

    2016-03-01

    Microcystins, a toxin produced by Microcystis aeruginosa have become a global environmental issue in recent years. As a consequence of eutrophication, microcystins have become widely disseminated in drinking water sources, seriously impairing drinking water quality. This review focuses on the relationship between microcystins synthesis and physical, chemical, and biological environmental factors that are significant in controlling their production. Light intensity and temperature are the more important physical factors, and in many cases, an optimum level for these two factors has been observed. Nitrogen and phosphorus are the key chemical factors causing frequent occurrence of harmful algal blooms and microcystins production. The absorption of nutrients and metabolic activities of algae are affected by different concentrations and forms of nitrogen and phosphorus, leading to variations in microcystins production Metal ions and emerging pollutants are other significant chemical factors, whose comprehensive impact is still being studied. Algae can also interact with biological agents like predators and competitors in aquatic environments, and such interactions are suggested to promote MCs production and release. This review further highlights areas that require further research in order to gain a better understanding of microcystins production. It provides a theoretical basis for the control of microcystins production and releasing into aquatic environments.

  9. Nurses' perceptions of how physical environment affects medication errors in acute care settings.

    PubMed

    Mahmood, Atiya; Chaudhury, Habib; Valente, Maria

    2011-11-01

    The work that nurses perform in hospital environments is physically and psychologically intense, with the potential for burnout and stress. This issue is compounded by crowded and poorly designed work spaces in nursing units that can contribute to medical mistakes, including medication errors. This article is based on a study that examined the nurses' perception of how the physical environment in hospitals affects medication errors. Literature suggests that reduction of staff stress can be achieved through physical environmental considerations, such as improved air quality, acoustics, and lighting. However, there is no empirical study specifically exploring the relationship between aspects of the physical environment and medication errors. In this study, a cross-sectional survey was conducted with nursing staff (N = 84) in four hospitals in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The survey included questions on nursing unit design, medication room configurations, perceived incidence of errors, and adverse events. Respondents noted several physical environmental factors that are potentially problematic in the nursing station area and can lead to medication, documentation, and other types of nursing errors. These factors include inadequate space in charting and documentation area, lengthy walking distances to patient rooms, insufficient patient surveillance opportunity/lack of visibility to all parts of the nursing unit, small size of the medication room, inappropriate organization of medical supplies, high noise levels in nursing unit, poor lighting, and lack of privacy in the nursing stations. As administrators in acute care facilities consider strategies for organizational and staff interventions to reduce medication errors, it is important to consider physical environmental factors to have a comprehensive understanding of the issue.

  10. Nest Bacterial Environment Affects Microbiome of Hoopoe Eggshells, but Not That of the Uropygial Secretion.

    PubMed

    Martínez-García, Ángela; Martín-Vivaldi, Manuel; Rodríguez-Ruano, Sonia M; Peralta-Sánchez, Juan Manuel; Valdivia, Eva; Soler, Juan J

    2016-01-01

    The study of associations between symbiotic bacterial communities of hosts and those of surrounding environments would help to understand how bacterial assemblages are acquired, and how they are transmitted from one to another location (i.e. symbiotic bacteria acquisition by hosts). Hoopoes (Upupa epops) smear their eggshells with uropygial secretion (oily secretion produced in their uropygial gland) that harbors antibiotic producing bacteria. Trying to elucidate a possible role of nest material and cloaca microbiota in determining the bacterial community of the uropygial gland and the eggshells of hoopoes, we characterized bacterial communities of nest material, cloaca, uropygial gland and eggshells by the ARISA fingerprinting. Further, by adding material with scarce bacteria and antimicrobial properties, we manipulated the bacterial community of nest material and thus tested experimentally its effects on the microbiomes of the uropygial secretion and of the eggshells. The experiment did not influence the microbiome of the uropygial secretion of females, but affected the community established on eggshells. This is the first experimental evidence indicating that nest material influences the bacterial community of the eggshells and, therefore, probability of embryo infection. Some of the bacterial strains detected in the secretion were also in the bacterial communities of the nest material and of cloaca, but their occurrence within nests was not associated, which suggests that bacterial environments of nest material and cloaca are not sources of symbiotic bacteria for the gland. These results do not support a role of nest environments of hoopoes as reservoirs of symbiotic bacteria. We discuss possible scenarios explaining bacterial acquisition by hoopoes that should be further explored. PMID:27409772

  11. Nest Bacterial Environment Affects Microbiome of Hoopoe Eggshells, but Not That of the Uropygial Secretion

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-García, Ángela; Martín-Vivaldi, Manuel; Rodríguez-Ruano, Sonia M.; Peralta-Sánchez, Juan Manuel; Valdivia, Eva; Soler, Juan J.

    2016-01-01

    The study of associations between symbiotic bacterial communities of hosts and those of surrounding environments would help to understand how bacterial assemblages are acquired, and how they are transmitted from one to another location (i.e. symbiotic bacteria acquisition by hosts). Hoopoes (Upupa epops) smear their eggshells with uropygial secretion (oily secretion produced in their uropygial gland) that harbors antibiotic producing bacteria. Trying to elucidate a possible role of nest material and cloaca microbiota in determining the bacterial community of the uropygial gland and the eggshells of hoopoes, we characterized bacterial communities of nest material, cloaca, uropygial gland and eggshells by the ARISA fingerprinting. Further, by adding material with scarce bacteria and antimicrobial properties, we manipulated the bacterial community of nest material and thus tested experimentally its effects on the microbiomes of the uropygial secretion and of the eggshells. The experiment did not influence the microbiome of the uropygial secretion of females, but affected the community established on eggshells. This is the first experimental evidence indicating that nest material influences the bacterial community of the eggshells and, therefore, probability of embryo infection. Some of the bacterial strains detected in the secretion were also in the bacterial communities of the nest material and of cloaca, but their occurrence within nests was not associated, which suggests that bacterial environments of nest material and cloaca are not sources of symbiotic bacteria for the gland. These results do not support a role of nest environments of hoopoes as reservoirs of symbiotic bacteria. We discuss possible scenarios explaining bacterial acquisition by hoopoes that should be further explored. PMID:27409772

  12. Electrostatics in the environment: How they may affect health and productivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jamieson, K. S.; Simon, H. M. Ap; Bell, J. N. B.

    2008-12-01

    Lifestyles and the built environment have changed considerably during the past century and have greatly influenced the electric field, small air ion and charged submicron aerosol regimes to which individuals are often exposed. In particular the use of electrical items, synthetic materials/finishes and low humidity levels that can lead to the generation of high electrostatic charges, along with inadequate grounding protocols and building techniques which create 'Faraday cage'-like conditions, have all greatly altered the electromagnetic nature of the microclimates many people occupy for prolonged periods of time. It is suggested that the type, polarity and strengths of electric fields individuals are exposed to may affect their likelihood of succumbing to ill-health through influencing biological functioning, oxygen-uptake and retention rates of inhaled submicron contaminants to a far greater degree than previously realised. These factors can also influence the degree of local surface contamination and adhesion that occurs. It is further suggested that both health and work productivity can be affected by such factors, and that improved 'best practice' electro-hygiene/productivity protocols should be adopted wherever practical.

  13. Crack growth rates of irradiated austenitic stainless steel weld heat affected zone in BWR environments.

    SciTech Connect

    Chopra, O. K.; Alexandreanu, B.; Gruber, E. E.; Daum, R. S.; Shack, W. J.; Energy Technology

    2006-01-31

    Austenitic stainless steels (SSs) are used extensively as structural alloys in the internal components of reactor pressure vessels because of their superior fracture toughness. However, exposure to high levels of neutron irradiation for extended periods can exacerbate the corrosion fatigue and stress corrosion cracking (SCC) behavior of these steels by affecting the material microchemistry, material microstructure, and water chemistry. Experimental data are presented on crack growth rates of the heat affected zone (HAZ) in Types 304L and 304 SS weld specimens before and after they were irradiated to a fluence of 5.0 x 10{sup 20} n/cm{sup 2} (E > 1 MeV) ({approx} 0.75 dpa) at {approx}288 C. Crack growth tests were conducted under cycling loading and long hold time trapezoidal loading in simulated boiling water reactor environments on Type 304L SS HAZ of the H5 weld from the Grand Gulf reactor core shroud and on Type 304 SS HAZ of a laboratory-prepared weld. The effects of material composition, irradiation, and water chemistry on growth rates are discussed.

  14. Effects of snow condition on microbial respiration of Scots pine needle litter in a boreal forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohnuki, Masataka; Domisch, Timo; Dannoura, Masako; Ataka, Mioko; Finér, Leena; Repo, Tapani; Osawa, Akira

    2016-04-01

    Climate warming scenarios predict decreasing snow depths and increasing winter precipitation in boreal forests ("rain on snow"). I These conditions may affect the decomposition and the microbial respiration of leaf litter, contributing a major part of tree litters, To understand how different snow conditions during winter would affect the microbial respiration of Scots pine needle litter in a boreal forest, we conducted a laboratory experiment using needle litter of two age classes (newly dropped and older litter). The experiment simulated four different winter treatments, followed by spring and early summer : (1) ambient snow cover (SNOW), (2) Compressed snow and ice encasement (ICE), (3) frozen flood (FLOOD) and (4) no snow cover at all (NO SNOW). The experiment was carried out in four walk-in dasotrons (n=3) with soil temperatures of -2° C and air temperatures of 2° C during winter and increased to 15° C and 20° C during spring, respectively . Needle litter samples were collected three times (prior to the winter, just after winter and at the end of the experiment). We evaluated the microbial respiration from the litter at several temperatures (-5° C, 0° C, 5° C and 12° C), the SIR index (an index estimating the microbial biomass), and the C/N ratio .And we calculated Q10 value (index of microbial respiration activity) using microbial respiration data. We found significant differences in microbial respiration between the newly dropped and older litter at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. However, there were no significant differences in Q10 value and the SIR (index of microbial biomass) between the different winter treatments. All samples showed decrease of microbial activity with time. Finally, we conclude that the winter snow conditions with mild air temperatures as used in our experiment, are not detrimentally affecting the Scots pine needle litter decomposition and its respiration.

  15. Exploring Undergraduate Students' Mental Models of the Environment: Are They Related to Environmental Affect and Behavior?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Liu, Shu-Chiu; Lin, Huann-shyang

    2015-01-01

    A draw-and-explain task and questionnaire were used to explore Taiwanese undergraduate students' mental models of the environment and whether and how they relate to their environmental affect and behavioral commitment. We found that students generally held incomplete mental models of the environment, focusing on objects rather than on…

  16. Fecal bacteria and sex hormones in soil and runoff from cropped watersheds amended with poultry litter.

    PubMed

    Jenkins, Michael B; Endale, Dinku M; Schomberg, Harry H; Sharpe, Ronald R

    2006-04-01

    The application of poultry litter to agricultural fields can provide plant nutrients for crops and forage production, but fecal bacteria and the sex hormones estradiol and testosterone are components of litter that can be detrimental to the environment. Our objective was to determine if applications of poultry litter to small watersheds would contribute to the load of fecal bacteria and sex hormones to soil and runoff. We, therefore, investigated the fate and transport of fecal bacteria, estradiol and testosterone from surface applied poultry litter to four small watersheds. Poultry litter was applied to meet the nitrogen requirements of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) in 2000 and grain sorghum [Sorgham bicolor (L.) Moench] in 2001. Neither Salmonella nor Campylobacter were detected in the litter but the fecal indicator bacteria were. The average load of total coliforms,Escherichia coli, and fecal enterococci applied with the litter was 12.2, 11.9, and 12.7 log10 cells ha(−1), respectively. The average load of estradiol and testosterone was 3.1 and 0.09 mg ha(-1), respectively.Runoff events first occurred seven months after the first litter application in 2000, and three weeks after the second application in 2001.Only for the 25 July 2001 runoff event three weeks after the second litter application, were the concentrations of total coliforms, E. coli,and fecal enterococci in runoff greater than background concentrations which were on average 5.2, 1.1, and 2.9 log10 MPN 100 ml(−1),respectively [corrected]. Average background levels of total coliforms, fecal enterococci,and E. coli in surface soil were 8.2, 7.9, and 3.5 log (10) cells kg(−1) soil. At the rate of litter application the concentrations of estradiol and testosterone in the litter did not appear to impact the background levels in the soil and runoff. Because concentrations of sex hormones in litter from other broiler operations are known to be greater than in the litter we applied, further

  17. Influence of Poultry Litter Applications on Nematode Communities in Cotton Agroecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Koenning, S. R.; Barker, K. R.

    2004-01-01

    The effects of the application of poultry litter at 0.0, 6.7, 13.4, and 20.1 tons/ha on population changes during the growing season on nematode communities were evaluated in two cotton production fields in North Carolina. Numbers of bactivorous nematodes increased at midseason in response to the rate at which litter was applied but decreased with increasing litter application rates at cotton harvest. Numbers of fungivores at cotton harvest were related positively to the rate of litter applied, and this affected a positive increase in the fungivore-to-bacterivore ratio at this sampling date. The rate at which poultry litter was applied resulted in an increase in the bacterivore to plant-parasite ratio, and this corresponded with increased cotton lint yield. Trophic diversity was increased by litter application rate at cotton harvest at one location but not at another. The plant-parasite maturity index was greater consistently at one site than at a second site where the Hoplolaimus columbus population density was above the damage threshold for cotton. The population density of H. columbus was suppressed with increasing rates of poultry litter application, but other plant-parasitic nematodes were affected marginally. PMID:19262834

  18. Home advantage? Decomposition across the freshwater-estuarine transition zone varies with litter origin and local salinity.

    PubMed

    Franzitta, Giulio; Hanley, Mick E; Airoldi, Laura; Baggini, Cecilia; Bilton, David T; Rundle, Simon D; Thompson, Richard C

    2015-09-01

    Expected increases in the frequency and intensity of storm surges and river flooding may greatly affect the relative salinity of estuarine environments over the coming decades. In this experiment we used detritus from three contrasting environments (marine Fucus vesiculosus; estuarine Spartina anglica; terrestrial Quercus robur) to test the prediction that the decomposition of the different types of litter would be highest in the environment with which they are associated. Patterns of decomposition broadly fitted our prediction: Quercus detritus decomposed more rapidly in freshwater compared with saline conditions while Fucus showed the opposite trend; Spartina showed an intermediate response. Variation in macro-invertebrate assemblages was detected along the salinity gradient but with different patterns between estuaries, suggesting that breakdown rates may be linked in part to local invertebrate assemblages. Nonetheless, our results suggest that perturbation of salinity gradients through climate change could affect the process of litter decomposition and thus alter nutrient cycling in estuarine transition zones. Understanding the vulnerability of estuaries to changes in local abiotic conditions is important given the need to better integrate coastal proceses into a wider management framework at a time when coastlines are increasingly threatened by human activities. PMID:26247807

  19. Plant structure predicts leaf litter capture in the tropical montane bromeliad Tillandsia turneri.

    PubMed

    Ospina-Bautista, F; Estévez Varón, J V

    2016-05-01

    Leaves intercepted by bromeliads become an important energy and matter resource for invertebrate communities, bacteria, fungi, and the plant itself. The relationship between bromeliad structure, defined as its size and complexity, and accumulated leaf litter was studied in 55 bromeliads of Tillandsia turneri through multiple regression and the Akaike information criterion. Leaf litter accumulation in bromeliads was best explained by size and complexity variables such as plant cover, sheath length, and leaf number. In conclusion, plant structure determines the amount of litter that enters bromeliads, and changes in its structure could affect important processes within ecosystem functioning or species richness. PMID:27143067

  20. SOA Formation Potential of Emissions from Soil and Leaf Litter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faiola, C. L.; Vanderschelden, G. S.; Wen, M.; Cobos, D. R.; Jobson, B. T.; VanReken, T. M.

    2013-12-01

    dominated by soil/litter emissions--soil/litter monoterpene emissions in spring could contribute up to 63% of total forest emissions. If this is the case, a significant portion of total forest monoterpene emission rates would be controlled by factors that affect soil/litter emissions rather than factors that affect plant emissions.

  1. Sequential monitoring of beach litter using webcams.

    PubMed

    Kako, Shin'ichiro; Isobe, Atsuhiko; Magome, Shinya

    2010-05-01

    This study attempts to establish a system for the sequential monitoring of beach litter using webcams placed at the Ookushi beach, Goto Islands, Japan, to establish the temporal variability in the quantities of beach litter every 90 min over a one and a half year period. The time series of the quantities of beach litter, computed by counting pixels with a greater lightness than a threshold value in photographs, shows that litter does not increase monotonically on the beach, but fluctuates mainly on a monthly time scale or less. To investigate what factors influence this variability, the time derivative of the quantity of beach litter is compared with satellite-derived wind speeds. It is found that the beach litter quantities vary largely with winds, but there may be other influencing factors. PMID:20392465

  2. The Importance of Social Learning Environment Factors for Affective Well-Being among Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Idsoe, Ella Maria Cosmovici

    2016-01-01

    We investigated whether perceived inclusion and exclusion with peers at school, as well as self-reported bullying exposure, affected positive and negative affect among 1161 students from grades five through seven. Positive affect was significantly, but only weakly, affected by perceived exclusion and inclusion. Negative affect was not related to…

  3. Enhancement of broiler litter to improve the fertilizer quality of litter

    SciTech Connect

    Ransom, J.M.; Strickland, R.C.

    1992-12-01

    This document presents efforts to utilize poultry litter for feed, fertilizer, and soil amendments. Historical and programmatic efforts by TVA are discussed. Current methods of drying and pelleting the litter, along with more direct methods of composting are reported.

  4. Enhancement of broiler litter to improve the fertilizer quality of litter

    SciTech Connect

    Ransom, J.M.; Strickland, R.C.

    1992-01-01

    This document presents efforts to utilize poultry litter for feed, fertilizer, and soil amendments. Historical and programmatic efforts by TVA are discussed. Current methods of drying and pelleting the litter, along with more direct methods of composting are reported.

  5. Surface coating affects behavior of metallic nanoparticles in a biological environment.

    PubMed

    Jurašin, Darija Domazet; Ćurlin, Marija; Capjak, Ivona; Crnković, Tea; Lovrić, Marija; Babič, Michal; Horák, Daniel; Vinković Vrček, Ivana; Gajović, Srećko

    2016-01-01

    Silver (AgNPs) and maghemite, i.e., superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) are promising candidates for new medical applications, which implies the need for strict information regarding their physicochemical characteristics and behavior in a biological environment. The currently developed AgNPs and SPIONs encompass a myriad of sizes and surface coatings, which affect NPs properties and may improve their biocompatibility. This study is aimed to evaluate the effects of surface coating on colloidal stability and behavior of AgNPs and SPIONs in modelled biological environments using dynamic and electrophoretic light scattering techniques, as well as transmission electron microscopy to visualize the behavior of the NP. Three dispersion media were investigated: ultrapure water (UW), biological cell culture medium without addition of protein (BM), and BM supplemented with common serum protein (BMP). The obtained results showed that different coating agents on AgNPs and SPIONs produced different stabilities in the same biological media. The combination of negative charge and high adsorption strength of coating agents proved to be important for achieving good stability of metallic NPs in electrolyte-rich fluids. Most importantly, the presence of proteins provided colloidal stabilization to metallic NPs in biological fluids regardless of their chemical composition, surface structure and surface charge. In addition, an assessment of AgNP and SPION behavior in real biological fluids, rat whole blood (WhBl) and blood plasma (BlPl), revealed that the composition of a biological medium is crucial for the colloidal stability and type of metallic NP transformation. Our results highlight the importance of physicochemical characterization and stability evaluation of metallic NPs in a variety of biological systems including as many NP properties as possible.

  6. Surface coating affects behavior of metallic nanoparticles in a biological environment

    PubMed Central

    Jurašin, Darija Domazet; Ćurlin, Marija; Capjak, Ivona; Crnković, Tea; Lovrić, Marija; Babič, Michal; Horák, Daniel; Gajović, Srećko

    2016-01-01

    Summary Silver (AgNPs) and maghemite, i.e., superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) are promising candidates for new medical applications, which implies the need for strict information regarding their physicochemical characteristics and behavior in a biological environment. The currently developed AgNPs and SPIONs encompass a myriad of sizes and surface coatings, which affect NPs properties and may improve their biocompatibility. This study is aimed to evaluate the effects of surface coating on colloidal stability and behavior of AgNPs and SPIONs in modelled biological environments using dynamic and electrophoretic light scattering techniques, as well as transmission electron microscopy to visualize the behavior of the NP. Three dispersion media were investigated: ultrapure water (UW), biological cell culture medium without addition of protein (BM), and BM supplemented with common serum protein (BMP). The obtained results showed that different coating agents on AgNPs and SPIONs produced different stabilities in the same biological media. The combination of negative charge and high adsorption strength of coating agents proved to be important for achieving good stability of metallic NPs in electrolyte-rich fluids. Most importantly, the presence of proteins provided colloidal stabilization to metallic NPs in biological fluids regardless of their chemical composition, surface structure and surface charge. In addition, an assessment of AgNP and SPION behavior in real biological fluids, rat whole blood (WhBl) and blood plasma (BlPl), revealed that the composition of a biological medium is crucial for the colloidal stability and type of metallic NP transformation. Our results highlight the importance of physicochemical characterization and stability evaluation of metallic NPs in a variety of biological systems including as many NP properties as possible. PMID:26977382

  7. Allelopathy of Bracken Fern (Pteridium arachnoideum): New Evidence from Green Fronds, Litter, and Soil.

    PubMed

    de Jesus Jatoba, Luciana; Varela, Rosa Maria; Molinillo, José Maria Gonzalez; Ud Din, Zia; Juliano Gualtieri, Sonia Cristina; Rodrigues-Filho, Edson; Macías, Francisco Antonio

    2016-01-01

    The neotropical bracken fern Pteridium arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Maxon. (Dennstaedtiaceae) is described as an aggressive pioneer plant species. It invades abandoned or newly burned areas and represents a management challenge at these invaded sites. Native to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado (Tropical Savanna) Brazilian biomes, P. arachnoideum has nevertheless become very problematic in these conservation hotspots. Despite some reports suggesting a possible role of allelopathy in this plant's dominance, until now there has been little evidence of isolated and individually identified compounds with phytotoxic activities present in its tissues or in the surrounding environment. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the allelopathic potential of P. arachnoideum by isolating and identifying any secondary metabolites with phytotoxic activity in its tissues, litter, and soil. Bioguided phytochemical investigation led to the isolation and identification of the proanthocyanidin selligueain A as the major secondary compound in the green fronds and litter of this fern. It is produced by P. arachnoideum in its green fronds, remains unaltered during the senescence process, and is the major secondary compound present in litter. Selligueain A showed phytotoxic activity against the selected target species sesame (Sesamum indicum) early development. In particular, the compound inhibited root and stem growth, and root metaxylem cell size but did not affect chlorophyll content. This compound can be considered as an allelochemical because it is present in the soil under P. arachnoideum patches as one of the major compounds in the soil solution. This is the first report of the presence of selligueain A in any member of the Dennstaedtiaceae family and the first time an isolated and identified allelochemical produced by members of the Pteridium species complex has been described. This evidence of selligueain A as a putative allelochemical of P. arachnoideum reinforces the role of

  8. Allelopathy of Bracken Fern (Pteridium arachnoideum): New Evidence from Green Fronds, Litter, and Soil

    PubMed Central

    Juliano Gualtieri, Sonia Cristina; Rodrigues-Filho, Edson; Macías, Francisco Antonio

    2016-01-01

    The neotropical bracken fern Pteridium arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Maxon. (Dennstaedtiaceae) is described as an aggressive pioneer plant species. It invades abandoned or newly burned areas and represents a management challenge at these invaded sites. Native to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado (Tropical Savanna) Brazilian biomes, P. arachnoideum has nevertheless become very problematic in these conservation hotspots. Despite some reports suggesting a possible role of allelopathy in this plant’s dominance, until now there has been little evidence of isolated and individually identified compounds with phytotoxic activities present in its tissues or in the surrounding environment. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the allelopathic potential of P. arachnoideum by isolating and identifying any secondary metabolites with phytotoxic activity in its tissues, litter, and soil. Bioguided phytochemical investigation led to the isolation and identification of the proanthocyanidin selligueain A as the major secondary compound in the green fronds and litter of this fern. It is produced by P. arachnoideum in its green fronds, remains unaltered during the senescence process, and is the major secondary compound present in litter. Selligueain A showed phytotoxic activity against the selected target species sesame (Sesamum indicum) early development. In particular, the compound inhibited root and stem growth, and root metaxylem cell size but did not affect chlorophyll content. This compound can be considered as an allelochemical because it is present in the soil under P. arachnoideum patches as one of the major compounds in the soil solution. This is the first report of the presence of selligueain A in any member of the Dennstaedtiaceae family and the first time an isolated and identified allelochemical produced by members of the Pteridium species complex has been described. This evidence of selligueain A as a putative allelochemical of P. arachnoideum reinforces the role of

  9. Allelopathy of Bracken Fern (Pteridium arachnoideum): New Evidence from Green Fronds, Litter, and Soil.

    PubMed

    de Jesus Jatoba, Luciana; Varela, Rosa Maria; Molinillo, José Maria Gonzalez; Ud Din, Zia; Juliano Gualtieri, Sonia Cristina; Rodrigues-Filho, Edson; Macías, Francisco Antonio

    2016-01-01

    The neotropical bracken fern Pteridium arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Maxon. (Dennstaedtiaceae) is described as an aggressive pioneer plant species. It invades abandoned or newly burned areas and represents a management challenge at these invaded sites. Native to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado (Tropical Savanna) Brazilian biomes, P. arachnoideum has nevertheless become very problematic in these conservation hotspots. Despite some reports suggesting a possible role of allelopathy in this plant's dominance, until now there has been little evidence of isolated and individually identified compounds with phytotoxic activities present in its tissues or in the surrounding environment. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the allelopathic potential of P. arachnoideum by isolating and identifying any secondary metabolites with phytotoxic activity in its tissues, litter, and soil. Bioguided phytochemical investigation led to the isolation and identification of the proanthocyanidin selligueain A as the major secondary compound in the green fronds and litter of this fern. It is produced by P. arachnoideum in its green fronds, remains unaltered during the senescence process, and is the major secondary compound present in litter. Selligueain A showed phytotoxic activity against the selected target species sesame (Sesamum indicum) early development. In particular, the compound inhibited root and stem growth, and root metaxylem cell size but did not affect chlorophyll content. This compound can be considered as an allelochemical because it is present in the soil under P. arachnoideum patches as one of the major compounds in the soil solution. This is the first report of the presence of selligueain A in any member of the Dennstaedtiaceae family and the first time an isolated and identified allelochemical produced by members of the Pteridium species complex has been described. This evidence of selligueain A as a putative allelochemical of P. arachnoideum reinforces the role of

  10. Biochemical Composition Suggests Different Roles of Leaf Litter and Fine Roots in Soil Carbon Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xia, M.; Pregitzer, K. S.; Talhelm, A. F.

    2012-12-01

    stimulate the decay of lignin by providing required energy. Therefore, fine roots of Acer saccharum have a relatively recalcitrant nature based on their distinct biochemical composition, suggesting fine roots may be the major driver of soil carbon formation in the ecosystems we studied. Litter type and N addition had significant interactions on lignin, holocellulose, and NSC (P< 0.05), indicating these traits of different litter types respond differently to N addition. In leaf litter, the concentrations of lignin, NSC, and bound CT were affected by N addition (P< 0.05). By contrast, N addition only reduced the soluble protein concentration in fine roots (P< 0.05). Hence, substrate quality of leaf litter and fine roots responds differently to the simulated N deposition, and may eventually lead to different responses in decomposition pattern. This is one of few studies comparing the detailed biochemical profile of leaf litter and fine roots in a dominant tree species. Different biochemical traits of fine roots and leaf litter may reflect the different specializations for their physiological functions. This work highlights the importance of fine root in the soil carbon formation due to its recalcitrant nature, and emphasizes the necessity of differentiating the responses of leaf litter and fine root decompositions to environmental changes when modeling biogeochemical cycles.

  11. Growth and social behavior in a cichlid fish are affected by social rearing environment and kinship

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hesse, Saskia; Thünken, Timo

    2014-04-01

    Living in groups is a widespread phenomenon in many animal taxa. The reduction of predation risk is thought to be an important cause for the formation of groups. Consequently, grouping behavior is particularly pronounced during vulnerable life stages, i.e., as juveniles. However, group living does not only provide benefits but also imposes costs on group members, e.g., increased competition for food. Thus, benefits of grouping behavior might not be evident when predation risk is absent. The adaptive significance of living and also developing in a group independent from predation risk has received relatively little attention although this might have important implications on the evolution and maintenance of group living. The first aim of the present study was to examine whether the social environment affects juvenile performance in the cichlid fish Pelvicachromis taeniatus and, secondly, whether kinship affects social behavior. Kin selection theory predicts benefits from grouping with kin. Here, we demonstrate that juveniles reared in a group grow on average faster compared to juveniles reared in isolation under standardized laboratory conditions without predation risk. Furthermore, we found significant differences in social behavior between juveniles reared in a group and reared in isolation. Fish reared in isolation were significantly more aggressive and less willing to shoal than group-reared fish. As expected, genetic relatedness influenced social behavior in group-reared fish as well: dyads of juveniles consisting of kin showed increased group cohesiveness compared to non-kin dyads. We discuss the potential benefits of group living in general and living with kin in particular.

  12. Factors Affecting the Hydrogen Environment Assisted Cracking Resistance of an Al-Zn-Mg-(Cu) Alloy

    SciTech Connect

    G.A. Young; J.R. Scully

    2001-09-12

    It is well established that Al-Zn-Mg-(Cu) aluminum alloys are susceptible to hydrogen environment assisted cracking (HEAC) when exposed to aqueous environments. In Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys, overaged tempers are commonly used to increase HEAC resistance at the expense of strength. Overaging has little benefit in low copper alloys. However, the mechanism or mechanisms by which overaging imparts HEAC resistance is poorly understood. The present research investigated hydrogen uptake, diffusion, and crack growth rate in 90% relative humidity (RH) air for both a commercial copper bearing Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloy (AA 7050) and a low copper variant of this alloy in order to better understand the factors which affect HEAC resistance. Experimental methods used to evaluate hydrogen concentrations local to a surface and near a crack tip include nuclear reaction analysis (NRA), focused ion beam, secondary ion mass spectroscopy (FIB/SIMS) and thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS). When freshly bared coupons of AA 7050 are exposed to 90 C, 90% RH air, hydrogen ingress follows inverse-logarithmic-type kinetics and is equivalent for underaged (HEAC susceptible) and overaged (HEAC resistant) tempers. However, when the native oxide is allowed to form (24 hrs in 25 C, 40% RH lab air) prior to exposure to 90 C, 90% RH air, underaged alloy shows significantly greater hydrogen ingress than the overaged alloy. Humid air is a very aggressive environment producing local ({approx}1{micro}m) hydrogen concentrations in excess of 10,000 wt. ppm at 90 C. In the copper bearing alloy, overaging also effects the apparent diffusivity of hydrogen. As AA 7050 is aged from underaged {yields} peak aged {yields} overaged, the activation energy for hydrogen diffusion increases and the apparent diffusivity for hydrogen decreases, In the low copper alloy, overaging has little effect on hydrogen diffusion. Comparison of the apparent activation energies for hydrogen diffusion and for K independent (stage II) crack growth

  13. Reduced short term adaptation to robot generated dynamic environment in children affected by Cerebral Palsy

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background It is known that healthy adults can quickly adapt to a novel dynamic environment, generated by a robotic manipulandum as a structured disturbing force field. We suggest that it may be of clinical interest to evaluate to which extent this kind of motor learning capability is impaired in children affected by cerebal palsy. Methods We adapted the protocol already used with adults, which employs a velocity dependant viscous field, and compared the performance of a group of subjects affected by Cerebral Palsy (CP group, 7 subjects) with a Control group of unimpaired age-matched children. The protocol included a familiarization phase (FA), during which no force was applied, a force field adaptation phase (CF), and a wash-out phase (WO) in which the field was removed. During the CF phase the field was shut down in a number of randomly selected "catch" trials, which were used in order to evaluate the "learning index" for each single subject and the two groups. Lateral deviation, speed and acceleration peaks and average speed were evaluated for each trajectory; a directional analysis was performed in order to inspect the role of the limb's inertial anisotropy in the different experimental phases. Results During the FA phase the movements of the CP subjects were more curved, displaying greater and variable directional error; over the course of the CF phase both groups showed a decreasing trend in the lateral error and an after-effect at the beginning of the wash-out, but the CP group had a non significant adaptation rate and a lower learning index, suggesting that CP subjects have reduced ability to learn to compensate external force. Moreover, a directional analysis of trajectories confirms that the control group is able to better predict the force field by tuning the kinematic features of the movements along different directions in order to account for the inertial anisotropy of arm. Conclusions Spatial abnormalities in children affected by cerebral palsy may be

  14. McDonald's Litter Hunt: A Community Litter Control System for Youth.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McNees, M. Patrick; And Others

    1979-01-01

    Describes a community litter control program. Special adhesive stickers were randomly placed on existing litter throughout a community and youth were rewarded with special prizes for participating in the program. Litter was reduced 32 percent across the city. (Author/MA)

  15. Aging and the environment affect gamete and embryo potential: can we intervene?

    PubMed

    Meldrum, David R; Casper, Robert F; Diez-Juan, Antonio; Simon, Carlos; Domar, Alice D; Frydman, Rene

    2016-03-01

    Optimal maturation of the oocyte depends on its environment and determines embryo competence, because the embryonic genome is not active until the cleavage stage and new mitochondria are not produced until blastulation. Adverse environmental factors include aging, andropause, oxidative stress, obesity, smoking, alcohol, and psychologic stress, whereas androgen supplementation, a prudent diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and psychologic interventions have beneficial effects. Mitochondrial function and energy production deteriorate with age, adversely affecting ovarian reserve, chromosome segregation, and embryo competence. In aging mice, the mitochondrial cofactor coenzyme Q10 reverses most of these changes. Early human experience has been encouraging, although only a small study using a shorter duration of intervention compared with the murine model has been carried out. Mitochondrial metabolic stress can result in an abnormal compensatory increase in mitochondrial DNA, which can be assessed in biopsied blastomeres of trophectoderm as a predictive biomarker of implantation failure. Psychologic stress may reduce oocyte competence by shifting blood flow away from the ovary as part of the classic "fight or flight" physiologic response, and methods to reduce stress or the body's reaction to stress improve pregnancy success. Enhancing oocyte competence is a key intervention that promises to reduce the number of euploid embryos failing to produce viable deliveries.

  16. The social environment affects mate guarding behavior in Japanese beetles, Popillia japonica

    PubMed Central

    Saeki, Yoriko; Kruse, Kipp C.; Switzer, Paul V.

    2005-01-01

    The effect of the social environment on post-copulatory mate guarding duration in Japanese beetles, (Popillia japonica Newman), was examined in a laboratory experiment. The mate guarding durations of beetles in different sex ratios and densities were observed for 10 hours. Guarding duration was longer when females were larger, suggesting the presence of ‘cryptic’ male mate choice. Densities, but not sex ratio, affected the duration of guarding bouts, with males guarding for longer at higher densities. This result implies that males increase their guarding duration under conditions in which their female may be likely to be encountered by other males. The lack of a sex ratio effect on the duration of guarding bouts is consistent with other studies on this species that indicate males have difficulty distinguishing females from males. Consequently, because the sex ratio on food plants is typically male-biased, a paired male may react just to density, treating surrounding individuals as if they were mostly males. The total amount of time males spent guarding was lower at lower densities and at male-biased sex ratios; this suggests that after ceasing to guard one female, males were less able to find a subsequent mate under these conditions. PMID:16341250

  17. Aging and the environment affect gamete and embryo potential: can we intervene?

    PubMed

    Meldrum, David R; Casper, Robert F; Diez-Juan, Antonio; Simon, Carlos; Domar, Alice D; Frydman, Rene

    2016-03-01

    Optimal maturation of the oocyte depends on its environment and determines embryo competence, because the embryonic genome is not active until the cleavage stage and new mitochondria are not produced until blastulation. Adverse environmental factors include aging, andropause, oxidative stress, obesity, smoking, alcohol, and psychologic stress, whereas androgen supplementation, a prudent diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and psychologic interventions have beneficial effects. Mitochondrial function and energy production deteriorate with age, adversely affecting ovarian reserve, chromosome segregation, and embryo competence. In aging mice, the mitochondrial cofactor coenzyme Q10 reverses most of these changes. Early human experience has been encouraging, although only a small study using a shorter duration of intervention compared with the murine model has been carried out. Mitochondrial metabolic stress can result in an abnormal compensatory increase in mitochondrial DNA, which can be assessed in biopsied blastomeres of trophectoderm as a predictive biomarker of implantation failure. Psychologic stress may reduce oocyte competence by shifting blood flow away from the ovary as part of the classic "fight or flight" physiologic response, and methods to reduce stress or the body's reaction to stress improve pregnancy success. Enhancing oocyte competence is a key intervention that promises to reduce the number of euploid embryos failing to produce viable deliveries. PMID:26812244

  18. Effects of natural and anthropogenic processes in the distribution of marine litter in the deep Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramirez-Llodra, Eva; De Mol, Ben; Company, Joan B.; Coll, Marta; Sardà, Francesc

    2013-11-01

    The distribution, type and quantity of marine litter accumulated on the bathyal and abyssal Mediterranean seafloor has been studied in the framework of the Spanish national projects PROMETEO and DOS MARES and the ESF-EuroDEEP project BIOFUN. Litter was collected with an otter trawl and Agassiz trawl while sampling for megafauna on the Blanes canyon and adjacent slope (Catalan margin, north-western Mediterranean) between 900 and 2700 m depth, and on the western, central and eastern Mediterranean basins at 1200, 2000 and 3000 m depth. All litter was sorted into 8 categories (hard plastic, soft plastic, glass, metal, clinker, fabric, longlines and fishing nets) and weighed. The distribution of litter was analysed in relation to depth, geographic area and natural (bathymetry, currents and rivers) and anthropogenic (population density and shipping routes) processes. The most abundant litter types were plastic, glass, metal and clinker. Lost or discarded fishing gear was also commonly found. On the Catalan margin, although the data indicated an accumulation of litter with increasing depth, mean weight was not significantly different between depths or between the open slope and the canyon. We propose that litter accumulated in the canyon, with high proportions of plastics, has predominantly a coastal origin, while litter collected on the open slope, dominated by heavy litter, is mostly ship-originated, especially at sites under major shipping routes. Along the trans-Mediterranean transect, although a higher amount of litter seemed to be found on the Western Mediterranean, differences of mean weight were not significant between the 3 geographic areas and the 3 depths. Here, the shallower sites, also closer to the coast, had a higher proportion of plastics than the deeper sites, which had a higher proportion of heavy litter and were often affected by shipping routes. The weight of litter was also compared to biomass of megafauna from the same samples. On the Blanes slope

  19. No Effect of Ambient Odor on the Affective Appraisal of a Desktop Virtual Environment with Signs of Disorder

    PubMed Central

    Toet, Alexander; van Schaik, Martin; Theunissen, Nicolet C. M.

    2013-01-01

    Background Desktop virtual environments (VEs) are increasingly deployed to study the effects of environmental qualities and interventions on human behavior and safety related concerns in built environments. For these applications it is essential that users appraise the affective qualities of the VE similar to those of its real world counterpart. Previous studies have shown that factors like simulated lighting, sound and dynamic elements all contribute to the affective appraisal of a desktop VE. Since ambient odor is known to affect the affective appraisal of real environments, and has been shown to increase the sense of presence in immersive VEs, it may also be an effective tool to tune the affective appraisal of desktop VEs. This study investigated if exposure to ambient odor can modulate the affective appraisal of a desktop VE with signs of public disorder. Method Participants explored a desktop VE representing a suburban neighborhood with signs of public disorder (neglect, vandalism and crime), while being exposed to either room air or subliminal levels of unpleasant (tar) or pleasant (cut grass) ambient odor. Whenever they encountered signs of disorder they reported their safety related concerns and associated affective feelings. Results Signs of crime in the desktop VE were associated with negative affective feelings and concerns for personal safety and personal property. However, there was no significant difference between reported safety related concerns and affective connotations in the control (no-odor) and in each of the two ambient odor conditions. Conclusion Ambient odor did not affect safety related concerns and affective connotations associated with signs of disorder in the desktop VE. Thus, semantic congruency between ambient odor and a desktop VE may not be sufficient to influence its affective appraisal, and a more realistic simulation in which simulated objects appear to emit scents may be required to achieve this goal. PMID:24250810

  20. Strategies to Affect Student Awareness of Natural and Social Environments in Outdoor Education: A Resource Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peters, Richard O.

    Several instructional strategies have been developed and employed to affect student awareness of natural and social environmental settings. Three instructional strategy orientations have been structured for affecting student conceptual learning and values acquisition-clarification: affective, cognitive, and affective-cognitive. Outdoor education…

  1. Environmental fate of roxarsone in poultry litter. I. Degradation of roxarsone during composting

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garbarino, J.R.; Bednar, A.J.; Rutherford, D.W.; Beyer, R.S.; Wershaw, R. L.

    2003-01-01

    Roxarsone, 3-nitro-4-hydroxyphenylarsonic acid, is an organoarsenic compound that is used extensively in the feed of broiler poultryto control coccidial intestinal parasites, improve feed efficiency, and promote rapid growth. Nearly all the roxarsone in the feed is excreted unchanged in the manure. Poultry litter composed of the manure and bedding material has a high nutrient content and is used routinely as a fertilizer on cropland and pasture. Investigations were conducted to determine the fate of poultrylitter roxarsone in the environment. Experiments indicated that roxarsone was stable in fresh dried litter; the primary arsenic species extracted with water from dried litter was roxarsone. However, when water was added to litter at about 50 wt % and the mixture was allowed to compost at 40 ??C, the speciation of arsenic shifted from roxarsone to primarily arsenate in about 30 days. Increasing the amount of water increased the rate of degradation. Experiments also suggested that the degradation process most likely was biotic in nature. The rate of degradation was directly proportional to the incubation temperature; heat sterilization eliminated the degradation. Biotic degradation also was supported by results from enterobacteriaceae growth media that were inoculated with litter slurry to enhance the biotic processes and to reduce the concomitant abiotic effects from the complex litter solution. Samples collected from a variety of litter windrows in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Maryland also showed that roxarsone originally present had been converted to arsenate.

  2. Statistical analyses of the results of 25 years of beach litter surveys on the south-eastern North Sea coast.

    PubMed

    Schulz, Marcus; Clemens, Thomas; Förster, Harald; Harder, Thorsten; Fleet, David; Gaus, Silvia; Grave, Christel; Flegel, Imme; Schrey, Eckart; Hartwig, Eike

    2015-08-01

    In the North Sea, the amount of litter present in the marine environment represents a severe environmental problem. In order to assess the magnitude of the problem and measure changes in abundance, the results of two beach litter monitoring programmes were compared and analysed for long-term trends applying multivariate techniques. Total beach litter pollution was persistently high. Spatial differences in litter abundance made it difficult to identify long-term trends: Partly more than 8000 litter items year(-1) were recorded on a 100 m long survey site on the island of Scharhörn, while the survey site on the beach on the island of Amrum revealed abundances lower by two orders of magnitude. Beach litter was dominated by plastic with mean proportions of 52%-91% of total beach litter. Non-parametric time series analyses detected many significant trends, which, however, did not show any systematic spatial patterns. Cluster analyses partly led to groupings of beaches according to their expositions to sources of litter, wind and currents. Surveys in short intervals of one to two weeks were found to give higher annual sums of beach litter than the quarterly surveys of the OSPAR method. Surveys at regular intervals of four weeks to five months would make monitoring results more reliable.

  3. Beach litter occurrence in sandy littorals: The potential role of urban areas, rivers and beach users in central Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poeta, Gianluca; Conti, Luisa; Malavasi, Marco; Battisti, Corrado; Acosta, Alicia Teresa Rosario

    2016-11-01

    Litter washed ashore on the coastline, also called beach litter, constitutes one of the most obvious signs of marine litter pollution. Surveys of beach litter represent a fundamental tool for monitoring pollution in the marine environment and have been used world-wide to classify and quantify marine litter. Identifying the sources of marine and beach litter is, together with education, the prime weapon in combating this type of pollution. This work investigates the impact of three main potential land sources on litter occurrence: urban areas, rivers and beach users. Three sources were analyzed simultaneously on a broad scale (Lazio region, central Italy) using a random sampling design and fitting a generalized linear mixed-effect model. The results show that urban areas are the main drivers for the occurrence of marine litter along central Italy's coastal ecosystems, suggesting that the presence of such litter on Lazio beaches could be effectively reduced by identifying failings in recycling and waste collection procedures and by improving waste processing systems and sewage treatment in urban areas.

  4. Statistical analyses of the results of 25 years of beach litter surveys on the south-eastern North Sea coast.

    PubMed

    Schulz, Marcus; Clemens, Thomas; Förster, Harald; Harder, Thorsten; Fleet, David; Gaus, Silvia; Grave, Christel; Flegel, Imme; Schrey, Eckart; Hartwig, Eike

    2015-08-01

    In the North Sea, the amount of litter present in the marine environment represents a severe environmental problem. In order to assess the magnitude of the problem and measure changes in abundance, the results of two beach litter monitoring programmes were compared and analysed for long-term trends applying multivariate techniques. Total beach litter pollution was persistently high. Spatial differences in litter abundance made it difficult to identify long-term trends: Partly more than 8000 litter items year(-1) were recorded on a 100 m long survey site on the island of Scharhörn, while the survey site on the beach on the island of Amrum revealed abundances lower by two orders of magnitude. Beach litter was dominated by plastic with mean proportions of 52%-91% of total beach litter. Non-parametric time series analyses detected many significant trends, which, however, did not show any systematic spatial patterns. Cluster analyses partly led to groupings of beaches according to their expositions to sources of litter, wind and currents. Surveys in short intervals of one to two weeks were found to give higher annual sums of beach litter than the quarterly surveys of the OSPAR method. Surveys at regular intervals of four weeks to five months would make monitoring results more reliable. PMID:26026589

  5. Nitrogen addition, not initial phylogenetic diversity, increases litter decomposition by fungal communities.

    PubMed

    Amend, Anthony S; Matulich, Kristin L; Martiny, Jennifer B H

    2015-01-01

    Fungi play a critical role in the degradation of organic matter. Because different combinations of fungi result in different rates of decomposition, determining how climate change will affect microbial composition and function is fundamental to predicting future environments. Fungal response to global change is patterned by genetic relatedness, resulting in communities with comparatively low phylogenetic diversity (PD). This may have important implications for the functional capacity of disturbed communities if lineages sensitive to disturbance also contain unique traits important for litter decomposition. Here we tested the relationship between PD and decomposition rates. Leaf litter fungi were isolated from the field and deployed in microcosms as mock communities along a gradient of initial PD, while species richness was held constant. Replicate communities were subject to nitrogen fertilization comparable to anthropogenic deposition levels. Carbon mineralization rates were measured over the course of 66 days. We found that nitrogen fertilization increased cumulative respiration by 24.8%, and that differences in respiration between fertilized and ambient communities diminished over the course of the experiment. Initial PD failed to predict respiration rates or their change in response to nitrogen fertilization, and there was no correlation between community similarity and respiration rates. Last, we detected no phylogenetic signal in the contributions of individual isolates to respiration rates. Our results suggest that the degree to which PD predicts ecosystem function will depend on environmental context. PMID:25741330

  6. Nitrogen addition, not initial phylogenetic diversity, increases litter decomposition by fungal communities

    PubMed Central

    Amend, Anthony S.; Matulich, Kristin L.; Martiny, Jennifer B. H.

    2015-01-01

    Fungi play a critical role in the degradation of organic matter. Because different combinations of fungi result in different rates of decomposition, determining how climate change will affect microbial composition and function is fundamental to predicting future environments. Fungal response to global change is patterned by genetic relatedness, resulting in communities with comparatively low phylogenetic diversity (PD). This may have important implications for the functional capacity of disturbed communities if lineages sensitive to disturbance also contain unique traits important for litter decomposition. Here we tested the relationship between PD and decomposition rates. Leaf litter fungi were isolated from the field and deployed in microcosms as mock communities along a gradient of initial PD, while species richness was held constant. Replicate communities were subject to nitrogen fertilization comparable to anthropogenic deposition levels. Carbon mineralization rates were measured over the course of 66 days. We found that nitrogen fertilization increased cumulative respiration by 24.8%, and that differences in respiration between fertilized and ambient communities diminished over the course of the experiment. Initial PD failed to predict respiration rates or their change in response to nitrogen fertilization, and there was no correlation between community similarity and respiration rates. Last, we detected no phylogenetic signal in the contributions of individual isolates to respiration rates. Our results suggest that the degree to which PD predicts ecosystem function will depend on environmental context. PMID:25741330

  7. Accuracy of prediction of canine litter size and gestational age with ultrasound.

    PubMed

    Lenard, Z M; Hopper, B J; Lester, N V; Richardson, J L; Robertson, I D

    2007-06-01

    Different sonographic criteria have been developed to estimate canine fetal age, including fetal mensuration and assessment of fetal organ development. This retrospective study assessed the accuracy of gestational age and litter size predictions in 76 bitches using one of two techniques. The first method used the differential features of fetal organ development that occur in early and mid pregnancy, based on published tables for beagles. The second method used biparietal head and trunk diameters to predict gestational age based on tables published for late gestational Labrador Retrievers. The accuracy of the two methods was compared and the effect of maternal body weight and litter size evaluated. Litter size and maternal body weight did not affect the accuracy of gestational age prediction. Using a combination of both methods, the overall accuracy of predicting parturition date within 65 +/- 1 day and +/- 2 days was 70.8% and 86.1%, respectively. The correct litter size was predicted in 65% of cases, and in 89.5% of cases for +/- 1 pup. Pearson's correlation between actual litter size and predicted litter size was high (R = 0.957, P < 0.001). The organ development method of predicting gestational age was more accurate than late gestational fetal mensuration (P = 0.019). The optimum time for sonographic estimation of fetal age and litter size is early and mid pregnancy.

  8. Short-term facilitation of microbial litter decomposition by ultraviolet radiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Y.; King, J. Y.

    2015-12-01

    In arid and semi-arid ecosystems, solar radiation plays an important role in C cycling by increasing the decomposition rate of plant litter and soil organic matter (i.e. photodegradation). Recent studies suggest that exposure to solar radiation can facilitate microbial decomposition of litter by altering litter chemistry and consequently litter degradability. However, it remains unclear at what time scale this facilitation mechanism operates. Does radiation exposure during the day facilitate microbial decomposition at night? In a laboratory jar incubation experiment, a common grass litter was exposed to either a cycle of alternating ultraviolet (UV) radiation and dark phases (2 days in UV phase and 2 days in dark phase) or a continuous dark treatment in order to examine the impacts of UV radiation on CO2 production. The litter samples were also incubated under either wet or dry conditions to separate the contributions of abiotic photochemical and microbial processes to CO2 production. Under wet conditions, radiation regime did not affect CO2 production for the first half of the 4-month experiment; interestingly, in the second half of the experiment, wet litter in the alternating treatment produced at least 15% more CO2, regardless of UV or dark phase, than wet litter in the continuous dark treatment. This difference in CO2 production was significant even after accounting for higher temperature in the alternating treatment that may have stimulated microbial respiration or generated thermal CO2 production. Under dry conditions, litter in the alternating treatment produced 1.6 times more CO2 than litter in the continuous dark treatment, which we interpret to be abiotic photochemical CO2 production. However, this abiotic flux was minimal compared to the microbial respiration flux, as cumulative CO2 production from dry litter was less than 1% of that from wet litter. Overall, these results confirm that UV radiation does facilitate microbial decomposition at a diel scale

  9. Failure of vitamin A to increase litter size in sows receiving injections at various stages of gestation.

    PubMed

    Pusateri, A E; Diekman, M A; Singleton, W L

    1999-06-01

    To determine the effectiveness of a single injection of vitamin A to increase litter size, 1,375 sows were assigned randomly to 11 treatment groups (125 sows per treatment). Treatments included injection of 1 x 10(6) IU of vitamin A dissolved in corn oil at weaning or on d 0, 2, 6, 10, 13, 19, 30, 70, or 110 after breeding. Sows in the control group were injected with corn oil on corresponding days. A total of 396 sows were removed from the study following treatment or treatment assignment. Therefore, farrowing data were collected for 979 sows. Injection of vitamin A did not influence (P > . 10) total litter size, live litter size, litter weight, pig weight, number of runts, or number of mummies. Mean live litter size was 10.1 +/- .1 for all sows that farrowed in the experiment. Parity group affected total litter size, live litter size, live litter weight, and number stillborn (P < .01) but not pig weight, number of runts, number of mummies, or gestation length (P > . 10). In this study, a single injection of vitamin A at any time from weaning to farrowing did not increase litter size in sows.

  10. Inhibitory and toxic effects of extracellular self-DNA in litter: a mechanism for negative plant-soil feedbacks?

    PubMed

    Mazzoleni, Stefano; Bonanomi, Giuliano; Incerti, Guido; Chiusano, Maria Luisa; Termolino, Pasquale; Mingo, Antonio; Senatore, Mauro; Giannino, Francesco; Cartenì, Fabrizio; Rietkerk, Max; Lanzotti, Virginia

    2015-02-01

    Plant-soil negative feedback (NF) is recognized as an important factor affecting plant communities. The objectives of this work were to assess the effects of litter phytotoxicity and autotoxicity on root proliferation, and to test the hypothesis that DNA is a driver of litter autotoxicity and plant-soil NF. The inhibitory effect of decomposed litter was studied in different bioassays. Litter biochemical changes were evaluated with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. DNA accumulation in litter and soil was measured and DNA toxicity was assessed in laboratory experiments. Undecomposed litter caused nonspecific inhibition of root growth, while autotoxicity was produced by aged litter. The addition of activated carbon (AC) removed phytotoxicity, but was ineffective against autotoxicity. Phytotoxicity was related to known labile allelopathic compounds. Restricted (13) C NMR signals related to nucleic acids were the only ones negatively correlated with root growth on conspecific substrates. DNA accumulation was observed in both litter decomposition and soil history experiments. Extracted total DNA showed evident species-specific toxicity. Results indicate a general occurrence of litter autotoxicity related to the exposure to fragmented self-DNA. The evidence also suggests the involvement of accumulated extracellular DNA in plant-soil NF. Further studies are needed to further investigate this unexpected function of extracellular DNA at the ecosystem level and related cellular and molecular mechanisms. PMID:25354164

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-07-01

    The role of species and functional group diversity of primary producers for decomposers and decomposition processes is little understood. We made use of the "Jena Biodiversity Experiment" and tested the hypothesis that increasing plant species (1, 4, and 16 species) and functional group diversity (1, 2, 3, and 4 groups) beneficially affects decomposer density and activity and therefore the decomposition of plant litter material. Furthermore, by manipulating the densities of decomposers (earthworms and springtails) within the plant diversity gradient we investigated how the interactions between plant diversity and decomposer densities affect the decomposition of litter belonging to different plant functional groups (grasses, herbs, and legumes). Positive effects of increasing plant species or functional group diversity on earthworms (biomass and density) and microbial biomass were mainly due to the increased incidence of legumes with increasing diversity. Neither plant species diversity nor functional group diversity affected litter decomposition, However, litter decomposition varied with decomposer and plant functional group identity (of both living plants and plant litter). While springtail removal generally had little effect on decomposition, increased earthworm density accelerated the decomposition of nitrogen-rich legume litter, and this was more pronounced at higher plant diversity. The results suggest that earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris L.) and legumes function as keystone organisms for grassland decomposition processes and presumably contribute to the recorded increase in primary productivity with increasing plant diversity. PMID:18705374

  12. Understanding factors affecting partitioning of oxygenated organics in natural and polluted environments using SV-TAG

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Isaacman, G. A.; Yee, L.; Kreisberg, N. M.; Moss, J.; Hu, W.; Campuzano Jost, P.; Day, D. A.; Palm, B. B.; Jimenez, J. L.; de Sá, S. S.; Martin, S. T.; Alexander, M. L.; Nguyen, T. K. V.; Carlton, A. G.; Viegas, J.; Springston, S. R.; Manzi, A. O.; Souza, R. A. F. D.; Oliveira, M. B.; Artaxo, P.; Ferreira De Brito, J.; Edgerton, E. S.; Baumann, K.; Hering, S. V.; Goldstein, A. H.

    2014-12-01

    Most known organic tracers and compounds present in atmospheric aerosols are sufficiently volatile to partition between the gas and particle phases, affecting oxidation timescales and pathways. However, few direct measurements are available of ambient gas-to-particle partitioning of individual compounds, and the effect of anthropogenic emissions on the partitioning of biogenic aerosol components is not well-studied. Using hourly measurements of gas- and particle-phase organics in the atmosphere we identify here those factors that are most significant in modeling partitioning. Concentrations and partitioning of oxidation products of biogenic emissions were measured in two locations: the Southeastern U.S. (SOAS 2013) and Amazonia, Brazil (GoAmazon 2014). At both sites, high levels of biogenic emissions interact with plumes from nearby cities, creating an ideal environment to study the influence of anthropogenic emissions on environmental factors expected to affect partitioning (i.e. acidity, liquid water content). A Semi-Volatile Thermal desorption Aerosol Gas chromatograph (SV-TAG) was modified to include simultaneous collection of particle-phase and total gas- and particle-phase compounds, as well as derivatization of hydroxyl groups prior to GC analysis to enable measurement of oxygenates. Co-located instruments measuring trace gases and particle properties provide additional insight into oxidation chemistry and anthropogenic influence. Traditional equilibrium partitioning is found to often underpredict, and almost never overpredict, the particle-phase fraction of a compound with a highly variable deviation between measured and modeled partitioning. Furthermore, the ability of traditional models to describe measured partitioning is strongly compound dependent: some compounds are reasonably well-described, while others are consistently far more in the particle-phase than predicted. Chemical differences are used to explore the role of particle-phase formation of

  13. Storminess and geo-hydrological events affecting small coastal basins in a terraced Mediterranean environment.

    PubMed

    Cevasco, Andrea; Diodato, Nazzareno; Revellino, Paola; Fiorillo, Francesco; Grelle, Gerardo; Guadagno, Francesco M

    2015-11-01

    This study was prompted by the occurrence of an extreme Damaging geo-Hydrological Event (DHE) which occurred on October 25th 2011 and which affected a wide area of the northern Mediterranean region. After analysing the storm by means of the precipitation time series, the study attempts to relate the October 25th 2011 DHE with a series of other DHEs that occurred in the period 1954-2012, assessed via the use of historical data and classified according to severity, with a Storm Erosivity Indicator (Ra). The annual mean of the Ra value (2582 MJ mm ha(-1) h(-1) y(-1)) confirmed that the study area is one of the European regions with the highest rainfall erosivity level. A shift in storminess during 1991-2012 with respect to 1954-1990 was observed. A return period of 1000 years was calculated for the single storm erosivity of October 25th, which contributed to 84% of the total annual storm erosivity of 2011 A quite good agreement was found comparing DHE distribution and severity with Ra anomalies over time. As a matter of fact, most of the low severity DHEs (62.5%) occurred in years in which the Ra was below the average value. Moreover, almost all DHEs (93%) ranging from medium- to very high-severity occurred in years for which the Ra exceeded the average value. With regard to the occurrence of the most severe DHE classes, a threshold of the Ra and a recurrence time of approximately 3300 MJ mm ha(-1) h(-1) y(-1) and 12 years, respectively, were identified. Finally, some evidences suggest that an increasing frequency of DHEs is expected in the forthcoming years. It is argued that understanding these issues is a major priority for future research in order to improve land and urban planning strategies for preserving people and the environment, leading ultimately to an effective risk reduction.

  14. Assessment of litter degradation in medicinal plants subjected to ultraviolet-B radiation.

    PubMed

    Agrawal, S B; Kumari, Rima

    2013-07-01

    Litter decomposition is an important component of global carbon budget. Elevated influx of ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) as a consequence of depletion of stratospheric ozone (O3) layer may affect litter decomposition directly or/modifying the plant tissue quality. Chemical composition of plant can affect litter decomposition. In the present study, three important medicinal plant species i.e. Acorus calamus, Ocimum sanctum and Cymbopogon citratus were exposed to two levels of supplemental UV-B (sUV and sUV,) during the growth period and examined the changes in leaf quality and degradation of leaf litters. The sUV, treatment (+3.6 kJ m(-2) d(-1)) increased the rate of decomposition by 45% and 31% respectively; in leaf litters from O. sanctum and C. citratus, while no significant effect was noticed in A. calamus leaf litter. Higher accumulation of sclerenchymatous tissue around vascular bundles and increased concentrations of total phenols by 39 mg g(-1) probably lowered the decomposition rate; finding k value: 0.0049 g g(-1) d(-1) in leaf litters of A. calamus. The C/N ratio was increased by 14% at sUV2 in C. citratus, whereas in O. sanctum it decreased by 13.6% after treatment. Results of the present experiment illustrates that firstly UV-B can modify the decomposition rate of leaf litter of test plant species, secondly it can alter the tissue chemistry particularly leaf phenolics, N and P concentrations strongly and thus affecting the decay rate and thirdly UV-B effects on decay rate and leaf chemistry is species specific. PMID:24640251

  15. Assessment of litter degradation in medicinal plants subjected to ultraviolet-B radiation.

    PubMed

    Agrawal, S B; Kumari, Rima

    2013-07-01

    Litter decomposition is an important component of global carbon budget. Elevated influx of ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) as a consequence of depletion of stratospheric ozone (O3) layer may affect litter decomposition directly or/modifying the plant tissue quality. Chemical composition of plant can affect litter decomposition. In the present study, three important medicinal plant species i.e. Acorus calamus, Ocimum sanctum and Cymbopogon citratus were exposed to two levels of supplemental UV-B (sUV and sUV,) during the growth period and examined the changes in leaf quality and degradation of leaf litters. The sUV, treatment (+3.6 kJ m(-2) d(-1)) increased the rate of decomposition by 45% and 31% respectively; in leaf litters from O. sanctum and C. citratus, while no significant effect was noticed in A. calamus leaf litter. Higher accumulation of sclerenchymatous tissue around vascular bundles and increased concentrations of total phenols by 39 mg g(-1) probably lowered the decomposition rate; finding k value: 0.0049 g g(-1) d(-1) in leaf litters of A. calamus. The C/N ratio was increased by 14% at sUV2 in C. citratus, whereas in O. sanctum it decreased by 13.6% after treatment. Results of the present experiment illustrates that firstly UV-B can modify the decomposition rate of leaf litter of test plant species, secondly it can alter the tissue chemistry particularly leaf phenolics, N and P concentrations strongly and thus affecting the decay rate and thirdly UV-B effects on decay rate and leaf chemistry is species specific.

  16. 33 CFR 144.01-35 - Litter.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 2 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Litter. 144.01-35 Section 144.01-35 Navigation and Navigable Waters COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF ACTIVITIES LIFESAVING APPLIANCES Manned Platforms § 144.01-35 Litter. On each...

  17. Enzymatic activities in coniferous leaf litter

    SciTech Connect

    Spalding, B.P.

    1980-07-01

    Assays for measuring the activities of cellulase, xylanase, mannase, amylase, ..beta..-glucosidase, invertase, and protease employing buffered suspensions of ground coniferous and deciduous leaf litter exhibited zero-order kinetics. Only a small percentage of the whole-litter activities of invertase, ..beta..-glucosidase, and protease were extractable into 0.05M potassium acetate, pH 5.0; however, extractable activities of cellulase and xylanase represented from 39 to 174% of the whole-litter activities indicating their soluble exocellar nature. Extractable protease and amylase activities were best correlated with the average daily rates of CO/sub 2/ evolution in a group of 90 leaf litter samples equally representing 18 coniferous species. Enzymatic activities were readily detectable in extracts of all samples but classification of the samples by species provided little differentiation in the distribution of either enzymatic activities or rates of CO/sub 2/ evolution. Mannase, cellulase, and xylanase activities were well-correlated with each other in all samples. Assays attempting to measure a pool of readily-metabolizable substances in litter by extractable reducing substances, ninhydrin-positive substances, glucose, and phenolics failed to show correlation coefficients >0.41 with rates of CO/sub 2/ evolution. Addition of D-(+)-catechin to litter extracts, up to levels equivalent to those observed in the group of samples, did not inhibit any carbohydrase thus suggesting the lack of inhibition of litter-decomposing enzymes by the concentrations of phenolics present in these coniferous leaf litters.

  18. Distinct Microbial Limitations in Litter and Underlying Soil Revealed by Carbon and Nutrient Fertilization in a Tropical Rainforest

    PubMed Central

    Fanin, Nicolas; Barantal, Sandra; Fromin, Nathalie; Schimann, Heidy; Schevin, Patrick; Hättenschwiler, Stephan

    2012-01-01

    Human-caused alterations of the carbon and nutrient cycles are expected to impact tropical ecosystems in the near future. Here we evaluated how a combined change in carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability affects soil and litter microbial respiration and litter decomposition in an undisturbed Amazonian rainforest in French Guiana. In a fully factorial C (as cellulose), N (as urea), and P (as phosphate) fertilization experiment we analyzed a total of 540 litterbag-soil pairs after a 158-day exposure in the field. Rates of substrate-induced respiration (SIR) measured in litter and litter mass loss were similarly affected by fertilization showing the strongest stimulation when N and P were added simultaneously. The stimulating NP effect on litter SIR increased considerably with increasing initial dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in litter, suggesting that the combined availability of N, P, and a labile C source has a particularly strong effect on microbial activity. Cellulose fertilization, however, did not further stimulate the NP effect. In contrast to litter SIR and litter mass loss, soil SIR was reduced with N fertilization and showed only a positive effect in response to P fertilization that was further enhanced with additional C fertilization. Our data suggest that increased nutrient enrichment in the studied Amazonian rainforest can considerably change microbial activity and litter decomposition, and that these effects differ between the litter layer and the underlying soil. Any resulting change in relative C and nutrient fluxes between the litter layer and the soil can have important consequences for biogeochemical cycles in tropical forest ecosystems. PMID:23272052

  19. Distinct microbial limitations in litter and underlying soil revealed by carbon and nutrient fertilization in a tropical rainforest.

    PubMed

    Fanin, Nicolas; Barantal, Sandra; Fromin, Nathalie; Schimann, Heidy; Schevin, Patrick; Hättenschwiler, Stephan

    2012-01-01

    Human-caused alterations of the carbon and nutrient cycles are expected to impact tropical ecosystems in the near future. Here we evaluated how a combined change in carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability affects soil and litter microbial respiration and litter decomposition in an undisturbed Amazonian rainforest in French Guiana. In a fully factorial C (as cellulose), N (as urea), and P (as phosphate) fertilization experiment we analyzed a total of 540 litterbag-soil pairs after a 158-day exposure in the field. Rates of substrate-induced respiration (SIR) measured in litter and litter mass loss were similarly affected by fertilization showing the strongest stimulation when N and P were added simultaneously. The stimulating NP effect on litter SIR increased considerably with increasing initial dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in litter, suggesting that the combined availability of N, P, and a labile C source has a particularly strong effect on microbial activity. Cellulose fertilization, however, did not further stimulate the NP effect. In contrast to litter SIR and litter mass loss, soil SIR was reduced with N fertilization and showed only a positive effect in response to P fertilization that was further enhanced with additional C fertilization. Our data suggest that increased nutrient enrichment in the studied Amazonian rainforest can considerably change microbial activity and litter decomposition, and that these effects differ between the litter layer and the underlying soil. Any resulting change in relative C and nutrient fluxes between the litter layer and the soil can have important consequences for biogeochemical cycles in tropical forest ecosystems.

  20. Leaf Litter Mixtures Alter Microbial Community Development: Mechanisms for Non-Additive Effects in Litter Decomposition

    PubMed Central

    Chapman, Samantha K.; Newman, Gregory S.; Hart, Stephen C.; Schweitzer, Jennifer A.; Koch, George W.

    2013-01-01

    To what extent microbial community composition can explain variability in ecosystem processes remains an open question in ecology. Microbial decomposer communities can change during litter decomposition due to biotic interactions and shifting substrate availability. Though relative abundance of decomposers may change due to mixing leaf litter, linking these shifts to the non-additive patterns often recorded in mixed species litter decomposition rates has been elusive, and links community composition to ecosystem function. We extracted phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) from single species and mixed species leaf litterbags after 10 and 27 months of decomposition in a mixed conifer forest. Total PLFA concentrations were 70% higher on litter mixtures than single litter types after 10 months, but were only 20% higher after 27 months. Similarly, fungal-to-bacterial ratios differed between mixed and single litter types after 10 months of decomposition, but equalized over time. Microbial community composition, as indicated by principal components analyses, differed due to both litter mixing and stage of litter decomposition. PLFA biomarkers a15∶0 and cy17∶0, which indicate gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria respectively, in particular drove these shifts. Total PLFA correlated significantly with single litter mass loss early in decomposition but not at later stages. We conclude that litter mixing alters microbial community development, which can contribute to synergisms in litter decomposition. These findings advance our understanding of how changing forest biodiversity can alter microbial communities and the ecosystem processes they mediate. PMID:23658639

  1. Biochemical Control of Fungal Biomass and Enzyme Production During Native Hawaiian Litter Degradation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amatangelo, K. L.; Cordova, T. P.; Vitousek, P. M.

    2007-12-01

    Microbial growth and enzyme production during decomposition is controlled by the availability of carbon substrates, essential elements, and the ratios of these (such as lignin:N). We manipulated carbon:nutrient stoichiometry during decomposition using a natural fertility gradient in Hawaii and litter of varying initial biochemistry. We collected freshly senesced litter of seven biochemically distinct species from three sites offering differing levels of N, P, cations, and 15N , but similar yearly rainfall and temperature patterns. Litter types were decomposed at both the sites they were collected, and at the other site(s) that species was found. Litter was collected at multiple time points, and after one year of decomposition, calculated K constants varied an order of magnitude, from 0.276 to 2.76. Decomposition rates varied significantly with both litter site of origin and deployment, except at the oldest, P-limited site, where litter site of origin was not significantly correlated with decomposition within species. As microbial exocellular enzymes provide the catalyst for the breakdown of organic molecules including phenols, cellulose, and cutin, we assayed polyphenol oxidase, cellobiohydrolase, cutinase, chitinase, and lignin peroxidase to evaluate the breakdown sequence of different litter types. To measure the fungal biomass accumulating during decomposition, we extracted (22E)-Ergosta-5,7,22-trien-3beta- ol (ergosterol) on a subset of samples. The production of particular exocellular enzymes on litter species responded distinctly to origin and decomposition sites: after six months, chitinase and cellobiohydrolase were significantly affected by origin site, whereas polyphenol oxidase activity was controlled by deployment site. We conclude that site characteristics can alter the interaction between litter carbon:nutrient ratios and decomposition rate, mediated through microbial biomass and enzyme production.

  2. Effects of stoichiometry and temperature perturbations on beech litter decomposition, enzyme activities and protein expression

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keiblinger, K. M.; Schneider, T.; Roschitzki, B.; Schmid, E.; Eberl, L.; Hämmerle, I.; Leitner, S.; Richter, A.; Wanek, W.; Riedel, K.; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, S.

    2011-12-01

    Microbes are major players in leaf litter decomposition and therefore advances in the understanding of their control on element cycling are of paramount importance. Our aim was to investigate the influence of leaf litter stoichiometry in terms of carbon (C) : nitrogen (N) : phosphorus (P) on the decomposition process, and to follow changes in microbial community structure and function in response to temperature-stress treatments. To elucidate how the stoichiometry of beech litter (Fagus sylvatica L.) and stress treatments interactively affect the decomposition processes, a terrestrial microcosm experiment was conducted. Beech litter from different Austrian sites covering C:N ratios from 39 to 61 and C:P ratios from 666 to 1729 were incubated at 15 °C and 60% moisture for six months. Part of the microcosms were then subjected to severe changes in temperature (+30 °C and -15 °C) to monitor the influence of temperature stress. Extracellular enzyme activities were assayed and respiratory activities measured. A semi-quantitative metaproteomics approach (1D-SDS PAGE combined with liquid chromatography and tandem mass-spectrometry; unique spectral counting) was employed to investigate the impact of the applied stress treatments in dependency of litter stoichiometry on structure and function of the decomposing community. In litter with narrow C:nutrient ratios microbial decomposers were most abundant. Cellulase, chitinase, phosphatase and protease activity decreased after heat and frost treatments. Decomposer communities and specific functions varied with site i.e. stoichiometry. The applied stress evoked strong changes of enzyme activities, dissolved organic nitrogen and litter pH. Freeze treatments resulted in a decline in residual plant litter material, and increased fungal abundance indicating slightly accelerated decomposition. Overall, we could detect a strong effect of litter stoichiometry on microbial community structure as well as function. Temperature

  3. Response of leaf litter decomposition to rises in atmospheric CO2 and temperature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hammrich, A.; Flury, S.; Gessner, M. O.

    2007-05-01

    Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have considerably increased in the last century and are expected to rise further. Elevated CO2 concentrations not only increase global temperature but also have potential to change plant litter quality, for example by increasing lignin content, changing C:N ratios and altering tannin contents. These chemical changes may interact with increased temperature to alter litter decomposition. To test whether changes in litter quality and warming affect decomposition, we conducted a field experiment with leaf litter collected from six species of mature deciduous trees exposed to either ambient or elevated CO2 levels. We used a set of 16 enclosures installed in four blocks in a freshwater marsh in a prealpine lake to test for the effects of CO2-mediated litter quality and temperature and the interaction of both factors. We measured leaf mass loss of the twelve litter types in control and heated enclosures (4 °C above ambient) and also in the open marsh. In contrast to expectations, species decomposing at low (oak and beech) and medium (hornbeam and maple) rates showed faster mass loss when leaves were grown under elevated CO2 conditions, whereas fast-decomposing species (cherry and basswood) showed no clear response. The accelerated decomposition of CO2-enriched litter could be due to higher amounts of nonstructural carbohydrates, which may have been either leached or readily degraded. Warming had a surprisingly small influence on mass loss of the tested litter species, and interactive effects were weak. These results suggest that direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 levels on litter decomposition may not be readily predictable from first principles.

  4. Poultry litter toxicity comparison from various bioassays

    SciTech Connect

    Gupta, G.; Kelly, P. )

    1992-01-01

    Poultry litter contains many toxic chemicals including Cu, As, Pb, Cd, Hg, Se and PCBs. Poultry litter leachate has been shown to be more toxic to marine luminescent organisms (Photobacterium phosphoreum) than other farm animal manures. A comparison of toxicity of the poultry litter leachate was undertaken using various bioassays. The EC{sub 50} (or LC{sub 50}) value for the leachate with the Microtox and Daphnia bioassays was 2.9 g/L/ Nitrobacter and Pseudomonas bioassays were not useful in determining the leachate toxicity because of the nutritional properties of the litter. Poultry litter leachate was found to be mutagenic to strains TA 97, TA 98, TA 100 and TA 102 using the Ames Test.

  5. Consequences of a low litter birth weight phenotype for postnatal lean growth performance and neonatal testicular morphology in the pig.

    PubMed

    Smit, M N; Spencer, J D; Almeida, F R C L; Patterson, J L; Chiarini-Garcia, H; Dyck, M K; Foxcroft, G R

    2013-10-01

    The consequences of a low litter average birth weight phenotype for postnatal growth performance and carcass quality of all progeny, and testicular development in male offspring, were investigated. Using data from 25 sows with one, and 223 sows with two consecutive farrowing events, individual birth weight (BW) was measured and each litter between 9 and 16 total pigs born was classified as low (LBW), medium (MBW) or high (HBW) birth weight: low and high BW being defined as >1 standard deviation below or above, respectively, the population mean for each litter size. Litter average BW was repeatable within sows. At castration, testicular tissue was collected from 40 male pigs in LBW and HBW litters with individual BW close to their litter average BW and used for histomorphometric analysis. LBW piglets had a lower absolute number of germ cells, Sertoli cells and Leydig cells in their testes and a higher brain : testis weight ratio than HBW piglets. Overall, LBW litters had lower placental weight and higher brain : liver, brain : intestine and brain : Semitendinosus muscle weight ratios than MBW and HBW litters. In the nursery and grow-finish (GF) phase, pigs were kept in pens by BW classification (9 HBW, 17 MBW and 10 LBW pens) with 13 males and 13 females per pen. Average daily gain tended to be lower in LBW than HBW litters in lactation (P = 0.06) and throughout the nursery and GF phases (P < 0.01), resulting in an increasing difference in body weight between LBW, MBW and HBW litters (P < 0.05). Average daily feed intake was lower (P < 0.001) in LBW than HBW litters in the nursery and GF phases. Feed utilization efficiency (feed/gain) was similar for LBW and HBW litters in the nursery, but was lower (P < 0.001) in HBW than LBW litters in the GF phase. By design, slaughter weight was similar between BW classifications; however, LBW litters needed 9 more days to reach the same slaughter weight than HBW litters (P < 0.001). BW classification did not affect carcass

  6. Comparing intra- and inter-specific effects on litter decomposition in an old-field ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

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

    2009-09-01

    Plant species can differ in the quantity and quality of leaf litter they produce, and many studies have examined whether plant species diversity affects leaf-litter decomposition and nutrient release. A growing number of studies have indicated that intra-specific variation within plant species can also affect key ecosystem processes. However, the relative importance of intra- versus inter-specific variation for the functioning of ecosystems remains poorly known. Here, we investigate the effects of intra-specific variation in a dominant old-field plant species, tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima), and inter-specific variation among goldenrod species on litter quality, decomposition, and nitrogen (N) release. We found that the nutrient concentration of leaf litter varied among genotypes, which translated into 50% difference in decomposition rates. Variation among other goldenrod species in decomposition rate was more than twice that of genetic variation within S. altissima. Furthermore, by manipulating litterbags to contain 1, 3, 6, or 9 genotypes, we found that S. altissima genotype identity had much stronger effects than did genotypic diversity on leaf-litter quality, decomposition, and N release. Taken together, these results suggest that the order of ecological importance for controlling leaf-litter decomposition and N release dynamics is plant species identitygenotype identity>genotypic diversity.

  7. Plastic litter in the sea.

    PubMed

    Depledge, M H; Galgani, F; Panti, C; Caliani, I; Casini, S; Fossi, M C

    2013-12-01

    On June 2013 a workshop at the University of Siena (Italy) was organized to review current knowledge and to clarify what is known, and what remains to be investigated, concerning plastic litter in the sea. The content of the workshop was designed to contribute further to the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) following an inaugural workshop in 2012. Here we report a number of statements relevant to policymakers and scientists that was overwhelming agreement from the participants. Many might view this as already providing sufficient grounds for policy action. At the very least, this early warning of the problems that lie ahead should be taken seriously, and serve as a stimulus for further research.

  8. Exploring Relationships between the Use of Affect in Science Instruction and the Pressures of a High-Stakes Testing Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jerome, Diane C.

    2010-01-01

    This study explored how science teachers and school administrators perceive the use of the affective domain during science instruction situated within a high-stakes testing environment. Through a multimethodological inquiry using phenomenology and critical ethnography, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with six fifth-grade…

  9. Elementary Students' Affective Variables in a Networked Learning Environment Supported by a Blog: A Case Study

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allaire, Stéphane; Thériault, Pascale; Gagnon, Vincent; Lalancette, Evelyne

    2013-01-01

    This study documents to what extent writing on a blog in a networked learning environment could influence the affective variables of elementary-school students' writing. The framework is grounded more specifically in theory of self-determination (Deci & Ryan, 1985), relationship to writing (Chartrand & Prince, 2009) and the…

  10. Avoidance of Affect Mediates the Effect of Invalidating Childhood Environments on Borderline Personality Symptomatology in a Non-Clinical Sample

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sturrock, Bonnie A.; Francis, Andrew; Carr, Steven

    2009-01-01

    The aim of this study was to test the Linehan (1993) proposal regarding associations between invalidating childhood environments, distress tolerance (e.g., avoidance of affect), and borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms. The sample consisted of 141 non-clinical participants (51 men, 89 women, one gender unknown), ranging in age from 18 to…

  11. The Mediating Role of Affective Commitment in the Relation of the Feedback Environment to Work Outcomes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Norris-Watts, Christina; Levy, Paul E.

    2004-01-01

    The Feedback Environment, as opposed to the formal performance appraisal process, is comprised of the daily interactions between members of an organization (Steelman, Levy, & Snell, in press). Relations between the feedback environment and work outcome variables such as Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) were examined through the mediating…

  12. Effects of Nitrogen Addition on Litter Decomposition and CO2 Release: Considering Changes in Litter Quantity

    PubMed Central

    Li, Hui-Chao; Hu, Ya-Lin; Mao, Rong; Zhao, Qiong; Zeng, De-Hui

    2015-01-01

    This study aims to evaluate the impacts of changes in litter quantity under simulated N deposition on litter decomposition, CO2 release, and soil C loss potential in a larch plantation in Northeast China. We conducted a laboratory incubation experiment using soil and litter collected from control and N addition (100 kg ha−1 year−1 for 10 years) plots. Different quantities of litter (0, 1, 2 and 4 g) were placed on 150 g soils collected from the same plots and incubated in microcosms for 270 days. We found that increased litter input strongly stimulated litter decomposition rate and CO2 release in both control and N fertilization microcosms, though reduced soil microbial biomass C (MBC) and dissolved inorganic N (DIN) concentration. Carbon input (C loss from litter decomposition) and carbon output (the cumulative C loss due to respiration) elevated with increasing litter input in both control and N fertilization microcosms. However, soil C loss potentials (C output–C input) reduced by 62% in control microcosms and 111% in N fertilization microcosms when litter addition increased from 1 g to 4 g, respectively. Our results indicated that increased litter input had a potential to suppress soil organic C loss especially for N addition plots. PMID:26657180

  13. PAHs in decaying Quercus ilex leaf litter: mutual effects on litter decomposition and PAH dynamics.

    PubMed

    De Nicola, F; Baldantoni, D; Alfani, A

    2014-11-01

    The investigation of the relationships between litter decomposition and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is important to shed light not only on the effects of these pollutants on fundamental ecosystem processes, such as litter decomposition, but also on the degradation of these pollutants by soil microbial community. This allows to understand the effect of atmospheric PAH contamination on soil PAH content via litterfall. At this aim, we studied mass and PAH dynamics of Quercus ilex leaf litters collected from urban, industrial and remote sites, incubated in mesocosms under controlled conditions for 361d. The results highlighted a litter decomposition rate of leaves sampled in urban>industrial>remote sites; the faster decomposition of litter of the urban site is also related to the low C/N ratio of the leaves. The PAHs showed concentrations at the beginning of the incubation of 887, 650 and 143 ng g(-1)d.w., respectively in leaf litters from urban, industrial and remote sites. The PAHs in litter decreased along the time, with the same trend observed for mass litter, showing the highest decrease at 361 d for the urban leaf litter. Anyway, PAH dynamics in all the litters exhibited two phases of loss, separated by a PAH increase observed at 246 d and mainly linked to benzo[e]pyrene.

  14. Study on Hydrological Functions of Litter Layers in North China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Xiang; Niu, Jianzhi; Xie, Baoyuan

    2013-01-01

    Canopy interception, throughfall, stemflow, and runoff have received considerable attention during the study of water balance and hydrological processes in forested ecosystems. Past research has either neglected or underestimated the role of hydrological functions of litter layers, although some studies have considered the impact of various characteristics of rainfall and litter on litter interception. Based on both simulated rainfall and litter conditions in North China, the effect of litter mass, rainfall intensity and litter type on the maximum water storage capacity of litter (S) and litter interception storage capacity (C) were investigated under five simulated rainfall intensities and four litter masses for two litter types. The results indicated: 1) the S values increased linearly with litter mass, and the S values of broadleaf litter were on average 2.65 times larger than the S values of needle leaf litter; 2) rainfall intensity rather than litter mass determined the maximum interception storage capacity (Cmax); Cmax increased linearly with increasing rainfall intensity; by contrast, the minimum interception storage capacity (Cmin) showed a linear relationship with litter mass, but a poor correlation with rainfall intensity; 3) litter type impacted Cmax and Cmin; the values of Cmax and Cmin for broadleaf litter were larger than those of needle leaf litter, which indicated that broadleaf litter could intercepte and store more water than needle leaf litter; 4) a gap existed between Cmax and Cmin, indicating that litter played a significant role by allowing rainwater to infiltrate or to produce runoff rather than intercepting it and allowing it to evaporate after the rainfall event; 5) Cmin was always less than S at the same litter mass, which should be considered in future interception predictions. Vegetation and precipitation characteristics played important roles in hydrological characteristics. PMID:23936188

  15. Antibiotic resistance of bacterial litter isolates.

    PubMed

    Kelley, T R; Pancorbo, O C; Merka, W C; Barnhart, H M

    1998-02-01

    Use of antibiotics in subtherapeutic doses as growth-promoting feed additives for animal production is widespread in the U.S. and throughout the world. Previous studies by our research group concluded that size fractionation of poultry (broiler) litter followed by storage facilitated reutilization of litter as a soil amendment or bedding supplement. However, litter microbial contamination, including antibiotic-resistant populations, and accumulation of metals and other elements may limit litter reutilization. Litter from four broiler houses was separated into a fine fraction for use as a soil amendment, and a coarse fraction for reutilization as a bedding supplement in growing subsequent flocks of broilers. Fractions and whole litter were stored in indoor piles simulating farm storage conditions for 4 mo with periodic analysis for metals, other elements, and culturable bacteria (including total and fecal coliform, Aeromonas hydrophila, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Campylobacter jejuni). Representative bacterial isolates were tested for their sensitivity to 12 common antibiotics (ampicillin, bacitracin, cephalothin, erythromycin, gentamicin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, neomycin, penicillin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline) using the Kirby-Bauer technique. Pathogens and indicator bacteria tested were found to be resistant to multiple antibiotics. Data suggest that microbial contamination of litter should be reduced or eliminated prior to reutilization to minimize environmental health risks related to transfer of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to humans or other animals. PMID:9495488

  16. Treatment of broiler litter with organic acids.

    PubMed

    Ivanov, I E

    2001-04-01

    Experiments for treatment of contaminated broiler litter with citric, tartaric and salicylic acids were performed. At days 2 and 6 after the treatment, pH values (using a pH-meter), the ammonia concentrations (titration with 0.1 N HCl) and the microbial cells counts were determined in both experimental and control specimens of litter. The cost of acidification of litter was also determined. Our studies showed that the treatment of the contaminated litter with 5 per cent citric acid, 4 per cent tartaric acid and 1.5 per cent salicylic acid created an acid medium with pH under 5.0 and thus reduced the microbial counts to 2.2 x 10(3)colony forming units per gram manure litter. The treatment reduced the content of ammonia in the litter and in the air under the hygienic limits, i.e. 25-50 ppm. The cost of acidification of litter with these organic acids amounted to 0.1 $ per bird and 1.5 $ per 15 birds on one square metre in a growth period of 50 days. PMID:11356097

  17. Affective Dimensions of Participatory Design Research in Informal Learning Environments: Placemaking, Belonging, and Correspondence

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ehret, Christian; Hollett, Ty

    2016-01-01

    This article argues that current approaches to participatory design research (PDR) risk eliding the affective life of making educational change by locating change in cultural mediation alone. Locating change only in mediation subordinates affect, potentially overlooking lived dimensions of learning and being essential to lasting, transformative…

  18. Safe Science Facilities: Reviewing Factors that Affect Classroom Environment, Curriculum, and Safety

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Texley, Juliana

    2005-01-01

    Science teachers often have two different curricula--the ideal framework on paper and the real, day-to-day instructional program that occurs in the classroom. A number of factors can affect how much of that ideal framework is accomplished. For example, how a facility is designed and how space is used can affect student achievement, classroom…

  19. Examining the Factors Affecting Student Dropout in an Online Learning Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yukselturk, Erman; Inan, Fethi Ahmet

    2006-01-01

    This study examined the factors affecting student dropouts in an online certificate program. In this research, a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was used. Online Course Dropout Survey was developed and used to determine which factors affect student attrition from the program. The dropout survey was sent by e-mail to 98 students…

  20. Contrasting effects of hemiparasites on ecosystem processes: can positive litter effects offset the negative effects of parasitism?

    PubMed Central

    Suding, Katharine N.

    2010-01-01

    Hemiparasites are known to influence community structure and ecosystem functioning, but the underlying mechanisms are not well studied. Variation in the impacts of hemiparasites on diversity and production could be due to the difference in the relative strength of two interacting pathways: direct negative effects of parasitism and positive effects on N availability via litter. Strong effects of parasitism should result in substantial changes in diversity and declines in productivity. Conversely, strong litter effects should result in minor changes in diversity and increased productivity. We conducted field-based surveys to determine the association of Castillejaoccidentalis with diversity and productivity in the alpine tundra. To examine litter effects, we compared the decomposition of Castilleja litter with litter of four other abundant plant species, and examined the decomposition of those four species when mixed with Castilleja. Castilleja was associated with minor changes in diversity but almost a twofold increase in productivity and greater foliar N in co-occurring species. Our decomposition trials suggest litter effects are due to both the rapid N loss of Castilleja litter and the effects of mixing Castilleja litter with co-occurring species. Castilleja produces litter that accelerates decomposition in the alpine tundra, which could accelerate the slow N cycle and boost productivity. We speculate that these positive effects of litter outweigh the effects of parasitism in nutrient-poor systems with long-lived hemiparasites. Determining the relative importance of parasitism and litter effects of this functional group is crucial to understand the strong but variable roles hemiparasites play in affecting community structure and ecosystem processes. PMID:20658151

  1. Facilitation and predation structure a grassland detrital food web: the responses of soil nematodes to isopod processing of litter.

    PubMed

    Bastow, Justin L

    2011-09-01

    1. Detritus can support successive consumers, whose interactions may be structured by changes in the condition of their shared resource. One model of such species interactions is a processing chain, in which consumers feeding on the resource in a less processed state change the resource condition for subsequent consumers. 2. In a series of experiments, the hypothesis was tested that a common detritivore, the terrestrial isopod Porcellio scaber, affects soil nematodes through the processing of plant litter. Different detrital resources were added to soil from a California coastal prairie in order to simulate litter processing by the detritivore. Treatments that included only whole grass litter corresponded to detrital food webs lacking detritivores, while treatments that included mixtures of P. scaber faeces and grass litter corresponded to different densities or feeding rates of P. scaber. 3. Simulated litter processing by P. scaber increased the abundance of bacterivorous nematodes by between 32% and 202% after 24-44 days in laboratory experiments, but had no effect on fungivorous or predaceous nematodes. 4. In a subsequent field experiment, however, fungivorous nematodes were suppressed by isopod litter processing while bacterivores showed no response. Instead, P. scaber processing of litter increased the abundance of predaceous nematodes in the field experiment by 176%. 5. When simulated litter processing of litter was crossed in laboratory experiments with predaceous nematode addition (comparable to the response of predators in the field experiment), the abundance of bacterivores was increased by isopod processing of litter (by an average of 122%), but suppressed by elevated densities of predaceous nematodes (by an average of 41%). 6. This suggests that litter processing by P. scaber facilitates the bacterial channel of the soil food web, but that predaceous nematodes suppress the response of bacterivores in the field. Processing chain interactions may

  2. Experimental study of terrestrial plant litter interaction with aqueous solutions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fraysse, F.; Pokrovsky, O. S.; Meunier, J.-D.

    2010-01-01

    Quantification of silicon and calcium recycling by plants is hampered by the lack of physico-chemical data on reactivity of plant litter in soil environments. We applied a laboratory experimental approach for determining the silica and calcium release rates from litter of typical temperate and boreal plants: pine ( Pinus laricio), birch ( Betula pubescens), larch ( Larix gmelinii), elm ( Ulmus laevis Pall.), tree fern ( Dicksonia squarrosa), and horsetail (Equisetum arvense) in 0.01 M NaCl solutions, pH of 2-10 and temperature equals to 5, 25 and 40 °C. Open system, mixed-flow reactors equipped with dialysis compartment and batch reactors were used. Comparative measurements were performed on intact larch needles and samples grounded during different time, sterilized or not and with addition or not of sodium azide in order to account for the effect of surface to mass ratio and possible microbiological activity on the litter dissolution rates. Litter degradation results suggest that the silica release rate is independent on dissolved organic carbon release (cell breakdown) which implies the presence of phytoliths in a pure "inorganic" pool not complexed with organic matter. Calcium and DOC are released at the very first stage of litter dissolution while Si concentration increases gradually suggesting the presence of Ca and Si in two different pools. The dry-weight normalized dissolution rate at circum-neutral pH range (approx. 1-10 μmol/g DW/day) is 2 orders of magnitude higher than the rates of Si release from common soil minerals (kaolinite, smectite, illite). Minimal Ca release rates evaluated from batch and mixed-flow reactors are comparable with those of most reactive soil minerals such as calcite and apatite, and several orders of magnitude higher than the dissolution rates of major rock-forming silicates (feldspars, pyroxenes). The activation energy for Si liberation from plant litter is approx. 50 kJ/mol which is comparable with that of surface

  3. Influence of pig substitution on milk yield, litter weights, and milk composition of machine milked sows.

    PubMed

    Garst, A S; Ball, S F; Williams, B L; Wood, C M; Knight, J W; Moll, H D; Aardema, C H; Gwazdauskas, F C

    1999-07-01

    This study was conducted to 1) determine milk yield of sows that were machine milked up to four times daily; 2) determine the effect of pig substitution on milk yield; 3) assess litter weight changes for sows that are milked; and 4) determine milk composition. Eight sows were milked four times daily to d 51 postpartum. Sows either maintained their own litter or had a week-old replacement litter to replace 25-d-old pigs. Individual gland milk yields were obtained on random days throughout lactation, and different diameter and weighted teat cups were rotated so that all glands received all combinations. Composite milk samples were analyzed for fat, protein, and somatic cells. Milk yields peaked at about 19 d postpartum and declined to 45 d postpartum in sows with their own litter, whereas milk yields peaked earlier and had a more dramatic decline after fostering of a younger litter. Litter weights were 17.1 +/- 1.0 kg at farrowing with 13.6 +/- .6 pigs born alive. Final litter weights were 34.4 +/- 11.7 kg for sows with replacement litters and 74.4 +/- 13.5 kg for sows with their own litters, and numbers of pigs weaned were 6.5 +/- 1.3 and 9.7 +/- 1.5, respectively. Milk fat was influenced by route of oxytocin administration (6.53 +/- .12 for i.v. vs 7.21 +/- .19% for i.m. administration; P < .05). Milk fat percentage was highest on d 2 and declined to 13 d postpartum. Milk protein was influenced by time of day of milking (lowest at the fourth milking, 5.57 +/- .11%) and followed a pattern similar to that for milk fat. Milk protein was affected in a linear manner by milk yield, with highest protein associated with lowest milk yields. Somatic cells in milk were influenced by litter replacement (P < .05) and oxytocin administration (P < .01). There was a linear increase in somatic cells from about 8 x 10(6) cells/mL milk at d 2 to more than 12 x 10(6) cells/mL milk at d 51 postpartum. These results show that pig replacement affects the amount of milk obtained. Moreover

  4. Variability of above-ground litter inputs alters soil physicochemical and biological processes: a meta-analysis of litterfall-manipulation experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, S.; Liu, L. L.; Sayer, E. J.

    2013-11-01

    Global change has been shown to alter the amount of above-ground litter inputs to soil greatly, which could cause substantial cascading effects on below-ground biogeochemical cycling. Despite extensive study, there is uncertainty about how changes in above-ground litter inputs affect soil carbon and nutrient turnover and transformation. Here, we conducted a meta-analysis on 70 litter-manipulation experiments in order to assess how changes in above-ground litter inputs alter soil physicochemical properties, carbon dynamics and nutrient cycles. Our results demonstrated that litter removal decreased soil respiration by 34%, microbial biomass carbon in the mineral soil by 39% and total carbon in the mineral soil by 10%, whereas litter addition increased them by 31, 26 and 10%, respectively. This suggests that greater litter inputs increase the soil carbon sink despite higher rates of carbon release and transformation. Total nitrogen and extractable inorganic nitrogen in the mineral soil decreased by 17 and 30%, respectively, under litter removal, but were not altered by litter addition. Overall, litter manipulation had a significant impact upon soil temperature and moisture, but not soil pH; litter inputs were more crucial in buffering soil temperature and moisture fluctuations in grassland than in forest. Compared to other ecosystems, tropical and subtropical forests were more sensitive to variation in litter inputs, as altered litter inputs affected the turnover and accumulation of soil carbon and nutrients more substantially over a shorter time period. Our study demonstrates that although the magnitude of responses differed greatly among ecosystems, the direction of the responses was very similar across different ecosystems. Interactions between plant productivity and below-ground biogeochemical cycling need to be taken into account to predict ecosystem responses to environmental change.

  5. Influence of early pregnancy on reproductive rate in lines of mice selected for litter size.

    PubMed

    Eisen, E J

    1980-09-01

    The influence of male-induced early puberty on female reproductive rate was determined in three lines of mice differing in litter size and body weight. The lines originated from a single base population and had undergone 20 generations of selection for the following criteria: large litter size at birth (L(+)), large litter size and small 6-week body weight (L(+)W(-)), or small litter size and large 6-week body weight (L(-)W(+)). Females were paired with a mature intact male of the same line at 3, 5 or 7 weeks of age. Mean mating age, averaged over lines, was 26.5 ± .3, 38.3 ± .3 and 52.7 ± .3 days. Exposure to a mature male accelerated female sexual maturation in each line. When contrasted with their sibs mated at a later age, early-pregnant females from each line exhibited a decline in one or more component of reproductive performance, suggesting that the physiological state of the very young female was not optimum for normal pregnancy. In comparisons of early and later mating ages, all three lines showed a decreased littering rate at first mating, number born alive, and individual birth weight of progeny adjusted for litter size; L(+) and L(+)W(-) mice showed an increased perinatal mortality rate; L(+) and L(-)W(+) had a reduction in litter size at birth. When the L(+), L(+)W(-) and L(-)W(+) lines were compared with an unselected strain and a line selected for high postweaning gain in similar experiments, a genotype by environment interaction was apparent since all lines did not respond in a similar manner to early mating. The line ranking for litter size at birth for each age at male-exposure was L(+)>L(+)W(-)>L(-)W(+), despite the significant line by age interaction. When litter size was adjusted by covariance for body weight at mating, the significant effects of age at male-exposure and line by age interaction were eliminated. All fertile females were remated after they had weaned their first litter to obtain information on litter size in parity two. Line

  6. Sunlight affects aggregation and deposition of graphene oxide in the aquatic environment.

    EPA Science Inventory

    In this study, we investigate the role of simulated sunlight on the physicochemical properties, aggregation, and deposition of graphene oxide (GO) in aquatic environments. Results show that light exposure under varied environmental conditions significantly impacts the physicochem...

  7. An implement for subsurface band application of poultry litter

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Broiler litter is commonly used as a fertilizer on pastures and cropland. Poultry litter is typically land-applied by broadcasting the litter on the soil surface. Rain falling on soil to which poultry litter has been applied, may carry phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) nutrients from the soil into s...

  8. Effects of Chicken Litter Storage Time and Ammonia Content on Thermal Resistance of Desiccation-Adapted Salmonella spp.

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Zhao; Wang, Hongye; Ionita, Claudia; Luo, Feng

    2015-01-01

    Broiler chicken litter was kept as a stacked heap on a poultry farm, and samples were collected up to 9 months of storage. Chicken litter inoculated with desiccation-adapted Salmonella cells was heat-treated at 75, 80, 85, and 150°C. Salmonella populations decreased in all these samples during heat treatment, and the inactivation rates became lower in chicken litter when storage time was extended from 0 to 6 months. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in thermal resistance of Salmonella in 6- and 9-month litter samples, indicating that a threshold for thermal resistance was reached after 6 months. Overall, the thermal resistance of Salmonella in chicken litter was affected by the storage time of the litter. The changes in some chemical, physical, and microbiological properties during storage could possibly contribute to this difference. Moisture and ammonia could be two of the most significant factors influencing the thermal resistance of Salmonella cells in chicken litter. Our results emphasize the importance of adjusting time and temperature conditions for heat processing chicken litter when it is removed from the chicken house at different time intervals. PMID:26209673

  9. Effects of Chicken Litter Storage Time and Ammonia Content on Thermal Resistance of Desiccation-Adapted Salmonella spp.

    PubMed

    Chen, Zhao; Wang, Hongye; Ionita, Claudia; Luo, Feng; Jiang, Xiuping

    2015-10-01

    Broiler chicken litter was kept as a stacked heap on a poultry farm, and samples were collected up to 9 months of storage. Chicken litter inoculated with desiccation-adapted Salmonella cells was heat-treated at 75, 80, 85, and 150°C. Salmonella populations decreased in all these samples during heat treatment, and the inactivation rates became lower in chicken litter when storage time was extended from 0 to 6 months. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in thermal resistance of Salmonella in 6- and 9-month litter samples, indicating that a threshold for thermal resistance was reached after 6 months. Overall, the thermal resistance of Salmonella in chicken litter was affected by the storage time of the litter. The changes in some chemical, physical, and microbiological properties during storage could possibly contribute to this difference. Moisture and ammonia could be two of the most significant factors influencing the thermal resistance of Salmonella cells in chicken litter. Our results emphasize the importance of adjusting time and temperature conditions for heat processing chicken litter when it is removed from the chicken house at different time intervals.

  10. Detection and quantification of ionophore antibiotics in runoff, soil and poultry litter.

    PubMed

    Sun, Peizhe; Barmaz, Delphine; Cabrera, Miguel L; Pavlostathis, Spyros G; Huang, Ching-Hua

    2013-10-18

    Ionophore antibiotics (IPAs) are widely used as coccidiostats in poultry and other livestock industries to promote growth and prevent infections. Because most of the ingested IPAs are excreted in poultry litter, which is primarily applied as grassland fertilizer, a significant amount of IPAs can be released into the litter-soil-water environment. A robust analytical method has been developed to quantify IPAs (monensin (MON), salinomycin (SAL) and narasin (NAR)) in complex environmental compartments including surface runoff, soil and poultry litter, with success to minimize matrix interference. The method for water samples involves solid-phase extraction (SPE) followed by liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) post-clean up steps. The method for solid samples involves bi-solvent LLE. IPAs were detected by HPLC-MS, with optimized parameters to achieve the highest sensitivity. Nigericin (NIG), an IPA not used in livestock industry, is successfully applied and validated as a surrogate standard. The method recoveries were at 92-95% and 81-85% in runoff samples from unfertilized and litter-fertilized fields, respectively. For solids, the method recoveries were at 93-99% in soils, and 79-83% in poultry litter samples. SAL was detected at up to 22mg/kg and MON and NAR at up to 4mg/kg in broiler litter from different farms. Up to 183μg/kg of MON was detected in litter-fertilized soils. All three IPAs were detected in the rainfall runoff from litter-fertilized lands at concentrations up to 9μg/L.

  11. Genotype-environment interactions affecting preflowering physiological and morphological traits of Brassica rapa grown in two watering regimes.

    PubMed

    El-Soda, Mohamed; Boer, Martin P; Bagheri, Hedayat; Hanhart, Corrie J; Koornneef, Maarten; Aarts, Mark G M

    2014-02-01

    Plant growth and productivity are greatly affected by drought, which is likely to become more threatening with the predicted global temperature increase. Understanding the genetic architecture of complex quantitative traits and their interaction with water availability may lead to improved crop adaptation to a wide range of environments. Here, the genetic basis of 20 physiological and morphological traits is explored by describing plant performance and growth in a Brassica rapa recombinant inbred line (RIL) population grown on a sandy substrate supplemented with nutrient solution, under control and drought conditions. Altogether, 54 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified, of which many colocated in 11 QTL clusters. Seventeen QTL showed significant QTL-environment interaction (Q×E), indicating genetic variation for phenotypic plasticity. Of the measured traits, only hypocotyl length did not show significant genotype-environment interaction (G×E) in both environments in all experiments. Correlation analysis showed that, in the control environment, stomatal conductance was positively correlated with total leaf dry weight (DW) and aboveground DW, whereas in the drought environment, stomatal conductance showed a significant negative correlation with total leaf DW and aboveground DW. This correlation was explained by antagonistic fitness effects in the drought environment, controlled by a QTL cluster on chromosome A7. These results demonstrate that Q×E is an important component of the genetic variance and can play a great role in improving drought tolerance in future breeding programmes.

  12. Genotype-environment interactions affecting preflowering physiological and morphological traits of Brassica rapa grown in two watering regimes.

    PubMed

    El-Soda, Mohamed; Boer, Martin P; Bagheri, Hedayat; Hanhart, Corrie J; Koornneef, Maarten; Aarts, Mark G M

    2014-02-01

    Plant growth and productivity are greatly affected by drought, which is likely to become more threatening with the predicted global temperature increase. Understanding the genetic architecture of complex quantitative traits and their interaction with water availability may lead to improved crop adaptation to a wide range of environments. Here, the genetic basis of 20 physiological and morphological traits is explored by describing plant performance and growth in a Brassica rapa recombinant inbred line (RIL) population grown on a sandy substrate supplemented with nutrient solution, under control and drought conditions. Altogether, 54 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified, of which many colocated in 11 QTL clusters. Seventeen QTL showed significant QTL-environment interaction (Q×E), indicating genetic variation for phenotypic plasticity. Of the measured traits, only hypocotyl length did not show significant genotype-environment interaction (G×E) in both environments in all experiments. Correlation analysis showed that, in the control environment, stomatal conductance was positively correlated with total leaf dry weight (DW) and aboveground DW, whereas in the drought environment, stomatal conductance showed a significant negative correlation with total leaf DW and aboveground DW. This correlation was explained by antagonistic fitness effects in the drought environment, controlled by a QTL cluster on chromosome A7. These results demonstrate that Q×E is an important component of the genetic variance and can play a great role in improving drought tolerance in future breeding programmes. PMID:24474811

  13. Genotype–environment interactions affecting preflowering physiological and morphological traits of Brassica rapa grown in two watering regimes

    PubMed Central

    Aarts, Mark G. M.

    2014-01-01

    Plant growth and productivity are greatly affected by drought, which is likely to become more threatening with the predicted global temperature increase. Understanding the genetic architecture of complex quantitative traits and their interaction with water availability may lead to improved crop adaptation to a wide range of environments. Here, the genetic basis of 20 physiological and morphological traits is explored by describing plant performance and growth in a Brassica rapa recombinant inbred line (RIL) population grown on a sandy substrate supplemented with nutrient solution, under control and drought conditions. Altogether, 54 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified, of which many colocated in 11 QTL clusters. Seventeen QTL showed significant QTL–environment interaction (Q×E), indicating genetic variation for phenotypic plasticity. Of the measured traits, only hypocotyl length did not show significant genotype–environment interaction (G×E) in both environments in all experiments. Correlation analysis showed that, in the control environment, stomatal conductance was positively correlated with total leaf dry weight (DW) and aboveground DW, whereas in the drought environment, stomatal conductance showed a significant negative correlation with total leaf DW and aboveground DW. This correlation was explained by antagonistic fitness effects in the drought environment, controlled by a QTL cluster on chromosome A7. These results demonstrate that Q×E is an important component of the genetic variance and can play a great role in improving drought tolerance in future breeding programmes. PMID:24474811

  14. Climate change effects on macrofaunal litter decomposition: the interplay of temperature, body masses and stoichiometry.

    PubMed

    Ott, David; Rall, Björn C; Brose, Ulrich

    2012-11-01

    Macrofauna invertebrates of forest floors provide important functions in the decomposition process of soil organic matter, which is affected by the nutrient stoichiometry of the leaf litter. Climate change effects on forest ecosystems include warming and decreasing litter quality (e.g. higher C : nutrient ratios) induced by higher atmospheric CO(2) concentrations. While litter-bag experiments unravelled separate effects, a mechanistic understanding of how interactions between temperature and litter stoichiometry are driving decomposition rates is lacking. In a laboratory experiment, we filled this void by quantifying decomposer consumption rates analogous to predator-prey functional responses that include the mechanistic parameters handling time and attack rate. Systematically, we varied the body masses of isopods, the environmental temperature and the resource between poor (hornbeam) and good quality (ash). We found that attack rates increased and handling times decreased (i) with body masses and (ii) temperature. Interestingly, these relationships interacted with litter quality: small isopods possibly avoided the poorer resource, whereas large isopods exhibited increased, compensatory feeding of the poorer resource, which may be explained by their higher metabolic demands. The combination of metabolic theory and ecological stoichiometry provided critically important mechanistic insights into how warming and varying litter quality may modify macrofaunal decomposition rates.

  15. Climate change effects on macrofaunal litter decomposition: the interplay of temperature, body masses and stoichiometry.

    PubMed

    Ott, David; Rall, Björn C; Brose, Ulrich

    2012-11-01

    Macrofauna invertebrates of forest floors provide important functions in the decomposition process of soil organic matter, which is affected by the nutrient stoichiometry of the leaf litter. Climate change effects on forest ecosystems include warming and decreasing litter quality (e.g. higher C : nutrient ratios) induced by higher atmospheric CO(2) concentrations. While litter-bag experiments unravelled separate effects, a mechanistic understanding of how interactions between temperature and litter stoichiometry are driving decomposition rates is lacking. In a laboratory experiment, we filled this void by quantifying decomposer consumption rates analogous to predator-prey functional responses that include the mechanistic parameters handling time and attack rate. Systematically, we varied the body masses of isopods, the environmental temperature and the resource between poor (hornbeam) and good quality (ash). We found that attack rates increased and handling times decreased (i) with body masses and (ii) temperature. Interestingly, these relationships interacted with litter quality: small isopods possibly avoided the poorer resource, whereas large isopods exhibited increased, compensatory feeding of the poorer resource, which may be explained by their higher metabolic demands. The combination of metabolic theory and ecological stoichiometry provided critically important mechanistic insights into how warming and varying litter quality may modify macrofaunal decomposition rates. PMID:23007091

  16. Exploring relationships between the use of affect in science instruction and the pressures of a high-stakes testing environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jerome, Diane C.

    This study explored how science teachers and school administrators perceive the use of the affective domain during science instruction situated within a high-stakes testing environment. Through a multimethodological inquiry using phenomenology and critical ethnography, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with six fifth-grade science teachers and two administrators from two Texas school districts. Data reconstructions from interviews formed a bricolage of diagrams that trace the researcher's steps through a reflective exploration of these phenomena. This study addressed the following research questions: (a) What are the attitudes, interests, and values (affective domain) that fifth-grade science teachers integrate into science instruction? (b) How do fifth-grade science teachers attempt to integrate attitudes, interests and values (affective domain) in science instruction? and (c) How do fifth-grade science teachers manage to balance the tension from the seeming pressures caused by a high-stakes testing environment and the integration of attitudes, interests and values (affective domain) in science instruction? The findings from this study indicate that as teachers tried to integrate the affective domain during science instruction, (a) their work was set within a framework of institutional values, (b) teaching science for understanding looked different before and after the onset of the science Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), and (c) upon administration of the science TAKS---teachers broadened their aim, raised their expectations, and furthered their professional development. The integration of the affective domain fell into two distinct categories: 1) teachers targeted student affect and 2) teachers modeled affective behavior.

  17. Effects of litter position on mass loss and nitrogen release in the semiarid Patagonian steppe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Austin, A. T.

    2007-05-01

    The patchy distribution of vegetation in arid and semiarid ecosystems results in a mosaic of microsites of soil properties and variable abiotic conditions, including the well-documented "islands of fertility", low nutrient conditions in exposed bare soil and large amounts of standing dead material. I evaluated the relative importance of litter position on mass loss and nutrient release in a variety of realistic litter positions both in vegetated, unvegetated, aerial and buried microsites in a natural semiarid steppe in Patagonia, Argentina. Position demonstrated a highly significant effect on mass loss for all litter types (P<0.0001), but surprisingly, the fastest decomposition occurred in litter that was suspended in aerial positions or buried (k=0.25 and 0.32 year-1, respectively), intermediate values for mass loss of litter in bare soil and in shrub removal patches (k=0.21 and 0.24 year-1, respectively), and markedly slowest decomposition occurring under shrub patches (k = 0.018 year-1). In contrast, nutrient release showed a very different pattern with nutrient immobilization occurring only in shrub and buried microsites while all other positions demonstrated a gradual decrease in nitrogen over time. These results support the idea that abiotic photodegradation may be an important driver affecting carbon losses in litter in positions exposed to solar radiation, while nutrient dynamics appear to be largely biotically mediated and concentrated in photoprotected areas where biotic activity dominates. Global change may differentially affect carbon and nutrient turnover due to the relative importance of abiotic and biotic factors affecting litter decomposition in semiarid ecosystems.

  18. Leaf litter resource quality induces morphological changes in wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) metamorphs.

    PubMed

    Stoler, Aaron B; Stephens, Jeffrey P; Relyea, Rick A; Berven, Keith A; Tiegs, Scott D

    2015-11-01

    For organisms that exhibit complex life cycles, resource conditions experienced by individuals before metamorphosis can strongly affect phenotypes later in life. Such resource-induced effects are known to arise from variation in resource quantity, yet little is known regarding effects stemming from variation in resource quality (e.g., chemistry). For larval anurans, we hypothesized that variation in resource quality will induce a gradient of effects on metamorph morphology. We conducted an outdoor mesocosm experiment in which we manipulated resource quality by rearing larval wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) under 11 leaf litter treatments. The litter species represented plant species found in open- and closed-canopy wetlands and included many plant species of current conservation concern (e.g., green ash, common reed). Consistent with our hypothesis, we found a gradient of responses for nearly all mass-adjusted morphological dimensions. Hindlimb dimensions and gut mass were positively associated with litter nutrient content and decomposition rate. In contrast, forelimb length and head width were positively associated with concentrations of phenolic acids and dissolved organic carbon. Limb lengths and widths were positively related with the duration of larval period, and we discuss possible hormonal mechanisms underlying this relationship. There were very few, broad differences in morphological traits of metamorphs between open- and closed-canopy litter species or between litter and no-litter treatments. This suggests that the effects of litter on metamorph morphology are litter species-specific, indicating that the effects of changing plant community structure in and around wetlands will largely depend on plant species composition. PMID:26188520

  19. Leaf litter resource quality induces morphological changes in wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) metamorphs.

    PubMed

    Stoler, Aaron B; Stephens, Jeffrey P; Relyea, Rick A; Berven, Keith A; Tiegs, Scott D

    2015-11-01

    For organisms that exhibit complex life cycles, resource conditions experienced by individuals before metamorphosis can strongly affect phenotypes later in life. Such resource-induced effects are known to arise from variation in resource quantity, yet little is known regarding effects stemming from variation in resource quality (e.g., chemistry). For larval anurans, we hypothesized that variation in resource quality will induce a gradient of effects on metamorph morphology. We conducted an outdoor mesocosm experiment in which we manipulated resource quality by rearing larval wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) under 11 leaf litter treatments. The litter species represented plant species found in open- and closed-canopy wetlands and included many plant species of current conservation concern (e.g., green ash, common reed). Consistent with our hypothesis, we found a gradient of responses for nearly all mass-adjusted morphological dimensions. Hindlimb dimensions and gut mass were positively associated with litter nutrient content and decomposition rate. In contrast, forelimb length and head width were positively associated with concentrations of phenolic acids and dissolved organic carbon. Limb lengths and widths were positively related with the duration of larval period, and we discuss possible hormonal mechanisms underlying this relationship. There were very few, broad differences in morphological traits of metamorphs between open- and closed-canopy litter species or between litter and no-litter treatments. This suggests that the effects of litter on metamorph morphology are litter species-specific, indicating that the effects of changing plant community structure in and around wetlands will largely depend on plant species composition.

  20. Factors Controlling Decomposition Rates of Fine Root Litter in Temperate Forests and Grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solly, E.; Schöning, I.; Trumbore, S.; Michalzik, B.; Schrumpf, M.

    2013-12-01

    Fine root decomposition contributes significantly to biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Recent studies suggest that root litter is stabilized preferentially compared to shoot litter, contributing in high amounts to soil organic matter. Land use and management may affect root litter decomposition through changes in plant species composition, effects on the decomposer community and differences in soil nutrient availability. We established a large scale root litter decomposition study in three German study regions using a combination of litterbags deployed in forest and grassland sites under different management and soil types. In all three study regions, we compared site-level differences in decomposition by deploying bags containing standardized forest litter in a total of 150 forest plots (50 in each of the three study regions). Bags with standardized grass litter, which had lower lignin content and lignin:N than standardized forest root litter, were similarly distributed across 50 grassland sites in each of the three regions. Standardized fine grass roots decomposed on average faster 23.5 × 6.3% compared to forest roots 11.7 × 4.4% (p < 0.001) when deployed in their respective land use. Fine root decomposition of standardized litter was affected by study region with higher mass losses in northern Germany followed by mass loss rates in central and southern Germany (p < 0.05). Given the standardized litter chemistry, these differences mainly reflect the influence of climate and soil differences between study regions. Within the central German region (Hainich-Dün), we also compared rates of mass loss of root litter collected on-site as part of a second, parallel litterbag deployment to tease apart the influences of litter quality from other factors (such as soil properties and climate) that affect mass loss rates. Despite differences in the initial fine root litter quality, the average mass lost during 12 months for on-site litter was similar to

  1. Volatile organic compounds from leaves litter.

    PubMed

    Isidorov, Valery; Jdanova, Maria

    2002-09-01

    Qualitative composition of volatile emissions of litter of five species of deciduous trees was investigated by GC-MS. The list of identified substances contains more than 70 organic compounds of various classes. It was established that the composition of components emitted by the litter into the gas phase greatly differs from that of essential oils extracted by hydrodistillation from turned leaves collected from trees during fall. It is suggested that most compounds found in litter emissions are products of vital activity of microorganisms decomposing it. The reported data indicate that after the vegetative period is over the decomposition processes of litter are important seasonal sources of reactive organic compounds under the forest canopy.

  2. Can't See the Wood for the Litter: Evaluation of Litter Behavior Modification in a Forest

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lindemann-Matthies, Petra; Bonigk, Isabel; Benkowitz, Dorothee

    2012-01-01

    This study investigated elementary school children's (n = 171) litter behavior during guided forest tours following two different treatments. Four classes received a verbal appeal not to litter in the forest, while another four classes received both a verbal appeal and a demonstration of the desired litter behavior (picking up litter, putting it…

  3. High-frequency fire alters C : N : P stoichiometry in forest litter.

    PubMed

    Toberman, Hannah; Chen, Chengrong; Lewis, Tom; Elser, James J

    2014-07-01

    Fire is a major driver of ecosystem change and can disproportionately affect the cycling of different nutrients. Thus, a stoichiometric approach to investigate the relationships between nutrient availability and microbial resource use during decomposition is likely to provide insight into the effects of fire on ecosystem functioning. We conducted a field litter bag experiment to investigate the long-term impact of repeated fire on the stoichiometry of leaf litter C, N and P pools, and nutrient-acquiring enzyme activities during decomposition in a wet sclerophyll eucalypt forest in Queensland, Australia. Fire frequency treatments have been maintained since 1972, including burning every 2 years (2yrB), burning every 4 years (4 yrB) and no burning (NB). C : N ratios in freshly fallen litter were 29-42% higher and C : P ratios were 6-25% lower for 2 yrB than NB during decomposition, with correspondingly lower 2yrB N : P ratios (27-32) than for NB (34-49). Trends in litter soluble and microbial N : P ratios were similar to the overall litter N : P ratios across fire treatments. Consistent with these, the ratio of activities for N-acquiring to P-acquiring enzymes in litter was higher for 2 yrB than NB, whereas 4 yrB was generally intermediate between 2 yrB and NB. Decomposition rates of freshly fallen litter were significantly lower for 2 yrB (72 ± 2% mass remaining at the end of experiment) than for 4 yrB (59 ± 3%) and NB (62 ± 3%), a difference that may be related to effects of N limitation, lower moisture content, and/or litter C quality. Results for older mixed-age litter were similar to those for freshly fallen litter although treatment differences were less pronounced. Overall, these findings show that frequent fire (2 yrB) decoupled N and P cycling, as manifested in litter C : N : P stoichiometry and in microbial biomass N : P ratio and enzymatic activities. Furthermore, these data indicate that fire induced a transient shift to N-limited ecosystem conditions

  4. Enhanced solid waste management by understanding the effects of gender, income, marital status, and religious convictions on attitudes and practices related to street littering in Nablus - Palestinian territory.

    PubMed

    Al-Khatib, Issam A; Arafat, Hassan A; Daoud, Raeda; Shwahneh, Hadeel

    2009-01-01

    Litter is recognized as a form of street pollution and a key issue for solid waste managers. Nablus district (West Bank, Palestinian Territory), which has an established network of urban and rural roads, suffers from a wide-spread litter problem that is associated with these roads and is growing steadily with a well-felt negative impact on public health and the environment. The purpose of this research was to study the effects of four socio-economic characteristics (gender, income, marital status, and religious convictions) of district residents on their attitudes, practices, and behavior regarding street litter generation and to suggest possible remedial actions. All four characteristics were found to have strong correlations, not only with littering behavior and practices, but also with potential litter prevention strategies. In particular, the impact of religious convictions of the respondents on their littering habits and attitudes was very clear and interesting to observe.

  5. Enhanced solid waste management by understanding the effects of gender, income, marital status, and religious convictions on attitudes and practices related to street littering in Nablus - Palestinian territory

    SciTech Connect

    Al-Khatib, Issam A.; Arafat, Hassan A. Daoud, Raeda; Shwahneh, Hadeel

    2009-01-15

    Litter is recognized as a form of street pollution and a key issue for solid waste managers. Nablus district (West Bank, Palestinian Territory), which has an established network of urban and rural roads, suffers from a wide-spread litter problem that is associated with these roads and is growing steadily with a well-felt negative impact on public health and the environment. The purpose of this research was to study the effects of four socio-economic characteristics (gender, income, marital status, and religious convictions) of district residents on their attitudes, practices, and behavior regarding street litter generation and to suggest possible remedial actions. All four characteristics were found to have strong correlations, not only with littering behavior and practices, but also with potential litter prevention strategies. In particular, the impact of religious convictions of the respondents on their littering habits and attitudes was very clear and interesting to observe.

  6. FACTORS AFFECTING COLORED DISSOLVED ORGANIC MATTER IN AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS OF THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The sunlight-absorbing (colored) component of dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in aquatic environments is widely distributed in freshwaters and coastal regions where it influences the fate and transport of toxic organic substances and biologically-important metals such as mercury,...

  7. Does solar radiation affect the growth of tomato seeds relative to their environment?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holzer, Kristi

    1995-01-01

    The purpose of this experiment is to sequentially study and analyze the data collected from the germination and growth of irradiated Rutgers Supreme tomato seeds to adult producing plants. This experiment will not use irradiated seeds as a control as I plan to note growth in artificial verses natural environment as the basic experiment.

  8. Does solar radiation affect the growth of tomato seeds relative to their environment?

    SciTech Connect

    Holzer, K.

    1995-09-01

    The purpose of this experiment is to sequentially study and analyze the data collected from the germination and growth of irradiated Rutgers Supreme tomato seeds to adult producing plants. This experiment will not use irradiated seeds as a control as the authors plans to note growth in artificial verses natural environment as the basic experiment.

  9. Child-focused treatment of pediatric OCD affects parental behavior and family environment.

    PubMed

    Gorenstein, Gabriela; Gorenstein, Clarice; de Oliveira, Melaine Cristina; Asbahr, Fernando Ramos; Shavitt, Roseli Gedanke

    2015-09-30

    This study aimed to investigate the impact of child-focused pediatric OCD treatment on parental anxiety, family accommodation and family environment. Forty-three parents (72.1% female, mean age±SD=43.1±5.6 years) were evaluated at baseline and after their children's (n=33, 54.5% female, mean age±SD=12.9±2.7 years) randomized treatment with Group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or fluoxetine for 14 weeks. Validated instruments were administered by trained clinicians. Parents were assessed with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Family Accommodation Scale (FAS) and the Family Environment Scale (FES). The Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale was administered to children. Significant findings after the children's treatment include decreased family accommodation levels (participation, modification and distress/consequences domains); increased cohesion and active-recreational components of the family environment. In addition, changes in the FAS distress/consequences and the FES cohesion subscores were correlated with the children's clinical improvement. These results suggest that child-focused OCD treatment may have a positive impact on family accommodation and family environment. Future studies should further clarify the reciprocal influences of pediatric OCD treatment and family factors.

  10. Genotype-environment interactions at quantitative trait loci affecting inflorescence development in Arabidopsis thaliana.

    PubMed Central

    Ungerer, Mark C; Halldorsdottir, Solveig S; Purugganan, Michael D; Mackay, Trudy F C

    2003-01-01

    Phenotypic plasticity and genotype-environment interactions (GEI) play a prominent role in plant morphological diversity and in the potential functional capacities of plant life-history traits. The genetic basis of plasticity and GEI, however, is poorly understood in most organisms. In this report, inflorescence development patterns in Arabidopsis thaliana were examined under different, ecologically relevant photoperiod environments for two recombinant inbred mapping populations (Ler x Col and Cvi x Ler) using a combination of quantitative genetics and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping. Plasticity and GEI were regularly observed for the majority of 13 inflorescence traits. These observations can be attributable (at least partly) to variable effects of specific QTL. Pooled across traits, 12/44 (27.3%) and 32/62 (51.6%) of QTL exhibited significant QTL x environment interactions in the Ler x Col and Cvi x Ler lines, respectively. These interactions were attributable to changes in magnitude of effect of QTL more often than to changes in rank order (sign) of effect. Multiple QTL x environment interactions (in Cvi x Ler) clustered in two genomic regions on chromosomes 1 and 5, indicating a disproportionate contribution of these regions to the phenotypic patterns observed. High-resolution mapping will be necessary to distinguish between the alternative explanations of pleiotropy and tight linkage among multiple genes. PMID:14504242

  11. Low-radiation environment affects the development of protection mechanisms in V79 cells.

    PubMed

    Fratini, E; Carbone, C; Capece, D; Esposito, G; Simone, G; Tabocchini, M A; Tomasi, M; Belli, M; Satta, L

    2015-05-01

    Very little is known about the influence of environmental radiation on living matter. In principle, important information can be acquired by analysing possible differences between parallel biological systems, one in a reference-radiation environment (RRE) and the other in a low-radiation environment (LRE). We took advantage of the unique opportunity represented by the cell culture facilities at the Gran Sasso National Laboratories of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, where environment dose rate reduction factors in the underground (LRE), with respect to the external laboratory (RRE), are as follows: 10(3) for neutrons, 10(7) for directly ionizing cosmic rays and 10 for total γ-rays. Chinese hamster V79 cells were cultured for 10 months in both RRE and LRE. At the end of this period, all the cultures were kept in RRE for another 6 months. Changes in the activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, SOD; catalase, CAT; glutathione peroxidase, GPX) and spontaneous mutation frequency at the hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (hprt) locus were investigated. The results obtained suggest that environmental radiation might act as a trigger of defence mechanisms in V79 cells, specifically those in reference conditions, showing a higher degree of defence against endogenous damage as compared to cells grown in a very low-radiation environment. Our findings corroborate the hypothesis that environmental radiation contributes to the development of defence mechanisms in today living organisms/systems. PMID:25636513

  12. How Gene-Environment Interaction Affects Children's Anxious and Fearful Behavior. Science Briefs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2007

    2007-01-01

    "Science Briefs" summarize the findings and implications of a recent study in basic science or clinical research. This brief reports on the study "Evidence for a Gene-Environment Interaction in Predicting Behavioral Inhibition in Middle Childhood" (N. A. Fox, K E. Nichols, H. A. Henderson, K. Rubin, L. Schmidt, D. Hamer, M. Ernst, and D. S.…

  13. Low-radiation environment affects the development of protection mechanisms in V79 cells.

    PubMed

    Fratini, E; Carbone, C; Capece, D; Esposito, G; Simone, G; Tabocchini, M A; Tomasi, M; Belli, M; Satta, L

    2015-05-01

    Very little is known about the influence of environmental radiation on living matter. In principle, important information can be acquired by analysing possible differences between parallel biological systems, one in a reference-radiation environment (RRE) and the other in a low-radiation environment (LRE). We took advantage of the unique opportunity represented by the cell culture facilities at the Gran Sasso National Laboratories of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, where environment dose rate reduction factors in the underground (LRE), with respect to the external laboratory (RRE), are as follows: 10(3) for neutrons, 10(7) for directly ionizing cosmic rays and 10 for total γ-rays. Chinese hamster V79 cells were cultured for 10 months in both RRE and LRE. At the end of this period, all the cultures were kept in RRE for another 6 months. Changes in the activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, SOD; catalase, CAT; glutathione peroxidase, GPX) and spontaneous mutation frequency at the hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (hprt) locus were investigated. The results obtained suggest that environmental radiation might act as a trigger of defence mechanisms in V79 cells, specifically those in reference conditions, showing a higher degree of defence against endogenous damage as compared to cells grown in a very low-radiation environment. Our findings corroborate the hypothesis that environmental radiation contributes to the development of defence mechanisms in today living organisms/systems.

  14. The Learning Environment: Do School Facilities Really Affect a Child's Education?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lyons, John B.

    2002-01-01

    Explores how the physical condition and design of school facilities can shape a child's learning experience. Discusses school environments' connection to asthma, heating and ventilation problems, noise problems, full-spectrum lighting, trends in teaching methods requiring different building designs, optimum school size, portable classrooms, and…

  15. Social Environment Affects Acquisition and Color of Structural Nuptial Plumage in a Sexually Dimorphic Tropical Passerine

    PubMed Central

    Maia, Rafael; Brasileiro, Luiza; Lacava, Roberto V.; Macedo, Regina H.

    2012-01-01

    Structural colors result from the physical interaction of light with organic materials of differing refractive indexes organized at nanoscale dimensions to produce significant interference effects. Because color properties emerge from these finely organized nanostructures, the production of structural coloration could respond to environmental factors and be developmentally more plastic than expected, functioning as an indicator of individual quality. However, there are many unknown factors concerning the function and mechanisms regulating structural coloration, especially relative to social environment. We hypothesized that social environment, in the form of competitive settings, can influence the developmental pathways involving production of feather structural coloration. We experimentally assessed the impact of social environment upon body condition, molt and spectral properties of two types of structural color that compose the nuptial plumage in blue-black grassquits: black iridescent plumage and white underwing patches. We manipulated male social environment during nine months by keeping individuals in three treatments: (1) pairs; (2) all-male groups; and (3) male-female mixed groups. All morphological characters and spectral plumage measures varied significantly through time, but only acquisition of nuptial plumage coverage and nuptial plumage color were influenced by social environment. Compared with males in the paired treatment, those in treatments with multiple males molted into nuptial plumage faster and earlier, and their plumage was more UV-purple-shifted. Our results provide experimental evidence that social context strongly influences development and expression of structural plumage. These results emphasize the importance of long-term experimental studies to identify the phenotypic consequences of social dynamics relative to ornament expression. PMID:23082172

  16. Affective e-Learning: Using "Emotional" Data to Improve Learning in Pervasive Learning Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shen, Liping; Wang, Minjuan; Shen, Ruimin

    2009-01-01

    Using emotion detection technologies from biophysical signals, this study explored how emotion evolves during learning process and how emotion feedback could be used to improve learning experiences. This article also described a cutting-edge pervasive e-Learning platform used in a Shanghai online college and proposed an affective e-Learning model,…

  17. Effects of Modality and Pace on Achievement, Mental Effort, and Positive Affect in Multimedia Learning Environments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Izmirli, Serkan; Kurt, Adile Askim

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of instruction given with different multimedia modalities (written text + animation or narration + animation) on the academic achievement, cognitive load, and positive affect in different paces (learner-paced or system-paced); 97 freshmen university students divided into four groups taught in…

  18. Weathering the Preschool Environment: Affect Moderates the Relations between Meteorology and Preschool Behaviors

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lagace-Seguin, Daniel G.; d'Entremont, Marc-Robert L.

    2005-01-01

    The goal of this study was to examine the relations among various meteorological conditions, affective states and behavior in young children. Results from past research have revealed many weather effects on behavior and emotions with adult samples. However, there is a paucity of empirical evidence to support this link with children. Thirty-three…

  19. The Role of Affective and Motivational Factors in Designing Personalized Learning Environments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kim, ChanMin

    2012-01-01

    In this paper, guidelines for designing virtual change agents (VCAs) are proposed to support students' affective and motivational needs in order to promote personalized learning in online remedial mathematics courses. Automated, dynamic, and personalized support is emphasized in the guidelines through maximizing "interactions" between VCAs and…

  20. The Fear Factor: How It Affects Students Learning to Program in a Tertiary Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rogerson, Christine; Scott, Elsje

    2010-01-01

    This paper examines how students' experiences of learning to program are affected by feelings of fear, using a phenomenological approach to elicit rich descriptions of personal experiences from the narratives of final year undergraduate students. In the course of reviewing current work concerning learning or teaching programming, certain focal…

  1. Affective Learning Outcomes in Workplace Training: A Test of Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Online Learning Environments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cleveland-Innes, Martha; Ally, Mohamed

    2004-01-01

    Research employing an experimental design pilot-tested two delivery platforms, WebCT™ and vClass™, for the generation of affective learning outcomes in the workplace. Using a sample of volunteer participants in the help-desk industry, participants were randomly assigned to one of the two types of delivery software. Thirty-eight subjects…

  2. Factors That Can Undermine the Psychological Benefits of Coastal Environments

    PubMed Central

    Wyles, Kayleigh J.; Pahl, Sabine; Thomas, Katrina; Thompson, Richard C.

    2015-01-01

    The beneficial effects of blue environments have been well documented; however, we do not know how marine litter might modify these effects. Three studies adopted a picture-rating task to examine the influence of litter on preference, perceived restorative quality, and psychological impacts. Photographs varied the presence of marine litter (Study 1) and the type of litter (Studies 2 and 3). The influence of tide and the role of connectedness were also explored. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, it was shown that litter can undermine the psychological benefits that the coast ordinarily provides, thus demonstrating that, in addition to environmental costs of marine litter, there are also costs to people. Litter stemming from the public had the most negative impact. This research extends our understanding of the psychological benefits from natural coastal environments and the threats to these benefits from abundant and increasing marine litter. PMID:27807388

  3. Contribution of lone-pairs to birefringence affected by the Pb(II) coordination environment: a DFT investigation.

    PubMed

    Jing, Qun; Yang, Zhihua; Pan, Shilie; Xue, Dongfeng

    2015-09-14

    Pb(II) cations have long been associated with lone-pairs which can help to enhance the optical anisotropic birefringence. In this paper, the contribution of lead cations to birefringence has been investigated using first-principles and real-space atom-cutting methods. The results show that the contribution of lead cations to birefringence is determined by the degree of stereochemical activity, which is affected by the coordination environment of lead cations. PMID:26234398

  4. Changes in a middle school food environment affect food behavior and food choices.

    PubMed

    Wordell, Doug; Daratha, Kenn; Mandal, Bidisha; Bindler, Ruth; Butkus, Sue Nicholson

    2012-01-01

    Increasing rates of obesity among children ages 12 to 19 years have led to recommendations to alter the school food environment. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are associations between an altered school food environment and food choices of middle school students both in and outside of school. In a midsized western city, two of six middle schools allowed only bottled water in vending machines, only milk and fruit on à la carte menus, and offered a seasonal fruit and vegetable bar. Three years after the intervention was initiated, seventh- and eighth-grade students attending the two intervention schools and four control middle schools were surveyed about their food choices. A total of 2,292 surveys were completed. Self-reported frequency of consumption for nine food groups in the survey was low; consumption was higher outside than in school. Boys consumed more milk than girls although girls consumed more fruits and vegetables. Significant socioeconomic differences existed. Compared with students who paid the full lunch fee, students qualifying for free and reduced-price meals consumed more milk and juice in schools but less outside school; more candy and energy drinks in school; and more sweet drinks, candy, pastries, and energy drinks outside school. Students in intervention schools were 24% more likely to consume milk outside school, 27% less likely to consume juice in school, and 56% less likely to consume sweet pastries in school. There were no differences in fruit and vegetable consumption reported by children in control and intervention schools. Overall, there was a positive association between a modified school food environment and student food behavior in and outside school. Policies related to the school food environment are an important strategy to address the obesity epidemic in our country. PMID:22709644

  5. Species sorting and patch dynamics in harlequin metacommunities affect the relative importance of environment and space.

    PubMed

    Leibold, Mathew A; Loeuille, Nicolas

    2015-12-01

    Metacommunity theory indicates that variation in local community structure can be partitioned into components including those related to local environmental conditions vs. spatial effects and that these can be quantified using statistical methods based on variation partitioning. It has been hypothesized that joint associations of community composition with environment and space could be due to patch dynamics involving colonization-extinction processes in environmentally heterogeneous landscapes but this has yet to be theoretically shown. We develop a two-patch, type-two, species competition model in such a "harlequin" landscape (where different patches have different environments) to evaluate how composition is related to environmental and spatial effects as a function of background extinction rate. Using spatially implicit analytical models, we find that the environmental association of community composition declines with extinction rate as expected. Using spatially explicit simulation models, we further find that there is an increase in the spatial structure with extinction due to spatial patterning into clusters that are not related to environmental conditions but that this increase is limited. Natural metacommunities often show both environment and spatial determination even under conditions of relatively high isolation and these could be more easily explained by our model than alternative metacommunity models. PMID:26909428

  6. Species sorting and patch dynamics in harlequin metacommunities affect the relative importance of environment and space.

    PubMed

    Leibold, Mathew A; Loeuille, Nicolas

    2015-12-01

    Metacommunity theory indicates that variation in local community structure can be partitioned into components including those related to local environmental conditions vs. spatial effects and that these can be quantified using statistical methods based on variation partitioning. It has been hypothesized that joint associations of community composition with environment and space could be due to patch dynamics involving colonization-extinction processes in environmentally heterogeneous landscapes but this has yet to be theoretically shown. We develop a two-patch, type-two, species competition model in such a "harlequin" landscape (where different patches have different environments) to evaluate how composition is related to environmental and spatial effects as a function of background extinction rate. Using spatially implicit analytical models, we find that the environmental association of community composition declines with extinction rate as expected. Using spatially explicit simulation models, we further find that there is an increase in the spatial structure with extinction due to spatial patterning into clusters that are not related to environmental conditions but that this increase is limited. Natural metacommunities often show both environment and spatial determination even under conditions of relatively high isolation and these could be more easily explained by our model than alternative metacommunity models.

  7. Phenotypic plasticity is not affected by experimental evolution in constant, predictable or unpredictable fluctuating thermal environments.

    PubMed

    Manenti, T; Loeschcke, V; Moghadam, N N; Sørensen, J G

    2015-11-01

    The selective past of populations is presumed to affect the levels of phenotypic plasticity. Experimental evolution at constant temperatures is generally expected to lead to a decreased level of plasticity due to presumed costs associated with phenotypic plasticity when not needed. In this study, we investigated the effect of experimental evolution in constant, predictable and unpredictable daily fluctuating temperature regimes on the levels of phenotype plasticity in several life history and stress resistance traits in Drosophila simulans. Contrary to the expectation, evolution in the different regimes did not affect the levels of plasticity in any of the traits investigated even though the populations from the different thermal regimes had evolved different stress resistance and fitness trait means. Although costs associated with phenotypic plasticity are known, our results suggest that the maintenance of phenotypic plasticity might come at low and negligible costs, and thus, the potential of phenotypic plasticity to evolve in populations exposed to different environmental conditions might be limited.

  8. Do cigarette taxes affect children's body mass index? The effect of household environment on health.

    PubMed

    Mellor, Jennifer M

    2011-04-01

    Several recent studies demonstrate a positive effect of cigarette prices and taxes on obesity among adults, especially those who smoke. If higher cigarette costs affect smokers' weights by increasing calories consumed or increasing food expenditures, then cigarette taxes and prices may also affect obesity in children of smokers. This study examines the link between child body mass index (BMI) and obesity status and cigarette costs using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-79 (NLSY79). Controlling for various child, mother, and household characteristics as well as child-fixed effects, I find that cigarette taxes and prices increase BMI in the children of smoking mothers. Interestingly, and unlike previous research findings for adults, higher cigarette taxes do not increase the likelihood of obesity in children. These findings are consistent with a causal mechanism in which higher cigarette costs reduce smoking and increase food expenditures and consumption in the household.

  9. [Effects of snow cover on water soluble and organic solvent soluble components during foliar litter decomposition in an alpine forest].

    PubMed

    Xu, Li-Ya; Yang, Wan-Qin; Li, Han; Ni, Xiang-Yin; He, Jie; Wu, Fu-Zhong

    2014-11-01

    Seasonal snow cover may change the characteristics of freezing, leaching and freeze-thaw cycles in the scenario of climate change, and then play important roles in the dynamics of water soluble and organic solvent soluble components during foliar litter decomposition in the alpine forest. Therefore, a field litterbag experiment was conducted in an alpine forest in western Sichuan, China. The foliar litterbags of typical tree species (birch, cypress, larch and fir) and shrub species (willow and azalea) were placed on the forest floor under different snow cover thickness (deep snow, medium snow, thin snow and no snow). The litterbags were sampled at snow formation stage, snow cover stage and snow melting stage in winter. The results showed that the content of water soluble components from six foliar litters decreased at snow formation stage and snow melting stage, but increased at snow cover stage as litter decomposition proceeded in the winter. Besides the content of organic solvent soluble components from azalea foliar litter increased at snow cover stage, the content of organic solvent soluble components from the other five foliar litters kept a continue decreasing tendency in the winter. Compared with the content of organic solvent soluble components, the content of water soluble components was affected more strongly by snow cover thickness, especially at snow formation stage and snow cover stage. Compared with the thicker snow covers, the thin snow cover promoted the decrease of water soluble component contents from willow and azalea foliar litter and restrain the decrease of water soluble component content from cypress foliar litter. Few changes in the content of water soluble components from birch, fir and larch foliar litter were observed under the different thicknesses of snow cover. The results suggested that the effects of snow cover on the contents of water soluble and organic solvent soluble components during litter decomposition would be controlled by

  10. [Effects of snow cover on water soluble and organic solvent soluble components during foliar litter decomposition in an alpine forest].

    PubMed

    Xu, Li-Ya; Yang, Wan-Qin; Li, Han; Ni, Xiang-Yin; He, Jie; Wu, Fu-Zhong

    2014-11-01

    Seasonal snow cover may change the characteristics of freezing, leaching and freeze-thaw cycles in the scenario of climate change, and then play important roles in the dynamics of water soluble and organic solvent soluble components during foliar litter decomposition in the alpine forest. Therefore, a field litterbag experiment was conducted in an alpine forest in western Sichuan, China. The foliar litterbags of typical tree species (birch, cypress, larch and fir) and shrub species (willow and azalea) were placed on the forest floor under different snow cover thickness (deep snow, medium snow, thin snow and no snow). The litterbags were sampled at snow formation stage, snow cover stage and snow melting stage in winter. The results showed that the content of water soluble components from six foliar litters decreased at snow formation stage and snow melting stage, but increased at snow cover stage as litter decomposition proceeded in the winter. Besides the content of organic solvent soluble components from azalea foliar litter increased at snow cover stage, the content of organic solvent soluble components from the other five foliar litters kept a continue decreasing tendency in the winter. Compared with the content of organic solvent soluble components, the content of water soluble components was affected more strongly by snow cover thickness, especially at snow formation stage and snow cover stage. Compared with the thicker snow covers, the thin snow cover promoted the decrease of water soluble component contents from willow and azalea foliar litter and restrain the decrease of water soluble component content from cypress foliar litter. Few changes in the content of water soluble components from birch, fir and larch foliar litter were observed under the different thicknesses of snow cover. The results suggested that the effects of snow cover on the contents of water soluble and organic solvent soluble components during litter decomposition would be controlled by

  11. Microbial biomass and soil carbon after 8 and 9 years of field applications of alum-treated and untreated poultry litter and inorganic nitrogen

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Amendment with aluminum sulfate (alum) is considered a best management practice for its benefits in poultry production and increased retention of nutrients in the litter. However, little is known about how long-term applications of alum-treated litter to soil will affect the microbial community and ...

  12. Does the early social environment affect structure and consistency of personality in wild-type male's rat?

    PubMed

    Gracceva, Giulia; Koolhaas, Jaap M; Groothuis, Ton G G

    2011-09-01

    Animal personality has been extensively studied from a functional and evolutionary point of view. Less attention has been paid to the development of personality, its phenotypic plasticity, and the influence of manipulation of early environmental factors. Here we describe the effects of manipulating the sex ratio of the litter, at postnatal day (pnd) 3, in wild-type rats, on personality traits in adulthood. We measured the treatment effects on aggression, defensive burying, and open field behavior at pnd 90 and 120, as well as on their contextual generality, and stability over time (differential and structural consistency). Main effects of litter composition were found on open field behavior at pnd 120 but not on the other behaviors. Since correlations between behaviors changed over time irrespective of the specific treatment, whereas in previous studies on unmanipulated litters this was not the case we suggest that early handling may disrupt adult personality traits. Overall the data indicate that personality is less stable over time that often assumed, having both proximate and ultimate implications.

  13. Broiler litter management effects on the nutrient composition of the litter

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Application of poultry litter as a fertilizer source is a common practice in agriculture production. However, potential water quality concerns as a result of over application of poultry litter has risen as a major environmental issue in states with substantial poultry production. Fundamental to the ...

  14. Lignin degradation during plant litter photodegradation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Y.; King, J. Y.

    2014-12-01

    Lignin is the second most abundant compound, after cellulose, synthesized by plants. Numerous studies have demonstrated that initial lignin concentration is negatively correlated with litter decomposition rate under both laboratory and field conditions. Thus lignin is commonly considered to be a "recalcitrant" compound during litter decomposition. However, lignin can also serve as a radiation-absorbing compound during photodegradation, the process through which solar radiation breaks down organic matter. Here, we synthesize recent studies concerning lignin degradation during litter photodegradation and report results from our study on how photodegradation changes lignin chemistry at a molecular scale. Recent field studies have found that litter with high initial lignin concentration does not necessarily exhibit high mass loss during photodegradation. A meta-analysis (King et al. 2012) even found a weak negative correlation between initial lignin concentration and photodegradation rate. Contradicting results have been reported with regard to the change in lignin concentration during photodegradation. Some studies have found significant loss of lignin during photodegradation, while others have not. In most studies, loss of lignin only accounts for a small proportion of the overall mass loss. Using NMR spectroscopy, we found significant loss of lignin structural units containing beta-aryl ether linkages during photodegradation of a common grass litter, Bromus diandrus, even though conventional forage fiber analysis did not reveal changes in lignin concentration. Both our NMR and fiber analyses supported the idea that photodegradation induced loss of hemicellulose, which was mainly responsible for the litter mass loss during photodegradation. Our results suggest that photodegradation induces degradation, but not necessarily complete breakdown, of lignin structures and consequently exposes hemicellulose and cellulose to microbial decomposition. We conclude that lignin

  15. Litter Inputs and Soil Aggregation in Midwestern Biofuel Crops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kantola, I. B.; Masters, M. D.; Smyth, E. M.; DeLucia, E. H.

    2014-12-01

    Perennial C4 grasses represent alternatives to corn for the production of ethanol because of low management costs and high biomass production. To evaluate the effects of perennial grasses on the agricultural soils of the Midwest, native switchgrass and a sterile hybrid of the Asian grass Miscanthus were planted at the University of Illinois Energy Farm in 2008. Through five years of growth, above and belowground plant biomass, litter, and soil were compared with soils in plots growing a corn-corn-soy rotation typical of the area. Above- and belowground plant biomass in Miscanthus and switchgrass averaged higher than corn/soy following two years of perennial establishment, with belowground biomass exceeding corn/soy by approximately 5-fold in the year after establishment (2010) and 25-fold by 2012. Measurements of root distribution and turnover rates indicate that roots are the primary contribution of new carbon to soils under perennial crops. Physical fractionation of the soils into water stable aggregates showed 4-14% increases in macroaggregate fractions under perennial crops; the large aggregates are adhered together by organic material and indicative of the increased presence of labile carbon forms like plant roots, fungi, and plant and microbial exudates. Carbon and nitrogen analyses of the fractions show that while overall carbon has not increased significantly in whole soil, soils under perennial grasses are concentrating carbon by 5-17% in the macroaggregates after just 5 years. Native switchgrass roots (buried) and litter (surface-applied) decompose faster than Miscanthus roots and litter, but slower than corn roots and litter buried to simulate incorporation by tillage. Switchgrass soil shows the highest degree of macroaggregate formation, pointing to a high rate of litter and root decomposition and incorporation into soil structure. While macroaggregates are relatively labile soil structures compared to microaggregates and free silt and clay, they offer

  16. Habitats as complex odour environments: how does plant diversity affect herbivore and parasitoid orientation?

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. Early Social Environment Affects the Endogenous Oxytocin System: A Review and Future Directions

    PubMed Central

    Alves, Emily; Fielder, Andrea; Ghabriel, Nerelle; Sawyer, Michael; Buisman-Pijlman, Femke T. A.

    2015-01-01

    Endogenous oxytocin plays an important role in a wide range of human functions including birth, milk ejection during lactation, and facilitation of social interaction. There is increasing evidence that both variations in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and concentrations of oxytocin are associated with differences in these functions. The causes for the differences that have been observed in tonic and stimulated oxytocin release remain unclear. Previous reviews have suggested that across the life course, these differences may be due to individual factors, e.g., genetic variation (of the OXTR), age or sex, or be the result of early environmental influences, such as social experiences, stress, or trauma partly by inducing epigenetic changes. This review has three aims. First, we briefly discuss the endogenous oxytocin system, including physiology, development, individual differences, and function. Second, current models describing the relationship between the early life environment and the development of the oxytocin system in humans and animals are discussed. Finally, we describe research designs that can be used to investigate the effects of the early environment on the oxytocin system, identifying specific areas of research that need further attention. PMID:25814979

  19. The Postnatal Maternal Environment Affects Autoimmune Disease Susceptibility in A/J mice

    PubMed Central

    Case, Laure K.; Rio, Roxana del; Bonney, Elizabeth A.; Zachary, James F.; Blankenhorn, Elizabeth P.; Tung, Kenneth S. K.; Teuscher, Cory

    2009-01-01

    The postnatal maternal environment is known to increase susceptibility to a number of autoimmune diseases. Here we asked whether the postnatal maternal environment could influence autoimmune disease development to day 3 thymectomy (d3tx)-induced autoimmune ovarian disease (AOD) and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in cross-fostered A/J and B6 mice. A/J pups foster-nursed by B6 mothers exhibit an increase in autoimmune disease development while cross-fostering B6 pups on A/J mothers did not alter their susceptibility. The increase in AOD incidence seen in foster-nursed d3tx A/J mice correlated with a decrease in the total number of CD4+ T cells in the lymph nodes of these animals. Analysis of the cellular composition in the milk revealed that B6 mice shed significantly more maternally derived lymphocytes into their milk compared to A/J mothers. These data suggest that there are maternally derived postnatal factors that influence the development of autoimmune disease in A/J mice. PMID:19914609

  20. Structural complexity of the environment affects the survival of alternative male reproductive tactics.

    PubMed

    Lukasik, Piotr; Radwan, Jacek; Tomkins, Joseph L

    2006-02-01

    Alternative reproductive tactics in males are often associated with divergent phenotypes expressed as phenotypically plastic threshold traits. The evolution of threshold traits in these species has been modeled under the conditional evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS). Both strategic and genetic models predict that perturbations to the fitness trade-off between the male morphs will lead to a shift in the ESS switch point of the threshold. So far, demographic factors that influence the competitive ability of male morphs have been investigated and related to intraspecific population variation in male dimorphic thresholds. Here we reveal evidence for the theoretical prediction that abiotic features of the environment, in particular its structural complexity, are likely to influence the ESS threshold. In the male dimorphic mite Sancassania berlesei, we monitored the survival of aggressive fighter males and their benign scrambler counterparts in populations that differed in structural complexity. We found that, consistent with our prediction, the complex habitat favored fighter males, enabling them to kill a greater number of rival scramblers. We found no effect of habitat complexity on the survival of fighter males. These results demonstrate how abiotic as well as biotic aspects of the environment can be important in determining the frequencies of males adopting alternative tactics in different species or populations.

  1. Understanding litter decomposition in drylands: Is litter abrasion an important abiotic factor?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, M.; Bravo-Garza, M. R.; Throop, H. L.; Duarte, L. C.

    2012-12-01

    Drylands comprise approximately 40% of global land cover and about 20% of global soil organic carbon (C) pool. Changes in dryland ecosystem processes, such as litter decomposition, could greatly influence global C cycling and climate change. Current models underestimate rates of litter decomposition in drylands, and little is known about the role and interactions of abiotic drivers in these systems. Research suggests leaf abrasion may play an important role on litter decomposition in drylands by increasing microbial activity or leaching. The Scrape Site at Jornada LTER was stripped of vegetation in 1991, leaving exposed soil that could serve as a source of sand particles to promote leaf abrasion on mesquite shrubs located downwind. This project examines the role that leaf abrasion, promoted in the field by wind erosion, and induced through laboratory simulations, will play in litter decomposition. We hypothesize that leaf abrasion will increase rates of litter decomposition due to facilitation of microbial colonization. Mesquite leaves were collected from two locations: down-wind from the Scrape Site and 80 meters away representing "field abraded" and "unabraded" treatments, respectively. For a "lab abraded" treatment, abrasion was performed by shaking leaves for 30 seconds with sand particles to simulate microscopic characteristics seen in "field abraded" treatment; this treatment resulted in an average leaf area loss of 3.267 %. Differences in decomposition rates among litter treatments were evaluated in a 16 week laboratory incubation. Litter was incubated at 22°C in airtight glass jars containing 50 g of soil (0.053 g water g-1 soil). Rapid colonization by fungi was apparent across treatments, but lab abraded litter showed the most abundant growth. Consequently, lab abraded litter treatment showed 20% and 30% times more accumulation of CO2 -C than field (P= 0.0008) and unabraded (P< 0.0001) litter treatments during the first 6 days of incubation. These results

  2. Shifts in leaf litter breakdown along a forest-pasture-urban gradient in Andean streams.

    PubMed

    Iñiguez-Armijos, Carlos; Rausche, Sirkka; Cueva, Augusta; Sánchez-Rodríguez, Aminael; Espinosa, Carlos; Breuer, Lutz

    2016-07-01

    Tropical montane ecosystems of the Andes are critically threatened by a rapid land-use change which can potentially affect stream variables, aquatic communities, and ecosystem processes such as leaf litter breakdown. However, these effects have not been sufficiently investigated in the Andean region and at high altitude locations in general. Here, we studied the influence of land use (forest-pasture-urban) on stream physico-chemical variables (e.g., water temperature, nutrient concentration, and pH), aquatic communities (macroinvertebrates and aquatic fungi) and leaf litter breakdown rates in Andean streams (southern Ecuador), and how variation in those stream physico-chemical variables affect macroinvertebrates and fungi related to leaf litter breakdown. We found that pH, water temperature, and nutrient concentration increased along the land-use gradient. Macroinvertebrate communities were significantly different between land uses. Shredder richness and abundance were lower in pasture than forest sites and totally absent in urban sites, and fungal richness and biomass were higher in forest sites than in pasture and urban sites. Leaf litter breakdown rates became slower as riparian land use changed from natural to anthropogenically disturbed conditions and were largely determined by pH, water temperature, phosphate concentration, fungal activity, and single species of leaf-shredding invertebrates. Our findings provide evidence that leaf litter breakdown in Andean streams is sensitive to riparian land-use change, with urban streams being the most affected. In addition, this study highlights the role of fungal biomass and shredder species (Phylloicus; Trichoptera and Anchytarsus; Coleoptera) on leaf litter breakdown in Andean streams and the contribution of aquatic fungi in supporting this ecosystem process when shredders are absent or present low abundance in streams affected by urbanization. Finally, we summarize important implications in terms of managing of

  3. Shifts in leaf litter breakdown along a forest-pasture-urban gradient in Andean streams.

    PubMed

    Iñiguez-Armijos, Carlos; Rausche, Sirkka; Cueva, Augusta; Sánchez-Rodríguez, Aminael; Espinosa, Carlos; Breuer, Lutz

    2016-07-01

    Tropical montane ecosystems of the Andes are critically threatened by a rapid land-use change which can potentially affect stream variables, aquatic communities, and ecosystem processes such as leaf litter breakdown. However, these effects have not been sufficiently investigated in the Andean region and at high altitude locations in general. Here, we studied the influence of land use (forest-pasture-urban) on stream physico-chemical variables (e.g., water temperature, nutrient concentration, and pH), aquatic communities (macroinvertebrates and aquatic fungi) and leaf litter breakdown rates in Andean streams (southern Ecuador), and how variation in those stream physico-chemical variables affect macroinvertebrates and fungi related to leaf litter breakdown. We found that pH, water temperature, and nutrient concentration increased along the land-use gradient. Macroinvertebrate communities were significantly different between land uses. Shredder richness and abundance were lower in pasture than forest sites and totally absent in urban sites, and fungal richness and biomass were higher in forest sites than in pasture and urban sites. Leaf litter breakdown rates became slower as riparian land use changed from natural to anthropogenically disturbed conditions and were largely determined by pH, water temperature, phosphate concentration, fungal activity, and single species of leaf-shredding invertebrates. Our findings provide evidence that leaf litter breakdown in Andean streams is sensitive to riparian land-use change, with urban streams being the most affected. In addition, this study highlights the role of fungal biomass and shredder species (Phylloicus; Trichoptera and Anchytarsus; Coleoptera) on leaf litter breakdown in Andean streams and the contribution of aquatic fungi in supporting this ecosystem process when shredders are absent or present low abundance in streams affected by urbanization. Finally, we summarize important implications in terms of managing of

  4. Maternal characteristics and environment affect the costs of reproduction in female mountain goats.

    PubMed

    Hamel, Sandra; Côté, Steeve D; Festa-Bianchet, Marco

    2010-07-01

    Reproduction should reduce resources available for somatic investment and result in fundamental trade-offs among life-history traits. Using 18 years of longitudinal data from marked mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), we assessed whether reproductive status affected female survival and future reproduction when accounting for parity, age, individual quality, population density, and environmental conditions. Reproduction reduced the probability of parturition and offspring survival in the following year. Female survival, however, was independent of previous reproduction, suggesting that females favored their own survival over that of their offspring. The lower probability of parturition in females that had a kid the previous year was only detected at high population density and among young and prime-aged females, suggesting that fitness costs of reproduction can be masked by variations in resource availability and individual characteristics. Primiparous females were less likely than multiparous females to reproduce in the subsequent year. Offspring survival was reduced at high density and after severe winters. Environmental conditions mainly influenced offspring survival, whereas female survival and fecundity were principally modulated by female characteristics. Our study highlights how different intrinsic and environmental factors can affect the probability of future reproduction and also underlines the value of long-term monitoring of known individuals. PMID:20715626

  5. Maternal characteristics and environment affect the costs of reproduction in female mountain goats.

    PubMed

    Hamel, Sandra; Côté, Steeve D; Festa-Bianchet, Marco

    2010-07-01

    Reproduction should reduce resources available for somatic investment and result in fundamental trade-offs among life-history traits. Using 18 years of longitudinal data from marked mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), we assessed whether reproductive status affected female survival and future reproduction when accounting for parity, age, individual quality, population density, and environmental conditions. Reproduction reduced the probability of parturition and offspring survival in the following year. Female survival, however, was independent of previous reproduction, suggesting that females favored their own survival over that of their offspring. The lower probability of parturition in females that had a kid the previous year was only detected at high population density and among young and prime-aged females, suggesting that fitness costs of reproduction can be masked by variations in resource availability and individual characteristics. Primiparous females were less likely than multiparous females to reproduce in the subsequent year. Offspring survival was reduced at high density and after severe winters. Environmental conditions mainly influenced offspring survival, whereas female survival and fecundity were principally modulated by female characteristics. Our study highlights how different intrinsic and environmental factors can affect the probability of future reproduction and also underlines the value of long-term monitoring of known individuals.

  6. Biotic interactions affect the colonization behavior of aquatic detritivorous macroinvertebrates in a heterogeneous environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Verschut, Thomas A.; Meineri, Eric; Basset, Alberto

    2015-05-01

    It has previously been suggested that macroinvertebrates actively search for suitable patches to colonize. However, it is not well understood how the spatial arrangement of patches can affect colonization rates. In this study, we determined the importance of the environmental factors (distance, connectivity and resource availability) for patch colonization in an experimental system using Gammarus aequicauda (Amphipoda), Lekanesphaera hookeri (Isopoda) and Ecrobia ventrosa (Gastropoda). Furthermore, we also assessed how the relative importance of each of these environmental factors differed in interactions between the three species. The single species experiments showed that distance was the most important factor for G. aequicauda and E. ventrosa. However, while E. ventrosa preferred patches close to the release point, G. aequicauda strongly preferred patches further from the release point. High resource availability was a strong determinant for the patch colonization of G. aequicauda and L. hookeri. Connectivity was only of moderate importance in the study system for L. hookeri and E. ventrosa. The effects of the environmental factors were strongly affected by interspecific interactions in the multispecies experiments. For G. aequicauda, the distance preference was lowered in the presence of E. ventrosa. Moreover, while for L. hookeri the effect of resource availability was ruled out by the species interactions, resource availability gained importance for E. ventrosa in the presence of any of the other species. Our results suggest a strong link between environmental factors and biotic interactions in the colonization of habitat patches and indicate that the effect of biotic interactions is especially important for species sharing similar traits.

  7. The importance of evaluating the physicochemical and toxicological properties of a contaminant for remediating environments affected by chemical incidents.

    PubMed

    Wyke, S; Peña-Fernández, A; Brooke, N; Duarte-Davidson, R

    2014-11-01

    In the event of a major chemical incident or accident, appropriate tools and technical guidance need to be available to ensure that a robust approach can be adopted for developing a remediation strategy. Remediation and restoration strategies implemented in the aftermath of a chemical incident are a particular concern for public health. As a result an innovative methodology has been developed to help design an effective recovery strategy in the aftermath of a chemical incident that has been developed; the UK Recovery Handbook for Chemical Incidents (UKRHCI). The handbook consists of a six-step decision framework and the use of decision trees specifically designed for three different environments: food production systems, inhabited areas and water environments. It also provides a compendium of evidence-based recovery options (techniques or methods for remediation) that should be selected in relation to their efficacy for removing contaminants from the environment. Selection of effective recovery options in this decision framework involves evaluating the physicochemical and toxicological properties of the chemical(s) involved. Thus, the chemical handbook includes a series of tables with relevant physicochemical and toxicological properties that should be assessed in function of the environment affected. It is essential that the physicochemical properties of a chemical are evaluated and interpreted correctly during the development of a remedial plan in the aftermath of a chemical incident to ensure an effective remedial response. This paper presents a general overview of the key physicochemical and toxicological properties of chemicals that should be evaluated when developing a recovery strategy. Information on how physicochemical properties have impacted on previous remedial responses reported in the literature is also discussed and a number of challenges for remediation are highlighted to include the need to develop novel approaches to remediate sites contaminated

  8. Soil-litter Mixing Accelerates Decomposition and May Promote Soil Aggregate Formation in the Chihuahuan Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewins, D. B.; Throop, H. L.; Archer, S. R.; Okin, G. S.

    2010-12-01

    Vegetation cover in drylands can strongly affect soil movement by wind and water. Many dryland systems are currently experiencing declines in grass cover due to livestock grazing and woody plant encroachment and increased soil movement is one consequence of these disturbances. Here, we test the hypothesis that declines in dryland grass cover could indirectly promote litter decomposition, an important ecosystem process that regulates carbon (C) and nutrient cycling, by enhancing soil-litter mixing. To test this hypothesis we quantified litter decomposition in the northern Chihuahuan Desert in plots where reductions in grass cover (0, 50, 75, and 100%) have been quantified and related to increases in aeolian soil movement. After 12 months of litterbag exposure we found a positive, linear relationship (R2= 0.32) between soil-litter mixing and litter mass loss. However, patterns of soil accumulation in litterbags and litter mass loss did not show a clear relationship with respect to vegetation removal treatments (R2 = 0.03 and 0.006 respectively). This lack of pattern may be due to high spatial variability that is associated with soil movement in dryland systems. Additionally, in all vegetation removal treatments we observed soil aggregate formation within litterbags. Soil aggregates were not initially evident within litterbags (1 and 3 month exposure), but were apparent after 6 and 12 months of field exposure. Although the abiotic and/or biotic mechanism of aggregation remains to be elucidated, observed aggregate formation may rely on exposure to seasonal dust storms and monsoon rains characteristic of the Chihuahuan Desert. These climatic events may increase soil-litter mixing and promote moisture conditions favorable to microbial activity. We hypothesize that the formation of aggregates, which may locally stabilize soil surfaces and affect soil C sequestration, may be promoted by the release of microbially derived extracellular compounds and inorganic C during leaf

  9. Factors affecting crystallization, dispersion, and aggregation of calcium oxalate monohydrate in various urinary environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christmas, Kimberly Gail

    The mechanisms for the formation of kidney stones are not well understood. One possible mechanism is the formation of aggregates in the nephron tubules of the kidneys. However, altering the urinary environment may be a method to help prevent the recurrence of the formation of kidney stones. The primary inorganic constituent found in kidney stones of North American patients is calcium oxalate monohydrate (COM). In this research, studies on the effect of mixing rate on COM precipitation showed that rapid mixing compared to slow mixing produced smaller particle sizes and a narrower particle size distribution due to the more uniform supersaturation level. The findings are consistent with the general contention that mixing directly influences nucleation rate while mixing rate has relatively little influence over rate of growth in precipitation processes. Screening and central composite experimental designs are used to determine the effect of various factors on the aggregation and dispersion characteristics of previously grown calcium oxalate monohydrate (COM) crystals in artificial urinary environments of controlled variables. The variables examined are pH, calcium, oxalate, pyrophosphate, citrate, and protein concentrations in ultrapure water and artificial urine. Optical density measurements, zeta potential analysis, particle size analyzer, optical microscopy, AFM force measurements, protein adsorption, and ions and small molecule adsorption have been used to assess the state of aggregation and dispersion of the COM crystals and to elucidate the mechanisms involved in such a complex system. The data indicate that our model protein, mucin, acts as a dispersant. This is attributed to steric hindrance resulting from the adsorbed mucoprotein. Oxalate, however, promotes aggregation. Interesting interactions between protein and oxalate along with protein and citrate are observed. Such interactions (synergistic or antagonistic) are found to depend on the concentrations of

  10. Effects of Litter Exposure to UV Radiation on Subsequent Microbial Decomposition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Y.; Scarlett, R. D.; King, J. Y.

    2013-12-01

    pass and UV block treatments. Litter lignin concentration was not affected by UV treatments, regardless of the length of UV exposure. Interestingly, there was a strong correlation overall between cumulative CO2 production and water extractable nitrogen (WEN, r = 0.841, P <0.01, n = 24). For samples exposed for 2.5 months, litter from the UV block treatment had 27% more WEN than litter from UV pass (P = 0.05, n = 4). It is likely that UV radiation under UV pass conditions inhibited microbial activity on the litter during summer months, thus decreasing nitrogen immobilization rates and, therefore, WEN. Results of this study indicate that exposure to UV radiation does not facilitate subsequent microbial decomposition. In fact, UV radiation exposure during dry, summer months retards subsequent microbial decomposition of litter even under optimal biodegradation conditions, perhaps due to N limitation of microbial activity. The inhibitory effect of UV radiation exposure became less pronounced with longer exposure of litter in the field, likely due to environmental conditions during non-summer months (decreased radiation intensity and higher water availability) that promote microbial activity and ameliorate this inhibitory effect of UV radiation. Further studies are needed to quantify the complex interactions between photodegradation and microbial decomposition.

  11. Broiler diet modification and litter storage: impacts on phosphorus in litters, soils, and runoff.

    PubMed

    McGrath, Joshua M; Sims, J Thomas; Maguire, Rory O; Saylor, William W; Angel, C Roselina; Turner, Benjamin L

    2005-01-01

    Modifying broiler diets to mitigate water quality concerns linked to excess phosphorus (P) in regions of intensive broiler production has recently increased. Our goals were to evaluate the effects of dietary modification, using phytase and reduced non-phytate phosphorus (NPP) supplementation, on P speciation in broiler litters, changes in litter P forms during long-term storage, and subsequent impacts of diets on P in runoff from litter-amended soils. Four diets containing two levels of NPP with and without phytase were fed to broilers in a three-flock floor pen study. After removal of the third flock, litters were stored for 440 d at their initial moisture content (MC; 24%) and at a MC of 40%. Litter P fractions and orthophosphate and phytate P concentrations were determined before and after storage. After storage, litters were incorporated with a sandy and silt loam and simulated rainfall was applied. Phytase and reduced dietary NPP significantly reduced litter total P. Reducing dietary NPP decreased water-extractable inorganic phosphorus (IP) and the addition of dietary phytase reduced NaOH- and HCl-extractable organic P in litter, which correlated well with orthophosphate and phytic acid measured by 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), respectively. Although dry storage caused little change in P speciation, wet storage increased concentrations of water-soluble IP, which increased reactive P in runoff from litter-amended soils. Therefore, diet modification with phytase and reduced NPP could be effective in reducing P additions on a watershed scale. Moreover, efforts to minimize litter MC during storage may reduce the potential for dissolved P losses in runoff.

  12. Broiler diet modification and litter storage: impacts on phosphorus in litters, soils, and runoff.

    PubMed

    McGrath, Joshua M; Sims, J Thomas; Maguire, Rory O; Saylor, William W; Angel, C Roselina; Turner, Benjamin L

    2005-01-01

    Modifying broiler diets to mitigate water quality concerns linked to excess phosphorus (P) in regions of intensive broiler production has recently increased. Our goals were to evaluate the effects of dietary modification, using phytase and reduced non-phytate phosphorus (NPP) supplementation, on P speciation in broiler litters, changes in litter P forms during long-term storage, and subsequent impacts of diets on P in runoff from litter-amended soils. Four diets containing two levels of NPP with and without phytase were fed to broilers in a three-flock floor pen study. After removal of the third flock, litters were stored for 440 d at their initial moisture content (MC; 24%) and at a MC of 40%. Litter P fractions and orthophosphate and phytate P concentrations were determined before and after storage. After storage, litters were incorporated with a sandy and silt loam and simulated rainfall was applied. Phytase and reduced dietary NPP significantly reduced litter total P. Reducing dietary NPP decreased water-extractable inorganic phosphorus (IP) and the addition of dietary phytase reduced NaOH- and HCl-extractable organic P in litter, which correlated well with orthophosphate and phytic acid measured by 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), respectively. Although dry storage caused little change in P speciation, wet storage increased concentrations of water-soluble IP, which increased reactive P in runoff from litter-amended soils. Therefore, diet modification with phytase and reduced NPP could be effective in reducing P additions on a watershed scale. Moreover, efforts to minimize litter MC during storage may reduce the potential for dissolved P losses in runoff. PMID:16151241

  13. Effects of a trait-based parameterisation of litter decomposition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kleinen, Thomas; Brovkin, Victor; van Bodegom, Peter; Kattge, Jens; Wirth, Christian

    2013-04-01

    Stocks of plant litter play an important role in the terrestrial carbon cycle. On a regional scale, litter stocks influence fire regimes, soil fertility, and soil organic matter formation. On the global scale, these factors influence global CO2 and climate. In many dynamic global vegetation models, the decomposition of plant litter is treated rather simplistically by aggregating leaf and woody litter into a single litter pool and using a common decomposition rate for all litter pools without taking different plant species or litter types into account. Measurements, on the other hand, clearly show that a) leaf litter decomposes much faster than woody litter, b) litter from different plant species decomposes at different rates, and c) the temperature sensitivity of woody litter decomposition also is species-dependent. The common modelling approach therefore clearly is incompatible with measurements. As a consequence, we modified the dynamic global vegetation model LPJ by a) introducing different litter pools for leaf and woody litter and by b) linking plant functional types to decomposition rates, as well as temperature sensitivities, of wood and leaf litter determined from two databases of plant traits. These changes give a more realistic distribution of litter stocks in most biomes, with the exception of boreal forests. In a projection for future climate, using the SRES A2 scenario, the modified parameterisation leads to an increase in litter stocks by 35 PgC, as well as a decrease in atmospheric CO2 by 3 ppm by 2100. Despite the increase in litter stocks, the fire emissions increase less than when using the original parameterization, since the litter is redistributed to more humid regions.

  14. The influential child: How children affect their environment and influence their own risk and resilience.

    PubMed

    Davidov, Maayan; Knafo-Noam, Ariel; Serbin, Lisa A; Moss, Ellen

    2015-11-01

    Views regarding children's influence on their environment and their own development have undergone considerable changes over the years. Following Bell's (1968) seminal paper, the notion of children's influence and the view of socialization as a bidirectional process have gradually gained wide acceptance. However, empirical research implementing this theoretical advancement has lagged behind. This Special Section compiles a collection of new empirical works addressing multiple forms of influential child processes, with special attention to their consequences for children's and others' positive functioning, risk and resilience. By addressing a wide variety of child influences, this Special Section seeks to advance integration of influential child processes into myriad future studies on development and psychopathology and to promote the translation of such work into preventive interventions.

  15. Comment on estimating the solar proton environment that may affect Mars missions.

    PubMed

    Smart, D F; Shea, M A

    2003-01-01

    Estimates of the energetic proton environment for a Mars mission are generally extrapolated from the solar proton observations at 1 AU. We find that solar particle events may be divided into two general classes. Events dominated by a near-sun injection of particles onto interplanetary magnetic field lines leading to the spacecraft position represent the "classical" solar particle event associated with solar activity. This class of event will scale in radial distance by the classical power law extrapolation. The extended-interplanetary-shock source generates a maximum flux as the shock passes the detection location. This class of event typically generates maximum fluence, but in this case, the flux and fluence will not scale in the classical manner with radial distance.

  16. Comment on estimating the solar proton environment that may affect Mars missions.

    PubMed

    Smart, D F; Shea, M A

    2003-01-01

    Estimates of the energetic proton environment for a Mars mission are generally extrapolated from the solar proton observations at 1 AU. We find that solar particle events may be divided into two general classes. Events dominated by a near-sun injection of particles onto interplanetary magnetic field lines leading to the spacecraft position represent the "classical" solar particle event associated with solar activity. This class of event will scale in radial distance by the classical power law extrapolation. The extended-interplanetary-shock source generates a maximum flux as the shock passes the detection location. This class of event typically generates maximum fluence, but in this case, the flux and fluence will not scale in the classical manner with radial distance. PMID:12577924

  17. Acid environments affect biofilm formation and gene expression in isolates of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium DT104.

    PubMed

    O'Leary, Denis; McCabe, Evonne M; McCusker, Matthew P; Martins, Marta; Fanning, Séamus; Duffy, Geraldine

    2015-08-01

    The aim of this study was to examine the survival and potential virulence of biofilm-forming Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 under mild acid conditions. Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 employs an acid tolerance response (ATR) allowing it to adapt to acidic environments. The threat that these acid adapted cells pose to food safety could be enhanced if they also produce biofilms in acidic conditions. The cells were acid-adapted by culturing them in 1% glucose and their ability to form biofilms on stainless steel and on the surface of Luria Bertani (LB) broth at pH7 and pH5 was examined. Plate counts were performed to examine cell survival. RNA was isolated from cells to examine changes in the expression of genes associated with virulence, invasion, biofilm formation and global gene regulation in response to acid stress. Of the 4 isolates that were examined only one (1481) that produced a rigid biofilm in LB broth at pH7 also formed this same structure at pH5. This indicated that the lactic acid severely impeded the biofilm producing capabilities of the other isolates examined under these conditions. Isolate 1481 also had higher expression of genes associated with virulence (hilA) and invasion (invA) with a 24.34-fold and 13.68-fold increase in relative gene expression respectively at pH5 compared to pH7. Although genes associated with biofilm formation had increased expression in response to acid stress for all the isolates this only resulted in the formation of a biofilm by isolate 1481. This suggests that in addition to the range of genes associated with biofilm production at neutral pH, there are genes whose protein products specifically aid in biofilm production in acidic environments. Furthermore, it highlights the potential for the use of lactic acid for the inhibition of Salmonella biofilms.

  18. Concentrations of formaldehyde and other carbonyls in environments affected by incense burning.

    PubMed

    Ho, Steven Sai Hang; Yu, Jian Zhen

    2002-10-01

    Burning incense to pay homage to deities is common in Chinese homes and temples. Air samples were collected and analyzed for carbonyls from a home and a temple in Hong Kong where incense burning occurs on a daily basis. Carbonyls in the air were trapped on a solid sorbent coated with O-(2,3,4,5,6-pentafluorobenzyl)-hydroxylamine, followed by thermal desorption and subsequent GC/MS analysis. The carbonyls identified include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, 2-furfural, benzaldehyde, glyoxal, and methylglyoxal. The levels of the above carbonyls correlate with the intensity of the incense-burning activities. The total mixing ratios of the carbonyls in the temple exceed those in the ambient air outside the temple by 11-23 times. Formaldehyde is the most abundant species, contributing to approximately 55% of the total carbonyl mixing ratios in both the temple and the home environments during incense burning. The mixing ratio of formaldehyde ranges from 108 to 346 ppbv in the temple and averages 103 ppbv in the home during incense burning. These values exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guideline of 100 microg m(-3) (88 ppbv) for formaldehyde. The highest formaldehyde level in the temple exceeds the WHO guideline by 3 times at peak incense burning hours. The mixing ratio of acrolein in the temple ranges from 20 to 99 ppbv, approaching or exceeding the WHO air quality guideline of 50 microg m(-3) (22 ppbv) for acrolein. Our measurements indicate that incense burning significantly elevates the concentrations of a number of carbonyls, most notably formaldehyde and acrolein, in the surrounding environments. This study provides preliminary insights on indoor air quality problems created by incense burning.

  19. Environment-related and host-related factors affecting the occurrence of lice on rodents in Central Europe.

    PubMed

    Stanko, Michal; Fričová, Jana; Miklisová, Dana; Khokhlova, Irina S; Krasnov, Boris R

    2015-06-01

    We studied the effects of environment- (habitat, season) and host-related (sex, body mass) factors on the occurrence of four species of lice (Insecta:Phthiraptera:Anoplura) on six rodent species (Rodentia:Muridae). We asked how these factors influence the occurrence of lice on an individual host and whether different rodent-louse associations demonstrate consistent trends in these effects. We found significant effects of at least one environment-related and at least one host-related factor on the louse occurrence in five of six host-louse associations. The effect of habitat was significant in two associations with the occurrence of lice being more frequent in lowland than in mountain habitats. The effect of season was significant in five associations with a higher occurrence of infestation during the warm season in four associations and the cold season in one association. Host sex affected significantly the infestation by lice in three associations with a higher frequency of infestation in males. Host body mass affected the occurrence of lice in all five associations, being negative in wood mice and positive in voles. In conclusion, lice were influenced not only by the host- but also by environment-related factors. The effects of the latter could be mediated via life history parameters of a host.

  20. Realigning government action with public health evidence: the legal and policy environment affecting sex work and HIV in Asia.

    PubMed

    Gruskin, Sofia; Pierce, Gretchen Williams; Ferguson, Laura

    2014-01-01

    The HIV epidemic has shed light on how government regulation of sex work directly affects the health and well-being of sex workers, their families and communities. A review of the public health evidence highlights the need for supportive legal and policy environments, yet criminalisation of sex work remains standard around the world. Emerging evidence, coupled with evolving political ideologies, is increasingly shaping legal environments that promote the rights and health of sex workers but even as new legislation is created, contradictions often exist with standing problematic legislation. As a region, Asia provides a compelling example in that progressive HIV policies often sit side by side with laws that criminalise sex work. Data from the 21 Asian countries reporting under the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV in 2010 were analysed to provide evidence of how countries' approach to sex-work regulation might affect HIV-related outcomes. Attention to the links between law and HIV-related outcomes can aid governments to meet their international obligations and ensure appropriate legal environments that cultivate the safe and healthy development and expression of sexuality, ensure access to HIV and other related services and promote and protect human rights.

  1. Transgenerational sex determination: the embryonic environment experienced by a male affects offspring sex ratio

    PubMed Central

    Warner, Daniel A.; Uller, Tobias; Shine, Richard

    2013-01-01

    Conditions experienced during embryonic development can have lasting effects, even carrying across generations. Most evidence for transgenerational effects comes from studies of female mammals, with much less known about egg-laying organisms or paternally-mediated effects. Here we show that offspring sex can be affected by the incubation temperature its father experiences years earlier. We incubated eggs of an Australian lizard with temperature-dependent sex determination under three thermal regimes; some eggs were given an aromatase inhibitor to produce sons at temperatures that usually produce only daughters. Offspring were raised to maturity and freely interbred within field enclosures. After incubating eggs of the subsequent generation and assigning parentage, we found that the developmental temperature experienced by a male significantly influences the sex of his future progeny. This transgenerational effect on sex ratio may reflect an epigenetic influence on paternally-inherited DNA. Clearly, sex determination in reptiles is far more complex than is currently envisaged. PMID:24048344

  2. Gene-environment interplay in Drosophila melanogaster: chronic food deprivation in early life affects adult exploratory and fitness traits.

    PubMed

    Burns, James Geoffrey; Svetec, Nicolas; Rowe, Locke; Mery, Frederic; Dolan, Michael J; Boyce, W Thomas; Sokolowski, Marla B

    2012-10-16

    Early life adversity has known impacts on adult health and behavior, yet little is known about the gene-environment interactions (GEIs) that underlie these consequences. We used the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to show that chronic early nutritional adversity interacts with rover and sitter allelic variants of foraging (for) to affect adult exploratory behavior, a phenotype that is critical for foraging, and reproductive fitness. Chronic nutritional adversity during adulthood did not affect rover or sitter adult exploratory behavior; however, early nutritional adversity in the larval period increased sitter but not rover adult exploratory behavior. Increasing for gene expression in the mushroom bodies, an important center of integration in the fly brain, changed the amount of exploratory behavior exhibited by sitter adults when they did not experience early nutritional adversity but had no effect in sitters that experienced early nutritional adversity. Manipulation of the larval nutritional environment also affected adult reproductive output of sitters but not rovers, indicating GEIs on fitness itself. The natural for variants are an excellent model to examine how GEIs underlie the biological embedding of early experience.

  3. Biological and climatic controls on leaf litter decomposition across European forests and grasslands revealed by reciprocal litter transplantation experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Portillo-Estrada, M.; Pihlatie, M.; Korhonen, J. F. J.; Levula, J.; Frumau, A. K. F.; Ibrom, A.; Lembrechts, J. J.; Morillas, L.; Horváth, L.; Jones, S. K.; Niinemets, Ü.

    2015-11-01

    Projection of carbon and nitrogen cycles to future climates is associated with large uncertainties, in particular due to uncertainties how changes in climate alter soil turnover, including litter decomposition. In addition, future conditions are expected to result in changes in vegetation composition, and accordingly in litter type and quality, but it is unclear how such changes could potentially alter litter decomposition. Litter transplantation experiments were carried out across 6 European sites (4 forest and 2 grasslands) spanning a large geographical and climatic gradient (5.6-11.4 °C in annual temperature 511-878 mm in precipitation) to gain insight into biological (litter origin and type, soil type) and climatic controls on litter decomposition. The decomposition k rates were overall higher in warmer and wetter sites than in colder and drier sites, and positively correlated to the litter total specific leaf area. Also, litter N content increased as less litter mass remained and decay went further. Surprisingly, this study demonstrates that climatic controls on litter decomposition are quantitatively more important than species, litter origin and soil type. Cumulative climatic variables, precipitation and air temperature (ignoring days with air temperatures below 0 °C), were appropriate to predict the litter remaining mass during decomposition (Mr). And Mr and cumulative air temperature were found to be the best predictors for litter carbon and nitrogen remaining during decomposition. We concluded with an equation for predicting the decomposition k rate by using mean annual air temperature and litter total specific leaf area.

  4. Forest structure and litter production of naturally re-generated white mangrove Avicennia marina in sub-tropical estuarine coast.

    PubMed

    Abu Hena, M K; Sidik, B Japar; Idris, M H; Nesarul, M H; Aysha, A; Islam, M S; Nazmul, H

    2015-09-01

    The present work deals with plant structure, phenology, litter production and decomposition of mangrove Avicennia marina in the newly re-generated mangrove forest in sub-tropical coast. The natural generation in this accreted coastal land of mono-specific A. marina forest stand was prominent, with 45% seedlings and 32% saplings. Peak flowering and fruiting were noticed in May and August, respectively. Reproductive components contribute countable percent into the total litter production during the peak flowering (60%) and fruiting (86%) season. The percentage of leaf litter fall fluctuated throughout the year and contributed 13-99% (73% in average) of the total litter production of 11.53 tones ha(-1)'yr(-1). The total litter production differed with season and influenced by local climate, pore water salinity and phenology of the mangrove. The naturally generated young (7 years) A. marina with 1.8 m height produced more leaf litter as compared to similar tree height elsewhere. Decomposition rate was related to season, with higher litter loss during rainy season which could help cycling nutrients and support estuarine food web by supplying organic matter into the sub-tropical coastal environment. PMID:26521566

  5. Water quality impacts of converting to a poultry litter fertilization strategy.

    PubMed

    Harmel, R D; Torbert, H A; Haggard, B E; Haney, R; Dozier, M

    2004-01-01

    When improperly managed, land application of animal manures can harm the environment; however, limited watershed-scale runoff water quality data are available to research and address this issue. The water quality impacts of conversion to poultry litter fertilization on cultivated and pasture watersheds in the Texas Blackland Prairie were evaluated in this three-year study. Edge-of-field N and P concentrations and loads in surface runoff from new litter application sites were compared with losses under inorganic fertilization. The impact on downstream nutrient loss was also examined. In the fallow year with no fertilizer application, nutrient losses averaged 3 kg N ha(-1) and 0.9 kg P ha(-1) for the cultivated watersheds and were below 0.1 kg ha(-1) for the pasture watersheds. Following litter application, PO(4)-P concentrations in runoff were positively correlated to litter application rate and Mehlich-3 soil P levels. Following litter application, NO(3)-N and NH(4)-N concentrations in runoff were typically greater from cultivated watersheds, but PO(4)-P concentrations were greater for the pasture watersheds. Total N and P loads from the pasture watersheds (0.2 kg N ha(-1) and 0.7 kg P ha(-1)) were significantly lower than from the cultivated watersheds (32 kg N ha(-1) and 5 kg P ha(-1)) partly due to lower runoff volumes from the pasture watersheds. Downstream N and P concentrations and per-area loads were much lower than from edge-of-field watersheds. Results demonstrate that a properly managed annual litter application (4.5 Mg ha(-1) or less depending on litter N and P content) with supplemental N should supply necessary nutrients without detrimental water quality impacts.

  6. How do interactions with the physical environment affect the distribution of Antarctic krill?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thorpe, Sally; Murphy, Eugene; Tarling, Geraint; Renner, Angelika

    2010-05-01

    Antarctic krill Euphausia superba are a relatively large (60+ mm), long-lived (~6 years) crustacean with a patchy distribution in the Southern Ocean. In addition to being a key food source for many of the higher marine predators of the Southern Ocean, Antarctic krill is also the target of a commercial fishery. This increases the importance of understanding what drives the observed heterogeneous distribution of krill. In this study we use a coupled physical-biological model to examine the role of physical forcing in generating the observed distribution. By incorporating aspects of the life cycle of krill into a particle tracking model (using output from the OCCAM ocean model), we can identify key stages at which interaction with the environment determines the dispersal or retention of the local krill populations. For example, sea ice is an important habitat for young krill and our results suggest that in places the association of the krill with the sea ice can create opposing population connections to those due solely to ocean circulation. A long time series of output from the ORCA ocean model allows us to investigate the variability in some of these population connections and suggests that trends in the environmental forcing, as observed for example with the Southern Annular Mode, are likely to impact the Southern Ocean ecosystem.

  7. Factors affecting metacognition of undergraduate nursing students in a blended learning environment.

    PubMed

    Hsu, Li-Ling; Hsieh, Suh-Ing

    2014-06-01

    This paper is a report of a study to examine the influence of demographic, learning involvement and learning performance variables on metacognition of undergraduate nursing students in a blended learning environment. A cross-sectional, correlational survey design was adopted. Ninety-nine students invited to participate in the study were enrolled in a professional nursing ethics course at a public nursing college. The blended learning intervention is basically an assimilation of classroom learning and online learning. Simple linear regression showed significant associations between frequency of online dialogues, the Case Analysis Attitude Scale scores, the Case Analysis Self Evaluation Scale scores, the Blended Learning Satisfaction Scale scores, and Metacognition Scale scores. Multiple linear regression indicated that frequency of online dialogues, the Case Analysis Self Evaluation Scale and the Blended Learning Satisfaction Scale were significant independent predictors of metacognition. Overall, the model accounted for almost half of the variance in metacognition. The blended learning module developed in this study proved successful in the end as a catalyst for the exercising of metacognitive abilities by the sample of nursing students. Learners are able to develop metacognitive ability in comprehension, argumentation, reasoning and various forms of higher order thinking through the blended learning process.

  8. Reassembling the "Environment": Science, Affect, and Multispecies Educative Practice at the Aquarium of the Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lloro-Bidart, Teresa Katrina

    Drawing on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork at the Aquarium of the Pacific and Michel Foucault's governmentality and biopolitics as an overarching theoretical frame, this dissertation engages in a political ecological analysis to explore how the institution, its staff, and nonhumans work to produce various sorts of knowledge about the environment. I argue that the educative assemblages imagined and formed there, which are intimately linked to institutional fiscal survivability, politically deploy nonhuman animals in the Aquarium's "edutainment" project. Through the use of storytelling as a pedagogical tool to entertain, invoke compassion, and convey science to the public, staff encourage guests to have tactile, auditory, and visual encounters with live ocean creatures in order to construct a natural world worthy of being saved, due to its instrumental and intrinsic value. I show how this public conservation re-education project attempts to highlight the voices of the animals being represented there, but not necessarily the voices of the animals actually residing there. I also draw out the implications of these representative practices and argue that the institution ought to utilize staff-nonhuman relationships, which are grounded in care and empathy, as a framework for developing visitor-nonhuman relationships.

  9. Sunlight affects aggregation and deposition of graphene oxide in the aquatic environment.

    PubMed

    Chowdhury, Indranil; Hou, Wen-Che; Goodwin, David; Henderson, Matthew; Zepp, Richard G; Bouchard, Dermont

    2015-07-01

    In this study, we investigate the role of simulated sunlight on the physicochemical properties, aggregation, and deposition of graphene oxide (GO) in aquatic environments. Results show that light exposure under varied environmental conditions significantly impacts the physicochemical properties and aggregation/deposition behaviors of GO. Photo-transformation has negligible effects on GO surface charge, however, GO aggregation rates increase with irradiation time for direct photo-transformation under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Under anaerobic conditions, photo-reduced GO has a greater tendency to form aggregates than under aerobic conditions. Aggregation of photo-transformed GO is notably influenced by ion valence, with higher aggregation found in the presence of divalent ions versus monovalent, but adding natural organic matter (NOM) reduces it. QCM-D studies show that deposition of GO on surfaces coated with organic matter decreases with increased GO irradiation time, indicating a potential increase in GO mobility due to photo-transformation. General deposition trends on Suwannee River Humic Acid (SRHA)-coated surfaces are control GO > aerobically photo-transformed GO ≈ anaerobically photo-transformed GO. The release of deposited GO from SRHA-coated surfaces decreases with increased irradiation time, indicating that photo-transformed GO is strongly attached to the NOM-coated surface.

  10. Meiobenthos and free-living nematodes as tools for biomonitoring environments affected by riverine impact.

    PubMed

    Semprucci, F; Frontalini, F; Sbrocca, C; du Châtelet, E Armynot; Bout-Roumazeilles, V; Coccioni, R; Balsamo, M

    2015-05-01

    The effects of the human impact on the coastal environments and relative biota can be different and even greater than those derived by natural fluctuations. The major disturbance causes in the coastal systems are rivers that may be important sources of nutrients and pollutants, particularly in a semi-closed basin such as the Adriatic Sea. In this context, we investigated the distribution of both meiobenthic and nematode assemblages in the Central Adriatic Sea to evaluate whether and how they are influenced by riverine discharges and which faunal descriptors are the most effective in detecting this type of stress. On the basis of our results, the disturbance effects in the studied area might be caused by both local streams and Po plume, and even if the latter might be considered of lesser extent, it is worthy to note its real impact at a short distance from the coastline. Meiobenthic assemblage structure appears as a good tool for detecting short-term responses of the benthic domain, whereas nematode assemblages seem more useful for defining long-term responses. Accordingly, the former highlighted from poor to sufficient ecological quality status (EQS) of this area, whereas the latter from moderate to bad EQS. Life strategy traits prove to be the most informative faunal descriptor due to their high correspondence with the environmental variables and particularly with this type of disturbance. PMID:25877645

  11. Season mediates herbivore effects on litter and soil microbial abundance and activity in a semi-arid woodland

    SciTech Connect

    Classen, Aimee T; Overby, Stephen; Hart, Stephen C; Koch, George W; Whitham, Thomas G

    2007-01-01

    Herbivores can directly impact ecosystem function by altering litter quality entering an ecosystem or indirectly by affecting a shift in the microbial community that mediate nutrient processes. We examine herbivore susceptibility and resistance effects on litter microarthropod and soil microbial communities to test the general hypothesis that herbivore driven changes in litter inputs will feedback to the microbial community. Our study population consisted of individual trees that are susceptible or resistant to the stem-boring moth (Dioryctria albovittella) and trees that herbivores have been manually removed since 1982. Moth herbivory increased pi on litter nitrogen concentrations (16%) and canopy precipitation infiltration (28%), both significant factors influencing litter and soil microbial populations. Our research resulted in three major conclusions: 1) In spite of an increase in litter quality, herbivory does not change litter microarthropod abundance or species richness. 2) Herbivore susceptibility alters bulk soil microbial communities, but not soil properties. 3) Season has a strong influence on microbial communities, and their response to herbivore inputs, in this semi-arid ecosystem.

  12. Vegetation exerts a greater control on litter decomposition than climate warming in peatlands.

    PubMed

    Ward, Susan E; Orwin, Kate H; Ostle, Nicholas J; Briones, J I; Thomson, Bruce C; Griffiths, Robert I; Oakley, Simon; Quirk, Helen; Bardget, Richard D

    2015-01-01

    Historically, slow decomposition rates have resulted in the accumulation of large amounts of carbon in northern peatlands. Both climate warming and vegetation change can alter rates of decomposition, and hence affect rates of atmospheric CO2 exchange, with consequences for climate change feedbacks. Although warming and vegetation change are happening concurrently, little is known about their relative and interactive effects on decomposition processes. To test the effects of warming and vegetation change on decomposition rates, we placed litter of three dominant species (Calluna vulgaris, Eriophorum vaginatum, Hypnum jutlandicum) into a peatland field experiment that combined warming.with plant functional group removals, and measured mass loss over two years. To identify potential mechanisms behind effects, we also measured nutrient cycling and soil biota. We found that plant functional group removals exerted a stronger control over short-term litter decomposition than did approximately 1 degrees C warming, and that the plant removal effect depended on litter species identity. Specifically, rates of litter decomposition were faster when shrubs were removed from the plant community, and these effects were strongest for graminoid and bryophyte litter. Plant functional group removals also had strong effects on soil biota and nutrient cycling associated with decomposition, whereby shrub removal had cascading effects on soil fungal community composition, increased enchytraeid abundance, and increased rates of N mineralization. Our findings demonstrate that, in addition to litter quality, changes in vegetation composition play a significant role in regulating short-term litter decomposition and belowground communities in peatland, and that these impacts can be greater than moderate warming effects. Our findings, albeit from a relatively short-term study, highlight the need to consider both vegetation change and its impacts below ground alongside climatic effects when

  13. Correlated responses in male reproductive traits in mice selected for litter size and body weight.

    PubMed

    Eisen, E J; Johnson, B H

    1981-01-01

    Correlated responses in male reproductive traits were determined at 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age in lines of mice selected for large litter size (L+), large 6-week body weight (W+), large litter size and small body weight (L+W-) and small litter size and large body weight (L-W+), and in an unselected control (K). Concentration of serum testosterone and weights of testes, seminal vesicles, epididymides and adrenal glands increased with age. Line differences in testosterone concentration were not detected. L+ and W+ males exhibited positive correlated responses in testes, epididymides and seminal vesicle weights. Testis weight adjusted for body weight was significantly larger for L+ than controls and approached significance for W+. Realized genetic correlation be-testis weight and litter size was 0.60 +/- 0.04, and the realized partial genetic correlation holding body weight constant was 0.42. Therefore, pleiotropic loci, acting via the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, affect testis weight and litter size independently of body weight. Additionally, genes influencing overall growth have a pleiotropic effect on testis weight and litter size in mice; the realized genetic correlations of body weight with testis weight and with litter size were 0.60 +/- 0.03 and 0.52 +/- 0.10. Testis weight increased in both L+W- and L-W+ males. The positive correlated response in L+W- may have resulted from changes in frequency of genes controlling reproductive processes; whereas, in L-W+ it could have been the result of changes in the frequency of genes associated with body weight.

  14. Factors influencing leaf litter decomposition: An intersite decomposition experiment across China

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zhou, G.; Guan, L.; Wei, X.; Tang, X.; Liu, S.; Liu, J.; Zhang, Dongxiao; Yan, J.

    2008-01-01

    The Long-Term Intersite Decomposition Experiment in China (hereafter referred to as LTIDE-China) was established in 2002 to study how substrate quality and macroclimate factors affect leaf litter decomposition. The LTIDE-China includes a wide variety of natural and managed ecosystems, consisting of 12 forest types (eight regional broadleaf forests, three needle-leaf plantations and one broadleaf plantation) at eight locations across China. Samples of mixed leaf litter from the south subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest in Dinghushan (referred to as the DHS sample) were translocated to all 12 forest types. The leaf litter from each of other 11 forest types was placed in its original forest to enable comparison of decomposition rates of DHS and local litters. The experiment lasted for 30 months, involving collection of litterbags from each site every 3 months. Our results show that annual decomposition rate-constants, as represented by regression fitted k-values, ranged from 0.169 to 1.454/year. Climatic factors control the decomposition rate, in which mean annual temperature and annual actual evapotranspiration are dominant and mean annual precipitation is subordinate. Initial C/N and N/P ratios were demonstrated to be important factors of regulating litter decomposition rate. Decomposition process may apparently be divided into two phases controlled by different factors. In our study, 0.75 years is believed to be the dividing line of the two phases. The fact that decomposition rates of DHS litt