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Kirsten M Prior, Todd M Palmer
While foundation species can stabilize ecosystems at landscape scales, their ability to persist is often underlain by keystone interactions occurring at smaller scales. Acacia drepanolobium is a foundation tree, comprising >95% of woody cover in East African black-cotton savanna ecosystems. Its dominance is underlain by a keystone mutualistic interaction with several symbiotic ant species in which it provides housing (swollen thorns) and carbohydrate-rich nectar from extra-floral nectaries (EFN). In return, it gains protection from catastrophic damage from mega-herbivores...
January 12, 2018: Ecology
Alice Rogers, Julia L Blanchard, Steven P Newman, Charlie S Dryden, Peter J Mumby
Refuge availability and fishing alter predator-prey interactions on coral reefs, but our understanding of how they interact to drive food web dynamics, community structure and vulnerability of different trophic groups is unclear. Here, we apply a size-based ecosystem model of coral reefs, parameterized with empirical measures of structural complexity, to predict fish biomass, productivity and community structure in reef ecosystems under a broad range of refuge availability and fishing regimes. In unfished ecosystems, the expected positive correlation between reef structural complexity and biomass emerges, but a non-linear effect of predation refuges is observed for the productivity of predatory fish...
January 12, 2018: Ecology
Elvira Schnyder, Paul L E Bodelier, Martin Hartmann, Ruth Henneberger, Pascal A Niklaus
Biodiversity enhances ecosystem functions such as biomass production and nutrient cycling. Although the majority of the terrestrial biodiversity is hidden in soils, very little is known about the importance of the diversity of microbial communities for soil functioning. Here, we tested effects of biodiversity on the functioning of methanotrophs, a specialized group of soil bacteria that plays a key role in mediating greenhouse gas emissions from soils. Using pure strains of methanotrophic bacteria, we assembled artificial communities of different diversity levels, with which we inoculated sterile soil microcosms...
January 11, 2018: Ecology
Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Frank Reith, Paul G Dennis, Kelly Hamonts, Jeff R Powell, Andrew Young, Brajesh K Singh, Andrew Bissett
The ecological drivers of soil biodiversity in the Southern Hemisphere remain underexplored. Here, in a continental survey comprising 647 sites, across 58 degrees of latitude between tropical Australia and Antarctica, we evaluated the major ecological patterns in soil biodiversity and relative abundance of ecological clusters within a co-occurrence network of soil bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. Six major ecological clusters (modules) of co-occurring soil taxa were identified. These clusters exhibited strong shifts in their relative abundances with increasing distance from the equator...
January 9, 2018: Ecology
Carlos M Delgado-Martínez, Fredy Alvarado, Eduardo Mendoza, Sandra Flores-Hernández, Audomaro Navarrete, Eutimio Navarrete, Francisco Botello
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 9, 2018: Ecology
Jennifer A Rudgers, Y Anny Chung, Gregory E Maurer, Douglas I Moore, Esteban H Muldavin, Marcy E Litvak, Scott L Collins
Understanding controls on net primary production (NPP) has been a long-standing goal in ecology. Climate is a well-known control on NPP, although the temporal differences among years within a site are often weaker than the spatial pattern of differences across sites. Climate sensitivity functions describe the relationship between an ecological response (e.g., NPP) and both the mean and variance of its climate driver (e.g., aridity index), providing a novel framework for understanding how climate trends in both mean and variance vary with NPP over time...
January 9, 2018: Ecology
Christian Winter, Nicole Köstner, Carl-Philip Kruspe, Damaris Urban, Simone Muck, Thomas Reinthaler, Gerhard J Herndl
In aquatic habitats, viral lysis of prokaryotic cells lowers the overall efficiency of the microbial loop, by which dissolved organic carbon is transfered to higher trophic levels. Mixing of water masses in the dark ocean occurs on a global scale and may have far reaching consequences for the different prokaryotic and virus communities found in these waters by altering the environmental conditions these communities experience. We hypothesize that mixing of deep ocean water masses enhances the lytic activity of viruses infecting prokaryotes...
January 8, 2018: Ecology
D R Schoolmaster, C L Stagg
A trade-off between competitive ability and stress tolerance has been hypothesized and empirically supported to explain the zonation of species across stress gradients for a number of systems. Since stress often reduces plant productivity, one might expect a pattern of decreasing productivity across the zones of the stress gradient. However, this pattern is often not observed in coastal wetlands that show patterns of zonation along a salinity gradient. To address the potentially complex relationship between stress, zonation and productivity in coastal wetlands, we developed a model of plant biomass as a function of resource competition and salinity stress...
January 8, 2018: Ecology
Christopher M Dalton, Karen E Tracy, Nelson G Hairston, Alexander S Flecker
Predators can alter nutrient cycles simply by inducing stress in prey. This stress accelerates prey's protein catabolism, nitrogen waste production, and nitrogen cycling. Yet predators also reduce the feeding rates of their prey, inducing food deprivation that is expected to slow protein catabolism and nitrogen cycling. The physiology of prey under predation risk thus balances the influences of predation risk and food deprivation, and this balance is central to understanding the role of predators in nutrient cycles...
January 7, 2018: Ecology
William J Resetarits, Jason R Bohenek, Tyler Breech, Matthew R Pintar
Two of the most important factors determining community structure and diversity within and among habitat patches are patch size and patch quality. Despite the importance of patch size in existing paradigms in island biogeography, metapopulation biology, landscape ecology, and metacommunity ecology, and growing conservation concerns with habitat fragmentation, there has been little investigation into how patch size interacts with patch quality. We crossed three levels of patch size (1.13 m2 , 2.54 m2 and 5.73 m2 ) with two levels of patch quality [fish presence/absence - green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) and golden shiners (Notemigonus chrysoleucus) in 6 replicate experimental landscapes (3 x 2 x 6 = 36 patches)...
January 7, 2018: Ecology
W S Andriuzzi, B J Adams, J E Barrett, R A Virginia, D H Wall
Long-term observations of ecological communities are necessary for generating and testing predictions of ecosystem responses to climate change. We investigated temporal trends and spatial patterns of soil fauna along similar environmental gradients in three sites of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, spanning two distinct climatic phases: a decadal cooling trend from the early 1990s through the austral summer of February 2001, followed by a shift to the current trend of warming summers and more frequent discrete warming events...
January 5, 2018: Ecology
Chuliang Song, Serguei Saavedra
How likely is that few species can randomly assemble into a feasible and stable community? Some studies have answered that as long as the community is feasible, it will nearly always be stable. In contrast, other studies have answered that the likelihood is almost null. Here, we show that the origin of this debate has been the underestimation of the association of the parameter space of intrinsic growth rates with the feasibility and stability properties of small randomly-assembled communities. In particular, we demonstrate that not all parameterizations and sampling distributions of intrinsic growth rates lead to the same probabilities of stability and feasibility, which could mistakenly lead to under or overestimate the stability properties of feasible communities...
December 28, 2017: Ecology
Brett M Taylor, Simon J Brandl, Maia Kapur, William D Robbins, Garrett Johnson, Charlie Huveneers, Phil Renaud, J Howard Choat
Ectotherms exhibit considerable plasticity in their life-history traits. This plasticity can reflect variability in environmental and social factors, but the causes of observed patterns are often obscured with increasing spatial scales. We surveyed dichromatic parrotfishes across the northern Great Barrier Reef to examine variation in body size distributions and concomitant size at sex change (L∆50 ) against hypotheses of directional influence from biotic and abiotic factors known to affect demography. By integrating top-down, horizontal, and bottom-up processes, we demonstrate a strong association between exposure regimes (which are known to influence nutritional ecology and mating systems) and both body size distribution and L∆50 (median length at female-to-male sex change), with an accompanying lack of strong empirical support for other biotic drivers previously hypothesized to affect body size distributions...
December 28, 2017: Ecology
Travis Ingram, Raul Costa-Pereira, Márcio S Araújo
The inherently multidimensional nature of the niche has not yet been integrated into the investigation of individual niche specialization within populations. We propose a framework for modeling the between- and within-individual components of the population niche as a set of variance-covariance matrices, which can be visualized with ellipses or ellipsoids. These niche components can be inferred using multiple response mixed models, and can incorporate diverse types of data, including diet composition, stable isotopes, spatial location, and other continuous measures of niche dimensions...
December 28, 2017: Ecology
Leif Christian Stige, Kristina Ø Kvile, Bjarte Bogstad, Øystein Langangen
Predator-mediated apparent competition is an indirect negative interaction between two prey species mediated by a shared predator. Quantifying such indirect ecosystem effects is methodologically challenging but important for understanding ecosystem functioning. Still, there are few examples of apparent competition from pelagic marine environments. Using state-space statistical modelling, we here provide evidence for apparent competition between two dominant zooplankton groups in a large marine ecosystem, i...
December 27, 2017: Ecology
Daniel E Winkler, Joshua L Conver, Travis E Huxman, Don E Swann
The long-lived columnar saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is among the most studied plants in the world. Long-term studies have shown saguaro establishment to be generally episodic and strongly influenced by precipitation and temperature. Water limitation through lower-than-average seasonal rainfall and elevated temperatures increasing evaporative loss can reduce survivorship of recent germinates. Thus, multi-year, extended drought could cause populations to decline as older saguaros die without replacement...
December 27, 2017: Ecology
Bachelot Benedicte, María Uriarte, Robert Muscarella, Jimena Forero-Montaña, Jill Thompson, Krista McGuire, Jess Zimmerman, Nathan G Swenson, James S Clark
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in the soil may influence tropical tree dynamics and forest succession. The mechanisms are poorly understood, because the functional characteristics and abundances of tree species and AM fungi are likely to be codependent. We used generalized joint attribute modeling to evaluate if AM fungi are associated with three forest community metrics for a sub-tropical montane forest in Puerto Rico. The metrics chosen to reflect changes during forest succession are: the abundance of seedlings of different successional status, the amount of foliar damage on seedlings of different successional status, and community-weighted mean functional trait values (adult specific leaf area (SLA), adult wood density, and seed mass)...
December 27, 2017: Ecology
Thomas A Ebert, Louis M Barr, James L Bodkin, Dirk Burcham, Dominique Bureau, Henry S Carson, Nancy L Caruso, Jennifer E Caselle, Jeremy T Claisse, Sabrina Clemente, Kathryn Davis, Paul M Detwiler, John D Dixon, David O Duggins, John M Engle, James A Estes, Scott D Groth, Benjamin M Grupe, Peter Halmay, Kyle P Hebert, José C Hernández, Laura J Jurgens, Peter E Kalvass, Michael C Kenner, Brenda Kenner, David J Kushner, Lynn C Lee, David L Leighton, Gabriela Montaño-Moctezuma, J Eric Munk, Irma Olguin, Julio S Palleiro, David O Parker, John S Pearse, Daniel J Pondella, Laura Rogers-Bennett, Stephen C Schroeter, A Ole Shelton, Jorge Sonnenholzner, Ian K Taniguchi, Glenn R VanBlaricom, Jane C Watson, Benjamin P Weitzman, Jonathan P Williams, Jennifer Yakimishyn, Zane Zhang
Size, growth, and density have been studied for North American Pacific coast sea urchins Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, S. droebachiensis, S. polyacanthus, Mesocentrotus (Strongylocentrotus) franciscanus, Lytechinus pictus, Centrostephanus coronatus, and Arbacia stellata by various workers at diverse sites and for varying lengths of time from 1956 to present. Numerous peer-reviewed publications have used some of these data but some data have appeared only in graduate theses or the gray literature. There also are data that have never appeared outside original data sheets...
December 27, 2017: Ecology
Katja Poveda, María F Díaz, Augusto Ramirez
The two most pressing challenges to agriculture worldwide are feeding a rapidly growing human population and developing more sustainable agricultural practices that do not threaten human and ecosystem health. We address these challenges through research in plant-herbivore interactions, specifically overcompensatory responses in potato to herbivore damage. While herbivory is usually detrimental to most crops, some potato cultivars can overcompensate and increase crop productivity up to two-fold in response to herbivore damage...
December 27, 2017: Ecology
Érica Hasui, Jean Paul Metzger, Rafael Guerra Pimentel, Luís Fábio Silveira, Alex Augusto de Abreu Bovo, Alexandre Camargo Martensen, Alexandre Uezu, André Luis Regolin, Arthur Ângelo Bispo de Oliveira, Cassiano Augusto Ferreira Rodrigues Gatto, Charles Duca, Christian Borges Andretti, Cristina Banks-Leite, Daniela Luz, Daniele Mariz, Eduardo Roberto Alexandrino, Fabio Monteiro de Barros, Felipe Martello, Iolanda Maria da Silva Pereira, José Nilton da Silva, Katia Maria Paschoaletto Micchi de Barros Ferraz, Luciano Nicolas Naka, Luiz Dos Anjos, Márcio Amorim Efe, Marco Aurélio Pizo, Mauro Pichorim, Maycon Sanyvan Sigales Gonçalves, Paulo Henrique Chaves Cordeiro, Rafael Antunes Dias, Renata de Lara Muylaert, Rodolpho Credo Rodrigues, Thiago Vernaschi Vieira da Costa, Vagner Cavarzere, Vinicius Rodrigues Tonetti, Wesley Rodrigues Silva, Clinton N Jenkins, Mauro Galetti, Milton Cezar Ribeiro
South America holds 30% of the world's avifauna, with the Atlantic Forest representing one of the richest region of the Neotropics. Here we compiled a dataset on Brazilian Atlantic Forest bird occurrence (150,423) and abundance samples (N=832 bird species; 33,119) using multiple methods, including qualitative surveys, mist-nets, point counts, and line transects). We used four main sources of data: museum collections, on-line databases, literature sources, and unpublished reports. The dataset comprises 4,122 localities and data from 1815 to 2017...
December 21, 2017: Ecology
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