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BMC Ecology

Christoph Ptatscheck, Patrick Connor Milne, Walter Traunspurger
BACKGROUND: Stemflow is an essential hydrologic process shaping the soil of forests by providing a concentrated input of rainwater and solutions. However, the transport of metazoans by stemflow has yet to be investigated. This 8-week study documented the organisms (< 2 mm) present in the stemflow of different tree species. Because the texture of the tree bark is a crucial determination of stemflow, trees with smooth bark (Carpinus betulus and Fagus sylvatica) and rough bark (Quercus robur) were examined...
October 11, 2018: BMC Ecology
R D Manzanedo, F R Schanz, M Fischer, E Allan
BACKGROUND: Understanding and predicting the response of tree populations to climate change requires understanding the pattern and scale of their adaptation. Climate is often considered the major driver of local adaptation but, although biotic factors such as soil pathogens or mutualists could be as important, their role has typically been neglected. Biotic drivers might also interact with climate to affect performance and mycorrhizae, in particular, are likely to play a key role in determining drought resistance, which is important in the context of adaptation to future environmental change...
October 3, 2018: BMC Ecology
Mikkel Andreas Jørnsøn Kvasnes, Hans Christian Pedersen, Erlend Birkeland Nilsen
BACKGROUND: Habitat models provide information about which habitat management should target to avoid species extinctions or range contractions. The willow ptarmigan inhabits alpine- and arctic tundra habitats in the northern hemisphere and is listed as near threatened (NT) in the Norwegian red list due to declining population size. Habitat alteration is one of several factors affecting willow ptarmigan populations, but there is a lack of studies quantifying and describing habitat selection in willow ptarmigan...
October 3, 2018: BMC Ecology
Serge Alexis Kamgang, Kadiri Serge Bobo, Fiona Maisels, Ruffin Dupleix Delarue Ambahe, Désiré Edgar Ambassa Ongono, Mary Katherine Gonder, Paul Johnson, Jorgelina Marino, Brice Sinsin
BACKGROUND: Understanding the relationship between great apes and their habitat is essential for the development of successful conservation strategies. The chimpanzee Pan troglodytes ellioti is endemic to Nigeria and Cameroon, and occupies an ecologically diverse range of habitats from forests to forest-savannah mosaic in Mbam-Djerem National Park (MDNP) in Cameroon. The habitat variation in chimpanzees is poorly understood in MDNP which provides an excellent opportunity to assess ecological factors that shape the abundance and distribution patterns of P...
October 1, 2018: BMC Ecology
Ruth García-Jiménez, Juan M Pérez-García, Antoni Margalida
BACKGROUND: The development of satellite tracking technology enables the gathering of huge amounts of accurate data on animal movements over measured time intervals, to reveal essential information about species' patterns of spatial use. This information is especially important in optimizing the design of conservation and management strategies for endangered species. In this study, we analysed the main drivers of daily patterns in the flight activity of the threatened Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus...
September 29, 2018: BMC Ecology
Brian P Allman, Knut Kielland, Diane Wagner
BACKGROUND: Damage to plants by herbivores potentially affects the quality and quantity of the plant tissue available to other herbivore taxa that utilize the same host plants at a later time. This study addresses the indirect effects of insect herbivores on mammalian browsers, a particularly poorly-understood class of interactions. Working in the Alaskan boreal forest, we investigated the indirect effects of insect damage to Salix interior leaves during the growing season on the consumption of browse by moose during winter, and on quantity and quality of browse production...
September 27, 2018: BMC Ecology
Hong-Liang Lu, Chun-Xia Xu, Zhi-Gao Zeng, Wei-Guo Du
BACKGROUND: Ectothermic animals living in cold (high latitude or high elevation) regions are predicted to grow slower due to limited thermal opportunities for activity and food resources than those living in warm regions. However, the Qinghai toad-headed lizards (Phrynocephalus vlangalii) grow faster and reach a larger adult size at a high-elevation site than at a low-elevation site. In this study, we aimed to identify the genetic and environmental causes of this between-population difference in growth rate by conducting mark-recapture and common garden experiments on juvenile growth rate, and investigating the thermal environment, lizard body temperature, potential prey availability at the two elevation sites...
September 24, 2018: BMC Ecology
Carlo Polidori, Marcella Nucifora, David Sánchez-Fernández
BACKGROUND: Predicting the patterns of range expansion of alien species is central to develop effective strategies for managing potential biological invasions. Here, we present a study on the potential distribution of the American cavity-nesting, Orthoptera-hunting and solitary wasp, Isodontia mexicana (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae), which was first detected as alien species in France in 1960 and now is present in many European countries. After having updated its current distribution, we estimated the environmental space (based on bioclimatic data and altitude) occupied by the species and subsequently predicted its environmental potential distribution under both present and future climatic conditions at global scale...
September 20, 2018: BMC Ecology
Laura A Brannelly, Matthew W H Chatfield, Julia Sonn, Matthew Robak, Corinne L Richards-Zawacki
BACKGROUND: The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been implicated as a primary cause of decline in many species around the globe. However, there are some species and populations that are known to become infected in the wild, yet declines have not been observed. Here we conducted a yearlong capture-mark-recapture study and a 2-year long disease monitoring study of northern cricket frogs, Acris crepitans, in the lowland subtropical forests of Louisiana. RESULTS: We found little evidence for an impact of Bd infection on survival; however, Bd infection did appear to cause sublethal effects, including increased capture probability in the field...
September 14, 2018: BMC Ecology
Gerry Baygents, Majid Bani-Yaghoub
BACKGROUND: Outbreaks of deer hemorrhagic disease (HD) have been documented in the USA for many decades. In the year 2012, there was a severe HD outbreak in Missouri with mortalities reaching approximately 6.9 per thousand. Moreover, Missouri accounted for more than 43% of all reported epizootic HD cases in captive white-tailed deer. Using the data of suspected HD occurrence in Missouri, the primary goal of this paper was to determine if HD in Missouri's white-tailed deer occurs in spatial clusters...
September 14, 2018: BMC Ecology
Thomas A Verschut, Peter A Hambäck
BACKGROUND: Wetlands are habitats where variation in soil moisture content and associated environmental conditions can strongly affect the survival of herbivorous insects by changing host plant quality and natural enemy densities. In this study, we combined natural enemy exclusion experiments with random survival forest analyses to study the importance of local variation in host plant quality and predation by natural enemies on the egg and larval survival of the leaf beetle Galerucella sagittariae along a soil moisture gradient...
September 10, 2018: BMC Ecology
Jocelyn E Behm, Brenna R Waite, S Tonia Hsieh, Matthew R Helmus
BACKGROUND: Ecological research often involves sampling and manipulating non-model organisms that reside in heterogeneous environments. As such, ecologists often adapt techniques and ideas from industry and other scientific fields to design and build equipment, tools, and experimental contraptions custom-made for the ecological systems under study. Three-dimensional (3D) printing provides a way to rapidly produce identical and novel objects that could be used in ecological studies, yet ecologists have been slow to adopt this new technology...
September 10, 2018: BMC Ecology
Zhi-Guo Dong, Yi-Hua Chen, Hong-Xing Ge, Xiao-Ying Li, Hai-Long Wu, Chen-He Wang, Zhe Hu, Yang-Jian Wu, Guang-Hui Fu, Ji-Kun Lu, Hua Che
BACKGROUND: During electricity generation of nuclear power plant, heat energy cannot be completely converted into electrical energy, and a part of it is lost in the form of thermal discharge into the environment. The thermal discharge is harmful to flora and fauna leading to environmental deterioration, biological diversity decline, and even biological extinction. RESULTS: The present study investigated the influence of thermal discharge from a nuclear power plant on the growth and development of Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas which is widely used as bio indicator to monitor environmental changes...
September 6, 2018: BMC Ecology
Xiajie Zhai, Yingjun Zhang, Kun Wang, Qian Chen, Shuiyan Li, Ding Huang
BACKGROUND: Forage nutritive value plays an important role in livestock nutrition and maintaining sustainable grassland ecosystems, and grazing management can affect the quality of forage. In this study, we investigated the effects of different grazing intensities on the nutritive values of Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvelev, Artemisia spp. and Carex duriuscula C. A. Mey in the steppes of China during the growing seasons from 2011 to 2013. Five grazing management treatments were implemented: (1) rest grazing in spring, heavy grazing in summer and moderate grazing in autumn (RHM), (2) rest grazing in spring, moderate grazing in summer and heavy grazing in autumn (RMH), (3) heavy grazing though all seasons (HHH), (4) heavy grazing in spring and summer and moderate grazing in autumn (HHM) and (5) continuous moderate grazing in all seasons (MMM)...
September 3, 2018: BMC Ecology
Mia Vedel Sørensen, Bente Jessen Graae, Dagmar Hagen, Brian J Enquist, Kristin Odden Nystuen, Richard Strimbeck
BACKGROUND: Shrub cover in arctic and alpine ecosystems has increased in recent decades, and is predicted to further increase with climate change. Changes in shrub abundance may alter ecosystem carbon (C) sequestration and storage, with potential positive feedback on global C cycling. Small and large herbivores may reduce shrub expansion and thereby counteract the positive feedback on C cycling, but herbivore pressures have also changed in the alpine-arctic tundra; the increased shrub cover together with changes in herbivore pressure is leading to unpredictable changes in carbon sequestration and storage...
August 30, 2018: BMC Ecology
Min Chen, Xiao-An Zuo
BACKGROUND: A large proportion of the flowers and ovules of plants do not develop into fruits and seeds. Plant reproduction may be limited because of pollen limitation and resource limitation. Medicago sativa L. is an ecologically important species in northwest China. We conducted a pollen supplementation experiment to determine the degree of pollen limitation in this species and detect the possible effects of resource allocation on pollen supplementation. We crossed two factors, pollen level (natural condition and hand pollinated) and resource level (control, water added, and fertilizer added), to estimate the effects of pollen addition and resource limitation on the opening of flowers and seed set...
August 29, 2018: BMC Ecology
Xiaodong Wu, Haiyan Xu, Guimin Liu, Lin Zhao, Cuicui Mu
BACKGROUND: Permafrost degradation may develop thermokarst landforms, which substantially change physico-chemical characteristics in the soil as well as the soil carbon stock. However, little is known about changes of bacterial community among the microfeatures within thermokarst area. RESULTS: We investigated bacterial communities using the Illumina sequencing method and examined their relationships with soil parameters in a thermokarst feature on the northern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau...
August 22, 2018: BMC Ecology
Gavin C Woodruff, Patrick C Phillips
BACKGROUND: Biotic interactions are ubiquitous and require information from ecology, evolutionary biology, and functional genetics in order to be understood. However, study systems that are amenable to investigations across such disparate fields are rare. Figs and fig wasps are a classic system for ecology and evolutionary biology with poor functional genetics; Caenorhabditis elegans is a classic system for functional genetics with poor ecology. In order to help bridge these disciplines, here we describe the natural history of a close relative of C...
August 21, 2018: BMC Ecology
G K Achini W Fernando, Sevvandi Jayakody, W M Hiranya K Wijenayake, Gawrie N L Galappaththy, Mangala Yatawara, Jeevanie Harishchandra
BACKGROUND: The exotic fish Poecilia reticulata is promoted in the tropics as a biological control agent for aquatic pathogenic carriers, such as mosquitoes. Such control measures are often adopted blindly, ignoring the potential of native species and the adverse effects of introduced species. The present study was conducted to assess the diet composition of two species of fish, the native Aplocheilus parvus and exotic P. reticulata, and to assess the availability of food items in their natural environment in four types of aquatic systems...
August 14, 2018: BMC Ecology
Dan Luo, Meng Lai, Chuanfeng Xu, Haoni Shi, Xingping Liu
BACKGROUND: For capital breeding Lepidoptera, larval food quality is a key determinant of their fitness. A series of studies have suggested that the larval host species or varieties dramatically impact their development and reproductive output. However, few studies have reported the role of foliar age and adult mating success has often been ignored in these studies. In this paper, the influence of host species and needle age on larval performances, adult mating behavior and fitness consequences has been studied using a capital breeding caterpillar, Dendrolimus punctatus Walker (Lepidoptera:Lasiocampidae)...
August 8, 2018: BMC Ecology
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