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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
Daniel Dörler, Matthias Kropf, Gregor Laaha, Johann G Zaller
BACKGROUND: The Spanish slug (Arion vulgaris, also known as A. lusitanicus) is considered one of the most invasive species in agriculture, horticulture and private gardens all over Europe. Although this slug has been problematic for decades, there is still not much known about its occurrence across private gardens and the underlying meteorological and ecological factors. One reason for this knowledge gap is the limited access of researchers to private gardens. Here we used a citizen science approach to overcome this obstacle and examined whether the occurrence of Arionidae in Austrian gardens was associated with meteorological (air temperature, precipitation, global solar radiation, relative humidity) or ecological factors (plant diversity, earthworm activity)...
August 2, 2018: BMC Ecology
May Hokan, Elke Zimmermann, Ute Radespiel, Bertrand Andriatsitohaina, Solofonirina Rasoloharijaona, Christina Strube
BACKGROUND: Various factors, such as climate, body size and sociality are often linked to parasitism. This constrains the identification of other determinants driving parasite infections. Here, we investigate for the first time intestinal parasites in two sympatric arboreal primate species, which share similar activity patterns, feeding ecology, body size and sociality, and cope with the same climate conditions, but differ in sleeping site ecology: the Milne-Edward's sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi) and the Western woolly lemur (Avahi occidentalis)...
July 13, 2018: BMC Ecology
Andrew A Forbes, Robin K Bagley, Marc A Beer, Alaine C Hippee, Heather A Widmayer
BACKGROUND: We challenge the oft-repeated claim that the beetles (Coleoptera) are the most species-rich order of animals. Instead, we assert that another order of insects, the Hymenoptera, is more speciose, due in large part to the massively diverse but relatively poorly known parasitoid wasps. The idea that the beetles have more species than other orders is primarily based on their respective collection histories and the relative availability of taxonomic resources, which both disfavor parasitoid wasps...
July 12, 2018: BMC Ecology
Qi Liu, Lianzhu Bi, Guohua Song, Quanbo Wang, Guangze Jin
BACKGROUND: Species coexistence mechanisms and maintenance of biodiversity have long been considered important components of community ecology research. As one of the important mechanisms, species coexistence theory based on niche differentiation has received attention in past years. Thus, topography, through the formation of habitat heterogeneity, affects species distributions and coexistence. A 30-ha dynamic plot of mixed broadleaved-Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) forest is located in the Heilongjiang Fenglin National Nature Reserve...
July 9, 2018: BMC Ecology
Lucie Vebrová, Andre van Nieuwenhuijzen, Vojtěch Kolář, David S Boukal
BACKGROUND: Chironomids, a major invertebrate taxon in many standing freshwaters, rely on adult flight to reach new suitable sites, yet the impact of weather conditions on their flight activity is little understood. We investigated diel and seasonal flight activity patterns of aquatic and terrestrial chironomids in a reclaimed sandpit area and analysed how weather conditions and seasonality influenced their total abundance and species composition. RESULTS: Air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and air pressure significantly affected total flight activity of both groups, but not in the same way...
June 19, 2018: BMC Ecology
Franciele Parreira Peixoto, Pedro Henrique Pereira Braga, Poliana Mendes
BACKGROUND: Diversity patterns result from ecological to evolutionary processes operating at different spatial and temporal scales. Species trait variation determine the spatial scales at which organisms perceive the environment. Despite this knowledge, the coupling of all these factors to understand how diversity is structured is still deficient. Here, we review the role of ecological and evolutionary processes operating across different hierarchically spatial scales to shape diversity patterns of bats-the second largest mammal order and the only mammals with real flight capability...
June 11, 2018: BMC Ecology
Deguang Liu, Peng Dai, Shirong Li, Syed Suhail Ahmed, Zheming Shang, Xiaoqin Shi
BACKGROUND: Drought may become one of the greatest challenges for cereal production under future warming scenarios, and its impact on insect pest outbreaks is still controversial. To address this issue, life-history responses of the English grain aphid, Sitobion avenae (Fabricius), from three areas of different drought levels were compared under three water treatments. RESULTS: Significant differences were identified in developmental time, fecundity and adult weight among S...
May 29, 2018: BMC Ecology
Juraj Paule, Franz G Dunkel, Marco Schmidt, Thomas Gregor
BACKGROUND: Polyploidy and apomixis are important factors influencing plant distributions often resulting in range shifts, expansions and geographical parthenogenesis. We used the Ranunculus auricomus complex as a model to asses if the past and present distribution and climatic preferences were determined by these phenomena. RESULTS: Ecological differentiation among diploids and polyploids was tested by comparing the sets of climatic variables and distribution modelling using 191 novel ploidy estimations and 561 literature data...
May 21, 2018: BMC Ecology
Farah Ishtiaq, Sahas Barve
BACKGROUND: Montane birds which engage in elevational movements have evolved to cope with fluctuations in environmental hypoxia, through changes in physiological parameters associated with blood oxygen-carrying capacity such as haemoglobin concentration (Hb) and haematocrit (Hct). In particular, elevational migrants which winter at low elevations, encounter varying intensities of avian haemosporidian parasites as they traverse heterogeneous environments. Whilst high intensity parasite infections lead to anaemia, one can expect that the ability to cope with haemosporidian infections should be a key trait for elevational migrants that must be balanced against reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood in response to high elevation...
May 14, 2018: BMC Ecology
Katarina M Jørgensen, Monica F Solberg, Francois Besnier, Anders Thorsen, Per Gunnar Fjelldal, Øystein Skaala, Ketil Malde, Kevin A Glover
BACKGROUND: In fish, morphological colour changes occur from variations in pigment concentrations and in the morphology, density, and distribution of chromatophores in the skin. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unresolved in most species. Here, we describe the first investigation into the genetic and environmental basis of spot pattern development in one of the world's most studied fishes, the Atlantic salmon. We reared 920 salmon from 64 families of domesticated, F1-hybrid and wild origin in two contrasting environments (Hatchery; tanks for the freshwater stage and sea cages for the marine stage, and River; a natural river for the freshwater stage and tanks for the marine stage)...
April 12, 2018: BMC Ecology
Clive T Darwell, Simon T Segar, James M Cook
BACKGROUND: Localised patterns of species diversity can be influenced by many factors, including regional species pools, biogeographic features and interspecific interactions. Despite recognition of these issues, we still know surprisingly little about how invertebrate biodiversity is structured across geographic scales. In particular, there have been few studies of how insect communities vary geographically while using the same plant host. We compared the composition (species, genera) and functional structure (guilds) of the chalcid wasp communities associated with the widespread fig tree, Ficus benjamina, towards the northern (Hainan province, China) and southern (Queensland, Australia) edges of its natural range...
April 3, 2018: BMC Ecology
Daniel A Sasson, Anya A Jacquez, Joseph F Ryan
BACKGROUND: Communication between individuals of the same species is an important aspect of mating and reproduction in most animals. In simultaneously hermaphroditic species with the ability to self-fertilize, communication with conspecifics can be essential to avoid inbreeding depression. One such behavioral adaptation observed in some simultaneous hermaphrodites is gamete trading. This behavior involves individual hermaphrodites in pairs alternating between reproducing as the male and female, and, as such, necessarily requires communication and coordination between mates...
March 26, 2018: BMC Ecology
Shiming Tang, Yujuan Zhang, Xiajie Zhai, Andreas Wilkes, Chengjie Wang, Kun Wang
BACKGROUND: The effects of grazing on soil methane (CH4 ) uptake in steppe ecosystems are important for understanding carbon sequestration and cycling because the role of grassland soil for CH4 uptake can have major impacts at the global level. Here, a meta-analysis of 27 individual studies was carried out to assess the response patterns of soil CH4 uptake to grazing in steppe ecosystems of China. The weighted log response ratio was used to assess the effect size. RESULTS: We found that heavy grazing significantly depressed soil CH4 uptake by 36...
March 20, 2018: BMC Ecology
Baibing Ma, Jian Sun
BACKGROUND: The ecosystems across Tibetan Plateau are changing rapidly under the influence of climate warming, which has caused substantial changes in spatial and temporal environmental patterns. Stipa purpurea, as a dominant herbsage resource in alpine steppe, has a great influence on animal husbandry in the Tibetan Plateau. Global warming has been forecasted to continue in the future (2050s, 2070s), questioning the future distribution of S. purpurea and its response to climate change...
February 21, 2018: BMC Ecology
Weiwei Shu, Xiaoxiao Shen, Pifeng Lei, Wenhua Xiang, Shuai Ouyang, Wende Yan
BACKGROUND: Mixed forests are believed to enhance ecosystem functioning and sustainability due to complementary resource use, environmental benefits and improved soil properties. The facilitation between different species may induce overyielding. Meanwhile, the species-specific fine root foraging strategies and tradeoffs would determine the structure and dynamics of plant communities. Here the aim was to investigate the admixing effects of fine-root biomass, vertical distribution and morphology in Pinus massoniana-Cinnamomum camphora mixed plantations and corresponding monocultures at 10-, 24- and 45-year old stands...
February 17, 2018: BMC Ecology
Stefano Cannicci, Marco Fusi, Filippo Cimó, Farid Dahdouh-Guebas, Sara Fratini
BACKGROUND: The spatial distribution of mangrove crabs has been commonly associated with tree zonation and abiotic factors such as ground temperature and soil granulometry. Conversely, no studies were designed to investigate the role of competition for resources and predation in shaping crab distribution in mangroves, despite these biotic factors are recognised as key determinants for spatial patterns observed in the communities colonising rocky and sandy intertidal habitats.We studied floral and faunal assemblages in two zones of a Sri Lankan mangrove, a man-made upper intertidal level and a natural eulittoral, mid-shore one...
February 15, 2018: BMC Ecology
Laura Hyesung Yang, Barbara A Han
BACKGROUND: With the resurgence of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and the emergence of new tick-borne pathogens such as Powassan virus, understanding what distinguishes vectors from non-vectors, and predicting undiscovered tick vectors is a crucial step towards mitigating disease risk in humans. We aimed to identify intrinsic traits that predict which Ixodes tick species are confirmed or strongly suspected to be vectors of zoonotic pathogens. METHODS: We focused on the well-studied tick genus Ixodes from which many species are known to transmit zoonotic diseases to humans...
February 15, 2018: BMC Ecology
Prakash Kumar Paudel, Jan Sipos, Jedediah F Brodie
BACKGROUND: A crucial step in conserving biodiversity is to identify the distributions of threatened species and the factors associated with species threat status. In the biodiversity hotspot of the Himalaya, very little is known about which locations harbour the highest diversity of threatened species and whether diversity of such species is related to area, mid-domain effects (MDE), range size, or human density. In this study, we assessed the drivers of variation in richness of threatened birds, mammals, reptiles, actinopterygii, and amphibians along an elevational gradient in Nepal Himalaya...
February 7, 2018: BMC Ecology
Shengfeng Chai, Jianmin Tang, Azim Mallik, Yancai Shi, Rong Zou, Jitao Li, Xiao Wei
BACKGROUND: Camellia nitidissima, a rare and endangered shrub is narrowly distributed in South China and North Vietnam occurring in forest understory. Their light tolerance mechanism is unclear. We measured photosynthesis and related parameters on 2-years-old cuttings growing at 10, 30, 50 and 100% sunlight. Our research question was: At what light level are C. nitidissima cuttings responding most favorably, and what is the eco-physiological basis for their response to light? We hypothesized that as a forest understory growth of C...
February 7, 2018: BMC Ecology
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