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BMC Ecology

Alex R Hardisty, Finn Bacall, Niall Beard, Maria-Paula Balcázar-Vargas, Bachir Balech, Zoltán Barcza, Sarah J Bourlat, Renato De Giovanni, Yde de Jong, Francesca De Leo, Laura Dobor, Giacinto Donvito, Donal Fellows, Antonio Fernandez Guerra, Nuno Ferreira, Yuliya Fetyukova, Bruno Fosso, Jonathan Giddy, Carole Goble, Anton Güntsch, Robert Haines, Vera Hernández Ernst, Hannes Hettling, Dóra Hidy, Ferenc Horváth, Dóra Ittzés, Péter Ittzés, Andrew Jones, Renzo Kottmann, Robert Kulawik, Sonja Leidenberger, Päivi Lyytikäinen-Saarenmaa, Cherian Mathew, Norman Morrison, Aleksandra Nenadic, Abraham Nieva de la Hidalga, Matthias Obst, Gerard Oostermeijer, Elisabeth Paymal, Graziano Pesole, Salvatore Pinto, Axel Poigné, Francisco Quevedo Fernandez, Monica Santamaria, Hannu Saarenmaa, Gergely Sipos, Karl-Heinz Sylla, Marko Tähtinen, Saverio Vicario, Rutger Aldo Vos, Alan R Williams, Pelin Yilmaz
BACKGROUND: Making forecasts about biodiversity and giving support to policy relies increasingly on large collections of data held electronically, and on substantial computational capability and capacity to analyse, model, simulate and predict using such data. However, the physically distributed nature of data resources and of expertise in advanced analytical tools creates many challenges for the modern scientist. Across the wider biological sciences, presenting such capabilities on the Internet (as "Web services") and using scientific workflow systems to compose them for particular tasks is a practical way to carry out robust "in silico" science...
October 20, 2016: BMC Ecology
Stephen J Jacquemin, Mark Pyron
BACKGROUND: Aquatic habitats have been altered over the past century due to a variety of anthropogenic influences. Ecomorphology is an area of aquatic ecology that can both directly and indirectly assess the effects of habitat alterations on organisms. However, few studies have explored long term trends in morphological variation. Long term changes in morphology can potentially impact niche and ultimately contribute to organismal success and the ecosystem. Therefore, in this study we assessed long term morphological variation with body size, sex, time, and hydrology using museum collections of five species of Cyprinidae (Minnows) from lentic and lotic systems over the past 100 years to gain insight into long term patterns in morphology...
October 20, 2016: BMC Ecology
Andrew N Gherlenda, Ben D Moore, Anthony M Haigh, Scott N Johnson, Markus Riegler
BACKGROUND: Climate change factors such as elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (e[CO2]) and altered rainfall patterns can alter leaf composition and phenology. This may subsequently impact insect herbivory. In sclerophyllous forests insects have developed strategies, such as preferentially feeding on new leaf growth, to overcome physical or foliar nitrogen constraints, and this may shift under climate change. Few studies of insect herbivory at elevated [CO2] have occurred under field conditions and none on mature evergreen trees in a naturally established forest, yet estimates for leaf area loss due to herbivory are required in order to allow accurate predictions of plant productivity in future climates...
October 19, 2016: BMC Ecology
Chunyan Yi, Chunyan Zheng, Ling Zeng, Yijuan Xu
BACKGROUND: Geographic isolation is an important factor that limit species dispersal and thereby affects genetic diversity. Because islands are often small and surrounded by a natural water barrier to dispersal, they generally form discrete isolated habitats. Therefore, islands may play a key role in the distribution of the genetic diversity of insects, including flies. RESULTS: To characterize the genetic structure of island populations of Bactrocera dorsalis, we analyzed a dataset containing both microsatellite and mtDNA loci of B...
October 13, 2016: BMC Ecology
Kristine J Teichman, Bogdan Cristescu, Chris T Darimont
BACKGROUND: Overexploitation and persecution of large carnivores resulting from conflict with humans comprise major causes of declines worldwide. Although little is known about the interplay between these mortality types, hunting of predators remains a common management strategy aimed at reducing predator-human conflict. Emerging theory and data, however, caution that such policy can alter the age structure of populations, triggering increased conflict in which conflict-prone juveniles are involved...
October 11, 2016: BMC Ecology
Lakey, Kinley Dorji
BACKGROUND: Human beings use plants for a multitude of purposes of which a prominent one across the globe is for their medicinal values. Medicinal plants serve as one of the major sources of income for high altitude inhabitants in the Himalaya, particularly in countries like Nepal, and Bhutan. People here harvest huge volumes of medicinal plants indiscriminately, risking their sustainability. This paper attempts to identify some of the priority medicinal plant species harvested in the wild and assess their ecological status for their judicious utilization, and to help provide policy guidance for possible domestication and support strategic conservation frameworks...
October 11, 2016: BMC Ecology
S Veron, P Clergeau, S Pavoine
BACKGROUND: Phylogenetic diversity and evolutionary distinctiveness are highly valuable components of biodiversity, but they are rarely considered in conservation practices. Focusing on a biodiversity hotspot, the Mediterranean Basin, we aimed to identify those areas where evolutionary history is highly threatened and range-restricted in the region. Using null models, we first compared the spatial distributions of three indices: two measured threatened evolutionary history-Expected PDloss and Heightened Evolutionary distinctiveness and Global Endangerment-and one measured endemic evolutionary history-Biogeographically Evolutionary Distinctiveness...
October 7, 2016: BMC Ecology
Xubin Pan
BACKGROUND: Species-area relationship (SAR), endemics-area relationship (EAR) and overlap-area relationship (OAR) are three important concepts in biodiversity study. The application of fundamental equations linking the SAR, EAR and OAR, can enrich the axiomatic framework of the species-area theory and deepen our understanding of the mechanisms of community assembly. RESULTS: Two fundamental equations are derived and extended to power law model and random replacement model of species-area distribution...
October 7, 2016: BMC Ecology
Marjorie C Sorensen, Graham D Fairhurst, Susanne Jenni-Eiermann, Jason Newton, Elizabeth Yohannes, Claire N Spottiswoode
BACKGROUND: An understanding of year-round habitat use is essential for determining how carry-over effects shape population dynamics in long-distance migratory songbirds. The recent discovery of long-term migratory staging sites in many species, prior to arrival at final wintering sites, adds complexity to efforts to decipher non-breeding habitat use and connections between sites. We investigated whether habitat conditions during migratory staging carry over to influence great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) body condition at final wintering sites in Zambia...
October 4, 2016: BMC Ecology
Abir Hafsi, Benoit Facon, Virginie Ravigné, Frédéric Chiroleu, Serge Quilici, Brahim Chermiti, Pierre-François Duyck
BACKGROUND: Phytophagous insects differ in their degree of specialisation on host plants, and range from strictly monophagous species that can develop on only one host plant to extremely polyphagous species that can develop on hundreds of plant species in many families. Nutritional compounds in host fruits affect several larval traits that may be related to adult fitness. In this study, we determined the relationship between fruit nutrient composition and the degree of host specialisation of seven of the eight tephritid species present in La Réunion; these species are known to have very different host ranges in natura...
2016: BMC Ecology
Katrin Ronnenberg, Egbert Strauß, Ursula Siebert
BACKGROUND: The grey partridge (Perdix perdix) and the common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) are galliform birds typical of arable lands in Central Europe and exhibit a partly dramatic negative population trend. In order to understand general habitat preferences we modelled grey partridge and common pheasant densities over the entire range of Lower Saxony. Spatially explicit developments in bird densities were modelled using spatially explicit trends of crop cultivation. Pheasant and grey partridge densities counted annually by over 8000 hunting district holders over 10 years in a range of 3...
2016: BMC Ecology
Gabriel Ruiz Ayma, Alina Olalla Kerstupp, Alberto Macías Duarte, Antonio Guzmán Velasco, José I González Rojas
BACKGROUND: The western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) occurs throughout western North America in various habitats such as desert, short-grass prairie and shrub-steppe, among others, where the main threat for this species is habitat loss. Range-wide declines have prompted a need for reliable estimates of its populations in Mexico, where the size of resident and migratory populations remain unknown. RESULTS: Our objective was to estimate the abundance and density of breeding western burrowing owl populations in Mexican prairie dog (Cynomys mexicanus) colonies in two sites located within the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion in the states of Nuevo Leon and San Luis Potosi, Mexico...
2016: BMC Ecology
Johann G Zaller, Nina König, Alexandra Tiefenbacher, Yoko Muraoka, Pascal Querner, Andreas Ratzenböck, Michael Bonkowski, Robert Koller
BACKGROUND: Seed dressing with pesticides is widely used to protect crop seeds from pest insects and fungal diseases. While there is mounting evidence that especially neonicotinoid seed dressings detrimentally affect insect pollinators, surprisingly little is known on potential side effects on soil biota. We hypothesized that soil organisms would be particularly susceptible to pesticide seed dressings as they get in direct contact with these chemicals. Using microcosms with field soil we investigated, whether seeds treated either with neonicotinoid insecticides or fungicides influence the activity and interaction of earthworms, collembola, protozoa and microorganisms...
2016: BMC Ecology
Pritesh Sundar Roy, Rashmita Samal, Gundimeda Jwala Narasimha Rao, Sasank Sekhar Chyau Patnaik, Nitiprasad Namdeorao Jambhulkar, Ashok Patnaik, Trilochan Mohapatra
BACKGROUND: Speciality rice, in general, and aromatic rice in particular, possess enormous market potential for enhancing farm profits. However, systematic characterization of the diversity present in this natural wealth is a major pre requisite for using it in the breeding programs. This study reports qualitative phenotypic trait based characterization of 126 short grain aromatic rice genotypes, collected from different areas of the state of Odisha, India. RESULTS: Out of the 24 descriptors employed, highest variability (8 different types) was observed for lemma-palea colour with a genetic diversity index (He) of 0...
2016: BMC Ecology
Julia Simundza, Matthew Palmer, Josef Settele, Luke M Jacobus, David P Hughes, Dominique Mazzi, Simon Blanchet
The 2016 BMC Ecology Image Competition marked another celebration of the astounding biodiversity, natural beauty, and biological interactions documented by talented ecologists worldwide. For our fourth annual competition, we welcomed guest judge Dr. Matthew Palmer of Columbia University, who chose the winning image from over 140 entries. In this editorial, we highlight the award winning images along with a selection of highly commended honorable mentions.
2016: BMC Ecology
Volker Nehring, Francesca R Dani, Luca Calamai, Stefano Turillazzi, Horst Bohn, Klaus-Dieter Klass, Patrizia d'Ettorre
BACKGROUND: Cockroaches of the genus Attaphila regularly occur in leaf-cutting ant colonies. The ants farm a fungus that the cockroaches also appear to feed on. Cockroaches disperse between colonies horizontally (via foraging trails) and vertically (attached to queens on their mating flights). We analysed the chemical strategies used by the cockroaches to integrate into colonies of Atta colombica and Acromyrmex octospinosus. Analysing cockroaches from nests of two host species further allowed us to test the hypothesis that nestmate recognition is based on an asymmetric mechanism...
2016: BMC Ecology
Petros Damos
BACKGROUND: This work combines multivariate time series analysis and graph theory to detect synchronization and causality among certain ecological variables and to represent significant correlations via network projections. Four different statistical tools (cross-correlations, partial cross-correlations, Granger causality and partial Granger causality) utilized to quantify correlation strength and causality among biological entities. These indices correspond to different ways to estimate the relationships between different variables and to construct ecological networks using the variables as nodes and the indices as edges...
2016: BMC Ecology
Linda Davies, Roger Fradera, Hauke Riesch, Poppy Lakeman-Fraser
BACKGROUND: This paper provides a short introduction to the topic of citizen science (CS) identifying the shift from the knowledge deficit model to more inclusive, participatory science. It acknowledges the benefits of new technology and the opportunities it brings for mass participation and data manipulation. It focuses on the increase in interest in CS in recent years and draws on experience gained from the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) programme launched in England in 2007. METHODS: The drivers and objectives for OPAL are presented together with background information on the partnership, methods and scales...
2016: BMC Ecology
Poppy Lakeman-Fraser, Laura Gosling, Andy J Moffat, Sarah E West, Roger Fradera, Linda Davies, Maxwell A Ayamba, René van der Wal
BACKGROUND: The vast array of citizen science projects which have blossomed over the last decade span a spectrum of objectives from research to outreach. While some focus primarily on the collection of rigorous scientific data and others are positioned towards the public engagement end of the gradient, the majority of initiatives attempt to balance the two. Although meeting multiple aims can be seen as a 'win-win' situation, it can also yield significant challenges as allocating resources to one element means that they may be diverted away from the other...
2016: BMC Ecology
Laura Gosling, Tim H Sparks, Yoseph Araya, Martin Harvey, Janice Ansine
BACKGROUND: Hedges are both ecologically and culturally important and are a distinctive feature of the British landscape. However the overall length of hedges across Great Britain is decreasing. Current challenges in studying hedges relate to the dominance of research on rural, as opposed to urban, hedges, and their variability and geographical breadth. To help address these challenges and to educate the public on the importance of hedge habitats for wildlife, in 2010 the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) programme coordinated a hedge-focused citizen science survey...
2016: BMC Ecology
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