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BMC Ecology

Francesc Cuscó, Laura Cardador, Gerard Bota, Manuel B Morales, Santi Mañosa
BACKGROUND: Identifying the factors that affect ranging behavior of animals is a central issue to ecology and an essential tool for designing effective conservation policies. This knowledge provides the information needed to predict the consequences of land-use change on species habitat use, especially in areas subject to major habitat transformations, such as agricultural landscapes. We evaluate inter-individual variation relative to environmental predictors and spatial constraints in limiting ranging behavior of female little bustards (Tetrax tetrax) in the non-breeding season...
December 5, 2018: BMC Ecology
M Cianchetti-Benedetti, G Dell'Omo, T Russo, C Catoni, P Quillfeldt
BACKGROUND: Fishing activities can influence foraging behaviour of many seabird species worldwide. Seabirds are attracted by fishing vessels which can facilitate access to demersal fish as a novel food resource that otherwise would be unavailable. On the other hand, intense fishing activities cause depletion of fish stocks with a reduction of natural prey available for seabirds. Moreover, fisheries discards can have lower nutritional value than natural prey. However, the importance of fisheries discard for seabirds and the possible implications on their foraging ecology is still poorly understood...
December 4, 2018: BMC Ecology
James M W Ryalls, Ben D Moore, Scott N Johnson
BACKGROUND: Grasses are hyper-accumulators of silicon (Si) and often up-regulate Si following herbivory. Positive correlations exist between Si and plant water content, yet the extent to which Si uptake responses can be mediated by changes in soil water availability has rarely been studied and never, to our knowledge, under field conditions. We used field-based rain-exclusion shelters to investigate how simulated grazing (shoot clipping) and altered rainfall patterns (drought and elevated precipitation, representing 50% and 150% of ambient precipitation levels, respectively) affected initial patterns of root- and shoot-Si uptake in a native Australian grass (Microlaena stipoides) in Si-supplemented and untreated soils...
December 4, 2018: BMC Ecology
Riyaz Ahmad Rather, Vijayalakshmi Srinivasan, Mumtaz Anwar
BACKGROUND: Fungal endophytes are the living symbionts which cause no apparent damage to the host tissue. The distribution pattern of these endophytes within a host plant is mediated by environmental factors. This study was carried out to explore the fungal endophyte community and their distribution pattern in Asparagus racemosus and Hemidesmus indicus growing in the study area. RESULTS: Foliar endophytes were isolated for 2 years from A. racemosus and H. indicus at four different seasons (June-August, September-November, December-February, March-May)...
December 4, 2018: BMC Ecology
Constanze Buhk, Rainer Oppermann, Arno Schanowski, Richard Bleil, Julian Lüdemann, Christian Maus
BACKGROUND: Intensively cultivated agricultural landscapes often suffer from substantial pollinator losses, which may be leading to decreasing pollination services for crops and wild flowering plants. Conservation measures that are easy to implement and accepted by farmers are needed to halt a further loss of pollinators in large areas under intensive agricultural management. Here we report the results of a replicated long-term study involving networks of mostly perennial flower strips covering 10% of a conventionally managed agricultural landscape in southwestern Germany...
December 4, 2018: BMC Ecology
Susanne Dunker, David Boho, Jana Wäldchen, Patrick Mäder
BACKGROUND: Phytoplankton species identification and counting is a crucial step of water quality assessment. Especially drinking water reservoirs, bathing and ballast water need to be regularly monitored for harmful species. In times of multiple environmental threats like eutrophication, climate warming and introduction of invasive species more intensive monitoring would be helpful to develop adequate measures. However, traditional methods such as microscopic counting by experts or high throughput flow cytometry based on scattering and fluorescence signals are either too time-consuming or inaccurate for species identification tasks...
December 3, 2018: BMC Ecology
Theresa Walter, Richard Zink, Gregor Laaha, Johann G Zaller, Florian Heigl
BACKGROUND: Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes L.) have become successful inhabitants of urban areas in recent years. However, our knowledge about the occurrence, distribution and association with land uses of these urban foxes is poor, partly because many favoured habitats are on private properties and therefore hardly accessible to scientists. We assumed that citizen science, i.e. the involvement of the public, could enable researchers to bridge this information gap. We analysed 1179 fox sightings in the city of Vienna, Austria reported via citizen science projects to examine relationships between foxes and the surrounding land use classes as well as sociodemographic parameters...
November 29, 2018: BMC Ecology
Ana Foronda, Bodil K Ehlers, Concepción L Alados, Yolanda Pueyo
BACKGROUND: The gypsovag shrub Cistus clusii is locally dominant in semi-arid gypsum plant communities of North-Eastern Spain. This species commonly grows in species-poor patches even though it has nurse potential, suggesting interference on neighbouring species. Other Cistus species exert a chemically mediated interference on plant communities, suggesting that it might be a common phenomenon in this genus. This study aimed investigating whether C. clusii exerts chemically mediated interference on neighbouring species in gypsum plant communities...
November 29, 2018: BMC Ecology
Brad E Erisman, João P Barreiros, Kevin L Rhodes, Robert R Warner
Courtship and spawning behaviors of coral reef fishes are very complex, and sufficient sampling effort and proper methods are required to draw informed conclusions on their mating systems that are grounded in contemporary theories of mate choice and sexual selection. We reviewed the recent study by Karkarey et al. (BMC Ecol 17:10, 2017) on the spawning behavior of Squaretail coralgrouper (Plectropomus areolatus) from India and found no evidence to support their findings of alternative reproductive tactics, unique school-spawning involving a single male with multiple females, or inverse size-assortment...
November 27, 2018: BMC Ecology
Jonas Glatthorn, Eike Feldmann, Vath Tabaku, Christoph Leuschner, Peter Meyer
BACKGROUND: Old-growth and primeval forests are passing through a natural development cycle with recurring stages of forest development. Several methods for assigning patches of different structure and size to forest development stages or phases do exist. All currently existing classification methods have in common that a priori assumptions about the characteristics of certain stand structural attributes such as deadwood amount are made. We tested the hypothesis that multivariate datasets of primeval beech forest stand structure possess an inherent, aggregated configuration of data points with individual clusters representing forest development stages...
November 20, 2018: BMC Ecology
C O Oduor, N K Karanja, R N Onwonga, S M Mureithi, D Pelster, G Nyberg
BACKGROUND: Rehabilitation of degraded rangelands through the establishment of enclosures (fencing grazing lands) is believed to improve soil quality and livelihoods, and enhance the sustainability of rangelands. Grazing dominated enclosure (GDE) and contractual grazing enclosure (CGE) are the common enclosure management systems in West Pokot County, Kenya. Under CGE, a farmer owning few animals leases the enclosure to households with relatively more livestock, while GDE is where the livestock utilizing the enclosure are purely owned by the farmer...
November 6, 2018: BMC Ecology
Janice J Ting, Asher D Cutter
BACKGROUND: Reproductive interference can mediate interference competition between species through sexual interactions that reduce the fitness of one species by another. Theory shows that the positive frequency-dependent effects of such costly errors in mate recognition can dictate species coexistence or exclusion even with countervailing resource competition differences between species. While usually framed in terms of pre-mating or post-zygotic costs, reproductive interference manifests between individual Caenorhabditis nematodes from negative interspecies gametic interactions: sperm cells from interspecies matings can migrate ectopically to induce female sterility and premature death...
November 6, 2018: BMC Ecology
Vasco M N C S Vieira, Inês E Lopes, Joel C Creed
BACKGROUND: Biomass-density relations have been at the centre of a search for an index which describes the health of seagrass meadows. However, this search has been complicated by the intricacy of seagrass demographics and their complex biomass-density relations, a consequence mainly of their modular growth and clonality. Concomitantly, biomass-density upper boundaries have been determined for terrestrial plants and algae, reflecting their asymptotic maximum efficiencies of space occupation...
October 19, 2018: 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
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