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leaf litter

Nathalie Pülmanns, Ulf Mehlig, Inga Nordhaus, Ulrich Saint-Paul, Karen Diele
Mangrove crabs influence ecosystem processes through bioturbation and/or litter feeding. In Brazilian mangroves, the abundant and commercially important crab Ucides cordatus is the main faunal modifier of microtopography establishing up to 2 m deep burrows. They process more than 70% of the leaf litter and propagule production, thus promoting microbial degradation of detritus and benefiting microbe-feeding fiddler crabs. The accelerated nutrient turn-over and increased sediment oxygenation mediated by U. cordatus may enhance mangrove tree growth...
2016: PloS One
Huiyan Li, Zishang Wei, Chaohe Huangfu, Xinwei Chen, Dianlin Yang
In natural ecosystems, invasive plant litter is often mixed with that of native species, yet few studies have examined the decomposition dynamics of such mixtures, especially across different degrees of invasion. We conducted a 1-year litterbag experiment using leaf litters from the invasive species Flaveria bidentis (L.) and the dominant co-occurring native species, Setaria viridis (L.). Litters were allowed to decompose either separately or together at different ratios in a mothproof screen house. The mass loss of all litter mixtures was non-additive, and the direction and strength of effects varied with species ratio and decomposition stage...
November 28, 2016: Journal of Plant Research
Heming Liu, Guochun Shen, Zunping Ma, Qingsong Yang, Jianyang Xia, Xiaofeng Fang, Xihua Wang
Conspecific adults have strong negative effect on the survival of nearby early-stage seedlings and thus can promote species coexistence by providing space for the regeneration of heterospecifics. The leaf litter fall from the conspecific adults, and it could mediate this conspecific negative adult effect. However, field evidence for such effect of conspecific leaf litter remains absent. In this study, we used generalized linear mixed models to assess the effects of conspecific leaf litter on the early-stage seedling survival of four dominant species (Machilus leptophylla, Litsea elongate, Acer pubinerve and Distylium myricoides) in early-stage seedlings in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in eastern China...
November 25, 2016: Scientific Reports
John D Scott, Janet E Foley, Kerry L Clark, John F Anderson, Lance A Durden, Jodi M Manord, Morgan L Smith
We document an established population of blacklegged ticks, Ixodes scapularis, on Corkscrew Island, Kenora District, Ontario, Canada. Primers of the outer surface protein A (OspA) gene, the flagellin (fla) gene, and the flagellin B (flaB) gene were used in the PCR assays to detect Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.), the Lyme disease bacterium. In all, 60 (73%) of 82 adult I. scapularis, were infected with B. burgdorferi s.l. As well, 6 (43%) of 14 unfed I. scapularis nymphs were positive for B. burgdorferi s...
2016: International Journal of Medical Sciences
Benjamin L Turner, Paul-Camilo Zalamea, Richard Condit, Klaus Winter, S Joseph Wright, James W Dalling
It was recently proposed that boron might be the most important nutrient structuring tree species distributions in tropical forests. Here we combine observational and experimental studies to test this hypothesis for lowland tropical forests of Panama. Plant-available boron is uniformly low in tropical forest soils of Panama and is not significantly associated with any of the > 500 species in a regional network of forest dynamics plots. Experimental manipulation of boron supply to seedlings of three tropical tree species revealed no evidence of boron deficiency or toxicity at concentrations likely to occur in tropical forest soils...
November 16, 2016: New Phytologist
Sara L Jackrel, Timothy C Morton, J Timothy Wootton
Resource patchiness influences consumer foraging, movement, and physiology. Fluxes across ecosystem boundaries can extend these effects to otherwise distinct food webs. Intraspecific diversity of these cross-ecosystem subsidies can have large consequences for recipient systems. Here, we show intraspecific variation in leaf defensive chemistry of riparian trees drives local adaptation among terrestrial and riverine decomposers that consume shed leaf litter. We found extensive geographic structuring of ellagitannins, diarylheptanoids, and flavonoids in red alder trees...
August 2016: Ecology
Meredith A Holgerson, David M Post, David K Skelly
Terrestrial carbon and nutrients can subsidize the detrital pool of freshwater ecosystems; yet, the importance of terrestrial subsidies to lake and pond food webs is uncertain and debated. Terrestrial detritus is expected to have the greatest impact on food webs when water bodies are small and shallow with low levels of incident light. Temporary forested ponds fit this description and are often assumed to have a leaf detritus-based food web, but this has not been quantified. In a whole-ecosystem experiment, we traced the flow of isotopically enriched leaf litter to primary producers and consumers in a small, forested pond...
July 2016: Ecology
Jes Hines, Marta Reyes, Mark O Gessner
Smaller invertebrate body mass is claimed to be a universal response to climate warming. It has been suggested that body mass could also predict consumer influences on ecosystem processes in a warmer world because generalized rules describe relationships between body mass, temperature, and metabolism. However, the utility of this suggestion remains tenuous because the nutritional and physiological constraints underlying relationships between body mass and consumer-driven processes are highly variable in realistic settings...
July 2016: Ecology
Aaron B Stoler, David J Burke, Rick A Relyea
Research suggests that a positive relationship exists between diversity and ecological function, yet the multi-trophic effects of biodiversity remain poorly understood. The resource complementarity hypothesis suggests that increasing the trait diversity of resources provides a more complete diet for consumers, elevating consumer feeding rates. Whereas previous tests of this mechanism have measured trait diversity as the variation of single traits or the richness of functional groups, we employed a multivariate trait index to manipulate the chemical diversity of temperate tree litter species in outdoor pond mesocosms...
July 2016: Ecology
Aliny P F Pires, Nicholas A C Marino, Diane S Srivastava, Vinicius F Farjalla
Changes in the distribution of rainfall and the occurrence of extreme rain events will alter the size and persistence of aquatic ecosystems. Such alterations may affect the structure of local aquatic communities in terms of species composition, and by altering species interactions. In many aquatic ecosystems, leaf litter sustains detrital food webs and could regulate the responses of communities to changes in rainfall. Few empirical studies have focused on how rainfall changes will affect aquatic communities and none have evaluated if basal resource diversity can increase resistance to such rainfall effects...
October 2016: Ecology
Luke S O'Loughlin, Peter T Green
The entry of secondary invaders into, or their expansion within, native communities is contingent on the changes wrought by other (primary) invaders. When primary invaders have altered more than one property of the recipient community, standard descriptive and modeling approaches only provide a best guess of the mechanism permitting the secondary invasion. In rainforest on Christmas Island, we conducted a manipulative field experiment to determine the mechanism of invasion success for a community of land snails dominated by non-native species...
September 2016: Ecology
Dan Cai, Xiuhong Yang, Shizhong Wang, Yuanqing Chao, J L Morel, Rongliang Qiu
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) released from forest leaf litter is potentially effective for the degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), yet the inherent mechanism remains insufficiently elucidated. In this study, we investigated the effects of DOM derived from Pinus elliottii and Schima superba leaf litter on the degradation of phenanthrene by the phenanthrene degrading bacterium Sphingobium sp. Phe-1. DOM from different origins and at a large range of concentrations enhanced the degradation rate of phenanthrene...
November 9, 2016: Journal of Hazardous Materials
Anne L-M-Arnold, Maren Grüning, Judy Simon, Annett-Barbara Reinhardt, Norbert Lamersdorf, Carsten Thies
Climate change may foster pest epidemics in forests, and thereby the fluxes of elements that are indicators of ecosystem functioning. We examined compounds of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in insect faeces, leaf litter, throughfall and analysed the soils of deciduous oak forests (Quercus petraea L.) that were heavily infested by the leaf herbivores winter moth (Operophtera brumata L.) and mottled umber (Erannis defoliaria L.). In infested forests, total net canopy-to-soil fluxes of C and N deriving from insect faeces, leaf litter and throughfall were 30- and 18-fold higher compared with uninfested oak forests, with 4333 kg C ha(-1) and 319 kg N ha(-1), respectively, during a pest outbreak over 3 years...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Thomas E Marler, Nirmala Dongol
Leaf litter chemical traits were measured for Cycas micronesica plants in Guam following leaf herbivory by the scale Aulacaspis yasumatsui, the butterfly Chilades pandava caterpillar, or the leaf miner Erechthias sp. to determine the influence of the non-native pests on litter quality. Scale herbivory increased litter phenols above those of undamaged leaves but did not influence lignin or cellulose concentrations. Butterfly caterpillar herbivory increased litter phenols above and decreased litter lignin below those of undamaged leaves, but did not influence cellulose concentrations...
2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Joseph R Milanovich, Kyle Barrett, John A Crawford
Single-site experiments have demonstrated detritus quality in wetlands can have strongly negative, neutral, and even positive influences on wildlife. However, an examination of the influence of detritus quality across several regions is lacking and can provide information on whether impacts from variation in detritus quality are consistent across species with wide ranges. To address this gap in regional studies we examined effects of emergent and allochthonous detritus of different nutrient qualities on amphibians and assessed a mechanism that may contribute to potential impacts...
2016: PloS One
Marcos R Bornschein, Luiz F Ribeiro, David C Blackburn, Edward L Stanley, Marcio R Pie
A new species of Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) is described from the Atlantic Forest of northeastern state of Santa Catarina, southern Brazil. Nine specimens (eight adults and a juvenile) were collected from the leaf litter of montane forests 790-835 m above sea level (a.s.l.). The new species is a member of the pernix group by its bufoniform shape and the absence of dermal co-ossification and is distinguished from all its congeners by a combination of its general coloration (dorsal region of head, dorsum, legs, arms, and flanks light, brownish green to dark, olive green, with darker region in the middle of the dorsum and a white line along the vertebral column in most specimens) and by its smooth dorsum...
2016: PeerJ
Vasily V Grebennikov, Katsura Morimoto
The herein reported beetles (Figs 1, 2) were repeatedly sampled by the first author since 2008 by sifting leaf litter in two forested localities in Southwest China: Cang Shan Mountain Range in Yunnan and Mount Emei in Sichuan (Fig. 3). The specimens' characteristic appearance and edaphic way of life were consistent with those of various members of the subfamily Cossoninae (Morimoto 1973, 1993, 1995), although a more precise taxonomic assignment remained elusive. In 2015 the second author saw images of these beetles and suggested their affinities to the genus Cotasterosoma Konishi, 1962...
October 28, 2016: Zootaxa
Muhammad Imtiaz Rashid, Tanvir Shahzad, Muhammad Shahid, Iqbal M I Ismail, Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Talal Almeelbi
We investigated the impact of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs; 1000mgkg(-1) soil) on soil microbes and their associated soil functions such as date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) leaf litter (5gkg(-1) soil) carbon and nitrogen mineralization in mesocosms containing sandy soil. Nanoparticles application in litter-amended soil significantly decreased the cultivable heterotrophic bacterial and fungal colony forming units (cfu) compared to only litter-amended soil. The decrease in cfu could be related to lower microbial biomass carbon in nanoparticles-litter amended soil...
October 29, 2016: Journal of Hazardous Materials
Ensheng Weng, Caroline E Farrior, Ray Dybzinski, Stephen W Pacala
Earth system models are incorporating plant trait diversity into their land components to better predict vegetation dynamics in a changing climate. However, extant plant trait distributions will not allow extrapolations to novel community assemblages in future climates; that will require a mechanistic understanding of the trade-offs that determine trait diversity. In this study, we show how physiological trade-offs involving leaf mass per unit area (LMA), leaf lifespan, leaf nitrogen, and leaf respiration may explain the distribution patterns of evergreen and deciduous trees in the temperate and boreal zones based on (1) an evolutionary analysis of a simple mathematical model and (2) simulation experiments of an individual-based dynamic vegetation model (i...
October 26, 2016: Global Change Biology
Nereida Melguizo-Ruiz, Gerardo Jiménez-Navarro, Jordi Moya-Laraño
Facilitative or positive interactions are ubiquitous in nature and play a fundamental role in the configuration of ecological communities. In particular, habitat modification and niche construction, in which one organism locally modifies abiotic conditions and favours other organisms by buffering the effects of adverse environmental factors, are among the most relevant facilitative interactions. In line with this, 'keystone structures', which provide resources, refuge, or advantageous services decisive for other species, may allow the coexistence of various species and thus considerably contribute to diversity maintenance...
2016: PeerJ
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