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leaf litter

Howard S Ginsberg, Marisa Albert, Lixis Acevedo, Megan C Dyer, Isis M Arsnoe, Jean I Tsao, Thomas N Mather, Roger A LeBrun
Recent reports suggest that host-seeking nymphs in southern populations of Ixodes scapularis remain below the leaf litter surface, while northern nymphs seek hosts on leaves and twigs above the litter surface. This behavioral difference potentially results in decreased tick contact with humans in the south, and fewer cases of Lyme disease. We studied whether north-south differences in tick survival patterns might contribute to this phenomenon. Four month old larvae resulting from a cross between Wisconsin males and South Carolina females died faster under southern than under northern conditions in the lab, as has previously been reported for ticks from both northern and southern populations...
2017: PloS One
Matthew R Pintar, William J Resetarits
Tree leaf litter inputs to freshwater systems are a major resource and primary drivers of ecosystem processes and structure. Spatial variation in tree species distributions and forest composition control litter inputs across landscapes, but inputs to individual lentic habitat patches are determined by adjacent plant communities. In small, ephemeral, fishless ponds, resource quality and abundance can be the most important factor affecting habitat selection preferences of colonizing animals. We used a landscape of experimental mesocosms to assess how natural populations of aquatic beetles respond over time to variation in tree leaf litter composition (pine or hardwood)...
January 10, 2017: Oecologia
Andrew J MacDonald, David W Hyon, John B Brewington, Kerry E O'Connor, Andrea Swei, Cheryl J Briggs
BACKGROUND: Tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease, are emerging across the northern hemisphere. In order to manage emerging diseases and predict where emergence will likely occur, it is necessary to understand the factors influencing the distribution, abundance and infection prevalence of vector species. In North America, Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease and is transmitted by blacklegged ticks. This study aimed to explore the abiotic and environmental drivers of density and infection prevalence of western blacklegged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) in southern California, an understudied and densely populated region of North America...
January 5, 2017: Parasites & Vectors
N S Silva, L P Saad, D R Souza-Campana, O C Bueno, M S C Morini
In many sugarcane plantations in Brazil, the straw is left on the soil after harvesting, and vinasse, a by-product of the production of sugar and ethanol, is used for fertigation. Our goal was to compare ant community composition and species richness in the straw mulch of sugarcane crops with the leaf litter of neighboring forests. We tested the hypothesis that ant communities in the straw mulch of vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops and in the forest leaf litter were similar, because the combination of straw mulching and vinasse irrigation has a positive effect on soil fauna...
January 4, 2017: Journal of Economic Entomology
Linda T A van Diepen, Serita D Frey, Elizabeth A Landis, Eric W Morrison, Anne Pringle
Saprotrophic fungi are the primary decomposers of plant litter in temperate forests, and their activity is critical for carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling. Simulated atmospheric N deposition is associated with reduced fungal biomass, shifts in fungal community structure, slowed litter decay, and soil C accumulation. Although rarely studied, N deposition may also result in novel selective pressures on fungi, affecting evolutionary trajectories. To directly test if long-term N enrichment reshapes fungal responses to N, we isolated decomposer fungi from a long-term (28 yr) N-addition experiment and used a common garden approach to compare growth rates and decay abilities of isolates from control and N-amended plots...
January 2017: Ecology
Merlin Sheldrake, Nicholas P Rosenstock, Daniel Revillini, Pål Axel Olsson, Scott Mangan, Emma J Sayer, Håkan Wallander, Benjamin L Turner, Edmund V J Tanner
Tropical forest productivity is sustained by the cycling of nutrients through decomposing organic matter. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi play a key role in the nutrition of tropical trees, yet there has been little experimental investigation into the role of AM fungi in nutrient cycling via decomposing organic material in tropical forests. We evaluated the responses of AM fungi in a long-term leaf litter addition and removal experiment in a tropical forest in Panama. We described AM fungal communities using 454-pyrosequencing, quantified the proportion of root length colonised by AM fungi using microscopy, and estimated AM fungal biomass using a lipid biomarker...
January 2, 2017: New Phytologist
Michael J Skvarla, Ashley P G Dowling
Beetles (Coleoptera) are a charismatic group of insects targeted by collectors and often used in biodiversity surveys. As part of a larger project, we surveyed a small (4 hectare) plot in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas using 70 traps of 12 trap types and Berlese-Tullgren extraction of leaf litter and identified all Buprestidae, Carabidae, Cerambycidae, and Curculionoidea (Anthribidae, Attelabidae, Brachyceridae, Brentidae, and Curculionidae excluding Scolytinae) to species. This resulted in the collection of 7,973 specimens representing 242 species arranged in 8 families...
December 31, 2016: Journal of Insect Science
J J Follstad Shah, J S Kominoski, M Ardón, W K Dodds, M O Gessner, N A Griffiths, C P Hawkins, S L Johnson, A Lecerf, C J LeRoy, D W P Manning, A D Rosemond, R L Sinsabaugh, C M Swan, J R Webster, L H Zeglin
Streams and rivers are important conduits of terrestrially derived carbon (C) to atmospheric and marine reservoirs. Leaf litter breakdown rates are expected to increase as water temperatures rise in response to climate change. The magnitude of increase in breakdown rates is uncertain, given differences in litter quality and microbial and detritivore community responses to temperature, factors that can influence the apparent temperature sensitivity of breakdown and the relative proportion of C lost to the atmosphere vs...
December 31, 2016: Global Change Biology
Tara Roth, Robert S Lane, Janet Foley
Francisella tularensis and Rickettsia spp. have been cultured from Haemaphysalis leporispalustris Packard, but their prevalence in this tick has not been determined using modern molecular methods. We collected H. leporispalustris by flagging vegetation and leaf litter and from lagomorphs (Lepus californicus Gray and Sylvilagus bachmani (Waterhouse)) in northern California. Francisella tularensis DNA was not detected in any of 1,030 ticks tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), whereas 0.4% of larvae tested in pools, 0 of 117 individual nymphs, and 2...
December 28, 2016: Journal of Medical Entomology
Brian Four, Evelyne Arce, Michaël Danger, Juliette Gaillard, Marielle Thomas, Damien Banas
Extensive fish production systems in continental areas are often created by damming headwater streams. However, these lentic systems favour autochthonous organic matter production. As headwater stream functioning is essentially based on allochthonous organic matter (OM) supply, the presence of barrage fishponds on headwater streams might change the main food source for benthic communities. The goal of this study was thus to identify the effects of barrage fishponds on the functioning of headwater streams. To this end, we compared leaf litter breakdown (a key ecosystem function in headwater streams), their associated invertebrate communities and fungal biomass at sites upstream and downstream of five barrage fishponds in two dominant land use systems (three in forested catchments and two in agricultural catchments)...
December 27, 2016: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International
Jeffrey P Stephens, Karie A Altman, Keith A Berven, Scott D Tiegs, Thomas R Raffel
Leaf litter subsidies are important resources for aquatic consumers like tadpoles and snails, causing bottom-up effects on wetland ecosystems. Recent studies have shown that variation in litter nutritional quality can be as important as litter quantity in driving these bottom-up effects. Resource subsidies likely also have indirect and trait-mediated effects on predation and parasitism, but these potential effects remain largely unexplored. We generated predictions for differential effects of litter nutrition and secondary polyphenolic compounds on tadpole (Lithobates sylvatica) exposure and susceptibility to Ribeiroia ondatrae, based on ecological stoichiometry and community-ecology theory...
December 27, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Jason M Matlock, Rufus Isaacs, Matthew Grieshop
The grape berry moth, Paralobesia viteana (Clemens), is a key pest of vineyards in eastern North America that overwinters as pupae in leaf litter on the vineyard floor. This presents an opportunity for tillage to disturb and bury the pupae, providing a potential nonchemical approach to control of this pest. Using a Lilleston-style rotary cultivator, we determined the distribution of pupae within the soil profile after single tillage passes, measured the type and severity of damage inflicted on pupae, and investigated how these effects on pupae influenced their survival...
December 26, 2016: Environmental Entomology
Daniel Kenna, William N W Fincham, Alison M Dunn, Lee E Brown, Christopher Hassall
Global biodiversity is threatened by multiple anthropogenic stressors but little is known about the combined effects of environmental warming and invasive species on ecosystem functioning. We quantified thermal preferences and then compared leaf-litter processing rates at eight different temperatures (5.0-22.5 °C) by the invasive freshwater crustacean Dikerogammarus villosus and the Great Britain native Gammarus pulex at a range of body sizes. D. villosus preferred warmer temperatures but there was considerable overlap in the range of temperatures that the two species occupied during preference trials...
December 24, 2016: Oecologia
Patrick Baudy, Jochen P Zubrod, Marco Konschak, Mirco Weil, Ralf Schulz, Mirco Bundschuh
Leaf-shredding amphipods play a critical role in the ecosystem function of leaf litter breakdown, a key process in many low order streams. Fungicides, however, may adversely influence shredders' behavior and the functions they provide, while there is only limited knowledge concerning effects on their reproductive performance. To assess the latter, a semi-static 56-day partial life-cycle bioassay using the model shredder Hyalella azteca (n = 30) was performed applying two environmentally relevant concentrations of a model fungicide mixture (i...
December 21, 2016: Environmental Pollution
Jana M U'Ren, A Elizabeth Arnold
BACKGROUND: Fungal endophytes inhabit symptomless, living tissues of all major plant lineages to form one of earth's most prevalent groups of symbionts. Many reproduce from senesced and/or decomposing leaves and can produce extracellular leaf-degrading enzymes, blurring the line between symbiotrophy and saprotrophy. To better understand the endophyte-saprotroph continuum we compared fungal communities and functional traits of focal strains isolated from living leaves to those isolated from leaves after senescence and decomposition, with a focus on foliage of woody plants in five biogeographic provinces ranging from tundra to subtropical scrub forest...
2016: PeerJ
Ella Z Lattenkamp, Martin Mandák, Mark D Scherz
We describe the calls of Stumpffia be Köhler, Vences, D'Cruze & Glaw, 2010. This is the first call description made for a species belonging to the large-bodied northern Madagascan radiation of Stumpffia Boettger, 1881. Stumpffia is a genus of small (~9-28 mm) microhylid frogs in the Madagascar-endemic subfamily Cophylinae Cope. Little is known about their reproductive strategies. Most species are assumed to lay their eggs in foam nests in the leaf litter of Madagascar's humid and semi-humid forests (Glaw & Vences 1994; Klages et al...
December 9, 2016: Zootaxa
Joy B Winbourne, Steven W Brewer, Benjamin Z Houlton
Limestone tropical forests represent a meaningful fraction of the land area in Central America (25%) and Southeast Asia (40%). These ecosystems are marked by high biological diversity, CO2 uptake capacity, and high pH soils, the latter making them fundamentally different from the majority of lowland tropical forest areas in the Amazon and Congo basins. Here, we examine the role of bedrock geology in determining biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) rates in volcanic (low pH) vs. limestone (high pH) tropical forests located in the Maya Mountains of Belize...
December 17, 2016: Ecology
Jenny Fabian, Sanja Zlatanovic, Michael Mutz, Katrin Premke
Ecological functions of fungal and bacterial decomposers vary with environmental conditions. However, the response of these decomposers to particulate organic matter (POM) quality, which varies widely in aquatic ecosystems, remains poorly understood. Here we investigated how POM pools of substrates of different qualities determine the relative contributions of aquatic fungi and bacteria to terrigenous carbon (C) turnover. To this end, surface sediments were incubated with different POM pools of algae and/or leaf litter...
December 16, 2016: ISME Journal
Heidi Aaltonen, Aki Lindén, Jussi Heinonsalo, Christina Biasi, Jukka Pumpanen
As the number of drought occurrences has been predicted to increase with increasing temperatures, it is believed that boreal forests will become particularly vulnerable to decreased growth and increased tree mortality caused by the hydraulic failure, carbon starvation and vulnerability to pests following these. Although drought-affected trees are known to have stunted growth, as well as increased allocation of carbon to roots, still not enough is known about the ways in which trees can acclimate to drought...
December 14, 2016: Tree Physiology
Xun Wang, Ji Luo, Runsheng Yin, Wei Yuan, Che-Jen Lin, Jonas Sommar, Xinbin Feng, Haiming Wang, Cynthia Lin
Mercury accumulation in montane forested areas plays an important role in global Hg cycling. In this study, we measured stable Hg isotopes in soil and litter samples to understand Hg accumulation on the forest floor along the eastern fringe of the Tibetan Plateau (TP). The low atmospheric Hg inputs lead to the small Hg pool size (23 ± 9 mg m(-2) in 0-60 cm soil horizon), up to 1 order of magnitude lower than those found at sites in Southwest China, North America, and Europe. The slightly negative Δ(199)Hg (-0...
December 23, 2016: Environmental Science & Technology
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