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Bradley A Pickens, Jeffrey F Marcus, John P Carpenter, Scott Anderson, Paul J Taillie, Jaime A Collazo
A landscape-scale perspective on restoration ecology has been advocated, but few studies have informed restoration with landscape metrics or addressed broad-scale threats. Threats such as urban growth may affect restoration effectiveness in a landscape context. Here, we studied longleaf pine savanna in the rapidly urbanizing southeastern United States where a habitat-specialist bird, Bachman's sparrow (Peucaea aestivalis), is closely associated with savanna vegetation structure and frequent fire. Our objectives were to construct a species distribution model for Bachman's sparrow, determine the relationship between fire and urbanization, quantify the urban growth effect (2010-2090), identify potential restoration areas, and determine the interaction between restoration potential and urban growth by 2050...
January 12, 2017: Journal of Environmental Management
Ademir Sergio Ferreira de Araujo, Walderly Melgaço Bezerra, Vilma Maria Dos Santos, Sandra Mara Barbosa Rocha, Nilza da Silva Carvalho, Maria do Carmo Catanho Pereira de Lyra, Marcia do Vale Barreto Figueiredo, Ângela Celis de Almeida Lopes, Vania Maria Maciel Melo
The Cerrado biome in the Sete Cidades National Park, an Ecological Reserve in Northeastern Brazil, has conserved its native biodiversity and presents a variety of plants found in other savannas in Brazil. Despite this finding the soil microbial diversity and community structure are poorly understood. Therefore, we described soil bacterial diversity and distribution along a savanna vegetation gradient taking into account the prevailing environmental factors. The bacterial composition was retrieved by sequencing a fragment of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene...
January 6, 2017: Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek
Grace K Charles, Lauren M Porensky, Corinna Riginos, Kari E Veblen, Truman P Young
Wild herbivores and livestock share the majority of rangelands worldwide, yet few controlled experiments have addressed their individual, additive, and interactive impacts on ecosystem function. While ungulate herbivores generally reduce standing biomass, their effects on aboveground net primary production (ANPP) can vary by spatial and temporal context, intensity of herbivory, and herbivore identity and species richness. Some evidence indicates that moderate levels of herbivory can stimulate aboveground productivity, but few studies have explicitly tested the relationships among herbivore identity, grazing intensity, and ANPP...
January 2017: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Emerson M Vieira, Nícholas F de Camargo, Paul F Colas, Juliana F Ribeiro, Ariovaldo P Cruz-Neto
The temporal activity of animals is an outcome of both biotic and abiotic factors, which may vary along the geographic range of the species. Therefore, studies conducted with a species in different localities with distinct features could elucidate how animals deal with such factors. In this study, we used live traps equipped with timing devices to investigate the temporal activity patterns of the didelphid Gracilinanus agilis in two dry-woodland areas of the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado). These areas were located about 660 km apart, one in Central Brazil and the other in Southeastern Brazil...
2017: PloS One
Derek E Lee, Bernard M Kissui, Yustina A Kiwango, Monica L Bond
In long-distance migratory systems, local fluctuations in the predator-prey ratio can exhibit extreme variability within a single year depending upon the seasonal location of migratory species. Such systems offer an opportunity to empirically investigate cyclic population density effects on short-term food web interactions by taking advantage of the large seasonal shifts in migratory prey biomass.We utilized a large-mammal predator-prey savanna food web to evaluate support for hypotheses relating to the indirect effects of "apparent competition" and "apparent mutualism" from migratory ungulate herds on survival of resident megaherbivore calves, mediated by their shared predator...
December 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Germán Baldi, Marcos Texeira, Francisco Murray, Esteban G Jobbágy
The dry subtropics are subject to a rapid expansion of crops and pastures over vast areas of natural woodlands and savannas. In this paper, we explored the effect of this transformation on vegetation productivity (magnitude, and seasonal and long-term variability) along aridity gradients which span from semiarid to subhumid conditions, considering exclusively those areas with summer rains (>66%). Vegetation productivity was characterized with the proxy metric "Enhanced Vegetation Index" (EVI) (2000 to 2012 period), on 6186 natural and cultivated sampling points on five continents, and combined with a global climatology database by means of additive models for quantile regressions...
2016: PloS One
Patrick Roberts, Nicole Boivin, Julia Lee-Thorp, Michael Petraglia, Jay Stock
Tropical forests constitute some of the most diverse and complex terrestrial ecosystems on the planet. From the Miocene onward, they have acted as a backdrop to the ongoing evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, and provided the cradle for the emergence of early hominins, who retained arboreal physiological adaptations at least into the Late Pliocene. There also now exists growing evidence, from the Late Pleistocene onward, for tool-assisted intensification of tropical forest occupation and resource extraction by our own species, Homo sapiens...
November 2016: Evolutionary Anthropology
Juan Lapuente, Thurston C Hicks, K Eduard Linsenmair
Over a 6 month period during the dry season, from the end of October 2014 to the beginning of May 2015, we studied tool use behavior of previously unstudied and non-habituated savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) living in the Comoé National Park, Ivory Coast (CI). We analyzed all the stick tools and leaf-sponges found that the chimpanzees used to forage for ants, termites, honey, and water. We found a particular behavior to be widespread across different chimpanzee communities in the park, namely, dipping for water from tree holes using sticks with especially long brush-tip modifications, using camera traps, we recorded adults, juveniles, and infants of three communities displaying this behavior...
December 21, 2016: American Journal of Primatology
Jacques Gignoux, Souleymane Konaté, Gaëlle Lahoreau, Xavier Le Roux, Guillaume Simioni
The forest-savanna ecotone may be very sharp in fire-prone areas. Fire and competition for light play key roles in its maintenance, as forest and savanna tree seedlings are quickly excluded from the other ecosystem. We hypothesized a tradeoff between seedling traits linked to fire resistance and to competition for light to explain these exclusions. We compared growth- and survival-related traits of two savanna and two forest species in response to shading and fire in a field experiment. To interpret the results, we decomposed our broad hypothesis into elementary tradeoffs linked to three constraints, biomass allocation, plant architecture, and shade tolerance, that characterize both savanna and adjacent forest ecosystems...
December 21, 2016: Scientific Reports
John-Baptist S N Naah, Reginald T Guuroh
Recording local ecological knowledge (LEK) is a useful approach to understanding interactions of the complex social-ecological systems. In spite of the recent growing interest in LEK studies on the effects of climate and land use changes, livestock mobility decisions and other aspects of agro-pastoral systems, LEK on forage plants has still been vastly under-documented in the West African savannas. Using a study area ranging from northern Ghana to central Burkina Faso, we thus aimed at exploring how aridity and socio-demographic factors drive the distributional patterns of forage-related LEK among its holders...
March 1, 2017: Journal of Environmental Management
Geyner A S Cruz, Georg Zizka, Daniele Silvestro, Elton M C Leme, Katharina Schulte, Ana M Benko-Iseppon
Cryptanthus comprises 72 species endemic to eastern Brazil with a center of diversity in the Atlantic Forest. The majority of the species are threatened due to habitat loss. We reconstructed phylogenetic relationships in Cryptanthus based on amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) including 48 species and 109 accessions. The Bayesian phylogenetic analysis revealed four major lineages in Cryptanthus and provided further evidence for the paraphyly of subgen. Hoplocryptanthus, while subgenus Cryptanthus was resolved as monophyletic...
October 27, 2016: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Leonardo Esteves Lopes, Luiz Pedreira Gonzaga
The Collared Crescentchest Melanopareia torquata is a poorly known and inconspicuous species of open savannas and grasslands in central Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. Three subspecies are currently recognized, but their taxonomic limits, ranges and conservation status are far from well-established. This paper analyses individual and geographic variation in this species on the basis of body measurements and plumage coloration of 119 specimens. A clinal pattern of body size variation and considerable mensural overlap precludes a clear-cut separation between the two subspecies restricted to Brazil, and there is evidently sexual dichromatism in some Brazilian populations...
November 15, 2016: Zootaxa
Marco A Ribeiro-Júnior, Silvana Amaral
We present distribution data of all Anguidae, Scincidae, and Teiidae lizards known from the Brazilian Amazonia, totaling 29 species-level taxa, belonging to 14 genera. This represents 11 more species-level taxa than previously reported for these families in this area. Data were based on literature and 46,806 specimens deposited in three North American and eight Brazilian museums, including the main collections harboring Amazonian material. Most species (~55%) are endemic to Amazonia. Except for Ameiva ameiva, that is present in several environments and domains, non-endemic species are either associated with open dry (semideciduous) forest or open vegetation (savanna) enclaves in Amazonia, occupying similar environments outside Amazonia, gallery forests within the Cerrado, or present disjunct populations in the Atlantic Forest...
December 9, 2016: Zootaxa
Nícolas Eugenio DE Vasconcelos Saraiva, Marcio Bernardino Dasilva
Here, we describe a new species of Eusarcus and reconstruct the geographical evolution of its species group based on biogeographical event-based analysis. Eusarcus dandara sp. nov. has been recorded from Alagoas state, in northeastern Brazil, which represents an important range extension of the genus to the northern Atlantic Rainforest. We performed a cladistic morphological analysis based on new data and data from a previous systematic review of the genus to reconstruct the phylogenetic placement of the new species...
December 12, 2016: Zootaxa
Youngsang Kwon, Bradley Wayne Baker
This research assessed the accuracy of the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer's (MODIS) land cover classification of softwood and hardwood using a fuzzy-based approach for 31 easternmost states in the U.S. Our main objective was to quantitatively evaluate spatially explicit land cover classifications of MODIS net primary product (NPP) scheme using the USDA Forest Service's (FS) field-based, tree-specific Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA). We used a grid of 648 km(2) hexagons as base mapping units and interpreted our results at the USDA FS level IV ecological regions...
January 2017: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Doyle B McKey, Mélisse Durécu, Marc Pouilly, Philippe Béarez, Alex Ovando, Mashuta Kalebe, Carl F Huchzermeyer
Erickson [Erickson CL (2000) Nature 408 (6809):190-193] interpreted features in seasonal floodplains in Bolivia's Beni savannas as vestiges of pre-European earthen fish weirs, postulating that they supported a productive, sustainable fishery that warranted cooperation in the construction and maintenance of perennial structures. His inferences were bold, because no close ethnographic analogues were known. A similar present-day Zambian fishery, documented here, appears strikingly convergent. The Zambian fishery supports Erickson's key inferences about the pre-European fishery: It allows sustained high harvest levels; weir construction and operation require cooperation; and weirs are inherited across generations...
December 27, 2016: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Duncan M Kimuyu, Kari E Veblen, Corinna Riginos, Robert M Chira, John M Githaiga, Truman P Young
In many savanna ecosystems worldwide, livestock share the landscape and its resources with wildlife. The nature of interactions between livestock and wildlife is a subject of considerable interest and speculation, yet little controlled experimental research has been carried out. Since 1995, we have been manipulating the presence and absence of cattle and large mammalian herbivore wildlife in a Kenyan savanna in order to better understand how different herbivore guilds influence space use by specific wildlife species...
December 9, 2016: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Erin F E Lennon, Benjamin Z Houlton
Denitrification removes ecologically available nitrogen (N) from the biosphere and influences both the pace and magnitude of global climate change. Disagreements exist over the degree to which this microbial process influences N-availability patterns across Earth's ecosystems. We combine natural stable isotope methods with qPCR to investigate how denitrifier gene abundance is related to variations in nitrate (NO3(-)) pool sizes across diverse terrestrial biomes and conditions. We analyze NO3(-) isotope composition ((15)N/(14)N, (18)O/(16)O) and denitrifier gene nirS in 52 soil samples from different California ecosystems, spanning desert, chaparral, oak-woodland/savanna and forest...
December 9, 2016: ISME Journal
Aline Machado Oliveira, Rodrigo Machado Feitosa, Heraldo Luis Vasconcelos, Jonas Maravalhas
BACKGROUND: The fungus-farming ant genus Cyatta (Formicidae: Myrmicinae) is represented by a single species, C. abscondita Sosa-Calvo et al., known from a few localities in Brazil (in the states of Ceará, Minas Gerais, São Paulo and the Distrito Federal), and a single locality in the Misiones province, Argentina. Cyatta is known to occur predominantly in savanna habitats and occasionally in the transition zones between the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado. NEW INFORMATION: The new records reported here significantly expand the previously known distribution of Cyatta abscondita and provide further support for the intimate relation between this species and the savannas of South America...
2016: Biodiversity Data Journal
Elaine Françoso, Alexandre Rizzo Zuntini, Ana Carolina Carnaval, Maria Cristina Arias
BACKGROUND: Bombus morio and B. pauloensis are sympatric widespread bumblebee species that occupy two major Brazilian biomes, the Atlantic forest and the savannas of the Cerrado. Differences in dispersion capacity, which is greater in B. morio, likely influence their phylogeographic patterns. This study asks which processes best explain the patterns of genetic variation observed in B. morio and B. pauloensis, shedding light on the phenomena that shaped the range of local populations and the spatial distribution of intra-specific lineages...
December 7, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
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