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Tek Narayan Maraseni, Kathryn Reardon-Smith, Greg Griffiths, Armando Apan
Savanna fire is a major source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Australia, savanna fire contributes about 3% of annual GHG emissions reportable to the Kyoto Protocol. In order to reduce GHG emissions from savanna burning, the Australian government has developed and approved a Kyoto compliant savanna controlled burning methodology-the first legal instrument of this kind at a global level-under its Emission Reduction Fund. However, this approved methodology is currently only applicable to nine vegetation fuel types across northern parts of Australia in areas which receive on average over 600 mm rainfall annually, covering only 15...
December 2016: Carbon Balance and Management
Saskia Rughöft, Martina Herrmann, Cassandre S Lazar, Simone Cesarz, Shaun R Levick, Susan E Trumbore, Kirsten Küsel
[This corrects the article on p. 1638 in vol. 7, PMID: 27807431.].
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Bourama Traoré, Fabiano Oliveira, Ousmane Faye, Adama Dicko, Cheick A Coulibaly, Ibrahim M Sissoko, Samake Sibiry, Nafomon Sogoba, Moussa Brema Sangare, Yaya I Coulibaly, Pierre Traore, Sekou F Traore, Jennifer M Anderson, Somita Keita, Jesus G Valenzuela, Shaden Kamhawi, Seydou Doumbia
Historically the western sahelian dry regions of Mali are known to be highly endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) caused by Leishmania major, while cases are rarely reported from the Southern savanna forest of the country. Here, we report baseline prevalence of CL infection in 3 ecologically distinct districts of Mali (dry sahelian, north savanna and southern savanna forest areas). We screened 195 to 250 subjects from 50 to 60 randomly selected households in each of the 6 villages (four from the western sahelian district of Diema in Kayes region, one from the central district of Kolokani and one from the southern savanna district of Kolodieba, region of Sikasso)...
November 2016: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Casey M Ryan, Mathew Williams, John Grace, Emily Woollen, Caroline E R Lehmann
Tree phenology mediates land-atmosphere mass and energy exchange and is a determinant of ecosystem structure and function. In the dry tropics, including African savannas, many trees grow new leaves during the dry season - weeks or months before the rains typically start. This syndrome of pre-rain green-up has long been recognized at small scales, but the high spatial and interspecific variability in leaf phenology has precluded regional generalizations. We used remote sensing data to show that this precocious phenology is ubiquitous across the woodlands and savannas of southern tropical Africa...
November 29, 2016: New Phytologist
Arianne Tremblay, Savanna Seabolt, Hongyun Zeng, Chong Zhang, Stefan Böckler, Dominique N Tate, Vy Thuy Duong, Nan Yao, Hua Lu
Programmed cell death (PCD) is critical for development and responses to environmental stimuli in many organisms. FUZZY ONIONS (FZO) proteins in yeast, flies, and mammals are known to affect mitochondrial fusion and function. Arabidopsis FZO-LIKE (FZL) was shown as a chloroplast protein that regulates chloroplast morphology and cell death. We cloned the FZL gene based on the lesion mimic phenotype conferred by an fzl mutation. Here we provide evidence to support that FZL has evolved new function different from its homologs from other organisms...
November 29, 2016: Scientific Reports
Timothy D Jardine, Thomas S Rayner, Neil E Pettit, Dominic Valdez, Douglas P Ward, Garry Lindner, Michael M Douglas, Stuart E Bunn
Food web subsidies from external sources ("allochthony") can support rich biological diversity and high secondary and tertiary production in aquatic systems, even those with low rates of primary production. However, animals vary in their degree of dependence on these subsidies. We examined dietary sources for aquatic animals restricted to refugial habitats (waterholes) during the dry season in Australia's wet-dry tropics, and show that allochthony is strongly size dependent. While small-bodied fishes and invertebrates derived a large proportion of their diet from autochthonous sources within the waterhole (phytoplankton, periphyton, or macrophytes), larger animals, including predatory fishes and crocodiles, demonstrated allochthony from seasonally inundated floodplains, coastal zones or the surrounding savanna...
November 28, 2016: Oecologia
Marcin Churski, Jakub W Bubnicki, Bogumiła Jędrzejewska, Dries P J Kuijper, Joris P G M Cromsigt
Plant biomass consumers (mammalian herbivory and fire) are increasingly seen as major drivers of ecosystem structure and function but the prevailing paradigm in temperate forest ecology is still that their dynamics are mainly bottom-up resource-controlled. Using conceptual advances from savanna ecology, particularly the demographic bottleneck model, we present a novel view on temperate forest dynamics that integrates consumer and resource control. We used a fully factorial experiment, with varying levels of ungulate herbivory and resource (light) availability, to investigate how these factors shape recruitment of five temperate tree species...
November 28, 2016: New Phytologist
Julianna Peixoto, Luciano P Silva, Ricardo H Krüger
Discarded PE-based products pose a social and environmental threat because of their recalcitrance to degradation, a consequence of the unique set of PE's physicochemical properties. In this study we isolated nine novel PE-degrading bacteria from plastic debris found in soil of the savanna-like Brazilian Cerrado. These bacterial strains from the genera Comamonas, Delftia, and Stenotrophomonas showed metabolic activity and cellular viability after a 90-day incubation with PE as the sole carbon source. ATR/FTIR indicated that biodegraded PE undergone oxidation, vinylene formation, chain scission, among other chemical changes...
November 14, 2016: Journal of Hazardous Materials
Xuanlong Ma, Alfredo Huete, James Cleverly, Derek Eamus, Frédéric Chevallier, Joanna Joiner, Benjamin Poulter, Yongguang Zhang, Luis Guanter, Wayne Meyer, Zunyi Xie, Guillermo Ponce-Campos
Each year, terrestrial ecosystems absorb more than a quarter of the anthropogenic carbon emissions, termed as land carbon sink. An exceptionally large land carbon sink anomaly was recorded in 2011, of which more than half was attributed to Australia. However, the persistence and spatially attribution of this carbon sink remain largely unknown. Here we conducted an observation-based study to characterize the Australian land carbon sink through the novel coupling of satellite retrievals of atmospheric CO2 and photosynthesis and in-situ flux tower measures...
November 25, 2016: Scientific Reports
Hui Wei, Jialin Xu, Guoming Quan, Jiaen Zhang, Zhong Qin
Plant invasion has been reported to affect a mass of soil ecological processes and functions, although invasion effects are often context-, species- and ecosystem- specific. This study was conducted to explore potential impacts of Praxelis clematidea invasion on contents of total and available soil nitrogen (N) and microbial N transformations in a tropical savanna. Soil samples were collected from the surface and sub-surface layers in plots with non-, slight, or severe P. clematidea invasion in Hainan Province of southern China, which remains less studied, and analyzed for contents of the total and available N fractions and microbial N transformations...
November 24, 2016: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International
Andrea S Garcia, Henrique O Sawakuchi, Manuel Eduardo Ferreira, Maria Victoria R Ballester
In the Amazon-savanna ecotone in northwest Brazil, the understudied Araguaia River Basin contains high biodiversity and seasonal wetlands. The region is representative of tropical humid-dry ecotone zones, which have experienced intense land use and land cover (LULC) conversions. Here we assessed the LULC changes for the last four decades in the central portion of the Araguaia River Basin to understand the temporal changes in the landscape composition and configuration outside and inside protected areas. We conducted these analyzes by LULC mapping and landscape metrics based on patch classes...
November 18, 2016: Journal of Environmental Management
Tyler C Coverdale, Tyler R Kartzinel, Kathryn L Grabowski, Robert K Shriver, Abdikadir A Hassan, Jacob R Goheen, Todd M Palmer, Robert M Pringle
Positive indirect effects of consumers on their resources can stabilize food webs by preventing overexploitation, but the coupling of trophic and non-trophic interactions remains poorly integrated into our understanding of community dynamics. Elephants engineer African savanna ecosystems by toppling trees and breaking branches, and although their negative effects on trees are well documented, their effects on small-statured plants remain poorly understood. Using data on 117 understory plant taxa collected over 7 yr within 36 1-ha experimental plots in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna, we measured the strength and direction of elephant impacts on understory vegetation...
November 2016: Ecology
Young-Jun Choi, Rahul Tyagi, Samantha N McNulty, Bruce A Rosa, Philip Ozersky, John Martin, Kymberlie Hallsworth-Pepin, Thomas R Unnasch, Carmelle T Norice, Thomas B Nutman, Gary J Weil, Peter U Fischer, Makedonka Mitreva
Ongoing elimination efforts have altered the global distribution of Onchocerca volvulus, the agent of river blindness, and further population restructuring is expected as efforts continue. Therefore, a better understanding of population genetic processes and their effect on biogeography is needed to support elimination goals. We describe O. volvulus genome variation in 27 isolates from the early 1990s (before widespread mass treatment) from four distinct locales: Ecuador, Uganda, the West African forest and the West African savanna...
November 21, 2016: Nature Microbiology
Justin Dohn, David J Augustine, Niall P Hanan, Jayashree Ratnam, Mahesh Sankaran
The majority of research on savanna vegetation dynamics has focused on the coexistence of woody and herbaceous vegetation. Interactions among woody plants in savannas are relatively poorly understood. We present data from a 10-year longitudinal study of spatially explicit growth patterns of woody vegetation in an East African savanna following exclusion of large herbivores and in the absence of fire. We examined plant spatial patterns and quantified the degree of competition among woody individuals. Woody plants in this semi-arid savanna exhibit strongly clumped spatial distributions at scales of 1 - 5 m...
November 19, 2016: Ecology
Michiel P Veldhuis, Francisco J Laso, Han Olff, Matty P Berg
The ecological impact of rapid environmental change will depend on the resistance of key ecosystems processes, which may be promoted by species that exert strong control over local environmental conditions. Recent theoretical work suggests that macrodetritivores increase the resistance of African savanna ecosystems to changing climatic conditions, but experimental evidence is lacking. We examined the effect of large fungus-growing termites and other non-fungus-growing macrodetritivores on decomposition rates empirically with strong spatiotemporal variability in rainfall and temperature...
November 16, 2016: Ecology
Mayra C Vidal, Sebastian F Sendoya, Paulo S Oliveira
An open question in the evolutionary ecology of ant-plant facultative mutualism is how other members of the associated community can affect the interaction to a point where reciprocal benefits are disrupted. While visiting Qualea grandiflora shrubs to collect sugary rewards at extrafloral nectaries, tropical savanna ants deter herbivores and reduce leaf damage. Here we show that larvae of the fly Rhinoleucophenga myrmecophaga, which develop on extrafloral nectaries, lure potentially mutualistic, nectar-feeding ants and prey on them...
July 2016: Ecology
Robert M Pringle, Kirsten M Prior, Todd M Palmer, Truman P Young, Jacob R Goheen
Edaphic variation in plant community composition is widespread, yet its underlying mechanisms are rarely understood and often assumed to be physiological. In East African savannas, Acacia tree species segregate sharply across soils of differing parent material: the ant-defended whistling thorn, A. drepanolobium (ACDR), is monodominant on cracking clay vertisols that are nutrient rich but physically stressful, whereas poorly defended species such as A. brevispica (ACBR) dominate on nutrient-poor but otherwise less-stressful sandy loams...
October 2016: Ecology
Chi Xu, Stijn Hantson, Milena Holmgren, Egbert H van Nes, Arie Staal, Marten Scheffer
Although canopy height has long been a focus of interest in ecology, it has remained difficult to study at large spatial scales. Recently, satellite-borne LiDAR equipment produced the first systematic high resolution maps of vegetation height worldwide. Here we show that this new resource reveals three marked modes in tropical canopy height ~40, ~12, and ~2 m corresponding to forest, savanna, and treeless landscapes. The distribution of these modes is consistent with the often hypothesized forest-savanna bistability and suggests that both states can be stable in areas with a mean annual precipitation between ~1,500  and ~2,000 mm...
September 2016: Ecology
Adam F A Pellegrini, A Carla Staver, Lars O Hedin, Tristan Charles-Dominique, Amy Tourgee
Tropical savannas are hypothesized to be hot spots of nitrogen-fixer diversity and activity because of the high disturbance and low nitrogen characteristic of savanna landscapes. Here we compare the abundances of nitrogen-fixing and non-fixing trees in both tropical savannas and tropical forests under climatically equivalent conditions, using plant inventory studies across 566 plots in South America and Africa. A single factor, aridity, explained 19-54% of the variance in fixer abundance, and unexpectedly was more important than fire frequency, biome, and continent...
September 2016: Ecology
Nash E Turley, Lars A Brudvig
Intensive land use activities, such as agriculture, are a leading cause of biodiversity loss and can have lasting impacts on ecological systems. Yet, few studies have investigated how land-use legacies impact phylogenetic diversity (the total amount of evolutionary history in a community) or how restoration activities might mitigate legacy effects on biodiversity. We studied ground-layer plant communities in 27 pairs of Remnant (no agricultural history) and Post-agricultural (agriculture abandoned >60 yr ago) longleaf pine savannas, half of which we restored by thinning trees to reinstate open savanna conditions...
September 2016: Ecology
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