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ecosystem collapse

Guilin Li, Hang Zhao, Zhenguo Liu, Hongfang Wang, Baohua Xu, Xingqi Guo
As one of the predominant pollinator, honeybees provide important ecosystem service to crops and wild plants, and generate great economic benefit for humans. Unfortunately, there is clear evidence of recent catastrophic honeybee colony failure in some areas, resulting in markedly negative environmental and economic effects. It has been demonstrated that various environmental stresses, including both abiotic and biotic stresses, functioning singly or synergistically, are the potential drivers of colony collapse...
2018: Frontiers in Microbiology
Congcong Cao, Li Wang, Hairong Li, Binggan Wei, Linsheng Yang
Metal contamination in soil from tailings induces risks for the ecosystem and for humans. In this study, the concentrations and ecological risks of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn in soil contaminated by a tailing from Yangshuo (YS) lead and zinc (Pb⁻Zn) mine, which collapsed for more than 40 years, were determined in 2015. The mean concentrations of Zn, Pb, Cu, and Cd were 1301.79, 768.41, 82.60, and 4.82 mg/kg, respectively, which, with years of remediation activities, decreased by 66.9%, 61.7%, 65.4%, and 65.3% since 1986, but still exceed the national standards...
May 9, 2018: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Sean D Connell, Zoë A Doubleday, Nicole R Foster, Sarah B Hamlyn, Christopher D G Harley, Brian Helmuth, Brendan P Kelaher, Ivan Nagelkerken, Kirsten L Rodgers, Gianluca Sarà, Bayden D Russell
Ecologically dominant species often define ecosystem states, but as human disturbances intensify, their subordinate counterparts increasingly displace them. We consider the duality of disturbance by examining how environmental drivers can simultaneously act as a stressor to dominant species and as a resource to subordinates. Using a model ecosystem, we demonstrate that CO2 -driven interactions between species can account for such reversals in dominance; i.e., the displacement of dominants (kelp forests) by subordinates (turf algae)...
May 2018: Ecology
David B Lindenmayer, Chloe Sato
Increasing numbers of ecosystems globally are at risk of collapse. However, most descriptions of terrestrial ecosystem collapse are post hoc with few empirically based examples of ecosystems in the process of collapse. This limits learning about collapse and impedes development of effective early-warning indicators. Based on multidecadal and multifaceted monitoring, we present evidence that the Australian mainland Mountain Ash ecosystem is collapsing. Collapse is indicated by marked changes in ecosystem condition, particularly the rapid decline in populations of keystone ecosystem structures...
April 30, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Sarah J Ivory, Anne-Marie Lézine, Annie Vincens, Andrew S Cohen
African ecosystems are at great risk. Despite their ecological and economic importance, long-standing ideas about African forest ecology and biogeography, such as the timing of changes in forest extent and the importance of disturbance, have been unable to be tested due to a lack of sufficiently long records. Here, we present the longest continuous terrestrial record of late Quaternary vegetation from southern Africa collected to date from a drill core from Lake Malawi covering the last ~600,000 years. Pollen analysis permits us to investigate changes in vegetation structure and composition over multiple climatic transitions...
April 27, 2018: Global Change Biology
Heath W Garris, Susan A Baldwin, Jon Taylor, David B Gurr, Daniel R Denesiuk, Jonathan D Van Hamme, Lauchlan H Fraser
We investigated the impacts of the Mount Polley tailings impoundment failure on chemical, physical, and microbial properties of substrates within the affected watershed, comprised of 70 hectares of riparian wetlands and 40 km of stream and lake shore. We established a biomonitoring network in October of 2014, two months following the disturbance, and evaluated riparian and wetland substrates for microbial community composition and function via 16S and full metagenome sequencing. A total of 234 samples were collected from substrates at 3 depths and 1,650,752 sequences were recorded in a geodatabase framework...
2018: PloS One
Terry P Hughes, James T Kerry, Andrew H Baird, Sean R Connolly, Andreas Dietzel, C Mark Eakin, Scott F Heron, Andrew S Hoey, Mia O Hoogenboom, Gang Liu, Michael J McWilliam, Rachel J Pears, Morgan S Pratchett, William J Skirving, Jessica S Stella, Gergely Torda
Global warming is rapidly emerging as a universal threat to ecological integrity and function, highlighting the urgent need for a better understanding of the impact of heat exposure on the resilience of ecosystems and the people who depend on them 1 . Here we show that in the aftermath of the record-breaking marine heatwave on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 2 , corals began to die immediately on reefs where the accumulated heat exposure exceeded a critical threshold of degree heating weeks, which was 3-4 °C-weeks...
April 18, 2018: Nature
Dipali Singh, Ladislav Nedbal, Oliver Ebenhöh
Phosphorus (P) is an essential non-renewable nutrient that frequently limits plant growth. It is the foundation of modern agriculture and, to a large extent, demand for P is met from phosphate rock deposits which are limited and becoming increasingly scarce. Adding an extra stroke to this already desolate picture is the fact that a high percentage of P, through agricultural runoff and waste, makes its way into rivers and oceans leading to eutrophication and collapse of ecosystems. Therefore, there is a critical need to practise P recovery from waste and establish a circular economy applicable to P resources...
April 17, 2018: Biochemical Society Transactions
Myroslava Lesiv, Dmitry Schepaschenko, Elena Moltchanova, Rostyslav Bun, Martina Dürauer, Alexander V Prishchepov, Florian Schierhorn, Stephan Estel, Tobias Kuemmerle, Camilo Alcántara, Natalia Kussul, Maria Shchepashchenko, Olga Kutovaya, Olga Martynenko, Viktor Karminov, Anatoly Shvidenko, Petr Havlik, Florian Kraxner, Linda See, Steffen Fritz
Knowledge of the spatial distribution of agricultural abandonment following the collapse of the Soviet Union is highly uncertain. To help improve this situation, we have developed a new map of arable and abandoned land for 2010 at a 10 arc-second resolution. We have fused together existing land cover and land use maps at different temporal and spatial scales for the former Soviet Union (fSU) using a training data set collected from visual interpretation of very high resolution (VHR) imagery. We have also collected an independent validation data set to assess the map accuracy...
April 3, 2018: Scientific Data
Christine Angelini, Schuyler G van Montfrans, Marc J S Hensel, Qiang He, Brian R Silliman
Climate change and consumer outbreaks are driving ecosystem collapse worldwide. Although much research has demonstrated that these factors can interact, how heterogeneity in top-down control intensity and physical forcing modulates ecosystem resilience to climate stress remains poorly understood. Here, we explore whether the nocturnal herbivorous crab Sesarma reticulatum can control spatially dominant cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) growth and how its top-down effects vary with crab density, drought stress, and large-scale disturbance in southeastern US salt marshes...
March 20, 2018: Oecologia
Nuria Farré, Ramon Farré, David Gozal
OSA has emerged as a highly prevalent public health problem that imposes important mid- and long-term consequences, namely cardiovascular, metabolic, cognitive, and cancer-related alterations. OSA is characterized by increased upper airway resistance, alveolar hypoventilation, and recurrent upper airway obstruction during sleep. Recurrent collapse of the upper airway develops with sleep onset and is associated with both intermittent hypoxemia and sleep fragmentation. The microbiome is a vast and complex polymicrobial ecosystem that coexists with the human organism, and it has been identified as playing significant roles in the development of host immunologic phenotypes...
March 14, 2018: Chest
Jacob E Hill, Travis L DeVault, James C Beasley, Olin E Rhodes, Jerrold L Belant
Vultures provide an essential ecosystem service through removal of carrion, but globally, many populations are collapsing and several species are threatened with extinction. Widespread declines in vulture populations could increase the availability of carrion to other organisms, but the ways facultative scavengers might respond to this increase have not been thoroughly explored. We aimed to determine whether facultative scavengers increase carrion consumption in the absence of vulture competition and whether they are capable of functionally replacing vultures in the removal of carrion biomass from the landscape...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Jessica A Rowland, Emily Nicholson, Nicholas J Murray, David A Keith, Rebecca E Lester, Lucie M Bland
Ongoing ecosystem degradation and transformation are key threats to biodiversity. Measuring ecosystem change towards collapse relies on monitoring indicators that quantify key ecological processes. Yet little guidance is available on selecting and implementing indicators for ecosystem risk assessment. Here, we reviewed indicator use in ecological studies of decline towards collapse in marine pelagic and temperate forest ecosystems. We evaluated the use of indicator selection methods, indicator types (geographic distribution, abiotic, biotic), methods of assessing multiple indicators, and temporal quality of time series...
March 12, 2018: Conservation Biology: the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
L Pita, L Rix, B M Slaby, A Franke, U Hentschel
The recognition that all macroorganisms live in symbiotic association with microbial communities has opened up a new field in biology. Animals, plants, and algae are now considered holobionts, complex ecosystems consisting of the host, the microbiota, and the interactions among them. Accordingly, ecological concepts can be applied to understand the host-derived and microbial processes that govern the dynamics of the interactive networks within the holobiont. In marine systems, holobionts are further integrated into larger and more complex communities and ecosystems, a concept referred to as "nested ecosystems...
March 9, 2018: Microbiome
Caleb P Roberts, Daniel R Uden, Craig R Allen, Dirac Twidwell
Mismatches between invasive species management policies and ecological knowledge can lead to profound societal consequences. For this reason, natural resource agencies have adopted the scientifically-based density-impact invasive species curve to guide invasive species management. We use the density-impact model to evaluate how well management policies for a native invader (Juniperus virginiana) match scientific guidelines. Juniperus virginiana invasion is causing a sub-continental regime shift from grasslands to woodlands in central North America, and its impacts span collapses in endemic diversity, heightened wildfire risk, and crashes in grazing land profitability...
2018: PloS One
Ulas Karaoz, Estelle Couradeau, Ulisses Nunes da Rocha, Hsiao-Chien Lim, Trent Northen, Ferran Garcia-Pichel, Eoin L Brodie
Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) account for a substantial portion of primary production in dryland ecosystems. They successionally mature to deliver a suite of ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, water retention and nutrient cycling, and climate regulation. Biocrust assemblages are extremely well adapted to survive desiccation and to rapidly take advantage of the periodic precipitation events typical of arid ecosystems. Here we focus on the wetting response of incipient cyanobacterial crusts as they mature from "light" to "dark...
March 6, 2018: MBio
Bernhard Riegl, Matthew Johnston, Sam Purkis, Emily Howells, John Burt, Sascha C C Steiner, Charles R C Sheppard, Andrew Bauman
As in the tropical Atlantic, Acropora populations in the southern Persian/Arabian Gulf plummeted within two decades after having been ecosystem engineers on most wave-exposed reefs since the Pleistocene. Since 1996/1998 live coral cover in the Gulf declined by over 90% in many areas, primarily due to bleaching and diseases caused by rising temperatures. In the formerly dominant table-coral species A. downingi, population dynamics corresponding to disturbance regimes was quantified in three transition matrices (lower disturbance pre-1996; moderate disturbance from 1998 to 2010 and 2013 to 2017, disturbed in 1996/1998, 2010/11/12, 2017)...
March 5, 2018: Global Change Biology
Tiago N Bernabé, Paula M de Omena, Viviane Piccin Dos Santos, Virgínia M de Siqueira, Valéria M de Oliveira, Gustavo Q Romero
Warming is among the major drivers of changes in biotic interactions and, in turn, ecosystem functioning. The decomposition process occurs in a chain of facilitative interactions between detritivores and microorganisms. It remains unclear, however, what effect warming may have on the interrelations between detritivores and microorganisms, and the consequences for the functioning of natural freshwater ecosystems. To address these gaps, we performed a field experiment using tank bromeliads and their associated aquatic fauna...
February 27, 2018: Global Change Biology
David B Lindenmayer, Wade Blanchard, David Blair, Lachlan McBurney, John Stein, Sam C Banks
Large old trees are critically important keystone structures in forest ecosystems globally. Populations of these trees are also in rapid decline in many forest ecosystems, making it important to quantify the factors that influence their dynamics at different spatial scales. Large old trees often occur in forest landscapes also subject to fire and logging. However, the effects on the risk of collapse of large old trees of the amount of logging and fire in the surrounding landscape are not well understood. Using an 18-year study in the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria, we quantify relationships between the probability of collapse of large old hollow-bearing trees at a site and the amount of logging and the amount of fire in the surrounding landscape...
2018: PloS One
Yuu Ishii, Shinichiro Maruyama, Konomi Fujimura-Kamada, Natsumaro Kutsuna, Shunichi Takahashi, Masakado Kawata, Jun Minagawa
Coral reef ecosystems rely on stable symbiotic relationship between the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium spp. and host cnidarian animals. The collapse of such symbiosis could cause coral 'bleaching' and subsequent host death. Despite huge interest on Symbiodinium, lack of mutant strains and readily available genetic tools have hampered molecular research. A major issue was the tolerance to marker antibiotics. Here, we isolated Symbiodinium mutants requiring uracil for growth, and hence, useful in transformation screening...
February 19, 2018: Scientific Reports
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