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ecosystem collapse

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
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has emerged as a highly prevalent public health problem that imposes important mid-term 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 has been identified as playing significant roles in the development of host immunological phenotypes...
March 13, 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
B Riegl, M Johnston, S Purkis, E Howells, J Burt, S C C Steiner, C R C Sheppard, A 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 1996/8 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 1998-2010 and 2013-17, disturbed in 1996/8, 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 is 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
Valérie Trichon, Pierre Hiernaux, Romain Walcker, Eric Mougin
Following 25 years of below average annual rainfall in the Sahel between 1970 and 1995, the return to more humid conditions has led to rapid postdrought recovery of the woody cover. However, the increase in the woody cover is not spatially homogeneous raising questions about the resilience of some woody vegetation types. Based on the analysis of field and remote sensing data collected on the tiger bush systems in the northern Sahel in Mali, this study noted the current and persistent degradation of these systems in the Sahel since the 1970s despite the recent improvement in rainfall since the mid-1990s and the general Sahel re-greening...
February 11, 2018: Global Change Biology
Shiping Wei, Hongpeng Cui, Youhai Zhu, Zhenquan Lu, Shouji Pang, Shuai Zhang, Hailiang Dong, Xin Su
Permafrost thaw can bring negative consequences in terms of ecosystems, resulting in permafrost collapse, waterlogging, thermokarst lake development, and species composition changes. Little is known about how permafrost thaw influences microbial community shifts and their activities. Here, we show that the dominant archaeal community shifts from Methanomicrobiales to Methanosarcinales in response to the permafrost thaw, and the increase in methane emission is found to be associated with the methanogenic archaea, which rapidly bloom with nearly tenfold increase in total number...
February 10, 2018: Extremophiles: Life Under Extreme Conditions
Leonardo Viniegra-Velázquez
With the appearance of Homo sapiens, the biological order was gradually replaced by the anthropocentric cultural order (CO), in which traditions, appreciations, preferences and desires for possession and domination guided their interactions with nature (predation or care), within the group (ranks, classes) and with others groups (commerce, wars). Current CO, characterized by unlimited profit interests, extreme wealth concentration and inequality where moral degradation hits rock bottom and planetary ecosystem is devastated, shows a collapsed civilization with a background of a global media controlled anesthetized societies...
November 2017: Boletín Médico del Hospital Infantil de México
Arnault Le Bris, Katherine E Mills, Richard A Wahle, Yong Chen, Michael A Alexander, Andrew J Allyn, Justin G Schuetz, James D Scott, Andrew J Pershing
Managing natural resources in an era of increasing climate impacts requires accounting for the synergistic effects of climate, ecosystem changes, and harvesting on resource productivity. Coincident with recent exceptional warming of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and removal of large predatory fish, the American lobster has become the most valuable fishery resource in North America. Using a model that links ocean temperature, predator density, and fishing to population productivity, we show that harvester-driven conservation efforts to protect large lobsters prepared the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery to capitalize on favorable ecosystem conditions, resulting in the record-breaking landings recently observed in the region...
January 22, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Joshua H Daskin, Robert M Pringle
Large-mammal populations are ecological linchpins, and their worldwide decline and extinction disrupts many ecosystem functions and services. Reversal of this trend will require an understanding of the determinants of population decline, to enable more accurate predictions of when and where collapses will occur and to guide the development of effective conservation and restoration policies. Many correlates of large-mammal declines are known, including low reproductive rates, overhunting, and habitat destruction...
January 10, 2018: Nature
Andrew T Smith, Badingqiuying, Maxwell C Wilson, Brigitte W Hogan
Understanding a species' functional traits allows for a directed and productive perspective on the role a species plays in nature, thus its relative importance to conservation planning. The functional trait ecology of the plateau pika Ochotona curzoniae (Hodgson, 1858) is examined to better understand the resilience and sustainability of the high alpine grasslands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). The key functional traits of plateau pikas are their abundance and behavior of digging extensive burrow systems...
January 9, 2018: Integrative Zoology
Hadayet Ullah, Ivan Nagelkerken, Silvan U Goldenberg, Damien A Fordham
Global warming and ocean acidification are forecast to exert significant impacts on marine ecosystems worldwide. However, most of these projections are based on ecological proxies or experiments on single species or simplified food webs. How energy fluxes are likely to change in marine food webs in response to future climates remains unclear, hampering forecasts of ecosystem functioning. Using a sophisticated mesocosm experiment, we model energy flows through a species-rich multilevel food web, with live habitats, natural abiotic variability, and the potential for intra- and intergenerational adaptation...
January 2018: PLoS Biology
Junjie Jiang, Zi-Gang Huang, Thomas P Seager, Wei Lin, Celso Grebogi, Alan Hastings, Ying-Cheng Lai
Complex networked systems ranging from ecosystems and the climate to economic, social, and infrastructure systems can exhibit a tipping point (a "point of no return") at which a total collapse of the system occurs. To understand the dynamical mechanism of a tipping point and to predict its occurrence as a system parameter varies are of uttermost importance, tasks that are hindered by the often extremely high dimensionality of the underlying system. Using complex mutualistic networks in ecology as a prototype class of systems, we carry out a dimension reduction process to arrive at an effective 2D system with the two dynamical variables corresponding to the average pollinator and plant abundances...
January 8, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Alessandro Carugo, Giulio F Draetta
Adaptation and resistance to treatment are the results of a multitude of (epi)genetic events unmasked or directly triggered by therapies targeting the genetic driver(s) of a dominant cell population within a tumor mass. Rusan and colleagues report that drug-tolerant cells are sensitive to THZ1, a dual CDK7/12 inhibitor, which, by impairing the transcriptional machinery, can prevent cellular rewiring to survive therapeutic attack. Cancer Discov; 8(1); 17-9. ©2018 AACRSee related article by Rusan et al., p. 59...
January 2018: Cancer Discovery
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