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Plant community tropical forest

R K Bhomia, R A MacKenzie, D Murdiyarso, S D Sasmito, J Purbopuspito
Globally, mangrove forests represents only 0.7% of world's tropical forested area but are highly threatened due to susceptibility to climate change, sea level rise, and increasing pressures from human population growth in coastal regions. Our study was carried out in the Bhitarkanika Conservation Area (BCA), the second-largest mangrove area in eastern India. We assessed total ecosystem carbon (C) stocks at four land use types representing varying degree of disturbances. Ranked in order of increasing impacts, these sites included dense mangrove forests, scrub mangroves, restored/planted mangroves, and abandoned aquaculture ponds...
July 2016: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Julia C Sfair, Víctor Arroyo-Rodríguez, Bráulio A Santos, Marcelo Tabarelli
Tropical forests are being exposed to increasing levels of habitat loss and fragmentation, threatening the maintenance of global biodiversity. However, the effect that land-use change may have on the spatial dissimilarities in taxonomic and functional composition of remaining assemblages (i.e., taxonomic/functional β-diversity) remains poorly understood. We examined a large vegetation database from an old and severely fragmented Atlantic forest landscape to test two alternative hypotheses: (1) tree assemblages experience a taxonomic and functional homogenization (reduced β-diversity) between forest fragments and along forest edges, or alternatively, (2) these edge-affected forests show increased taxonomic and functional differentiation (increased β-diversity) when compared to forest interior (reference) stands...
September 2016: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Colin Campbell, Laura Russo, Alessandra Marins, Og DeSouza, Karsten Schönrogge, David Mortensen, John Tooker, Réka Albert, Katriona Shea
The analysis of ecological networks is generally bottom-up, where networks are established by observing interactions between individuals. Emergent network properties have been indicated to reflect the dominant mode of interactions in communities that might be mutualistic (e.g., pollination) or antagonistic (e.g., host-parasitoid communities). Many ecological communities, however, comprise species interactions that are difficult to observe directly. Here, we propose that a comparison of the emergent properties from detail-rich reference communities with known modes of interaction can inform our understanding of detail-sparse focal communities...
September 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Guille Peguero, Helene C Muller-Landau, Patrick A Jansen, S Joseph Wright
: Identification of the mechanisms enabling stable coexistence of species with similar resource requirements is a central challenge in ecology. Such coexistence can be facilitated by species at higher trophic levels through complex multi-trophic interactions, a mechanism that could be compromised by ongoing defaunation. We investigated cascading effects of defaunation on Pachymerus cardo and Speciomerus giganteus, the specialized insect seed predators of the Neotropical palm Attalea butyracea, testing the hypothesis that vertebrate frugivores and granivores facilitate their coexistence...
September 9, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Seeta A Sistla, Adam B Roddy, Nicholas E Williams, Daniel B Kramer, Kara Stevens, Steven D Allison
Tropical forest conversion to pasture, which drives greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation, and biodiversity loss, remains a pressing socio-ecological challenge. This problem has spurred increased interest in the potential of small-scale agroforestry systems to couple sustainable agriculture with biodiversity conservation, particularly in rapidly developing areas of the tropics. In addition to providing natural resources (i.e. food, medicine, lumber), agroforestry systems have the potential to maintain higher levels of biodiversity and greater biomass than lower diversity crop or pasture systems...
2016: PloS One
Kristen Becklund, Jennifer Powers, Linda Kinkel
Antibiotic-producing bacteria in the genus Streptomyces can inhibit soil-borne plant pathogens, and have the potential to mediate the impacts of disease on plant communities. Little is known about how antibiotic production varies among soil communities in tropical forests, despite a long history of interest in the role of soil-borne pathogens in these ecosystems. Our objective was to determine how tree species and soils influence variation in antibiotic-mediated pathogen suppression among Streptomyces communities in two tropical dry forest sites (Santa Rosa and Palo Verde)...
November 2016: Oecologia
Rebecca J Cole, Karen D Holl, Rakan A Zahawi, Philipp Wickey, Alan R Townsend
Soil and litter arthropods represent a large proportion of tropical biodiversity and perform important ecosystem functions, but little is known about the efficacy of different tropical forest restoration strategies in facilitating their recovery in degraded habitats. We sampled arthropods in four 7- to 8-year-old restoration treatments and in nearby reference forests. Sampling was conducted during the wet and dry seasons using extractions from litter and pitfall samples. Restoration treatments were replicated in 50 × 50-m plots in four former pasture sites in southern Costa Rica: plantation - trees planted throughout the plot; applied nucleation/islands - trees planted in patches of different sizes; and natural regeneration - no tree planting...
August 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Kai Zhang, Siliang Lin, Yinqiu Ji, Chenxue Yang, Xiaoyang Wang, Chunyan Yang, Hesheng Wang, Haisheng Jiang, Rhett D Harrison, Douglas W Yu
Plant diversity surely determines arthropod diversity, but only moderate correlations between arthropod and plant species richness had been observed until Basset et al. (Science, 338, 2012 and 1481) finally undertook an unprecedentedly comprehensive sampling of a tropical forest and demonstrated that plant species richness could indeed accurately predict arthropod species richness. We now require a high-throughput pipeline to operationalize this result so that we can (i) test competing explanations for tropical arthropod megadiversity, (ii) improve estimates of global eukaryotic species diversity, and (iii) use plant and arthropod communities as efficient proxies for each other, thus improving the efficiency of conservation planning and of detecting forest degradation and recovery...
September 2016: Molecular Ecology
Silvia Pajares, Brendan J M Bohannan
Soil microorganisms play important roles in nitrogen cycling within forest ecosystems. Current research has revealed that a wider variety of microorganisms, with unexpected diversity in their functions and phylogenies, are involved in the nitrogen cycle than previously thought, including nitrogen-fixing bacteria, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea, heterotrophic nitrifying microorganisms, and anammox bacteria, as well as denitrifying bacteria, archaea, and fungi. However, the vast majority of this research has been focused in temperate regions, and relatively little is known regarding the ecology of nitrogen-cycling microorganisms within tropical and subtropical ecosystems...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Gregory R Goldsmith, Lisa Patrick Bentley, Alexander Shenkin, Norma Salinas, Benjamin Blonder, Roberta E Martin, Rosa Castro-Ccossco, Percy Chambi-Porroa, Sandra Diaz, Brian J Enquist, Gregory P Asner, Yadvinder Malhi
Leaf wetting is often considered to have negative effects on plant function, such that wet environments may select for leaves with certain leaf surface, morphological, and architectural traits that reduce leaf wettability. However, there is growing recognition that leaf wetting can have positive effects. We measured variation in two traits, leaf drip tips and leaf water repellency, in a series of nine tropical forest communities occurring along a 3300-m elevation gradient in southern Peru. To extend this climatic gradient, we also assembled published leaf water repellency values from 17 additional sites...
July 27, 2016: New Phytologist
Elâine M S Ribeiro, Bráulio A Santos, Víctor Arroyo-Rodríguez, Marcelo Tabarelli, Gustavo Souza, Inara R Leal
Chronic disturbances, such as selective logging, firewood extraction and extensive grazing, may lead to the taxonomic and phylogenetic impoverishment of remaining old-growth forest communities worldwide; however, the empirical evidence on this topic is limited. We tested this hypothesis in the Caatinga vegetation--a seasonally dry tropical forest restricted to northeast Brazil. We sampled 11,653 individuals (adults, saplings, and seedlings) from 51 species in 29 plots distributed along a gradient of chronic disturbance...
June 2016: Ecology
Matteo Detto, Helene C Muller-Landau
The dynamics of spatial patterns of plant populations can provide important information about underlying processes, yet they have received relatively little attention to date. Here we investigate the rates of formation and dissipation of clusters and the relationship of these rates to the degree of aggregation (clumping) in models and in empirical data for tropical trees. In univariate models, exact solutions and simulations show that the rate of change of spatial patterns has a specific, linear relationship to the degree of aggregation at all scales...
May 2016: Ecology
Guangyan Song, Jihua Hou, Ying Li, Jiahui Zhang, Nianpeng He
Leaf caloric value (LCV) reflects the capacity of a leaf to fix and accumulate solar energy through photosynthesis. We systematically investigated the LCV of 745 plant species in 9 forests, representing a range of tropical to cold-temperate forests along the 4700-km North-South Transect of Eastern China. The goals were to explore the latitudinal patterns of LCV at the levels of species, plant functional group, and community and to establish the relationship between LCV and gross primary productivity (GPP). Our results showed that LCV for all species ranged from 12...
2016: PloS One
Isabelle Laforest-Lapointe, Christian Messier, Steven W Kembel
BACKGROUND: The increasing awareness of the role of phyllosphere microbial communities in plant health calls for a greater understanding of their structure and dynamics in natural ecosystems. Since most knowledge of tree phyllosphere bacterial communities has been gathered in tropical forests, our goal was to characterize the community structure and assembly dynamics of phyllosphere epiphytic bacterial communities in temperate forests in Quebec, Canada. We targeted five dominant tree species: Acer saccharum, Acer rubrum, Betula papyrifera, Abies balsamea, and Picea glauca...
2016: Microbiome
Dinh T Nguyen, Jesús Gómez-Zurita
Our perception of diversity, including both alpha- and beta-diversity components, depends on spatial scale. Studies of spatial variation of the latter are just starting, with a paucity of research on beta-diversity patterns at smaller scales. Understanding these patterns and the processes shaping the distribution of diversity is critical to describe this diversity, but it is paramount in conservation too. Here, we investigate the diversity and structure of a tropical community of herbivorous beetles at a reduced local scale of some 10 km2, evaluating the effect of a small, gradual ecological change on this structure...
2016: PloS One
Luiz Eduardo Macedo-Reis, Samuel Matos Antunes de Novais, Graziela França Monteiro, Carlos Alberto Hector Flechtmann, Maurício Lopes de Faria, Frederico de Siqueira Neves
Bark and the ambrosia beetles dig into host plants and live most of their lives in concealed tunnels. We assessed beetle community dynamics in tropical dry forest sites in early, intermediate, and late successional stages, evaluating the influence of resource availability and seasonal variations in guild structure. We collected a total of 763 beetles from 23 species, including 14 bark beetle species, and 9 ambrosia beetle species. Local richness of bark and ambrosia beetles was estimated at 31 species. Bark and ambrosia composition was similar over the successional stages gradient, and beta diversity among sites was primarily determined by species turnover, mainly in the bark beetle community...
2016: Journal of Insect Science
Lin Cao, Cong Guo, Jin Chen
The seed predator satiation hypothesis states that high-seed abundance can satiate seed predators or seed dispersers, thus promoting seed survival. However, for rapidly geminated seeds in tropical forests, high-seed abundance may limit dispersal as the seeds usually remain under parent trees for long periods, which may lead to high mortality due to rodent predation or fungal infestations. By tracking two species of rapidly germinating seeds (Pittosporopsis kerrii Craib, 1911, family Icacinaceae; Camellia kissi Wall...
June 6, 2016: Integrative Zoology
Alexander Darby, Danel Draguljić, Andrew Glunk, Sybil G Gotsch
Microclimate in the tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF) is variable on both spatial and temporal scales and can lead to large fluctuations in both leaf-level transpiration and whole plant water use. While variation in transpiration has been found in TMCFs, the influence of different microclimatic drivers on plant water relations in this ecosystem has been relatively understudied. Within the TMCF, epiphytes may be particularly affected by natural variation in microclimate due to their partial or complete disassociation from soil resources...
October 2016: Oecologia
M K Bartlett, Y Zhang, J Yang, N Kreidler, S w Sun, L Lin, Y H Hu, K F Cao, L Sack
Spatial patterns in trait variation reflect underlying community assembly processes, allowing us to test hypotheses about their trait and environmental drivers by identifying the strongest correlates of characteristic spatial patterns. For 43 evergreen tree species (> 1 cm dbh) in a 20-ha seasonal tropical rainforest plot in Xishuangbanna, China, we compared the ability of drought-tolerance traits, other physiological traits, and commonly measured functional traits to predict the spatial patterns expected from the assembly processes of habitat associations, niche-overlap-based competition, and hierarchical competition...
February 2016: Ecology
Adam F A Pellegrini
Nutrients have been hypothesized to influence the distribution of the savanna biome through two possible mechanisms. Low nutrient availability may restrict growth rates of trees, thereby allowing for intermittent fires to maintain low tree cover; alternatively, nutrient deficiency may even place an absolute constraint on the ability of forests to form, independent of fire. However, we have little understanding of the scales at which nutrient limitation operates, what nutrients are limiting, and the mechanisms that influence how nutrient limitation regulates savanna-forest transitions...
February 2016: Ecology
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