Current Range (current + range)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts

The role of angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers in the prevention and management of diabetes mellitus

G. Mathur
Angiotensin II Receptor blockers (ARBs) are an important addition to the current range of medications available for treating a wide spectrum of diseases including cardiovascular diseases. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common cause of death in the United Kingdom and worldwide. More importantly, the presence of the metabolic syndrome and the likelihood of diabetes mellitus taking on epidemic proportions in the years to come all threaten to maintain the mortality rate due to CHD. This review article focuses on the clinical studies that have helped define the trends in the usage of these agents in the prevention and treatment of diabetes mellitus and its complications and also explores possible mechanisms of action and future developments. [source]

Predicting the impact of climate change on Australia's most endangered snake, Hoplocephalus bungaroides

Trent D. Penman
Abstract Aim, To predict how the bioclimatic envelope of the broad-headed snake (BHS) (Hoplocephalus bungaroides) may be redistributed under future climate warming scenarios. Location, South-eastern New South Wales, Australia. Methods, We used 159 independent locations for the species and 35 climatic variables to model the bioclimatic envelope for the BHS using two modelling approaches , Bioclim and Maxent. Predictions were made under current climatic conditions and we also predicted the species distribution under low and high climate change scenarios for 2030 and 2070. Results, Broad-headed snakes currently encompass their entire bioclimatic envelope. Both modelling approaches predict that suitable climate space for BHS will be lost to varying degrees under both climate warming scenarios, and under the worst case, only 14% of known snake populations may persist. Main conclusions, Areas of higher elevation within the current range will be most important for persistence of this species because they will remain relatively moist and cool even under climate change and will match the current climate envelope. Conservation efforts should focus on areas where suitable climate space may persist under climate warming scenarios. Long-term monitoring programs should be established both in these areas and where populations are predicted to become extirpated, so that we can accurately determine changes in the distribution of this species throughout its range. [source]

Assessing ecosystem threats from global and regional change: hierarchical modeling of risk to sagebrush ecosystems from climate change, land use and invasive species in Nevada, USA

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 1 2010
Bethany A. Bradley
Global change poses significant challenges for ecosystem conservation. At regional scales, climate change may lead to extensive shifts in species distributions and widespread extirpations or extinctions. At landscape scales, land use and invasive species disrupt ecosystem function and reduce species richness. However, a lack of spatially explicit models of risk to ecosystems makes it difficult for science to inform conservation planning and land management. Here, I model risk to sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in the state of Nevada, USA from climate change, land use/land cover change, and species invasion. Risk from climate change is based on an ensemble of 10 atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) projections applied to two bioclimatic envelope models (Mahalanobis distance and Maxent). Risk from land use is based on the distribution of roads, agriculture, and powerlines, and on the spatial relationships between land use and probability of cheatgrass Bromus tectorum invasion in Nevada. Risk from land cover change is based on probability and extent of pinyon-juniper (Pinus monophylla; Juniperus spp.) woodland expansion. Climate change is most likely to negatively impact sagebrush ecosystems at the edges of its current range, particularly in southern Nevada, southern Utah, and eastern Washington. Risk from land use and woodland expansion is pervasive throughout Nevada, while cheatgrass invasion is most problematic in the northern part of the state. Cumulatively, these changes pose major challenges for conservation of sagebrush and sagebrush obligate species. This type of comprehensive assessment of ecosystem risk provides managers with spatially explicit tools important for conservation planning. [source]

Modelling species distributions without using species distributions: the cane toad in Australia under current and future climates

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 4 2008
Michael Kearney
Accurate predictions of the potential distribution of range-shifting species are required for effective management of invasive species, and for assessments of the impact of climate change on native species. Range-shifting species pose a challenge for traditional correlative approaches to range prediction, often requiring the extrapolation of complex statistical associations into novel environmental space. Here we take an alternative approach that does not use species occurrence data, but instead captures the fundamental niche of a species by mechanistically linking key organismal traits with spatial data using biophysical models. We demonstrate this approach with a major invasive species, the cane toad Bufo marinus in Australia, assessing the direct climatic constraints on its ability to move, survive, and reproduce. We show that the current range can be explained by thermal constraints on the locomotor potential of the adult stage together with limitations on the availability of water for the larval stage. Our analysis provides a framework for biologically grounded predictions of the potential for cane toads to expand their range under current and future climate scenarios. More generally, by quantifying spatial variation in physiological constraints on an organism, trait-based approaches can be used to investigate the range-limits of any species. Assessments of spatial variation in the physiological constraints on an organism may also provide a mechanistic basis for forecasting the rate of range expansion and for understanding a species' potential to evolve at range-edges. Mechanistic approaches thus have broad application to process-based ecological and evolutionary models of range-shift. [source]

Potential changes in the distributions of latitudinally restricted Australian butterfly species in response to climate change

Linda J. Beaumont
Abstract This study assessed potential changes in the distributions of Australian butterfly species in response to global warming. The bioclimatic program, BIOCLIM, was used to determine the current climatic ranges of 77 butterfly species restricted to Australia. We found that the majority of these species had fairly wide climatic ranges in comparison to other taxa, with only 8% of butterfly species having a mean annual temperature range spanning less than 3 °C. The potential changes in the distributions of 24 butterfly species under four climate change scenarios for 2050 were also modelled using BIOCLIM. Results suggested that even species with currently wide climatic ranges may still be vulnerable to climate change; under a very conservative climate change scenario (with a temperature increase of 0.8,1.4 °C by 2050) 88% of species distributions decreased, and 54% of species distributions decreased by at least 20%. Under an extreme scenario (temperature increase of 2.1,3.9 °C by 2050) 92% of species distributions decreased, and 83% of species distributions decreased by at least 50%. Furthermore, the proportion of the current range that was contained within the predicted range decreased from an average of 63% under a very conservative scenario to less than 22% under the most extreme scenario. By assessing the climatic ranges that species are currently exposed to, the extent of potential changes in distributions in response to climate change and details of their life histories, we identified species whose characteristics may make them particularly vulnerable to climate change in the future. [source]

Reconstructing the demise of Tethyan plants: climate-driven range dynamics of Laurus since the Pliocene

GLOBAL ECOLOGY, Issue 6 2008
Francisco Rodríguez-Sánchez
ABSTRACT Aim Climate changes are thought to be responsible for the retreat and eventual extinction of subtropical lauroid species that covered much of Europe and North Africa during the Palaeogene and early Neogene; little is known, however, of the spatial and temporal patterns of this demise. Herein we calibrate ecological niche models to assess the climatic requirements of Laurus L. (Lauraceae), an emblematic relic from the Tethyan subtropical flora, subsequently using these models to infer how the range dynamics of Laurus were affected by Plio-Pleistocene climate changes. We also provide predictions of likely range changes resulting from future climatic scenarios. Location The Mediterranean Basin and Macaronesian islands (Canaries, Madeira, Azores). Methods We used a maximum-entropy algorithm (Maxent) to model the relationship between climate and Laurus distribution over time. The models were fitted both to the present and to the middle Pliocene, based on fossil records. We employed climatic reconstructions for the mid-Pliocene (3 Ma), the Last Glacial Maximum (21 ka) and a CO2 -doubling future scenario to project putative species distribution in each period. We validated the model projections with Laurus fossil and present occurrences. Results Laurus preferentially occupied warm and moist areas with low seasonality, showing a marked stasis of its climatic niche. Models fitted to Pliocene conditions successfully predicted the current species distribution. Large suitable areas existed during the Pliocene, which were strongly reduced during the Pleistocene, but humid refugia within the Mediterranean Basin and Macaronesian islands enabled long-term persistence. Future climate conditions are likely to re-open areas suitable for colonization north of the current range. Main conclusions The climatic requirements of Laurus remained virtually unchanged over the last 3 Myr. This marked niche conservatism imposed largely deterministic range dynamics driven by climate conditions. This species's relatively high drought tolerance might account for the survival of Laurus in continental Europe throughout the Quaternary whilst other Lauraceae became extinct. Climatic scenarios for the end of this century would favour an expansion of the species's range towards northern latitudes, while severely limiting southern populations due to increased water stress. [source]

Systematic evaluation of the highest current threshold for regional anaesthesia in a porcine model

Background: The purpose of this study was to determine systematically the highest minimal stimulation current threshold for regional anaesthesia in pigs. Methods: In an established pig model for regional anaesthesia, needle placements applying electric nerve stimulation were performed. The primary outcome was the frequency of close needle to nerve placements as assessed by resin injectates and subsequent anatomical evaluation. Following a statistical model (continual reassessment method), the applied output currents were selected to limit the necessary number of punctures, while providing guidance towards the highest output current range. Results: Altogether 186 punctures were performed in 11 pigs. Within the range of 0.3,1.4 mA, no distant needle to nerve placement was found. In the range of 1.5,4.1 mA, 43 distant needle to nerve placements occurred. The range of 1.2,1.4 mA was the highest interval that resulted in a close needle to nerve placement rate of ,95%. Conclusions: In the range of 0.3,1.4 mA, all resin deposition was found to be adjacent to nerve epineurium. The application of minimal current intensities up to 1.4 mA does not obviously lead to a reduction of epineural injectate contacts in pigs. These findings suggest that stimulation current thresholds up to 1.4 mA result in equivalent needle tip localisation in pigs. [source]

Comparison of ventilator-dependent child reports of health-related quality of life with parent reports and normative populations

Jane Noyes
Abstract Title. Comparison of ventilator-dependent child reports of health-related quality of life with parent reports and normative populations Aims., This paper is a report of the first study of ventilator-dependent child and parent ratings of health-related quality of life using a validated instrument, which was undertaken as part of a case study of costs and consequences. Background., Advances in medical care and technologies such as the ventilator have extended childhood illness trajectories beyond our current range of knowledge and experience. These advances and their effects reinforce the need for further research to determine health-related quality of life as an outcome of ventilator-dependency in childhood. Methods., The KINDL was administered to ventilator-dependent children aged 4,18 years and parents as part of an in-depth case study. Twenty-seven parents and 17 children (including 17 child-parent pairs) completed questionnaires. Data were collected between 2001 and 2004. Findings were compared with normative values derived from a representative sample of children of a similar age in the general population. Results., Ventilator-dependent children reported significantly lower overall health-related quality of life, and significantly lower scores on all domains except about their friends, compared with school children, and chronically ill children in respect of their disease. Parents and children rated children's overall health-related quality of life the same but parents reported significantly lower scores for their child's disease and relationships with friends. There was a positive correlation between children and parents in all areas apart from self-esteem and school. Conclusions., Both child and parent perspectives are needed to understand the impact of ventilator-dependency and associated co-morbidity on the child. As new interventions and models of service delivery emerge it will be important for nurses to understand the impact on the child by evaluating physical, emotional and social consequences. [source]

Biogeography of the Amazon molly, Poecilia formosa

Ingo Schlupp
Aim The unisexual Amazon molly (Poecilia formosa) is a clonal, all-female fish but depends on sperm of heterospecific males to trigger embryogenesis. Thus, one very important factor shaping its geographical range is the presence of suitable host males. Several species of the genus Poecilia from Central America, Mexico and the USA can provide sperm in the laboratory, but are not utilized as hosts in nature. Consequently the potential geographic range of the Amazon molly is much larger than the actual range. This raises the question of what is responsible for the biogeographical range of the Amazon molly? Location Southern USA, Mexico and Central America. Methods We review the current data available for the distribution of the Amazon molly. We further tested whether salinity might hinder the dispersal of the species. Results Amazon mollies tolerate marine conditions. We review the available data on recent and human influenced introductions of Amazon mollies. Main conclusions We argue that male preferences are not responsible for the current range. We propose that prevailing near-shore marine currents act as an effective barrier against further dispersal. Furthermore, we discuss recent changes in the biogeography of the Amazon molly. [source]

Distribution and population genetic structure of the Mediterranean pine shoot beetle Tomicus destruens in the Iberian Peninsula and Southern France

Teresa Vasconcelos
Abstract 1,The Mediterranean pine shoot beetle Tomicus destruens has long been indistinguishable from its congeneric Tomicus piniperda. Both species attack pines, and can be found in sympatry. The geographical distribution of T. destruens is still unclear in most of the Mediterranean Basin. 2,We aimed to describe the geographical distribution and zones of sympatry of both species in the Iberian Peninsula and France, and to study the molecular phylogeographical pattern of T. destruens. 3,Tomicus spp. adults were sampled in Portugal, Spain and France, and a portion of the mitochondrial genes COI and COII was sequenced for 84 individuals. Sequences were aligned to a data set previously obtained from French localities. 4,Tomicus destruens was found in all populations, except for one locality in Portugal and in the Landes (France). It was in sympatry with T. piniperda in two locations on Pinus pinaster and one location on Pinus radiata. 5,Within-population genetic diversity was high, but we found a significant pattern of spatial distribution of genetic variation, as well as a significant effect of the host tree. 6,The data suggest the existence of two glacial refugia, from which T. destruens recolonized its current range. One refugium was located in Portugal where the beetle probably evolved on P. pinaster. The corresponding haplotypes show a West,East frequency gradient. The other refugium was probably in the eastern range, where the beetles evolved on Pinus halepensis and P. pinea. The corresponding haplotypes show an East,West frequency gradient. [source]

Landscape scale genetic effects of habitat fragmentation on a high gene flow species: Speyeria idalia (Nymphalidae)

Barry L. Williams
Abstract Detection of the genetic effects of recent habitat fragmentation in natural populations can be a difficult task, especially for high gene flow species. Previous analyses of mitochondrial DNA data from across the current range of Speyeria idalia indicated that the species exhibited high levels of gene flow among populations, with the exception of an isolated population in the eastern portion of its range. However, some populations are found on isolated habitat patches, which were recently separated from one another by large expanses of uninhabitable terrain, in the form of row crop agriculture. The goal of this study was to compare levels of genetic differentiation and diversity among populations found in relatively continuous habitat to populations in both recently and historically isolated habitat. Four microsatellite loci were used to genotype over 300 individuals from five populations in continuous habitat, five populations in recently fragmented habitat, and one historically isolated population. Results from the historically isolated population were concordant with previous analyses and suggest significant differentiation. Also, microsatellite data were consistent with the genetic effects of habitat fragmentation for the recently isolated populations, in the form of increased differentiation and decreased genetic diversity when compared to nonfragmented populations. These results suggest that given the appropriate control populations, microsatellite markers can be used to detect the effects of recent habitat fragmentation in natural populations, even at a large geographical scale in high gene flow species. [source]

Spin temperatures and covering factors for H i 21-cm absorption in damped Lyman , systems

S. J. Curran
ABSTRACT We investigate the practice of assigning high spin temperatures to damped Lyman , absorption systems (DLAs) not detected in H i 21-cm absorption. In particular, Kanekar & Chengalur have attributed the mix of 21-cm detections and non-detections in low-redshift (zabs, 2.04) DLAs to a mix of spin temperatures, while the non-detections at high redshift were attributed to high spin temperatures. Below zabs= 0.9, where some of the DLA host galaxy morphologies are known, we find that 21-cm absorption is normally detected towards large radio sources when the absorber is known to be associated with a large intermediate (spiral) galaxy. Furthermore, at these redshifts, only one of the six 21-cm non-detections has an optical identification and these DLAs tend to lie along the sight-lines to the largest background radio continuum sources. For these and many of the high-redshift DLAs occulting large radio continua, we therefore expect covering factors of less than the assumed/estimated value of unity. This would have the effect of introducing a range of spin temperatures considerably narrower than the current range of ,Ts, 9000 K, while still supporting the hypothesis that the high-redshift DLA sample comprises a larger proportion of compact galaxies than the low-redshift sample. [source]

Dispersal limitation inferred from an experimental translocation of Lomatium (Apiaceae) species outside their geographic ranges

OIKOS, Issue 12 2009
Travis D. Marsico
Determining limitations on poleward range expansion is important for predicting how climate change will alter the distribution of species. For most species, it is not known what factors set their distributional limits and the role dispersal limitation might play if range-limiting factors were altered. We conducted a transplant study of three related and co-occurring Lomatium species at their northern range limits to test competing hypotheses of range limitation. We added seeds to experimental plots inside and outside the species' geographic range (a regional treatment) in a replicated design with vegetation intact and vegetation reduced (a disturbance treatment) and with herbivore access and herbivore exclusion (an herbivory treatment). Germination and reemergence were measured through two growing seasons, along with community-level variables. A fully-crossed linear mixed model revealed that Lomatium survivorship outside the current range was as good or better than survivorship within the range, at least when the vegetative community remained intact. This suggests that the species are dispersal limited. Germination often was improved in the presence of an intact vegetative community, but this potentially facilitative effect was absent in second-year reemergence. Plots exposed to herbivory had slightly, but significantly, reduced germination, though reemergence did not differ between herbivore treatments. Lomatium dissectum, a rare species, had significantly lower survivorship than its congeners, suggesting that range shifts in rare taxa may be particularly difficult. Seed additions beyond species' range limits may be a strategy for overcoming dispersal limitation and assisting species in poleward migrations. [source]

Thermal and nonthermal factors affecting the quantum efficiency of deep-ultraviolet light-emitting diodes

H. Guo
Abstract The optical characteristics of AlGaN-based multiple-quantum-well (MQW) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with peak wavelengths ranging from 265,340 nm were characterized over a wide current range. It was found that thermal effects due to self-heating can be largely eliminated by pulsing the LEDs with a duty cycle below 0.2%. The current-induced energy shift up to 850 A/cm2 was negligible in the deep-UV LEDs, indicating the lack of localization effects. The quantum efficiency of the LEDs increased monotonically at low currents and attained a low saturated value at high currents. This is in contrast to the efficiency rolloff behavior of typical InGaN-based LEDs resulting from carrier delocalization at high injection levels. The efficiency saturation of the deep-UV LEDs suggests that defects play an important role in both carrier injection and recombination processes. (© 2008 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Could translocation aid hen harrier conservation in the UK?

Mark Watson
Translocation is increasingly used in conservation to re-establish or augment populations of threatened species or to remove individual animals from areas of human-wildlife conflict. We assess the feasibility and utility of translocating hen harriers (Circus cyaneus) in the UK to enhance their distribution and abundance whilst simultaneously reducing the impact of harrier predation on red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) populations and shooting bags. Current knowledge of hen harrier feeding ecology, dispersal, survival and recruitment suggests that they would be suitable subjects for translocation with the aim of increasing their distribution in the UK. Assessment of habitat and food availability suggest that there are suitable recipient sites beyond the current range of the hen harrier in the UK. However, translocation would not be a sustainable method of reducing predation on grouse moors because it would have to continue indefinitely as long as grouse moors attracted harriers. Translocation of harriers to grouse moors where they have been locally extirpated would not be appropriate until levels of illegal control are reduced. Establishing new harrier populations through translocation away from grouse moors may become desirable if initiatives to reduce human-raptor conflicts on grouse moors are unsuccessful, or as an interim measure to accelerate the recovery of hen harriers in the UK. [source]

Redescription of Dixella humeralis (Tonnoir) with notes on the immature stages (Diptera: Dixidae)

Joshua R Ogawa
Abstract The adult male of Dixella humeralis is redescribed and adult female and immature life stages are described for the first time. Originally described from the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, the current range is extended to include the pasture lands of the Dorrigo Plateau. Larval and pupal chaetotaxy are illustrated and their putative homology with the Culicidae is discussed. Adult and larval characters are presented that separate the known endemic Australian Dixella species. [source]

Vulnerability of African mammals to anthropogenic climate change under conservative land transformation assumptions

Abstract Recent observations show that human-induced climate change (CC) and land transformation (LT) are threatening wildlife globally. Thus, there is a need to assess the sensitivity of wildlife on large spatial scales and evaluate whether national parks (NPs), a key conservation tools used to protect species, will meet their mandate under future CC and LT conditions. Here, we assess the sensitivity of 277 mammals at African scale to CC at 10, resolution, using static LT assumptions in a ,first-cut' estimate, in the absence of credible future LT trends. We examine the relationship between species' current distribution and macroclimatic variables using generalized additive models, and include LT indirectly as a filter. Future projections are derived using two CC scenarios (for 2050 and 2080) to estimate the spatial patterns of loss and gain in species richness that might ultimately result. We then apply the IUCN Red List criteria A3(c) of potential range loss to evaluate species sensitivity. We finally estimate the sensitivity of 141 NPs in terms of both species richness and turnover. Assuming no spread of species, 10,15% of the species are projected to fall within the critically endangered or extinct categories by 2050 and between 25% and 40% by 2080. Assuming unlimited species spread, less extreme results show proportions dropping to approximately 10,20% by 2080. Spatial patterns of richness loss and gain show contrasting latitudinal patterns with a westward range shift of species around the species-rich equatorial zone in central Africa, and an eastward shift in southern Africa, mainly because of latitudinal aridity gradients across these ecological transition zones. Xeric shrubland NPs may face significant richness losses not compensated by species influxes. Other NPs might expect substantial losses and influxes of species. On balance, the NPs might ultimately realize a substantial shift in the mammalian species composition of a magnitude unprecedented in recent geological time. To conclude, the effects of global CC and LT on wildlife communities may be most noticeable not as a loss of species from their current ranges, but instead as a fundamental change in community composition. [source]

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Coalescent analyses support multiple mainland-to-island dispersals in the evolution of Malagasy Triaenops bats (Chiroptera: Hipposideridae)

Amy L. Russell
Abstract Aim, We investigate the directionality of mainland-to-island dispersals, focusing on a case study of an African-Malagasy bat genus, Triaenops (Hipposideridae). Taxa include T. persicus from east Africa and three Triaenops species from Madagascar (T. auritus, T. furculus, and T. rufus). The evolution of this bat family considerably post-dated the tectonic division of Madagascar from Africa, excluding vicariance as a viable hypothesis. Therefore, we consider three biogeographical scenarios to explain these species' current ranges: (A) a single dispersal from Africa to Madagascar with subsequent speciation of the Malagasy species; (B) multiple, unidirectional dispersals from Africa to Madagascar resulting in multiple, independent Malagasy lineages; or (C) early dispersal of a proto-species from Africa to Madagascar, with later back-dispersal of a descendant Malagasy taxon to Africa. Location, East Africa, Madagascar, and the Mozambique Channel. Methods, We compare the utility of phylogenetic and coalescent methodologies to address the question of directionality in a mainland-to-island dispersal event for recently diverged taxa. We also emphasize the application of biologically explicit demographic systems, such as the non-equilibrium isolation-with-migration model. Here, these methods are applied to a four-species haploid genetic data set, with simulation analyses being applied to validate this approach. Results, Coalescent simulations favour scenario B: multiple, unidirectional dispersals from Africa to Madagascar resulting in multiple, independent Malagasy bat lineages. From coalescent dating, we estimate that the genus Triaenops was still a single taxon approximately 2.25 Ma. The most recent Africa to Madagascar dispersal occurred much more recently (c. 660 ka), and led to the formation of the extant Malagasy species, T. rufus. Main conclusions, Haploid genetic data from four species of Triaenops are statistically most consistent with multiple, unidirectional dispersals from mainland Africa to Madagascar during the late Pleistocene. [source]

Rainfall effects on rare annual plants

Jonathan M. Levine
Summary 1Variation in climate is predicted to increase over much of the planet this century. Forecasting species persistence with climate change thus requires understanding of how populations respond to climate variability, and the mechanisms underlying this response. Variable rainfall is well known to drive fluctuations in annual plant populations, yet the degree to which population response is driven by between-year variation in germination cueing, water limitation or competitive suppression is poorly understood. 2We used demographic monitoring and population models to examine how three seed banking, rare annual plants of the California Channel Islands respond to natural variation in precipitation and their competitive environments. Island plants are particularly threatened by climate change because their current ranges are unlikely to overlap regions that are climatically favourable in the future. 3Species showed 9 to 100-fold between-year variation in plant density over the 5,12 years of censusing, including a severe drought and a wet El Niño year. During the drought, population sizes were low for all species. However, even in non-drought years, population sizes and per capita growth rates showed considerable temporal variation, variation that was uncorrelated with total rainfall. These population fluctuations were instead correlated with the temperature after the first major storm event of the season, a germination cue for annual plants. 4Temporal variation in the density of the focal species was uncorrelated with the total vegetative cover in the surrounding community, suggesting that variation in competitive environments does not strongly determine population fluctuations. At the same time, the uncorrelated responses of the focal species and their competitors to environmental variation may favour persistence via the storage effect. 5Population growth rate analyses suggested differential endangerment of the focal annuals. Elasticity analyses and life table response experiments indicated that variation in germination has the same potential as the seeds produced per germinant to drive variation in population growth rates, but only the former was clearly related to rainfall. 6Synthesis. Our work suggests that future changes in the timing and temperatures associated with the first major rains, acting through germination, may more strongly affect population persistence than changes in season-long rainfall. [source]

Phylogeography of sexual Heteronotia binoei (Gekkonidae) in the Australian arid zone: climatic cycling and repetitive hybridization

Abstract The biota of much of continental Australia have evolved within the context of gradual aridification of the region over several million years, and more recently of climatic cycling between relatively dry and humid conditions. We performed a phylogeographical study of three sexual chromosome races of the Heteronotia binoei complex of geckos found throughout the Australian arid zone. Two of these three races were involved in two separate hybridization events leading to parthenogenetic lineages (also H. binoei), and the third is widespread and broadly sympatric with the parthenogens. Based on our analyses, the three sexual races diversified approximately 6 million years ago in eastern Australia, during a period of aridification, then each moved west through northern, southern, and central dispersal corridors to occupy their current ranges. In each case, the timing of major phylogeographical inferences corresponds to inferred palaeoclimatic changes in continental Australia. This scenario provides a simple explanation for diversification, secondary contact, and hybridization between the races. However, data presented elsewhere indicate that formation of the parthenogens was considerably more recent than the westward expansion of the hybridizing races, and that multiple hybridization events were geographically and temporally distinct. We suggest that cyclical climate changes may have led to regional range changes that facilitated hybridization between the races, which are not currently known to be in sympatry. [source]

Distribution and status of medicinal leeches (genus Hirudo) in the Western Palaearctic: anthropogenic, ecological, or historical effects?

Serge Utevsky
Abstract 1. Distribution and status of medicinal leeches were re-considered in the light of the new taxonomy recognizing four Western Palaearctic species: Hirudo medicinalis, Hirudo verbana, Hirudo orientalis and Hirudo troctina. 2. Recent records and new data obtained on expeditions to Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the Western Balkans were mapped to obtain an up-to-date overview of the distribution. 3. Three hypotheses explaining the current ranges of all Hirudo species were tested. The ecological hypothesis, suggesting a strong impact of large-scale environmental factors, received the highest support, while anthropogenic influence was minimal, and no historical patterns of refugia and colonization were detected. 4. Mapped localities of all Hirudo species show extensive, belt-shaped ranges extending from east to west. H. medicinalis is distributed from Britain and southern Norway to the southern Urals and probably as far as the Altai Mountains, occupying the deciduous arboreal zone. H. verbana has been recorded from Switzerland and Italy to Turkey and Uzbekistan, which largely corresponds to the Mediterranean and sub-boreal steppe zone. H. orientalis is associated with mountainous areas in the sub-boreal eremial zone and occurs in Transcaucasian countries, Iran and Central Asia. H. troctina has been found in north-western Africa and Spain in the Mediterranean zone. 5. Based on the data gathered, and considering real and potential threats, global IUCN category Near Threatened is proposed for H. medicinalis, H. verbana, and H. orientalis, while H. troctina can only be assigned to category Data Deficient. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]