New Habitats (new + habitat)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts

Bayesian Networks and Adaptive Management of Wildlife Habitat

herramientas para la toma de decisiones; incertidumbre ecológica; pastoreo feral; regímenes de quema; validación de modelos Abstract:,Adaptive management is an iterative process of gathering new knowledge regarding a system's behavior and monitoring the ecological consequences of management actions to improve management decisions. Although the concept originated in the 1970s, it is rarely actively incorporated into ecological restoration. Bayesian networks (BNs) are emerging as efficient ecological decision-support tools well suited to adaptive management, but examples of their application in this capacity are few. We developed a BN within an adaptive-management framework that focuses on managing the effects of feral grazing and prescribed burning regimes on avian diversity within woodlands of subtropical eastern Australia. We constructed the BN with baseline data to predict bird abundance as a function of habitat structure, grazing pressure, and prescribed burning. Results of sensitivity analyses suggested that grazing pressure increased the abundance of aggressive honeyeaters, which in turn had a strong negative effect on small passerines. Management interventions to reduce pressure of feral grazing and prescribed burning were then conducted, after which we collected a second set of field data to test the response of small passerines to these measures. We used these data, which incorporated ecological changes that may have resulted from the management interventions, to validate and update the BN. The network predictions of small passerine abundance under the new habitat and management conditions were very accurate. The updated BN concluded the first iteration of adaptive management and will be used in planning the next round of management interventions. The unique belief-updating feature of BNs provides land managers with the flexibility to predict outcomes and evaluate the effectiveness of management interventions. Resumen:,El manejo adaptativo es un proceso interactivo de recopilación de conocimiento nuevo relacionado con el comportamiento de un sistema y el monitoreo de las consecuencias ecológicas de las acciones de manejo para refinar las opciones de manejo. Aunque el concepto se originó en la década de los 1970s, rara vez es incorporado activamente en la restauración ecológica. Las redes Bayesianas (RBs) están emergiendo como herramientas eficientes para la toma de decisiones ecológicas en el contexto del manejo adaptativo, pero los ejemplos de su aplicación en este sentido son escasos. Desarrollamos una RB en el marco del manejo adaptativo que se centra en el manejo de los efectos del pastoreo feral y los regímenes de quemas prescritas sobre la diversidad de aves en bosques subtropicales del este de Australia. Construimos la RB con datos para predecir la abundancia de aves como una función de la estructura del hábitat, la presión de pastoreo y las quemas prescritas. Los resultados del análisis de sensibilidad sugieren que la presión de pastoreo incrementó la abundancia de melífagos agresivos, que a su vez tuvieron un fuerte efecto negativo sobre paserinos pequeños. Posteriormente se llevaron a cabo intervenciones de manejo para reducir la presión del pastoreo feral y quemas prescritas, después de las cuales recolectamos un segundo conjunto de datos de campo para probar la respuesta de paserinos pequeños a estas medidas. Utilizamos estos datos, que incorporaron cambios ecológicos que pueden haber resultado de la intervención de manejo, para validar y actualizar la RB. Las predicciones de la abundancia de paserinos pequeños bajo las nuevas condiciones de hábitat y manejo fueron muy precisas. La RB actualizada concluyó la primera iteración de manejo adaptativo y será utilizada para la planificación de la siguiente ronda de intervenciones de manejo. La característica única de actualización de la RBs permite que los manejadores tengan flexibilidad para predecir los resultados y evaluar la efectividad de las intervenciones de manejo. [source]

The silver spoon effect and habitat selection by natal dispersers

ECOLOGY LETTERS, Issue 11 2006
Judy A. Stamps
Abstract The silver spoon effect in the context of habitat selection occurs when dispersers in good condition are more likely to settle in high-quality habitats than dispersers in poor condition. Positive relationships between disperser condition and the quality of post-dispersal habitats are predicted by at least two non-exclusive ultimate hypotheses. The competition hypothesis assumes that a disperser's condition affects its chances of competing for space or joining an established group after arriving at a high-quality habitat, while the search hypothesis assumes that a disperser's condition affects its selectivity, and hence its chances of accepting a lower-quality habitat when it is searching for a new habitat. Thus far, silver spoon effects in the context of habitat selection have been reported in only a handful of species (several birds and marine invertebrates), but this study suggests that they may be relatively common in particular species and situations. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 10 2002
Krista K. Ingram
Abstract., In many polygynous social insect societies, ecological factors such as habitat saturation promote high queen numbers by increasing the cost of solitary breeding. If polygyny is associated with constrained environments, queen number in colonies of invasive social insects should increase as saturation of their new habitat increases. Here I describe the variation in queen number, nestmate relatedness, and nest size along a gradient of time since colonization in an invading population of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in Haleakala, Hawaii. Nest densities in this population increase with distance from the leading edge of the invasion, reaching a stable density plateau approximately 80 m from the edge (> 2 years after colonization). Although the number of queens per nest in Haleakala is generally lower than previously reported for Argentine ants, there is significant variation in queen number across this population. Both the observed and effective queen numbers increase across the density gradient, and nests in the center of the population contain queen numbers three to nine times higher than those on the edge of the invasion. The number of workers per nest is correlated with queen number, and nests in the center are six times larger than nests at the edge. Microsatellite analysis of relatedness among nestmates reveals that all nests in the Haleakala population are characterized by low relatedness and have evidence of multiple reproducing queens. Relatedness values are significantly lower in nests in the center of the population, indicating that the number of reproducing queens is greater in areas of high nest density. The variation in queen number and nestmate relatedness in this study is consistent with expectations based on changes in ecological constraints during the invasion of a new habitat, suggesting that the social structure of Argentine ant populations is strongly influenced by ecological factors. Flexibility in social structure may facilitate persistence in variable environments and may also confer significant advantages to a species when introduced into new areas. [source]

Application of a habitat-based model to estimate effective longline fishing effort and relative abundance of Pacific bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)

Keith A. Bigelow
A new habitat-based model is developed to improve estimates of relative abundance of Pacific bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus). The model provides estimates of `effective' longline effort and therefore better estimates of catch-per-unit-of-effort (CPUE) by incorporating information on the variation in longline fishing depth and depth of bigeye tuna preferred habitat. The essential elements in the model are: (1) estimation of the depth distribution of the longline gear, using information on gear configuration and ocean currents; (2) estimation of the depth distribution of bigeye tuna, based on habitat preference and oceanographic data; (3) estimation of effective longline effort, using fine-scale Japanese longline fishery data; and (4) aggregation of catch and effective effort over appropriate spatial zones to produce revised time series of CPUE. Model results indicate that effective effort has increased in both the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) and eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). In the WCPO, effective effort increased by 43% from the late 1960s to the late 1980s due primarily to the increased effectiveness of effort (deeper longline sets) rather than to increased nominal effort. Over the same period, effective effort increased 250% in the EPO due primarily to increased nominal effort. Nominal and standardized CPUE indices in the EPO show similar trends , a decline during the 1960s, a period of stability in the 1970s, high values during 1985,1986 and a decline thereafter. In the WCPO, nominal CPUE is stable over the time-series; however, standardized CPUE has declined by ,50%. If estimates of standardized CPUE accurately reflect relative abundance, then we have documented substantial reductions of bigeye tuna abundance for some regions in the Pacific Ocean. A decline in standardized CPUE in the subtropical gyres concurrent with stability in equatorial areas may represent a contraction in the range of the population resulting from a decline in population abundance. The sensitivity of the results to the habitat (temperature and oxygen) assumptions was tested using Monte Carlo simulations. [source]

Response of the flora and macroinvertebrate fauna of a chalk stream site to changes in management

J. F. Wright
SUMMARY 1. Temporal changes in a series of habitats and their macroinvertebrate assemblages were examined on a 50-m section of a chalk stream in Berkshire, England between June 1975,79 and June 1997,2001. 2. The site was part of a trout fishery in 1975,79, when river management included instream weed cutting together with control of bankside trees and riparian vegetation. Management ceased in the 1980s and by 1997,2001, the site was heavily shaded by trees and riparian vegetation. 3. The mean area of instream macrophytes decreased by 50% between the first and second sampling period. In contrast, gravel and silt increased and invading marginal vegetation formed a new habitat. 4. Changes in macroinvertebrate family richness between sampling periods were scale dependant. Although there were, on average, significantly more families in individual replicates in 1975,79 than in 1997,2001, total family richness for the site in each year did not differ significantly between sampling periods. 5. Sixty families of macroinvertebrates were recorded during the study, 50 in both sampling periods, 53 in 1975,79 and 57 in 1997,2001. This small increase in site family richness may be due to the invading marginal plants. 6. Total macroinvertebrate abundance was significantly lower in the second sampling period. A major drought in 1976 resulted in significantly higher densities of macroinvertebrates, partly through the exploitation of epiphytic diatoms by chironomid larvae. A drought in 1997 failed to elicit a similar response because of the limited macrophytes and diatoms under heavy shading by trees and marginal vegetation. 7. Significant increases in important shredders and decreases in some scrapers between the early and later sampling years largely reflected changes in available food resources. 8. Whereas macroinvertebrate family richness has been conserved under the recent ,no management' regime, the site is now less attractive as a fishery because of poor access and lower densities of some macroinvertebrates taken by brown trout. [source]

Age and growth of the Randall's threadfin bream Nemipterus randalli (Russell, 1986), a recent Lessepsian migrant in Iskenderun Bay, northeastern Mediterranean

D. Erguden
Summary Randall's threadfin bream, Nemipterus randalli, first recorded in Iskenderun Bay in Turkey in 2008, seems to have increased in the region. The species, widespread in the western Indian Ocean and with a rapid expansion, appears to have migrated to the bay via the Red Sea. Although its presence in the region has been published, there has been little or no information as to age and growth parameters of this Lessepsian migrant in its new habitat. The present study aims to determine the basic age and growth parameters of the species colonized in the region. A total of 379 collected individuals were studied from November 2007 to October 2008. Total specimen lengths ranged from 4.80 to 21.50 cm, and weights from 1.10 to 138.36 g. Maximum age was 3 years for both sexes. The length,weight relationship was described as W = 0.0011 × L3.061 (r2 = 0.982). The von Bertalanffy growth parameters were: L, = 34.96 cm; K = 0.214 year,1; t0 = ,1.244 year for the entire population. These data were compared with results from studies made in other geographic areas. [source]

Lessepsian fish migration: genetic bottlenecks and parasitological evidence

Paolo Merella
Abstract As a rule, non-indigenous species (NIS) populations derived from biological invasion events represent a subset of the genetic diversity of the source population. In biological invasions, host,parasite interactions play an important role, and parasitological data for NIS populations can provide useful information such as their area of origin, mechanism of invasion and prospects of success in the new habitat. When both genetic and parasitological data are available, and they suggest the same scenario, the history of an invasion can be inferred with no discrepancy, but when data cannot be reconciled an alternative model should be considered. In this study a comparison of genetic and parasitological data for the Lessepsian migrant the bluespotted cornetfish, Fistularia commersonii, in the Mediterranean Sea presents the opportunity to evaluate the compatibility of information of this nature, and to propose possible invasion scenarios consistent with evidence provided by both criteria. [source]

Evidence for a combination of pre-adapted traits and rapid adaptive change in the invasive plant Centaurea stoebe

Martin L. Henery
Summary 1. Introduced plants have the potential to rapidly evolve traits of ecological importance that may add to their innate potential to become invasive. During invasions, selection may favour genotypes that are already pre-adapted to conditions in the new habitat and, over time, alter the characteristics of subsequent generations. 2. Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) occurs in two predominantly spatially separated cytotypes in its native range (Europe,Western Asia), but currently only the tetraploid form has been confirmed in the introduced range (North America), where it is invasive. We used several common garden experiments to examine, across multiple populations, whether tetraploids and diploids from the native range differ in life cycle, leaf traits and reproductive capacity and if such differences would explain the predominance of tetraploids and their advance into new habitats in the introduced range. We also compared the same traits in tetraploids from the native and introduced range to determine whether any rapid adaptive changes had occurred since introduction that may have enhanced invasive potential of the species in North America. 3. We found tetraploids had lower specific leaf area, less lamina dissection and fewer, narrower leaves than diploids. Diploids exhibited a monocarpic life cycle and produced few if any accessory rosettes. Diploids produced significantly more seeds per capitulum and had more capitula per plant than tetraploids. In contrast, the vast majority of European tetraploids continued to flower in both seasons by regenerating from multiple secondary rosettes, demonstrating a predominantly polycarpic life cycle. 4. During early growth tetraploids from North America achieved greater biomass than both tetraploids and diploids from the native range but this did not manifest as larger above-ground biomass at maturity. In North American tetraploids there was also evidence of a shift towards a more strictly polycarpic life cycle, less leaf dissection, greater carbon investment per leaf, and greater seed production per capitulum. 5.,Synthesis. Our results suggest that the characteristics of tetraploid C. stoebe pre-adapted them (compared to diploid conspecifics) for spread and persistence of the species into habitats in North America characterized by a more continental climate. After the species' introduction, small but potentially important shifts in tetraploid biology have occurred that may have contributed significantly to successful invasion. [source]

Charcoal as a habitat for microbes and its effect on the microbial community of the underlying humus

OIKOS, Issue 2 2000
Janna Pietikäinen
Wildfires produce a charcoal layer, which has an adsorbing capacity resembling activated carbon. After the fire a new litter layer starts to accumulate on top of the charcoal layer, which liberates water-soluble compounds that percolate through the charcoal and the unburned humus layer. We first hypothesized that since charcoal has the capacity to adsorb organic compounds it may form a new habitat for microbes, which decompose the adsorbed compounds. Secondly, we hypothesized that the charcoal may cause depletion of decomposable organic carbon in the underlying humus and thus reduce the microbial biomass. To test our hypotheses we prepared microcosms, where we placed non-heated humus and on top one of the adsorbents: non-adsorptive pumice (Pum), charcoal from Empetrum nigrum (EmpCh), charcoal from humus (HuCh) or activated carbon (ActC). We watered them with birch leaf litter extract. The adsorbing capacity increased in the order Pum[source]

Gastrointestinal parasites of the chimpanzee population introduced onto Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania

Klára J. Petr, elková
Abstract The release of any species into a novel environment can evoke transmission of parasites that do not normally parasitize the host as well as potentially introducing new parasites into the environment. Species introductions potentially incur such risks, yet little is currently known about the parasite fauna of introduced primate species over the long term. We describe the results of long-term monitoring of the intestinal parasite fauna of an unprovisioned, reproducing population of chimpanzees introduced 40 years earlier (1966,1969) onto Rubondo Island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania, a non-native habitat for chimpanzees. Two parasitological surveys (March 1997,October 1998 and October 2002,December 2005) identified Entamoeba spp. including E. coli, Iodamoeba buetschlii, Troglodytella abrassarti, Chilomastix mesnili, Trichuris sp., Anatrichosoma sp., Strongyloides spp., Strongylida fam. gen. sp., Enterobius anthropopitheci, Subulura sp., Ascarididae gen. sp., and Protospirura muricola. The parasite fauna of the Rubondo chimpanzees is similar to wild chimpanzees living in their natural habitats, but Rubondo chimpanzees have a lower prevalence of strongylids (9%, 3.8%) and a higher prevalence of E. anthropopitheci (8.6%, 17.9%) than reported elsewhere. Species prevalence was similar between our two surveys, with the exception of Strongyloides spp. being higher in the first survey. None of these species are considered to pose a serious health risk to chimpanzees, but continued monitoring of the population and surveys of the parasitic fauna of the two coinhabitant primate species and other animals, natural reservoir hosts of some of the same parasites, is important to better understand the dynamics of host,parasite ecology and potential long-term implications for chimpanzees introduced into a new habitat. Am. J. Primatol. 72:307,316, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Harbour swimming nets: a novel habitat for seahorses

B. G. Clynick
Abstract 1.Artificial structures are becoming increasingly important in conserving biodiversity in urban ecosystems, by providing habitat for endangered or rare species. Their role in providing habitat for such species has, however, been largely unexplored. 2.In Sydney Harbour, Australia, seahorses were observed among the netting used to keep sharks out of swimming enclosures. Over a 2-year period, the relative densities of two species of seahorses observed on netting was measured at swimming enclosures with permanent netting and at swimming areas that were only enclosed with netting during the summer months. 3.The rate of colonization by seahorses to new netting was also examined over a period of 10 months. 4.Numbers of seahorses on permanent swimming enclosures were 10 to 100 times greater than numbers present on swimming enclosures that were only set up during the summer months. 5.This large difference may have been attributed to the slow rate of colonization of seahorses to new habitat. Seahorses were not observed at experimental nets that were deployed in two areas in the harbour until at least 4 months after the netting was deployed. 6.Swimming pool nets are a habitat for species of seahorses in Sydney Harbour and, consequently, the removal or disturbance of swimming nets may impact the survival of these fish. Management of these artificial habitats may therefore best be focused on providing a permanent habitat that may help to compensate for the loss of netting during winter months. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Comparison of sympatric freshwater turtle populations from an urbanized Sydney catchment

Shelley Burgin
Abstract 1.Australian freshwater turtles are widely distributed throughout the continent, and in each river catchment there are at least two taxa. In south-eastern Australia Chelodina longicollis and forms of Emydura macquarii co-habit within a waterway, although they have been shown to partition habitat within the water column in non-urban bodies of water. Limited comparative data are available for the urban populations. 2.Within urban Sydney C. longicollis (eastern long-necked turtle) and Emydura macquarii dharuk (Sydney short-necked turtle) share habitat. However, in contrast with non-urban studies of C. longicollis and other sympatric E. macquarii taxa, it was observed that the population profile of the two species was similar at all sites, and that C. longicollis were present in greater numbers than E. m. dharuk. 3.The continued degradation of preferred habitat, low recruitment, and potential competition from introduced turtles place both species in a precarious position. 4.The shallow, impounded waterways of the regulated urban bodies of water align more closely with the preferred habitat of C. longicollis than with that of forms of E. macquarii, which prefer deeper flowing waters or large wetlands adjacent to rivers. Emydura m. dharuk may be at greatest risk of extinction in urban areas. 5.Across urban Sydney, the low numbers of E. m. dharuk compared with C. longicollis may be due to the lack of mobility of E. m. dharuk such that individuals tend to be stranded in sub-optimal habitat. In contrast, C. longicollis has a greater propensity for overland movement, and a preference for the ,new habitat' resulting from urban impacts on the associated waterways, and thus appears to be able to utilize these modified urban waters more successfully. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Invasion of Agave species (Agavaceae) in south-east Spain: invader demographic parameters and impacts on native species

Ernesto I. Badano
ABSTRACT Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the success of invasive species in new environments. A species may become invasive when a new site provides the potential for positive rates of population growth. This may be the case of several Agave species introduced to Spain in the 1940s. In this paper we document factors that promote large increases of populations of these species, and their effects on native plant communities in two sites of SE Spain. Results showed higher rhizome and bulbil production, and higher establishment rates by agaves in sandy soils than in clay soils. In their native habitats, agaves have low establishment rates and sandy soils are rare. This suggests that sandy soils are an opportunity which releases the clonal reproduction of Agave. The effects of agaves on the physiological performance and reproduction of native species were negative, positive or neutral, depending on the size and rooting depth of neighbours. Assemblages of native species growing within Agave stands had lower diversity than non-invaded sites. Our data show that Agave stands have positive growth rates in SE Spain, and suggest that sandy soils are a niche dimension enhancing the invasion in these new habitats. [source]

Mutualism as a constraint on invasion success for legumes and rhizobia

Matthew A. Parker
Abstract Because hereditary symbiont transmission is normally absent in the mutualism of legume plants and root-nodule bacteria (rhizobia), dispersing plants may often arrive at new habitats where mutualist partners are too rare to provide full benefits. Factors governing invasion success were explored by analysing a system of two coupled pairwise competition models: a legume invader competing with a resident non-mutualistic plant, and a rhizobial population competing with a resident population of nonsymbiotic bacteria. The non-linear dependence of benefits on partner abundance in this mutualism creates the possibility of two alternative population size equilibria, so that a threshold density can exist for invasion. If legumes and rhizobia exceed a critical population size, both species achieve rapid population growth, while if initial densities of both species are below their respective thresholds, they remain rare and are thus vulnerable to extinction in the presence of competitors. Overall, the results indicate that legumes may often fail at colonization attempts within habitats where mutualist partners are scarce. Data on legume prevalence in island floras and rates of geographical spread by legume weeds are consistent with this inference. Predictive insights about invasiveness may emerge from comparative research on key traits identified by the model, especially the shape of the function determining the number of nodules formed at low rhizobial density. [source]

A ,polarisation sun-dial' dictates the optimal time of day for dispersal by flying aquatic insects

Summary 1. Daily changes in the flight activity of aquatic insects have been investigated in only a few water beetles and bugs. The diel flight periodicity of aquatic insects and the environmental factors governing it are poorly understood. 2. We found that primary aquatic insects belonging to 99 taxa (78 Coleoptera, 21 Heteroptera) fly predominantly in mid-morning, and/or around noon and/or at nightfall. There appears to be at least four different types of diurnal flight activity rhythm in aquatic insects, characterised by peak(s): (i) in mid-morning; (ii) in the evening; (iii) both in mid-morning and the evening; (iv) around noon and again in the evening. These activity maxima are quite general and cannot be explained exclusively by daily fluctuations of air temperature, humidity, wind speed and risks of predation, which are all somewhat stochastic. 3. We found experimental evidence that the proportion (%) P(,) of reflecting surfaces detectable polarotactically as ,water' is always maximal at the lowest (dawn and dusk) and highest (noon) angles of solar elevation (,) for dark reflectors while P(,) is maximal at dawn and dusk (low solar elevations) for bright reflectors under clear or partly cloudy skies. 4. From the temporal coincidence between peaks in the diel flight activity of primary aquatic insects and the polarotactic detectability P(,) of water surfaces we conclude that the optimal times of day for aquatic insects to disperse are the periods of low and high solar elevations ,. The , -dependent reflection,polarisation patterns, combined with an appropriate air temperature, clearly explain why polarotactic aquatic insects disperse to new habitats in mid-morning, and/or around noon and/or at dusk. We call this phenomenon the ,polarisation sun-dial' of dispersing aquatic insects. [source]

Neritid and thiarid gastropods from French Polynesian streams: how reproduction (sexual, parthenogenetic) and dispersal (active, passive) affect population structure

Marilyn J. Myers
Summary 1The streams of French Polynesia contain several species of Neritidae and Thiaridae (Mollusca: Gastropoda). The neritids are dioecious and amphidromous with a freshwater adult stage and a poorly known, marine larval stage. The thiarids are parthenogenetic and viviparous, and rely on passive dispersal for colonisation of new habitats. 2Populations of the neritid Clithon spinosus and the thiarids Melanoides tuberculata and Thiara granifera were analysed using mitochondrial DNA sequences from COI to compare the population structure of the snails at three different scales: between streams (N = 9), between islands (N = 4), and between age and distance of paired islands. 3The amphidromous C. spinosus showed no evidence of genetic isolation at any of the scales tested (Fst values 0.02). Parsimony analyses resulted in two haplotype clusters separated by a three-step segment, which were not linked to geographic isolation. The larval phase of C. spinosus is most likely a long-lived planktotroph and a very effective disperser. 4Two haplotypes of M. tuberculata, separated by 16 base pairs, were found. Both haplotypes were found in snails on all islands, and individuals representing both were often collected in the same habitat. One haplotype of T. granifera was found. M. tuberculata has the characteristics of the ,general-purpose genotype' of clonal population structure and although it relies on passive dispersal, it has colonised nearly all freshwater habitats on the islands. [source]

Penguin responses to climate change in the Southern Ocean

Abstract Penguins are adapted to live in extreme environments, but they can be highly sensitive to climate change, which disrupts penguin life history strategies when it alters the weather, oceanography and critical habitats. For example, in the southwest Atlantic, the distributional range of the ice-obligate emperor and Adélie penguins has shifted poleward and contracted, while the ice-intolerant gentoo and chinstrap penguins have expanded their range southward. In the Southern Ocean, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Southern Annular Mode are the main modes of climate variability that drive changes in the marine ecosystem, ultimately affecting penguins. The interaction between these modes is complex and changes over time, so that penguin responses to climate change are expected to vary accordingly, complicating our understanding of their future population processes. Penguins have long life spans, which slow microevolution, and which is unlikely to increase their tolerance to rapid warming. Therefore, in order that penguins may continue to exploit their transformed ecological niche and maintain their current distributional ranges, they must possess adequate phenotypic plasticity. However, past species-specific adaptations also constrain potential changes in phenology, and are unlikely to be adaptive for altered climatic conditions. Thus, the paleoecological record suggests that penguins are more likely to respond by dispersal rather than adaptation. Ecosystem changes are potentially most important at the borders of current geographic distributions, where penguins operate at the limits of their tolerance; species with low adaptability, particularly the ice-obligates, may therefore be more affected by their need to disperse in response to climate and may struggle to colonize new habitats. While future sea-ice contraction around Antarctica is likely to continue affecting the ice-obligate penguins, understanding the responses of the ice-intolerant penguins also depends on changes in climate mode periodicities and interactions, which to date remain difficult to reproduce in general circulation models. [source]

After the deluge: mitochondrial DNA indicates Miocene radiation and Pliocene adaptation of tree and giant weta (Orthoptera: Anostostomatidae)

Steven A. Trewick
Abstract Aim, New Zealand broke away from the margins of Gondwana c. 75 Ma. Since then, New Zealand taxa derived from the Gondwanan biota are thought to have been exposed first to a subtropical climate on a low lying terrain, then severe land reduction during the Oligocene marine transgression, followed by much cooler climates of the Pliocene and Pleistocene, at which time mountain ranges emerged. The biological consequence of New Zealand's geological and climatic history is not well understood, in particular the extent to which the Oligocene acted as a biological bottleneck remains unresolved. Methods, We used mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and 12S DNA sequences to examine the extent of diversity and inferred timing of speciation of New Zealand weta (Anostostomatidae), a group of Orthoptera with a Gondwanan distribution generally thought to be ancient inhabitants of New Zealand. Main conclusions, We hypothesize that at least three distinct groups of weta survived the Oligocene marine transgression and radiated subsequently. Speciation followed during the Miocene and radiation into new habitats occurred during the Pliocene when mountain building created novel environments. Patterns of genetic diversity within species reflect, in some instances, geographical subdivision in the Pliocene, and in other cases, Pleistocene range changes resulting from climate change. [source]

Effects of plant structure on butterfly diversity in Mt. Marsabit Forest , northern Kenya

Nyamweya N. Humpden
Abstract Butterflies, like most forest dependent animals are good ecological indicators of the health of the forests they dwell. For example, butterfly species richness decreases after a forest disturbance and fragmentation but a few species may subsequently invade the forest fragment and boost the species richness. Studies were conducted to determine the effects of human activity and seasonal changes on butterfly species in the affected new habitats. Results showed that both seasonal and habitat changes significantly affect the butterfly abundance (P = 0.0001). Similarly, there was significant correlation between plant diversity and butterfly diversity in wet season (r = 0.854) and dry season (r = 0.855). The significance of these studies as a useful tool for sustainable forest use and conservation is discussed. Résumé Les papillons, comme la plupart des animaux dépendant de la forêt, sont de bons indicateurs écologiques de la santé des forêts qu'ils occupent. Par exemple, la richesse d'une forêt en espèces de papillons diminue suite à sa perturbation et à sa fragmentation, mais quelques espèces peuvent par la suite envahir la forêt et booster la richesse en espèces. On a réalisé des études pour déterminer les effets des activités humaines et des changements saisonniers sur les espèces de papillons dans des habitats récemment touchés. Les résultats ont montré que tant les changements saisonniers que les changements de l'habitat affectent significativement l'abondance des papillons (P = 0.0001). De même, il y avait une corrélation significative entre la diversité des plantes et celle des papillons en saison des pluies (r = 0.854) et en saison sèche (r = 0.855). L'on discute de l'importance de ces études comme outil utile à l'utilisation et à la conservation de la forêt. [source]

Evidence for a combination of pre-adapted traits and rapid adaptive change in the invasive plant Centaurea stoebe

Martin L. Henery
Summary 1. Introduced plants have the potential to rapidly evolve traits of ecological importance that may add to their innate potential to become invasive. During invasions, selection may favour genotypes that are already pre-adapted to conditions in the new habitat and, over time, alter the characteristics of subsequent generations. 2. Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) occurs in two predominantly spatially separated cytotypes in its native range (Europe,Western Asia), but currently only the tetraploid form has been confirmed in the introduced range (North America), where it is invasive. We used several common garden experiments to examine, across multiple populations, whether tetraploids and diploids from the native range differ in life cycle, leaf traits and reproductive capacity and if such differences would explain the predominance of tetraploids and their advance into new habitats in the introduced range. We also compared the same traits in tetraploids from the native and introduced range to determine whether any rapid adaptive changes had occurred since introduction that may have enhanced invasive potential of the species in North America. 3. We found tetraploids had lower specific leaf area, less lamina dissection and fewer, narrower leaves than diploids. Diploids exhibited a monocarpic life cycle and produced few if any accessory rosettes. Diploids produced significantly more seeds per capitulum and had more capitula per plant than tetraploids. In contrast, the vast majority of European tetraploids continued to flower in both seasons by regenerating from multiple secondary rosettes, demonstrating a predominantly polycarpic life cycle. 4. During early growth tetraploids from North America achieved greater biomass than both tetraploids and diploids from the native range but this did not manifest as larger above-ground biomass at maturity. In North American tetraploids there was also evidence of a shift towards a more strictly polycarpic life cycle, less leaf dissection, greater carbon investment per leaf, and greater seed production per capitulum. 5.,Synthesis. Our results suggest that the characteristics of tetraploid C. stoebe pre-adapted them (compared to diploid conspecifics) for spread and persistence of the species into habitats in North America characterized by a more continental climate. After the species' introduction, small but potentially important shifts in tetraploid biology have occurred that may have contributed significantly to successful invasion. [source]

Tree species range shifts at a continental scale: new predictive insights from a process-based model

Xavier Morin
Summary 1Climate change has already caused distribution shifts in many species, and climate predictions strongly suggest that these will accelerate in the future. Obtaining reliable predictions of species range shifts under climate change is thus currently one of the most crucial challenges for both ecologists and stakeholders. 2Here we simulate the distributions of 16 North American tree species at a continental scale for the 21st century according to two IPCC storylines, using a process-based species distribution model that for the first time allows identification of the possible causes of distribution change. 3Our projections show local extinctions in the south of species ranges (21% of the present distribution, on average), and colonizations of new habitats in the north, though these are limited by dispersal ability for most species. Areas undergoing local extinctions are slightly larger under climate scenario A2 (+3.2 C, +22% on average) than B2 (+1.0 C, +19% on average). This small difference is caused by nonlinear responses of processes (leaves and flowers phenological processes in particular) to temperature. We also show that local extinction may proceed at a slower rate than forecasted so far. 4Although predicted distribution shifts are very species-specific, we show that the loss of habitats southward will be mostly due to increased drought mortality and decreased reproductive success, while northward colonizations will be primarily promoted by increased probability of fruit ripening and flower frost survival. 5Synthesis. Our results show that different species will not face the same risks due to climate change, because their responses to climate differ as well as their dispersal rate. Focusing on processes, our study therefore tempers the alarming conclusions of widely used niche-based models about biodiversity loss, mainly because our predictions take into account the local adaptation and trait plasticity to climate of the species. [source]

Do exotic generalist predators alter host plant preference of a native willow beetle?

Dong H. Cha
Abstract 1,Selection can favour herbivores that choose host plants benefitting their offspring either by enhancing growth rates or by increasing larval defences against native predators. For exotic predator species that feed on herbivores, their success with invading new habitats may depend upon overcoming defences used by native prey. Whether exotic predators can alter herbivore host choice has remained unexamined. Therefore, we compared the efficacy of larval defence by Chrysomela knabi (a native beetle species) that had fed on two native willow hosts: Salix sericea (a phenolic glycoside (PG)-rich species) and Salix eriocephala (a PG-poor species), when attacked by exotic generalist predators. In addition, the preference and performance of C. knabi on S. sericea and S. eriocephala was examined. 2,Chrysomela knabi preferred and performed better on S. sericea. In a common garden, adult C. knabi were nine-fold more common and oviposited five-fold more frequently on S. sericea than on S. eriocephala. In the laboratory, adult feeding preference on leaf discs and survival rates of larvae were both greater on S. sericea, and time to pupation was shorter. 3,Chrysomela knabi larvae produced significantly more salicylaldehyde when fed S. sericea leaves than when fed S. eriocephala leaves. Additionally, those larvae with greater salicylaldehyde had reduced predation by two exotic generalist predators, Harmonia axyridis larvae and juvenile Tenodera aridifolia sinensis. 4,The results obtained in the present study suggest that selection favoured the preference of C. knabi for PG-rich willow plants because larvae grew and survived better and that selection by common exotic generalist predators would reinforce this preference. [source]

Realized gene flow within mixed stands of Quercus robur L. and Q. petraea (Matt.) L. revealed at the stage of naturally established seedling

Abstract The estimates of contemporary gene flow assessed based on naturally established seedlings provide information much needed for understanding the abilities of forest tree populations to persist under global changes through migration and/or adaptation facilitated by gene exchange among populations. Here, we investigated pollen- and seed-mediated gene flow in two mixed-oak forest stands (consisting of Quercus robur L. and Q. petraea [Matt.] Liebl.). The gene flow parameters were estimated based on microsatellite multilocus genotypes of seedlings and adults and their spatial locations within the sample plots using models that attempt to reconstruct the genealogy of the seedling cohorts. Pollen and seed dispersal were modelled using the standard seedling neighbourhood model and a modification,the 2-component seedling neighbourhood model, with the later allowing separation of the dispersal process into local and long-distance components. The 2-component model fitted the data substantially better than the standard model and provided estimates of mean seed and pollen dispersal distances accounting for long-distance propagule dispersal. The mean distance of effective pollen dispersal was found to be 298 and 463 m, depending on the stand, while the mean distance of effective seed dispersal was only 8.8 and 15.6 m, which is consistent with wind pollination and primarily seed dispersal by gravity in Quercus. Some differences observed between the two stands could be attributed to the differences in the stand structure of the adult populations and the existing understory vegetation. Such a mixture of relatively limited seed dispersal with occasional long distance gene flow seems to be an efficient strategy for colonizing new habitats with subsequent local adaptation, while maintaining genetic diversity within populations. [source]

Eco-evolutionary vs. habitat contributions to invasion in salmon: experimental evaluation in the wild

Abstract Although trait evolution over contemporary timescales is well documented, its influence on ecological dynamics in the wild has received much less attention particularly compared to traditional ecological and environmental factors. For example, evolution over ecologically relevant timescales is expected in populations that colonize new habitats, where it should theoretically enhance fitness, associated vital rates of survival and reproduction, and population growth potential. Nonetheless, success of exotic species is much more commonly attributed to ecological aspects of habitat quality and ,escape from enemies' in the invaded range. Here, we consider contemporary evolution of vital rates in introduced Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) that quickly colonized New Zealand and diverged over c. 26 generations. By using experimental translocations, we partitioned the roles of evolution and habitat quality in modifying geographical patterns of vital rates. Variation in habitat quality within the new range had the greatest influence on broad geographical patterns of vital rates, but locally adapted salmon still exhibited more than double the vital rate performance, and hence fitness, of nonlocal counterparts. The scope of this fitness evolution far exceeds the scale of divergence in trait values for these populations, or even the expected fitness effects of particular traits. These results suggest that contemporary evolution can be an important part of the eco-evolutionary dynamics of invasions and highlight the need for studies of the emergent fitness and ecological consequences of such evolution, rather than just changes in trait values. [source]

Can differences in autonomous selfing ability explain differences in range size among sister-taxa pairs of Collinsia (Plantaginaceae)?

An extension of Baker's Law
Summary ,,Species with greater selfing ability are predicted to be better adapted for colonizing new habitats (Baker's Law). Here, we tested an expansion of this hypothesis: that species proficient at autonomous selfing have larger range sizes than their less proficient sister taxa. We also tested competing hypotheses regarding seed production and niche breadth on range size. ,,Floral traits affecting the proficiency of autonomous selfing were measured and seed production was calculated for six sister-taxa pairs in the clade Collinsia. We tested for the hypothesized effects of these variables on elevational distribution and range size. ,,We found that species most proficient at selfing had significantly larger range sizes than their sister-taxa that were less proficient at selfing. Species proficient at autonomous selfing occupied a higher mean elevation than their sister taxa, but they did not differ in their total elevational range. Species with greater seed production did not have larger range sizes. ,,Our results extend Baker's Law, suggesting that species proficient at autonomous selfing are better adapted to establish new populations and thus can more readily expand their range. Autonomous selfing ability may play a vital role in explaining variance in range size among other species. [source]

Complex habitat requirements and conservation needs of the only extant Baroniinae swallowtail butterfly

Jorge L. León-Cortés
The unique butterfly species, Baronia brevicornis, perhaps the oldest taxon in the Papilionidae, is known to have a very restricted distribution in Mexico. Populations are restricted to southern Mexico in deciduous scrub forest where its host-plants, Acacia trees (Leguminosae), are common and widespread. Little is known of the conservation implications of its relationship with its host trees. We recorded fine scale population data for larval and adult B. brevicornis in 22 km2 of fragmented landscape in southern Mexico. Habitat associations determined from over 1319 transect walks reveal that B. brevicornis exhibited an extremely localised distribution, occupying < 1% of the study area and being mostly associated with Acacia woodlots. Detailed analyses of habitat requirements for larva and/or adult B. brevicornis suggest that it lays its eggs on Acacia pennatula and A. macracantha (two newly recorded larval host-plants), that eggs were laid disproportionately on Acacia trees with long branches (,2= 17.7, P < 0.001) and that the probability of finding adult B. brevicornis between occupied and un-occupied Acacia woodlots increased with host-plant density (,2= 18.4, P < 0.001). The results of this study suggest that conservation recommendations for B. brevicornis must consider the condition of the Acacia habitat network, given that Acacia is mostly associated with human-managed grazing systems. Effective conservation will require the establishment of connected networks of patches where natural dynamics can produce new habitats, as well as the creation of new habitats within colonisation distance. This research provides a rare case study of conservation biology of a Neotropical insect, emphasising the importance of using ecological information to provide management recommendations. [source]

Transposable elements and an epigenetic basis for punctuated equilibria

BIOESSAYS, Issue 7 2009
David W. Zeh
Abstract Evolution is frequently concentrated in bursts of rapid morphological change and speciation followed by long-term stasis. We propose that this pattern of punctuated equilibria results from an evolutionary tug-of-war between host genomes and transposable elements (TEs) mediated through the epigenome. According to this hypothesis, epigenetic regulatory mechanisms (RNA interference, DNA methylation and histone modifications) maintain stasis by suppressing TE mobilization. However, physiological stress, induced by climate change or invasion of new habitats, disrupts epigenetic regulation and unleashes TEs. With their capacity to drive non-adaptive host evolution, mobilized TEs can restructure the genome and displace populations from adaptive peaks, thus providing an escape from stasis and generating genetic innovations required for rapid diversification. This "epi-transposon hypothesis" can not only explain macroevolutionary tempo and mode, but may also resolve other long-standing controversies, such as Wright's shifting balance theory, Mayr's peripheral isolates model, and McClintock's view of genome restructuring as an adaptive response to challenge. [source]

Complex trait differentiation between host-populations of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris): implications for the evolution of ecological specialisation

Variation in traits affecting preference for, and performance on, new habitats is a key factor in the initiation of ecological specialisation and adaptive speciation. However, habitat and resource use also involves other traits whose influence on ecological and genetic divergence remains poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the extent of variation of life-history traits among sympatric populations of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, which shows several host races that are specialised on various plants of the family Fabaceae plants and is an established model for ecological speciation. First, we assessed the community structure of microbial partners within host populations of the pea aphid. The effect of these microbes on host fitness is uncertain, although there is growing evidence that they may modulate various important adaptive traits of their host such as plant utilisation and resistance against natural enemies. Second, we performed a multivariate analysis on several ecologically relevant features of host populations recorded in the present and previous studies (including microbial composition, colour morph, reproductive mode, and male dispersal phenotype), enabling the identification of correlations between phenotypic traits. We discuss the ecological significance of these associations of traits in relation to the habitat characteristics of pea aphid populations, and their consequences for the evolution of ecological specialisation and sympatric speciation. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 97, 718,727. [source]

Plant invasions , the role of mutualisms

ABSTRACT Many introduced plant species rely on mutualisms in their new habitats to overcome barriers to establishment and to become naturalized and, in some cases, invasive. Mutualisms involving animalmediated pollination and seed dispersal, and symbioses between plant roots and microbiota often facilitate invasions. The spread of many alien plants, particularly woody ones, depends on pollinator mutualisms. Most alien plants are well served by generalist pollinators (insects and birds), and pollinator limitation does not appear to be a major barrier for the spread of introduced plants (special conditions relating to Ficus and orchids are described). Seeds of many of the most notorious plant invaders are dispersed by animals, mainly birds and mammals. Our review supports the view that tightly coevolved, plant-vertebrate seed dispersal systems are extremely rare. Vertebrate-dispersed plants are generally not limited reproductively by the lack of dispersers. Most mycorrhizal plants form associations with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi which, because of their low specificity, do not seem to play a major role in facilitating or hindering plant invasions (except possibly on remote islands such as the Galapagos which are poor in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi). The lack of symbionts has, however, been a major barrier for many ectomycorrhizal plants, notably for Pinus spp. in parts of the southern hemisphere. The roles of nitrogen-fixing associations between legumes and rhizobia and between actinorhizal plants and Frankia spp. in promoting or hindering invasions have been virtually ignored in the invasions literature. Symbionts required to induce nitrogen fixation in many plants are extremely widespread, but intentional introductions of symbionts have altered the invasibility of many, if not most, systems. Some of the world's worst invasive alien species only invaded after the introduction of symbionts. Mutualisms in the new environment sometimes re-unite the same species that form partnerships in the native range of the plant. Very often, however, different species are involved, emphasizing the diffuse nature of many (most) mutualisms. Mutualisms in new habitats usually duplicate functions or strategies that exist in the natural range of the plant. Occasionally, mutualisms forge totally novel combinations, with profound implications for the behaviour of the introduced plant in the new environment (examples are seed dispersal mutualisms involving wind-dispersed pines and cockatoos in Australia; and mycorrhizal associations involving plant roots and fungi). Many ecosystems are becoming more susceptible to invasion by introduced plants because: (a) they contain an increasing array of potential mutualistic partners (e.g. generalist frugivores and pollinators, mycorrhizal fungi with wide host ranges, rhizobia strains with infectivity across genera); and (b) conditions conducive for the establishment of various alienalien synergisms are becoming more abundant. Incorporating perspectives on mutualisms in screening protocols will improve (but not perfect) our ability to predict whether a given plant species could invade a particular habitat. [source]