Novel Habitats (novel + habitat)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Spread and current potential distribution of an alien grass, Eragrostis lehmanniana Nees, in the southwestern USA: comparing historical data and ecological niche models

Heather Schussman
ABSTRACT The potential distribution of alien species in a novel habitat often is difficult to predict because factors limiting species distributions may be unique to the new locale. Eragrostis lehmanniana is a perennial grass purposely introduced from South Africa to Arizona, USA in the 1930s; by the 1980s, it had doubled its extent. Based on environmental characteristics associated with its introduced and native range, researchers believed that E. lehmanniana had reached the limits of its distribution by the early 1990s. We collected data on E. lehmanniana locations from various land management agencies throughout Arizona and western New Mexico and found new records that indicate that E. lehmanniana has continued to spread. Also, we employed two modelling techniques to determine the current potential distribution and to re-investigate several environmental variables related to distribution. Precipitation and temperature regimes similar to those indicated by past research were the most important variables influencing model output. The potential distribution of E. lehmanniana mapped by both models was 71,843 km2 and covers a large portion of southeastern and central Arizona. Logistic regression (LR) predicted a potential distribution of E. lehmanniana more similar to this species current distribution than GARP based on average temperature, precipitation, and grassland species composition and recorded occurrences. Results of a cross-validation assessment and extrinsic testing showed that the LR model performed as well or better than GARP based on sensitivity, specificity, and kappa indices. [source]

A comparison of invasive and non-invasive dayflowers (Commelinaceae) across experimental nutrient and water gradients

Jean H. Burns
ABSTRACT Little is known about the traits and mechanisms that determine whether or not a species will be invasive. Invasive species are those that establish and spread after being introduced to a novel habitat. A number of previous studies have attempted to correlate specific plant traits with invasiveness. However, many such studies may be flawed because they fail to account for shared evolutionary history or fail to measure performance directly. It is also clear that performance is context dependent. Thus, an approach that corrects for relatedness and incorporates multiple experimental conditions will provide additional information on performance traits of invasive species. I use this approach with two or three pairs of invasive and closely related non-invasive species of Commelinaceae grown over experimental gradients of nutrient and water availability. Invasive species have been introduced, established, and spread outside their native range; non-invasive species have been introduced, possibly (but not necessarily) established, but are not known to have spread outside their native range. The invasive species had higher relative growth rates (RGR) than non-invasive congeners at high nutrient availabilities, but did not differ from non-invasive species at low nutrient availabilities. This is consistent with a strategy where these particular invasive species are able to rapidly use available resources. Relative growth rates were also higher for two out of three invasive species across a water availability gradient, but RGR did not differ in plasticity between the invasive and non-invasive species. This suggests that nutrient addition, but not changes in water availability, might favour invasion of dayflowers. This approach is novel in comparing multiple pairs of invasive and non-invasive congeners across multiple experimental conditions and allows evaluation of the robustness of performance differences. It also controls for some of the effects of relatedness that might confound multispecies comparisons. [source]

The interaction of multiple environmental stressors affects adaptation to a novel habitat in the natterjack toad Bufo calamita

Abstract The potential to adapt to novel environmental conditions is a key area of interest for evolutionary biology. However, the role of multiple selection pressures on adaptive responses has rarely been investigated in natural populations. In Sweden, the natterjack toad Bufo calamita inhabits two separate distribution areas, one in southernmost Sweden and one on the west coast. We characterized the larval habitat in terms of pond size and salinity in the two areas, and found that the western populations are more affected by both desiccation risk and pond salinity than the southern populations. In a common garden experiment manipulating salinity and temperature, we found that toads from the west coast populations were locally adapted to shorter pond duration as indicated by their higher development and growth rates. However, despite being subjected to higher salinity stress in nature, west coast toads had a poorer performance in saline treatments. We found that survival in the saline treatments in the west coast populations was positively affected by larger body mass and longer larval period. Furthermore, we found negative genetic correlations between body mass and growth rate and their plastic responses to salinity. These results implicate that the occurrence of multiple environmental stressors needs to be accounted for when assessing the adaptive potential of organisms and suggest that genetic correlations may play a role in constraining adaptation of natural populations. [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]


EVOLUTION, Issue 6 2009
Andrew R. Whiteley
Anthropogenic-induced change is forcing organisms to shift their distributions and colonize novel habitats at an increasing rate, which leads to complex interactions among evolutionary processes. Coastrange sculpin (Cottus aleuticus) have colonized recently deglaciated streams of Glacier Bay in Alaska within the last 220 years. We examined divergence among populations in background matching coloration and tested the hypothesis that observed variation is due to morphological color plasticity. To examine how color-change plasticity has interacted with other evolutionary processes, we also determined the influence of colonization on neutral genetic diversity. We observed clinal variation in substrate-matching fish color along the chronological continuum of streams. Microsatellites provided little evidence of genetic subdivision among sculpin populations. Fish color was significantly correlated to substrate color, but was not correlated to neutral population genetic structure. Furthermore, a laboratory experiment revealed that morphological color plasticity could explain much, but not all, of the observed fish color divergence. Our study demonstrates that sculpin in Glacier Bay have colonized and adapted to recently deglaciated habitat and suggests that color change plasticity has aided in this process. This research, therefore, highlights the important role phenotypic plasticity may play in the adaptation of species to rapid climate change. [source]

Evolutionary origins of invasive populations

Carol Eunmi Lee
Abstract What factors shape the evolution of invasive populations? Recent theoretical and empirical studies suggest that an evolutionary history of disturbance might be an important factor. This perspective presents hypotheses regarding the impact of disturbance on the evolution of invasive populations, based on a synthesis of the existing literature. Disturbance might select for life-history traits that are favorable for colonizing novel habitats, such as rapid population growth and persistence. Theoretical results suggest that disturbance in the form of fluctuating environments might select for organismal flexibility, or alternatively, the evolution of evolvability. Rapidly fluctuating environments might favor organismal flexibility, such as broad tolerance or plasticity. Alternatively, longer fluctuations or environmental stress might lead to the evolution of evolvability by acting on features of the mutation matrix. Once genetic variance is generated via mutations, temporally fluctuating selection across generations might promote the accumulation and maintenance of genetic variation. Deeper insights into how disturbance in native habitats affects evolutionary and physiological responses of populations would give us greater capacity to predict the populations that are most likely to tolerate or adapt to novel environments during habitat invasions. Moreover, we would gain fundamental insights into the evolutionary origins of invasive populations. [source]

Convergence of fish communities from the littoral zone of reservoirs

Summary 1.,Understanding factors that regulate the assembly of communities is a main focus of ecology. Human-engineered habitats, such as reservoirs, may provide insight into these assembly processes because they represent novel habitats that are subjected to colonization by fishes from the surrounding river basin or transported by humans. By contrasting community similarity within and among reservoirs from different drainage basins to nearby stream communities, we can test the relative constraints of reservoir habitats and regional species pools in determining species composition of reservoirs. 2.,We used a large spatial database that included intensive collections from 143 stream and 28 reservoir sites within three major river basins in the Great Plains, U.S.A., to compare patterns of species diversity and community structure between streams and reservoirs and to characterize variation in fish community structure within and among major drainage basins. We expected reservoir fish faunas to reflect the regional species pool, but would be more homogeneous that stream communities because similar species are stocked and thrive in reservoirs (e.g. planktivores and piscivores), and they lack obligate stream organisms that are not shared among regional species pools. 3.,We found that fish communities from reservoirs were a subset of fishes collected from streams and dominant taxa had ecological traits that would be favoured in lentic environments. Although there were regional differences in reservoir fish communities, species richness, patterns of rank abundance and community structure in reservoir communities were more homogonous across three major drainage basins than for stream communities. 4.,The general pattern of convergence of reservoir fish community structure suggests their assembly is constrained by local factors such as habitat and biotic interactions, and facilitated by the introduction of species among basins. Because there is a reciprocal transfer of biota between reservoirs and streams, understanding factors structuring both habitats is necessary to evaluate the long-term dynamics of impounded river networks. [source]

Laboratory spawning, larval development, and metamorphosis of the limpets Lottia digitalis and Lottia asmi (Patellogastropoda, Lottiidae)

Matthew C. Kay
Abstract. This study describes and compares laboratory spawning, larval development, and metamorphosis in the patellogastropod limpets Lottia digitalis and Lottia asmi. Both species were dioecious and freely spawned their gametes, which were fertilized externally. Eggs from L. digitalis and L. asmi averaged 155 and 134 ,m in diameter, respectively. Early cleavage patterns were typical of other patellogastropods. Swimming trochophore larvae had developed , 15 hours after fertilization, and ultimately developed into lecithotrophic veliger larvae that reached metamorphic competence at 5.25,5.5 days after fertilization (13C). Food particles were frequently visible in the gut of newly metamorphosed individuals one day after settlement, and adult shell growth was typically initiated within 2,4 days of settlement. Small egg size in L. asmi, relative to other eastern Pacific lottiids, may be directly related to the need for high fecundity in this small-bodied species; however, developmental information is available for relatively few lottiid species. Because broadcasting lottiids do not secure egg masses in safe microhabitats for development, this reproductive mode may have been conducive to their ecological radiation into novel habitats. [source]

Dispersal distances predict subspecies richness in birds

Dispersal ability has been hypothesized to reduce intraspecific differentiation by homogenizing populations. On the other hand, long-distance dispersers may have better opportunities to colonize novel habitats, which could result in population divergence. Using direct estimates of natal and breeding dispersal distances, we investigated the relationship between dispersal distances and: (i) population differentiation, assessed as subspecies richness; (ii) ecological plasticity, assessed as the number of habitats used for breeding; and (iii) wing size, assessed as wing length. The number of subspecies was negatively correlated with dispersal distances. This was the case also after correcting for potential confounding factors such as migration and similarity due to common ancestry. Dispersal was not a good predictor of ecological plasticity, suggesting that long-distance dispersers do not have more opportunities to colonize novel habitats. Residual wing length was related to natal dispersal, but only for sedentary species. Overall, these results suggest that dispersal can have a homogenizing effect on populations and that low dispersal ability might promote speciation. [source]