Taxonomic Scales (taxonomic + scale)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Biodiversity in microbial communities: system scale patterns and mechanisms

Abstract The relationship between anthropogenic impact and the maintenance of biodiversity is a fundamental question in ecology. The emphasis on the organizational level of biodiversity responsible for ecosystem processes is shifting from a species-centred focus to include genotypic diversity. The relationship between biodiversity measures at these two scales remains largely unknown. By stratifying anthropogenic effects between scales of biodiversity of bacterial communities, we show a statistically significant difference in diversity based on taxonomic scale. Communities with intermediate species richness show high genotypic diversity while speciose and species-poor communities do not. We propose that in species-poor communities, generally comprising stable yet harsh conditions, physiological tolerance and competitive trade-offs limit both the number of species that occur and the loss of genotypes due to decreases in already constrained fitness. In species-rich communities, natural environmental conditions result in well-defined community structure and resource partitioning. Disturbance of these communities disrupts niche space, resulting in lower genotypic diversity despite the maintenance of species diversity. Our work provides a model to inform future research about relationships between species and genotypic biodiversity based on determining the biodiversity consequences of changing environmental context. [source]

Examining the extinction risk of specialized folivores: a comparative study of Colobine monkeys

Jason M. Kamilar
Abstract Species extinctions are nonrandom with some taxa appearing to possess traits that increase their extinction risk. In this study, eight predictors of extinction risk were used as independent variables to predict the IUCN category of a subfamily of specialized folivorous primates, the Colobinae. All data were transformed into phylogenetically independent contrasts and were analyzed using bivariate regressions, multiple regression, and a maximum likelihood approach using Akaike's Information Criterion to assess model performance. Once an outlier was removed from the data set, species that devote a smaller proportion of their diet to mature leaf consumption appear to be at a greater risk of extinction. Also, as female body mass increases, so does extinction risk. In contrast, as maximum latitude and the number of habitat types increase, extinction risk appears to decrease. These findings emphasize the importance of examining detailed dietary variation for predicting extinction risk at a relatively fine taxonomic scale and, consequently, may help improve conservation management. Am. J. Primatol. 70:816,827, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Below-ground carbon flux and partitioning: global patterns and response to temperature

C. M. Litton
Summary 1The fraction of gross primary production (GPP) that is total below-ground carbon flux (TBCF) and the fraction of TBCF that is below-ground net primary production (BNPP) represent globally significant C fluxes that are fundamental in regulating ecosystem C balance. However, global estimates of the partitioning of GPP to TBCF and of TBCF to BNPP, as well as the absolute size of these fluxes, remain highly uncertain. 2Efforts to model below-ground processes are hindered by methodological difficulties for estimating below-ground C cycling, the complexity of below-ground interactions, and an incomplete understanding of the response of GPP, TBCF and BNPP to climate change. Due to a paucity of available data, many terrestrial ecosystem models and ecosystem-level studies of whole stand C use efficiency rely on assumptions that: (i) C allocation patterns across large geographic, climatic and taxonomic scales are fixed; and (ii) c. 50% of TBCF is BNPP. 3Here, we examine available information on GPP, TBCF, BNPP, TBCF : GPP and BNPP : TBCF from a diverse global data base of forest ecosystems to understand patterns in below-ground C flux and partitioning, and their response to mean annual temperature (MAT). 4MAT and mean annual precipitation (MAP) covaried strongly across the global forest data base (37 mm increase in MAP for every 1 °C increase in MAT). In all analyses, however, MAT was the most important variable explaining observed patterns in below-ground C processes. 5GPP, TBCF and BNPP all increased linearly across the global scale range of MAT. TBCF : GPP increased significantly with MAT for temperate and tropical ecosystems (> 5 °C), but variability was high across the data set. BNPP : TBCF varied from 0·26 to 0·53 across the entire MAT gradient (,5 to 30 °C), with a much narrower range of 0·42 to 0·53 for temperate and tropical ecosystems (5 to 30 °C). 6Variability in the data sets was moderate and clear exceptions to the general patterns exist that likely relate to other factors important for determining below-ground C flux and partitioning, in particular water availability and nutrient supply. Still, our results highlight global patterns in below-ground C flux and partitioning in forests in response to MAT that in part confirm previously held assumptions. [source]

The evolution of reproductive and genomic diversity in ray-finned fishes: insights from phylogeny and comparative analysis

J. E. Mank
Collectively, ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) display far more diversity in many reproductive and genomic features than any other major vertebrate group. Recent large-scale comparative phylogenetic analyses have begun to reveal the evolutionary patterns and putative causes for much of this diversity. Several such recent studies have offered clues to how different reproductive syndromes evolved in these fishes, as well as possible physiological and genomic triggers. In many cases, repeated independent origins of complex reproductive strategies have been uncovered, probably reflecting convergent selection operating on common suites of underlying genes and hormonal controls. For example, phylogenetic analyses have uncovered multiple origins and predominant transitional pathways in the evolution of alternative male reproductive tactics, modes of parental care and mechanisms of sex determination. They have also shown that sexual selection in these fishes is repeatedly associated with particular reproductive strategies. Collectively, studies on reproductive and genomic diversity across the Actinopterygii illustrate both the strengths and the limitations of comparative phylogenetic approaches on large taxonomic scales. [source]

New Insight on the Anatomy and Architecture of the Avian Neurocranium

Jesús Marugán-Lobón
Abstract This study aims to disentangle the main features of the avian neurocranium at high taxonomic scales using geometric morphometric tools. When surveying the variation across 60% of avian orders (sampled among 72 individuals), our results verify that the central nervous system has an important influence upon the architecture of the avian neurocranium, as in other very encephalized vertebrates such as mammals. When the avian brain expands relative to the cranial base it causes more "reptilian-like" neurocranial configurations to shape into rounder ones. This rounder appearance is achieved because the cranial base becomes relatively shorter and turns its flexure from concave to convex, at the same time forcing the foramen magnum to reorient ventrally instead of caudally. However, our analyses have also revealed that an important morphological difference between birds resides between the occiput and the cranial roof. This variation was unexpected since it had not been reported thus far, and entertains two plausible interpretations. Although it could be due to a trade-off between the relative sizes of the supraoccipital and the parietal bones, the presence of an additional bone (the intra- or post-parietal) between the latter two bones could also explain the variation congruently. This descriptive insight stresses the need for further developmental studies focused in understanding the evolutionary disparity of the avian neurocranium. Anat Rec, 292:364,370, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]