Severe Environmental Conditions (severe + environmental_condition)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Temperature- and pH-dependent accumulation of heat-shock proteins in the acidophilic green alga Chlamydomonas acidophila

Antje Gerloff-Elias
Abstract Chlamydomonas acidophila, a unicellular green alga, is a dominant phytoplankton species in acidic water bodies, facing severe environmental conditions such as low pH and high heavy metal concentrations. We examined the pH-, and temperature-dependent accumulation of heat-shock proteins in this alga to determine whether heat-shock proteins play a role in adaptation to their environment. Our results show increased heat-shock proteins accumulation at suboptimal pHs, which were not connected with any change in intracellular pH. In comparison to the mesophilic Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, the acidophilic species exhibited significantly higher accumulations of heat-shock proteins under control conditions, indicating an environmental adaptation of increased basal levels of heat-shock proteins. The results suggest that heat-shock proteins might play a role in the adaptation of C. acidophila, and possibly other acidophilic algae, to their extreme environment. [source]

Predictors of reproductive cost in female Soay sheep

Summary 1We investigate factors influencing the trade-off between survival and reproduction in female Soay sheep (Ovis aries). Multistate capture,recapture models are used to incorporate the state-specific recapture probability and to investigate the influence of age and ecological conditions on the cost of reproduction, defined as the difference between survival of breeder and non-breeder ewes on a logistic scale. 2The cost is identified as a quadratic function of age, being greatest for females breeding at 1 year of age and when more than 7 years old. Costs, however, were only present during severe environmental conditions (wet and stormy winters occurring when population density was high). 3Winter severity and population size explain most of the variation in the probability of breeding for the first time at 1 year of life, but did not affect the subsequent breeding probability. 4The presence of a cost of reproduction was confirmed by an experiment where a subset of females was prevented from breeding in their first year of life. 5Our results suggest that breeding decisions are quality or condition dependent. We show that the interaction between age and time has a significant effect on variation around the phenotypic trade-off function: selection against weaker individuals born into cohorts that experience severe environmental conditions early in life can progressively eliminate low-quality phenotypes from these cohorts, generating population-level effects. [source]

Stress-induced dynamic adjustments of reproduction differentially affect fitness components of a semi-arid plant

Cristina F. Aragón
Summary 1Summer drought stress is considered the primary constraint to plant performance in Mediterranean ecosystems. However, little is known about the implications of summer stress for plant reproduction under real field conditions and, particularly, for the regulatory mechanisms of maternal investment in reproduction. 2The relationship between plant physiological status at different reproductive stages over the course of the summer drought period and final reproductive output was modelled in the Mediterranean semi-arid specialist Helianthemum squamatum. 3Plant physiological status, assessed by the chlorophyll fluorescence-based parameter Fv/Fm, and soil moisture content beneath each plant, were determined in the field at five key phenological moments in a total of 88 plants. We used Generalized Linear Mixed Models to evaluate the effect of plant physiological status at those different dates on several components of reproduction (number of flowers and seeds per plant, fruit-set and intra-fruit seed abortion). We included soil moisture as an additional predictor to statistically control its potential effect on reproduction. 4Fv/Fm measured at midday was a significant predictor of reproductive output, but its significance varied over time and with the specific reproductive response variable. Fv/Fm measured at the onset of flowering was positively related to the number of flowers and seeds per plant, whereas Fv/Fm at the fruiting peak positively affected fruit-set. Soil moisture content was only significant when measured before flowering, being positively related to total flowers and seeds. The effect of stress on reproductive output acted either at an early stage of the reproductive season, by varying the number of flowers produced and seed primordia initiated, or at a later stage, by adjusting the number or ripe fruits. 5Synthesis. Our results show a direct relationship between physiological status and reproduction, and highlight the importance of the timing of stress for reproductive success. They also show that small departures from the physiological optimum at specific reproductive stages may cause significant decreases in the reproductive output. We suggest that the dynamic adjustment of reproduction in response to stress is adaptive in fluctuating and unpredictable Mediterranean semi-arid environments, where an adequate temporal distribution of maternal resources determines the species' ability to withstand severe environmental conditions. [source]

Hydrogen Peroxide in Plants: a Versatile Molecule of the Reactive Oxygen Species Network

Li-Juan Quan
Abstract Plants often face the challenge of severe environmental conditions, which include various biotic and abiotic stresses that exert adverse effects on plant growth and development. During evolution, plants have evolved complex regulatory mechanisms to adapt to various environmental stressors. One of the consequences of stress is an increase in the cellular concentration of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are subsequently converted to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Even under normal conditions, higher plants produce ROS during metabolic processes. Excess concentrations of ROS result in oxidative damage to or the apoptotic death of cells. Development of an antioxidant defense system in plants protects them against oxidative stress damage. These ROS and, more particularly, H2O2, play versatile roles in normal plant physiological processes and in resistance to stresses. Recently, H2O2 has been regarded as a signaling molecule and regulator of the expression of some genes in cells. This review describes various aspects of H2O2 function, generation and scavenging, gene regulation and cross-links with other physiological molecules during plant growth, development and resistance responses. [source]