Variable Habitat (variable + habitat)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Effects of secondary tuber harvest on populations of devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) in the Kalahari savannas of South Africa

Kristine M. Stewart
Abstract Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is an internationally traded species that is harvested for its secondary tubers. Root extracts are used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. This study examined population structure, density, growth, mortality, and seed and fruit production in harvested and unharvested populations in the Kalahari savannas of South Africa over 4 years. Plant density and population structure differed significantly between overgrazed and grass-dominated areas, suggesting that the differences may be due to competition for water and nutrients. Experimental removal of secondary tubers (harvest) was not a significant factor for mortality in any of the harvested size classes. Harvest also did not affect growth, although plants in the 3,4 cm size class grew more in both the harvested and unharvested populations. Fruit production was variable; fruits matured only after sufficient rains. Under the conditions of this study, the species appears to be resilient to harvest, with both harvested and unharvested plants surviving. After harvest, both groups recovered and grew (on average) at the same rate. Because of the spatially variable habitat and the plasticity of the plants themselves, a large number of plants over a wide area are required to better understand the species' life history. Résumé La griffe du diable Harpagophytum procumbens est une espèce qui est commercialisée à l'échelle internationale; on en récolte les tubercules poussant sur les racines secondaires. Les extraits de racines sont utilisés pour traiter l'arthrite et d'autres maladies inflammatoires. Cette étude examine la structure de sa population, sa densité, sa croissance, sa mortalité et sa production de semences et de fruits chez les populations récoltées ou non des savanes du Kalahari en Afrique du Sud, pendant quatre ans. La densité des plantes et la structure des populations différaient significativement entre les zones surpâturées et celles où les herbes dominaient, ce qui suggère que les différences pourraient être dues à la compétition pour l'eau et les nutriments. Le prélèvement expérimental des tubercules secondaires (récolte) n'était un facteur significatif de mortalité dans aucune des classes de taille récoltées. La récolte n'affectait pas non plus la croissance, même si les plants de la classe de taille des 3,4 cm croissaient plus chez les populations aussi bien récoltées que non récoltées. La production de fruits était variable; les fruits n'arrivaient à maturité qu'après des pluies suffisantes. Dans les conditions où fut réalisée cette étude, les espèces ont semblé résilientes à la récolte, les plants récoltés survivant aussi bien que ceux qui ne l'avaient pas été. Après la récolte, les deux groupes se rétablissaient et croissaient (en moyenne) au même rythme. Étant donné que l'habitat est très variable selon les endroits et vu la plasticité des plantes elles-mêmes, il faut étudier un grand nombre de plantes sur une grande superficie pour mieux comprendre l'histoire complète de cette espèce. [source]

Strategies providing success in a variable habitat: III.

Dynamic control of photosynthesis in Cladophora glomerata
Abstract Diurnal patterns of photosynthesis were studied in July and April populations of Cladophora glomerata (L.) Kütz. from open and from shaded sites. Summer samples exposed to full sunlight showed decreased efficiency of open photosystem II at noon, and only slight differences were found between samples that had grown at open or at shaded sites. Electron transport rate was limited at highest fluence rates in shade plants, and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) revealed faster regulation in samples from open sites. Daily course of de-epoxidation was not linearly correlated with the course of NPQ. The comparison of samples from open and from shaded sites revealed a higher capacity of thermal energy dissipation and an increase in the total amount of xanthophyll-cycle pigments (21%) in samples from open sites. In April, down-regulation of the efficiency of open photosystem II was related to lower water temperature, and hence, increased excitation pressure. In April the pool size of xanthophyll-cycle pigments was increased by 21% in comparison with summer and suggested higher levels of thermal energy dissipation via de-epoxidized xanthophylls. In both, summer and spring the amount of xanthophyll-cycle pigments was 20% higher in samples from open sites. Acclimation of C. glomerata to growth light conditions was further shown by experimental induction of NPQ, indicating NPQ increases of 23%, and increases of 77% in the reversible component of NPQ in open site samples. The effect of temperature on photosynthetic rate was non-linear, and different optimum temperatures of electron transport rate and oxygen evolution were exhibited. [source]

Strategies providing success in a variable habitat: II.

Ecophysiology of photosynthesis of Cladophora glomerata
ABSTRACT Cladophora glomerata (L.) Kütz. is the dominant filamentous algae of the river Ilm, Thuringia, Germany. For most of the year it can be found at open as well as at shaded sites. Photosynthetic acclimation of C. glomerata to different light intensities was detected by chlorophyll fluorescence measurements and pigment analysis. Cladophora glomerata from highlight sites showed decreased values of efficiency of open photosystem II (Fv/Fm) as compared with C. glomerata from low-light sites. Winter populations revealed higher Fv/Fm values than summer populations. A light-induced decrease in efficiency of the closed photosystem II was observed at increasing irradiance intensities. The decrease was higher in C. glomerata from shaded sites compared with plants from open sites. Differences in the photosynthetic electron transport rate of different populations of C. glomerata were shown by photosynthesis,irradiance curves. Summer populations from high-light sites yielded higher maximum electron transport rates than plants from low-light sites, whereas winter populations exhibited significantly decreased values compared with the summer populations. Results of the analysis of photosynthetic pigments corresponded with data from chlorophyll fluorescence measurements. In addition to these long-term acclimation effects, C. glomerata expressed its ability to cope with rapid changes in the light environment by the de-epoxidation of violaxanthin during exposure to high light intensities. [source]

Phenotypic evolution in high-elevation populations of western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Adaptive divergence in response to variable habitats, climates, and altitude is often accentuated along elevation gradients. We investigate phenotypic evolution in body size and coloration in the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis Baird & Girard, 1852) across elevation gradients in Yosemite National Park, California, situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Western North America. High-elevation populations occurring above 2100 m a.s.l. are recognized as a separate subspecies (Sceloporus occidentalis taylori Camp, 1916), with a distinctive phenotype characterized by a large body size and extensive blue ventral pigmentation. We sampled S. occidentalis from across elevation gradients in Yosemite National Park, California, and collected phenotypic data (body size and ventral coloration measurements; 410 specimens) and mitochondrial DNA sequence data (complete NADH1 gene; 969 bp, 181 specimens) to infer phylogenetic relationships, and examine the genetic and phenotypic diversity among populations. Populations of S. occidentalis in Yosemite National Park follow Bergmann's rule and exhibit larger body sizes in colder, high-elevation environments. The high-elevation subspecies S. o. taylori is not monophyletic, and the mitochondrial DNA genealogy supports a model of convergent phenotypic evolution among high-elevation populations belonging to different river drainages. The hypothesis that separate populations of S. occidentalis expanded up river drainages after the recession of glaciers is supported by population demographic analyses, and suggest that Bergmann's clines can evolve rapidly along elevation gradients. The distinctive high-elevation phenotype that is attributable to S. o. taylori has evolved independently several times, and includes adaptive phenotypic changes associated with increases in body size and ventral coloration. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 630,641. [source]