Are innovative species ecological generalists? A test in North American birds.

Overington SE, Griffin A, Sol D, Lefebvre L (2012) Are innovative species ecological generalists? A test in North American birds. Behavioral Ecology 22: 1286-1293.

Consumer and motor innovation in the common myna: the role of motivation and emotional responses.

Sol D, Griffin AS, Bartomeus I (2011) Consumer and motor innovation in the common myna: the role of motivation and emotional responses. Animal Behaviour 83: 179-188. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.10.024.

The paradox of invasion in birds: competitive superiority or ecological opportunism?.

Sol D, Bartomeus I, Griffin AS (2011) The paradox of invasion in birds: competitive superiority or ecological opportunism?. Oecologia doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2203-x.

From "Periodical Observations" to "Anthochronology" and "Phenology" - the scientific debate between Adolphe Quetelet and Charles Morren on the origin of the word "Phenology"

Demarée G.R., Rutishauser T. (2011) From "Periodical Observations" to "Anthochronology" and "Phenology" - the scientific debate between Adolphe Quetelet and Charles Morren on the origin of the word "Phenology". International Journal of Biometeorology. 55: 753-761.
Enllaç
Doi: 10.1007/s00484-011-0442-5

Resum:

Mankind has observed and documented life cycle stages of plants and animals for a long time. However, it was comparatively recently that the newly emerging science was given its name. The name of Charles Morren and the year 1853 are being cited, although not frequently. Exact information is hardly known among present-day phenologists, yet new evidence shows that the term "phenology" was already in use in 1849. In the early 1840s, physicist and astronomer Adolphe Quetelet set up an observational network named "Observations of periodical Phenomena of the Animal and Vegetable Kingdom" and issued instructions for it. Even though biologist Charles Morren welcomed Quetelet's initiative, differences between Morren and Quentlet regarding the instructions for the observations and the potential results soon arose and a debate started, which lasted for nearly 10 years. In the wake of these disagreements, Morren was compelled to create a new term to denote his ideas on "periodical phenomena". At first, he temporally used the word anthochronology, but in the end he coined the word phenology. The term was first used in a public lecture at the Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique' in Brussels on 16 December 1849, and simultaneously in the December 1849 issue of volume V of the Annales de la Société royale d'Agriculture et de Botanique de Gand. One had to wait until 1853 before the new name appeared in the title of one of Morren's publications. Based on evidence from archives and original publications, we trace the 10-year-long scientific debate between Morren and Quetelet. Morren states his biologist's view on the subject and extends the more climate-related definition of Quetelet of "periodical phenomena". © 2011 ISB.

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Influence of soil properties on the performance of Folsomia candida: Implications for its use in soil ecotoxicology testing

Domene X., Chelinho S., Campana P., Natal-da-Luz T., Alcañiz J.M., Andrés P., Römbke J., Sousa P. (2011) Influence of soil properties on the performance of Folsomia candida: Implications for its use in soil ecotoxicology testing. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 30: 1497-1505.
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Doi: 10.1002/etc.533

Resum:

Nineteen Mediterranean natural soils with a wide range of properties and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) artificial soil were used to assess the influence of soil properties on the results of avoidance and reproduction tests carried out with the soil collembolan species Folsomia candida. Compared to natural soils, the OECD soil was mostly rejected by individuals when a natural soil was offered in avoidance tests, and the number of offspring produced was generally lower than the one obtained in natural soils. None of the soil properties assessed showed a significant influence on the avoidance behavior. More precisely, only soil moisture was included in the model explaining the avoidance response (avoidance increased with increasing differences in moisture), but its contribution was marginally not significant. The model derived explained only 16% of the variance in avoidance response. On the contrary, several soil properties significantly influenced reproduction (number of offspring increased with increasing moisture content, increasing coarse texture, and decreasing nitrogen content). In this case, the model explained 45% of the variance in reproduction. These results, together with the fact that most of the selected soils fulfilled the validity criteria in both avoidance and reproduction tests, confirm the literature experience showing that this species is relatively insensitive to soil properties and hence highly suitable to be used in ecotoxicological tests with natural soils. In addition, our study highlights the need for accuracy in soil moisture adjustment in soil ecotoxicological tests with this species. Otherwise, results of both avoidance and reproduction tests might be biased. © 2011 SETAC.

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Soil bioassays as tools for sludge compost quality assessment

Domene X., Solà L., Ramírez W., Alcañiz J.M., Andrés P. (2011) Soil bioassays as tools for sludge compost quality assessment. Waste Management. 31: 512-522.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2010.10.013

Resum:

Composting is a waste management technology that is becoming more widespread as a response to the increasing production of sewage sludge and the pressure for its reuse in soil. In this study, different bioassays (plant germination, earthworm survival, biomass and reproduction, and collembolan survival and reproduction) were assessed for their usefulness in the compost quality assessment. Compost samples, from two different composting plants, were taken along the composting process, which were characterized and submitted to bioassays (plant germination and collembolan and earthworm performance). Results from our study indicate that the noxious effects of some of the compost samples observed in bioassays are related to the low organic matter stability of composts and the enhanced release of decomposition endproducts, with the exception of earthworms, which are favored. Plant germination and collembolan reproduction inhibition was generally associated with uncomposted sludge, while earthworm total biomass and reproduction were enhanced by these materials. On the other hand, earthworm and collembolan survival were unaffected by the degree of composting of the wastes. However, this pattern was clear in one of the composting procedures assessed, but less in the other, where the release of decomposition endproducts was lower due to its higher stability, indicating the sensitivity and usefulness of bioassays for the quality assessment of composts. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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Trends of AOT40 at three sites in the Catalan Pyrenees over the last 16 years

Díaz-De-Quijano M., Peñuelas J., Ribas A. (2011) Trends of AOT40 at three sites in the Catalan Pyrenees over the last 16 years. Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry. 68: 317-330.
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Doi: 10.1007/s10874-012-9222-9

Resum:

Ozone mixing ratios were monitored at three stations at different altitudes along the Catalan Pyrenees from 1994 to 2009. The AOT40 greatly exceeded the critical level for the protection of forest and semi-natural vegetation set by the UNECE's CLRTAP and the target value and long-term objective for the protection of vegetation set by the European Directive 2008/50/EC. The AOT40 showed an overall increasing trend over time with a slight decrease during the last 3 years, although longer-term records of ozone levels are required before affirming with certainty a declining or stabilising trend. These results indicate that plant life in the Pyrenean region can be at risk of ozone damage due to the high ozone mixing ratios detected. Nevertheless, more effort is warranted to determine the uptake of ozone by vegetation in this mountainous range. An ozone flux-based index that takes into account the local environmental conditions, plant phenology, and nocturnal uptake of ozone would provide a more accurate assessment of the risk from ozone for the particular vegetation in each area. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012.

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On the vapour trail of an atmospheric imprint in insects

Ellwood M.D.F., Northfield R.G.W., Mejia-Chang M., Griffiths H. (2011) On the vapour trail of an atmospheric imprint in insects. Biology Letters. 7: 601-604.
Enllaç
Doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.1171

Resum:

Terrestrial arthropods, at constant risk from desiccation, are highly sensitive to atmospheric temperature and humidity. A physiological marker of these abiotic conditions could highlight phenotypic adaptations, indicate niche partitioning, and predict responses to climate change for a group representing three-quarters of the Earth's animal species. We show that the 18O composition of insect haemolymph is such a measure, providing a dynamic and quantitatively predictable signal for respiratory gas exchange and inputs from atmospheric humidity. Using American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) under defined experimental conditions, we show that insects respiring at low humidity demonstrate the expected enrichment in the 18O composition of haemolymph because of evaporation. At high humidity, however, diffusional influx of atmospheric water vapour into the animal forces haemolymph to become depleted in 18O. Additionally, using cockroaches sampled from natural habitats, we show that the haemolymph 18O signature is transferred to the organic material of the insect's exoskeleton. Insect cuticle, therefore, exhibits the mean atmospheric conditions surrounding the animals prior to moulting. This discovery will help to define the climatic tolerances of species and their habitat preferences, and offers a means of quantifying the balance between niche partitioning and 'neutral' processes in shaping complex tropical forest communities. © 2011 The Royal Society.

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Amenazas y oportunidades ante el cambio global en los montes españoles: el proyecto MONTES Consolider.

Doblas E, Retana J y el equipo MONTES Consolider (2011) Amenazas y oportunidades ante el cambio global en los montes españoles: el proyecto MONTES Consolider. Ecosistemas 20: 114-123.

Source apportionment for African dust outbreaks over the Western Mediterranean using the HYSPLIT model

Escudero M., Stein A.F., Draxler R.R., Querol X., Alastuey A., Castillo S., Avila A. (2011) Source apportionment for African dust outbreaks over the Western Mediterranean using the HYSPLIT model. Atmospheric Research. 99: 518-527.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2010.12.002

Resum:

A source apportionment technique has been applied to determine the geographical distribution of emissions in Northern Africa contributing to dust outbreaks that yield high PM10 levels at Spanish regional background stations. Seven dust episodes have been analyzed in this study. Total suspended particles have been sampled and chemically analyzed for these events at La Castanya background station (Montseny, NE Spain) and differences in the composition of airborne dust have been studied. The dominant role of northern and western source areas (Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania and the Western Sahara) contrasted with the negligible contribution of major emission source areas such as the Bodelé depression, Libya, Niger, and Sudan. During the simulated events using the dust module of the HYSPLIT model, material from the latter regions is persistently transported across the Atlantic but not towards Western Europe. As a consequence, the composition of the dust turned out to be quite homogeneous since the mixing of dust occurs from various source areas with similar chemical composition. However, differences in Ca/Al ratios have been found in a number of samples that are mainly explained by vertical transport segregation of clay minerals (relatively richer in Al) from coarser dust particles (Ca-carbonate). © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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