Esperk T., Stefanescu C., Teder T., Wiklund C., Kaasik A., Tammaru T. (2013) Distinguishing between anticipatory and responsive plasticity in a seasonally polyphenic butterfly. Evolutionary Ecology. 27: 315-332.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s10682-012-9598-7
Seasonal generations of short-lived organisms often differ in their morphological, behavioural and life history traits, including body size. These differences may be either due to immediate effects of seasonally variable environment on organisms (responsive plasticity) or rely on presumably adaptive responses of organisms to cues signalizing forthcoming seasonal changes (anticipatory plasticity). When directly developing individuals of insects are larger than their overwintering conspecifics, the between-generation differences are typically ascribed to responsive plasticity in larval growth. We tested this hypothesis using the papilionid butterly Iphiclides podalirius as a model species. In laboratory experiments, we demonstrated that seasonal differences in food quality could not explain the observed size difference. Similarly, the size differences are not likely to be explained by the immediate effects of ambient temperature and photoperiod on larval growth. The qualitative pattern of natural size differences between the directly developing and diapausing butterflies could be reproduced in the laboratory as a response to photoperiod, indicating anticipatory character of the response. Directly developing and diapausing individuals followed an identical growth trajectory until the end of the last larval instar, with size differences appearing just a few days before pupation. Taken together, various lines of evidence suggest that between-generation size differences in I. podalirius are not caused by immediate effects of environmental factors on larval growth. Instead, these differences rather represent anticipatory plasticity and are thus likely to have an adaptive explanation. It remains currently unclear, whether the seasonal differences in adult size per se are adaptive, or if they constitute co-product of processes related to the diapause. Our study shows that it may be feasible to distinguish between different types of plasticity on the basis of empirical data even if fitness cannot be directly measured, and contributes to the emerging view about the predominantly adaptive nature of seasonal polyphenisms in insects. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Farré-Armengol G., Filella I., Llusia J., Peñuelas J. (2013) Floral volatile organic compounds: Between attraction and deterrence of visitors under global change. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 15: 56-67.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.ppees.2012.12.002
Plants produce and emit a large variety of volatile organic compounds that play key roles in interactions with abiotic and biotic environments. One of these roles is the attraction of animals (mainly insects) that act as vectors of pollen to ensure reproduction. Here we update the current knowledge of four key aspects of floral emissions: (1) the relative importance and interaction of olfactory signals and visual cues, (2) the spatial and temporal patterns of emission in flowers, (3) the attractive and defensive functions of floral volatiles and their interference, and (4) the effects of global change on floral emissions and plant-pollinator interactions. Finally, we propose future lines of research in this field that need to be addressed or investigated further. © 2012 Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics.
Filella I., Primante C., Llusia J., Martin Gonzalez A.M., Seco R., Farre-Armengol G., Rodrigo A., Bosch J., Penuelas J. (2013) Floral advertisement scent in a changing plant-pollinators market. Scientific Reports. 3: 0-0.EnllaçDoi: 10.1038/srep03434
Plant-pollinator systems may be considered as biological markets in which pollinators choose between different flowers that advertise their nectar/pollen rewards. Although expected to play a major role in structuring plant-pollinator interactions, community-wide patterns of flower scent signals remain largely unexplored. Here we show for the first time that scent advertisement is higher in plant species that bloom early in the flowering period when pollinators are scarce relative to flowers than in species blooming later in the season when there is a surplus of pollinators relative to flowers. We also show that less abundant flowering species that may compete with dominant species for pollinator visitation early in the flowering period emit much higher proportions of the generalist attractant β-ocimene. Overall, we provide a first community-wide description of the key role of seasonal dynamics of plant-specific flower scent emissions, and reveal the coexistence of contrasting plant signaling strategies in a plant-pollinator market.
Galiano L., Martinez-Vilalta J., Eugenio M., Granzow-de la Cerda I., Lloret F. (2013) Seedling emergence and growth of Quercus spp. following severe drought effects on a Pinus sylvestris canopy. Journal of Vegetation Science. 24: 580-588.EnllaçDoi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01485.x
Questions: We addressed the following questions: (1) did defoliation and die-off of the dominant Pinus sylvestris, induced by an extreme drought episode, favour emergence of other tree species; (2) did the defoliated canopies of P. sylvestris resulting from drought promote radial growth among other pre-existing tree species seedlings under them? Location: P. sylvestris forest in Central Pyrenees (NE Spain) affected by a severe drought in 2004-2005. Methods: Despite increased focus on climate-related forest die-off, studies of the effects on regeneration processes following extreme drought remain scarce. We analysed whether an episode of drought-induced mortality on the dominant P. sylvestris L. may act as a driver of vegetation shift. Seedlings of Quercus humilis Mill. and Q. ilex L. from 27 plots were sampled under P. sylvestris canopies with
Garbulsky M.F., Peñuelas J., Ogaya R., Filella I. (2013) Leaf and stand-level carbon uptake of a Mediterranean forest estimated using the satellite-derived reflectance indices EVI and PRI. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 34: 1282-1296.EnllaçDoi: 10.1080/01431161.2012.718457
Various aspects of global environmental change affect plant photosynthesis, the primary carbon input in ecosystems. Thus, accurate methods of measuring plant photosynthesis are important. Remotely sensed spectral indices can monitor in detail the green biomass of ecosystems, which provides a measure of potential photosynthetic capacity. In evergreen vegetation types, however, such as Mediterranean forests, the amount of green biomass changes little during the growing season and, therefore, changes in green biomass are not responsible for changes in photosynthetic rates in those forests. This study examined the net photosynthetic rates and the diametric increment of stems in a Mediterranean forest dominated by Quercus ilex using three spectral indices (normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), enhanced vegetation index (EVI), and photochemical reflectance index (PRI)) derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors. Average annual EVI accounted for 83% of the variability of the diametric increment of Q. ilex stems over a 10 year period. NDVI was marginally correlated with the diametric increment of stems. This study was the first to identify a significant correlation between net photosynthetic rates and radiation use efficiency at the leaf level using PRI derived from satellite data analysed at the ecosystem level. These results suggest that each spectral index provided different and complementary information about ecosystem carbon uptake in a Mediterranean Q. ilex forest. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Garcia Millan V.E., Sanchez Azofeifa G.A., Malvarez G.C., More G., Pons X., Yamanaka-Ocampo M. (2013) Effects of topography on the radiometry of CHRIS/PROBA images of successional stages within tropical dry forests. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing. 6: 1584-1595.EnllaçDoi: 10.1109/JSTARS.2013.2259471
In the present paper, the effect of shadows in the classification of three successional stages of a tropical dry forest (TDF) in Mexico, using hyperspectral and multi-angular CHRIS/PROBA images, is evaluated. An algorithm based on the cosine of the angle of solar incidence on the terrain is applied to correct the effect of topography on CHRIS/PROBA reflectances. Previous to the removal of shadows caused by topography, CHRIS/PROBA images were atmospherically corrected in BEAM software. Vegetation maps of the study site were generated using non-parametric decision trees, defining four main classes: late, intermediate and early stages of forest succession within a tropical dry forest, and riparian forests. By comparing the vegetation maps before and after shadow removal in CHRIS/PROBA spectral data, it was observed that the late stage of succession and riparian forests are overestimated for the non-corrected images while intermediate and early stages of succession are underestimated. Errors in classification are more important for the large CHRIS/PROBA viewing angles. Therefore, the removal of shadows caused by topography is necessary for an accurate classification of successional stages in tropical dry forests. © 2013 IEEE.
García-Peña G.E., Sol D., Iwaniuk A.N., Székely T. (2013) Sexual selection on brain size in shorebirds (Charadriiformes). Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 26: 878-888.EnllaçDoi: 10.1111/jeb.12104
Natural selection is considered a major force shaping brain size evolution in vertebrates, whereas the influence of sexual selection remains controversial. On one hand, sexual selection could promote brain enlargement by enhancing cognitive skills needed to compete for mates. On the other hand, sexual selection could favour brain size reduction due to trade-offs between investing in brain tissue and in sexually selected traits. These opposed predictions are mirrored in contradictory relationships between sexual selection proxies and brain size relative to body size. Here, we report a phylogenetic comparative analysis that highlights potential flaws in interpreting relative brain size-mating system associations as effects of sexual selection on brain size in shorebirds (Charadriiformes), a taxonomic group with an outstanding diversity in breeding systems. Considering many ecological effects, relative brain size was not significantly correlated with testis size. In polyandrous species, however, relative brain sizes of males and females were smaller than in monogamous species, and females had smaller brain size than males. Although these findings are consistent with sexual selection reducing brain size, they could also be due to females deserting parental care, which is a common feature of polyandrous species. Furthermore, our analyses suggested that body size evolved faster than brain size, and thus the evolution of body size may be confounding the effect of the mating system on relative brain size. The brain size-mating system association in shorebirds is thus not only due to sexual selection on brain size but rather, to body size evolution and other multiple simultaneous effects. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2013 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.
Gentilesca T., Vieno M., Perks M.P., Borghetti M., Mencuccini M. (2013) Effects of Long-Term Nitrogen Addition and Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition on Carbon Accumulation in Picea sitchensis Plantations. Ecosystems. 16: 1310-1324.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s10021-013-9685-9
This study aimed to assess the combined effects of long-term nitrogen (N) supply and nitrogen deposition (N dep) on carbon (C) accumulation within Sitka spruce [Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.] plantations in Scotland. Six study sites established from 1970 to 1982 were periodically N-fertilized, monitored over time and commonly surveyed in 2010. Soil, aboveground biomass, and ground vegetation C stock changes were analyzed; aboveground C stocks were correlated with total additional N experienced at each site, that is, the sum of experimental N supply (N add) and site-specific accumulated N dep from 1900 to 2010. Results showed a positive N effect on aboveground tree C stock and no decline in tree growth was observed either during fertilization or after the latest N addition. The amount of C in litter was significantly higher in experimentally N-treated plots, whereas the amount of C in understory vegetation was higher in control plots. Pooling all the compartments (that is, understory vegetation, litter, soil, and tree biomass) the total ecosystem C content was estimated for each site, and at most sites a higher C stock was estimated for N-treated plots. Differences in aboveground C accumulation rates between treated and control plots were lower at sites with high levels of accumulated N dep. Our results indicate that site-specific accumulated N dep should be considered to understand tree growth responses to N fertilization. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
González-Moreno P., Pino J., Carreras D., Basnou C., Fernández-Rebollar I., Vilà M. (2013) Quantifying the landscape influence on plant invasions in Mediterranean coastal habitats. Landscape Ecology. 28: 891-903.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s10980-013-9857-1
Landscape pattern might be an important determinant of non-native plant invasions because it encompasses components influencing the availability of non-native plant propagules and disturbance regimes. We aimed at exploring the relative role of patch and landscape characteristics, compared to those of habitat type and regional human influence on non-native plant species richness. For this purpose, we identified all non-native plant species in 295 patches of four coastal habitat types across three administrative regions in NE Spain differing in the degree of human influence. For each patch, we calculated several variables reflecting habitat patch geometry (size and shape), landscape composition (distribution of land-cover categories) and landscape configuration (arrangement of patches). The last two groups of variables were calculated at five different spatial extents. Landscape composition was by far the most important group of variables associated with non-native species richness. Natural areas close to diverse and urban landscapes had a high number of non-native species while surrounding agricultural areas could buffer this effect. Regional human influence was also strongly associated with non-native species richness while habitat type was the least important factor. Differences in sensitivity of landscape variables across spatial extents proved relevant, with 100 m being the most influential extent for most variables. These results suggest that landscape characteristics should be considered for performing explicit spatial risk analyses of plant invasions. Consequently, the management of invaded habitats should focus not only at the stand scale but also at the highly influential neighbouring landscape. Prior to incorporate landscape characteristics into management decisions, sensitivity analyses should be taken into account to avoid inconsistent variables. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
González-Moreno P., Pino J., Gassó N., Vilà M. (2013) Landscape context modulates alien plant invasion in Mediterranean forest edges. Biological Invasions. 15: 547-557.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s10530-012-0306-x
Natural habitats in human-altered landscapes are especially vulnerable to biological invasions, especially in their edges. We aim to understand the influence of landscape and local characteristics on biological invasions by exploring the level of plant invasion and alien species traits in forest edges in highly urbanized landscapes. We identified all plant species in 73 paired plots in the edge and 50 m towards the interior of the forest. We explored the association between alien species richness and similarity in species composition between edge and interior plots with landscape and local variables, using generalized linear models and variance partitioning techniques. Then, we performed Fourth-corner analyses to explore the association between alien plant traits and local and landscape variables. In contrast to native species richness, alien species richness was more affected by the surrounding landscape than by the local characteristics of the edge. Road proximity was positively associated with alien species richness and proportion and was its most important correlate, whereas disturbance was negatively associated with native species richness and was its most influential factor. Alien plant traits were also primarily associated with landscape characteristics. For instance, species of Mediterranean origin and introduced for agriculture were associated with higher agriculture use in the landscape. Our findings suggest that risk analyses of habitat vulnerability to invasion must consider the landscape context in order to successfully predict highly invaded areas and identify potentially successful invaders. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
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