Metal exposure influences the melanin and carotenoid-based colorations in great tits

Giraudeau M., Mateos-Gonzalez F., Cotin J., Pagani-Nunez E., Torne-Noguera A., Senar J.C. (2015) Metal exposure influences the melanin and carotenoid-based colorations in great tits. Science of the Total Environment. 532: 512-516.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.06.021

Abstract:

Metals are naturally found in the environment but are also emitted through anthropogenic activities, raising some concerns about the potential deleterious effects of these elements on wildlife. The potential effects of metals on bird coloration have been the focus of several recent studies since animal colored-signals often reflect the physiology of their bearers and are thus used by animals to assess the quality of another individual as a mate or competitor. These studies have shown that the melanin pigmentation seems to be positively associated and the carotenoid-based coloration negatively associated with metal exposure in wild birds. Although these studies have been very useful to show the associations between metal exposure and coloration, only few of them have actually quantified the levels of metal exposure at the individual level; always focusing on one or two of them. Here, we measured the concentrations of eight metals in great tits' feathers and then assessed how these levels of metals were associated with the carotenoid and melanin-based colorations. We found that the melanin pigmentation was positively associated with the copper concentration and negatively correlated with the chromium concentration in feathers. In addition, we have shown that the carotenoid-based coloration was negatively associated with the feather's mercury concentration. This study is the first one to identify some metals that might affect positively and negatively the deposition of melanin and carotenoid into the plumage of wild birds. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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Weak tradeoff between xylem safety and xylem-specific hydraulic efficiency across the world's woody plant species

Gleason S.M., Westoby M., Jansen S., Choat B., Hacke U.G., Pratt R.B., Bhaskar R., Brodribb T.J., Bucci S.J., Cao K.-F., Cochard H., Delzon S., Domec J.-C., Fan Z.-X., Feild T.S., Jacobsen A.L., Johnson D.M., Lens F., Maherali H., Martinez-Vilalta J., Mayr S., Mcculloh K.A., Mencuccini M., Mitchell P.J., Morris H., Nardini A., Pittermann J., Plavcova L., Schreiber S.G., Sperry J.S., Wright I.J., Zanne A.E. (2015) Weak tradeoff between xylem safety and xylem-specific hydraulic efficiency across the world's woody plant species. New Phytologist. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/nph.13646

Abstract:

The evolution of lignified xylem allowed for the efficient transport of water under tension, but also exposed the vascular network to the risk of gas emboli and the spread of gas between xylem conduits, thus impeding sap transport to the leaves. A well-known hypothesis proposes that the safety of xylem (its ability to resist embolism formation and spread) should trade off against xylem efficiency (its capacity to transport water). We tested this safety-efficiency hypothesis in branch xylem across 335 angiosperm and 89 gymnosperm species. Safety was considered at three levels: the xylem water potentials where 12%, 50% and 88% of maximal conductivity are lost. Although correlations between safety and efficiency were weak (r2

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Understanding trophic interactions of Orius spp. (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) in lettuce crops by molecular methods

Gomez-Polo P., Alomar O., Castane C., Aznar-Fernandez T., Lundgren J.G., Pinol J., Agusti N. (2015) Understanding trophic interactions of Orius spp. (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) in lettuce crops by molecular methods. Pest Management Science. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1002/ps.3989

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The aphid Nasonovia ribisnigri (Mosley) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and the thrips Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) are common pests in Mediterranean lettuce crops, where Orius spp. are common generalist predators. Predation by Orius spp. was studied in a lettuce plot by conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real-time PCR analyses using specific primers of both main pests. Also, high-throughput sequencing was used to have a wider approach of the diet of these predators in natural field conditions. RESULTS: Molecular analyses indicated a higher predation on N. ribisnigri in spring and on F. occidentalis in summer. Predation on alternative prey, like Collembola, was also found in both seasons. Real-time PCR was more sensitive than conventional PCR in showing the target trophic links, whereas high-throughput sequencing revealed predation on other natural enemies - intraguild predation (IGP), showing other trophic interactions of Orius majusculus within the studied ecosystem. CONCLUSIONS: This study gives important information about the trophic relationships present in Mediterranean lettuce crops in different periods of the year. The detected predation by Orius spp. on alternative prey, as well as on other natural enemies, should be further investigated to clarify whether it adds or detracts to the biological control of N. ribisnigri and F. occidentalis. © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry.

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Molecular assessment of predation by hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) in Mediterranean lettuce crops

Gomez-Polo P., Alomar O., Castane C., Lundgren J.G., Pinol J., Agusti N. (2015) Molecular assessment of predation by hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) in Mediterranean lettuce crops. Pest Management Science. 71: 1219-1227.
Link
Doi: 10.1002/ps.3910

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) are generalist predators of a great variety of pests. Nasonovia ribisnigri (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) are two common pests in Mediterranean lettuce crops, where they occur alongside alternative prey (e.g. Collembola). A semi-field experiment was conducted in an experimental lettuce plot where hoverfly predation on N. ribisnigri, F. occidentalis and Collembola was studied by conventional PCR and qPCR using specific primers, as well as by next-generation sequencing (NGS) in order to reveal other potential trophic interactions. RESULTS: Trophic linkages between hoverflies and N. ribisnigri were the strongest both in spring and summer. F. occidentalis and Collembolans were also detected in both seasons, but with less frequency. qPCR detected a higher frequency of consumption than conventional PCR when both tests were run at optimal conditions. NGS analyses showed intraguild predation on other hoverfly species, as well as on anthocorids, spiders and even aphid parasitoids. CONCLUSIONS: Conventional PCR and qPCR provided important insights into Mediterranean hoverfly species predation on target pest and non-pest prey. NGS gave a complementary approach revealing a broader diet of these predators within the studied ecosystem. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry.

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Different factors for different causes: Analysis of the spatial aggregations of fire ignitions in catalonia (Spain)

Gonzalez-Olabarria J.R., Mola-Yudego B., Coll L. (2015) Different factors for different causes: Analysis of the spatial aggregations of fire ignitions in catalonia (Spain). Risk Analysis. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/risa.12339

Abstract:

The present study analyzes the effects of different socioeconomic factors on the frequency of fire ignition occurrence, according to different original causes. The data include a set of documented ignition points in the region of Catalonia for the period 1995-2008. The analysis focused on the spatial aggregation patterns of the ignitions for each specific ignition cause. The point-based data on ignitions were interpolated into municipality-level information using kernel methods as the basis for defining five ignition density levels. Afterwards, the combination of socioeconomic factors influencing the ignition density levels of the municipalities was analyzed for each documented cause of ignition using a principal component analysis. The obtained results confirmed the idea that both the spatial aggregation patterns of fire ignitions and the factors defining their occurrence were specific for each of the causes of ignition. Intentional fires and those of unknown origin were found to have similar spatial aggregation patterns, and the presence of high ignition density areas was related to high population and high unemployment rates. Additionally, it was found that fires originated from forest work, agricultural activities, pasture burning, and lightning had a very specific behavior on their own, differing from the similarities found on the spatial aggregation of ignitions originated from smokers, electric lines, machinery, campfires, and those of intentional or unknown origin. © 2015 Society for Risk Analysis.

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Isotopic evidence for the occurrence of biological nitrification and nitrogen deposition processing in forest canopies

Guerrieri R., Vanguelova E.I., Michalski G., Heaton T.H.E., Mencuccini M. (2015) Isotopic evidence for the occurrence of biological nitrification and nitrogen deposition processing in forest canopies. Global Change Biology. 21: 4613-4626.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/gcb.13018

Abstract:

This study examines the role of tree canopies in processing atmospheric nitrogen (Ndep) for four forests in the United Kingdom subjected to different Ndep: Scots pine and beech stands under high Ndep (HN, 13-19 kg N ha-1 yr-1), compared to Scots pine and beech stands under low Ndep (LN, 9 kg N ha-1 yr-1). Changes of NO3-N and NH4-N concentrations in rainfall (RF) and throughfall (TF) together with a quadruple isotope approach, which combines δ18O, Δ17O and δ15N in NO3 - and δ15N in NH4 +, were used to assess N transformations by the canopies. Generally, HN sites showed higher NH4-N and NO3-N concentrations in RF compared to the LN sites. Similar values of δ15N-NO3 - and δ18O in RF suggested similar source of atmospheric NO3 - (i.e. local traffic), while more positive values for δ15N-NH4 + at HN compared to LN likely reflected the contribution of dry NHx deposition from intensive local farming. The isotopic signatures of the N-forms changed after interacting with tree canopies. Indeed, 15N-enriched NH4 + in TF compared to RF at all sites suggested that canopies played an important role in buffering dry Ndep also at the low Ndep site. Using two independent methods, based on δ18O and Δ17O, we quantified for the first time the proportion of NO3 - in TF, which derived from nitrification occurring in tree canopies at the HN site. Specifically, for Scots pine, all the considered isotope approaches detected biological nitrification. By contrast for the beech, only using the mixing model with Δ17O, we were able to depict the occurrence of nitrification within canopies. Our study suggests that tree canopies play an active role in the N cycling within forest ecosystems. Processing of Ndep within canopies should not be neglected and needs further exploration, with the combination of multiple isotope tracers, with particular reference to Δ17O. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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Shifts in indigenous culture relate to forest tree diversity: A case study from the Tsimane', Bolivian Amazon

Gueze M., Luz A.C., Paneque-Galvez J., Macia M.J., Orta-Martinez M., Pino J., Reyes-Garcia V. (2015) Shifts in indigenous culture relate to forest tree diversity: A case study from the Tsimane', Bolivian Amazon. Biological Conservation. 186: 251-259.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.03.026

Abstract:

Understanding how indigenous peoples' management practices relate to biological diversity requires addressing contemporary changes in indigenous peoples' way of life. This study explores the association between cultural change among a Bolivian Amazonian indigenous group, the Tsimane', and tree diversity in forests surrounding their villages. We interviewed 86 informants in six villages about their level of attachment to traditional Tsimane' values, our proxy for cultural change. We estimated tree diversity (Fisher's Alpha index) by inventorying trees in 48 0.1-ha plots in old-growth forests distributed in the territory of the same villages. We used multivariate models to assess the relation between cultural change and alpha tree diversity. Cultural change was associated with alpha tree diversity and the relation showed an inverted U-shape, thus suggesting that tree alpha diversity peaked in villages undergoing intermediate cultural change. Although the results do not allow for testing the direction of the relation, we propose that cultural change relates to tree diversity through the changes in practices and behaviors that affect the traditional ecological knowledge of Tsimane' communities; further research is needed to determine the causality. Our results also find support in the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, and suggest that indigenous management can be seen as an intermediate form of anthropogenic disturbance affecting forest communities in a subtle, non-destructive way. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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Assessing impacts of land abandonment on Mediterranean biodiversity using indicators based on bird and butterfly monitoring data

HERRANDO S., BROTONS L., ANTON M., PARAMO F., VILLERO D., TITEUX N., QUESADA J., STEFANESCU C. (2015) Assessing impacts of land abandonment on Mediterranean biodiversity using indicators based on bird and butterfly monitoring data. Environmental Conservation. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1017/S0376892915000260

Abstract:

In Europe, and particularly in the Mediterranean Basin, the abandonment of traditional land-use practices has been reported as one of the main causes of decline for open-habitat species. Data from large-scale bird and butterfly monitoring schemes in the north-east Iberian Peninsula were used to evaluate the impact that land abandonment has had on local biodiversity. Species’ habitat preferences, along a gradient from open to forest habitats, were significantly related to population trends: for both birds and butterflies, open-habitat species showed the most marked declines while forest species increased moderately. Multi-species indicators for tracking the impact of land abandonment on bird and butterfly populations were developed using habitat preference estimates and population trend indices. The patterns shown by these indicators were in line with the changes occurring in forest cover in the monitoring sites. This study reveals that multi-species indicators based on monitoring data from different taxonomic groups (here, birds and butterflies) may usefully be employed to track impacts of environmental change on biodiversity. Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2015

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Sensitivity of two Iberian lakes to North Atlantic atmospheric circulation modes

Hernandez A., Trigo R.M., Pla-Rabes S., Valero-Garces B.L., Jerez S., Rico-Herrero M., Vega J.C., Jambrina-Enriquez M., Giralt S. (2015) Sensitivity of two Iberian lakes to North Atlantic atmospheric circulation modes. Climate Dynamics. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s00382-015-2547-8

Abstract:

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) exerts a major influence on the climate of the North Atlantic region. However, other atmospheric circulation modes (ACMs), such as the East Atlantic (EA) and Scandinavian (SCAND) patterns, also play significant roles. The dynamics of lakes on the Iberian Peninsula are greatly controlled by climatic parameters, but their relationship with these various ACMs has not been investigated in detail. In this paper, we analyze monthly meteorological and limnological long-term datasets (1950–2011 and 1992–2011, respectively) from two lakes on the northern and central Iberian Peninsula (Sanabria and Las Madres) to develop an understanding of the seasonal sensitivity of these freshwater systems to the NAO, EA and SCAND circulation modes. The limnological variability within Lake Sanabria is primarily controlled by fluctuations in the seasonal precipitation and wind, and the primary ACMs associated with the winter limnological processes are the NAO and the SCAND modes, whereas only the EA mode appears to weakly influence processes during the summer. However, Lake Las Madres is affected by precipitation, wind and, to a lesser extent, temperature, whereas the ACMs have less influence. Therefore, we aim to show that the lakes of the Iberian Peninsula are sensitive to these ACMs. The results presented here indicate that the lake dynamics, in some cases, have a higher sensitivity to variations in the ACMs than single local meteorological variables. However, certain local features, such as geography, lake morphology and anthropic influences, are crucial to properly record the signals of these ACMs. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Arthropods and novel bird habitats: do clear-cuts in spruce plantations provide similar food resources for insectivorous birds compared with farmland habitats?

Hollander F.A., Titeux N., Walsdorff T., Martinage A., Van Dyck H. (2015) Arthropods and novel bird habitats: do clear-cuts in spruce plantations provide similar food resources for insectivorous birds compared with farmland habitats?. Journal of Insect Conservation. 19: 1011-1020.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s10841-015-9817-y

Abstract:

Arthropods, and insects in particular, constitute important food resources for several higher trophic levels like birds. Their abundance and diversity is likely to differ between habitat types depending on the local conditions and resources. This may have important consequences for arthropod consumers that occupy structurally different habitat types. Most bird-focused studies address, however, habitats at the structural, vegetation-based level and disregard the presence of sufficient quantities and qualities of arthropod prey items. Here, we compare the quantity and quality of ground-dwelling and above-ground arthropods as food resources for early-successional birds between two structurally different human-modified habitat types sharing similar bird assemblages: low-intensity farmland areas and plantation forest clear-cut areas in the south of Belgium. Forest clear-cut patches constitute a novel habitat for so-called ‘farmland’ birds. Our results show that arthropod abundance is substantially higher in farmland than in forest clear-cuts, although arthropods are slightly larger in clear-cuts. Higher arthropod abundance is associated with higher ground-level temperature in farmland. Although both habitat types host the same spectrum of arthropod species, forest and farmland management practices induce different conditions for food quantity and, to some extent, food quality for insectivorous birds. We discuss the mechanisms behind the observed pattern of arthropod abundance and the fitness-related consequences of contrasting food availability in farmland and forest clear-cut habitats for early-successional bird species. © 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

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