ResearchPad - community-structure https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Large-scale metabarcoding analysis of epipelagic and mesopelagic copepods in the Pacific]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14565 A clear insight into the large-scale community structure of planktonic copepods is critical to understanding the mechanisms controlling diversity and biogeography of marine taxa in terms of their high abundance, ubiquity, and sensitivity to environmental changes. Here, we applied a 28S metabarcoding approach to large-scale communities of epipelagic and mesopelagic copepods at 70 stations across the Pacific Ocean and three stations in the Arctic Ocean. Major patterns of community structure and diversity, influenced by water mass structures, agreed with results from previous morphology-based studies. However, a large-scale metabarcoding approach could detect community changes even under stable environmental conditions, including changes in the north/south subtropical gyres and east/west areas within each subtropical gyre. There were strong effects of the epipelagic environment on mesopelagic communities, and community subdivisions were observed in the environmentally stable mesopelagic layer. In each sampling station, higher operational taxonomic unit (OTU) numbers and lower phylogenetic diversity were observed in the mesopelagic layer than in the epipelagic layer, indicating a recent rapid increase in species numbers in the mesopelagic layer. The phylogenetic analysis utilizing representative sequences of OTUs revealed trends of recent emergence of cold-water OTUs, which are mainly distributed at high latitudes with low water temperatures. Conversely, the high diversity of copepods at low latitudes was suggested to have been formed through long evolution under high water temperature conditions. The metabarcoding results suggest that evolutionary processes have strong impacts on current patterns of copepod diversity, and support the “out of the tropics” theory explaining latitudinal diversity gradients of copepods. Diversity patterns in both epipelagic and mesopelagic copepods was highly correlated to sea surface temperature; thus, predicted global warming may have a significant impact on copepod diversity in both layers.

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<![CDATA[Available energy fluxes drive a transition in the diversity, stability, and functional structure of microbial communities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c63393dd5eed0c484ae62f0

A fundamental goal of microbial ecology is to understand what determines the diversity, stability, and structure of microbial ecosystems. The microbial context poses special conceptual challenges because of the strong mutual influences between the microbes and their chemical environment through the consumption and production of metabolites. By analyzing a generalized consumer resource model that explicitly includes cross-feeding, stochastic colonization, and thermodynamics, we show that complex microbial communities generically exhibit a transition as a function of available energy fluxes from a “resource-limited” regime where community structure and stability is shaped by energetic and metabolic considerations to a diverse regime where the dominant force shaping microbial communities is the overlap between species’ consumption preferences. These two regimes have distinct species abundance patterns, different functional profiles, and respond differently to environmental perturbations. Our model reproduces large-scale ecological patterns observed across multiple experimental settings such as nestedness and differential beta diversity patterns along energy gradients. We discuss the experimental implications of our results and possible connections with disorder-induced phase transitions in statistical physics.

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<![CDATA[Short-term fish predation destroys resilience of zooplankton communities and prevents recovery of phytoplankton control by zooplankton grazing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706772d5eed0c4847c7038

Planktivorous fish predation directly affects zooplankton biomass, community and size structure, and may indirectly induce a trophic cascade to phytoplankton. However, it is not clear how quickly the zooplankton community structure and the cascading effects on phytoplankton recover to the unaffected state (i.e. resilience) once short-term predation by fish stops. The resilience has implications for the ecological quality and restoration measures in aquatic ecosystems. To assess the short-term zooplankton resilience against fish predation, we conducted a mesocosm experiment consisting of 10 enclosures, 6 with fish and 4 without fish. Plankton communities from a natural lake were used to establish phytoplankton and zooplankton in the mesocosms. High biomasses (about 20 g wet mass m-3) of juvenile planktivorous fish (perch, Perca fluviatilis) were allowed to feed on zooplankton in fish enclosures for four days. Thereafter, we removed fish and observed the recovery of the zooplankton community and its cascading effect on trophic interactions in comparison with no fish enclosures for four weeks. Short-term fish predation impaired resilience in zooplankton community by modifying community composition, as large zooplankton, such as calanoids, decreased just after fish predation and did not re-appear afterwards, whereas small cladocerans and rotifers proliferated. Total zooplankton biomass increased quickly within two weeks after fish removal, and at the end even exceeded the biomass measured before fish addition. Despite high biomass, the dominance of small zooplankton released phytoplankton from grazer control in fish enclosures. Accordingly, the zooplankton community did not recover from the effect of fish predation, indicating low short-term resilience. In contrast, in no fish enclosures without predation disturbance, a high zooplankton:phytoplankton biomass ratio accompanied by low phytoplankton yield (Chlorophyll-a:Total phosphorus ratio) reflected phytoplankton control by zooplankton over the experimental period. Comprehensive views on short and long-term resilience of zooplankton communities are essential for restoration and management strategies of aquatic ecosystems to better predict responses to global warming, such as higher densities of planktivorous fish.

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<![CDATA[Plant-soil feedbacks promote coexistence and resilience in multi-species communities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b26b6d5eed0c484289eef

Both ecological theory and empirical evidence suggest that negative frequency dependent feedbacks structure plant communities, but integration of these findings has been limited. Here we develop a generic model of frequency dependent feedback to analyze coexistence and invasibility in random theoretical and real communities for which frequency dependence through plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) was determined empirically. We investigated community stability and invasibility by means of mechanistic analysis of invasion conditions and numerical simulations. We found that communities fall along a spectrum of coexistence types ranging from strict pair-wise negative feedback to strict intransitive networks. Intermediate community structures characterized by partial intransitivity may feature “keystone competitors” which disproportionately influence community stability. Real communities were characterized by stronger negative feedback and higher robustness to species loss than randomly assembled communities. Partial intransitivity became increasingly likely in more diverse communities. The results presented here theoretically explain why more diverse communities are characterized by stronger negative frequency dependent feedbacks, a pattern previously encountered in observational studies. Natural communities are more likely to be maintained by strict negative plant-soil feedback than expected by chance, but our results also show that community stability often depends on partial intransitivity. These results suggest that plant-soil feedbacks can facilitate coexistence in multi-species communities, but that these feedbacks may also initiate cascading effects on community diversity following from single-species loss.

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<![CDATA[Generalizing clusters of similar species as a signature of coexistence under competition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c454d5eed0c4845e8551

Patterns of trait distribution among competing species can potentially reveal the processes that allow them to coexist. It has been recently proposed that competition may drive the spontaneous emergence of niches comprising clusters of similar species, in contrast with the dominant paradigm of greater-than-chance species differences. However, current clustering theory relies largely on heuristic rather than mechanistic models. Furthermore, studies of models incorporating demographic stochasticity and immigration, two key players in community assembly, did not observe clusters. Here we demonstrate clustering under partitioning of resources, partitioning of environmental gradients, and a competition-colonization tradeoff. We show that clusters are robust to demographic stochasticity, and can persist under immigration. While immigration may sustain clusters that are otherwise transient, too much dilutes the pattern. In order to detect and quantify clusters in nature, we introduce and validate metrics which have no free parameters nor require arbitrary trait binning, and weigh species by their abundances rather than relying on a presence-absence count. By generalizing beyond the circumstances where clusters have been observed, our study contributes to establishing them as an update to classical trait patterning theory.

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<![CDATA[Fecal microbiota changes associated with dehorning and castration stress primarily affects light-weight dairy calves]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521839d5eed0c484797843

Gastrointestinal tract (GIT) microbiota and stress can impact animal health. Studies have shown that perturbations in the GIT microbiota can influence host health and productivity by affecting physiological homeostasis, metabolism, hematopoiesis and inflammation. The present study aimed to evaluate possible effects of dehorning and castration stress on the GIT microbiota of dairy calves. Dehorning and castration are routinely performed on over 90% of dairy farms, and analgesics like flunixin meglumine (FLU) are given at the time of these procedures to reduce pain. We analyzed fecal microbiota of 24 weaned male dairy calves at two different stages in their life (at 10 weeks for dehorning and 36 weeks age for castration) to determine any GIT microbiota changes due to these stressful procedures and the FLU treatment. Dehorning was performed using an electrocautery dehorner applied to the horn for 10 seconds, and surgical castration was used as the castration method. Our analysis showed that the Shannon diversity index was significantly higher in animals that were not dehorned compared to dehorned animals. Castration stress also resulted in a significant decrease in Shannon diversity index, which was more pronounced in lower weight calves. Body weight and stress had significant effects on the taxonomic profiles of the GIT microbiota. There was a significant difference in the GIT bacterial community structure between heavy- and light-weight calves at Day 3 after castration but not at Day 0 (prior to castration). Our results indicate that dehorning and castration stress reduced microbial diversity of the GIT microbiota, but only in light-weight calves. This work is important for elucidating biological effects of stress on dairy calves and identifying potential modulation points in the microbiota of these food-producing animals to improve animal health and production.

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<![CDATA[A public health approach to mobilizing community partners for injury prevention: A scoping review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c498d5eed0c4845e89bd

Objectives

Reducing injuries in adults requires work with diverse stakeholders across many sectors and at multiple levels. At the local level, public health professionals need to effectively bring together, facilitate, and support community partners to initiate evidence-based efforts. However, there has been no formal review of the literature to inform how these professionals can best create action among community partners to address injuries in adults. Thus, this scoping review aims to identify theories, models or frameworks that are applicable to a community-based approach to injury prevention.

Methods

Searches of scientific and less formal literature identified 13,756 relevant items published in the English language between 2000 and 2016 in North America, Europe and Australia. After screening and review, 10 publications were included that (1) identified a theory, framework or model related to mobilizing partners; and (2) referred to community-based adult injury prevention

Results

Findings show that use of theories, frameworks and models in community-based injury prevention programs is rare and often undocumented. One theory and various conceptual models and frameworks exist for mobilizing partners to jointly prevent injuries; however, there are few evaluations of the processes to create community action.

Conclusions

Successful community-based injury prevention must build on what is already understood about creating partnership action. Evaluating local public health professional injury prevention practice based on available theories, models and frameworks will identify successes and challenges to inform process improvements. We propose a logic model to more specifically guide and evaluate how public health can work locally with community partners.

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<![CDATA[Effect of ZFN-edited myostatin loss-of-function mutation on gut microbiota in Meishan pigs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c68d5eed0c484bd2230

Intestine contains the body's second largest genetic information, so a relatively stable microbiota ecosystems and interactions between intestinal micro-organisms play a pivotal role in the normal growth and development in animals. The establishment of intestinal microflora is affected by a variety of factors such as species, environmental factors, developmental stage, organizational structure and physiological characteristics of various parts of the digestive tract. Gene editing technology such as ZFN has recently been used as a new approach to replace the traditional transgenic technology and to make genetic modifications in animals. However, it is not known if genetic modification by gene editing technology will have any impact on gut microbiota. In this study, by sequencing 16S rRNA collected from rectum, we investigated the effects of ZFN-mediated myostatin (MSTN) loss-of-function mutation (MSTN-/-) on gut microbiota in Meishan pigs. Our results showed that the fecal microbial composition is very similar between MSTN-/- Meishan pigs and wild type Meishan pigs. Although significant differences in certain individual strains were observed, all the dominant microorganism species are basically the same between MSTN-/- and wild type pigs. However, these differences do not adversely affect MSTN-/- Meishan pigs. Thus, it is concluded that ZFN-mediated MSTN loss-of-function mutation did not have any adverse effect on the gut microbiota in Meishan pigs.

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<![CDATA[Spatial variation in a top marine predator’s diet at two regionally distinct sites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667d2d5eed0c4841a6577

In ecological studies it is often assumed that predator foraging strategies and resource use are geographically and seasonally homogeneous, resulting in relatively static trophic relationships. However, certain centrally placed foragers (e.g. seals) often have terrestrial sites for breeding, resting, and moulting that are geographically distinct, and associated with different habitat types. Therefore, accurate estimations of predator diet at relevant spatial and temporal scales are key to understanding energetic requirements, predator-prey interactions and ecosystem structure. We investigate geographic variation in the diet of grey seals (Halichoerus grypus), a relatively abundant and widely distributed central place forager, to provide insights into geographic variation in resource use. Prey composition was identified using scat samples collected over concurrent timescales and a multivariate approach was used to analyse diet from two contrasting habitats. Regional differences in prey assemblages occurred within all years (2011–2013) and all seasons (ANOSIM, all p<0.05), apart from in winter. Telemetry data were used to identify core foraging areas and habitats most likely associated with scat samples collected at the two haul-out sites. Regional differences in the diet appear to reflect regional differences in the physical habitat features, with seals foraging in deeper waters over sandy substrates showing a higher prevalence of pelagic and bentho-pelagic prey species such as blue whiting and sandeels. Conversely, seals foraging in comparatively shallow waters had a greater contribution of demersal and groundfish species such as cephalopods and flatfish in their diet. We suggest that shallower waters enable seals to spend more time foraging along the benthos while remaining within aerobic dive limits, resulting in more benthic species in the diet. In contrast, the diet of seals hauled-out in areas adjacent to deeper waters indicates that either seals engage in a more pelagic foraging strategy, or that seals can spend less time at the benthos, resulting in comparatively more pelagic prey recovered in the diet. The substantial differences in prey assemblages over a small spatial scale (<300 km) demonstrates the importance of using regionally-specific diet information in ecosystem-based models to better account for different trophic interactions.

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<![CDATA[Enrichment of Verrucomicrobia, Actinobacteria and Burkholderiales drives selection of bacterial community from soil by maize roots in a traditional milpa agroecosystem]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c254508d5eed0c48442bd4d

Milpas are rain-fed agroecosystems involving domesticated, semi-domesticated and tolerated plant species that combine maize with a large variety of other crop, tree or shrub species. Milpas are low input and low-tillage, yet highly productive agroecosystems, which have been maintained over millennia in indigenous communities in Mexico and other countries in Central America. Thus, milpas may retain ancient plant-microorganisms interactions, which could have been lost in modern high-tillage monocultures with large agrochemical input. In this work, we performed high-throughput 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing of soil adjacent to maize roots and bulk soil sampled at 30 cm from the base of the plants. We found that the bacterial communities of maize root soil had a lower alpha diversity, suggesting selection of microorganisms by maize-roots from the bulk-soil community. Beta diversity analysis confirmed that these environments harbor two distinct microbial communities; differences were driven by members of phyla Verrucomicrobia and Actinobacteria, as well as the order Burkholderiales (Betaproteobacteria), all of which had higher relative abundance in soil adjacent to the roots. Numerous studies have shown the influence of maize plants on bacterial communities found in soil attached tightly to the roots; here we further show that the influence of maize roots at milpas on bacterial communities is detectable even in plant-free soil collected nearby. We propose that members of Verrucomicrobia and other phyla found in the rhizosphere may establish beneficial plant-microbe interactions with maize roots in milpas, and propose to address their cultivation for future studies on ecology and potential use.

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<![CDATA[Use of RFID technology to characterize feeder visitations and contact network of hummingbirds in urban habitats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab820d5eed0c484026cd3

Despite the popular use of hummingbird feeders, there are limited studies evaluating the effects of congregation, sharing food resources and increased contact when hummingbirds visit feeders in urban landscapes. To evaluate behavioral interactions occurring at feeders, we tagged 230 individuals of two species, Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds, with passive integrated transponder tags and recorded their visits with RFID transceivers at feeders. For detecting the presence of tagged birds, we developed an RFID equipped feeding station using a commercially available antenna and RFID transceiver. Data recorded included the number of feeder visits, time spent at the feeder, simultaneous feeder visitation by different individuals, and identifying which feeders were most commonly visited by tagged birds. For the study period (September 2016 to March 2018), 118,017 detections were recorded at seven feeding stations located at three California sites. The rate of tagged birds returning to RFID equipped feeders at least once was 61.3% (141/230 birds). Females stayed at feeders longer than males per visit. We identified primary, secondary and tertiary feeders at Sites 2 and 3, according to the frequency of visitation to them, with a mean percentage of 86.9% (SD±19.13) visits to a primary feeder for each tagged hummingbird. During spring and summer, hummingbirds visited feeders most often in morning and evening hours. Feeder visits by males overlapped in time with other males more frequently than other females. The analysis of the contact network at the feeders did not distinguish any significant differences between age or sex. Although most hummingbirds visited the feeders during the daytime, our system recorded night feeder visitations (n = 7 hummingbirds) at one site. This efficient use of RFID technology to characterize feeder visitations and contact networks of hummingbirds in urban habitats could be used in the future to elucidate behaviors, population dynamics and community structure of hummingbirds visiting feeders.

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<![CDATA[A precipitation gradient drives change in macroinvertebrate composition and interactions within bromeliads]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841e0d5eed0c484fcb018

Ecological communities change across spatial and environmental gradients due to (i) changes in species composition, (ii) changes in the frequency or strength of interactions or (iii) changes in the presence of the interactions. Here we use the communities of aquatic invertebrates inhabiting clusters of bromeliad phytotelms along the Brazilian coast as a model system for examining variation in multi-trophic communities. We first document the variation in the species pools of sites across a geographical climate gradient. Using the same sites, we also explored the geographic variation in species interaction strength using a Markov network approach. We found that community composition differed along a gradient of water volume within bromeliads due to the spatial turnover of some species. From the Markov network analysis, we found that the interactions of certain predators differed due to differences in bromeliad water volume. Overall, this study illustrates how a multi-trophic community can change across an environmental gradient through changes in both species and their interactions.

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<![CDATA[Low rank and sparsity constrained method for identifying overlapping functional brain networks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841fad5eed0c484fcb573

Analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data has revealed that brain regions can be grouped into functional brain networks (fBNs) or communities. A community in fMRI analysis signifies a group of brain regions coupled functionally with one another. In neuroimaging, functional connectivity (FC) measure can be utilized to quantify such functionally connected regions for disease diagnosis and hence, signifies the need of devising novel FC estimation methods. In this paper, we propose a novel method of learning FC by constraining its rank and the sum of non-zero coefficients. The underlying idea is that fBNs are sparse and can be embedded in a relatively lower dimension space. In addition, we propose to extract overlapping networks. In many instances, communities are characterized as combinations of disjoint brain regions, although recent studies indicate that brain regions may participate in more than one community. In this paper, large-scale overlapping fBNs are identified on resting state fMRI data by employing non-negative matrix factorization. Our findings support the existence of overlapping brain networks.

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<![CDATA[Impact of Bactrocera oleae on the fungal microbiota of ripe olive drupes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c099458d5eed0c4842aeaa5

The olive fruit fly (OFF), Bactrocera oleae is the most devastating pest affecting olive fruit worldwide. Previous investigations have addressed the fungal microbiome associated with olive drupes or B. oleae, but the impact of the insect on fungal communities of olive fruit remains undescribed. In the present work, the fungal microbiome of olive drupes, infested and non-infested by the OFF, was investigated in four different localities and cultivars. Olive fruit fly infestations caused a general reduction of the fungal diversity, a higher quantity of the total DNA and an increase in taxa that remained unidentified or had unknown roles. The infestations led to imbalanced fungal communities with the growth of taxa that are usually outcompeted. While it was difficult to establish a cause-effect link between fly infestation and specific fungi, it is clear that the fly alters the natural microbial balance, especially the low abundant taxa. On the other hand, the most abundant ones, were not significantly influenced by the insect. In fact, despite the slight variation between the sampling locations, Aureobasidium, Cladosporium, and Alternaria, were the dominant genera, suggesting the existence of a typical olive fungal microbiome.

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<![CDATA[Demographic characteristics of an avian predator, Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla), in response to its aquatic prey in a Central Appalachian USA watershed impacted by shale gas development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c084188d5eed0c484fc9ea9

We related Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) demographic response and nest survival to benthic macroinvertebrate aquatic prey and to shale gas development parameters using models that accounted for both spatial and non-spatial sources of variability in a Central Appalachian USA watershed. In 2013, aquatic prey density and pollution intolerant genera (i.e., pollution tolerance value <4) decreased statistically with increased waterthrush territory length but not in 2014 when territory densities were lower. In general, most demographic responses to aquatic prey were variable and negatively related to aquatic prey in 2013 but positively related in 2014. Competing aquatic prey covariate models to explain nest survival were not statistically significant but differed annually and in general reversed from negative to positive influence on daily survival rate. Potential hydraulic fracturing runoff decreased nest survival both years and was statistically significant in 2014. The EPA Rapid Bioassessment protocol (EPA) and Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) designed for assessing suitability requirements for waterthrush were positively linked to aquatic prey where higher scores increased aquatic prey metrics, but EPA was more strongly linked than HSI and varied annually. While potential hydraulic fracturing runoff in 2013 may have increased Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) richness, in 2014 shale gas territory disturbance decreased EPT richness. In 2014, intolerant genera decreased at the territory and nest level with increased shale gas disturbance suggesting the potential for localized negative effects on waterthrush. Loss of food resources does not seem directly or solely responsible for demographic declines where waterthrush likely were able to meet their foraging needs. However collective evidence suggests there may be a shale gas disturbance threshold at which waterthrush respond negatively to aquatic prey community changes. Density-dependent regulation of their ability to adapt to environmental change through acquisition of additional resources may also alter demographic response.

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<![CDATA[Seasonality modulates the predictive skills of diatom based salinity transfer functions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfdb3a2d5eed0c4845cb072

The value of diatoms as bioindicators in contemporary and palaeolimnological studies through transfer function development has increased in the last decades. While such models represent a tremendous advance in (palaeo) ecology, they leave behind important sources of uncertainties that are often ignored. In the present study we tackle two of the most important sources of uncertainty in the development of diatom salinity inference models: the effect of secondary variables associated to seasonality and the comparison of conventional cross-validation methods with a validation based on independent datasets. Samples (diatoms and environmental variables) were taken in spring, summer and autumn in the freshwater and brackish ditches of the province of North Holland in 1993. Different locations of the same province were sampled again in 2008–2010 to validate the models. We found that the abundance of the dominant species significantly changed between the seasons, leading to inconsistent estimates of species optima and tolerances. A model covering intra-annual variability (all seasons combined) provides averages of species optima and tolerances, reduces the effect of secondary variables due to the seasonality effects, thus providing the strongest relationship between salinity and diatom species. In addition, the ¨all-season¨ model also reduces the edge effects usually found in all unimodal-based calibration methods. While based on cross-validation all four models seem to perform relatively well, a validation with an independent dataset emphasizes the importance of using models covering intra-annual variability to perform realistic reconstructions.

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<![CDATA[Comparison of the upper and lower airway microbiota in children with chronic lung diseases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6da1ac463d7e4dccc5fae9

Rationale

The lower airway microbiota is important in normal immunological development and chronic lung diseases (CLDs). Young children cannot expectorate and because of the uncertainty whether upper airway samples reflect the lower airway microbiota, there have been few longitudinal paediatric studies to date.

Objectives

To assess whether throat swabs (TS) and cough swabs (CS) are representative of the lower airway microbiota.

Methods

TS, CS, bronchoalveolar lavage and bronchial brushings were prospectively collected from 49 children undergoing fibreoptic bronchoscopy for CLDs. Bacterial DNA was extracted and the 16S rRNA gene V4 region sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq.

Results

5.97 million high quality reads were obtained from 168 samples (47 TS, 37 CS, 42 BALF and 42 bronchial brushings). CS sequenced poorly. At a community level, no difference in alpha diversity (richness, evenness or Shannon Diversity Index) was seen between lower airway samples and TS (P > 0.05). Less than 6.31% of beta diversity variation related to sampling method for TS (P = 0.001). Variation between pathologies and individual patients was greater (20%, 54% respectively P ≤ 0.001) than between TS and lower airway samples. There was strong correlation in the relative abundance of genera between samples (r = 0.78, P < 0.001). Similarity between upper and lower airway samples was observed to be less for individuals where one sample type was dominated by a single organism.

Conclusions

At the community structure level, TS correlate with lower airway samples and distinguish between different CLDs. TS may be a useful sample for the study of the differences in longitudinal changes in the respiratory microbiota between different CLDs. Differences are too great however for TS to be used for clinical decision making.

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<![CDATA[Macrobenthic communities in a shallow normoxia to hypoxia gradient in the Humboldt upwelling ecosystem]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b600f87463d7e3af00e5a8c

Hypoxia is one of the most important stressors affecting the health conditions of coastal ecosystems. In highly productive ecosystems such as the Humboldt Current ecosystem, the oxygen minimum zone is an important abiotic factor modulating the structure of benthic communities over the continental shelf. Herein, we study soft-bottom macrobenthic communities along a depth gradient–at 10, 20, 30 and 50 m–for two years to understand how hypoxia affects the structure of shallow communities at two sites in Mejillones Bay (23°S) in northern Chile. We test the hypothesis that, during months with shallow hypoxic zones, community structure will be much more dissimilar, thereby depicting a clear structural gradient with depth and correlated abiotic variables (e.g. organic matter, temperature and salinity). Likewise, during conditions of deeper hypoxic zones, communities will be similar among habitats as they could develop structure via succession in conditions with less stress. Throughout the sampling period (October 2015 to October 2017), the water column was hypoxic (from 2 to 0.5ml/l O2) most of the time, reaching shallow depths of 20 to 10 m. Only one episode of oxygenation was detected in June 2016, where normoxia (>2ml/l O2) reached down to 50 m. The structure of the communities depicted a clear pattern of increasing dissimilarity from shallow normoxic and deep hypoxic habitat. This pattern was persistent throughout time despite the occurrence of an oxygenation episode. Contrasting species abundance and biomass distribution explained the gradient in structure, arguably reflecting variable levels of hypoxia adaptation, i.e. few polychaetes such as Magelona physilia and Paraprionospio pinnata were only located in low oxygen habitats. The multivariable dispersion of community composition as a proxy of beta diversity decreased significantly with depth, suggesting loss of community structure and variability when transitioning from normoxic to hypoxic conditions. Our results show the presence of semi-permanent shallow hypoxia at Mejillones Bay, constraining diverse and more variable communities at a very shallow depth (10–20 m). These results must be considered in the context of the current decline of dissolved oxygen in most oceans and coastal regions and their impact on seabed biota.

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<![CDATA[Ecological Importance of Large-Diameter Trees in a Temperate Mixed-Conifer Forest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab8ab0ee8fa60bad815

Large-diameter trees dominate the structure, dynamics and function of many temperate and tropical forests. Although both scaling theory and competition theory make predictions about the relative composition and spatial patterns of large-diameter trees compared to smaller diameter trees, these predictions are rarely tested. We established a 25.6 ha permanent plot within which we tagged and mapped all trees ≥1 cm dbh, all snags ≥10 cm dbh, and all shrub patches ≥2 m2. We sampled downed woody debris, litter, and duff with line intercept transects. Aboveground live biomass of the 23 woody species was 507.9 Mg/ha, of which 503.8 Mg/ha was trees (SD = 114.3 Mg/ha) and 4.1 Mg/ha was shrubs. Aboveground live and dead biomass was 652.0 Mg/ha. Large-diameter trees comprised 1.4% of individuals but 49.4% of biomass, with biomass dominated by Abies concolor and Pinus lambertiana (93.0% of tree biomass). The large-diameter component dominated the biomass of snags (59.5%) and contributed significantly to that of woody debris (36.6%). Traditional scaling theory was not a good model for either the relationship between tree radii and tree abundance or tree biomass. Spatial patterning of large-diameter trees of the three most abundant species differed from that of small-diameter conspecifics. For A. concolor and P. lambertiana, as well as all trees pooled, large-diameter and small-diameter trees were spatially segregated through inter-tree distances <10 m. Competition alone was insufficient to explain the spatial patterns of large-diameter trees and spatial relationships between large-diameter and small-diameter trees. Long-term observations may reveal regulation of forest biomass and spatial structure by fire, wind, pathogens, and insects in Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forests. Sustaining ecosystem functions such as carbon storage or provision of specialist species habitat will likely require different management strategies when the functions are performed primarily by a few large trees as opposed to many smaller trees.

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<![CDATA[Investigating Differences across Host Species and Scales to Explain the Distribution of the Amphibian Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9faab0ee8fa60b71c3f

Many pathogens infect more than one host species, and clarifying how these different hosts contribute to pathogen dynamics can facilitate the management of pathogens and can lend insight into the functioning of pathogens in ecosystems. In this study, we investigated a suite of native and non-native amphibian hosts of the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) across multiple scales to identify potential mechanisms that may drive infection patterns in the Colorado study system. Specifically, we aimed to determine if: 1) amphibian populations vary in Bd infection across the landscape, 2) amphibian community composition predicts infection (e.g., does the presence or abundance of any particular species influence infection in others?), 3) amphibian species vary in their ability to produce infectious zoospores in a laboratory infection, 4) heterogeneity in host ability observed in the laboratory scales to predict patterns of Bd prevalence in the landscape. We found that non-native North American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) are widespread and have the highest prevalence of Bd infection relative to the other native species in the landscape. Additionally, infection in some native species appears to be related to the density of sympatric L. catesbeianus populations. At the smaller host scale, we found that L. catesbeianus produces more of the infective zoospore stage relative to some native species, but that this zoospore output does not scale to predict infection in sympatric wild populations of native species. Rather, landscape level infection relates most strongly to density of hosts at a wetland as well as abiotic factors. While non-native L. catesbeianus have high levels of Bd infection in the Colorado Front Range system, we also identified Bd infection in a number of native amphibian populations allopatric with L. catesbeianus, suggesting that multiple host species are important contributors to the dynamics of the Bd pathogen in this landscape.

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