ResearchPad - ecology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Evaluation of residue management practices on barley residue decomposition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13875 Optimizing barley (hordeum vulgare L.) production in Idaho and other parts of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) should focus on farm resource management. The effect of post-harvest residue management on barley residue decomposition has not been adequately studied. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the effect of residue placement (surface vs. incorporated), residue size (chopped vs. ground-sieved) and soil type (sand and sandy loam) on barley residue decomposition. A 50-day(d) laboratory incubation experiment was conducted at a temperature of 25°C at the Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, Aberdeen, Idaho, USA. Following the study, a Markov-Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) modeling approach was applied to investigate the first-order decay kinetics of barley residue. An accelerated initial flush of residue carbon(C)-mineralization was measured for the sieved (Day 1) compared to chopped (Day 3 to 5) residues for both surface incorporated applications. The highest evolution of carbon dioxide (CO2)-C of 8.3 g kg-1 dry residue was observed on Day 1 from the incorporated-sieved application for both soils. The highest and lowest amount of cumulative CO2-C released and percentage residue decomposed over 50-d was observed for surface-chopped (107 g kg-1 dry residue and 27%, respectively) and incorporated-sieved (69 g kg-1 dry residue and 18%, respectively) residues, respectively. There were no significant differences in C-mineralization from barley residue based on soil type or its interactions with residue placement and size (p >0.05). The largest decay constant k of 0.0083 d-1 was calculated for surface-chopped residue where the predicted half-life was 80 d, which did not differ from surface sieved or incorporated chopped. In contrast, incorporated-sieved treatments only resulted in a k of 0.0054 d-1 and would need an additional 48 d to decompose 50% of the residue. Future residue decomposition studies under field conditions are warranted to verify the residue C-mineralization and its impact on residue management.

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<![CDATA[Crystal structure of <i>Thermus thermophilus</i> methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase and determinants of thermostability]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13865 The elucidation of mechanisms behind the thermostability of proteins is extremely important both from the theoretical and applied perspective. Here we report the crystal structure of methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (MTHFD) from Thermus thermophilus HB8, a thermophilic model organism. Molecular dynamics trajectory analysis of this protein at different temperatures (303 K, 333 K and 363 K) was compared with homologous proteins from the less temperature resistant organism Thermoplasma acidophilum and the mesophilic organism Acinetobacter baumannii using several data reduction techniques like principal component analysis (PCA), residue interaction network (RIN) analysis and rotamer analysis. These methods enabled the determination of important residues for the thermostability of this enzyme. The description of rotamer distributions by Gini coefficients and Kullback–Leibler (KL) divergence both revealed significant correlations with temperature. The emerging view seems to indicate that a static salt bridge/charged residue network plays a fundamental role in the temperature resistance of Thermus thermophilus MTHFD by enhancing both electrostatic interactions and entropic energy dispersion. Furthermore, this analysis uncovered a relationship between residue mutations and evolutionary pressure acting on thermophilic organisms and thus could be of use for the design of future thermostable enzymes.

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<![CDATA[Investigating barriers and challenges to the integrated management of neglected tropical skin diseases in an endemic setting in Nigeria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13828 Community perceptions of causation of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) of the skin may play an important role in access to or utilization of health services. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended empowerment of populations affected by or at risk of NTDs in control interventions. Furthermore, the WHO recommends that social mobilisation needs to be maintained in order to create demand for integrated management of skin NTDs and to address specific community aspects and concerns related to the diseases. There are no studies on community knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) on skin NTDs co-occurring in the same community in Nigeria. We surveyed community members and health workers and also held group discussions with community members, health workers and individuals with lymphatic filariasis and Buruli ulcer in order to assess their understanding of the causes, treatment and effects of the skin NTDs (leprosy, Buruli ulcer and lymphatic filariasis) which were all occurring in the study communities. There was a shared understanding that these NTDs were caused by germ/infection or through witchcraft/curse/poison. Also, a substantial proportion of the community believed that these conditions are not amenable to treatment. The focus group discussions reinforced these findings.

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<![CDATA[Examination of the ocean as a source for atmospheric microplastics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13804 Global plastic litter pollution has been increasing alongside demand since plastic products gained commercial popularity in the 1930’s. Current plastic pollutant research has generally assumed that once plastics enter the ocean they are there to stay, retained permanently within the ocean currents, biota or sediment until eventual deposition on the sea floor or become washed up onto the beach. In contrast to this, we suggest it appears that some plastic particles could be leaving the sea and entering the atmosphere along with sea salt, bacteria, virus’ and algae. This occurs via the process of bubble burst ejection and wave action, for example from strong wind or sea state turbulence. In this manuscript we review evidence from the existing literature which is relevant to this theory and follow this with a pilot study which analyses microplastics (MP) in sea spray. Here we show first evidence of MP particles, analysed by μRaman, in marine boundary layer air samples on the French Atlantic coast during both onshore (average of 2.9MP/m3) and offshore (average of 9.6MP/m3) winds. Notably, during sampling, the convergence of sea breeze meant our samples were dominated by sea spray, increasing our capacity to sample MPs if they were released from the sea. Our results indicate a potential for MPs to be released from the marine environment into the atmosphere by sea-spray giving a globally extrapolated figure of 136000 ton/yr blowing on shore.

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<![CDATA[Diversity and paleoenvironmental implications of an elasmobranch assemblage from the Oligocene–Miocene boundary of Ecuador]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12838 The occurrence and diversity of elasmobranchs from the Oligocene–Miocene boundary from Tropical America is poorly known in comparison with the paleodiversity from younger Neogene intervals of the region. Here we describe a new elasmobranch assemblage from the rich fossil site of Montañita-Olón (Dos Bocas Formation, Santa Elena, Ecuador), where other vertebrates have already been described: for example, sea turtles and cetaceans. We report a total of 27 elasmobranch taxa, 19 of which are new fossil records for Ecuador, 10 new records for the Central Eastern Pacific and four new records for South America. Additionally, in order to reconstruct the environment where these marine remains were deposited, we performed abundance, paleobathymetric and habitat preference analyses, concluding that they were likely deposited in an outer neritic (open shelf) environment. The study of Oligocene and early Miocene marine elasmobranchs faunas in Tropical America is key to addressing the issues in the evolutionary history of this group.

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<![CDATA[Performance in a novel environment subject to ghost competition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12830 A central tenet of the evolutionary theory of communities is that competition impacts evolutionary processes such as local adaptation. Species in a community exert a selection pressure on other species and may drive them to extinction. We know, however, very little about the influence of unsuccessful or ghost species on the evolutionary dynamics within the community.MethodsHere we report the long-term influence of a ghost competitor on the performance of a more successful species using experimental evolution. We transferred the spider mite Tetranychus urticae onto a novel host plant under initial presence or absence of a competing species, the congeneric mite T. ludeni.ResultsThe competitor species, T. ludeni, unintentionally went extinct soon after the start of the experiment, but we nevertheless completed the experiment and found that the early competitive pressure of this ghost competitor positively affected the performance (i.e., fecundity) of the surviving species, T. urticae. This effect on T. urticae lasted for at least 25 generations.DiscussionOur study suggests that early experienced selection pressures can exert a persistent evolutionary signal on species’ performance in novel environments. ]]> <![CDATA[Reassessing the observational evidence for nitrogen deposition impacts in acid grassland: spatial Bayesian linear models indicate small and ambiguous effects on species richness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12822 Nitrogen deposition (Ndep) is considered a significant threat to plant diversity in grassland ecosystems around the world. The evidence supporting this conclusion comes from both observational and experimental research, with “space-for-time” substitution surveys of pollutant gradients a significant portion of the former. However, estimates of regression coefficients for Ndep impacts on species richness, derived with a focus on causal inference, are hard to locate in the observational literature. Some influential observational studies have presented estimates from univariate models, overlooking the effects of omitted variable bias, and/or have used P-value-based stepwise variable selection (PSVS) to infer impacts, a strategy known to be poorly suited to the accurate estimation of regression coefficients. Broad-scale spatial autocorrelation has also generally been unaccounted for. We re-examine two UK observational datasets that have previously been used to investigate the relationship between Ndep and plant species richness in acid grasslands, a much-researched habitat in this context. One of these studies (Stevens et al., 2004, Science, 303: 1876–1879) estimated a large negative impact of Ndep on richness through the use of PSVS; the other reported smaller impacts (Maskell et al., 2010, Global Change Biology, 16: 671–679), but did not explicitly report regression coefficients or partial effects, making the actual size of the estimated Ndep impact difficult to assess. We reanalyse both datasets using a spatial Bayesian linear model estimated using integrated nested Laplace approximation (INLA). Contrary to previous results, we found similar-sized estimates of the Ndep impact on plant richness between studies, both with and without bryophytes, albeit with some disagreement over the most likely direction of this effect. Our analyses suggest that some previous estimates of Ndep impacts on richness from space-for-time substitution studies are likely to have been over-estimated, and that the evidence from observational studies could be fragile when confronted with alternative model specifications, although further work is required to investigate potentially nonlinear responses. Given the growing literature on the use of observational data to estimate the impacts of pollutants on biodiversity, we suggest that a greater focus on clearly reporting important outcomes with associated uncertainty, the use of techniques to account for spatial autocorrelation, and a clearer focus on the aims of a study, whether explanatory or predictive, are all required.

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<![CDATA[Migratory behaviour and survival of Great Egrets after range expansion in Central Europe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12772 Great Egret Ardea alba is one of few Western Palearctic species that underwent a rapid range expansion in the recent decades. Originally breeding in central and eastern Europe, the species has spread in northern (up to the Baltic coast) and western (up to the western France) directions and established viable breeding populations throughout almost entire continent. We monitored one of the first Great Egrets colonies established in Poland to infer migratory patterns and survival rates directly after range expansion. For this purpose, we collected resightings from over 200 Great Egret chicks marked between 2002–2017 in central Poland. Direction of migration was non-random, as birds moved almost exclusively into the western direction. Wintering grounds were located mainly in the western Europe (Germany to France) within 800–950 km from the breeding colony. First-year birds migrated farther than adults. We found some, although relatively weak, support for age-dependent survival of Great Egrets and under the best-fitted capture-recapture model, the estimated annual survival rate of adults was nearly twice higher than for first-year birds (φad = 0.85 ± 0.05 vs. φfy = 0.48 ± 0.15). Annual survival rate under the constant model (no age-related variation) was estimated at φ = 0.81 ± 0.05. Our results suggest that Great Egrets rapidly adapted to novel ecological and environmental conditions during range expansion. We suggest that high survival rate of birds from central Poland and their western direction of migration may facilitate further colonization processes in western Europe.

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<![CDATA[Fear and stressing in predator–prey ecology: considering the twin stressors of predators and people on mammals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12770 Predators induce stress in prey and can have beneficial effects in ecosystems, but can also have negative effects on biodiversity if they are overabundant or have been introduced. The growth of human populations is, at the same time, causing degradation of natural habitats and increasing interaction rates of humans with wildlife, such that conservation management routinely considers the effects of human disturbance as tantamount to or surpassing those of predators. The need to simultaneously manage both of these threats is particularly acute in urban areas that are, increasingly, being recognized as global hotspots of wildlife activity. Pressures from altered predator–prey interactions and human activity may each initiate fear responses in prey species above those that are triggered by natural stressors in ecosystems. If fear responses are experienced by prey at elevated levels, on top of responses to multiple environmental stressors, chronic stress impacts may occur. Despite common knowledge of the negative effects of stress, however, it is rare that stress management is considered in conservation, except in intensive ex situ situations such as in captive breeding facilities or zoos. We propose that mitigation of stress impacts on wildlife is crucial for preserving biodiversity, especially as the value of habitats within urban areas increases. As such, we highlight the need for future studies to consider fear and stress in predator–prey ecology to preserve both biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, especially in areas where human disturbance occurs. We suggest, in particular, that non-invasive in situ investigations of endocrinology and ethology be partnered in conservation planning with surveys of habitat resources to incorporate and reduce the effects of fear and stress on wildlife.

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<![CDATA[Soil water consumption, water use efficiency and winter wheat production in response to nitrogen fertilizer and tillage]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12769 Sustainability of winter wheat yield under dryland conditions depends on improving soil water stored during fallow and its efficient use. A 3-year field experiment was conducted in Loess Plateau to access the effect of tillage and N (nitrogen) rates on soil water, N distribution and water- and nitrogen-use efficiency of winter wheat. Deep tillage (DT, 25–30 cm depth) and no-tillage (NT) were operated during fallow season, whereas four N rates (0, 90, 150 and 210 kg ha−1) were applied before sowing. Rates of N and variable rainfall during summer fallow period led to the difference of soil water storage. Soil water storage at anthesis and maturity was decreased with increasing N rate especially in the year with high precipitation (2014–2015). DT has increased the soil water storage at sowing, N content, numbers of spike, grain number, 1,000 grain weight, grain yield, and water and N use efficiency as compared to NT. Grain yield was significantly and positively related to soil water consumption at sowing to anthesis and anthesis to maturity, total plant N, and water-use efficiency. Our study implies that optimum N rate and deep tillage during the fallow season could improve dryland wheat production by balancing the water consumption and biomass production.

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<![CDATA[Comparative genetic and epigenetic diversity in pairs of sympatric, closely related plants with contrasting distribution ranges in south-eastern Iberian mountains]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12641 Genetic diversity is generally considered the chief determinant of evolutionary change, but epigenetic diversity is now recognized as another layer of heritable variation with potential adaptive consequences. Epigenetic diversity could sometimes (fragmented populations, stressing habitats) alleviate the loss of genetic diversity and provide an ‘evolutionary backup’ mechanism for wild plants. This study compares genetic and epigenetic diversity in seven congeneric species pairs with restricted and widespread distributions in south-eastern Spain. Results suggest that higher epigenetic diversity could alleviate the loss of genetic diversity in some populations of endemic plants, but also other plant features can be essential to understand the relationship between genetic and epigenetic diversities.

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<![CDATA[Stomatal conductance bears no correlation with transpiration rate in wheat during their diurnal variation under high air humidity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11279 A good understanding of the response of photosynthesis rate (PN) and transpiration rate (Tr) to stomatal alteration during the diurnal variations is important to cumulative photosynthetic production and water loss of crops. Six wheat genotypes were studied for 2 years with pot cultivation in rain-shelter. Among different genotypes, stomatal conductance (gs) was significantly correlated with both PN and Tr. But for each genotype, though gs was significantly correlated with PN regardless of relative air humidity (RH) status and it was also significantly correlated with Tr under lower RH (LRH, 15.4%) and moderate RH (MRH, 28.3%), it was not correlated with Tr under higher RH (HRH, 36.7%) during the diurnal changes. The conditional correlation between gs and Tr of wheat evoked new thinking on the relationships among gs, PN and Tr. Path analysis was further carried out to clarify the correlations of gs with the four atmospheric factors, that of Tr with gs and the four factors and the direct and indirect effects of the factors, during their diurnal dynamic variation. The effects of these factors on gs or Tr were related to RH. All the four factors had a much higher correlation with gs under HRH than that under LRH and MRH. Air temperature (T) had a rather higher direct effect than RH and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Also, the other factors had a much higher indirect effect on gs through vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and T. Transpiration rate was highly correlated with gs under LRH and MRH, with gs having a higher direct effect on it. In comparison, Tr was not correlated with gs under HRH but highly correlated with the atmospheric factors, with T, RH, and PAR having a higher indirect effect through VPD.

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<![CDATA[A biological control model to manage the vector and the infection of <i>Xylella fastidiosa</i> on olive trees]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11237 Xylella fastidiosa pauca ST53 is the bacterium responsible for the Olive Quick Decline Syndrome that has killed millions of olive trees in Southern Italy. A recent work demonstrates that a rational integration of vector and transmission control measures, into a strategy based on chemical and physical control means, can manage Xylella fastidiosa invasion and impact below an acceptable economic threshold. In the present study, we propose a biological alternative to the chemical control action, which involves the predetermined use of an available natural enemy of Philaenus spumarius, i.e., Zelus renardii, for adult vector population and infection biocontrol. The paper combines two different approaches: a laboratory experiment to test the predation dynamics of Zelus renardii on Philaenus spumarius and its attitude as candidate for an inundation strategy; a simulated experiment of inundation, to preliminary test the efficacy of such strategy, before eventually proceeding to an in-field experimentation. With this double-fold approach we show that an inundation strategy with Zelus renardii has the potential to furnish an efficient and “green” solution to Xylella fastidiosa invasion, with a reduction of the pathogen incidence below 10%. The biocontrol model presented here could be promising for containing the impact and spread of Xylella fastidiosa, after an in-field validation of the inundation technique. Saving the fruit orchard, the production and the industry in susceptible areas could thus become an attainable goal, within comfortable parameters for sustainability, environmental safety, and effective plant health protection in organic orchard management.

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<![CDATA[Adaptive genetic diversity and evidence of population genetic structure in the endangered Sierra Madre Sparrow (<i>Xenospiza baileyi</i>)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11235 The magnitude and distribution of genetic diversity through space and time can provide useful information relating to evolutionary potential and conservation status in threatened species. In assessing genetic diversity in species that are of conservation concern, several studies have focused on the use of Toll-like receptors (TLRs). TLRs are innate immune genes related to pathogen resistance, and polymorphisms may reflect not only levels of functional diversity, but may also be used to assess genetic diversity within and among populations. Here, we combined four potentially adaptive markers (TLRs) with one mitochondrial (COI) marker to evaluate genetic variation in the endangered Sierra Madre Sparrow (Xenospiza baileyi). This species offers an ideal model to investigate population and evolutionary genetic processes that may be occurring in a habitat restricted endangered species with disjunct populations (Mexico City and Durango), the census sizes of which differ by an order of magnitude. TLRs diversity in the Sierra Madre Sparrow was relatively high, which was not expected given its two small, geographically isolated populations. Genetic diversity was different (but not significantly so) between the two populations, with less diversity seen in the smaller Durango population. Population genetic structure between populations was due to isolation and different selective forces acting on different TLRs; population structure was also evident in COI. Reduction of genetic diversity in COI was observed over 20 years in the Durango population, a result likely caused by habitat loss, a factor which may be the main cause of diversity decline generally. Our results provide information related to the ways in which adaptive variation can be altered by demographic changes due to human-mediated habitat alterations. Furthermore, our findings may help to guide conservation schemes for both populations and their restricted habitat.

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<![CDATA[Stereoscopic optimization of industrial structure of the equipment manufacturing industry from the perspective of collaborative emissions reduction: Evidence from China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11230 Equipment manufacturing industry is one of the major industries of the Chinese economy. Previous researches have revealed that the industry has dilemmas of unreasonable industrial structure and high pollution. Using the data of 30 provinces in 2006-2015 in China, this study calculated a comprehensive pollution indicator when estimating the possible pollution reduction brought by the optimization of industrial structure and then evaluated the reasonable level of capital allocation of provinces and industries by using the methods of nonlinear programming and stochastic frontier method. Under the target of collaborative emission reduction, the results show that the optimized output of China’s equipment manufacturing industry could be increased by 5.42%, the energy intensity could be reduced by about 10.4%, and the comprehensive emission intensity could be reduced by about 7.47%. Due to the industry heterogeneity and regional heterogeneity, industrial capacity should be transferred between industries and regions. Since the capital investment in the equipment manufacturing industry is significantly mismatched between industries and regions, the capital allocation of provincial industries in China needs to be adjusted properly. This study provides theoretically and practically reference for collaborative pollution reduction, industry restructure, spatial layout and capital investment, which contributes to achieving the stereoscopic optimization of equipment manufacturing industry.

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<![CDATA[Extending thermotolerance to tomato seedlings by inoculation with SA1 isolate of <i>Bacillus cereus</i> and comparison with exogenous humic acid application]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11229 Heat stress is one of the major abiotic stresses that impair plant growth and crop productivity. Plant growth-promoting endophytic bacteria (PGPEB) and humic acid (HA) are used as bio-stimulants and ecofriendly approaches to improve agriculture crop production and counteract the negative effects of heat stress. Current study aimed to analyze the effect of thermotolerant SA1 an isolate of Bacillus cereus and HA on tomato seedlings. The results showed that combine application of SA1+HA significantly improved the biomass and chlorophyll fluorescence of tomato plants under normal and heat stress conditions. Heat stress increased abscisic acid (ABA) and reduced salicylic acid (SA) content; however, combined application of SA1+HA markedly reduced ABA and increased SA. Antioxidant enzymes activities revealed that SA1 and HA treated plants exhibited increased levels of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and reduced glutathione (GSH). In addition, heat stress markedly reduced the amino acid contents; however, the amino acids were increased with co-application of SA1+HA. Similarly, inductively-coupled plasma mass-spectrometry results showed that plants treated with SA1+HA exhibited significantly higher iron (Fe+), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K+) uptake during heat stress. Heat stress increased the relative expression of SlWRKY33b and autophagy-related (SlATG5) genes, whereas co-application of SA1+HA augmented the heat stress response and reduced SlWRKY33b and SlATG5 expression. The heat stress-responsive transcription factor (SlHsfA1a) and high-affinity potassium transporter (SlHKT1) were upregulated in SA1+HA-treated plants. In conclusion, current findings suggest that co-application with SA1+HA can be used for the mitigation of heat stress damage in tomato plants and can be commercialized as a biofertilizer.

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<![CDATA[Subterranean biodiversity and depth distribution of myriapods in forested scree slopes of Central Europe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_9853 The shallow underground of rock debris is a unique animal refuge. Nevertheless, the research of this habitat lags far behind the study of caves and soil, due to technical and time-consuming demands. Data on in scree habitat from eleven localities in seven different geomorphological units of the Czech and Slovak Republics were processed. Based on previous studies, as well as knowledge of cave and soil fauna, it was hypothesised that the occurrence of a varied and peculiar fauna would show a pattern of depth distribution with variations due to local specificities. From 2005–2016 (at least one year on each site), macrofauna was collected via sets of three long-term exposed subterranean traps consisting of 110 cm long perforated tube, with ten cups located in a gradient at 5–95 cm below the soil surface. In total, 14 symphylans (not identified to species level), 271 centipedes (23 spp.) and 572 millipedes (32 spp.) were sampled. The overall depth distribution of centipedes and millipedes appeared to have relatively similar pattern, with both groups being found at all depth levels. Nevertheless, this pattern depends on locations. The depth distribution trend lines are mostly in the form of an asymmetric ‘U’, with decreased abundance until the middle of the gradient, followed by increase in the deepest levels. Epigeic species were sporadically distributed along the whole depth gradient, but concentrated at the soil surface, while some subterranean species, such as the centipede and the millipedes , and , were recorded in the deepest parts of the gradient. This characterises the debris community as a mixture of soil and subterranean species with an absence of species exclusively found in caves. The use of different fixation methods in traps had a significant and selective impact on samples; millipedes were either attracted by ethylene glycol or repelled by formaldehyde. Centipedes were also captured more frequently in ethylene glycol; however, the species composition varied in each of the fixatives. Depth distribution of myriapods was similar in both fixative solutions. Traps with these fixatives could be recommended for similar ecological studies.

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<![CDATA[Coexisting attractors in the context of cross-scale population dynamics: measles in London as a case study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_9535 Patterns of measles infection in large urban populations have long been considered the paradigm of synchronized nonlinear dynamics. Indeed, recurrent epidemics appear approximately mass-action despite underlying heterogeneity. However, using a subset of rich, newly digitized mortality data (1897–1906), we challenge that proposition. We find that sub-regions of London exhibited a mixture of simultaneous annual and biennial dynamics, while the aggregate city-level dynamics appears firmly annual. Using a simple stochastic epidemic model and maximum-likelihood inference methods, we show that we can capture this observed variation in periodicity. We identify agreement between theory and data, indicating that both changes in periodicity and epidemic coupling between regions can follow relatively simple rules; in particular we find local variation in seasonality drives periodicity. Our analysis underlines that multiple attractors can coexist in a strongly mixed population and follow theoretical predictions.

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<![CDATA[Composition and Natural History of Snakes from Etá Farm region, Sete Barras, south-eastern Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8995 Approximately 140 snake species are known to occur in the Atlantic Forest with nearly half being endemic to this ecoregion. However, the Atlantic forest is one of the most threatened tropical ecoregions, with only 16% of its original area remaining as forest. This extensive habitat loss must have had a negative effect on its snake fauna. Indeed, 53% of the threatened snakes of Brazil occur in the Atlantic forest. Therefore, basic natural history information that can potentially contribute to the conservation of Atlantic forest snakes are urgently needed. Here the natural history of a snake assemblage at Etá Farm region, Sete Barras municipality, south-eastern Brazil is described, and a visual guide and an identification key provided that can be used by researchers and local people to identify snakes from this region. Most of the species found in the field use both open areas and forests, are primarily terrestrial, present diurnal activity, and include frogs in their diet. A higher number of enlarged follicles, eggs, and/or embryos were recorded during the warm and rainy season. Seventeen different types of defensive tactics were recorded in the species found in the field. This study provides useful information for understanding the structure of snake assemblages of the Atlantic Forest and is potentially useful for conservation assessments and for designing conservation plans.

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<![CDATA[Sustainability management of short-lived freshwater fish in human-altered ecosystems should focus on adult survival]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7859 Fish populations globally are susceptible to endangerment through exploitation and habitat loss. We present theoretical simulations to explore how reduced adult survival (age truncation) might affect short-lived freshwater fish species in human-altered contemporary environments. Our simulations evaluate two hypothetical "average fish" and five example fish species of age 1 or age 2 maturity. From a population equilibrium baseline representing a natural, unaltered environment we impose systematic reductions in adult survival and quantify how age truncation affects the causes of variation in population growth rate. We estimate the relative contributions to population growth rate arising from simulated temporal variation in age-specific vital rates and population structure. At equilibrium and irrespective of example species, population structure (first adult age class) and survival probability of the first two adult age classes are the most important determinants of population growth. As adult survival decreases, the first reproductive age class becomes increasingly important to variation in population growth. All simulated examples show the same general pattern of change with age truncation as known for exploited, longer-lived fish species in marine and freshwater environments. This implies age truncation is a general potential concern for fish biodiversity across life history strategies and ecosystems. Managers of short-lived, freshwater fishes in contemporary environments often focus on supporting reproduction to ensure population persistence. However, a strong focus on water management to support reproduction may reduce adult survival. Sustainability management needs a focus on mitigating adult mortality in human-altered ecosystems. A watershed spatial extent embracing land and water uses may be necessary to identify and mitigate causes of age truncation in freshwater species. Achieving higher adult survival will require paradigm transformations in society and government about water management priorities.

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