ResearchPad - lakes https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Democratizing water monitoring: Implementation of a community-based qPCR monitoring program for recreational water hazards]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14486 Recreational water monitoring can be challenging due to the highly variable nature of pathogens and indicator concentrations, the myriad of potential biological hazards to measure for, and numerous access points, both official and unofficial, that are used for recreation. The aim of this study was to develop, deploy, and assess the effectiveness of a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) community-based monitoring (CBM) program for the assessment of bacterial and parasitic hazards in recreational water. This study developed methodologies for performing qPCR ‘in the field,’ then engaged with water management and monitoring groups and tested the method in a real-world implementation study to evaluate the accuracy of CBM using qPCR both quantitatively and qualitatively. This study found high reproducibility between qPCR results performed by non-expert field users and expert laboratory results, suggesting that qPCR as a methodology could be amenable to a CBM program.

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<![CDATA[Parallelism in eco-morphology and gene expression despite variable evolutionary and genomic backgrounds in a Holarctic fish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4fc7d71e-6de4-4251-8df9-22327ccf5952

Understanding the extent to which ecological divergence is repeatable is essential for predicting responses of biodiversity to environmental change. Here we test the predictability of evolution, from genotype to phenotype, by studying parallel evolution in a salmonid fish, Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), across eleven replicate sympatric ecotype pairs (benthivorous-planktivorous and planktivorous-piscivorous) and two evolutionary lineages. We found considerable variability in eco-morphological divergence, with several traits related to foraging (eye diameter, pectoral fin length) being highly parallel even across lineages. This suggests repeated and predictable adaptation to environment. Consistent with ancestral genetic variation, hundreds of loci were associated with ecotype divergence within lineages of which eight were shared across lineages. This shared genetic variation was maintained despite variation in evolutionary histories, ranging from postglacial divergence in sympatry (ca. 10-15kya) to pre-glacial divergence (ca. 20-40kya) with postglacial secondary contact. Transcriptome-wide gene expression (44,102 genes) was highly parallel across replicates, involved biological processes characteristic of ecotype morphology and physiology, and revealed parallelism at the level of regulatory networks. This expression divergence was not only plastic but in part genetically controlled by parallel cis-eQTL. Lastly, we found that the magnitude of phenotypic divergence was largely correlated with the genetic differentiation and gene expression divergence. In contrast, the direction of phenotypic change was mostly determined by the interplay of adaptive genetic variation, gene expression, and ecosystem size. Ecosystem size further explained variation in putatively adaptive, ecotype-associated genomic patterns within and across lineages, highlighting the role of environmental variation and stochasticity in parallel evolution. Together, our findings demonstrate the parallel evolution of eco-morphology and gene expression within and across evolutionary lineages, which is controlled by the interplay of environmental stochasticity and evolutionary contingencies, largely overcoming variable evolutionary histories and genomic backgrounds.

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<![CDATA[Lake-depth related pattern of genetic and morphological diatom diversity in boreal Lake Bolshoe Toko, Eastern Siberia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3e538c26-938b-46fc-81d6-ffac689cc377

Large, old and heterogenous lake systems are valuable sources of biodiversity. The analysis of current spatial variability within such lakes increases our understanding of the origin and establishment of biodiversity. The environmental sensitivity and the high taxonomic richness of diatoms make them ideal organisms to investigate intra-lake variability. We investigated modern intra-lake diatom diversity in the large and old sub-arctic Lake Bolshoe Toko in Siberia. Our study uses diatom-specific metabarcoding, applying a short rbcL marker combined with next-generation sequencing and morphological identification to analyse the diatom diversity in modern sediment samples of 17 intra-lake sites. We analysed abundance-based compositional taxonomic diversity and generic phylogenetic diversity to investigate the relationship of diatom diversity changes with water depth. The two approaches show differences in taxonomic identification and alpha diversity, revealing a generally higher diversity with the genetic approach. With respect to beta diversity and ordination analyses, both approaches result in similar patterns. Water depth or related lake environmental conditions are significant factors influencing intra-lake diatom patterns, showing many significant negative correlations between alpha and beta diversity and water depth. Further, one near-shore and two lagoon lake sites characterized by low (0-10m) and medium (10-30m) water depth are unusual with unique taxonomic compositions. At deeper (>30m) water sites we identified strongest phylogenetic clustering in Aulacoseira, but generally much less in Staurosira, which supports that water depth is a strong environmental filter on the Aulacoseira communities. Our study demonstrates the utility of combining analyses of genetic and morphological as well as phylogenetic diversity to decipher compositional and generic phylogenetic patterns, which are relevant in understanding intra-lake heterogeneity as a source of biodiversity in the sub-arctic glacial Lake Bolshoe Toko.

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<![CDATA[How “simple” methodological decisions affect interpretation of population structure based on reduced representation library DNA sequencing: A case study using the lake whitefish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3bb2bc39-24d6-4fe3-98ed-f97dea058c57

Reduced representation (RRL) sequencing approaches (e.g., RADSeq, genotyping by sequencing) require decisions about how much to invest in genome coverage and sequencing depth, as well as choices of values for adjustable bioinformatics parameters. To empirically explore the importance of these “simple” methodological decisions, we generated two independent sequencing libraries for the same 142 individual lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) using a nextRAD RRL approach: (1) a larger number of loci at low sequencing depth based on a 9mer (library A); and (2) fewer loci at higher sequencing depth based on a 10mer (library B). The fish were selected from populations with different levels of expected genetic subdivision. Each library was analyzed using the STACKS pipeline followed by three types of population structure assessment (FST, DAPC and ADMIXTURE) with iterative increases in the stringency of sequencing depth and missing data requirements, as well as more specific a priori population maps. Library B was always able to resolve strong population differentiation in all three types of assessment regardless of the selected parameters, largely due to retention of more loci in analyses. In contrast, library A produced more variable results; increasing the minimum sequencing depth threshold (-m) resulted in a reduced number of retained loci, and therefore lost resolution at high -m values for FST and ADMIXTURE, but not DAPC. When detecting fine population differentiation, the population map influenced the number of loci and missing data, which generated artefacts in all downstream analyses tested. Similarly, when examining fine scale population subdivision, library B was robust to changing parameters but library A lost resolution depending on the parameter set. We used library B to examine actual subdivision in our study populations. All three types of analysis found complete subdivision among populations in Lake Huron, ON and Dore Lake, SK, Canada using 10,640 SNP loci. Weak population subdivision was detected in Lake Huron with fish from sites in the north-west, Search Bay, North Point and Hammond Bay, showing slight differentiation. Overall, we show that apparently simple decisions about library construction and bioinformatics parameters can have important impacts on the interpretation of population subdivision. Although potentially more costly on a per-locus basis, early investment in striking a balance between the number of loci and sequencing effort is well worth the reduced genomic coverage for population genetics studies. More conservative stringency settings on STACKS parameters lead to a final dataset that was more consistent and robust when examining both weak and strong population differentiation. Overall, we recommend that researchers approach “simple” methodological decisions with caution, especially when working on non-model species for the first time.

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<![CDATA[Reproductive life-history strategies in a species-rich assemblage of Amazonian electric fishes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N810c6abb-a507-4d5b-89ae-f4ccddeb69e1

The reproductive biology of only a small fraction of Neotropical freshwater fishes has been described, and detailed comparative studies of reproductive life-history variation in the Neotropical ichthyofauna are lacking. Here we describe interspecific variation in reproductive life history for a multi-species assemblage of the electric knifefish genus Brachyhypopomus (Hypopomidae: Gymnotiformes: Ostariophysi) from Amazonian floodplain and terra firme stream systems. During a year-round quantitative sampling program, we collected and measured key life-history traits from 3,410 individuals. Based on oocyte size distributions, and on circannual variation in gonadosomatic indices, hepatosomatic indices, and capture-per-unit-effort abundance of reproductive adults, we concluded that all species exhibit a single protracted annual breeding season during which females spawn fractionally. We found small clusters of post-larval individuals in one floodplain species and one terra firme stream species, but no signs of parental care. From analyses of body size-frequency distributions and otolith growth increments, we concluded that five species in our study area have approximately one-year (annual) semelparous life history with a single reproductive period followed by death, while two species have a two-year iteroparous life history, with breeding in both year-groups. Despite predictions from life-history theory we found no salient correlations between life history strategy (semelparity or iteroparity) and habitat occupancy (floodplain or terra firme stream). In the iteroparous species B. beebei, we documented evidence for reproductive restraint in the first breeding season relative to the second breeding season and argue that this is consistent with age-regulated terminal investment.

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<![CDATA[A low-cost, autonomous mobile platform for limnological investigations, supported by high-resolution mesoscale airborne imagery]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1526d5eed0c48467ae54

Two complementary measurement systems—built upon an autonomous floating craft and a tethered balloon—for lake research and monitoring are presented. The autonomous vehicle was assembled on a catamaran for stability, and is capable of handling a variety of instrumentation for in situ and near-surface measurements. The catamaran hulls, each equipped with a small electric motor, support rigid decks for arranging equipment. An electric generator provides full autonomy for about 8 h. The modular power supply and instrumentation data management systems are housed in two boxes, which enable rapid setup. Due to legal restrictions in Switzerland (where the craft is routinely used), the platform must be observed from an accompanying boat while in operation. Nevertheless, the control system permits fully autonomous operation, with motion controlled by speed settings and waypoints, as well as obstacle detection. On-board instrumentation is connected to a central hub for data storage, with real-time monitoring of measurements from the accompanying boat. Measurements from the floating platform are complemented by mesoscale imaging from an instrument package attached to a He-filled balloon. The aerial package records thermal and RGB imagery, and transmits it in real-time to a ground station. The balloon can be tethered to the autonomous catamaran or to the accompanying boat. Missions can be modified according to imagery and/or catamaran measurements. Illustrative results showing the surface thermal variations of Lake Geneva demonstrate the versatility of the combined floating platform/balloon imagery system setup for limnological investigations.

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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[Sediment potentially controls in-lake phosphorus cycling and harmful cyanobacteria in shallow, eutrophic Utah Lake]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1536d5eed0c48467aed8

Lakes worldwide are impacted by eutrophication and harmful algal or cyanobacteria blooms (HABs) due to excessive nutrients, including legacy P released from sediments in shallow lakes. Utah Lake (northern Utah, USA) is a shallow lake with urban development primarily on the east side of the watershed, providing an opportunity to evaluate HABs in relation to a gradient of legacy sediment P. In this study, we investigated sediment composition and P concentrations in sediment, pore water, and the water column in relation to blooms of harmful cyanobacteria species. Sediments on the east side of the lake had P concentrations up to 1710 mg/kg, corresponding to elevated P concentrations in pore water (up to 10.8 mg/L) and overlying water column (up to 1.7 mg/L). Sediment P concentrations were positively correlated with Fe2O3, CaO, and organic matter abundance, and inversely correlated with SiO2, demonstrating the importance of sediment composition for P sorption and mineral precipitation. Although the sediment contained <3% Fe2O3 by weight, approximately half of the sediment P was associated with redox-sensitive Fe oxide/hydroxide minerals that could be released to the water column under reducing conditions. Cyanobacteria cell counts indicate that blooms of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and Dolichospermum flosaquae species tend to occur on the east side of Utah Lake, corresponding to areas with elevated P concentrations in the sediment, pore water, and water column. Our findings suggest that shallow lake eutrophication may be a function of P in legacy sediments that contribute to observed HABs in specific locations of shallow lakes.

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<![CDATA[Iron influence on dissolved color in lakes of the Upper Great Lakes States]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9b9d5eed0c48452a0ba

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), a major component of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool in many lakes, is an important controlling factor in lake ecosystem functioning. Absorption coefficients at 440 nm (a440, m-1), a common measure of CDOM, exhibited strong associations with dissolved iron (Fediss) and DOC in 280 lakes of the Upper Great Lakes States (UGLS: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan), as has been found in Scandinavia and elsewhere. Linear regressions between the three variables on UGLS lake data typically yielded R2 values of 0.6–0.9, suggesting that some underlying common processes influence organic matter and Fediss. Statistical and experimental evidence, however, supports only a minor role for iron contributions to a440 in UGLS lakes. Although both DOC and Fediss were significant variables in linear and log-log regressions on a440, DOC was the stronger predictor; adding Fediss to the linear a440-DOC model improved the R2 only from 0.90 to 0.93. Furthermore, experimental additions of FeIII to colored lake waters had only small effects on a440 (average increase of 0.242 m-1 per 100 μg/L of added FeIII). For 136 visibly stained waters (with a440 > 3.0 m-1), where allochthonous DOM predominates, DOM accounted for 92.3 ± 5.0% of the measured a440 values, and Fediss accounted for the remainder. In 75% of the lakes, Fediss accounted for < 10% of a440, but contributions of 15–30% were observed for 7 river-influenced lakes. Contributions of Fediss in UGLS lakes to specific UV absorbance at 254 nm (SUVA254) generally were also low. Although Fediss accounted for 5–10% of measured SUVA254 in a few samples, on average, 98.1% of the SUVA254 signal was attributable to DOM and only 1.9% to Fediss. DOC predictions from measured a440 were nearly identical to those from a440 corrected to remove Fediss contributions. Overall, variations in Fediss in most UGLS lakes have very small effects on CDOM optical properties, such as a440 and SUVA254, and negligible effects on the accuracy of DOC estimated from a440, data for which can be obtained at broad regional scales by remote sensing methods.

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<![CDATA[Environmental DNA metabarcoding for fish community analysis in backwater lakes: A comparison of capture methods]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca318d5eed0c48441f14d

The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) methods for community analysis has recently been developed. High-throughput parallel DNA sequencing (HTS), called eDNA metabarcoding, has been increasingly used in eDNA studies to examine multiple species. However, eDNA metabarcoding methodology requires validation based on traditional methods in all natural ecosystems before a reliable method can be established. To date, relatively few studies have performed eDNA metabarcoding of fishes in aquatic environments where fish communities were intensively surveyed using multiple traditional methods. Here, we have compared fish communities’ data from eDNA metabarcoding with seven conventional multiple capture methods in 31 backwater lakes in Hokkaido, Japan. We found that capture and field surveys of fishes were often interrupted by macrophytes and muddy sediments in the 31 lakes. We sampled 1 L of the surface water and analyzed eDNA using HTS. We also surveyed the fish communities using seven different capture methods, including various types of nets and electrofishing. At some sites, we could not detect any eDNA, presumably because of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inhibition. We also detected the marine fish species as sewage-derived eDNA. Comparisons of eDNA metabarcoding and capture methods showed that the detected fish communities were similar between the two methods, with an overlap of 70%. Thus, our study suggests that to detect fish communities in backwater lakes, the performance of eDNA metabarcoding with the use of 1 L surface water sampling is similar to that of capturing methods. Therefore, eDNA metabarcoding can be used for fish community analysis but environmental factors that can cause PCR inhibition, should be considered in eDNA applications.

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<![CDATA[Development and validation of probe-based multiplex real-time PCR assays for the rapid and accurate detection of freshwater fish species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52d9d5eed0c4842bd127

Reliable species identification methods are important for industrial environmental monitoring programs. Probe based real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) provides an accurate, cost-effective and high-throughput method for species identification. Here we present the development and validation of species-specific primers and probes for the cytochrome c oxidase (COI) gene for the identification of eight ecologically and economically important freshwater fish species: lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum), spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius) and deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii). In order to identify novel primer-probe sets with maximum species-specificity, two separate primer-probe design criteria were employed. Highest ranked primer-probe sets from both methods were assayed to identify sequences that demonstrated highest specificity. Specificity was determined using control species from same genus and non-target species from different genus. Selected primer-probe sets were optimized for annealing temperature and primer-probe concentrations to identify minimum reagent parameters. The selected primer-probe sets were highly sensitive, with DNA concentrations as low as 1 ng adequate for positive species identification. A decoder algorithm was developed based on the cumulative qPCR results that allowed for full automation of species identification. Blinded experiments revealed that the combination of the species-specific primer/probes sets with the automated species decoder resulted in target species identification with 100% accuracy. We also conducted a cost/time comparison analysis between the qPCR assays established in this study with other species identification methods. The qPCR technique was the most cost-effective and least time consuming method of species identification. In summary, probe-based multiplex qPCR assays provide a rapid and accurate method for freshwater fish species identification, and the methodology established in this study can be utilized for various other species identification initiatives.

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<![CDATA[Low use of long-lasting insecticidal nets for malaria prevention in south-central Ethiopia: A community-based cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7a4d5eed0c4843864fc

Introduction

A decline in malaria morbidity and mortality has been documented in Ethiopia since 2005 following a scale-up of the distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs). However, universal access to LLINs ownership and use has not yet been achieved. This study aimed to determine ownership and use of LLINs over time in south-central Ethiopia.

Methods

A cohort of 17,142 individuals residing in 3,006 households was followed-up from October 2014 to January 2017 (121 weeks). New PermaNet2.0 LLINs were given to households in October 2014. Once per week, the LLIN use status was documented for each individual. A survey was conducted after 110 weeks of LLIN distribution to determine LLIN ownership. A multilevel negative binomial regression model was fitted to identify significant predictors of LLIN use.

Results

At baseline, the LLIN ownership was 100%. After 110 weeks only 233 (8%) of the households owned at least one LLIN. The median proportion of LLIN use per individuals during the study period was only 14%. During the first year (week 1–52) the average LLIN use per individuals was 36% and during the second year (week 53–104) it was 4.6%. More frequent LLIN use was reported among age group [5–14 years (adjusted IRR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.04–1.22), 15–24 years (adjusted IRR = 1.33, 95% CI 1.23–1.45), ≥25 years (adjusted IRR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.83–2.17)] compared to <5 years, and household head educational status [read and write (adjusted IRR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.09–1.26), primary (adjusted IRR = 1.20, 95% CI 1.12–1.27), secondary or above (adjusted IRR = 1.20, 95% CI (1.11–1.30)] compared to illiterate. Having a family size of over five persons (adjusted IRR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.73–0.84) was associated with less frequent use of LLINs compared to a family size of ≤5 persons.

Conclusions

The study showed a low LLIN ownership after 110 weeks and a low LLIN use during 121 weeks of follow-up, despite 100% LLIN coverage at baseline. The study highlights the need to design strategies to increase LLIN ownership and use for setting similar to those studied here.

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<![CDATA[Mapping and quantification of ferruginous outcrop savannas in the Brazilian Amazon: A challenge for biodiversity conservation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c605a76d5eed0c4847cd001

The eastern Brazilian Amazon contains many isolated ferruginous savanna ecosystem patches (locally known as ‘canga vegetation’) located on ironstone rocky outcrops on the top of plateaus and ridges, surrounded by tropical rainforests. In the Carajás Mineral Province (CMP), these outcrops contain large iron ore reserves that have been exploited by opencast mining since the 1980s. The canga vegetation is particularly impacted by mining, since the iron ores that occur are associated with this type of vegetation and currently, little is known regarding the extent of canga vegetation patches before mining activities began. This information is important for quantifying the impact of mining, in addition to helping plan conservation programmes. Here, land cover changes of the Canga area in the CMP are evaluated by estimating the pre-mining area of canga patches and comparing it to the actual extent of canga patches. We mapped canga vegetation using geographic object-based image analysis (GEOBIA) from 1973 Landsat-1 MSS, 1984 and 2001 Landsat-5 TM, and 2016 Landsat-8 OLI images, and found that canga vegetation originally occupied an area of 144.2 km2 before mining exploitation. By 2016, 19.6% of the canga area was lost in the CMP due to conversion to other land-use types (mining areas, pasturelands). In the Carajás National Forest (CNF), located within the CMP, the original canga vegetation covered 105.2 km2 (2.55% of the CNF total area), and in 2016, canga vegetation occupied an area of 77.2 km2 (1.87%). Therefore, after more than three decades of mineral exploitation, less than 20% of the total canga area was lost. Currently, 21% of the canga area in the CMP is protected by the Campos Ferruginosos National Park. By documenting the initial extent of canga vegetation in the eastern Amazon and the extent to which it has been lost due to mining operations, the results of this work are the first step towards conserving this ecosystem.

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<![CDATA[Modeling effects of crop production, energy development and conservation-grassland loss on avian habitat]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5dad5eed0c484ca9576

Birds are essential components of most ecosystems and provide many services valued by society. However, many populations have undergone striking declines as their habitats have been lost or degraded by human activities. Terrestrial grasslands are vital habitat for birds in the North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR), but grassland conversion and fragmentation from agriculture and energy-production activities have destroyed or degraded millions of hectares. Conservation grasslands can provide alternate habitat. In the United States, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the largest program maintaining conservation grasslands on agricultural lands, but conservation grasslands in the PPR have declined by over 1 million ha since the program’s zenith in 2007. We used an ecosystem-services model (InVEST) parameterized for the PPR to quantify grassland-bird habitat remaining in 2014 and to assess the degradation status of the remaining grassland-bird habitat as influenced by crop and energy (i.e., oil, natural gas, and wind) production. We compared our resultant habitat-quality ratings to grassland-bird abundance data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey to confirm that ratings were related to grassland-bird abundance. Of the grassland-bird habitat remaining in 2014, about 19% was degraded by crop production that occurred within 0.1 km of grassland habitats, whereas energy production degraded an additional 16%. We further quantified the changes in availability of grassland-bird habitat under various land-cover scenarios representing incremental losses (10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) of CRP grasslands from 2014 levels. Our model identified 1 million ha (9%) of remaining grassland-bird habitat in the PPR that would be lost or degraded if all CRP conservation grasslands were returned to crop production. Grassland regions world-wide face similar challenges in maintaining avian habitat in the face of increasing commodity and energy production to sate the food and energy needs of a growing world population. Identifying ways to model the impacts of the tradeoff between food and energy production and wildlife production is an important step in creating solutions.

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<![CDATA[Winter behavior of Saimaa ringed seals: Non-overlapping core areas as indicators of avoidance in breeding females]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bc0d5eed0c48491e22c

Climate change, together with increasing human activity, poses a threat to the breeding success of endangered landlocked ringed seals (Phoca hispida saimensis). In this study, we estimated the spatial ecology of Saimaa ringed seals during the breeding season in the ice-covered period of December-April. The telemetry data on tagged seals (n = 20), with a total of 25 separate tracking periods and birth lair locations (n = 59) of non-tagged seals, were studied to estimate the movement ecology and breeding density. The movements of the ringed seals were more restricted during the ice-covered season; the total home range size (average 7.4 km2) in winter was 13 times smaller than that in summer. Individual tagged seals occupied an average of 5 ± 3 SD subnivean haul outs (snow lairs or ice cavities), and the mean distance between the haul outs was 1.6 ± 1.1 SD km (range 0.2–5.9 km). Moreover, our data indicated that ringed seal females likely exhibited breeding time avoidance of each other’s core areas, which may indicate some degree of territoriality. This was supported by the findings that the core areas (mean 1.2 km2) of tagged adult females (n = 9), did not overlap with each other. Also data on non-tagged seals showed that females did not give birth to pups within the core area radius of other parturient females. This study, together with earlier findings on the home ranges of nursed pups and perinatal mortality rates, has implications into land usage planning in Lake Saimaa by highlighting the need of undisturbed area between seal lairs and anthropogenic disturbances.

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<![CDATA[An analysis of network brokerage and geographic location in fifteenth-century AD Northern Iroquoia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5dcd5eed0c484ca96cc

Iroquoian villagers living in present-day Jefferson County, New York, at the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River and the east shore of Lake Ontario, played important roles in regional interactions during the fifteenth century AD, as brokers linking populations on the north shore of Lake Ontario with populations in eastern New York. This study employs a social network analysis and least cost path analysis to assess the degree to which geographical location may have facilitated the brokerage positions of site clusters within pan-Iroquoian social networks. The results indicate that location was a significant factor in determining brokerage. In the sixteenth century AD, when Jefferson County was abandoned, measurable increases in social distance between other Iroquoian populations obtained. These results add to our understandings of the dynamic social landscape of fifteenth and sixteenth century AD northern Iroquoia, complementing recent analyses elsewhere of the roles played in regional interaction networks by populations located along geopolitical frontiers.

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<![CDATA[Protecting endemic species from African Catfish invasion when community behavioral responses get in the way]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2e7fe1d5eed0c48451bf08

Exotic invasive fish species, when introduced into pristine natural environments, threaten the survival of many endemic species. Management challenges associated with controlling their further spread and protecting endemic species can be exacerbated when the same exotic fish species also provide gastronomical benefits to humans. Local human populations can switch their consumption preferences toward the exotic fish species, leading to an increase in their spread rate and control costs. Using the example of the African Catfish invasion in a freshwater lake, we develop a bioeconomic model of its optimal control, which also incorporates the behavioral challenges arising from a gastronomical preference for the exotic fish species. In particular, the cost of catfish control increases with its consumption demand, which, through altering the inter-species dynamics, threatens the survival of endemic fish species. The manager has at his disposal the market and non-market values of the endemic fish species to invest toward their preservation efforts. The non-market value of the endemic species is further modeled as endogenous to the community’s preference switching. Results suggest that a late detection of the exotic fish species in freshwater bodies can increase their control costs enough to make their eradication challenging, especially when the manager faces financial resource constraints. The presence of behavioral effects adds to this challenge — directly, through increasing the control costs, and indirectly, through lowering the non-market value of the endemic fish species.

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<![CDATA[Vertical transmission of naturally occurring Bunyamwera and insect-specific flavivirus infections in mosquitoes from islands and mainland shores of Lakes Victoria and Baringo in Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfc6252d5eed0c484ec8441

Background

Many arboviruses transmitted by mosquitoes have been implicated as causative agents of both human and animal illnesses in East Africa. Although epidemics of arboviral emerging infectious diseases have risen in frequency in recent years, the extent to which mosquitoes maintain pathogens in circulation during inter-epidemic periods is still poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate whether arboviruses may be maintained by vertical transmission via immature life stages of different mosquito vector species.

Methodology

We collected immature mosquitoes (egg, larva, pupa) on the shores and islands of Lake Baringo and Lake Victoria in western Kenya and reared them to adults. Mosquito pools (≤25 specimens/pool) of each species were screened for mosquito-borne viruses by high-resolution melting analysis and sequencing of multiplex PCR products of genus-specific primers (alphaviruses, flaviviruses, phleboviruses and Bunyamwera-group orthobunyaviruses). We further confirmed positive samples by culturing in baby hamster kidney and Aedes mosquito cell lines and re-sequencing.

Principal findings

Culex univittatus (2/31pools) and Anopheles gambiae (1/77 pools) from the Lake Victoria region were positive for Bunyamwera virus, a pathogenic virus that is of public health concern. In addition, Aedes aegypti (3/50), Aedes luteocephalus (3/13), Aedes spp. (2/15), and Culex pipiens (1/140) pools were positive for Aedes flaviviruses at Lake Victoria, whereas at Lake Baringo, three pools of An. gambiae mosquitoes were positive for Anopheles flavivirus. These insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFVs), which are presumably non-pathogenic to vertebrates, were found in known medically important arbovirus and malaria vectors.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that not only ISFVs, but also a pathogenic arbovirus, are naturally maintained within mosquito populations by vertical transmission, even in the absence of vertebrate hosts. Therefore, virus and vector surveillance, even during inter-epidemics, and the study of vector-arbovirus-ISFV interactions, may aid in identifying arbovirus transmission risks, with the potential to inform control strategies that lead to disease prevention.

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<![CDATA[Estimating lake ice thickness in Central Ontario]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf58d5eed0c484914431

Lakes are a key geographical feature in Canada and have an impact on the regional climate. In the winter, they are important for recreational activities such as snowmobiling and ice fishing and act as part of an important supply route for northern communities. The ability to accurately report lake ice characteristics such as thickness is vital, however, it is underreported in Canada and there is a lack of lake ice thickness records for temperate latitude areas such as Central Ontario. Here, we evaluate the application of previously developed temperature models and RADARSAT-2 for estimating lake ice thickness in Central Ontario and provide insight into the regions long term ice thickness variability. The ALS Environmental Science Shallow Water Ice Profiler (SWIP) was used for validation of both temperature and radar-based models. Results indicate that the traditional approach that uses temperatures to predict ice thickness during ice growth has low RMSE values of 2.3 cm and correlations of greater than 0.9. For ice decay, similar low RMSE values of 2.1 cm and high correlations of 0.97 were found. Using RADARSAT-2 to estimate ice thickness results in R2 values of 0.6 (p < 0.01) but high RMSE values of 11.7 cm. Uncertainty in the RADARSAT-2 approach may be linked to unexplored questions about scattering mechanisms and the interaction of radar signal with mid-latitude lake ice. The application of optimized temperature models to a long-term temperature record revealed a thinning of ice cover by 0.81 cm per decade.

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<![CDATA[Assessing impact of exogenous features on biotic phenomena in the presence of strong spatial dependence: A lake sturgeon case study in natural stream settings]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117b3dd5eed0c4846985fd

Modeling spatially explicit data provides a powerful approach to identify the effects of exogenous features associated with biological processes, including recruitment of stream fishes. However, the complex spatial and temporal dynamics of the stream and the species’ reproductive and early life stage behaviors present challenges to drawing valid inference using traditional regression models. In these settings it is often difficult to ensure the spatial independence among model residuals—a key assumption that must be met to ensure valid inference. We present statistical models capable of capturing complex residual anisotropic patterns through the addition of spatial random effects within an inferential framework that acknowledges uncertainty in the data and parameters. Proposed models are used to explore the impact of environmental variables on Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) reproduction, particularly questions about patterns in egg deposition. Our results demonstrate the need to apply valid statistical methods to identify relationships between response variables, e.g., egg counts, across locations, and environmental covariates in the presence of strong and anisotropic autocorrelation in stream systems. The models may be applied to other settings where gamete distribution or, more generally, other biotic phenomena may be associated with spatially dynamic and anisotropic processes.

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