ResearchPad - plant-ecology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A MYB transcription factor, <i>BnMYB2</i>, cloned from ramie (<i>Boehmeria nivea</i>) is involved in cadmium tolerance and accumulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15762 MYB-related transcription factors play important roles in plant development and response to various environmental stresses. In the present study, a novel MYB gene, designated as BnMYB2 (GenBank accession number: MF741319.1), was isolated from Boehmeria nivea using rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and RT-PCR on a sequence fragment from a ramie transcriptome. BnMYB2 has a 945 bp open reading frame encoding a 314 amino acid protein that contains a DNA-binding domain and shares high sequence identity with MYB proteins from other plant species. The BnMYB2 promoter contains several putative cis-acting elements involved in stress or phytohormone responses. A translational fusion of BnMYB2 with enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) showed nuclear and cytosolic subcellular localization. Real-time PCR results indicated that BnMYB2 expression was induced by Cadmium (Cd) stress. Overexpression of BnMYB2 in Arabidopsis thaliana resulted in a significant increase of Cd tolerance and accumulation. Thus, BnMYB2 positively regulated Cd tolerance and accumulation in Arabidopsis, and could be used to enhance the efficiency of Cd removal with plants.

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<![CDATA[Genome-wide identification of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade and expression profiling of <i>CmMAPKs</i> in melon (<i>Cucumis melo</i> L.)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14577 Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is a form of serine/threonine protein kinase that activated by extracellular stimulation acting through the MAPK cascade (MAPKKK-MAPKK-MAPK). The MAPK cascade gene family, an important family of protein kinases, plays a vital role in responding to various stresses and hormone signal transduction processes in plants. In this study, we identified 14 CmMAPKs, 6 CmMAPKKs and 64 CmMAPKKKs in melon genome. Based on structural characteristics and a comparison of phylogenetic relationships of MAPK gene families from Arabidopsis, cucumber and watermelon, CmMAPKs and CmMAPKKs were categorized into 4 groups, and CmMAPKKKs were categorized into 3 groups. Furthermore, chromosome location revealed an unevenly distribution on chromosomes of MAPK cascade genes in melon, respectively. Eventually, qRT-PCR analysis showed that all 14 CmMAPKs had different expression patterns under drought, salt, salicylic acid (SA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA), red light (RL), and Podosphaera xanthii (P. xanthii) treatments. Overall, the expression levels of CmMAPK3 and CmMAPK7 under different treatments were higher than those in control. Our study provides an important basis for future functional verification of MAPK genes in regulating responses to stress and signal substance in melon.

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<![CDATA[Seed germination of <i>Bidens subalternans</i> DC. exposed to different environmental factors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14560 Bidens subalternans DC. is a weed found in several tropical countries such as Brazil. Large number of produced seeds and easy dispersion favor the colonization of agricultural fields by this species. To know the factors that affect the germination of B. subalternans can help to understand its ecology, permitting to develop control strategies. Laboratory experiments were carried out to evaluate how the temperature, photoperiod, burial depth, water deficit, and salt stress affect the seed germination of B. subalternans. The means of the treatments of each experiment were shown in scatter plots with the bars indicating the least significant difference (LSD, p≤0.05). The results showed a germination percentage above 77% for a wide alternating temperature (15/20 C to 30/35 C night/day). The highest germination and uniformity occurred at 25/30°C night/day. Only 11% of the seeds germinated at a temperature of 35/40°C night/day. The deeper burial of seeds reduced their germination. Only 17% of the seeds germinated in darkness conditions. However, in constant light and 12 hours of light/dark conditions the germination percentage was over 96%, confirming the light dependence of the B. subalternans during germination. In constant light and 12 hours of light/dark, the germination was over 96%. B. subalternans seeds showed sensitivity to water and salt stress, and their germination was inhibited under a water potential of -0.4 MPa and 100.09 mM, respectively. The sensitivity of B. subalternans seeds to high temperatures, water stress, and salt stress explains the high frequency of this weed in south-central Brazil. The light and sowing depth showed that burial of seeds by mechanical control is a strategy to reduce the high infestation of B. subalternans.

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<![CDATA[Natural history museum collection and citizen science data show advancing phenology of Danish hoverflies (Insecta: Diptera, Syrphidae) with increasing annual temperature]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14485 We explore the phenological response by Danish hoverflies (Syrphidae) to continually rising annual temperatures by analysing >50.000 natural history collection and citizen science records for 37 species collected between 1900 and 2018, a period during which the annual average temperature in Denmark rose significantly (p << 0.01). We perform a simple linear regression analysis of the 10th percentile observation date for each species against year of observation. Fourteen of the species showed a statistically significant (p < 0.05) negative correlation between 10th percentile date and year of observation, indicating earlier emergence as a likely response to climatic warming. Eighteen species showed a non-significant (p ≥ 0.05) negative correlation between 10th percentile date and year of observation, while four species showed a non-significant (p ≥ 0.05) positive correlation, and one showed neither a positive nor a negative correlation. We explore the possible impact of the length of the data series on the regression analysis by dividing the species into four groups depending on how far back in time we have data: ultra-short series (with data from 2003–2018); short series (data from 1998–2018); medium series (data from 1980–2018); long series (data from 2018 to before 1980). The length of the series seems to have an effect on the results as 60% of the long series species (nine out of 15) showed a statistically significant negative correlation, while for the shorter series species less than 35% showed a statistically significant negative correlation. When we reduced the long series in length to short series, the proportion of statistically significant negative correlations fell to 33%, confirming this assumption. We conclude that northern temperate hoverflies generally react to the ongoing climatic warming by emerging earlier.

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<![CDATA[Terminal drought and heat stress alter physiological and biochemical attributes in flag leaf of bread wheat]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14475 Heat stress along with low water availability at reproductive stage (terminal growth phase of wheat crop) is major contributing factor towards less wheat production in tropics and sub-tropics. Flag leaf plays a pivotal role in assimilate partitioning and stress tolerance of wheat during terminal growth phase. However, limited is known about biochemical response of flag leaf to combined and individual heat and drought stress during terminal growth phase. Therefore, current study investigated combined and individual effect of terminal drought and heat stress on water relations, photosynthetic pigments, osmolytes accumulation and antioxidants defense mechanism in flag leaf of bread wheat. Experimental treatments comprised of control, terminal drought stress alone (50% field capacity during reproductive phase), terminal heat stress alone (wheat grown inside plastic tunnel during reproductive phase) and terminal drought stress + terminal heat stress. Individual and combined imposition of drought and heat stresses significantly (p≤0.05) altered water relations, osmolyte contents, soluble proteins and sugars along with activated antioxidant defensive system in terms of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Turgor potential, POD and APX activities were lowest under individual heat stress; however, these were improved when drought stress was combined with heat stress. It is concluded that combined effect of drought and heat stress was more detrimental than individual stresses. The interactive effect of both stresses was hypo-additive in nature, but for some traits (like turgor potential and APX) effect of one stress neutralized the other. To best of our knowledge, this is the first report on physiological and biochemical response of flag leaf of wheat to combine heat and drought stress. These results will help future studies dealing with improved stress tolerance in wheat. However, detailed studies are needed to fully understand the genetic mechanisms behind these physiological and biochemical changes in flag leaf in response to combined heat and drought stress.

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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[Identification and expression analysis of miRNAs and elucidation of their role in salt tolerance in rice varieties susceptible and tolerant to salinity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N52f944dc-26d8-4e67-9222-1bf646d955e0

Soil salinization is a serious problem for cultivation of rice, as among cereals rice is the most salt sensitive crop, and more than 40% of the total agricultural land amounting to approximately 80 million ha the world over is salt affected. Salinity affects a plant in a varieties of ways, including ion toxicity, osmotic stress and oxidative damage. Since miRNAs occupy the top place in biochemical events determining a trait, understanding their role in salt tolerance is highly desirable, which may allow introduction of the trait in the rice cultivars of choice through biotechnological interventions. High throughput sequencing of sRNAs in the root and shoot tissues of the seedlings of the control and NaCl treated Pokkali, a salt-tolerant rice variety, identified 75 conserved miRNAs and mapped 200 sRNAs to the rice genome as novel miRNAs. Expression of nine novel miRNAs and two conserved miRNAs were confirmed by Northern blotting. Several of both conserved and novel miRNAs that expressed differentially in root and/or shoot tissues targeted transcription factors like AP2/EREBP domain protein, ARF, NAC, MYB, NF-YA, HD-Zip III, TCP and SBP reported to be involved in salt tolerance or in abiotic stress tolerance in general. Most of the novel miRNAs expressed in the salt tolerant wild rice Oryza coarctata, suggesting conservation of miRNAs in taxonomically related species. One of the novel miRNAs, osa-miR12477, also targeted L-ascorbate oxidase (LAO), indicating build-up of oxidative stress in the plant upon salt treatment, which was confirmed by DAB staining. Thus, salt tolerance might involve miRNA-mediated regulation of 1) cellular abundance of the hormone signaling components like EREBP and ARF, 2) synthesis of abiotic stress related transcription factors, and 3) antioxidative component like LAO for mitigation of oxidative damage. The study clearly indicated importance of osa-miR12477 regulated expression of LAO in salt tolerance in the plant.

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<![CDATA[Potential role of weather, soil and plant microbial communities in rapid decline of apple trees]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89776ed5eed0c4847d2c8c

An unusual decline and collapse of young established trees known as “rapid apple decline” (RAD) has become a major concern for apple growers, particularly in the northeastern United States. This decline is characterized by stunted growth, pale yellow to reddish leaves, and tree collapse within weeks after onset of symptoms. We studied declining apple trees to identify potential involvement of abiotic and biotic stresses. We used 16S and ITS to profile bacterial and fungal communities in the soil, rhizosphere, roots, and shoots and tested for the presence of six viruses in scions and rootstocks of symptomatic and asymptomatic trees. The viruses detected were not associated with RAD symptoms. Bacterial and fungal populations were highly variable in plant tissue, soil and rhizosphere samples, with bacteroidetes, firmicutes, proteobacteria, acidobacteria, and actinobacteria the predominant bacterial classes in various samples. ‘Alphaproteobacteria-rickettsiales’, a bacterial class usually reduced in water-limiting soils, had significantly low abundance in root samples of symptomatic trees. Basidiomycota and Ascomycota fungal classes were the most common fungal classes observed, but neither showed differential enrichment between symptomatic and asymptomatic trees. Analyzing weather data showed an extremely cold winter followed by drought in 2015–2016, which likely weakened the trees to make them more susceptible to varied stresses. In addition, similar physical and nutritional soil composition from symptomatic and asymptomatic trees rules out the role of nutritional stress in RAD. Necrotic lesions and wood decay symptoms dispersing from bark or vascular cambium towards the heartwood were observed primarily below the graft union of declining apple trees, suggesting that the rootstock is the originating point of RAD. We speculate that differences in abiotic factors such as moisture levels in declining roots in combination with extreme weather profiles might cause RAD but cannot clearly rule out the involvement of other factors.

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<![CDATA[Genome-wide analysis, expansion and expression of the NAC family under drought and heat stresses in bread wheat (T. aestivum L.)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897798d5eed0c4847d30f2

The NAC family is one of the largest plant-specific transcription factor families, and some of its members are known to play major roles in plant development and response to biotic and abiotic stresses. Here, we inventoried 488 NAC members in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum). Using the recent release of the wheat genome (IWGS RefSeq v1.0), we studied duplication events focusing on genomic regions from 4B-4D-5A chromosomes as an example of the family expansion and neofunctionalization of TaNAC members. Differentially expressed TaNAC genes in organs and in response to abiotic stresses were identified using publicly available RNAseq data. Expression profiling of 23 selected candidate TaNAC genes was studied in leaf and grain from two bread wheat genotypes at two developmental stages in field drought conditions and revealed insights into their specific and/or overlapping expression patterns. This study showed that, of the 23 TaNAC genes, seven have a leaf-specific expression and five have a grain-specific expression. In addition, the grain-specific genes profiles in response to drought depend on the genotype. These genes may be considered as potential candidates for further functional validation and could present an interest for crop improvement programs in response to climate change. Globally, the present study provides new insights into evolution, divergence and functional analysis of NAC gene family in bread wheat.

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<![CDATA[It’s a trap: Optimizing detection of rare small mammals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823a9d5eed0c484638d89

Improving detection probabilities for rare species is critical when assessing presence or habitat associations. Our goal was to create a new small mammal trapping protocol that improved detection of rare species, such as the olive-backed pocket mouse (Perognathus fasciatus). We used three trap and bait types and trapped an area 4.4 times larger than the standard grid. We also assessed the effect of captures of non-target species on detection probability of pocket mice. Regardless of species, trap success was higher for Havaharts. We found that bait and trap type selection varied significantly by species, with pocket mice showing strongest selection for Havahart traps baited with bird seed. Increasing grid size, while maintaining a similar trapping effort, resulted in higher detection probability, although our analyses showed that effective grids can be about three-quarters of the size we use to achieve similar results. We were also able to demonstrate that by deploying a combination of different traps and baits it is possible to overcome the potential effect of non-target species (e.g., deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus) on the detection probability of pocket mice. Our results show that simple changes to standard small-mammal trapping methods can dramatically increase the detectability of rare and elusive small mammals. Increasing detection probability of rare components of a community can improve the results and understanding of future studies.

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<![CDATA[Analysis of transcriptional responses in root tissue of bread wheat landrace (Triticum aestivum L.) reveals drought avoidance mechanisms under water scarcity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89770fd5eed0c4847d238d

In this study, high-throughput sequencing (RNA-Seq) was utilized to evaluate differential expression of transcripts and their related genes involved in response to terminal drought in root tissues of bread wheat landrace (L-82) and drought-sensitive genotype (Marvdasht). Subsets of 460 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in drought-tolerant genotype and 236 in drought-sensitive genotype were distinguished and functionally annotated with 105 gene ontology (GO) terms and 77 metabolic pathways. Transcriptome profiling of drought-resistant genotype “L-82” showed up-regulation of genes mostly involved in Oxidation-reduction process, secondary metabolite biosynthesis, abiotic stress response, transferase activity and heat shock proteins. On the other hand, down-regulated genes mostly involved in signaling, oxidation-reduction process, secondary metabolite biosynthesis, auxin-responsive protein and lipid metabolism. We hypothesized that the drought tolerance in “L-82” was a result of avoidance strategies. Up-regulation of genes related to the deeper root system and adequate hydraulic characteristics to allow water uptake under water scarcity confirms our hypothesis. The transcriptomic sequences generated in this study provide information about mechanisms of acclimation to drought in the selected bread wheat landrace, “L-82”, and will help us to unravel the mechanisms underlying the ability of crops to reproduce and keep its productivity even under drought stress.

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<![CDATA[Nitrogen- and phosphorus-starved Triticum aestivum show distinct belowground microbiome profiles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe27d5eed0c484e5b5dd

Many plants have natural partnerships with microbes that can boost their nitrogen (N) and/or phosphorus (P) acquisition. To assess whether wheat may have undiscovered associations of these types, we tested if N/P-starved Triticum aestivum show microbiome profiles that are simultaneously different from those of N/P-amended plants and those of their own bulk soils. The bacterial and fungal communities of root, rhizosphere, and bulk soil samples from the Historical Dryland Plots (Lethbridge, Canada), which hold T. aestivum that is grown both under N/P fertilization and in conditions of extreme N/P-starvation, were taxonomically described and compared (bacterial 16S rRNA genes and fungal Internal Transcribed Spacers—ITS). As the list may include novel N- and/or P-providing wheat partners, we then identified all the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that were proportionally enriched in one or more of the nutrient starvation- and plant-specific communities. These analyses revealed: a) distinct N-starvation root and rhizosphere bacterial communities that were proportionally enriched, among others, in OTUs belonging to families Enterobacteriaceae, Chitinophagaceae, Comamonadaceae, Caulobacteraceae, Cytophagaceae, Streptomycetaceae, b) distinct N-starvation root fungal communities that were proportionally enriched in OTUs belonging to taxa Lulworthia, Sordariomycetes, Apodus, Conocybe, Ascomycota, Crocicreas, c) a distinct P-starvation rhizosphere bacterial community that was proportionally enriched in an OTU belonging to genus Agrobacterium, and d) a distinct P-starvation root fungal community that was proportionally enriched in OTUs belonging to genera Parastagonospora and Phaeosphaeriopsis. Our study might have exposed wheat-microbe connections that can form the basis of novel complementary yield-boosting tools.

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<![CDATA[Rosellinia necatrix infection induces differential gene expression between tolerant and susceptible avocado rootstocks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f14bbd5eed0c48467a754

Rosellinia necatrix is the causal agent of avocado white root rot (WRR). Control of this soil-borne disease is difficult, and the use of tolerant rootstocks may present an effective method to lessen its impact. To date, no studies on the molecular mechanisms regulating the avocado plant response towards this pathogen have been undertaken. To shed light on the mechanisms underpinning disease susceptibility and tolerance, molecular analysis of the gene’s response in two avocado rootstocks with a contrasting disease reaction was assessed. Gene expression profiles against R. necatrix were carried out in the susceptible ‘Dusa’ and the tolerant selection BG83 avocado genotypes by micro-array analysis. In ‘Dusa’, the early response was mainly related to redox processes and cell-wall degradation activities, all becoming enhanced after disease progression affected photosynthetic capacity, whereas tolerance to R. necatrix in BG83 relied on the induction of protease inhibitors and their negative regulators, as well as genes related to tolerance to salt and osmotic stress such as aspartic peptidase domain-containing proteins and gdsl esterase lipase proteins. In addition, three protease inhibitors were identified, glu protease, trypsin and endopeptidase inhibitors, which were highly overexpressed in the tolerant genotype when compared to susceptible ‘Dusa’, after infection with R. necatrix, reaching fold change values of 52, 19 and 38, respectively. The contrasting results between ‘Dusa’ and BG83 provide new insights into the different mechanisms involved in avocado tolerance to Phytophthora cinnamomi and R. necatrix, which are consistent with their biotrophic and necrotrophic lifestyles, respectively. The differential induction of genes involved in salt and osmotic stress in BG83 could indicate that R. necatrix penetration into the roots is associated with osmotic effects, suggesting that BG83’s tolerance to R. necatrix is related to the ability to withstand osmotic imbalance. In addition, the high expression of protease inhibitors in tolerant BG83 compared to susceptible ‘Dusa’ after infection with the pathogen suggests the important role that these proteins may play in the defence of avocado rootstocks against R. necatrix.

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<![CDATA[Options for calibrating CERES-maize genotype specific parameters under data-scarce environments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac02d5eed0c484d07ff4

Most crop simulation models require the use of Genotype Specific Parameters (GSPs) which provide the Genotype component of G×E×M interactions. Estimation of GSPs is the most difficult aspect of most modelling exercises because it requires expensive and time-consuming field experiments. GSPs could also be estimated using multi-year and multi locational data from breeder evaluation experiments. This research was set up with the following objectives: i) to determine GSPs of 10 newly released maize varieties for the Nigerian Savannas using data from both calibration experiments and by using existing data from breeder varietal evaluation trials; ii) to compare the accuracy of the GSPs generated using experimental and breeder data; and iii) to evaluate CERES-Maize model to simulate grain and tissue nitrogen contents. For experimental evaluation, 8 different experiments were conducted during the rainy and dry seasons of 2016 across the Nigerian Savanna. Breeder evaluation data were also collected for 2 years and 7 locations. The calibrated GSPs were evaluated using data from a 4-year experiment conducted under varying nitrogen rates (0, 60 and 120kg N ha-1). For the model calibration using experimental data, calculated model efficiency (EF) values ranged between 0.88–0.94 and coefficient of determination (d-index) between 0.93–0.98. Calibration of time-series data produced nRMSE below 7% while all prediction deviations were below 10% of the mean. For breeder experiments, EF (0.58–0.88) and d-index (0.56–0.86) ranges were lower. Prediction deviations were below 17% of the means for all measured variables. Model evaluation using both experimental and breeder trials resulted in good agreement (low RMSE, high EF and d-index values) between observed and simulated grain yields, and tissue and grain nitrogen contents. It is concluded that higher calibration accuracy of CERES-Maize model is achieved from detailed experiments. If unavailable, data from breeder experimental trials collected from many locations and planting dates can be used with lower but acceptable accuracy.

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<![CDATA[Mediterranean and Northern Iberian gene pools of wild Castanea sativa Mill. are two differentiated ecotypes originated under natural divergent selection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75c1d5eed0c4843d00f3

Nine wild Iberian provenances of Castanea sativa Mill. grouped in two gene pools, North Iberian Peninsula and Mediterranean, were evaluated for several adaptive traits in two provenance–progeny trials with the aim of evaluating the role of natural selection in shaping adaptive variation and increasing our understanding of the genetic structure of this species, as well as reporting complete information on the genetic variation among and within the studied populations. An annual growth rhythm experiment was evaluated during the first 3 years after establishment for phenology, growth, stem form and survival, and a periodic drought-stress experiment was evaluated for dry weight, growth, survival and other related drought traits in both well-watered and drought-stress treatments. The high genetic variability reported in both trials is largely due to the genetic variation among populations. The significant differences reported between quantitative genetic and neutral marker differentiation indicated the local adaptation of these populations through directional selection, mainly for phenology, growth and biomass allocation. A clinal variation among populations was determined through correlations of phenology with latitude and xerothermic index of the provenances, showing that central and southern Mediterranean populations had earlier phenology than northern populations and that drought played a relevant role in this differentiation. The significant correlation between phenological traits and the ancestry values in the Mediterranean gene pool supported the different pattern of behavior between both gene pools and also indicated the existence of two ecotypes: xeric and mesophytic ecotypes, corresponding to Mediterranean and North Iberian gene pools, respectively. The results obtained in the drought-stress experiment confirmed that, in general terms, xeric populations showed a greater adaptability to drought, with more developed root systems and higher survival than northern populations. Moreover, the genetic variability observed within populations indicated the potential response capacity of Iberian C. sativa populations to undergo fast adaptive evolution.

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<![CDATA[Moderate plant water stress improves larval development, and impacts immunity and gut microbiota of a specialist herbivore]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe62d5eed0c484e5b9b6

While host plant drought is generally viewed as a negative phenomenon, its impact on insect herbivores can vary largely depending on the species involved and on the intensity of the drought. Extreme drought killing host plants can clearly reduce herbivore fitness, but the impact of moderate host plant water stress on insect herbivores can vary, and may even be beneficial. The populations of the Finnish Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) have faced reduced precipitation in recent years, with impacts even on population dynamics. Whether the negative effects of low precipitation are solely due to extreme desiccation killing the host plant or whether moderate drought reduces plant quality for the larvae remains unknown. We assessed the performance of larvae fed on moderately water-stressed Plantago lanceolata in terms of growth, survival, and immune response, and additionally were interested to assess whether the gut microbial composition of the larvae changed due to modification of the host plant. We found that larvae fed on water-stressed plants had increased growth, with no impact on survival, up-regulated the expression of one candidate immune gene (pelle), and had a more heterogeneous bacterial community and a shifted fungal community in the gut. Most of the measured traits showed considerable variation due to family structure. Our data suggest that in temperate regions moderate host plant water stress can positively shape resource acquisition of this specialized insect herbivore, potentially by increasing nutrient accessibility or concentration. Potentially, the better larval performance may be mediated by a shift of the microbiota on water-stressed plants, calling for further research especially on the understudied gut fungal community.

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<![CDATA[Incorporating environmental costs of ecosystem service loss in political decision making: A synthesis of monetary values for Germany]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca3ad5eed0c48452a911

Germany faces on-going degradation and biodiversity loss. As a consequence, goods and services provided by biodiversity for human well-being, so-called ecosystem services, are being lost. The associated economic costs and benefits are often unknown. To fill this gap, we conducted a literature review and developed a database of monetary values for the changes in ecosystem services that result from ecosystem change in Germany. In total, 109 monetary valuation studies of regulating and cultural ecosystem services were identified, with the majority focusing on forests and wetlands. In collaboration with valuation experts and the German Federal Environment Agency—Umweltbundesamt (UBA), we defined a set of criteria that economic valuation studies should meet in order to qualify for being used in decision making on national policies. Only 6 out of 109 valuation studies (5.5%) fulfilled the quality criteria for informing such decisions. Overall, monetary information on regulating and cultural ecosystem services is scattered and scarce compared to information on provisioning services, which is accounted for in detail in national statistics. This imbalance in information likely contributes to the distortion in land-use policies, giving preference to maximizing provisioning services in agricultural production and forestry, while neglecting the societal relevance of regulating and cultural services. Decision makers have to rely on only a few cost estimates that are scientifically robust, while being pragmatic to include also vague estimates in cases where data is lacking. The transferability of the monetary values included in our database depends on the biophysical and socio-economic site conditions as well as the decision context of the intended application. Case specific adjustments following guidance for benefit transfer are recommended. Given the lack of applicable studies, we call for more decision-relevant economic assessments. Even in cases where monetary estimates are available, we suggest decision makers to consider also other benefit information available to capture the multiple values ecosystems provide to humans.

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<![CDATA[Ocimum metabolomics in response to abiotic stresses: Cold, flood, drought and salinity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648ce6d5eed0c484c81a4d

Ocimum tenuiflorum is a widely used medicinal plant since ancient times and still continues to be irreplaceable due to its properties. The plant has been explored chemically and pharmacologically, however, the molecular studies have been started lately. In an attempt to get a comprehensive overview of the abiotic stress response in O. tenuiflorum, de novo transcriptome sequencing of plant leaves under the cold, drought, flood and salinity stresses was carried out. A comparative differential gene expression (DGE) study was carried out between the common transcripts in each stress with respect to the control. KEGG pathway analysis and gene ontology (GO) enrichment studies exhibited several modifications in metabolic pathways as the result of four abiotic stresses. Besides this, a comparative metabolite profiling of stress and control samples was performed. Among the cold, drought, flood and salinity stresses, the plant was most susceptible to the cold stress. Severe treatments of all these abiotic stresses also decreased eugenol which is the main secondary metabolite present in the O. tenuiflorum plant. This investigation presents a comprehensive analysis of the abiotic stress effects in O. tenuiflorum. Current study provides an insight to the status of pathway genes’ expression that help synthesizing economically valuable phenylpropanoids and terpenoids related to the adaptation of the plant. This study identified several putative abiotic stress tolerant genes which can be utilized to either breed stress tolerant O. tenuiflorum through pyramiding or generating transgenic plants.

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<![CDATA[Unlocking a high bacterial diversity in the coralloid root microbiome from the cycad genus Dioon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648ccfd5eed0c484c81835

Cycads are among the few plants that have developed specialized roots to host nitrogen-fixing bacteria. We describe the bacterial diversity of the coralloid roots from seven Dioon species and their surrounding rhizosphere and soil. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, we found that all coralloid roots are inhabited by a broad diversity of bacterial groups, including cyanobacteria and Rhizobiales among the most abundant groups. The diversity and composition of the endophytes are similar in the six Mexican species of Dioon that we evaluated, suggesting a recent divergence of Dioon populations and/or similar plant-driven restrictions in maintaining the coralloid root microbiome. Botanical garden samples and natural populations have a similar taxonomic composition, although the beta diversity differed between these populations. The rhizosphere surrounding the coralloid root serves as a reservoir and source of mostly diazotroph and plant growth-promoting groups that colonize the coralloid endosphere. In the case of cyanobacteria, the endosphere is enriched with Nostoc spp and Calothrix spp that are closely related to previously reported symbiont genera in cycads and other early divergent plants. The data reported here provide an in-depth taxonomic characterization of the bacterial community associated with coralloid root microbiome. The functional aspects of the endophytes, their biological interactions, and their evolutionary history are the next research step in this recently discovered diversity within the cycad coralloid root microbiome.

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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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