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26 Jun 2019 at 01:33
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Bibliography on: Invasive Species


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 26 Jun 2019 at 01:33 Created: 

Invasive Species

Standard Definition: Invasive species are plants, animals, or pathogens that are non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm. Although that definition allows a logical possibility that some species might be non-native and harmless, most of time it seems that invasive species and really bad critter (or weed) that should be eradicated are seen as equivalent phrases. But, there is a big conceptual problem with that notion: every species in every ecosystem started out in that ecosystem as an invader. If there were no invasive species, all of Hawaii would be nothing but bare volcanic rock. Without an invasion of species onto land, there would be no terrestrial ecosystems at all. For the entire history of life on Earth, the biosphere has responded to perturbation and to opportunity with evolutionary innovation and with physical movement. While one may raise economic or aesthetic arguments against invasive species, it is impossible to make such an argument on scientific grounds. Species movement — the occurrence of invasive species — is the way the biosphere responds to perturbation. One might even argue that species movement is the primary, short-term "healing" mechanism employed by the biosphere to respond to perturbation — to "damage." As with any healing process, the short-term effect may be aesthetically unappealing (who thinks scabs are appealing?), but the long-term effects can be glorious.

Created with PubMed® Query: "invasive species" OR "invasion biology" OR "alien species" OR "introduced species" NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2019-06-24

Nunez-Mir GC, Guo Q, Rejmánek M, et al (2019)

Predicting invasiveness of exotic woody species using a traits-based framework.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Identifying potentially invasive species and preventing their introduction and establishment are of critical importance in invasion ecology and land management. Although an extensive body of research has been dedicated to identifying traits that confer invasiveness, our current knowledge is still often inconclusive due to limitations in geographic extent and/or scope of traits analyzed. Here, using a comprehensive set of 45 traits, we performed a case study of invasive traits displayed by exotic woody plants in the United States (U.S.) by comparing 63 invasive and 794 non-invasive exotic woody plant species naturalized across the country. We found that invasive woody species often bear the following two key traits: vegetative reproduction and long-distance seed dispersal (via water, birds or mammals). Boosted classification tree models based on these traits accurately predicted species invasiveness (86% accuracy on average). Presented findings provide a generalized understanding of the relative importance of functional traits in identifying potentially invasive woody species in the U.S. The knowledge generated in this study can be used to improve current classification systems of non-native woody plants used by various U.S. governmental agencies and land managers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-24

Dobelmann J, Alexander A, Baty JW, et al (2019)

The association between mitochondrial genetic variation and reduced colony fitness in an invasive wasp.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Despite the mitochondrion's long recognised role in energy production, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation commonly found in natural populations was assumed to be effectively neutral. However, variation in mtDNA has now been increasingly linked to phenotypic variation in life-history traits and fitness. We examined whether the relative fitness in native and invasive common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) populations in Belgium and New Zealand (NZ), respectively, can be linked to mtDNA variation. Social wasp colonies in NZ were smaller with comparatively fewer queen cells, indicating a reduced relative fitness in the invaded range. Interestingly, queen cells in this population were significantly larger leading to larger queen offspring. By sequencing 1872 bp of the mitochondrial genome we determined mitochondrial haplotypes and detected reduced genetic diversity in NZ. Three common haplotypes in NZ frequently produced many queens, whereas the four rare haplotypes produced significantly fewer or no queens. The entire mitochondrial genome for each of these haplotypes was sequenced to identify polymorphisms associated with fitness reduction. We found 16 variable sites, however, no non-synonymous mutation that was clearly causing impaired mitochondrial function was detected. We discuss how detected variants may alter secondary structures, gene expression or mito-nuclear interactions, or could be associated with nuclear-encoded variation. Whatever the ultimate mechanism, we show reduced fitness and mtDNA variation in an invasive wasp population as well as specific mtDNA variants associated with fitness variation within this population. Ours is one of only a few studies that confirm fitness impacts of mtDNA variation in wild non-model populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-24

Esch EH, Lipson D, EE Cleland (2019)

Invasion and drought alter phenological sensitivity and synergistically lower ecosystem production.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Climate change and shifting species composition have influenced ecosystem-scale phenology worldwide. For instance, invasive plant species have greater vegetation phenological sensitivity to climate change than native plant species in some regions, and hence invasion could modify how ecosystem carbon gain responds to increased drought frequencies expected with climate change. Results from a four-year drought experiment show that invasion reduced ecosystem potential for carbon gain via increased sensitivity to reduced rainfall. Using canopy greenness (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, NDVI) as a proxy for potential ecosystem carbon gain we show that areas invaded by herbaceous species had up to a 70% reduction in maximum NDVI under severe drought conditions as compared to areas dominated by native shrubs. Phenological differences between herbaceous- and shrub- dominated vegetation contributed to this reduction in potential ecosystem carbon gain because invaded areas had delayed green-up, especially under drought conditions, while shrubs senescence was accelerated by drought. Hence, invasion by herbaceous species and increased drought frequencies are likely to act synergistically to reduce ecosystem capacity for carbon gain in this system. Our findings suggest that predicting ecosystem responses to future climate change could be improved by projecting of the spread of invasive species and accounting for phenological variation between native and invading species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-24

Joyce PWS, Cuthbert RN, Kregting L, et al (2019)

Stay clean: direct steam exposure to manage biofouling risks.

Marine pollution bulletin, 142:465-469.

Biofouling by marine organisms can result in a variety of negative environmental and economic consequences, with decontamination procedures remaining problematic, costly and labour-intensive. Here, we examined the efficacy of direct steam exposure to induce mortality of selected biofouling species: Mytilus edulis; Magallana gigas; Semibalanus balanoides; Fucus vesiculosus; and an Ulva sp. Total mortality occurred at 60-sec of steam exposure for M. edulis and juvenile M. gigas, at 30-sec for S. balanoides, while 300-sec was required for adult M. gigas. Application of steam reduced the biomass of F. vesiculosus and significantly reduced Ulva sp. biomass, with complete degradation being observed for Ulva sp. following 120-sec of exposure. Accordingly, it appears that steam exposure can cause mortality of biofouling organisms through thermal shock. Although preliminary, our novel and promising results suggest that steam applications could potentially be used to decontaminate niche areas and equipment.

RevDate: 2019-06-24

Lattuada M, Albrecht C, T Wilke (2019)

Differential impact of anthropogenic pressures on Caspian Sea ecoregions.

Marine pollution bulletin, 142:274-281.

Over the past decades, overall ecological conditions in the Caspian Sea have deteriorated. However, a comprehensive understanding of lake-wide spatial differences in anthropogenic pressures is lacking and the biological consequences of human impacts are poorly understood. This paper therefore aims at assessing the individual and combined effects of critical anthropogenic pressures on the Caspian Sea ecoregions. First, cumulative pressure scores were calculated with a cumulative environmental assessment (CEA) analysis. Then, the individual contribution of anthropogenic pressures was quantified. Finally, ecoregion-specific differences were assessed. The analyses show that both cumulative and individual pressure scores are unevenly distributed across the Caspian Sea. The most important individual pressures are invasive species, chemical pollution and poaching. This uneven distribution of pressure scores across Caspian Sea ecoregions creates new challenges for future conservation strategies, as different ecoregions usually require different conservation measures.

RevDate: 2019-06-23

Plank MJ, Stringer N, Lamoureaux SL, et al (2019)

Limiting Effect of Self-Shading on the Height of Tradescantia fluminensis Mats.

Bulletin of mathematical biology pii:10.1007/s11538-019-00631-y [Epub ahead of print].

Tradescantia fluminensis is an invasive plant species in New Zealand, Australia and parts of the USA. It reproduces vegetatively and can grow to form dense mats up to 60 cm deep. Growth is limited by available light, and shading is one of the few effective methods of control. In this paper, we develop a dynamic model of a vertical cross section of a T. fluminensis mat, capturing vertical variation in its biomass and internal light intensity. We measure both variables at different heights in experimental mats of the species and use these data to parameterize the model. The model produces realistic vertical biomass and light intensity profiles. We show that the mat grows to a steady-state biomass that depends only on: (i) the light absorption coefficient, which we estimate from experimental data and (ii) the ratio of photosynthesis to respiration rate. This steady state undergoes a transcritical bifurcation; when the ambient light intensity falls below a critical level, the biomass shrinks to zero and the mat cannot survive.

RevDate: 2019-06-24
CmpDate: 2019-06-24

Arredondo TM, Marchini GL, MB Cruzan (2018)

Evidence for human-mediated range expansion and gene flow in an invasive grass.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1882):.

Cities and adjacent regions represent foci of intense human activity and provide unique opportunities for studying human-mediated dispersal and gene flow. We examined the effect of landscape features on gene flow in the invasive grass Brachypodium sylvaticum across an urban-rural interface at the edge of its expanding range. We used genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism surveys of individuals from 22 locations. Resistance surfaces were created for each landscape feature, using ResistanceGA to optimize resistance parameters. Our Structure analysis identified three distinct clusters, and diversity analyses support the existence of at least three local introductions. Multiple regression on distance matrices showed no evidence that development, roads, canopy cover or agriculture had a significant influence on genetic distance in B. sylvaticum Geographical distance was a mediocre predictor of genetic distance and reflected geographical clustering. The model of rivers acting as a conduit explained a large portion of variation in genetic distance, but the lack of evidence of directional gene flow eliminated hydrochory as a dispersal mechanism. These results and observations of the distribution of populations in disturbed sites indicate that the influence of rivers on patterns of dispersal of B. sylvaticum probably reflects seed dispersal due to human recreational activity.

RevDate: 2019-06-24
CmpDate: 2019-06-24

Pantoja PO, Paine CET, M Vallejo-Marín (2018)

Natural selection and outbreeding depression suggest adaptive differentiation in the invasive range of a clonal plant.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1882):.

Analyses of phenotypic selection and demography in field populations are powerful ways to establishing the potential role of natural selection in shaping evolution during biological invasions. Here we use experimental F2 crosses between native and introduced populations of Mimulus guttatus to estimate the pattern of natural selection in part of its introduced range, and to seek evidence of outbreeding depression of colonists. The F2s combined the genome of an introduced population with the genome of either native or introduced populations. We found that the introduced × introduced cross had the fastest population growth rate owing to increased winter survival, clonality and seed production. Our analysis also revealed that selection through sexual fitness favoured large floral displays, large vegetative and flower size, lateral spread and early flowering. Our results indicate a source-of-origin effect, consistent with outbreeding depression exposed by mating between introduced and native populations. Our findings suggest that well-established non-native populations may pay a high fitness cost during subsequent bouts of admixture with native populations, and reveal that processes such as local adaptation in the invasive range can mediate the fitness consequences of admixture.

RevDate: 2019-06-22

Wickham P, Singh L, Pandey P, et al (2019)

Development of extraction and detection method for fluridone in water and sediment by HPLC-UV.

AMB Express, 9(1):90 pii:10.1186/s13568-019-0807-4.

Fluridone is widely used as a herbicide for controlling invasive aquatic plants such as hydrilla in surface water bodies. When applied on surface waters fluridone can attach to bed sediment, requiring rigorous extraction methods prior to analysis. Currently, very limited information exists in terms of fluridone residue detection in delta sediment. In this study, we researched fluridone detection in both water and sediment. To extract fluridone from sediment, here we have tested two extraction methods: (1) a rotavapor method (RM); and (2) a quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe (QuEChERS) method (QM). The extraction results of RM were compared with those of QM. To quantify fluridone concentrations in extracts, a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-UV detector was used. HPLC separation was achieved using an Allure C18 5 µm 150 × 4.6 mm column with a mobile phase composed of acetonitrile and water (60:40, v/v). The UV detector was operated at 237 nm. The method was tested and validated using a series of water and sediment samples taken from Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California. The average recovery of fluridone was 73% and 78% using RM and QM respectively. The proposed method can be used for testing fluridone in water and sediment samples.

RevDate: 2019-06-22

He J, Dai Q, Qi Y, et al (2019)

Bacterial nucleobases synergistically induce larval settlement and metamorphosis in the invasive mussel Mytilopsis sallei.

Applied and environmental microbiology pii:AEM.01039-19 [Epub ahead of print].

Marine bacterial biofilms have long been recognized as potential inducers of larval settlement and metamorphosis in marine invertebrates, but few chemical cues from bacteria have been identified. Here, we show that larval settlement and metamorphosis of an invasive fouling mussel Mytilopsis sallei could be induced by biofilms of bacteria isolated from its adult shells and other substrates from the natural environment. One of the strains isolated, Vibrio owensii MS-9 showed strong inducing activity which was attributed to the release of a mixture of nucleobases, including uracil, thymine, xanthine, hypoxanthine and guanine into seawater. In particular the synergistic effect of hypoxanthine and guanine was sufficient for the inducing activity of V. owensii MS-9. The presence of two or three other nucleobases could enhance to some extent, the activity of the mixture of hypoxanthine and guanine. Furthermore, we determined that bacteria producing higher concentrations of nucleobases were more likely to induce larval settlement and metamorphosis of M. sallei The present study demonstrates that bacterial nucleobases play an important role in larval settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrates. This provides new insights into our understanding of the role of environmental bacteria in the colonization and aggregation of invasive fouling organisms, and of the metabolites used as chemical mediators in cross-kingdom communication within aquatic systems.Importance Invasive species are an increasingly serious problem globally. In aquatic ecosystems, invasive dreissenid mussels are well-known ecological and economic pests because they appear to effortlessly invade new environments and foul submerged structures with high-density aggregations. To efficiently control the exotic mussel recruitment and colonization, the need to investigate the mechanisms of substrates selection for larval settlement and metamorphosis is apparent. Our work is one of very few to experimentally demonstrate that compounds produced by environmental bacteria play an important role in larval settlement and metamorphosis in marine invertebrates. Additionally, this study demonstrates that bacterial nucleobases can be used as chemical mediators in cross-kingdom communication within aquatic systems, which will enhance our understanding of how microbes induce larval settlement and metamorphosis of dreissenid mussels, and furthermore, may allow the development of new methods for application in antifouling.

RevDate: 2019-06-21

Herlihy AT, Sifneos JC, Lomnicky GA, et al (2019)

The response of wetland quality indicators to human disturbance indicators across the United States.

Environmental monitoring and assessment, 191(Suppl 1):296 pii:10.1007/s10661-019-7323-5.

We analyzed data from 1138 wetland sites across the conterminous United States (US) as part of the 2011 National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) to investigate the response of indicators of wetland quality to indicators of human disturbance at regional and continental scales. The strength and nature of these relationships in wetlands have rarely been examined over large regions, due to the paucity of large-scale datasets. Wetland response indicators were a multimetric index of vegetation condition (VMMI), percent relative cover of alien plant species, soil lead and phosphorus, and water column total nitrogen and total phosphorus. Site-level disturbance indices were generated from field observations of disturbance types within a circular 140-m radius area around the sample point. Summary indices were calculated representing disturbances for ditching, damming, filling/erosion, hardening, vegetation replacement, and vegetation removal. Landscape-level disturbance associated with agricultural and urban land cover, roads, and human population were based on GIS data layers quantified in 200, 500, and 1000-m circular buffers around each sample point. Among these three buffer sizes, the landscape disturbance indicators were highly correlated and had similar relationships with the response indictors. Consequently, only the 1000-m buffer data were used for subsequent analyses. Disturbance-response models built using only landscape- or only site-level disturbance variables generally explained a small portion of the variance in the response variables (R2 < 0.2), whereas models using both types of disturbance data were better at predicting wetland responses. The VMMI was the response variable with the strongest relationship to the disturbances assessed in the NWCA (national model R2 = 0.251). National multiple regression models for the soil and water chemistry and percent alien cover responses to disturbance indices were not significant. The generally low percentage of significant models and the wide variation in predictor variables suggests that stressor-response relationships vary considerably across the diversity of wetland types and landscape settings found across the conterminous US. Logistic regression modeling was more informative, resulting in significant national and regional models predicting site presence/absence of alien species and/or the concentration of lead in wetland soils above background.

RevDate: 2019-06-21
CmpDate: 2019-06-21

Cano-Rocabayera O, de Sostoa A, Coll L, et al (2019)

Managing small, highly prolific invasive aquatic species: Exploring an ecosystem approach for the eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki).

The Science of the total environment, 673:594-604.

Invasive exotic species threaten native biodiversity worldwide and their management is on the agenda of an increasing number of countries. We explored the potential of an ecosystem approach for the natural control of Gambusia holbrooki, which is among the most pernicious and widely distributed fish invaders. Individual-based linear mixed models were used to identify the ecosystem factors (conspecific density, environment and piscivorous birds) that most influenced life-history variation in male and female G. holbrooki (N = 654). All traits (body condition, growth, length, gonad weight, offspring size and number, real and potential fertility) were associated with at least one ecosystem factor from the 18 water bodies surveyed in north-eastern Spain. Models for female reproductive traits had the highest fit (R2 = 0.89) and those for body condition in both sexes the lowest (0.12). The life history of G. holbrooki was mostly affected by its density; increasing offspring number at the expense of offspring size at the sites with the highest fish density. Weaker effects on G. holbrooki life history were observed for the abundance of piscivorous birds and water-quality conditions, including turbidity and nutrient concentrations. Although effects were not consistent between traits, outputs supported that G. holbrooki has a wide tolerance to changes in water quality. Therefore, actions based solely on environmental changes within the range tested probably will fail in reducing the proliferation of G. holbrooki, especially if its body condition improved at the most naturalised sites. Overall, this study suggests that the management of G. holbrooki using ecologically sound treatments is likely to be very difficult in stagnant waters. Preventing new introductions and direct removal once established are the most appropriate actions for the management of this small, highly prolific fish invader.

RevDate: 2019-06-21
CmpDate: 2019-06-21

Sun H, Jiang J, Cui L, et al (2019)

Soil organic carbon stabilization mechanisms in a subtropical mangrove and salt marsh ecosystems.

The Science of the total environment, 673:502-510.

Mangrove and salt marsh ecosystems are one of the most productive ecosystems in terrestrial ecosystems, playing an important role in global carbon (C) cycling. The anaerobic condition in coastal wetland usually impedes the decomposition of soil organic carbon (SOC). However, the intrinsic stabilization mechanisms of SOC other than environmental factors are poorly understood in coastal wetland. In this paper, we investigated the relative contribution of mineral association and chemical compounds in maintaining the stabilization of SOC in the mangrove/salt marsh ecotone, and how the microbial community is involved in the stabilization. From NMR spectroscopy, we found that the SOC molecular structure of Spartina. alterniflora soils is simpler than that in mangrove forest, indicating an increased SOC decomposition with invasion of S. alterniflora. On the contrary, the molecular structure of SOC in mangrove forest was dominated by recalcitrant aromatic C. Meanwhile, the larger fractions of silt/clay content in S. alterniflora and the transitional community were corresponding to higher percentage of mineral organic carbon (MOC), which suggest that the SOC in S. alterniflora vegetated soil was mainly protected by the mineral association. The transitional community contained highest MOC content probably due to both physical protection of mineral association and recalcitrant C input from adjacent mangroves. We also found that the fraction of SOC and its chemical structure of functional groups were associated with microbial communities. This study revealed the occurrence of different SOC stabilization mechanisms between mangroves and salt marshes. The knowledge gained may help to make predictions about future SOC dynamics as the different stabilization processes may response to climate change or human activities differently.

RevDate: 2019-06-21
CmpDate: 2019-06-21

Rondoni G, Ielo F, Ricci C, et al (2017)

Behavioural and physiological responses to prey-related cues reflect higher competitiveness of invasive vs. native ladybirds.

Scientific reports, 7(1):3716.

Understanding the traits that might be linked with biological invasions represents a great challenge for preventing non-target effects on local biodiversity. In predatory insects, the ability to exploit habitats for oviposition and the physiological response to prey availability differs between species. Those species that respond more readily to environmental changes may confer to their offspring a competitive advantage over other species. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the invasive Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) makes better use of information from a plant-prey (Vicia faba - Aphis fabae) system compared to the native Oenopia conglobata. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays revealed that both species used olfactory cues from the system, but H. axyridis exhibited a more complete response. This species was also attracted by plants previously infested by aphids, indicating the capacity to exploit volatile synomones induced in plants by aphid attack. Oocyte resorption was investigated when different olfactory stimuli were provided under prey shortage and the readiness of new oogenesis was measured when prey was available again. H. axyridis exhibited higher plasticity in oogenesis related to the presence/absence of plant-aphid volatiles. Our results support the hypothesis that H. axyridis is more reactive than O. conglobata to olfactory cues from the plant-prey system.

RevDate: 2019-06-20

Falaschi M, Manenti R, Thuiller W, et al (2019)

Continental-scale determinants of population trends in European amphibians and reptiles.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

The continuous decline of biodiversity is determined by the complex and joint effects of multiple environmental drivers. Still, a large part of past global change studies reporting and explaining biodiversity trends have focused on a single driver. Therefore, we are often unable to attribute biodiversity changes to different drivers, since a multi-variable design is required to disentangle joint effects and interactions. In this work, we used a meta-regression within a Bayesian framework to analyze 843 time-series of population abundance from seventeen European amphibian and reptile species over the last 45 years. We investigated the relative effects of climate change, alien species, habitat availability, and habitat change in driving trends of population abundance over time, and evaluated how the importance of these factors differs across species. A large number of populations (54%) declined, but differences between species were strong, with some species showing positive trends. Populations declined more often in areas with a high number of alien species, and in areas where climate change has caused loss of suitability. Habitat features showed small variation over the last 25 years, with an average loss of suitable habitat of 0.1% / year per population. Still, a strong interaction between habitat availability and the richness of alien species indicated that the negative impact of alien species was particularly strong for populations living in landscapes with less suitable habitat. Furthermore, when excluding the two commonest species, habitat loss was the main correlate of negative population trends for the remaining species. By analyzing trends for multiple species across a broad spatial scale, we identify alien species, climate change, and habitat changes as the major drivers of European amphibian and reptile decline. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-20

Krabbe BA, Arnan X, Lannes P, et al (2019)

Using nutritional geometry to define the fundamental macronutrient niche of the widespread invasive ant Monomorium pharaonis.

PloS one, 14(6):e0218764 pii:PONE-D-19-08722.

The emerging field of nutritional geometry (NG) provides powerful new approaches to test whether and how organisms prioritize specific nutritional blends when consuming chemically complex foods. NG approaches can thus help move beyond food-level estimates of diet breadth to predict invasive success, for instance by revealing narrow nutritional niches if broad diets are actually composed of nutritionally similar foods. We used two NG paradigms to provide different, but complementary insights into nutrient regulation strategies and test a hypothesis of extreme nutritional generalism in colony propagules of the globally distributed invasive ant Monomorium pharaonis. First, in two dimensions (protein:carbohydrates; P:C), M. pharaonis colonies consistently defended a slightly carbohydrate-biased intake target, while using a generalist equal-distance strategy of collectively overharvesting both protein and carbohydrates to reach this target when confined to imbalanced P:C diets. Second, a recently developed right-angled mixture triangle method enabled us to define the fundamental niche breadth in three dimensions (protein:carbohydrates:lipid, P:C:L). We found that colonies navigated the P:C:L landscape, in part, to mediate a tradeoff between worker survival (maximized on high-carbohydrate diets) and brood production (maximized on high-protein diets). Colonies further appeared unable to avoid this tradeoff by consuming extra lipids when the other nutrients were limiting. Colonies also did not rely on nutrient regulation inside their nests, as they did not hoard or scatter fractions of harvested diets to adjust the nutritional blends they consumed. These complementary NG approaches highlight that even the most successful invasive species with broad fundamental macronutrient niches must navigate complex multidimensional nutritional landscapes to acquire limiting macronutrients and overcome developmental constraints as small propagules.

RevDate: 2019-06-20

Ryo M, Jeschke JM, Rillig MC, et al (2019)

Machine learning with the hierarchy-of-hypotheses (HoH) approach discovers novel pattern in studies on biological invasions.

Research synthesis methods [Epub ahead of print].

Research synthesis on simple yet general hypotheses and ideas is challenging in scientific disciplines studying highly context-dependent systems such as medical, social, and biological sciences. This study shows that machine learning, equation-free statistical modeling of artificial intelligence, is a promising synthesis tool for discovering novel patterns and the source of controversy in a general hypothesis. We apply a decision tree algorithm, assuming that evidence from various contexts can be adequately integrated in a hierarchically nested structure. As a case study, we analyzed 163 articles that studied a prominent hypothesis in invasion biology, the enemy release hypothesis. We explored if any of nine attributes that classify each study can differentiate conclusions, as classification problem. Results corroborated that machine learning can be useful for research synthesis, as the algorithm could detect patterns that had been already focused in previous narrative reviews. Compared with the previous synthesis study that assessed the same evidence collection based on experts' judgement, the algorithm has newly proposed that the studies focusing on Asian regions mostly supported the hypothesis, suggesting that more detailed investigations in these regions can enhance our understanding of the hypothesis. We suggest that machine learning algorithms can be a promising synthesis tool especially where studies (i) reformulate a general hypothesis from different perspectives, (ii) use different methods or variables, or (iii) report insufficient information for conducting meta-analyses.

RevDate: 2019-06-20

Tognetti PM, Mazia N, G Ibáñez (2019)

Seed local adaptation and seedling plasticity account for Gleditsia triacanthos tree invasion across biomes.

Annals of botany pii:5512448 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Phenotypic plasticity and local adaption can contribute to the success of invasive species. While the former is an environmentally induced trait, the latter involves a selection process to filter the best genotype for a location. We examined the evidence for phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation for seed and seedling traits of the invasive tree Gleditsia triacanthos, with three origins distributed along an approx. 10° latitude gradient across three biomes.

METHODS: In sub-tropical forests, dry woodlands and secondary temperate grasslands in Argentina, we harvested seeds from clusters of neighbouring trees (i.e. families) distributed within 15-20 km in each origin (biome). We manipulated the environmental conditions relevant to each biome, assuming that propagule availability did not represent an ecological barrier. In growth chambers, we evaluated seed imbibition and seed germination under different light, temperature and water potential. In a 2 year common garden, we evaluated the impact of resident vegetation removal on seedling survival and growth.

KEY RESULTS: Mean time to complete seed imbibition differed among origins; seeds from temperate grasslands reached full imbibition before seeds from dry woodlands and sub-tropical forests. Germination was always >70 %, but was differentially affected by water potential, and light quantity (dark-light) and quality (red-far red) among origins, suggesting local adaptation. In the common garden, vegetation removal rather than origin negatively affected seedling survival and enhanced seedling growth. Vegetation removal increased basal diameter, leaves per plant and spine number, and reduced the height:basal diameter ratio.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that local adaptation in seed germination traits and plastic changes in seedling allometry (e.g. height:diameter) may allow this tree to respond over the short and long term to changes in environmental conditions, and to contribute to shape G. triacanthos as a successful woody invader. Overall, our study revealed how local adaptation and plasticity can explain different aspects of tree invasion capacity across biomes.

RevDate: 2019-06-20

Srėbalienė G, Olenin S, Minchin D, et al (2019)

A comparison of impact and risk assessment methods based on the IMO Guidelines and EU invasive alien species risk assessment frameworks.

PeerJ, 7:e6965 pii:6965.

A comparative analysis of two risk assessment (RA) frameworks developed to support the implementation of the international Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) and European Regulation on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) was performed. This analysis revealed both differences and similarities between the IMO Risk Assessment Guidelines (IMO, 2007) and EU Regulation supplement on RA of IAS (EU, 2018) in RA approaches, key principles, RA components and categories of IAS impacts recommended for assessment. The results of this analysis were used to produce a common procedure for the evaluation of the bioinvasion risk and impact assessment methods intended to support international, regional and/or national policy on IAS. The procedure includes a scoring scheme to assess compliance with the key principles, RA components and categories of bioinvasion impacts taken into account by the methods. In these methods the categories of impacts on human health and economy are underrepresented comparing with impacts on environment.

RevDate: 2019-06-20

Redding DW, Pigot AL, Dyer EE, et al (2019)

Location-level processes drive the establishment of alien bird populations worldwide.

Nature pii:10.1038/s41586-019-1292-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Human-mediated translocation of species to areas beyond their natural distribution (which results in 'alien' populations1) is a key signature of the Anthropocene2, and is a primary global driver of biodiversity loss and environmental change3. Stemming the tide of invasions requires understanding why some species fail to establish alien populations, and others succeed. To achieve this, we need to integrate the effects of features of the introduction site, the species introduced and the specific introduction event. Determining which, if any, location-level factors affect the success of establishment has proven difficult, owing to the multiple spatial, temporal and phylogenetic axes along which environmental variation may influence population survival. Here we apply Bayesian hierarchical regression analysis to a global spatially and temporally explicit database of introduction events of alien birds4 to show that environmental conditions at the introduction location, notably climatic suitability and the presence of other groups of alien species, are the primary determinants of successful establishment. Species-level traits and the size of the founding population (propagule pressure) exert secondary, but important, effects on success. Thus, current trajectories of anthropogenic environmental change will most probably facilitate future incursions by alien species, but predicting future invasions will require the integration of multiple location-, species- and event-level characteristics.

RevDate: 2019-06-20
CmpDate: 2019-06-20

Lin CJ, Wang L, GSK Wolkowicz (2018)

An Alternative Formulation for a Distributed Delayed Logistic Equation.

Bulletin of mathematical biology, 80(7):1713-1735.

We study an alternative single species logistic distributed delay differential equation (DDE) with decay-consistent delay in growth. Population oscillation is rarely observed in nature, in contrast to the outcomes of the classical logistic DDE. In the alternative discrete delay model proposed by Arino et al. (J Theor Biol 241(1):109-119, 2006), oscillatory behavior is excluded. This study adapts their idea of the decay-consistent delay and generalizes their model. We establish a threshold for survival and extinction: In the former case, it is confirmed using Lyapunov functionals that the population approaches the delay modified carrying capacity; in the later case the extinction is proved by the fluctuation lemma. We further use adaptive dynamics to conclude that the evolutionary trend is to make the mean delay in growth as short as possible. This confirms Hutchinson's conjecture (Hutchinson in Ann N Y Acad Sci 50(4):221-246, 1948) and fits biological evidence.

RevDate: 2019-06-19

Kroth N, Cozzer GD, de Carvalho G, et al (2019)

Oviposition preferences of the mosquito Aedes aegypti Linnaeus, 1762 (Culicidae): an urban environment bioassay.

Bulletin of entomological research pii:S000748531900021X [Epub ahead of print].

The establishment of an invasive species depends on reproductive success and dispersion capability in the new environment. One of the striking examples of invasion in urban environments is the mosquito Aedes aegypti Linnaeus, 1762 (Culicidae). The success of this species is primarily attributed to its ability to colonize urban environments, and some of the important adaptive strategies associated with this ability is the preference for humans as a blood source and intense occupation of residential (indoor) environments. This study evaluated the effects of location (indoor vs. outdoor) and water nutrient level (% organic matter) on the oviposition preference of A. aegypti in an urban environment. We used oviposition choice experiments to evaluate mosquito oviposition in containers holding 1:1 vs 1:0 ratios of water: organic matter placed indoors and outdoors. Eggs were sampled once per week for nine weeks. Our results revealed a strong oviposition preference for outdoor containers, with a significant preference for containers with higher concentrations of organic matter during the fifth to ninth weeks. However, mosquitoes occupying indoor environments did not prefer to lay eggs in containers with lower levels of organic matter. A better understanding of the preferences of A. aegypti regarding the nutrient level and location of oviposition containers can increase our understanding of the behavioral factors allowing mosquitoes to utilize anthropogenic environments.

RevDate: 2019-06-19

Kapantaidaki DE, Evangelou VI, Morrison WR, et al (2019)

Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) Genetic Diversity in North America and Europe.

Insects, 10(6): pii:insects10060174.

The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), is an invasive species in North America and Europe that damages many different host plants. Substantial work has been conducted on the genetic diversity and invasion pathways of H. halys in some of the countries where it has been found, based on mitochondrial sequences. The main objective of the present study was to further explore the genetic diversity of invasive populations of H. halys exploiting both mitochondrial and nuclear markers. We used two molecular markers: the mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I (COI) gene, an ideal standardized molecular marker for distinguishing closely related species, and the ribosomal Internal Transcribed Spacer 1 (ITS1), because only a few sequences of H. halys exist to this point in global databases. We used specimens from eight populations from Greece, Italy, Canada, and the US. Among the 14 haplotypes retrieved based on the mtCOI gene, two of them (H162-H163) were detected for the first time. These two haplotypes were found in specimens from Canada, Italy, and the US. Concerning the ITS1 region, 24 haplotypes were identified, with 15 being unique for a sampled population. In Greece and the US, 14 and 12 haplotypes were found, respectively, with 7 and 6 of them being unique for Greece and the US, respectively. Our analysis of the nuclear genes of H. halys indicates high genetic diversity of the invading populations in North America and Europe.

RevDate: 2019-06-19
CmpDate: 2019-06-19

Marris E (2019)

Drones unleashed against invasive rats in the Galapagos.

Nature, 565(7741):543-544.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Neumann KM, N Pinter-Wollman (2019)

Collective responses to heterospecifics emerge from individual differences in aggression.

Behavioral ecology : official journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 30(3):801-808.

Variation in individual behavior among group members impacts collective outcomes. The ability of both individuals and groups to outcompete others can determine access to resources. The invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, dominates resources and displaces native species. To determine how access to resources by groups of L. humile is impacted by their behavioral composition, we first determined that L. humile workers consistently vary in aggressive behavior. We then asked if variation in aggression within a group influences the group's ability to access a resource in the presence of cues of a native species, Tapinoma sessile. We found that the behavioral composition of L. humile groups impacted the groups' collective response to cues of T. sessile. Group behavior was the result of mostly additive, rather than synergistic, combinations of the behaviors of the group members. The behavior of groups that contained 50% highly aggressive and 50% low-aggression individuals was similar to the average of the behaviors of groups of all highly aggressive and groups of all low-aggression individuals. Uncovering the mechanisms that allow social invasive species to dominate the ecological communities they invade can inform the mitigation of invasion.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Donnelly A, R Yu (2019)

Temperate deciduous shrub phenology: the overlooked forest layer.

International journal of biometeorology pii:10.1007/s00484-019-01743-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Temperate deciduous shrub phenology plays a pivotal role in forest ecology by regulating the timing of suitable habitat and food of a range of organisms as well as influencing the timing and duration of the carbon uptake period especially in early spring and late autumn when trees are leafless. However, given the overwhelming influence of canopy trees on forest ecosystem functioning, shrubs are often ignored in ecosystem modeling. Isolating the shrub contribution to C flux or satellite-derived forest phenology is challenging. In addition, since shrubs are more likely to be invasive than trees, future changes to shrub species composition are likely, with consequent implications for both over- and understory species composition and ecosystem functioning. Surprisingly, given their multifaceted role, our review revealed that studies on temperate deciduous shrub phenology are limited with the majority focusing on managing invasive shrubs in USA forests. In addition, results of some studies using a large number of species from a range of geographical locations suggested that, in general, invasive shrubs leafed out earlier and retained leaves longer than native species. However, this may not be directly applicable to local conditions with a smaller range of locally adapted species. Therefore, in order to fully understand the role of shrub phenology in temperate deciduous forests, in terms of invasive species, response to climate change and subsequent influence on C balance it will be necessary to establish phenological monitoring sites in which both tree and shrub phenology are recorded concurrently across a range of geographical locations.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

McLeod LJ, DW Hine (2019)

Using Audience Segmentation to Understand Nonparticipation in Invasive Mammal Management in Australia.

Environmental management pii:10.1007/s00267-019-01176-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Invasive mammals threaten agriculture, biodiversity, and community health. Yet many landholders fail to engage in control activities recommended by experts. We surveyed a representative sample of 731 Western Australian rural landholders. The survey assessed landholders' participation in a range of activities to control invasive mammals, as well as their capabilities, opportunities, and motivation for engaging in such activities. We found that over half of our respondents had not participated in any individual or group activities to control invasive mammals during the previous 12 months. Using latent profile analysis, we identified six homogeneous subgroups of nonparticipating landholders, each with their distinct psycho-graphic profiles: Unaware, Unskilled, and Unmotivated, Aware but Unskilled and Doubtful, Unskilled and Time Poor, Disinterested, Skilled but Dismissive, and Capable but Unmotivated. Our results indicate that engagement specialists should not treat nonparticipating landholders as a single homogeneous group. Nonparticipators differ considerably in terms of their capabilities, opportunities, and motivations, and require targeted engagement strategies informed by these differences.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Martinez KA, Fridley JD, Oguchi R, et al (2019)

Functional shifts in leaves of woody invaders of deciduous forests between their home and away ranges.

Tree physiology pii:5519699 [Epub ahead of print].

Temperate forests are widely invaded by shade-tolerant shrubs and trees, including those of Eastern North America (ENA). However, it remains unknown whether these invaders are 'pre-adapted' for success in their new ranges due to unique aspects of their evolutionary history, or whether selection due to enemy release or other post-introduction processes have driven rapid evolution in the invaded range. We sampled leaf traits of populations of woody understory invaders across light gradients in their native range in Japan and in their invaded ENA range to examine potential phenotypic shifts related to carbon gain and nitrogen use between ranges. We also measured leaf traits in three co-occurring ENA native shrub species. In their invaded range, invaders invested significantly less in leaf chlorophyll content (both per unit leaf mass and area) compared to native range populations of the same species, yet maintained similar rates of photosynthesis in low light. In addition, compared to ENA natives, ENA invaders displayed greater trait variation in response to increasing light availability (forest edges, gaps), giving them a potential advantage over ENA natives in a variety of light conditions. We conclude that, for this group of species, newly evolved phenotypes in the invaded range are more important than preadaptation for their success as shade-tolerant forest invaders.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Jacobus LM, Macadam CR, M Sartori (2019)

Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and Their Contributions to Ecosystem Services.

Insects, 10(6): pii:insects10060170.

This work is intended as a general and concise overview of Ephemeroptera biology, diversity, and services provided to humans and other parts of our global array of freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. The Ephemeroptera, or mayflies, are a small but diverse order of amphinotic insects associated with liquid freshwater worldwide. They are nearly cosmopolitan, except for Antarctica and some very remote islands. The existence of the subimago stage is unique among extant insects. Though the winged stages do not have functional mouthparts or digestive systems, the larval, or nymphal, stages have a variety of feeding approaches-including, but not limited to, collector-gatherers, filterers, scrapers, and active predators-with each supported by a diversity of morphological and behavioral adaptations. Mayflies provide direct and indirect services to humans and other parts of both freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. In terms of cultural services, they have provided inspiration to musicians, poets, and other writers, as well as being the namesakes of various water- and aircraft. They are commemorated by festivals worldwide. Mayflies are especially important to fishing. Mayflies contribute to the provisioning services of ecosystems in that they are utilized as food by human cultures worldwide (having one of the highest protein contents of any edible insect), as laboratory organisms, and as a potential source of antitumor molecules. They provide regulatory services through their cleaning of freshwater. They provide many essential supporting services for ecosystems such as bioturbation, bioirrigation, decomposition, nutrition for many kinds of non-human animals, nutrient cycling and spiraling in freshwaters, nutrient cycling between aquatic and terrestrial systems, habitat for other organisms, and serving as indicators of ecosystem health. About 20% of mayfly species worldwide might have a threatened conservation status due to influences from pollution, invasive alien species, habitat loss and degradation, and climate change. Even mitigation of negative influences has benefits and tradeoffs, as, in several cases, sustainable energy production negatively impacts mayflies.

RevDate: 2019-06-18
CmpDate: 2019-06-18

Schoener E, Zittra C, Weiss S, et al (2019)

Monitoring of alien mosquitoes of the genus Aedes (Diptera: Culicidae) in Austria.

Parasitology research, 118(5):1633-1638.

Systematic, continuous mosquito surveillance is considered the most reliable tool to predict the spread and establishment of alien mosquito species such as the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), Japanese bush mosquito (Aedes japonicus), and the transmission risk of mosquito-borne arboviruses to humans. Only single individuals of Ae. albopictus have been found in Austria so far. However, it is likely that the species will be able to establish populations in the future due to global trade and traffic as well as increasing temperatures in the course of global climate change. In summer 2017, a project surveilling the oviposition of newly introduced Aedes mosquitoes, using ovitraps, was set up by means of citizen scientists and researchers and was performed in six federal provinces of Austria-Tyrol, Carinthia, Vienna, Lower Austria, Styria, and Burgenland. Eggs of Ae. albopictus were identified in Tyrol during the months August and September, while Ae. japonicus was found in Lower Austria, Styria, and Burgenland. In Vienna and Carinthia, all ovitraps were negative for Aedes eggs; however, Ae. japonicus was found for the first time in Vienna in July 2017 during routine sampling of adult mosquitoes. With this project, we demonstrated the benefits of citizen scientists for ovitrap-based mosquito surveillance. The finding of Ae. albopictus eggs in Northern Tyrol is not yet a proof of the establishment of a self-sustaining population, although it indicates the ongoing introduction of this species along main traffic routes from Italy, where this mosquito is well established. The risk of establishment of the tiger mosquito in the Lower Inn Valley is therefore a given and informing the public about preventive measures to hinder and delay this development is highly recommended.

RevDate: 2019-06-17

Rendon D, Hamby KA, Arsenault-Benoit AL, et al (2019)

Mulching as a cultural control strategy for Drosophila suzukii in blueberry.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Fruit growers largely depend on chemical control to reduce populations of the economically damaging invasive fly, Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura). Drosophila suzukii is susceptible to high temperatures and low humidity; therefore, it may be possible to implement cultural control practices that create microclimates unfavorable for its development and survival. In addition to other fruit production benefits, in-row mulches may impede the development of D. suzukii immatures when larvae leave the fruit to pupate in the soil. This study compared the effects of different mulches (black polypropylene fabric weedmats, sawdust, and wood chips) on temperature and relative humidity (RH), and on adult emergence of D. suzukii from larvae in blueberries and pupae, both above and below the ground surface in blueberry plantings (Vaccinium corymbosum L.).

RESULTS: Across regions, both lower larval survival and longer periods with high suboptimal temperatures occurred above the ground in comparison to buried below the ground, regardless of mulch type. Fewer D. suzukii adults emerged from larvae on weedmat mulch at one site, but there was no effect of mulch type on temperature, RH, or D. suzukii emergence at most sites. The relationships between temperature, RH, and the emergence of adults from larvae and pupae varied by region. Natural infestation by D. suzukii in blueberries was lower over weedmat compared to wood-based mulches at one site. Greenhouse experiments showed that larvae burrowed to pupate underneath sawdust mulch, but were unable to pupate underneath a weedmat mulch.

CONCLUSIONS: Although weedmats may not modify temperatures or RH enough to consistently affect D. suzukii emergence, they can reduce field suitability for D. suzukii by providing a barrier that prevents larvae from reaching favorable pupation microhabitats underground. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-17

Zhang Z, M van Kleunen (2019)

Common alien plants are more competitive than rare natives but not than common natives.

Success of alien plants is often attributed to high competitive ability. However, not all aliens become dominant, and not all natives are vulnerable to competitive exclusion. Here, we quantified competitive outcomes and their determinants, using response-surface experiments, in 48 pairs of native and naturalised alien annuals that are common or rare in Germany. Overall, aliens were not more competitive than natives. However, common aliens (invasive) were, despite strong limitation by intraspecific competition, more competitive than rare natives. This is because alien species had higher intrinsic growth rates than natives, and common species had higher intrinsic growth rates than rare ones. Strength of interspecific competition was not related to status or commonness. Our work highlights the importance of including commonness in understanding invasion success. It suggests that variation among species in intrinsic growth rates is more important in competitive outcomes than inter- or intraspecific competition, and thus contributes to invasion success and rarity.

RevDate: 2019-06-17

Hayward MW, Callen A, Allen BL, et al (2019)

Should the Compassionate Tail Wag the Conservation Dog?.

Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology [Epub ahead of print].

Compassionate conservation focuses on 4 tenets: first, do no harm; individuals matter; inclusivity of individual animals; and peaceful coexistence between humans and animals. Recently, compassionate conservation has been promoted as an alternative to conventional conservation philosophy. We believe examples presented by compassionate conservationists are deliberately or arbitrarily chosen to focus on mammals; inherently not compassionate; and offer ineffective conservation solutions. Compassionate conservation arbitrarily focuses on charismatic species, notably large predators and megaherbivores. The philosophy is not compassionate when it leaves invasive predators in the environment to cause harm to vastly more individuals of native species or uses the fear of harm by apex predators to terrorize mesopredators. Hindering the control of exotic species (megafauna, predators) in situ will not improve the conservation condition of the majority of biodiversity even if compassionate conservationists do no harm to individuals of the exotic species. The positions taken by so-called compassionate conservationists on particular species and on conservation actions could be extended to hinder other forms of conservation, including translocations, conservation fencing, and fertility control. Animal welfare is incredibly important to conservation, but ironically compassionate conservation does not offer the best welfare outcomes to animals and is often ineffective in achieving conservation goals. Consequently, compassionate conservation may threaten public and governmental support for conservation because of the general publics' limited understanding of conservation problems. Article impact statement: Compassionate conservation has an arbitrary focus on mammals, lacks compassion, and offers ineffective conservation solutions This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-17

Rodríguez-Rey M, Consuegra S, Börger L, et al (2019)

Improving Species Distribution Modelling of freshwater invasive species for management applications.

PloS one, 14(6):e0217896 pii:PONE-D-18-16185.

Freshwater ecosystems rank among the most endangered ecosystems in the world and are under increasing threat from aquatic invasive species (AIS). Understanding the range expansion of AIS is key for mitigating their impacts. Most approaches rely on Species Distribution Models (SDMs) to predict the expansion of AIS, using mainly environmental variables, yet ignore the role of human activities in favouring the introduction and range expansion of AIS. In this study, we use five SDM algorithms (independently and in ensemble) and two accuracy measures (TSS, AUC), combined with a null modelling approach, to assess the predictive performance of the models and to quantify which predictors (environmental and anthropogenic from the native and introduced regions) best explain the distribution of nine freshwater invasive species (including fish, arthropods, molluscs, amphibians and reptiles) in a large island (Great Britain), and which species characteristics affect model performance. Our results show that the distribution of invasive species is difficult to predict by SDMs, even in cases when TSS and AUC model accuracy values are high. Our study strongly advocates the use of null models for testing SDMs performance and the inclusion of information from the native area and a variety of both human-related and environmental predictors for a more accurate modelling of the range expansion of AIS. Otherwise, models that only include climatic variables, or rely only on standard accuracy measures or a single algorithm, might result in mismanagement of AIS.

RevDate: 2019-06-17

Sunday J, Bennett JM, Calosi P, et al (2019)

Thermal tolerance patterns across latitude and elevation.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1778):20190036.

Linking variation in species' traits to large-scale environmental gradients can lend insight into the evolutionary processes that have shaped functional diversity and future responses to environmental change. Here, we ask how heat and cold tolerance vary as a function of latitude, elevation and climate extremes, using an extensive global dataset of ectotherm and endotherm thermal tolerance limits, while accounting for methodological variation in acclimation temperature, ramping rate and duration of exposure among studies. We show that previously reported relationships between thermal limits and latitude in ectotherms are robust to variation in methods. Heat tolerance of terrestrial ectotherms declined marginally towards higher latitudes and did not vary with elevation, whereas heat tolerance of freshwater and marine ectotherms declined more steeply with latitude. By contrast, cold tolerance limits declined steeply with latitude in marine, intertidal, freshwater and terrestrial ectotherms, and towards higher elevations on land. In all realms, both upper and lower thermal tolerance limits increased with extreme daily temperature, suggesting that different experienced climate extremes across realms explain the patterns, as predicted under the Climate Extremes Hypothesis. Statistically accounting for methodological variation in acclimation temperature, ramping rate and exposure duration improved model fits, and increased slopes with extreme ambient temperature. Our results suggest that fundamentally different patterns of thermal limits found among the earth's realms may be largely explained by differences in episodic thermal extremes among realms, updating global macrophysiological 'rules'. This article is part of the theme issue 'Physiological diversity, biodiversity patterns and global climate change: testing key hypotheses involving temperature and oxygen'.

RevDate: 2019-06-14

Kiss T, Nagy J, Fehérváry I, et al (2019)

(Mis) management of floodplain vegetation: The effect of invasive species on vegetation roughness and flood levels.

The Science of the total environment, 686:931-945 pii:S0048-9697(19)32560-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Floodplains are prone to plant invasions, which increase their roughness and decrease their flood conveyance capacity. In recent decades, extremely high floods have occurred in the Tisza River (Hungary) without an increase in discharge. This could be partly explained by land cover changes, as plough fields and pastures have been replaced by forest plantations and invasive plants have become widespread in the Tisza River floodplain. The aims of the present research were (1) to evaluate long-term land cover changes from the point of view of floodplain roughness, (2) to calculate vegetation density with and without the invasive shrub Amorpha fruticosa, and (3) to model (HEC-RAS) the flood conveyance in the case of unmanaged and managed vegetation (eliminating invasive plants). The study was carried out at three floodplain sections of the Tisza and Maros rivers, Hungary. In the eighteenth century, wetlands (61-93%) covered the studied floodplain areas, but as a result of mid-nineteenth-century channel regulation works, pastures and plough fields (42-72%) became widespread, and riparian forests (8-19%) appeared. In the late twentieth century, poplar plantations (43-86%) replaced pastures and plough fields and provided a perfect habitat for invasive plants. As a result of these land cover changes, the mean vegetation roughness of the floodplains increased from 0.021-0.032 (1783) to 0.066-0.092 (2017). However, at-site measurements indicate considerably higher vegetation roughness values (0.093-0.134) when the invasive Amorpha is also considered. Invasive species clearance could decrease the vegetation roughness by 86%. Based on our modelled data, peak flood stages could be decreased by 13-34 cm after the clearance of invasive plants. However, these values are influenced by the floodplain slope and characteristics of the modelled flood wave. The management of longer floodplain sections would have a considerable effect on flood stages, while the clearance of smaller patches would not have this effect.

RevDate: 2019-06-14

Osunkoya OO, Froese JG, S Nicol (2019)

Management feasibility of established invasive plant species in Queensland, Australia: A stakeholders' perspective.

Journal of environmental management, 246:484-495 pii:S0301-4797(19)30662-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Managing and monitoring invasive alien species (IAS) is costly, and because resources are limited, prioritization decisions are required for planning and management. We present findings on plant pest prioritization for 63 established invader species of natural and grazing ecosystems of Queensland, Australia. We used an expert elicitation approach to assess risk (species occurrence, spread, and impact) and feasibility of control for each IAS. We elicit semi-quantitative responses from diverse expert stakeholders to score IAS on three management approaches (biocontrol, chemical and mechanical) in relation to cost, effectiveness and practicality, and incorporate uncertainty in expert inputs and model outputs. In the process, we look for promising management opportunities as well as seek general trends across species' ecological groups and management methods. Stakeholders were cautiously optimistic about the feasibility of managing IAS. Taking into consideration all factors, the overall feasibility of control was uncorrelated with the stakeholders' level of confidence. However, within individual management criterion, positive trend was observed for the same bivariate traits for chemical control, and negative trends for biocontrol and mechanical controls. Utility and confidence in IAS management options were in the order: chemical > biocontrol = mechanical, with practicality and effectiveness being the main driver components. Management feasibility differed significantly between IAS life forms but not between habitats invaded. Lastly, we combined IAS risk assessment and management feasibility scores to create a risk matrix to guide policy goals (i.e. eradication, spread containment, protection of sensitive sites, targeted control, site management, monitoring, and limited action). The matrix identifies promising species to target for each of these policy outcomes. Overall, our general approach illustrates (i) the importance of understanding the feasibility of IAS control actions and the factors that drive it, and (ii) demonstrates how quantifying management feasibility can be used to enhance traditional risk assessment rankings to improve policy outcomes.

RevDate: 2019-06-14

Georges-Filteau J, Hamelin RC, M Blanchette (2019)

Mycorrhiza: Genotype Assignment using Phylogenetic Networks.

Bioinformatics (Oxford, England) pii:5514044 [Epub ahead of print].

MOTIVATION: The genotype assignment problem consists of predicting, from the genotype of an individual, which of a known set of populations it originated from. The problem arises in a variety of contexts, including wildlife forensics, invasive species detection, and biodiversity monitoring. Existing approaches perform well under ideal conditions but are sensitive to a variety of common violations of the assumptions they rely on.

RESULTS: In this paper, we introduce Mycorrhiza, a machine learning approach for the genotype assignment problem. Our algorithm makes use of phylogenetic networks to engineer features that encode the evolutionary relationships among samples. Those features are then used as input to a Random Forests classifier. The classification accuracy was assessed on multiple published empirical SNP, microsatellite or consensus sequence datasets with wide ranges of size, geographical distribution and population structure and on simulated datasets. It compared favorably against widely used assessment tests or mixture analysis methods such as STRUCTURE and Admixture, and against another machine-learning based approach using PCA for dimensionality reduction. Mycorrhiza yields particularly significant gains on datasets with a large average FST or deviation from the Hardy Weinberg equilibrium. Moreover, the phylogenetic network approach estimates mixture proportions with good accuracy.

AVAILABILITY: Mycorrhiza is released as an easy to use open-source python package at github.com/jgeofil/mycorrhiza.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

RevDate: 2019-06-14

Tian X, Ohtsuki H, J Urabe (2019)

Evolution of asexual Daphnia pulex in Japan: variations and covariations of the digestive, morphological and life history traits.

BMC evolutionary biology, 19(1):122 pii:10.1186/s12862-019-1453-9.

BACKGROUND: Several genetic lineages of obligate parthenogenetic Daphnia pulex, a common zooplankton species, have invaded Japan from North America. Among these, a lineage named JPN1 is thought to have started colonization as a single genotype several hundred to thousand years ago and subsequently produced many genotypes in Japan. To examine the phenotypic variations due to ecological drivers diverging the genotypes in new habitats, we measured heritability and variation in 17 traits, including life history, morphology and digestive traits, and the genetic distance among the D. pulex JPN1 genotypes in Japan.

RESULTS: We found that most of the traits measured varied significantly among the genotypes and that heritability was highest in the morphological traits, followed by the digestive and life history traits. In addition, 93% of the variation in these traits was explained by the first three components in the principal component analysis, implying that variation of these heritable traits is not random but rather converged into a few directions. These relations among traits revealed the potential importance of predation pressures and food conditions as factors for diverging and selecting different genotypes. However, the magnitude of the difference in any single trait group did not correlate with the genetic distance.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that the divergent traits evolved within D. pulex JPN1 lineage without genetic recombination, since their ancestral clone invaded Japan. Large variations and covariations of the phenotypic traits, irrespective of the genetic distance among the genotypes, support the view that the invasive success of D. pulex JPN1 was promoted by a genetic architecture that allowed for large phenotypic variations with a limited number of functionally important mutations without recombination.

RevDate: 2019-06-13

Njokweni SG, Weimer PJ, Warburg L, et al (2019)

Valorisation of the invasive species, Prosopis juliflora, using the carboxylate platform to produce volatile fatty acids.

Bioresource technology, 288:121602 pii:S0960-8524(19)30832-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Biomass derived from low-value, high-volume invasive plant species is an attractive, alternative feedstock to produce biofuels and biochemicals. This study aimed to use the carboxylate platform to valorize the invasive leguminous shrub, Prosopis juliflora (Mesquite), by utilizing in vitro rumen fermentations without chemical pretreatment to produce volatile fatty acids. The three fractions of the mesquite: leaves (ProL), stems (ProS) and branches (ProB) were compared regarding chemical composition, neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility at 7 time points and VFA production after 72 h with sugarcane bagasse (SCB) as a reference. NDF digestibility was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in ProL (35.8%) than ProS (30.4%) and ProB (20.9%) compared to SCB (21.9%). VFA concentrations from 20 g biomass L-1 showed significant differences with 8.07, 6.71 and 6.51 g L-1 for ProL, ProS and ProB respectively, while SCB yielded 4.02 g L-1. These concentrations were comparable with other platforms that employ chemically pretreated biomass for VFA production.

RevDate: 2019-06-13

Muniz DR, Garcia JS, Braga TC, et al (2019)

Pre-emergence application of (thio)urea analogues compromises the development of the weed species Bidens pilosa, Urochloa brizantha, and Urochloa decumbens.

Journal of advanced research, 17:95-102 pii:S2090-1232(19)30017-7.

Invasive species (weeds) contribute to great losses in crop productivity, and one of the strategies for controlling their distribution in the field involves the use of herbicides. However, the development of new formulations for the control of weeds is challenged by environmental issues, increases in the resistance of weeds to herbicides, and poor selectivity of herbicides towards invasive species. Here, by using pre-emergence experiments, we assessed the phytotoxicity of two (thio)urea analogues (2A10 and 2B2) against the weed species Bidens pilosa (a dicot), Urochloa brizantha and Urochloa decumbens (monocots). Similar to diuron (400 µM), which is a commercial urea analogue herbicide, the urea analogue 2A10 (>200 µM) was lethal to B. pilosa. Although 2A10 failed to disrupt the germination of U. brizantha seeds, this compound (≥600 µM) inhibited the accumulation of chlorophyll a and b and carotenoids and resulted in the development of seedlings that presented relatively short roots and small, chlorotic leaves. Moreover, the thiourea analogue 2B2 (≥600 µM) reduced the germination percentage of U. decumbens seeds and delayed their germination, and at a concentration of 800 µM, this analogue impaired root growth and blocked the formation of lateral roots. The presence of an oxygen atom in the urea moiety of the 2A10 structure is critical for its marked activity against B. pilosa seeds, as 2B2 bears a sulphur atom instead and marginally inhibits seed germination. Neither 2A10 nor 2B2 was toxic to the non-weed species Lactuca sativa (lettuce; a dicot), and the latter even exerted beneficial effects by stimulating leaf expansion. Therefore, the evaluated (thio)urea analogues are promising for the design and development of new phytotoxic compounds for the pre-emergent control of the spread of B. pilosa (2A10) or the post-emergence control of U. brizantha (2A10) and U. decumbens (2B2).

RevDate: 2019-06-13

Cybulska A, Kornacka A, B Moskwa (2019)

The occurrence and muscle distribution of Trichinella britovi in raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in wildlife in the Głęboki Bród Forest District, Poland.

International journal for parasitology. Parasites and wildlife, 9:149-153 pii:S2213-2244(19)30040-9.

The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) is an introduced, invasive species in Europe. Literature data show that raccoon dogs act as a reservoir of many dangerous parasites, including nematodes of the genus Trichinella. The aims of the study were to determine the prevalence of Trichinella spp. infection in raccoon dogs collected from the Głęboki Bród Forest District between 2013 and 2016, and to evaluate their distribution in the muscle tissue of the host. The larvae of Trichinella spp. were detected in 45 raccoon dogs (39.82%), and all of them were identified as T. britovi. No mixed infection was observed. The intensity of infection ranged from 0.02 to 622.92 larvae per gram (LPG), and the highest mean was observed in the tongue and lower forelimb in both examined sexes. The raccoon dog may play a significant role as a reservoir of T. britovi in the wildlife in the examined area.

RevDate: 2019-06-14
CmpDate: 2019-06-14

Mouton TL, Matheson FE, Stephenson F, et al (2019)

Environmental filtering of native and non-native stream macrophyte assemblages by habitat disturbances in an agricultural landscape.

The Science of the total environment, 659:1370-1381.

Understanding how inter-specific variation in functional traits affects native and non-native species responses to stream disturbances, is necessary to inform management strategies, providing tools for biomonitoring, conservation and restoration. This study used a functional trait approach to characterise the responses of macrophyte assemblages to reach-scale disturbances (measured by lack of riparian shading, altered hydromorphology and eutrophication), from 97 wadeable stream sites in an agriculturally impacted region of New Zealand. To determine whether macrophyte assemblages differed due to disturbances, we examined multidimensional assemblage functional structure in relation to eleven functional traits and further related two functional diversity indices (entropy and originality) to disturbances. Macrophyte assemblages showed distinct patterns in response to disturbances, with riparian shading and hydromorphological conditions being the strongest variables shaping macrophyte functional structure. In the multidimensional space, most of the non-native species were associated with disturbed conditions. These species had traits allowing faster colonisation rates (higher number of reproductive organs and larger root-rhizome system) and superior competitive abilities for resources (tall and dense canopy, heterophylly and greater preferences for light and nitrogen). In addition, lack of riparian shading increased the abundance of functionally distinct species (i.e. entropy), and eutrophication resulted in the growth of functionally unique species (i.e. originality). We demonstrated that stream reach-scale habitat disturbances were associated to a dominance of more productive species, equating to a greater abundance of non-native species. This, can result in a displacement of native species, habitat alterations, and changes to higher trophic level assemblages. Our results suggests that reach-scale management efforts such as the conservation and restoration of riparian vegetation that provides substantial shading and hydromorphologically diverse in-stream habitat, would have beneficial direct and indirect effects on ecosystem functioning, and contribute to the mitigation of land-use impacts.

RevDate: 2019-06-14
CmpDate: 2019-06-14

Carolus H, Muzarabani KC, Hammoud C, et al (2019)

A cascade of biological invasions and parasite spillback in man-made Lake Kariba.

The Science of the total environment, 659:1283-1292.

Parasite spillback, the infection of a non-indigenous organism by a native parasite, is a highly important although understudied component of ecological invasion dynamics. Here, through the first analysis of the parasite fauna of lymnaeid gastropods of Lake Kariba (Zimbabwe). We illustrate how the creation of an artificial lake may lead to a cascade of biological invasions in which an invasive aquatic plant promotes the proliferation of invasive gastropods, which in turn alters the epidemiology of trematodiases of potential medical and veterinary importance. Using a new multiplex Rapid Diagnostic PCR assay, we assessed the prevalence of Fasciola sp. infections in the gastropod populations. Both gastropod hosts and trematode parasites were identified using DNA barcoding. We provide the first record of the invasive North-American gastropod Pseudosuccinea columella in Lake Kariba. This species was found at 14 out of 16 sampled sites and its abundance was strongly positively correlated with the abundance of the invasive South-American water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). About 65% of the P. columella specimens analysed were infected with a hitherto unknown Fasciola species. Phylogenetic analyses indicate close affinity to Fasciola hepatica and F. gigantica, which cause fasciolosis, an important liver disease affecting both ruminants and humans. In addition, another non-native Lymnaeid species was found: a Radix sp. that clustered closely with a Vietnamese Radix species. Radix sp. hosted both amphistome and Fasciola trematodes. By linking an invasion cascade and parasite spillback, this study shows how both processes can act in combination to lead to potentially important epidemiological changes.

RevDate: 2019-06-13
CmpDate: 2019-06-13

Rojas TN, Vergara-Tabares DL, Valdez DJ, et al (2019)

Food supplementation by an invasive fleshy-fruited shrub sustains body condition of a native frugivorous bird during winter.

Integrative zoology, 14(3):259-269.

Birds tend to adjust their behavior and physiology to changes in food availability in their environment. Seasonal fluctuation of food resources may act as an energetic challenge, augmenting hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) activity, leading to an increase in corticosterone concentrations and promoting the metabolism of energy stores. Plant invasions may alter seasonal food fluctuations by providing a food supply during scarce seasons. This could attenuate the energetic challenge, reducing HPA axis activity and the metabolism of reserves. Using a system with seasonal fluctuation in food availability, we tested if fruit supplementation by the invasive fleshy-fruited Pyracantha angustifolia during the season of native fruit scarcity decreases the consumption of energy stores through activity attenuation of the HPA axis. We measured changes in body condition and circulating corticosterone (CORT) concentration in Turdus chiguanco occurring at sites both invaded and not invaded by P. angustifolia over 3 time periods that correspond to the periods prior to, during and after highest fruit production of the plant. Fruit scarcity in the ecosystem appears as an energetic challenge for T. chiguanco, given that body mass, fat score and residuals of body mass/tarsus length decreased during winter in a site not invaded by the exotic shrub. Conversely, the presence of the invasive plant seemed to attenuate the metabolism of energetic reserves, as we did not record changes in body condition in birds inhabiting the invaded site. Unexpectedly, plasma CORT concentration did not vary between sites or periods. Further evaluation is required to elucidate how enhanced body condition, resulting from the consumption of a fleshy-fruited invasive plant, affects survivorship and reproductive performance in T. chiguanco.

RevDate: 2019-06-13
CmpDate: 2019-06-10

Donovan GH, Gatziolis D, Longley I, et al (2018)

Vegetation diversity protects against childhood asthma: results from a large New Zealand birth cohort.

Nature plants, 4(6):358-364.

We assessed the association between the natural environment and asthma in 49,956 New Zealand children born in 1998 and followed up until 2016 using routinely collected data. Children who lived in greener areas, as measured by the normalized difference vegetation index, were less likely to be asthmatic: a 1 s.d. increase in normalized difference vegetation index was associated with a 6.0% (95% CI 1.9-9.9%) lower risk of asthma. Vegetation diversity was also protective: a 1 s.d. increase in the number of natural land-cover types in a child's residential meshblock was associated with a 6.7% (95% CI 1.5-11.5%) lower risk. However, not all land-cover types were protective. A 1 s.d. increase in the area covered by gorse (Ulex europaeus) or exotic conifers, both non-native, low-biodiversity land-cover types, was associated with a 3.2% (95% CI 0.0-6.0%) and 4.2% (95% CI 0.9-7.5%) increased risk of asthma, respectively. The results suggest that exposure to greenness and vegetation diversity may be protective of asthma.

RevDate: 2019-06-12

Mize EL, Erickson RA, Merkes CM, et al (2019)

Refinement of eDNA as an early monitoring tool at the landscape-level: Study design considerations.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America [Epub ahead of print].

Natural resource managers use data on the spatial range of species to guide management decisions. These data come from survey or monitoring efforts that use a wide variety of tools. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a surveillance tool that uses genetic markers for detecting species and holds potential as a tool for large-scale monitoring programs. Two challenges of eDNA-based studies are uncertainties created by imperfect capture of eDNA in collection samples (e.g., water field samples) and imperfect detection of eDNA using molecular methods (e.g., quantitative PCR). Occurrence models can be used to address these challenges, thus we use an occurrence model to address two objectives: First, determine how many samples were required to detect species using eDNA; Second, examine when and where to take samples. We collected water samples from three different habitat types in the Upper Mississippi River when both Bighead Carp and Silver Carp were known to be present based on telemetry detections. Each habitat type (backwater, tributary, and impoundment) was sampled during April, May and November. Detections of eDNA for both species varied across sites and months, but were generally low, 0 - 19.3% of samples were positive for eDNA. Overall, we found that eDNA-based sampling holds promise to be a powerful monitoring tool for resource managers, however, limitations of eDNA-based sampling include different biological and ecological characteristics of target species such as seasonal habitat usage patterns as well as aspects of different physical environments that impact the implementation of these methods such as water temperature. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-11

Thorn JPR (2019)

Adaptation "from below" to changes in species distribution, habitat and climate in agro-ecosystems in the Terai Plains of Nepal.

Ambio pii:10.1007/s13280-019-01202-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Recent land-use and climatic shifts are expected to alter species distributions, the provisioning of ecosystem services, and livelihoods of biodiversity-dependent societies living in multifunctional landscapes. However, to date, few studies have integrated social and ecological evidence to understand how humans perceive change, and adapt agro-ecological practices at the landscape scale. Mixed method fieldwork compared observed changes in plant species distribution across a climatic gradient to farmers' perceptions in biodiversity and climate change in rice-cultivated farms. In contrast to the global context, farmers in the Terai Plains of Nepal are acutely aware of high levels of change observed in the last 10 years, and incrementally adapt as new invasive species emerge (93%), the incidence and severity of pest/diseases increase (66%), genetic diversity of indigenous varieties erodes (65%), forest habitats diminish (98%), irrigation water declines (60%), and wildlife ranges shift. Twenty-five changes in climate were reported by 97.5% of farmers to reduce provisioning services and food self-sufficiency, and increase exposure to waterborne pathogens, heat stress, and human or livestock mortality. The study illustrates the need for financial and institutional supports at all levels to strengthen agro-ecological practices, upscale Information Communication Technology for extension services, clarify tenure agreements, and safeguard natural ecosystems to slow biodiversity loss. Existing incentives to conserve, restore, or sustainably manage ecosystems offer lessons for other societies undergoing rapid change.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Requena-Mullor JM, Maguire KC, Shinneman DJ, et al (2019)

Integrating anthropogenic factors into regional-scale species distribution models - a novel application in the imperiled sagebrush biome.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Species distribution models (SDM) that rely on regional-scale environmental variables will play a key role in forecasting species occurrence in the face of climate change. However, in the Anthropocene, a number of local-scale anthropogenic variables, including wildfire history, land-use change, invasive species, and ecological restoration practices can override regional-scale variables to drive patterns of species distribution. Incorporating these human-induced factors into SDMs remains a major research challenge, in part because spatial variability in these factors occurs at fine scales, rendering prediction over regional extents problematic. Here, we used big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) as a model species to explore whether including human-induced factors improves the fit of the SDM. We applied a Bayesian hurdle spatial approach using 21,753 data points of field-sampled vegetation obtained from the LANDFIRE program to model sagebrush occurrence and cover by incorporating fire history metrics and restoration treatments from 1980 to 2015 throughout the Great Basin of North America. Models including fire attributes and restoration treatments performed better than those including only climate and topographic variables. Number of fires and fire occurrence had the strongest relative effects on big sagebrush occurrence and cover, respectively. The models predicted that the probability of big sagebrush occurrence decreases by 1.2% (95% CI; -6.9%, 0.6%) when one fire occurs and that increasing fires from zero to at least one fire would decrease cover by 44.7% (95% CI; -47.9%, -41.3%). Restoration practices increased the probability of big sagebrush occurrence but had minimal effect on cover. Our results demonstrate the potential value of including disturbance and land management along with climate in models to predict species distributions. As an increasing number of datasets representing land use history become available, we anticipate that our modeling framework will have broad relevance across a range of biomes and species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Jean Baptiste A, Macario PA, Islebe GA, et al (2019)

Secondary Succession under invasive species (Pteridium aquilinum) conditions in a seasonal dry tropical forest in southeastern Mexico.

PeerJ, 7:e6974 pii:6974.

The role of invasive species in ecosystem functioning represents one of the main challenges in ecology. Pteridium aquilinum is a successful cosmopolitan invasive species with negative effects on the ecological mechanisms that allow secondary succession. In this study, we evaluated the influence of P. aquilinumon secondary succession under different disturbances in a seasonal dry forest of the Yucatán Peninsula. We determined species richness, composition and the relative importance value in four sampling units. Fabaceae followed by Asteraceae, Meliaceae, Rubiaceae, Sapindaceae and Verbenaceae were the most species rich families. A dissimilarity analysis determined significant differences in beta diversity between sampling units. With a generalized linear model we found that species richness was best explained by site conditions, followed by calcium and soil organic matter. Also, the generalized linear model showed that abundance resulted in a strong correlation with site conditions and soil characteristics. Specific soil conditions related to phosphoro and calcium were also detected as beneficiary to the successional processes. Our results suggest that applying fire restriction and periodic cutting of the bracken fern, this can increase a higher diversity of species.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Mir SH, Rashid I, Hussain B, et al (2019)

Silicon Supplementation of Rescuegrass Reduces Herbivory by a Grasshopper.

Frontiers in plant science, 10:671.

The theory of coevolution suggests that herbivores play an important role in the diversification and composition of plant communities. A prevalent idea holds that grasses and grazing animals participated in an evolutionary "arms race" as grassland ecosystems started spreading across the continents. In this race, besides other things, silicification in the form of phytoliths occurred in the grasses, and the graminivorous herbivores responded through specialized mandibles to feed on plants rich in phytoliths. It is important to understand whether these mandibles equip the herbivores in different environments or the grasses can augment their defense by channelizing their energy in high resource milieu. Here we used rescuegrass (Bromus catharticus; Family: Poaceae), an alien species of South America, to understand the mechanism of resistance offered by this species against a local insect herbivore (Oxya grandis; Family: Acrididae), graminivorous grasshopper, in different silicon-rich environments. We used different concentrations of silicon and observed the types of phytoliths formed after Si amendments and studied the effect of phytoliths on mandible wear of the grasshopper. Silicon concentrations increased ca. 12 fold in the highest supplementation treatments. The results reveal that higher foliar silica concentration in Si-rich plants did not result in changing the morphology of the phytoliths; still the leaf tissue consumption was lower in higher Si treatments, perhaps due to mandibular wear of the grasshoppers. The study opens a new dimension of investigating the role of Si amendments in reducing herbivory.

RevDate: 2019-06-07

Gaudard CA, Robertson MP, TR Bishop (2019)

Low levels of intraspecific trait variation in a keystone invertebrate group.

Oecologia pii:10.1007/s00442-019-04426-9 [Epub ahead of print].

The trait-based approach to ecology promises to provide a mechanistic understanding of species distributions and ecosystem functioning. Typically, trait analyses focus on average species trait values and assume that intraspecific variation is small or negligible. Recent work has shown, however, that intraspecific trait variation can often contribute substantially to total trait variation. Whilst many studies have investigated intraspecific variation in plants, very few have done so for invertebrates. There is no research on the level of intraspecific trait variation in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), despite the fact that there is a growing body of literature using ant morphological trait data and demonstrating that these insects play important roles in many ecosystems and food webs. Here, we investigate the intraspecific variability of four commonly used ant morphological traits from 23 species from the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains of southern Africa. In total, we measured 1145 different individuals and made 6870 trait measurements. Intraspecific variation accounted for only 1-4% of total trait variation for each of the four traits we analysed. We found no links between intraspecific variation, phylogeny and elevation. On average, six individuals generated robust species means but under biased sampling scenarios 20 individuals were needed. The low levels of intraspecific morphological variation that we find suggest that the approach of using mean species traits is valid, in this fauna at least. Regardless, we encourage ant trait ecologists to measure greater numbers of individuals, especially across gradients, to shed further light on intraspecific variation in this functionally important group of insects.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Nicholls S (2019)

Impacts of environmental disturbances on housing prices: A review of the hedonic pricing literature.

Journal of environmental management, 246:1-10 pii:S0301-4797(19)30772-8 [Epub ahead of print].

The global environment is susceptible to many types of change, including alterations to the world's climate. Climate change has been linked to a host of modifications to the natural environment, including the increasing frequency and severity of disturbances such as pest outbreaks, invasions by non-native species, and wildfire. These in turn pose substantial risks to human wellbeing and health. Estimates of the direct and indirect costs of these events are important prerequisites to well-rounded cost-benefit analyses of preventative or control measures, themselves essential components of appropriate education, policy and management responses. This review brings together the evidence with respect to the impacts of disturbances such as pests, invasive species and wildfire on residential property values as measured using the hedonic pricing method. It demonstrates that whilst most disturbances have the expected negative or an insignificant house price impact, in some cases disturbances can lead to housing price rise. The possible causes and implications of these unanticipated positive price responses are discussed. Broader consequences of all directions of price impact are also considered, in particular for the development and implementation of polices designed to prevent the occurrence or spread of disturbances, or at a minimum mitigate their negative effects.

RevDate: 2019-06-06

Sakla AJ, Detwiler JT, Caballero IC, et al (2019)

Recognizing the Causes of Parasite Morphological Variation to Resolve the Status of a Cryptogenic Pentastome.

The Journal of parasitology, 105(3):432-441.

Exotic species can threaten biodiversity by introducing parasites to native hosts. Thus, it is critical to identify if the same parasite species infects both native and exotic hosts. However, developmental- or environmental-induced morphological variation may render species identification ambiguous. Our study reports a range expansion in the southern United States of the pentastome Raillietiella indica from the Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, as well as a host expansion into the green anole, Anolis carolinensis, in the anole's native range. Species identification was based on sequence data and male spicule shape. In agreement with a study from Australia, we found that much of the morphological variation in hook measurements, the primary diagnostic traits of raillietiellid pentastomes, was due to development. Here, we explicitly link this developmental variation to instar stage by incorporating experimental infection data obtained from the literature. We also show that the various hook traits are themselves highly correlated and, thus, likely not independent. Taking instar stage and correlated hook variables into account, we directly controlled for development on a composite hook size measurement. Using a large sample size from H. turcicus, we did not find any consistent effects of potential factors (host sex, host snout-vent-length, or parasite intensity) that may result in environmental-induced variation in relative hook size (corrected for body length). However, relative male spicule size tended to be negatively correlated with parasite intensity. In contrast, both pentastome body length and relative hook size significantly varied among host species whereas relative male spicule size was not significantly different among host species. Our study independently supports the conclusions that developmental- and host-induced morphological variations need to be accounted for to accurately identify pentastome species.

RevDate: 2019-06-06

DuRant SE, Willson JD, RB Carroll (2019)

Parental effects and climate change: Will avian incubation behavior shield embryos from increasing environmental temperatures?.

Integrative and comparative biology pii:5511833 [Epub ahead of print].

A major driver of wildlife responses to climate change will include non-genomic effects, like those mediated through parental behavior and physiology (i.e., parental effects). Parental effects can influence lifetime reproductive success and survival, and thus population-level processes. However, the extent to which parental effects will contribute to population persistence or declines in response to climate change is not well understood. These effects may be substantial for species that exhibit extensive parental care behaviors like birds. Environmental temperature is important in shaping avian incubation behavior, both of which interact to determine the thermal conditions embryos are exposed to during development, and subsequently avian phenotypes and secondary sex ratios. In this paper, we argue that incubation behavior may be an important mediator of avian responses to climate change, we compare incubation strategies of two species adapted to different thermal environments nesting in extreme heat, and we present a simple model that estimates changes in egg temperature based on these incubation patterns and predicted increases in maximum daily air temperature. We demonstrate that the predicted increase in air temperature by 2100 in the central United States will increase temperatures eggs experience during afternoon off-bouts, and the proportion of nests exposed to lethal temperatures. To better understand how species and local adaptations and behavioral-plasticity of incubation behavior will contribute to population responses to climate change, comparisons are needed across more avian populations, species, and thermal landscapes.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Kolimenakis A, Bithas K, Latinopoulos D, et al (2019)

On lifestyle trends, health and mosquitoes: Formulating welfare levels for control of the Asian tiger mosquito in Greece.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 13(6):e0007467 pii:PNTD-D-18-01463 [Epub ahead of print].

The expansion of urban ecosystems and climate change, both outcomes of massive lifestyle changes, contribute to a series of side effects such as environmental deterioration, spread of diseases, increased greenhouse gas emissions and introduction of invasive species. In the case of the Athens metropolitan area, an invasive mosquito species-the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus)-has spread widely in the last decade. This spread is favoured within urban environments and is also affected by changing climatic trends. The Asian tiger mosquito is accompanied by risks of mosquito-borne diseases, greater nuisance levels, and increased expenses incurring for its confrontation. The main aims of this paper are (i) to estimate the various costs associated with their control of this invasive species, as well as its health and nuisance impacts, (ii) to evaluate the level of citizens' well-being from averting these impacts and (iii) to record citizens' and experts' perceptions regarding alternative control measures. Evidence shows that experts tend to place a high value on mosquito control when associated with serious health risks, while citizens are more sensitive and concerned about the environmental impacts of control methods. The synthesis of results produced by the current study could act as a preliminary guide for the estimation of societal welfare from the confrontation of similar problems in the context of a complex ecosystem.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Matsumoto Y, Takagi T, Koda R, et al (2019)

Evaluation of introgressive hybridization among Cervidae in Japan's Kinki District via two novel genetic markers developed from public NGS data.

Ecology and evolution, 9(10):5605-5616 pii:ECE35131.

Hybridization and backcrossing of native populations with introduced species can lead to introgression and genetic alteration. In this study, we evaluated introgression in 43 deer from a potential hybrid zone around Okinoshima Island, Kinki District, Japan. This region witnessed the migration of a hybrid population (cross between the Formosan sika deer [Cervus nippon taiouanus] and other deer species) that could potentially breed with the native Japanese sika deer (C. n. centralis). We used an existing genetic marker for the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and two novel markers for nuclear DNA, developed using publicly available next-generation sequencing data. We identified one mainland deer with a mitochondrial haplotype identical to that of the Formosan sika deer as well as nuclear heterozygous sequences identical to those of Formosan and Japanese sika deer. This suggests that the mainland deer is a hybrid offspring of the Okinoshima population and native deer. However, only Japanese sika deer sequences were found in the other 42 samples, indicating limited introgression. Nevertheless, hybridization pre- and postintroduction in the Okinoshima population could cause multispecies introgression among Japanese sika deer, negatively affecting genetic integrity. We developed a simple test based on polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism to detect introgression in natural populations. Our method can accelerate genetic monitoring of Japanese sika deer in Kinki District. In conclusion, to prevent further introgression and maintain genetic integrity of Japanese sika deer, we recommend establishing fences around Okinoshima Island to limit migration, besides a continued genetic monitoring of the native deer.

RevDate: 2019-06-03

Germain RM, Jones NT, TN Grainger (2019)

Cryptic dispersal networks shape biodiversity in an invaded landscape.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Species interact with the physical world in complex ways, and life-history strategies could cause species to differ in how they experience the connectedness of the same landscape. As a consequence, dispersal limitation might be present but not captured by distance-based measures of connectivity. To test these ideas, we surveyed plant communities that live on discrete patches of serpentine habitat embedded within an invaded nonserpentine habitat matrix. Species in these communities differ in dispersal mode (gravity, animal, or wind); thus we used satellite imagery to quantify landscape features that might differentially influence connectivity for some dispersal- mode groups over others (surface streams, animal paths). Our data yielded two key insights: first, dispersal limitation appeared to be absent using a conventional distance-based measure of connectivity, but emerged after considering forms of landscape connectivity relevant to each dispersal mode. Second, the landscape variables that emerged as most important to each dispersal mode were generally consistent with our predictions based on species' putative dispersal vectors, but also included unexpected interactive effects. For example, the richness of animal-dispersed species was positively associated with animal connectivity when patches were close in space, but when patches were isolated, animals had a strong negative effect. This finding alludes to the reduced ability of animals to disperse seeds between suitable patches in invaded landscapes because of increased inter-patch distances. Real landscapes include complex spatial flows of energy and matter, which, as our work demonstrates, sets up ecological opportunity for organisms to differ in how they disperse in a common landscape.

RevDate: 2019-06-03

Benkwitt CE, Wilson SK, NAJ Graham (2019)

Seabird nutrient subsidies alter patterns of algal abundance and fish biomass on coral reefs following a bleaching event.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Cross-ecosystem nutrient subsidies play a key role in the structure and dynamics of recipient communities, but human activities are disrupting these links. Because nutrient subsidies may also enhance community stability, the effects of losing these inputs may be exacerbated in the face of increasing climate-related disturbances. Nutrients from seabirds nesting on oceanic islands enhance the productivity and functioning of adjacent coral reefs, but it is unknown whether these subsidies affect the response of coral reefs to mass bleaching events or whether the benefits of these nutrients persist following bleaching. To answer these questions, we surveyed benthic organisms and fishes around islands with seabirds and nearby islands without seabirds due to the presence of invasive rats. Surveys were conducted in the Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean, immediately before the 2015-2016 mass bleaching event and, in 2018, two years following the bleaching event. Regardless of the presence of seabirds, relative coral cover declined by 32%. However, there was a post-bleaching shift in benthic community structure around islands with seabirds, which did not occur around islands with invasive rats, characterized by increases in two types of calcareous algae (crustose coralline algae [CCA] and Halimeda spp.). All feeding groups of fishes were positively affected by seabirds, but only herbivores and piscivores were unaffected by the bleaching event and sustained the greatest difference in biomass between islands with seabirds versus those with invasive rats. By contrast, corallivores and planktivores, both of which are coral-dependent, experienced the greatest losses following bleaching. Even though seabird nutrients did not enhance community-wide resistance to bleaching, they may still promote recovery of these reefs through their positive influence on CCA and herbivorous fishes. More broadly, the maintenance of nutrient subsidies, via strategies including eradication of invasive predators, may be important in shaping the response of ecological communities to global climate change.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Tóth VR, Villa P, Pinardi M, et al (2019)

Aspects of Invasiveness of Ludwigia and Nelumbo in Shallow Temperate Fluvial Lakes.

Frontiers in plant science, 10:647.

The relationship between invasive plant functional traits and their invasiveness is still the subject of scientific investigation, and the backgrounds of transition from non-native to invasive species in ecosystems are therefore poorly understood. Furthermore, our current knowledge on species invasiveness is heavily biased toward terrestrial species; we know much less about the influence of allochthonous plant traits on their invasiveness in aquatic ecosystems. In this paper, we present the results of a study on physiological and ecological traits of two introduced and three native macrophyte species in the Mantua lakes system (northern Italy). We compared their photophysiology, pigment content, leaf reflectance, and phenology in order to assess how the invasive Nelumbo nucifera and Ludwigia hexapetala perform compared to native species, Nuphar lutea, Nymphaea alba, and Trapa natans. We found L. hexapetala to have higher photosynthetic efficiency and to tolerate higher light intensities than N. nucifera and the native species especially at extreme weather conditions (prolonged exposure to high light and higher temperatures). Chlorophyll a and b, and carotenoids content of both allochthonous species were substantially higher than those of native plants, suggesting adaptive response to the ecosystem of Mantua lakes system. Higher variability of recorded data in invasive species was also observed. These observations suggest advanced photosynthetic efficiency of the invasive species, especially L. hexapetala, resulting in faster growth rates and higher productivity. This was supported by the evaluation of seasonal dynamics mapped from satellite remote sensing data. This study provides empirical evidence for the relationship between specific plant physiological traits and invasiveness of aquatic plant species, highlighting the importance of trait studies in predicting ecosystem-level impacts of invasive plant species.

RevDate: 2019-06-03

Frost CM, Allen WJ, Courchamp F, et al (2019)

Using Network Theory to Understand and Predict Biological Invasions.

Trends in ecology & evolution pii:S0169-5347(19)30134-X [Epub ahead of print].

Understanding and predicting biological invasions is challenging because of the complexity of many interacting players. A holistic approach is needed with the potential to simultaneously consider all relevant effects and effectors. Using networks to describe the relevant anthropogenic and ecological factors, from community-level to global scales, promises advances in understanding aspects of invasion from propagule pressure, through establishment, spread, and ecological impact of invaders. These insights could lead to development of new tools for prevention and management of invasions that are based on species' network characteristics and use of networks to predict the ecological effects of invaders. Here, we review the findings from network ecology that show the most promise for invasion biology and identify pressing needs for future research.

RevDate: 2019-05-31

Fey SB, Vasseur DA, Alujević K, et al (2019)

Opportunities for behavioral rescue under rapid environmental change.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Laboratory measurements of physiological and demographic tolerances are important to understanding the impact of climate change on species diversity; however, it has been recognized that forecasts based solely on these laboratory estimates overestimate risk by omitting the capacity for species to utilize microclimatic variation via behavioral adjustments in activity patterns or habitat choice. The complex, and often context-dependent nature, of microclimate utilization has been an impediment to the advancement of general predictive models. Here, we overcome this impediment and estimate the potential impact of warming on the fitness of ectotherms using a benefit/cost tradeoff derived from the simple and broadly documented thermal performance curve and a generalized cost function. Our framework reveals that, for certain environments, the cost of behavioral thermoregulation can be reduced as warming occurs, enabling behavioral buffering (e.g., the capacity for behavior to ameliorate detrimental impacts) and "behavioral rescue" from extinction in extreme cases. By applying our framework to operative temperature and physiological data collected at an extremely fine spatial scale in an African lizard, we show that new behavioral opportunities may emerge. Finally, we explore large-scale geographic differences in the impact of behavior on climate-impact projections using a global dataset of 38 insect species. These multiple lines of inference indicate that understanding the existing relationship between thermal characteristics (e.g., spatial configuration, spatial heterogeneity, and modal temperature) is essential for improving estimates of extinction risk. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-05-30

Ebbenga DN, Burkness EC, WD Hutchison (2019)

Evaluation of Exclusion Netting for Spotted-Wing Drosophila (Diptera: Drosophilidae) Management in Minnesota Wine Grapes.

Journal of economic entomology pii:5506528 [Epub ahead of print].

Spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura), an economically damaging invasive species of numerous fruit crops, was first detected in Minnesota in 2012. High fecundity, and short generation times facilitated a rapid rise in the global pest status of D. suzukii, particularly in North America and Europe. To date, the majority of crop injury research has focused on fruit crops such as blueberries, raspberries, and cherries. However, little is known regarding the impact of D. suzukii on the wine grape industry in the upper Midwest region of the United States. Field trials were conducted in Minnesota during the summers of 2017-2018 to examine season-long phenology of D. suzukii in wine grape vineyards and wineries, and to assess the efficacy of exclusion netting for control of D. suzukii. Four treatments were evaluated, 1) open plot check (control), 2) open plot treated with an insecticide, 3) exclusion netting, and 4) exclusion netting, with artificial infestations of D. suzukii adults. Exclusion netting was applied at véraison and removed at harvest. On each sample date, 20 berries (10 intact and 10 injured) were collected from each plot for dissection. The number of larvae and adults were recorded for each berry to determine infestation levels. As shown by mean larval infestations and injured berries across treatments, exclusion netting provided a significant reduction in the level of D. suzukii infested berries when compared with the untreated check. These results indicate that exclusion netting could provide an effective alternative management strategy for D. suzukii in wine grapes.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Androsiuk P, Koc J, Chwedorzewska KJ, et al (2019)

Retrotransposon-based genetic variation of Poa annua populations from contrasting climate conditions.

PeerJ, 7:e6888 pii:6888.

Background: Poa annua L. is an example of a plant characterized by abundant, worldwide distribution from polar to equatorial regions. Due to its high plasticity and extraordinary expansiveness, P. annua is considered an invasive species capable of occupying and surviving in a wide range of habitats including pioneer zones, areas intensively transformed by human activities, remote subarctic meadows and even the Antarctic Peninsula region.

Methods: In the present study, we evaluated the utility of inter-primer binding site (iPBS) markers for assessing the genetic variation of P. annua populations representing contrasting environments from the worldwide range of this species. The electrophoretic patterns of polymerase chain reaction products obtained for each individual were used to estimate the genetic diversity and differentiation between populations.

Results: iPBS genotyping revealed a pattern of genetic variation differentiating the six studied P. annua populations characterized by their different climatic conditions. According to the analysis of molecular variance, the greatest genetic variation was recorded among populations, whereas 41.75% was observed between individuals within populations. The results of principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) and model-based clustering analysis showed a clear subdivision of analyzed populations. According to PCoA, populations from Siberia and the Kola Peninsula were the most different from each other and showed the lowest genetic variability. The application of STRUCTURE software confirmed the unique character of the population from the Kola Peninsula.

Discussion: The lowest variability of the Siberia population suggested that it was subjected to genetic drift. However, although demographic expansion was indicated by negative values of Fu's FS statistic and analysis of mismatch distribution, it was not followed by significant traces of a bottleneck or a founder effect. For the Antarctic population, the observed level of genetic variation was surprisingly high, despite the observed significant traces of bottleneck/founder effect following demographic expansion, and was similar to that observed in populations from Poland and the Balkans. For the Antarctic population, the multiple introduction events from different sources are considered to be responsible for such an observation. Moreover, the results of STRUCTURE and PCoA showed that the P. annua from Antarctica has the highest genetic similarity to populations from Europe.

Conclusions: The observed polymorphism should be considered as a consequence of the joint influence of external abiotic stress and the selection process. Environmental changes, due to their ability to induce transposon activation, lead to the acceleration of evolutionary processes through the production of genetic variability.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Cohen P, E Privman (2019)

Speciation and hybridization in invasive fire ants.

BMC evolutionary biology, 19(1):111 pii:10.1186/s12862-019-1437-9.

BACKGROUND: A major focus of evolutionary biology is the formation of reproductive barriers leading to divergence and ultimately, speciation. Often, it is not clear whether the separation of populations is complete or if there still is ongoing gene flow in the form of rare cases of admixture, known as isolation with migration. Here, we studied the speciation of two fire ant species, Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri, both native to South America, both inadvertently introduced to North America in the early twentieth century. While the two species are known to admix in the introduced range, in the native range no hybrids were found.

RESULTS: We conducted a population genomic survey of native and introduced populations of the two species using reduced representation genomic sequencing of 337 samples. Using maximum likelihood analysis over native range samples, we found no evidence of any gene flow between the species since they diverged. We estimated their time of divergence to 190,000 (100,000-350,000) generations ago. Modelling the demographic history of native and introduced S. invicta populations, we evaluated their divergence times and historic and contemporary population sizes, including the original founder population in North America, which was estimated at 26 (10-93) unrelated singly-mated queens.

CONCLUSIONS: We provide evidence for complete genetic isolation maintained between two invasive species in their natïve range, based, for the first time, on large scale genomic data analysis. The results lay the foundations for further studies into different stages in the formation of genetic barriers in dynamic, invasive populations.

RevDate: 2019-05-29

Assour HR, JE Behm (2019)

First Occurrence of Cheilomenes sexmaculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) on the Caribbean Island of Curaçao.

Neotropical entomology pii:10.1007/s13744-019-00699-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The predatory ladybird species, Cheilomenes sexmaculata (Fabricius), is native to Asia and Australia but has established populations outside its native range, most recently on the eastern and northern coast of South America. Here, we report for the first time the identification of the introduced ladybird beetle, C. sexmaculata, to the Caribbean islands, specifically the island of Curaçao. Although C. sexmaculata is typically considered beneficial and used as a means of biological control in continental ecosystems, due to its high predatory and reproductive ability, it has the potential to cause major ecological impacts as an invader to sensitive Caribbean island ecosystems.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Robertson DR, Domínguez-Dominguez O, Aroyo YML, et al (2019)

Reef-associated fishes from the offshore reefs of western Campeche Bank, Mexico, with a discussion of mangroves and seagrass beds as nursery habitats.

ZooKeys, 843:71-115 pii:33873.

A series of small emergent coral reefs and shallow, submerged coralliferous banks are scattered along the western edge of Campeche Bank (southwest Gulf of Mexico), 150-200 km offshore from the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Here a reasonably comprehensive, annotated checklist of reef-associated fishes for one reef, Cayo Arcas (expanded from 162 to 209 species) is presented, with preliminary checklists of such fishes from three other emergent reefs (Cayo Arenas, Triángulo Oeste, Triángulo Este) and four submerged bank reefs (Banco Obispo Norte, Banco Obispo Sur, Banco Nuevo and Banco Pera). During 2017-18 a total of 260 species was observed or collected from those reefs, and previous studies and georeferenced museum records in the global aggregator Fishnet2 added another 101 shallow-living species recorded on or adjacent to those reefs. Some coral-reef fishes are thought to be strongly dependent on seagrass and mangrove areas as nursery habitats for maintenance of their local populations on reefs near to those habitats. The abundance of a number of such "nursery" species on these Campeche reefs indicates otherwise, as there are no seagrass- or mangrove habitats for reef fishes within ~ 150 km of the study reefs. Other isolated Caribbean-area reefs that lack mangroves and, in some cases, seagrasses, also support many such nursery species of reef-fishes.

RevDate: 2019-05-28

Zettlemoyer MA, Schultheis EH, JA Lau (2019)

Phenology in a warming world: differences between native and non-native plant species.

Phenology is a harbinger of climate change, with many species advancing flowering in response to rising temperatures. However, there is tremendous variation among species in phenological response to warming, and any phenological differences between native and non-native species may influence invasion outcomes under global warming. We simulated global warming in the field and found that non-native species flowered earlier and were more phenologically plastic to temperature than natives, which did not accelerate flowering in response to warming. Non-native species' flowering also became more synchronous with other community members under warming. Earlier flowering was associated with greater geographic spread of non-native species, implicating phenology as a potential trait associated with the successful establishment of non-native species across large geographic regions. Such phenological differences in both timing and plasticity between native and non-natives are hypothesised to promote invasion success and population persistence, potentially benefiting non-native over native species under climate change.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Ye XQ, Yan YN, Wu M, et al (2019)

High Capacity of Nutrient Accumulation by Invasive Solidago canadensis in a Coastal Grassland.

Frontiers in plant science, 10:575.

Background: Solidago canadensis is a notorious invasive species from North America that is spreading across East China. It is invading some coastal grasslands and replacing native grass species. The effects of the S. canadensis invasion on soil nutrient cycling in the grasslands remain unclear. This study examined the effects of the invasion of S. canadensis on macronutrient accumulation in species aboveground part and soil.

Methods: Aboveground biomass, macronutrient (N, P, and K) pools in biomass, litter mass and decomposition rates, soil macronutrient availability and soil microbial biomass and enzyme activity that were related to nutrient transformation were compared between plots invaded by S. canadensis and uninvaded plots dominated by three different native grass species: Phacelurus latifolius, Phragmites australis, and Imperata cylindrica.

Results: S. canadensis had higher aboveground biomass, higher leaf N, P, and K concentrations, and consequently, a larger macronutrient pool size in the standing biomass. S. canadensis also produced more litter with higher N, P, and K concentrations and faster decomposition rates. The S. canadensis invasion did not change the total N, P, and K concentration in the topsoil (0-10 cm), but the invasion did increase their availability. The S. canadensis invasion did not increase the total soil organic matter (TSOM) content but did increase the soil microbial biomass and the activities of urease, alkaline phosphatase, invertase, amylase, and glucosidase in the topsoil.

Conclusion: The invasion of S. canadensis accelerates the macronutrient cycling rate via increases in aboveground productivity and nutrient accumulation in standing biomass, faster nutrient release from litter and higher soil microbial activity. An enhanced nutrient cycling rate may further enhance its invasiveness through a positive feedback on soil processes.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Pulzatto MM, Cunha ER, Dainez-Filho MS, et al (2019)

Association Between the Success of an Invasive Macrophyte, Environmental Variables and Abundance of a Competing Native Macrophyte.

Frontiers in plant science, 10:514.

The success of invasive species depends on the overcoming of abiotic and biotic filters. Abiotic variables likely have greater relative importance over invasion at broad spatial scales, while biotic interactions are more important at fine spatial scales. In this study, we tested the hypotheses that (i) the abundance of the invasive Hydrilla verticillata is more correlated with abiotic factors than with competing native species at broad spatial grain; and that (ii) H. verticillata abundance is more correlated with competing native species than with abiotic factors at fine spatial grain. Here, we considered spatial scale as the grain size (i.e., the extent of sampling unit) assuming broad spatial scales as a large area encompassing the entire patches of macrophytes, and fine spatial scales as a small area inside one macrophyte patch. We collected the abundance of hydrilla and the competing native species along with environmental variables in a large subtropical reservoir. To evaluate how the relative importance of the abiotic factors and the competing native species vary between spatial grains we used Bayesian Generalized Linear Models. At broad grain, the abundance of the competing native species, maximum fetch (positive correlation), turbidity and conductivity (negative correlation) were the most important factors to explain the hydrilla abundance. At fine grain, alkalinity, total organic matter of the sediment and the abundance of a competitive native species (all negative correlations) were the most important variables. Our results indicate a greater importance of abiotic factors at broader grains while competitive interactions seem to be important only in the finer spatial grains. Environmental heterogeneity may explain the positive correlation between native and invasive abundances at broad grain, while the negative correlation at fine grain suggests the effect of competition. In synthesis, we show that the abiotic factors that explain the invasion success of a submerged invasive macrophyte are the same in two spatial grains, but the importance of biotic interactions changed with grain. Thus, our data suggest that models that attempt to explain the success of invasive plants, should consider spatial scales.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Kanakala S, Kontsedalov S, Lebedev G, et al (2019)

Plant-Mediated Silencing of the Whitefly Bemisia tabaci Cyclophilin B and Heat Shock Protein 70 Impairs Insect Development and Virus Transmission.

Frontiers in physiology, 10:557.

The whitefly B. tabaci is a global pest and transmits extremely important plant viruses especially begomoviruses, that cause substantial crop losses. B. tabaci is one of the top invasive species worldwide and have developed resistance to all major pesticide classes. One of the promising alternative ways for controlling this pest is studying its genetic makeup for identifying specific target proteins which are critical for its development and ability to transmit viruses. Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is the most economically important and well-studied begomovirus transmitted by B. tabaci, in a persistent-circulative manner. Recently, we reported that B. tabaci Cyclophilin B (CypB) and heat shock protein 70 proteins (hsp70) interact and co-localize with TYLCV in the whitefly midgut, on the virus transmission pathway, and that both proteins have a significant role in virus transmission. Here, we extended the previous work and used the Tobacco rattle virus (TRV) plant-mediated RNA silencing system for knocking down both genes and testing the effect of their silencing on whitefly viability and virus transmission. Portions of these two genes were cloned into TRV constructs and tomato plants were infected and used for whitefly feeding and transmission experiments. Following whitefly feeding on TRV-plants, the expression levels of cypB and hsp70 in adult B. tabaci significantly decreased over 72 h feeding period. The knockdown in the expression of both genes was further shown in the first generation of silenced whiteflies, where phenotypic abnormalities in the adult, wing, nymph and bacteriosomes development and structure were observed. Additionally, high mortality rates that reached more than 80% among nymphs and adults were obtained. Finally, silenced whitefly adults with both genes showed decreased ability to transmit TYLCV under lab conditions. Our results suggest that plant-mediated silencing of both cypB and hsp70 have profound effects on whitefly development and its ability to transmit TYLCV.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Jones NR, Agnew M, Banic I, et al (2019)

Ragweed pollen and allergic symptoms in children: Results from a three-year longitudinal study.

The Science of the total environment, 683:240-248 pii:S0048-9697(19)32324-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Common ragweed is a highly allergenic invasive species in Europe, expected to become widespread under climate change. Allergy to ragweed manifests as eye, nasal and lung symptoms, and children may retain these throughout life. The dose-response relationship between symptoms and pollen concentrations is unclear. We undertook a longitudinal study, assessing the association between ragweed pollen concentration and allergic eye, nasal and lung symptoms in children living under a range of ragweed pollen concentrations in Croatia. Over three years, 85 children completed daily diaries, detailing allergic symptoms alongside daily location, activities and medication, resulting in 10,130 individual daily entries. The daily ragweed pollen concentration for the children's locations was obtained, alongside daily weather and air pollution. Parents completed a home/lifestyle/medical questionnaire. Generalised Additive Mixed Models established the relationship between pollen concentrations and symptoms, alongside other covariates. Eye symptoms were associated with mean daily pollen concentration over four days (day of symptoms plus 3 previous days); 61 grains/m3/day (95%CI: 45, 100) was the threshold at which 50% of children reported symptoms. Nasal symptoms were associated with mean daily pollen concentration over 12 days (day of symptoms plus 11 previous days); the threshold for 50% of children reporting symptoms was 40 grains/m3/day (95%CI: 24, 87). Lung symptoms showed a relationship with mean daily pollen concentration over 19 days (day of symptoms plus 18 previous days), with a threshold of 71 grains/m3/day (95%CI: 59, 88). Taking medication on the day of symptoms showed higher odds, suggesting responsive behaviour. Taking medication on the day prior to symptoms showed lower odds of reporting, indicating preventative behaviour. Different symptoms in children demonstrate varying dose-response relationships with ragweed pollen concentrations. Each symptom type responded to pollen exposure over different time periods. Using medication prior to symptoms can reduce symptom presence. These findings can be used to better manage paediatric ragweed allergy symptoms.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Ilarri MI, Souza AT, Amorim L, et al (2019)

Decay and persistence of empty bivalve shells in a temperate riverine system.

The Science of the total environment, 683:185-192 pii:S0048-9697(19)32247-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Bivalve shells can persist over a geological time, acting as important physical resources to the associated fauna. However, few studies have investigated their relevance as persistent long-term ecological attributes to the ecosystem. As such, it is relevant to investigate the shell decays in riverine systems subjected to different environmental conditions. Towards this end, shells of four bivalve species (Anodonta anatina, Corbicula fluminea, Potomida littoralis and Unio delphinus) were made available individually and in clusters of different sizes. The effects of river flow and seasonality were assessed by recording the decay rates of shells in lentic and lotic habitats throughout the year. Our results evidenced that the decays varied among species and depend on shell size, water flow and season. Thin shelled species (A. anatina and U. delphinus) showed the highest mean percentage of decay per month, 3.17% (lotic) and 2.77% (lotic), respectively, and thick shelled species (C. fluminea and P. littoralis) the lowest, 2.02% (lotic) and 1.83% (lotic), respectively. Size was a relevant variable explaining decays, with the smallest shells presenting the highest values, 1.2-2.0 times higher compared to the other size classes. Also, robustness showed to be the most relevant feature explaining the decays in thick shelled species. River flow was also a relevant descriptor of the decays, with higher decays observed in the lotic compared to the lentic habitats. Furthermore, lower decays were observed mainly during summer (lentic site), and autumn (lotic site) associated to the burial effect of leaves. In summary, shells of the native species A. anatina and U. delphinus are expected to persist and contribute less as habitat engineering species, than shells of the native P. littoralis and invasive C. fluminea species. This is especially valid to lotic habitats where the decays were up to 2.13 times higher than in lentic habitats.

RevDate: 2019-05-26

Lin TE, Chen TY, Wei HL, et al (2019)

Low cold tolerance of the invasive lizard Eutropis multifasciata constrains its potential elevation distribution in Taiwan.

Journal of thermal biology, 82:115-122.

1. The invasive many-lined sun skink, Eutropis multifasciata, is established in much of southern Taiwan and is spreading northward. We investigated whether winter temperatures constrain further dispersion of this skink by comparing its cold tolerance to the spatial distribution of winter temperatures in Taiwan. 2. We measured the 28-day survival rate of this species at 4 constant temperatures (10-16 °C in 2 °C increments) and its critical thermal minimum (CTmin), i.e., the body temperature at which the righting reflex is lost during the cooling process. For comparison with the spatial distribution of temperatures over Taiwan, we used the biophysical model Niche Mapper™ in order to simulate the soil temperatures, where lizards are inactive in the winter, during the coldest month of the year, January, under three climatic scenarios (average temperature, average-3 °C, average+3 °C). 3. Our results indicate that this species has low tolerance to cold. Combining cold tolerance data with soil temperature data suggests that its upper elevation limit could range from 1000 m to 1500 m, above which the weather is lethal and precludes overwintering. The locations of sightings of E. multifasciata are consistent with this prediction, with no known locations above 500 m elevation. 4. This study highlights that the winter climate is a major factor in determining population establishment and hence in limiting this species' range. Future studies would benefit from accounting for low winter temperatures and their potential influence on range limits of invasive species.

RevDate: 2019-05-25

Hall RN, Huang N, Roberts J, et al (2019)

Carrion flies as sentinels for monitoring lagovirus activity in Australia.

Transboundary and emerging diseases [Epub ahead of print].

Lagoviruses are an essential tool for managing wild rabbit populations in Australia. Our understanding of lagovirus epidemiology in Australia currently depends on members of the public submitting liver samples from dead lagomorphs (i.e. rabbits and hares) through a monitoring program called Rabbitscan. However, many wild lagomorphs die in inaccessible locations or are scavenged before sampling can occur, leading to considerable sampling bias. In this study we screened field-caught carrion flies for the presence of lagoviruses to monitor virus circulation patterns in the landscape, with an aim to establish a less biased epidemiological surveillance tool. Carrion flies were collected from two study sites over a 22-month period and these samples were used to optimise and validate molecular testing methods in this sample type for the currently circulating lagovirus variants. Virus was clearly detectable in field-caught carrion flies using optimised SYBR-green RT-qPCR and RT-PCR assays. However, variant identification was frequently hindered by the low virus loads present in carrion fly samples and spurious RT-PCR amplification. This was overcome by frequent sampling, which effectively acts as replicate sampling to verify inconclusive results. There was generally good correlation between virus detections and variant identification in carrion flies and in samples recovered from wild lagomorphs. The methods reported here provide an additional surveillance tool to monitor lagovirus spread and circulation at a landscape scale, which in turn can help to guide more effective rabbit management programs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Collado GA, Vidal MA, Aguayo KP, et al (2019)

Morphological and molecular analysis of cryptic native and invasive freshwater snails in Chile.

Scientific reports, 9(1):7846 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-41279-x.

Species delimitation in minute freshwater snails is often difficult to perform using solely shell morphology. The problem intensifies when invasive species spread within the distribution range of morphologically similar native species. In Chile, the Truncatelloidean snails are represented by the native genera Heleobia and Potamolithus plus the invasive mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum, which can easily be confused. Using an integrative approach, we performed molecular phylogenetic analysis and studied reproductive and morphological features to identify superficially similar forms inhabiting the central area of the country. Truncatelloidean snails were identified in 40 of 51 localities sampled, 10 containing Potamopyrgus antipodarum, 23 Heleobia and 7 Potamolithus. Based on these results and previously published data, the known distribution of the mudsnail in Chile encompasses 6 hydrological basins, including 18 freshwater ecosystems. The finding of the mudsnails in several type localities of native species/subspecies of "Heleobia" that were not find in situ suggests species replacement or significant extinction of native fauna, a hypothesis supported by the restudy of type material that shows that endemic forms belong to the genus Potamolithus. This study shows the usefulness of integrative taxonomy not only resolving complex taxa with cryptic morphology but also measuring the extent of an ongoing invasion.

RevDate: 2019-05-24

Byrd BD, Sither CB, Goggins JA, et al (2019)

Aquatic thermal conditions predict the presence of native and invasive rock pool Aedes (Diptera: Culicidae) in the southern Appalachians, U.S.A.

Journal of vector ecology : journal of the Society for Vector Ecology, 44(1):30-39.

The native rock pool mosquito, Aedes atropalpus (Coquillett), and the invasive Aedes japonicus (Theobald) have been found in many types of artificial and natural containers throughout North America. Little is known about the ecology of these two species in habitats where they co-occur, although multiple investigators have reported the decline of the native species concurrent with the introduction and spread of the invasive species. Here we report the results of riverine rock pool collections (n=503) in the southern Appalachian Mountains between 2009-2015. Surface water temperatures strongly predicted the presence of each species across a broad range of observed temperatures (11-39.8° C). For every unit of increase in temperature (°C) the odds of collecting Ae. atropalpus larvae increased by 0.34 while the odds of collecting Ae. japonicus larvae decreased by 0.28. No Ae. japonicus larvae or pupae were collected at temperatures greater than 36° C; however, immature Ae. atropalpus were found in rock pools with temperatures up to 39.8° C. In contrast, Ae. japonicus were highly abundant in cooler rock pools (<17° C) where Ae. atropalpus were infrequent or absent. Our findings suggest that in spite of the successful invasion by Ae. japonicus, Ae. atropalpus remains well established in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Given the strong correlation of temperature with the presence of the two species and the contrasting absence of each species at observed temperature extremes, the role of thermal conditions should be carefully explored in the context of other ecological factors likely influencing the range and abundance of these mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2019-05-24

Peach DAH, Almond M, JC Pol (2019)

Modeled distributions of Aedes japonicus japonicus and Aedes togoi (Diptera: Culicidae) in the United States, Canada, and northern Latin America.

Journal of vector ecology : journal of the Society for Vector Ecology, 44(1):119-129.

The Asian bush mosquito, Aedes japonicus japonicus, and the coastal rock pool mosquito, Aedes togoi, are potential disease vectors present in both East Asia and North America. While their ranges are fairly well-documented in Asia, this is not the case for North America. We used maximum entropy modeling to estimate the potential distributions of Ae. togoi and Ae. j. japonicus in the United States, Canada, and northern Latin America under contemporary and future climatic conditions. Our results suggest suitable habitat that is not known to be occupied for Ae. j. japonicus in Atlantic and western Canada, Alaska, the western, midwestern, southern, and northeastern United States, and Latin America, and for Ae. togoi along the Pacific coast of North America and the Hawaiian Islands. Such areas are at risk of future invasion or may already contain undetected populations of these species. Our findings further predict that the limits of suitable habitat for each species will expand northward under future climatic conditions.

RevDate: 2019-05-24

Sadchatheeswaran S, Moloney CL, Branch GM, et al (2019)

Using empirical and simulation approaches to quantify merits of rival measures of structural complexity in marine habitats.

Marine environmental research pii:S0141-1136(18)30850-X [Epub ahead of print].

Ecosystem engineers often affect structural complexity of habitats. There are multiple methods of quantifying complexity, variously measuring topography, surface area, volume, fractal dimension, or rugosity. We compared eight methods, four employing the 3D modelling program 'Blender' to estimate total surface area, top surface area, their ratio, and interstitial volume; and four empirically measuring interstitial volume, fractals and two indices of rugosity. We compared these using seven metrics: 1) correlations among comparable measures; 2) consistency; 3) accuracy; 4) precision; 5) discrimination among configurations of objects; 6) discernment of complexities among zones on rocky shores; and 7) practicality. Of the eight methods, the virtual volumetric method, Blender interstitial volume, performed the best. Direct measurements of three-dimensional space related more closely to patterns in biodiversity than did measurements of two-dimensional space or indirect measures of complexity like fractals. Blender interstitial volume is thus the recommended means of measuring structural complexity of benthic environments.

RevDate: 2019-06-09

Maceda-Veiga A, Mac Nally R, Green AJ, et al (2019)

Major determinants of the occurrence of a globally invasive parasite in riverine fish over large-scale environmental gradients.

International journal for parasitology pii:S0020-7519(19)30128-6 [Epub ahead of print].

The increased rate of outbreaks of infectious diseases in ecosystems is a dramatic consequence of global change, particularly when outbreaks affect important resources such as freshwater fish. However, the links between disease-inducing epizootics and widespread human impacts, including nutrient pollution and high water conductivity, in freshwater organisms are largely unexplored. We used data from extensive surveys in northeastern Spain (99,700 km2, 15 river catchments, n = 530 sites) to explore the environmental factors that singly, or in combination, are likely to influence the occurrence of the invasive parasite, Lernaea cyprinacea, after accounting for host fish characteristics. Smaller fish, lower altitudes, higher water conductivity and nutrient pollution were associated with higher probabilities of infection in 19 endemic and widely distributed fish species. We found no evidence that interactive effects among riverine stressors related to water and physical habitat quality better explained the probability of occurrence of L. cyprinacea in fish than did additive-stressor combinations. Nutrient pollution and high water conductivity were two of the major factors contributing to the increased occurrence of L. cyprinacea. Therefore, the improvement of wastewater treatment processes and agricultural practices probably would help to reduce the occurrence of this parasite among native fish.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Dissanayake AA, Wagner CM, MG Nair (2019)

Nitrogenous compounds characterized in the deterrent skin extract of migratory adult sea lamprey from the Great Lakes region.

PloS one, 14(5):e0217417 pii:PONE-D-18-35747.

The sea lamprey (Petromzons marinus) is a devastating invasive species that represents a significant impediment to restoration of the Laurentian Great Lakes. There is substantial interest in developing environmentally benign control strategies for sea lamprey, and many other aquatic invasive species, that employ the manipulation of semiochemical information (pheromones and chemical cues) to guide the movements of invaders into control opportunities (e.g. traps, locations for safe pesticide application, etc.). A necessary precursor to the use of semiochemicals in conservation activities is the identification of the chemical constituents that compose the odors. Here, we characterize the major nitrogenous substances from the water-soluble fraction of a skin extract that contains the sea lamprey alarm cue, a powerful repellent that has proven effective in guiding the movements of migrating sea lamprey in rivers. Nitrogenous compounds are suspected components of fish alarm cues as the olfactory sensory neurons that mediate alarm responses transduce amino acids and related compounds. A laboratory assay confirmed the behavioral activity contained in the alarm cue resides in the water-soluble fraction of the skin extract. This water-soluble fraction consisted primarily of creatine (70%), heterocyclic nitrogenous compounds (4.3%) and free amino acids (18.4%), respectively. Among the free amino acids characterized in our study, essential amino acids constituted 13% of the water-soluble fraction. Free amino acids isolated from the water-soluble fraction composed of arginine, phenylalanine, threonine, and asparagine 3.9, 2.7, 2.6 and 2.4% of the water-soluble fraction, respectively. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the nature and use of the sea lamprey alarm cue in conservation activities.

RevDate: 2019-05-22

Burns JH, Bennett JM, Li J, et al (2019)

Plant traits moderate pollen limitation of introduced and native plants: a phylogenetic meta-analysis of global scale.

The New phytologist [Epub ahead of print].

•The role of pollination in the success of invasive plants needs to be understood because invasives have substantial effects on species interactions and ecosystem functions. Previous research has shown both that reproduction of invasive plants is often pollen limited and that invasive plants can have high seed production motivating the questions: how do invasive populations maintain reproductive success in spite of pollen limitation? What species traits moderate pollen limitation for invaders? •We conducted a phylogenetic meta-analysis with 68 invasive, 50 introduced non-invasive, and 1931 native plant populations, across a total of 1249 species. •We found that invasive populations with generalist pollination or pollinator dependence were less pollen limited than natives, but invasives and introduced non-invasives did not differ. Invasive species produced 3× fewer ovules/flower and >250× more flowers/plant, compared with their native relatives. While these traits were negatively correlated, consistent with a tradeoff, this did not differ with invasion status. •Invasive plants that produce many flowers and have floral generalization are able to compensate for or avoid pollen limitation, potentially helping explain invaders' reproductive success. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-05-22

Lyttek E, Lal P, Nieddu G, et al (2019)

Modeling Agrilus planipennis F. (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) Spread in New Jersey.

Journal of economic entomology pii:5496795 [Epub ahead of print].

Pests and disease have become an increasingly common issue as globalized trade brings non-native species into unfamiliar systems. Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), is an Asiatic species of boring beetle currently devastating the native population of ash (Fraxinus) trees in the northern forests of the United States, with 85 million trees having already succumbed across much of the Midwest. We have developed a reaction-diffusion partial differential equation model to predict the spread of emerald ash borer over a heterogeneous 2-D landscape, with the initial ash tree distribution given by data from the Forest Inventory and Analysis. As expected, the model predictions show that emerald ash borer consumes ash which causes the local ash population to decline, while emerald ash borer spreads outward to other areas. Once the local ash population begins to decline emerald ash borer also declines due to the loss of available habitat. Our model's strength lies with its focus on the county scale and its linkage between emerald ash borer population growth and ash density. This enables one to make accurate predictions regarding emerald ash borer spread which allows one to consider various methods of control as well as to accurately study the economic effects of emerald ash borer spread.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Boutier M, Donohoe O, Kopf RK, et al (2019)

Biocontrol of Carp: The Australian Plan Does Not Stand Up to a Rational Analysis of Safety and Efficacy.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:882.

RevDate: 2019-05-21

Pearse IS, Sofaer HR, Zaya DN, et al (2019)

Non-native plants have greater impacts because of differing per-capita effects and nonlinear abundance-impact curves.

Invasive, non-native species can have tremendous impacts on biotic communities, where they reduce the abundance and diversity of local species. However, it remains unclear whether impacts of non-native species arise from their high abundance or whether each non-native individual has a disproportionate impact - that is, a higher per-capita effect - on co-occurring species compared to impacts by native species. Using a long-term study of wetlands, we asked how temporal variation in dominant native and non-native plants impacted the abundance and richness of other plants in the recipient community. Non-native plants reached higher abundances than natives and had greater per-capita effects. The abundance-impact relationship between plant abundance and richness was nonlinear. Compared with increasing native abundance, increasing non-native abundance was associated with steeper declines in richness because of greater per-capita effects and nonlinearities in the abundance-impact relationship. Our study supports eco-evolutionary novelty of non-natives as a driver of their outsized impacts on communities.

RevDate: 2019-05-21

Azzurro E, Sbragaglia V, Cerri J, et al (2019)

Climate change, biological invasions, and the shifting distribution of Mediterranean fishes: A large-scale survey based on local ecological knowledge.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Climate change and biological invasions are rapidly reshuffling species distribution, restructuring the biological communities of many ecosystems worldwide. Tracking these transformations in the marine environment is crucial, but our understanding of climate change effects and invasive species dynamics is often hampered by the practical challenge of surveying large geographical areas. Here, we focus on the Mediterranean Sea, a hot spot for climate change and biological invasions to investigate recent spatiotemporal changes in fish abundances and distribution. To this end, we accessed the local ecological knowledge (LEK) of small-scale and recreational fishers, reconstructing the dynamics of fish perceived as "new" or increasing in different fishing areas. Over 500 fishers across 95 locations and nine different countries were interviewed, and semiquantitative information on yearly changes in species abundance was collected. Overall, 75 species were mentioned by the respondents, mostly warm-adapted species of both native and exotic origin. Respondents belonging to the same biogeographic sectors described coherent spatial and temporal patterns, and gradients along latitudinal and longitudinal axes were revealed. This information provides a more complete understanding of the shifting distribution of Mediterranean fishes and it also demonstrates that adequately structured LEK methodology might be applied successfully beyond the local scale, across national borders and jurisdictions. Acknowledging this potential through macroregional coordination could pave the way for future large-scale aggregations of individual observations, increasing our potential for integrated monitoring and conservation planning at the regional or even global level. This might help local communities to better understand, manage, and adapt to the ongoing biotic transformations driven by climate change and biological invaders.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Egeter B, Roe C, Peixoto S, et al (2019)

Using molecular diet analysis to inform invasive species management: A case study of introduced rats consuming endemic New Zealand frogs.

Ecology and evolution, 9(9):5032-5048 pii:ECE34903.

The decline of amphibians has been of international concern for more than two decades, and the global spread of introduced fauna is a major factor in this decline. Conservation management decisions to implement control of introduced fauna are often based on diet studies. One of the most common metrics to report in diet studies is Frequency of Occurrence (FO), but this can be difficult to interpret, as it does not include a temporal perspective. Here, we examine the potential for FO data derived from molecular diet analysis to inform invasive species management, using invasive ship rats (Rattus rattus) and endemic frogs (Leiopelma spp.) in New Zealand as a case study. Only two endemic frog species persist on the mainland. One of these, Leiopelma archeyi, is Critically Endangered (IUCN 2017) and ranked as the world's most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered amphibian (EDGE, 2018). Ship rat stomach contents were collected by kill-trapping and subjected to three methods of diet analysis (one morphological and two DNA-based). A new primer pair was developed targeting all anuran species that exhibits good coverage, high taxonomic resolution, and reasonable specificity. Incorporating a temporal parameter allowed us to calculate the minimum number of ingestion events per rat per night, providing a more intuitive metric than the more commonly reported FO. We are not aware of other DNA-based diet studies that have incorporated a temporal parameter into FO data. The usefulness of such a metric will depend on the study system, in particular the feeding ecology of the predator. Ship rats are consuming both species of native frogs present on mainland New Zealand, and this study provides the first detections of remains of these species in mammalian stomach contents.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Rohal CB, Cranney C, KM Kettenring (2019)

Abiotic and Landscape Factors Constrain Restoration Outcomes Across Spatial Scales of a Widespread Invasive Plant.

Frontiers in plant science, 10:481.

The natural recolonization of native plant communities following invasive species management is notoriously challenging to predict, since outcomes can be contingent on a variety of factors including management decisions, abiotic factors, and landscape setting. The spatial scale at which the treatment is applied can also impact management outcomes, potentially influencing plant assembly processes and treatment success. Understanding the relative importance of each of these factors for plant community assembly can help managers prioritize patches where specific treatments are likely to be most successful. Here, using effects size analyses, we evaluate plant community responses following four invasive Phragmites australis management treatments (1: fall glyphosate herbicide spray, 2: summer glyphosate herbicide spray, 3: summer imazapyr herbicide spray, 4: untreated control) applied at two patch scales (12,000 m2 and 1,000 m2) and monitored for 5 years. Using variation partitioning, we then evaluated the independent and shared influence of patch scale, treatment type, abiotic factors, and landscape factors on plant community outcomes following herbicide treatments. We found that Phragmites reinvaded more quickly in large patches, particularly following summer herbicide treatments, while native plant cover and richness increased at a greater magnitude in small patches than large. Patch scale, in combination with abiotic and landscape factors, was the most important driver for most plant responses. Compared with the small plots, large patches commonly had deeper and more prolonged flooding, and were in areas with greater hydrologic disturbance in the landscape, factors associated with reduced native plant recruitment and greater Phragmites cover. Small patches were associated with less flooding and landscape disturbance, and more native plants in the surrounding landscape than large patches, factors which promoted higher native plant conservation values and greater native plant cover and richness. Herbicide type and timing accounted for very little of the variation in native plant recovery, emphasizing the greater importance of patch selection for better management outcomes. To maximize the success of treatment programs, practitioners should first manage Phragmites patches adjacent to native plant species and in areas with minimal hydrologic disturbance.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Kesäniemi J, Koskimäki JJ, J Jurvansuu (2019)

Corpse management of the invasive Argentine ant inhibits growth of pathogenic fungi.

Scientific reports, 9(1):7593 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-44144-z.

A dead conspecific poses a potential pathogen risk for social animals. We have discovered that Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) prevent spread of pathogenic fungi from corpses by depositing the dead to combined toilet and refuse areas and applying pygidial gland secretion on them. The presence of a corpse in a nest increases this secretion behaviour. We identified three fungi growing on Argentine ant corpses. Growth of the Argentine ant pathogen Aspergillus nomius and the plant pathogen Fusarium solani on corpses was inhibited as long as the ants were constantly attending them as the ant anal secretion only delayed germination of their spores. In contrast, the effect of the ant anal secretion on the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus was much stronger: it prevented spore germination and, accordingly, the fungus no longer grew on the treated corpses. The Argentine ants are one of the world's worst invasive alien species as they cause ecological and economical damage in their new habitats. Our discovery points at a novel method to limit Argentine ant colonies through their natural fungal pathogens.

RevDate: 2019-05-21

Mao D, Liu M, Wang Z, et al (2019)

Rapid Invasion of Spartina Alterniflora in the Coastal Zone of Mainland China: Spatiotemporal Patterns and Human Prevention.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 19(10): pii:s19102308.

Given the extensive spread and ecological consequences of exotic Spartina alterniflora (S. alterniflora) over the coast of mainland China, monitoring its spatiotemporal invasion patterns is important for the sake of coastal ecosystem management and ecological security. In this study, Landsat series images from 1990 to 2015 were used to establish multi-temporal datasets for documenting the temporal dynamics of S. alterniflora invasion. Our observations revealed that S. alterniflora had a continuous expansion with the area increasing by 50,204 ha during the considered 25 years. The largest expansion was identified in Jiangsu Province during the period of 1990-2000, and in Zhejiang Province during the periods 2000-2010 and 2010-2015. Three noticeable hotspots for S. alterniflora invasion were Yancheng of Jiangsu, Chongming of Shanghai, and Ningbo of Zhejiang, and each had a net area increase larger than 5000 ha. Moreover, an obvious shrinkage of S. alterniflora was identified in three coastal cities including the city of Cangzhou of Hebei, Dongguan, and Jiangmen of Guangdong. S. alterniflora invaded mostly into mudflats (>93%) and shrank primarily due to aquaculture (55.5%). This study sheds light on the historical spatial patterns in S. alterniflora distribution and thus is helpful for understanding its invasion mechanism and invasive species management.

RevDate: 2019-05-22

Strydom M, Veldtman R, Ngwenya MZ, et al (2019)

Seed survival of Australian Acacia in the Western Cape of South Africa in the presence of biological control agents and given environmental variation.

PeerJ, 7:e6816 pii:6816.

Studies of invasive Australian Acacia have shown that many seeds are still produced and accumulate in soil stored seed banks regardless of the presence of seed-targeting biological control agents. This is despite claims of biological control success, although there is generally a lack of data on the seed production of invasive Australian Acacia before and after the release of the respective agents. We aimed to quantify seed production and seed survival of invasive Australian Acacia currently under biological control. The seed production and survival (proportion of aborted, predated and surviving seeds) of A. longifolia, A. pycnantha and A. saligna were each studied at four to five sites in the Western Cape of South Africa. The relationships between seed production and stand characteristics were determined and the relative effects of seed predation and abortion on seed survival were established. The investigated invasive Australian Acacia produced many seeds that survived the pre-dispersal stage despite long-term presence of released biological control agents. It was shown that seed crop size is the only significant factor influencing seed survival of the studied Australian Acacia species. Furthermore, the seeds surviving per tree and per square meter were related to tree size. No quantitative evidence was found to suggest that seed-reducing biological control agents are having an impact on the population dynamics of their Australian Acacia hosts. This study illustrates the importance of studying the seed ecology of invasive plants before biological control agents are selected and released.

RevDate: 2019-05-22

Gudžinskas Z, Petrulaitis L, E Žalneravičius (2019)

Asclepiasspeciosa (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae): a rare or unrecognized alien species in Europe?.

PhytoKeys, 121:29-41 pii:33573.

Studies on populations of Asclepiassyriaca L. in Lithuania revealed the occurrence of a new alien plant species, the North American native Asclepiasspeciosa Torr. (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae), in southern parts of Lithuania - the first report of the latter species in Europe. Interestingly, a thorough analysis of herbarium specimens revealed that A.speciosa had first been collected in Lithuania in 1962, but the specimen was misidentified at the time as A.syriaca. The newly discovered population of A.speciosa occupies mesic grasslands, tall-herb fringe communities and arable field habitats. Sexual reproduction of this species was not recorded; it spreads locally by means of vegetative reproduction. We present here an exhaustive analysis of morphological characteristics and differences between A.speciosa and A.syriaca and other species of the genus, as well as a key for identification of alien Asclepias species in Europe. We predict that the effect of A.speciosa on native habitats and communities, and its economic impact, are comparable to those of the highly invasive A.syriaca. Although A.speciosa currently occurs very rarely as an alien species in Europe, its existence in other regions of Europe is highly probable.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

McRoberts N, Figuera SG, Olkowski S, et al (2019)

Using models to provide rapid programme support for California's efforts to suppress Huanglongbing disease of citrus.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1776):20180281.

We describe a series of operational questions posed during the state-wide response in California to the arrival of the invasive citrus disease Huanglongbing. The response is coordinated by an elected committee from the citrus industry and operates in collaboration with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which gives it regulatory authority to enforce the removal of infected trees. The paper reviews how surveillance for disease and resource allocation between detection and delimitation have been addressed, based on epidemiological principles. In addition, we describe how epidemiological analyses have been used to support rule-making to enact costly but beneficial regulations and we highlight two recurring themes in the programme support work: (i) data are often insufficient for quantitative analyses of questions and (ii) modellers and decision-makers alike may be forced to accept the need to make decisions on the basis of simple or incomplete analyses that are subject to considerable uncertainty. This article is part of the theme issue 'Modelling infectious disease outbreaks in humans, animals and plants: epidemic forecasting and control'. This theme issue is linked with the earlier issue 'Modelling infectious disease outbreaks in humans, animals and plants: approaches and important themes'.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

Mastin AJ, van den Bosch F, van den Berg F, et al (2019)

Quantifying the hidden costs of imperfect detection for early detection surveillance.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1776):20180261.

The global spread of pathogens poses an increasing threat to health, ecosystems and agriculture worldwide. As early detection of new incursions is key to effective control, new diagnostic tests that can detect pathogen presence shortly after initial infection hold great potential for detection of infection in individual hosts. However, these tests may be too expensive to be implemented at the sampling intensities required for early detection of a new epidemic at the population level. To evaluate the trade-off between earlier and/or more reliable detection and higher deployment costs, we need to consider the impacts of test performance, test cost and pathogen epidemiology. Regarding test performance, the period before new infections can be first detected and the probability of detecting them are of particular importance. We propose a generic framework that can be easily used to evaluate a variety of different detection methods and identify important characteristics of the pathogen and the detection method to consider when planning early detection surveillance. We demonstrate the application of our method using the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum in the UK, and find that visual inspec-tion for this pathogen is a more cost-effective strategy for early detection surveillance than an early detection diagnostic test. This article is part of the theme issue 'Modelling infectious disease outbreaks in humans, animals and plants: epidemic forecasting and control'. This theme issue is linked with the earlier issue 'Modelling infectious disease outbreaks in humans, animals and plants: approaches and important themes'.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Červená B, Modrý D, Fecková B, et al (2019)

Low diversity of Angiostrongylus cantonensis complete mitochondrial DNA sequences from Australia, Hawaii, French Polynesia and the Canary Islands revealed using whole genome next-generation sequencing.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):241 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3491-y.

BACKGROUND: Rats (Rattus spp.) invaded most of the world as stowaways including some that carried the rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, the cause of eosinophilic meningoencephalitis in humans and other warm-blooded animals. A high genetic diversity of A. cantonensis based on short mitochondrial DNA regions is reported from Southeast Asia. However, the identity of invasive A. cantonensis is known for only a minority of countries. The affordability of next-generation sequencing for characterisation of A. cantonensis genomes should enable new insights into rat lung worm invasion and parasite identification in experimental studies.

METHODS: Genomic DNA from morphologically verified A. cantonensis (two laboratory-maintained strains and two field isolates) was sequenced using low coverage whole genome sequencing. The complete mitochondrial genome was assembled and compared to published A. cantonensis and Angiostrongylus malaysiensis sequences. To determine if the commonly sequenced partial cox1 can unequivocally identify A. cantonensis genetic lineages, the diversity of cox1 was re-evaluated in the context of the publicly available cox1 sequences and the entire mitochondrial genomes. Published experimental studies available in Web of Science were systematically reviewed to reveal published identities of A. cantonensis used in experimental studies.

RESULTS: New A. cantonensis mitochondrial genomes from Sydney (Australia), Hawaii (USA), Canary Islands (Spain) and Fatu Hiva (French Polynesia), were assembled from next-generation sequencing data. Comparison of A. cantonensis mitochondrial genomes from outside of Southeast Asia showed low genetic diversity (0.02-1.03%) within a single lineage of A. cantonensis. Both cox1 and cox2 were considered the preferred markers for A. cantonensis haplotype identification. Systematic review revealed that unequivocal A. cantonensis identification of strains used in experimental studies is hindered by absence of their genetic and geographical identity.

CONCLUSIONS: Low coverage whole genome sequencing provides data enabling standardised identification of A. cantonensis laboratory strains and field isolates. The phenotype of invasive A. cantonensis, such as the capacity to establish in new territories, has a strong genetic component, as the A. cantonensis found outside of the original endemic area are genetically uniform. It is imperative that the genotype of A. cantonensis strains maintained in laboratories and used in experimental studies is unequivocally characterised.

RevDate: 2019-05-17

Koutsikos N, Zogaris S, Vardakas L, et al (2019)

Tracking non-indigenous fishes in lotic ecosystems: Invasive patterns at different spatial scales in Greece.

The Science of the total environment, 659:384-400.

Mediterranean lotic waters such as rivers, streams and springs are poorly monitored for non-indigenous fish species (NIFS). Since these systems are stressed by multiple anthropogenic pressures, it is important to build robust procedures to track NIFS distribution and spread. This study applies a multi-faceted assessment of NIFS in the lotic ecosystems of Greece at different spatial scales by providing: a) a historical review of temporal patterns and arrival pathways of fish introductions in river basins of Greece (140 basins) across 100years; b) an analysis of occurrence and abundance data of NIFS assemblages at the lotic site scale (644 electrofished sites); c) the mapping of NIFS distributional patterns at river basin (75 basins) and regional scales (7 freshwater ecoregions); and, d) a vector analysis of fish translocations using an ecoregional framework. In total, 55 NIFS were recorded (25 alien and 30 translocated); however, there is a low incidence of NIFS in lotic waters at the site scale (30 NIFS recorded in the field samples; 10 alien and 20 translocated). NIFS introductions in Greece appear to be influenced by specific socio-historical periods, indicating a gradual increase since late 1970s. Despite this increase, our study provides evidence that only four alien species are currently widespread and common in the rivers and streams of Greece: Gambusia holbrooki, Carassius gibelio, Pseudorasbora parva, and Lepomis gibbosus (in order of recorded abundance). NIFS tend to be absent or distributed in very low numbers in upland streams and in smaller river basins. However, the issue of translocated fish species is shown to be a sorely neglected problem that is difficult to track. This review tests a readily transferable screening procedure, contributes to the application of the European Union Regulation on Invasive Alien Species; it suggests gaps and uncertainties, and proposes conservation and management actions.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

Chen W, He B, Nover D, et al (2019)

Farm ponds in southern China: Challenges and solutions for conserving a neglected wetland ecosystem.

The Science of the total environment, 659:1322-1334.

Farm ponds, which are sometimes numerous and widely distributed in agricultural regions, have faced widespread degradation in recent decades. Although conservation strategies for these biodiversity hotspots have gradually increased, appropriate approaches for developing country contexts are lacking. Farm ponds provided hydrologic, biogeochemical, and socioeconomic benefits to southern China for thousands of years, but they are facing contemporary threats and management challenges, including (1) inadequate planning in terms of construction and conservation regulations; (2) rural nonpoint source and mini-point source pollution; (3) climate change induced abnormalities in the hydroperiod and disturbance to wildlife; (4) invasive species; and (5) inadequate social and political capacity to consider ecological conservation. Because farm ponds function as wetland complexes that are embedded within or integral to larger ecosystems, their conservation requires collaborative efforts over scales ranging from within-pond to regional. We highlight approaches that build public awareness and involve inventory maps as a basis. Policies that integrate top-down regulation and bottom-up engagement and emphasize sustainable management and utilization are recommended to ensure the effectiveness and continuous improvement of conservation programs. Techniques that involve interconnected smart sensors, volunteering and citizen science, and integrated process-based modeling are preferred when conducting comprehensive descriptions of the pond landscape, numerical assessments on their ecosystem services, and associated conservation cost analyses. Nature-based solutions are increasingly recognized as an important opportunity for coping with water-related crises. This paper presents the first synthetic perspective on the ecological roles of farm ponds in agriculturally dominated developing countries. The analytical framework and conservation suggestions are referential to sustainable rural development and the management of other small, scattered wetlands.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Rodríguez M, Álvarez B, I Loy (2019)

Hunger and satiety determine foraging decissions in land snails: Evidence from the invasive species Theba pisana.

Behavioural processes, 164:230-236.

The foraging behaviour of gastropod molluscs usually involves complex decisions that provide a model for the study of high-order cognitive processes. Land snails tested for food-finding in the laboratory, however, have shown an invariable feeding pattern: novel foods are mostly missed (i.e. just found by chance) whilst familiar foods, due to a type of conditioned attraction, are always located and ingested. This effect, known as Food-attraction conditioning, has led to the conclusion that, regardless of their hunger level, land snails are both willing to eat anything at any moment and also blind to the odours of novel foods. An alternative account of these findings emerges from the fact that the snails are usually tested whilst in a moderate state of hunger, so that they benefit from feeding on known foods but not from taking the risk of feeding on those that are unknown. The present experiments suggest that it is the case. Snails of the invasive species Theba pisana were tested for food-finding according to their seasonal cycle in a laboratory located in their native Mediterranean region. Subjects collected at the beginning of their aestivation period succeed in locating novel food items after being deprived for a long period (45 days), but ignored a conditioned food when they were sated with this food at the end of their lethargy. The results allow us to conclude that the feeding behaviour of snails is the product of a complex cost-benefit analysis in which their motivational state and the stimuli they perceive (and the memory of such stimuli), are evaluated. Finally, we anticipate that these results will be of use in increasing the efficiency of current baits employed for the protection of crops.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Gleason JM, Roy PR, Everman ER, et al (2019)

Phenology of Drosophila species across a temperate growing season and implications for behavior.

PloS one, 14(5):e0216601 pii:PONE-D-18-32332.

Drosophila community composition is complex in temperate regions with different abundance of flies and species across the growing season. Monitoring Drosophila populations provides insights into the phenology of both native and invasive species. Over a single growing season, we collected Drosophila at regular intervals and determined the number of individuals of the nine species we found in Kansas, USA. Species varied in their presence and abundance through the growing season with peak diversity occurring after the highest seasonal temperatures. We developed models for the abundance of the most common species, Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans, D. algonquin, and the recent invasive species, D. suzukii. These models revealed that temperature played the largest role in abundance of each species across the season. For the two most commonly studied species, D. melanogaster and D. simulans, the best models indicate shifted thermal optima compared to laboratory studies, implying that fluctuating temperature may play a greater role in the physiology and ecology of these insects than indicated by laboratory studies, and should be considered in global climate change studies.

RevDate: 2019-05-16

Willi Y, J Van Buskirk (2019)

A Practical Guide to the Study of Distribution Limits.

The American naturalist, 193(6):773-785.

Factors that limit the geographic distribution of species are broadly important in ecology and evolutionary biology, and understanding distribution limits is imperative for predicting how species will respond to environmental change. Good data indicate that factors such as dispersal limitation, small effective population size, and isolation are sometimes important. But empirical research highlights no single factor that explains the ubiquity of distribution limits. In this article, we outline a guide to tackling distribution limits that integrates established causes, such as dispersal limitation and spatial environmental heterogeneity, with understudied causes, such as mutational load and genetic or developmental integration of traits limiting niche expansion. We highlight how modeling and quantitative genetic and genomic analyses can provide insight into sources of distribution limits. Our practical guide provides a framework for considering the many factors likely to determine species distributions and how the different approaches can be integrated to predict distribution limits using eco-evolutionary modeling. The framework should also help predict distribution limits of invasive species and of species under climate change.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )