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Ecotones have long been a focus of ecological research, and there is considerable current interest in functional traits in community ecology. Yet, surprisingly, the functional trait approach has not been applied to ecotones. A bog-forest sequence in southern New Zealand was sampled with a grid of quadrats, and eight traits related to leaf function were measured on the 54 species found. Two ecotones were identified using moving-window analysis: Ecotone I was the transition from bog to edge forest, and Ecotone II was the transition from edge forest to tall climax forest. No strict ecotonal species were present. In contrast to theoretical predictions, species richness was not higher or lower in either ecotone, rather, both ecotones represented a transition in richness from one community to the other. It has long been said that ecotones are mosaics, but species mosaicity was no higher in either ecotone than in the adjacent communities, in fact it was lower in Ecotone I. Functional trait diversity decreased along the sequence from bog to forest, with no deviation in either ecotone. However, examining mosaicity in terms of traits, there was a steady rise in Ecotone I and, in conformance with ecotone / functional trait theory, a clear peak in Ecotone II. We conclude that the features claimed for ecotones are often not present, and whether they are present is dependent on the components measured: species vs traits. Here, the clearest patterns were seen in trait mosaicity, but even this differed markedly between the two ecotones. Generalisations about ecotones should be avoided; they will vary from ecotone to ecotone, and probably depend on the type of ecotone: anthropogenic, environmental, switch, etc.

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Acta Physiologica Hungarica
Authors: Jeremy Loenneke, T. Abe, J. Wilson, R. Thiebaud, C. Fahs, L. Rossow, and M. Bemben

To remain independent and healthy, an important factor to consider is the maintenance of skeletal muscle mass. Inactivity leads to measurable changes in muscle and bone, reduces exercise capacity, impairs the immune system, and decreases the sensitivity to insulin. Therefore, maintaining physical activity is of great importance for skeletal muscle health. One form of structured physical activity is resistance training. Generally speaking, one needs to lift weights at approximately 70% of their one repetition maximum (1RM) to have noticeable increases in muscle size and strength. Although numerous positive effects are observed from heavy resistance training, some at risk populations (e.g. elderly, rehabilitating patients, etc.) might be advised not to perform high-load resistance training and may be limited to performance of low-load resistance exercise. A technique which applies pressure cuffs to the limbs causing blood flow restriction (BFR) has been shown to attenuate atrophy and when combined with low intensity exercise has resulted in an increase in both muscle size and strength across different age groups. We have provided an evidence based model of progression from bed rest to higher load resistance training, based largely on BFR literature concentrating on more at risk populations, to highlight a possible path to recovery.

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Authors: A. Rivas, D. Wilson, R. Gonzalez, H. Mohammed, F. Quimby, D. Lein, R. Milligan, R. Colle, J. Deshler, and W. Trochim


An interdisciplinary and systems-oriented approach for evaluation of academic programs was explored in veterinary research, education and extension in the context of prevention of bovine mastitis. Bibliometric-based document analysis and observation methods were used to assess disciplinary contents of veterinary research and graduate education theses, and New York State dairy farmers' adoption rate of selected veterinary recommendations (bacteriological testing of raw milk, “closed herds”, and three hygiene-related practices). Findings indicated that: a) the veterinary extension literature was lower in output and less differentiated in disciplinary content than that of the agricultural counterpart; b) three disciplines accounted for 85% of all theses major contents; and c) 39.7% of New York dairies requested bacteriological testing, 50% of investigated dairies had “closed herds” and at least 9.4% of those did not adopt all the hygiene-related practices. Context-specific recommendations are proposed. It is concluded that this evaluation approach may facilitate policy analysis, program development and may be applicable to other academic settings.

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Correlations between juvenile wheat root traits, and grain yield and yield component traits under optimal field conditions have previously been reported in some conditions. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that juvenile wheat root traits correlate with yield, yield components and grain mineral composition traits under a range of soil environments in India. A diverse panel of 36 Indian wheat genotypes were grown for ten days in ‘pouch and wick’ high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) system (20 replicates). Correlations between juvenile root architecture traits, including primary and lateral root length, and grain yield, yield components and grain mineral composition traits were determined, using field data from previously published experiments at six sites in India. Only a limited number of juvenile root traits correlated with grain yield (GYD), yield components, and grain mineral composition traits. A narrow root angle, potentially representing a ‘steep’ phenotype, was associated with increased GYD and harvest index (HI) averaged across sites and years. Length related root traits were not correlated with GYD or HI at most sites, however, the total length of lateral roots and lateral root number correlated with GYD at a sodic site of pH 9.5. The total length of lateral roots (TLLR) correlated with grain zinc (Zn) concentration at one site. A wider root angle, representing a shallow root system, correlated with grain iron (Fe) concentration at most sites. The total length of all roots (TLAR) and total length of primary roots (TLPR) correlated with grain S concentration at most sites. Narrow root angle in juvenile plants could be a useful proxy trait for screening germplasm for improved grain yield. Lateral root and shallow root traits could potentially be used to improve grain mineral concentrations. The use of juvenile root traits should be explored further in wheat breeding for diverse environments.

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