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Gábor Fekete academician respectfully but affectionately called ‘Master’ (“Tanár Úr” in Hungarian, a version of ‘Professor’ that we used with a specific meaning of being not only a Tutor but Father and Master as well) by generations of vegetation scientists passed away on the 29th November 2016. His death deprived us of an experienced and didactic teacher who was loved by all. This warm regard was expressed in many commemorating writings published since his death. The present paper mainly concentrates on his scholarly work and the importance of his scientific findings also showing how particular publications signify stages in his scientific career.

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Abstract  

Rhyolite-rhyodacite tuff samples were analysed by X-ray powder diffraction, ICP-OES and thermogravimetric (TG) methods to determine mineral and major element composition as well as different types of bound water, respectively. Similarly to CIA values, some TG parameters (H2O[I] — water released up to ca. 200–220°C; H2O[III] — water loss above 500–550°C and H2O[I+III]) show positive correlation to the amount of secondary minerals. Moreover, these parameters are in close positive correlation to CIA values. Our results suggest that TG determination of different types of bound water may serve as a useful tool for estimation and characterisation of alteration degree of rocks.

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Conservation treatments often take place at the scale of vegetation stands and affect within-stand heterogeneity and coexistence patterns of species first. Therefore, it is important to capture changes in these characteristics of vegetation to assess response to treatments early. We propose a method based on Juhász-Nagy’s information theory models, which is capable of describing fine-scale spatial structure of plant communities and characterizes temporal processes as a function of spatial pattern. The proposed multiscale approach handles structural complexity and its dependence on spatial scales with the help of a few coenological descriptors and helps to reveal how fine-scale vegetation pattern affects dynamics. The information statistical functions used in our study (species combination diversity, FD and associatum, As ) characterize the scale-dependent variability of multispecies coexistence (structural complexity) and multispecies spatial dependence (the degree of spatial organization). The maxima of these functions and the related characteristic areas (plot sizes) can be used to construct an abstract coenostate space, where spatiotemporal processes (degradation, regeneration) can be followed. We demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed methods for detecting degradation and monitoring vegetation changes in different stands (18 seminatural and 13 slightly degraded stands) of Brachypodium pinnatum dominated wooded steppe meadows in Hungary. The information theory measures captured changes of fine-scale vegetation patterns that remained unexplored by species richness and Shannon diversity. The maximum values of information statistical measures and the related characteristic areas detected differences between seminatural and slightly degraded stands. In the coenostate space, seminatural stands appeared to be less variable compared to degraded ones. Seminatural stands from various geographic locations were less dispersed in this space, i.e., less heterogeneous than degraded ones. The two regions of the coenostate-space defined by the set of seminatural and degraded stands were significantly different. Furthermore, we conclude that the region containing seminatural stands can be regarded as a reference region in this abstract space. Temporal variation of seminatural and degraded stands was also clearly different. Therefore, we recommend the approach for exploring the actual dynamic states of vegetation stands to be treated and for following consequences of treatments in order to determine effectiveness of the conservation action.

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Acta Alimentaria
Authors:
K.O. Bartha
,
L. Csengeri
,
A. Lichthammer
,
A. Erdélyi
,
J. Kubányi
, and
Zs. Szűcs

Abstract

COVID-19 lockdown affects people's daily routine and has an impact on their lifestyle. Recent studies documented associations between body weight changes and children's lifestyle during social isolation. Childhood obesity is associated with a higher risk of COVID-19 severity and mortality. Our aim was to assess the effects of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic on children's sleep, screen time, physical activity, and eating habits. 387 parents of five elementary school students between 16 and 26 June 2020 were interviewed through an online questionnaire. Physical activity level decreased (63.8%), sleep (60.9%) and screen (5.64 ± 3.05 h/day) times and food intake (39.8%) increased. 80.6% of parents reported changes in children's diet: increased consumption of fruits and vegetables (32.4%), breakfast (15.5%), water and sugar-free beverages (17.6%), snacks (40.4%), sugary drinks (9.9%) was observed. Body weight increased in 44.4% of children. The results of the survey conducted under GYERE®-Children's Health Program are in line with the international literature findings: body weight change during the quarantine is significantly associated with food intake, snacking, sugary drinks, and we also found association with fruit and vegetable consumption and lack of breakfast. Effective strategies and electronic health interventions are needed to prevent sedentary lifestyle and obesity during lockdown.

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Leptin and leptin receptor were studied in the mammary gland of non-pregnant dry and lactating cows. Using RT-PCR it was demonstrated that leptin and its short (Ob-Ra) and long (Ob-Rb) receptor isoforms are expressed both in the dry and the lactating mammary gland tissue. Tissue distribution of leptin and its receptor mRNA transcripts were examined by in situ hybridisation, while the leptin protein was localised by immunohistochemistry. Although in situ hybridisation is semiquantitative, our morphological data suggest that the epithelial leptin mRNA expression of the lactating gland is higher than that of the dry gland. To compare the leptin mRNA levels between dry and lactating udders competitive PCR was used, which showed no difference in leptin expression for the whole mammary tissues. The lack of difference in total leptin mRNA levels is explained by the high adipose tissue content of the dry mammary gland. Leptin and its receptor transcripts are expressed mainly in the epithelial cells of lactating cows, while in dry mammary tissue the signal is found in the stromal tissues as well. The results provide additional evidence that locally produced leptin takes part in the regulation and maintenance of mammary epithelial cell activity.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors:
A. Zsarnovszky
,
É Földvári
,
Zsuzsanna Rónai
,
T. Bartha
, and
L. Frenyó

Environmental and plant oestrogens have been identified as compounds that when ingested, disrupt the physiological pathways of endogenous oestrogen actions and thus, act as agonists or antagonists of oestrogen. Although the risks of exposure to exogenous oestrogens (ExEs) are subject to scientific debate, the question of how ExE exposure affects the central nervous system remains to be answered. We attempt to summarise the mechanisms of oestrogenic effects in the central nervous tissue with the purpose to highlight the avenues potentially used by ExEs. The genomic and rapid, non-genomic cellular pathways activated by oestrogen are listed and discussed together with the best known interneuronal mechanisms of oestrogenic effects. Because the effects of oestrogen on the brain seem to be age dependent, we also found it necessary to put the age-dependent oestrogenic effects in parallel to their intra-and intercellular mechanisms of action. Finally, considering the practical risks of human ExE exposure, we briefly discuss the human significance of this matter. We believe this short review of the topic became necessary because recent data suggest new fields and pathways for endogenous oestrogen actions and have generated the concern that the hidden exposure of humans and domestic animal species to ExEs may also exert its beneficial and/or adverse effects through these avenues.

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Studies addressing the question of how communities develop reported contrasting temporal patterns of species associations during succession. Several hypotheses were formulated about succession, but a general explanation of community assembly is missing. We analysed trends of species associations during old-field succession in two contrasting habitats: the first with chernozemic brown forest soil and temperate climate, and the second with sand soil and dryer climate. Significant pair-wise associations were calculated across a range of spatial scales. Comparing the two succession seres, one under harsh and the other under favourable environment, we attempted to make generalisations about species relation patterns. We found no trend but fluctuation in the level of community organization during succession. None of the existing succession models explained our results about changes in spatial structure of grassland communities during succession. Fluctuation in the number of significant associations was more intense and took longer under less favourable environmental conditions. Our results suggest that the stressed habitat type posed stronger constraints on species coexistence during succession than the favourable habitat did, but validating this hypothesis needs further investigations.

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Community Ecology
Authors:
S. Bartha
,
G. Campetella
,
E. Ruprecht
,
A. Kun
,
J. Házi
,
A. Horváth
,
K. Virágh
, and
Zs. Molnár

Decreasing diversity and plant cover, as well as increasing variability of these characteristics with increasing aridity are expected in grasslands due to climate change. These predictions were tested in perennial sand grasslands in Hungary. Two sites were chosen in different positions on an aridity gradient and two stands in each site were monitored for 9 years. Presence of plant species were recorded along 52 m long circular belt transects of 1040 units of 5 cm × 5 cm contiguous microquadrats. This sampling procedure — a version of line-intercept methods — enabled us to monitor diversity and total abundance in a sensitive, precise and non-destructive way. We found no trend but fluctuation in most community level attributes and in species composition. Contrary to fluctuations, between-site differences in diversity did not change and diversity remained lower in the more arid site during our 9-year-study. Compositional diversity performed better than species diversity because allowed us to detect vegetation changes that would have remained hidden if monitoring would be based only on the species richness. Comparing the magnitudes of fluctuations, five times higher relative interannual variability (CV%) was found for compositional diversity at the more arid site, while the relative temporal variability of total abundance and species richness did not show consistent patterns. We conclude that a 9 year-long study was too short to identify trends caused by the changing climate. However, the larger temporal variability of species combinations found in the more arid site suggests larger vulnerability and highlights the importance of non-linear dynamics during climate changes.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors:
Sz. Fóti
,
Sz. Czóbel
,
J. Balogh
,
J. Nagy
,
A. Juhász
,
Z. Nagy
,
S. Bartha
, and
Z. Tuba
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The categorisation of plant species according to their life form has a long history in plant ecology. The most popular system worldwide and also in Hungary is Raunkiaer’s categorisation according to the position of buds (meristems) surviving the adverse season. The original system contains only seven categories, resulting in high diversity within each category. Therefore, different refinements are suggested. This paper aims to apply an internationally accepted refinement of Raunkiaer’s categorisation, the Ellenberg and Mueller-Dombois system, to the Hungarian flora.

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