Authors:T. Laskow, J. Langdon, P. Abadir, Q.-L. Xue, and J. Walston
baseline differences between groups in mean cytokine concentrations, we then used a generalizedlinearmodel with log link and gamma family distribution, controlling for baseline level in each cytokine. For functional and laboratory measures the
Alpine grasslands harbour species-rich communities of plants and invertebrates. We examined how environmental variables and anthropogenic impact shape species richness and community structure of terrestrial gastropods in alpine grasslands in the Val Müstair (Eastern Alps, Switzerland). Gastropods were sampled using a standardised method at 76 sites spanning an elevation range from 1430 m to 2770 m. A total of 4763 specimens representing 52 species were recorded. Correspondence analysis based on presence/absence data revealed that the grassland gastropod community was structured in a complex way with elevation, wetness, grazing intensity and inclination of the sites as key factors, while abundance-based analysis identified the importance of the elevation and wetness of sites. Generalized linear model showed that species richness decreased with increasing elevation and increased with increasing soil pH. The grassland gastropod communities were characterized by a high beta diversity, as indicated by the SDR-simplex analysis. Species-specific traits of gastropods showed sensitivity to the environmental characters of the sites, as shown by a fourth-corner analysis.
Local plant species richness and composition may vary across habitats and between plant taxonomic groups within temperate deciduous forests. Multi-taxon approach is therefore needed to provide a more detailed insight into determinants affecting vegetation structure. Fifty-four deciduous oak-dominated vegetation plots (20 m × 20 m) were sampled across central Slovakia (Štiavnické vrchy Mts) in order to study the effect of environmental (soil, light, topographic) factors on species richness and composition patterns of two main assemblages of understorey layer (herb-layer vascular plants and ground-dwelling bryophytes). The number of recorded herb-layer vascular plants and ground-dwelling bryophytes was 12–48 (mean 28) and 0–11 (mean 4) species per plot, respectively. Generalized linear model revealed that species richness of herb-layer vascular plants was driven by canopy openness, altitude, soil pH/base saturation gradient and plant-available phosphorus. Canopy openness and heat load index accompanied by soil pH/base saturation gradient determined changes of the ground-dwelling bryophyte richness. Canonical Correspondence Analysis identified soil pH/base saturation gradient, canopy openness, soil silt and topography related predictors (altitude, slope, radiation) as the main drivers of the herb-layer vascular plant compositional variability. Species composition variation of ground-dwelling bryophytes was controlled by radiation and canopy openness.
Authors:H. Bu, X. Chen, Y. Wang, X. Xu, K. Liu, and G. Du
In this paper, 633 species (involving 10 classes, 48 families, 205 genera) collected from the alpine meadow on the eastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau were studied. We tested potential factors affecting variation in mean germination time (MGT), i.e., plant traits (adult longevity, dispersal mode and seed size) or phylogeny, to evaluate if these factors were independent or they had interaction. Nested ANOVA showed that taxonomic membership accounted for the majority of MGT variation (70%), and in the generalized linear model, family membership could explain independently the largest proportion of MGT variation (29%). The strong taxonomic effect suggests that MGT variation within taxonomic membership is constrained. The other plant traits could also explain MGT variation independently (1% by adult longevity and dispersal mode, respectively, and 2% by seed size). Thus, the phylogeny was an important constraint to maintain the stability of species, and we could simplify the question if we regarded the phylogeny as an individual factor, but we could not negate the adaptive significance of the relationship between other plant traits and seed MGT. In addition, a large percentage of the variance remained unexplained by our model, thus important selective factors or parameters may have been left out of this analysis. We suggest that other possible correlates may exist between seed germination time and additional ecological factors (for example, altitude, habitat and post-dispersal predation) or phylogenetic related morphological and physiological seed attributes (e.g., endosperm mass) that were not evaluated in this study.
Authors:S. Montoya-Arango, J. F. Acevedo-Quintero, and J. L. Parra
The relationships between frugivorous animals and plants are of vital importance particularly in tropical forests. The way species interact and how they are organized within interaction networks could be determined by their ecological and morphological characteristics. This study evaluates the hypothesis that the topological position of species within an interaction network is determined by their degree of frugivory, body size, and abundance. Thus, we constructed the frugivory network between birds and plants in a rainforest fragment in northwestern Colombia. The position of the species within the network was calculated based on three centrality measures (degree, betweenness, and closeness), and its association with relative abundance, degree of frugivory, and body size of each bird species was evaluated by means of a generalized linear model. We found that the species that were most abundant and had the smallest body size had central positions in the interaction network. This pattern is contrary to what has been observed in pristine forests, where species with large body size are more important for network stability. Our results suggest that forest fragmentation modifies the roles of species within the network structure, in part, due to changes in the makeup of the original frugivore community. The information presented may be useful to evaluate the effects of the loss of species as a result of anthropic actions, with the aim of generating ecosystem restoration strategies.
Authors:M. Camerini, T. Amoriello, G. Aureli, A. Belocchi, M. Fornara, S. Melloni, and F. Quaranta
Deoxynivalenol (DON) contamination was investigated of Italian durum wheat from organic agriculture. A number of 661 samples from 13 genotypes were collected within the national organic durum wheat network variety trials during the six-year period between 2007–2012 in five different growing areas across Italy (Northern Italy, Marches, Central Apennines, West-Central Italy, Apulia). Mean temperatures and total rainfalls in April, May and June were collected nearby the study sites. Average DON contamination value along the whole study period was 67 μg/kg, and DON was detected only in 36% of the samples. Noteworthy, 95% of the analyzed grain revealed a DON contamination lower than 334 μg/kg. Maximum allowed DON level for unprocessed durum wheat set by European Union (1750 μg/kg) was exceeded only in four samples (0.6%). The highest mean DON values were detected in Northern Italy (175 μg/kg) and Marches (131 μg/kg). The same was for the percentage of positive samples (80% and 58%, respectively). Lower mean values and percentages of contaminated samples were found in West-Central Italy (22 μg/kg and 29%, respectively), Apennines (3 μg/kg and 8%, respectively) and Apulia (2 μg/kg and 7%, respectively). Statistical analysis (Generalized Linear Model, GLZ) was carried out to highlight the effect of factors like cultivation year, growing area and genotype. It revealed a huge effect of year, growing areas and their interaction, while the effect of genotype resulted significantly but quite less than the other main factors. The effect of the year could be explained by climatic data, which suggested an influence of rainfall and temperature at heading on both DON concentration values and percentage of contaminated samples. Results of this study put in evidence a low DON contamination in Italian organic durum wheat.