Top 10 Biorxiv Papers Today in Ecology


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#1. Underground deserts below fertility islands? - Woody species desiccate lower soil layers in sandy drylands
Csaba Tolgyesi, Peter Torok, Alida Anna Habenczyus, Zoltan Batory, Valko Orsolya, Balazs Deak, Bela Tothmeresz, Laszlo Erdos, Andras Kelemen
Woody plants in water-limited ecosystems affect their environment on multiple scales: locally, natural stands can create islands of fertility for herb layer communities compared to open habitats, but afforestation has been shown to negatively affect regional water balance and productivity. Despite these contrasting observations, no coherent multiscale framework has been developed for the environmental effects of woody plants in water-limited ecosystems. To link local and regional effects of woody species in a spatially explicit model, we simultaneously measured site conditions (microclimate, nutrient availability and topsoil moisture) and conditions of regional relevance (deeper soil moisture), in forests with different canopy types (long, intermediate and short annual lifetime) and adjacent grasslands in sandy drylands. All types of forests ameliorated site conditions compared to adjacent grasslands, although natural stands did so more effectively than managed ones. At the same time, all forests desiccated deeper soil layers...
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#2. Effect of nitrogen on fungal growth efficiency
Domenico Paolo Di Lonardo, Annemieke van der Wal, Paula Harkes, Wietse de Boer
The contribution of fungi to carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling is related to their growth efficiency (amount of biomass produced per unit of substrate utilized). The concentration and availability of N influences the activity and growth efficiency of saprotrophic fungi. When N is scarce in soils, fungi have to invest more energy to obtain soil N, which could result in lower growth efficiencies. Yet, the effect of N on growth efficiencies of individual species of fungi in soil has not been studied extensively. In this study we investigated the influence of different concentrations of mineral N on the growth efficiency of two common soil fungi, Trichoderma harzanium and Mucor hiemalis in a soil-like environment. We hypothesized that a higher N availability will coincide with higher biomass production and growth efficiency. To test this, we measured fungal biomass production as well as the respiration fluxes in sand microcosms amended with cellobiose and mineral N at different C:N ratios. We found that for both fungal species lower...
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#3. Tree diversity and the temporal stability of mountain forest productivity: testing the effect of species composition, through asynchrony and overyielding
Marion JOURDAN, Christian Piedallu, Jonas Baudry, Xavier Morin
Climate change modifies ecosystem processes directly through its effect on environmental conditions, but also indirectly by changing community composition. Theoretical studies and grassland experiments suggest that diversity may increase and stabilize communities' productivity over time. Few recent studies on forest ecosystems suggested the same pattern but with a larger variability between the results. In this paper, we aimed to test stabilizing diversity effect for two kinds of mixtures (Fagus sylvatica/Quercus pubescens and Fagus sylvatica/Abies alba), and to assess how climate may affect the patterns. We used tree ring data from forest plots distributed along a latitudinal gradient across French Alps. We found that diversity effect on stability in productivity varies with stand composition. Most beech-fir stands showed a greater stability in productivity over time than monocultures, while beech-oak stands showed a less stable productivity. Considering non-additive effects, no significant trends were found, regardless the type...
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biorxivpreprint: Tree diversity and the temporal stability of mountain forest productivity: testing the effect of species composition, through asynchrony and overyielding https://t.co/PI49sELJ6H #bioRxiv
biorxiv_ecology: Tree diversity and the temporal stability of mountain forest productivity: testing the effect of species composition, through ... https://t.co/Tgm7luUPWR #biorxiv_ecology
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#4. Suitable habitats of fish species in the Barents Sea
Berengere Husson, Gregoire Certain, Anatoly Filin, Benjamin Planque
Many marine species are shifting their distribution poleward in response to climate change. The Barents Sea, as a doorstep to the fast-warming Arctic, is experiencing large scale changes in its environment and its communities. This paper aims at understanding what environmental predictors limit fish species habitats in the Barents Sea and discuss their possible evolution in response to the warming of the Arctic. Species distribution models usually aim at predicting the probability of presence or the average abundance of a species, conditional on environmental drivers. A complementary approach is to determine suitable habitats by modelling the upper limit of a species response to environmental factors. Using quantile regressions, we model the upper limit of biomass for 33 fish species in the Barents Sea in response to 10 environmental predictors. Boreal species are mainly limited by temperatures and most of them are expected to be able to expand their distribution in the Barents Sea when new thermally suitable habitats become...
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#5. Mitigating ecosystem impacts of bottom trawl fisheries for North Sea sole Solea solea by replacing mechanical by electrical stimulation
Adriaan Rijnsdorp, J. Depestele, O.R. Eigaard, A. Ivanovic, F. O'Neill, H. Polet, J.J. Poos, Tobias van Kooten
Ecosystem effects of bottom trawl fisheries are a major concern. We analysed whether the replacement of mechanical stimulation by electrical stimulation may reduce the adverse impacts on the benthic ecosystem in the beam trawl fishery for sole. Although the use of electricity is not allowed to catch fish in European Union waters, a number of beam trawlers got derogation and switched to pulse trawling to explore the potential to reduce impacts. We extended a recently developed assessment framework and showed that the switch to pulse trawling substantially reduced benthic impacts when exploiting the Total Allowable Catch of sole in the North Sea. We applied the framework to Dutch beam trawl logbook data from 2009 to 2017 and estimated that the trawling footprint decreased by 23%; the precautionary impact indicator of the benthic community decreased by 39%; the impact on median longevity decreased by 20%; the impact on benthic biomass decreased by 61%; the amount of sediment mobilised decreased by 39%. The decrease is due to the...
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biorxivpreprint: Mitigating ecosystem impacts of bottom trawl fisheries for North Sea sole Solea solea by replacing mechanical by electrical stimulation https://t.co/teKlQrwDzl #bioRxiv
biorxiv_ecology: Mitigating ecosystem impacts of bottom trawl fisheries for North Sea sole Solea solea by replacing mechanical by electrical stimulation https://t.co/tIstkiMMQ3 #biorxiv_ecology
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#6. Can early exposure to stress enhance resilience to ocean warming in two oyster species?
Roberta Pereira, Elliot Scanes, Mitchell Gibbs, Maria Byrne, Pauline Ross
Securing economically and ecologically significant molluscs, as our oceans warm and acidify due to climate change, is a global priority. South eastern Australia receives warm water in a strengthening East Australia Current and so resident species are vulnerable to elevated temperature and marine heat waves. This study tested whether oysters pre exposed to elevated temperature or heat stress enhances resilience to ocean warming later in life. Two Australian species, the flat oyster, Ostrea angasi, and the Sydney rock oyster, Saccostrea glomerata, were given a mild dose of warm water or “heat shock”  stress in the laboratory and then transferred to elevated temperature conditions where we used the thermal outfall from power generation as a proxy to investigate the impacts of ocean warming. Shell growth, condition index, lipid content and profile and survival of oysters was impacted by elevated temperature in the field, with flat oysters being more impacted than Sydney rock oysters. Flat oysters grew faster than Sydney rock oysters...
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biorxivpreprint: Can early exposure to stress enhance resilience to ocean warming in two oyster species? https://t.co/cojh5Vcftq #bioRxiv
biorxiv_ecology: Can early exposure to stress enhance resilience to ocean warming in two oyster species? https://t.co/RJYYi5MvRe #biorxiv_ecology
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#7. Use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for mark-resight nesting population estimation of adult female green sea turtles at Raine Island
Andrew John Dunstan, Katharine Robertson, Richard Fitzpatrick, Jeffrey Pickford
Nester abundance is a key measure of the performance of the world's largest green turtle rookery at Raine Island, Australia. Abundance surveys have been undertaken in waters adjacent to Raine Island reef using mark-resight counts by surface observer (SO), underwater video (UWV) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) (since 1984, 2013 and 2016 respectively).  UAV and UWV may provide more cost-effective and less biased alternatives, but estimates must be comparable with the historical estimates.  Here we compare the three methods. The relative likelihood of resighting a marked turtle was significantly higher by SO than the other methods, which led to lower mark-resight population estimates than by UAV or UWV. Most (96%) variation in resighting probabilities was associated with survey period, with comparatively little variation between consecutive days of sampling or time of day. This resulted in preliminary correction factors of 1.53 and 1.73 from SO-UWV and SO-UAV, respectively. However, the SO and UWV estimates were the most similar...
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biorxivpreprint: Use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for mark-resight nesting population estimation of adult female green sea turtles at Raine Island https://t.co/0ziZger5aR #bioRxiv
biorxiv_ecology: Use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for mark-resight nesting population estimation of adult female green sea turtles at Raine Island https://t.co/vifzaHFICa #biorxiv_ecology
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#8. The effects of seasonal climate variability on dengue annual incidence in Hong Kong: A modelling study
Hsiang-Yu Yuan, Jingbo Liang, Pei-Sheng Lin, Kathleen Sucipto, Mesfin M Tsegaye, Tzai-Hung Wen, Susanne Pfeiffer, Dirk Pfeiffer Pfeiffer
In recent years, dengue has been rapidly spreading and growing in the tropics and subtropics. Located in southern China, Hong Kong's subtropical monsoon climate may favour dengue vector populations and increase the chance of disease transmissions during the rainy summer season. An increase in local dengue incidence has been observed in Hong Kong ever since the first case in 2002, with an outbreak reaching historically high case numbers in 2018. However, the effects of seasonal climate variability on recent outbreaks are unknown. As the local cases were found to be spatially clustered, we developed a Poisson generalized linear mixed model using pre-summer monthly total rainfall and mean temperature to predict annual dengue incidence (the majority of local cases occur during or after the summer months), over the period 2002-2018 in three pre-defined areas of Hong Kong. Using leave-one-out cross-validation, 5 out of 6 observations of area-specific outbreaks during the major outbreak years 2002 and 2018 were able to be predicted. 42...
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#9. Effectiveness of protected areas in conserving tropical forest birds
Victor Cazalis, Karine Princé, Jean-Baptiste Mihoub, Joseph Kelly, Stuart H.M. Butchart, Ana S.L. Rodrigues
Protected areas are the cornerstones of global biodiversity conservation efforts, but to fulfil this role they must be effective at conserving the ecosystems and species that occur within their boundaries. This is particularly imperative in tropical forest hotspots, regions that concentrate a major fraction of the world's biodiversity while also being under intense human pressure. But these areas strongly lack adequate monitoring datasets enabling to contrast biodiversity in protected areas with comparable unprotected sites. Here we take advantage of the world's largest citizen science biodiversity dataset - eBird - to quantify the extent to which protected areas in eight tropical forest biodiversity hotspots are effective at retaining bird diversity, and to understand the underlying mechanisms. We found generally positive effects of protection on the diversity of bird species that are forest-dependent, endemic to the hotspots, or threatened or Near Threatened, but not on overall bird species richness. Furthermore, we show that in...
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#10. Honey bee queen production: Canadian costing case study and profitability analysis
Miriam E.F. Bixby, Shelley Hoover, Robyn McCallum, Abdullah Ibrahim, Lynae Ovinge, Sawyer Olmstead, Stephen Pernal, Amro Zayed, Leonard Foster, Marta M. Guarna
The recent decline in honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colony health worldwide has had a significant impact on the beekeeping industry as well as on pollination-dependent crop sectors in North America and Europe. The pollinator crisis has been attributed to many environmental and anthropological factors including less nutrient rich agricultural monocultures, pesticide exposure, new parasite and pathogen infestations as well as beekeeper management and weather. Canadian beekeepers have indicated that issues with honey bee queens are the most significant factor affecting their colony health. In Canada, beekeepers manage colony losses by relying on the importation of foreign bees, particularly queens from warmer climates, to lead new replacement colonies. Unfortunately, the risks associated with imported queens include the introduction of new and potentially resistant pests and diseases, undesirable genetics including bees with limited adaptations to the unique Canadian climate and bees negatively affected by transportation. Importing...
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