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2023 ◽  
Vol 83 ◽  
R. S. Santos ◽  
L. Sousa-Souto

Abstract Some studies report the positive effect of organic residues from ant nests on soil properties and on the structure of the adjacent plant community in field experiments, but there is a gap about the effect on individual species. The purpose of the present study was to compare the soil nutrient content and the development of Turnera subulata Smith, an ornamental species, in the presence of the nest refuse (basically composed of fragments of grass leaves and the symbiotic fungus) produced by the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex balzani (Emery, 1890) or in control soil through a greenhouse pot experiment. The experiment was carried out with two treatments: control soil and soil with 25% of nest refuse. The plants were kept in 1L pots for 90 days. We evaluated the parameters: plant height, stem diameter, root length, number of leaves, dry weight of the root, dry and fresh aboveground biomass. Additionally, the relative chlorophyll content and leaf nutrients were used as nutritional parameters. As a result, plants that grew in the soil with nest refuse showed significant higher values of all parameters evaluated when compared to the control treatment (p < 0.001). We conclude that this biofertilizer contributed to the production of more vigorous plants, being able to act on the local dynamics of nutrients in the ecosystems where A. balzani occurs. As it is relatively abundant and easy to collect, the refuse of A. balzani has the potential to be used as an alternative substrate in the production of shortlife cycle plants.

2022 ◽  
Michael Walsh ◽  
Amrita Pattanaik ◽  
Navya Vyas ◽  
Deepak Saxena ◽  
Cameron Webb ◽  

Wild reservoirs of Japanese encephalitis virus are under-studied globally, which presents critical knowledge gaps for JEV infection ecology despite decades of received wisdom regarding this high-impact mosquito-borne virus. As a result, ardeid birds, generally understood to be the primary reservoirs for JEV, as well as other waterbirds occupying landscapes at high risk for spillover to humans, are frequently ignored by current surveillance mechanisms and infrastructure. This is particularly true in India, which experiences a high annual burden of human outbreaks. Incorporating wild reservoirs into surveillance of human and livestock populations is therefore essential but will first require a data-driven approach to target individual host species. The current study sought to define a preliminary ecological profile of JEV hosts based on 1) species ecological traits, and 2) species presence and abundance adjusted for the biotic constraints of sympatry. Optimal host species tended to be generalists and demonstrate regionally-increasing populations. While ardeid bird species richness, abundance, and relative abundance did demonstrate the strongest and most consistent associations with the distribution of human JEV outbreaks, this study also identified several individual species among two other bird families in these landscapes, the Anatidae and the Rallidae, which also exhibited an optimal host profile and were strongly associated with the distribution of outbreaks. The findings from this work provide the first data-driven evidence base to inform wildlife sampling for the monitoring of JEV circulation in outbreak hotspots in India and thus identify good preliminary targets for the development of One Health wildlife JEV surveillance.

2022 ◽  
Vol 4 ◽  
Martin M. Gossner ◽  
Jana S. Petermann

Forest ecosystems have a distinct vertical dimension, but the structuring of communities in this three-dimensional space is not well understood. Water-filled tree holes are natural microcosms structured in metacommunities. Here, we used these microcosms as model systems to analyze how insect communities and the occurrence and abundance of individual species are influenced by biotic and abiotic microhabitat characteristics, the vertical position of the tree hole, and stand-scale habitat availability. We found that both the characteristics of water-filled tree holes and their insect communities differ significantly between canopy and ground level. Individual insect species showed contrasting responses to the vertical position of the tree holes when important environmental factors at the stand and the tree-hole scale were considered. While some species, such as the mosquito Aedes geniculatus and the beetle Prionocyphon serricornis, decreased in abundance with increasing tree-hole height, the biting midge Dasyhelea sp., the non-biting midge Metriocnemus cavicola and the hoverfly Myiatropa florea increased in abundance. Our results suggest that vertical stratification in forests is most likely driven not only by variation in tree-hole microhabitat properties, i.e., niche separation, but also by individual species traits, such as adult dispersal propensity, food preferences and mating behavior of adult stages, and interspecific competition of larval stages. Therefore, communities of insect species developing in tree holes are likely structured by competition–colonization trade-offs predicted by metacommunity theory.

2022 ◽  
Tobias Andermann ◽  
Alexandre Antonelli ◽  
Russell Barrett ◽  
Daniele Silvestro

The reliable mapping of species richness is a crucial step for the identification of areas of high conservation priority, alongside other value considerations. This is commonly done by overlapping range maps of individual species, which requires dense availability of occurrence data or relies on assumptions about the presence of species in unsampled areas deemed suitable by environmental niche models. Here we present a deep learning approach that directly estimates species richness, skipping the step of estimating individual species ranges. We train a neural network model based on species lists from inventory plots, which provide ground truthing for supervised machine learning. The model learns to predict species richness based on spatially associated variables, including climatic and geographic predictors, as well as counts of available species records from online databases. We assess the empirical utility of our approach by producing independently verifiable maps of alpha, beta, and gamma plant diversity at high spatial resolutions for Australia, a continent with highly contrasting diversity patterns. Our deep learning framework provides a powerful and flexible new approach for estimating biodiversity patterns.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
Nicolás M. Peleato

AbstractFluorescence spectroscopy can provide high-level chemical characterization and quantification that is suitable for use in online process monitoring and control. However, the high-dimensionality of excitation–emission matrices and superposition of underlying signals is a major challenge to implementation. Herein the use of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) is investigated to interpret fluorescence spectra and predict the formation of disinfection by-products during drinking water treatment. Using deep CNNs, mean absolute prediction error on a test set of data for total trihalomethanes, total haloacetic acids, and the major individual species were all < 6 µg/L and represent a significant difference improved by 39–62% compared to multi-layer perceptron type networks. Heat maps that identify spectral areas of importance for prediction showed unique humic-like and protein-like regions for individual disinfection by-product species that can be used to validate models and provide insight into precursor characteristics. The use of fluorescence spectroscopy coupled with deep CNNs shows promise to be used for rapid estimation of DBP formation potentials without the need for extensive data pre-processing or dimensionality reduction. Knowledge of DBP formation potentials in near real-time can enable tighter treatment controls and management efforts to minimize the exposure of the public to DBPs.

Felix Zitzmann ◽  
Michael Reich

AbstractWe surveyed occurrence and activity of large- and medium-sized mammals on six commercial mini-rotation short-rotation coppice (SRC) plantations in northern Germany by camera trapping in different seasons (winter, late summer). In total, eleven species (6–9 per site) were detected. This corresponds to the majority of mammal species occurring in the study region. Roe deer, wild boar and red fox were found across all sites. All other species were detected on fewer sites and some in only one of the seasons. Roe deer was the most active species both in terms of visit frequency (days with detection) and use intensity (detection numbers). With few exceptions on individual sites, all other species showed significantly lower activity. Number of detected species and activity of most of the species did not differ between seasons. Furthermore, there were no differences between near-edge and central areas of the crops with regard to the activity of the occurring species. Activity of individual species on different sites, however, differed considerably in some cases. Our results show that a wide range of mammal species are basically able to include SRC into their habitat utilisation. However, the sporadic use by most species indicates a rather limited current habitat value of the surveyed plantations. Options to increase the habitat value of SRC for mammals are suggested, but their effectiveness needs to be tested in future studies. Since the spatial and temporal scope of our study was limited and only SRC of a uniform age-class were considered, our results are not immediately applicable to other landscapes, seasons or types and management phases of SRC. Therefore, further research is required that considers these aspects as well as species-specific patterns of habitat selection in comparison to other habitat types.

Janet A. Morrison ◽  
Melkamu Woldemariam

Trees and shrubs in suburban forest understories can be subject to chronic herbivory from abundant white-tailed deer. An undocumented consequence of this stress may be shifts in secondary metabolite production associated with defense. We aimed to learn whether plants protected from deer exhibited different metabolomic profiles compared to those exposed to deer. We tested the indigenous species Nyssa sylvatica and Lindera benzoin and the invasive, nonindigenous species Rosa multiflora and Euonymus alatus within a suburban forest understory in New Jersey, USA, in unfenced plots and plots fenced for 5.3 years. We did untargeted metabolomics by sampling leaves from three plants of each species per 6-7 fenced and unfenced plots, conducting chloroform-methanol extractions followed by LC-MS/MS, and conducting statistical analysis on Metaboanalyst. We also scored each species for deer browse frequency over eight years, and compared their heights and percent cover between unfenced and fenced plots. The analysis identified 2,333 metabolites. The global metabolome diverged significantly between fenced and unfenced plots pooled across species, but for individual species only N. sylvatica exhibited a significant fencing effect. Nyssa sylvatica was one of the most browsed species and was the only one with both greater cover and height in fenced plots, suggesting greater susceptibility to deer browsing. The metabolites most responsible for the fenced/unfenced divergence also were affected by the species-fencing combination, with increases in certain species but decreases in others. The most significant metabolites that were upregulated in fenced plants include some involved in defense-related metabolic pathways, e.g. monoterpenoid biosynthesis. Further study of more species in multiple sites is needed to learn how common metabolomic responses to deer are among forest species, how the intensity of deer pressure influences the responses, which types of metabolites are most affected, and if there are ecological consequences at the physiological, population, and/or community levels.

2022 ◽  
Laura P Lagomarsino ◽  
Lauren Frankel ◽  
Simon Uribe-Convers ◽  
Alexandre Antonelli ◽  
Nathan Muchhala

Background and Aims- The centropogonid clade (Lobelioideae: Campanulaceae) is an Andean-centered rapid radiation characterized by repeated convergent evolution of morphological traits, including fruit type and pollination syndromes. While previous studies have resolved relationships of lineages with fleshy fruits into subclades, relationships among capsular species remain unresolved. This lack of resolution has impeded reclassification of non-monophyletic genera, whose current taxonomy relies heavily on traits that have undergone convergent evolution. Methods- Targeted sequence capture using a probeset recently developed for the centropogonid clade was used to obtain phylogenomic data from DNA extracted from both silica-dried and herbarium leaf tissue. These data were used to infer relationships among species using concatenated and partitioned species tree methods, and to quantify gene tree discordance. Key Results- While silica-dried leaf tissue resulted in more and longer sequence data, the inclusion of herbarium samples improved phylogenetic reconstruction. Relationships among baccate lineages are similar previous studies, though differ within and among capsular lineages. We improve phylogenetic resolution of Siphocampylus, which forms ten groups of closely related species which we informally name. Two subclades of Siphocampylus and two individual species are rogue taxa whose placement differs widely across analyses. Gene tree discordance (including cytonuclear discordance) is rampant. Conclusions- The first phylogenomic study of the centropogonid clade considerably improves our understanding of relationships in this rapid radiation. Differences across analyses and the possibility of additional lineage discoveries still hamper a solid and stable reclassification. Rapid morphological innovation corresponds with a high degree of phylogenomic complexity, including cytonuclear discordance, nuclear gene tree conflict, and well-supported differences between analyses based on different nuclear loci. Taken together, these results point to a potential role of hemiplasy underlying repeated convergent evolution. This hallmark of rapid radiations is likely present in many other species-rich Andean plant radiations.

2022 ◽  
Mingjie Luo ◽  
Yinqiu Ji ◽  
Douglas W. Yu

The accurate extraction of species-abundance information from DNA-based data (metabarcoding, metagenomics) could contribute usefully to diet reconstruction and quantitative food webs, the inference of species interactions, the modelling of population dynamics and species distributions, the biomonitoring of environmental state and change, and the inference of false positives and negatives. However, capture bias, capture noise, species pipeline biases, and pipeline noise all combine to inject error into DNA-based datasets. We focus on methods for correcting the latter two error sources, as the first two are addressed extensively in the ecological literature. To extract abundance information, it is useful to distinguish two concepts. (1) Across-species quantification describes relative species abundances within one sample. (2) In contrast, within-species quantification describes how the abundance of each individual species varies from sample to sample, as in a time series, an environmental gradient, or different experimental treatments. Firstly, we review methods to remove species pipeline biases and pipeline noise. Secondly, we demonstrate experimentally (with a detailed protocol) how to use a 'DNA spike-in' to remove pipeline noise and recover within-species abundance information. We also introduce a statistical estimator that can partially remove pipeline noise from datasets that lack a physical DNA spike-in.

Discover Food ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 2 (1) ◽  
Mohsin Raza ◽  
Sonam Drema Tukshipa ◽  
Jharna Chakravorty

AbstractAntioxidant potential of weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina (adult & brood) and termite Odontotermes sp the two common species of insects used as food by tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and elsewhere in India. Our findings highlight the antioxidant potential of these two insects. DPPH• scavenging activity IC50 (µg/mL) ranged from 59.56 (weaver ant adult) to 66.30 (termite). Termite species scored higher ABTS•+ scavenging activity (IC50: µg/mL), Ferric reducing power (TPEE µg/g) and phenolics (mg GAE/g) (18.70, 36.60 and 626.92) than weaver ant adult (52.57, 211.21 and 369.69) and weaver ant brood (33.34, 114.32 and 486.04). On the other hand, weaver ant adult scored higher flavonoids (mg RTE/g) (663.43) than its brood (387.19) and termite species (58.04). Weaver ant brood contained substantial amounts of phenolics and flavonoids, comparatively higher than phenolics of weaver ant adult and flavonoids of termite. These two insects may serve as an ideal dietary food supplement for handling oxidative stress and as a replacement for some conventional food products. However, further study is needed to find out the bioactive compound at the individual species level.

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