440 results match your criteria BMC Ecology [Journal]


Seasonality and weather conditions jointly drive flight activity patterns of aquatic and terrestrial chironomids.

BMC Ecol 2018 Jun 19;18(1):19. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31a, 37005, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.

Background: Chironomids, a major invertebrate taxon in many standing freshwaters, rely on adult flight to reach new suitable sites, yet the impact of weather conditions on their flight activity is little understood. We investigated diel and seasonal flight activity patterns of aquatic and terrestrial chironomids in a reclaimed sandpit area and analysed how weather conditions and seasonality influenced their total abundance and species composition.

Results: Air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and air pressure significantly affected total flight activity of both groups, but not in the same way. Read More

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A synthesis of ecological and evolutionary determinants of bat diversity across spatial scales.

BMC Ecol 2018 Jun 11;18(1):18. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação da Biodiversidade, Pós-Graduação em Ecologia de Ecossistemas, Universidade Vila Velha, Centro Biopráticas, Rua Mercúrio, Boa Vista I, Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, 29101-420, Brazil.

Background: Diversity patterns result from ecological to evolutionary processes operating at different spatial and temporal scales. Species trait variation determine the spatial scales at which organisms perceive the environment. Despite this knowledge, the coupling of all these factors to understand how diversity is structured is still deficient. Read More

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June 2018
1 Read

Life-history responses of insects to water-deficit stress: a case study with the aphid Sitobion avenae.

BMC Ecol 2018 May 29;18(1):17. Epub 2018 May 29.

State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi Province, China.

Background: Drought may become one of the greatest challenges for cereal production under future warming scenarios, and its impact on insect pest outbreaks is still controversial. To address this issue, life-history responses of the English grain aphid, Sitobion avenae (Fabricius), from three areas of different drought levels were compared under three water treatments.

Results: Significant differences were identified in developmental time, fecundity and adult weight among S. Read More

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Climatic differentiation in polyploid apomictic Ranunculus auricomus complex in Europe.

BMC Ecol 2018 May 21;18(1):16. Epub 2018 May 21.

Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Background: Polyploidy and apomixis are important factors influencing plant distributions often resulting in range shifts, expansions and geographical parthenogenesis. We used the Ranunculus auricomus complex as a model to asses if the past and present distribution and climatic preferences were determined by these phenomena.

Results: Ecological differentiation among diploids and polyploids was tested by comparing the sets of climatic variables and distribution modelling using 191 novel ploidy estimations and 561 literature data. Read More

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Do avian blood parasites influence hypoxia physiology in a high elevation environment?

BMC Ecol 2018 May 14;18(1):15. Epub 2018 May 14.

Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, 23529, USA.

Background: Montane birds which engage in elevational movements have evolved to cope with fluctuations in environmental hypoxia, through changes in physiological parameters associated with blood oxygen-carrying capacity such as haemoglobin concentration (Hb) and haematocrit (Hct). In particular, elevational migrants which winter at low elevations, encounter varying intensities of avian haemosporidian parasites as they traverse heterogeneous environments. Whilst high intensity parasite infections lead to anaemia, one can expect that the ability to cope with haemosporidian infections should be a key trait for elevational migrants that must be balanced against reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood in response to high elevation. Read More

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Judging a salmon by its spots: environmental variation is the primary determinant of spot patterns in Salmo salar.

BMC Ecol 2018 Apr 12;18(1):14. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

Institute of Marine Research, Postboks 1870, Nordnes, 5817, Bergen, Norway.

Background: In fish, morphological colour changes occur from variations in pigment concentrations and in the morphology, density, and distribution of chromatophores in the skin. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unresolved in most species. Here, we describe the first investigation into the genetic and environmental basis of spot pattern development in one of the world's most studied fishes, the Atlantic salmon. Read More

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April 2018
1 Read

Conserved community structure and simultaneous divergence events in the fig wasps associated with Ficus benjamina in Australia and China.

BMC Ecol 2018 Apr 3;18(1):13. Epub 2018 Apr 3.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AS, UK.

Background: Localised patterns of species diversity can be influenced by many factors, including regional species pools, biogeographic features and interspecific interactions. Despite recognition of these issues, we still know surprisingly little about how invertebrate biodiversity is structured across geographic scales. In particular, there have been few studies of how insect communities vary geographically while using the same plant host. Read More

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April 2018
1 Read

The ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi regulates egg production via conspecific communication.

BMC Ecol 2018 Mar 26;18(1):12. Epub 2018 Mar 26.

Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, University of Florida, St. Augustine, FL, USA.

Background: Communication between individuals of the same species is an important aspect of mating and reproduction in most animals. In simultaneously hermaphroditic species with the ability to self-fertilize, communication with conspecifics can be essential to avoid inbreeding depression. One such behavioral adaptation observed in some simultaneous hermaphrodites is gamete trading. Read More

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March 2018
1 Read

Effect of grazing on methane uptake from Eurasian steppe of China.

BMC Ecol 2018 Mar 20;18(1):11. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

Department of Grassland Science, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China.

Background: The effects of grazing on soil methane (CH) uptake in steppe ecosystems are important for understanding carbon sequestration and cycling because the role of grassland soil for CH uptake can have major impacts at the global level. Here, a meta-analysis of 27 individual studies was carried out to assess the response patterns of soil CH uptake to grazing in steppe ecosystems of China. The weighted log response ratio was used to assess the effect size. Read More

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March 2018
3 Reads

Predicting the distribution of Stipa purpurea across the Tibetan Plateau via the MaxEnt model.

Authors:
Baibing Ma Jian Sun

BMC Ecol 2018 Feb 21;18(1):10. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Synthesis Research Centre of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A, Datun Roadm, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, China.

Background: The ecosystems across Tibetan Plateau are changing rapidly under the influence of climate warming, which has caused substantial changes in spatial and temporal environmental patterns. Stipa purpurea, as a dominant herbsage resource in alpine steppe, has a great influence on animal husbandry in the Tibetan Plateau. Global warming has been forecasted to continue in the future (2050s, 2070s), questioning the future distribution of S. Read More

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February 2018
1 Read

Temporal changes of fine root overyielding and foraging strategies in planted monoculture and mixed forests.

BMC Ecol 2018 Feb 17;18(1). Epub 2018 Feb 17.

Faculty of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha, 410004, Hunan, China.

Background: Mixed forests are believed to enhance ecosystem functioning and sustainability due to complementary resource use, environmental benefits and improved soil properties. The facilitation between different species may induce overyielding. Meanwhile, the species-specific fine root foraging strategies and tradeoffs would determine the structure and dynamics of plant communities. Read More

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February 2018
1 Read

Interference competition as a key determinant for spatial distribution of mangrove crabs.

BMC Ecol 2018 Feb 15;18(1). Epub 2018 Feb 15.

Department of Biology, University of Florence, via Madonna del Piano 6, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.

Background: The spatial distribution of mangrove crabs has been commonly associated with tree zonation and abiotic factors such as ground temperature and soil granulometry. Conversely, no studies were designed to investigate the role of competition for resources and predation in shaping crab distribution in mangroves, despite these biotic factors are recognised as key determinants for spatial patterns observed in the communities colonising rocky and sandy intertidal habitats.We studied floral and faunal assemblages in two zones of a Sri Lankan mangrove, a man-made upper intertidal level and a natural eulittoral, mid-shore one. Read More

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February 2018
2 Reads

Data-driven predictions and novel hypotheses about zoonotic tick vectors from the genus Ixodes.

BMC Ecol 2018 Feb 15;18(1). Epub 2018 Feb 15.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Box AB, Millbrook, NY, 12545, USA.

Background: With the resurgence of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and the emergence of new tick-borne pathogens such as Powassan virus, understanding what distinguishes vectors from non-vectors, and predicting undiscovered tick vectors is a crucial step towards mitigating disease risk in humans. We aimed to identify intrinsic traits that predict which Ixodes tick species are confirmed or strongly suspected to be vectors of zoonotic pathogens.

Methods: We focused on the well-studied tick genus Ixodes from which many species are known to transmit zoonotic diseases to humans. Read More

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February 2018
3 Reads

Threatened species richness along a Himalayan elevational gradient: quantifying the influences of human population density, range size, and geometric constraints.

BMC Ecol 2018 Feb 7;18(1). Epub 2018 Feb 7.

Division of Biological Sciences and Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, USA.

Background: A crucial step in conserving biodiversity is to identify the distributions of threatened species and the factors associated with species threat status. In the biodiversity hotspot of the Himalaya, very little is known about which locations harbour the highest diversity of threatened species and whether diversity of such species is related to area, mid-domain effects (MDE), range size, or human density. In this study, we assessed the drivers of variation in richness of threatened birds, mammals, reptiles, actinopterygii, and amphibians along an elevational gradient in Nepal Himalaya. Read More

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February 2018
3 Reads

Eco-physiological basis of shade adaptation of Camellia nitidissima, a rare and endangered forest understory plant of Southeast Asia.

BMC Ecol 2018 Feb 7;18(1). Epub 2018 Feb 7.

Guangxi Key Laboratory of Plant Conservation and Restoration Ecology in Karst Terrain, Guangxi Institute of Botany, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin, 541006, China.

Background: Camellia nitidissima, a rare and endangered shrub is narrowly distributed in South China and North Vietnam occurring in forest understory. Their light tolerance mechanism is unclear. We measured photosynthesis and related parameters on 2-years-old cuttings growing at 10, 30, 50 and 100% sunlight. Read More

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February 2018
2 Reads

Dietary flexibility of Bale monkeys (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) in southern Ethiopia: effects of habitat degradation and life in fragments.

BMC Ecol 2018 Feb 6;18(1). Epub 2018 Feb 6.

Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066, Blindern, 0316, Oslo, Norway.

Background: Understanding the effects of habitat modification on the feeding strategies of threatened species is essential to designing effective conservation management plans. Bale monkeys (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) are endemic to the rapidly shrinking montane forests of the southern Ethiopian Highlands. Most populations inhabit continuous bamboo forest subsisting largely on the young leaves and shoots of a single species of bamboo. Read More

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February 2018
3 Reads

Inferring ecological explanations for biogeographic boundaries of parapatric Asian mountain frogs.

BMC Ecol 2018 Feb 2;18(1). Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, 610041, China.

Background: Identifying and understanding the mechanisms that shape barriers to dispersal and resulting biogeographic boundaries has been a longstanding, yet challenging, goal in ecology, evolution and biogeography. Characterized by stable, adjacent ranges, without any intervening physical barriers, and limited, if any, range overlap in a narrow contact zone, parapatric species are an interesting system for studying biogeographic boundaries. The geographic ranges of two parapatric frog species, Feirana quadranus and F. Read More

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February 2018
1 Read

Climate change jeopardizes the persistence of freshwater zooplankton by reducing both habitat suitability and demographic resilience.

BMC Ecol 2018 Jan 24;18(1). Epub 2018 Jan 24.

Community Ecology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Pleinlaan 2, 1050, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: Higher temperatures and increased environmental variability under climate change could jeopardize the persistence of species. Organisms that rely on short windows of rainfall to complete their life-cycles, like desert annual plants or temporary pool animals, may be particularly at risk. Although some could tolerate environmental changes by building-up banks of propagules (seeds or eggs) that buffer against catastrophes, climate change will threaten this resilience mechanism if higher temperatures reduce propagule survival. Read More

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January 2018
3 Reads

Altered environmental light drives retinal change in the Atlantic Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) over timescales relevant to marine environmental disturbance.

BMC Ecol 2018 Jan 18;18(1). Epub 2018 Jan 18.

Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W. University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL, 32901, USA.

Background: For many fish species, retinal function changes between life history stages as part of an encoded developmental program. Retinal change is also known to exhibit plasticity because retinal form and function can be influenced by light exposure over the course of development. Aside from studies of gene expression, it remains largely unknown whether retinal plasticity can provide functional responses to short-term changes in environmental light quality. Read More

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January 2018
2 Reads

Estimating species pools for a single ecological assemblage.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 22;17(1):45. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

School of Software, Harbin Normal University, Harbin, China.

Background: The species pool concept was formulated over the past several decades and has since played an important role in explaining multi-scale ecological patterns. Previous statistical methods were developed to identify species pools based on broad-scale species range maps or community similarity computed from data collected from many areas. No statistical method is available for estimating species pools for a single local community (sampling area size may be very small as ≤ 1 km). Read More

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December 2017
6 Reads

Genetic diversity and structure related to expansion history and habitat isolation: stone marten populating rural-urban habitats.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 22;17(1):46. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland.

Background: Population genetic diversity and structure are determined by past and current evolutionary processes, among which spatially limited dispersal, genetic drift, and shifts in species distribution boundaries have major effects. In most wildlife species, environmental modifications by humans often lead to contraction of species' ranges and/or limit their dispersal by acting as environmental barriers. However, in species well adapted to anthropogenic habitat or open landscapes, human induced environmental changes may facilitate dispersal and range expansions. Read More

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December 2017
3 Reads

Complementing endozoochorous seed dispersal patterns by donkeys and goats in a semi-natural island ecosystem.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 19;17(1):42. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

RG Ecology and Environmental Education, Institute of Biology and Chemistry, University of Hildesheim, Universitätsplatz 1, 31141, Hildesheim, Germany.

Background: Endozoochory is, in grazing systems, a substantial vector for seed dispersal. It can play an important role in vegetation dynamics, especially in colonization processes through seed input on the vegetation and on the soil seed bank. We investigated the endozoochorous seed input of donkeys and goats on a semi-natural island ecosystem in the Mediterranean. Read More

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December 2017
2 Reads

Non-invasive genetic monitoring involving citizen science enables reconstruction of current pack dynamics in a re-establishing wolf population.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 19;17(1):44. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Background: Carnivores are re-establishing in many human-populated areas, where their presence is often contentious. Reaching consensus on management decisions is often hampered by a dispute over the size of the local carnivore population. Understanding the reproductive dynamics and individual movements of the carnivores can provide support for management decisions, but individual-level information can be difficult to obtain from elusive, wide-ranging species. Read More

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December 2017
3 Reads

Ephemeral-habitat colonization and neotropical species richness of Caenorhabditis nematodes.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 19;17(1):43. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

CNRS, IBV, Inserm, Université Côte d'Azur, Nice, France.

Background: The drivers of species co-existence in local communities are especially enigmatic for assemblages of morphologically cryptic species. Here we characterize the colonization dynamics and abundance of nine species of Caenorhabditis nematodes in neotropical French Guiana, the most speciose known assemblage of this genus, with resource use overlap and notoriously similar external morphology despite deep genomic divergence.

Methods: To characterize the dynamics and specificity of colonization and exploitation of ephemeral resource patches, we conducted manipulative field experiments and the largest sampling effort to date for Caenorhabditis outside of Europe. Read More

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December 2017
2 Reads

Diversity of root-knot nematodes in Moroccan olive nurseries and orchards: does Meloidogyne javanica disperse according to invasion processes?

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 19;17(1):41. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

IRD, UMR, CBGP, 755 Avenue du Campus Agropolis, CS30016, 34988, Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France.

Background: Root-knot nematodes (RKN) are major pest of olive tree (Olea europaea ssp. europaea), especially in nurseries and high-density orchards. Soil samples were collected from main olive growing areas of Morocco, to characterize Meloidogyne species and to discuss the contribution of biotic and abiotic factors in their spatial distribution. Read More

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December 2017
4 Reads

High altitude population of Arabidopsis thaliana is more plastic and adaptive under common garden than controlled condition.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 13;17(1):39. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Genetics and Molecular Biology Division, CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, 226001, India.

Background: Population differentiation and their adaptation to a particular environment depend on their ability to respond to a new environment. This, in turn is governed to an extent, by the degree of phenotypic plasticity exhibited by the populations. The populations of same species inhabiting different climatic conditions may differ in their phenotypic plasticity. Read More

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December 2017
32 Reads

Cost of resistance to trematodes in freshwater snail populations with low clonal diversity.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 13;17(1):40. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

School of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 6997801, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Background: The persistence of high genetic variability in natural populations garners considerable interest among ecologists and evolutionary biologists. One proposed hypothesis for the maintenance of high levels of genetic diversity relies on frequency-dependent selection imposed by parasites on host populations (Red Queen hypothesis). A complementary hypothesis suggests that a trade-off between fitness costs associated with tolerance to stress factors and fitness costs associated with resistance to parasites is responsible for the maintenance of host genetic diversity. Read More

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December 2017
3 Reads

Biotic and abiotic drivers of intraspecific trait variation within plant populations of three herbaceous plant species along a latitudinal gradient.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 12;17(1):38. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Høgskoleringen 5, 7034, Trondheim, Norway.

Background: The importance of intraspecific trait variation (ITV) is increasingly acknowledged among plant ecologists. However, our understanding of what drives ITV between individual plants (ITV) at the population level is still limited. Contrasting theoretical hypotheses state that ITV can be either suppressed (stress-reduced plasticity hypothesis) or enhanced (stress-induced variability hypothesis) under high abiotic stress. Read More

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December 2017
4 Reads

Habitat modification by invasive crayfish can facilitate its growth through enhanced food accessibility.

BMC Ecol 2017 Dec 12;17(1):37. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Laboratory of Biodiversity Science, School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo, Tokyo, 113-8657, Japan.

Background: Invasive ecosystem engineers can facilitate their invasions by modifying the physical environment to improve their own performance, but this positive feedback process has rarely been tested empirically except in sessile organisms. The invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii is an ecosystem engineer that destroys aquatic macrophytes, which provide a physical refuge for animal prey, and this destruction is likely to enhance vulnerability to predators. Using two series of mesocosm experiments, we tested the hypothesis that the invasive crayfish increases its feeding efficiency on animal prey by reducing submerged macrophytes, thus increasing its individual growth rate in a positive density-dependent manner. Read More

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December 2017
2 Reads

Unifying the functional diversity in natural and cultivated soils using the overall body-mass distribution of nematodes.

BMC Ecol 2017 Nov 28;17(1):36. Epub 2017 Nov 28.

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Background: Sustainable use of our soils is a key goal for environmental protection. As many ecosystem services are supported belowground at different trophic levels by nematodes, soil nematodes are expected to provide objective metrics for biological quality to integrate physical and chemical soil variables. Trait measurements of body mass carried out at the individual level can in this way be correlated with environmental properties that influence the performance of soil biota. Read More

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November 2017
2 Reads

Foraging dispersion of Ryukyu flying-foxes and relationships with fig abundance in East-Asian subtropical island forests.

BMC Ecol 2017 11 14;17(1):35. Epub 2017 Nov 14.

Tropical Biosphere Research Center and Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.

Background: Figs are widely distributed key resources to many tropical-subtropical animals, and flying-foxes are major consumers and seed dispersers of figs. Bat-fig interrelationships, however, may vary among species differing in fruiting traits, i.e. Read More

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November 2017
3 Reads

Thermal conditions during early life influence seasonal maternal strategies in the three-spined stickleback.

BMC Ecol 2017 11 10;17(1):34. Epub 2017 Nov 10.

Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Universidade de Vigo, 36310, Vigo, Spain.

Background: Conditions experienced by a female during early life may affect her reproductive strategies and maternal investment later in life. This effect of early environmental conditions is a potentially important mechanism by which animals can compensate for the negative impacts of climate change. In this study, we experimentally tested whether three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) change their maternal strategy according to environmental temperatures experienced earlier in life. Read More

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November 2017
2 Reads

Analysing taxonomic structures and local ecological processes in temperate forests in North Eastern China.

BMC Ecol 2017 10 30;17(1):33. Epub 2017 Oct 30.

Department of Forest and Wood Science, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Background: One of the core issues of forest community ecology is the exploration of how ecological processes affect community structure. The relative importance of different processes is still under debate. This study addresses four questions: (1) how is the taxonomic structure of a forest community affected by spatial scale? (2) does the taxonomic structure reveal effects of local processes such as environmental filtering, dispersal limitation or interspecific competition at a local scale? (3) does the effect of local processes on the taxonomic structure vary with the spatial scale? (4) does the analysis based on taxonomic structures provide similar insights when compared with the use of phylogenetic information? Based on the data collected in two large forest observational field studies, the taxonomic structures of the plant communities were analyzed at different sampling scales using taxonomic ratios (number of genera/number of species, number of families/number of species), and the relationship between the number of higher taxa and the number of species. Read More

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October 2017
4 Reads

Vole abundance and reindeer carcasses determine breeding activity of Arctic foxes in low Arctic Yamal, Russia.

BMC Ecol 2017 09 16;17(1):32. Epub 2017 Sep 16.

Arctic Research Station of Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 629400, Zelenaya Gorka Str., 21, Labytnangi, Russia.

Background: High latitude ecosystems are at present changing rapidly under the influence of climate warming, and specialized Arctic species at the southern margin of the Arctic may be particularly affected. The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), a small mammalian predator endemic to northern tundra areas, is able to exploit different resources in the context of varying tundra ecosystems. Although generally widespread, it is critically endangered in subarctic Fennoscandia, where a fading out of the characteristic lemming cycles and competition with abundant red foxes have been identified as main threats. Read More

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September 2017
8 Reads

Environmental drivers of Ixodes ricinus abundance in forest fragments of rural European landscapes.

BMC Ecol 2017 09 6;17(1):31. Epub 2017 Sep 6.

Geobotany, Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Schänzlestr. 1, 79104, Freiburg, Germany.

Background: The castor bean tick (Ixodes ricinus) transmits infectious diseases such as Lyme borreliosis, which constitutes an important ecosystem disservice. Despite many local studies, a comprehensive understanding of the key drivers of tick abundance at the continental scale is still lacking. We analyze a large set of environmental factors as potential drivers of I. Read More

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September 2017
10 Reads

Hair cortisol concentrations correlate negatively with survival in a wild primate population.

BMC Ecol 2017 09 1;17(1):30. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

Department of Sociobiology/Anthropology, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Kellnerweg 6, 37077, Göttingen, Germany.

Background: Glucocorticoid hormones are known to play a key role in mediating a cascade of physiological responses to social and ecological stressors and can therefore influence animals' behaviour and ultimately fitness. Yet, how glucocorticoid levels are associated with reproductive success or survival in a natural setting has received little empirical attention so far. Here, we examined links between survival and levels of glucocorticoid in a small, short-lived primate, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), using for the first time an indicator of long-term stress load (hair cortisol concentration). Read More

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September 2017
2 Reads

BMC ecology image competition 2017: the winning images.

BMC Ecol 2017 08 18;17(1):28. Epub 2017 Aug 18.

UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany.

For the fifth year, BMC Ecology is proud to present the winning images from our annual image competition. The 2017 edition received entries by talented shutterbug-ecologists from across the world, showcasing research that is increasing our understanding of ecosystems worldwide and the beauty and diversity of life on our planet. In this editorial we showcase the winning images, as chosen by our Editorial Board and guest judge Chris Darimont, as well as our selection of highly commended images. Read More

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August 2017
4 Reads

Wind conditions on migration influence the annual survival of a neotropical migrant, the western yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens auricollis).

BMC Ecol 2017 08 10;17(1):29. Epub 2017 Aug 10.

Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Wildlife Ecology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada.

Background: Long-distance migratory birds in North America have undergone precipitous declines over the past half-century. Although the trend is clear, for many migrating species underpinning the exact causes poses a challenge to conservation due to the numerous stressors that they encounter. Climate conditions during all phases of their annual cycle can have important consequences for their survival. Read More

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August 2017
4 Reads

Diet segregation in American bison (Bison bison) of Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, USA).

BMC Ecol 2017 07 14;17(1):27. Epub 2017 Jul 14.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1079, USA.

Background: Body size is a major factor in the nutritional ecology of ruminant mammals. Females, due to their smaller size and smaller rumen, have more rapid food-passage times than males and thereby require higher quality forage. Males are more efficient at converting high-fiber forage into usable energy and thus, are more concerned with quantity. Read More

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July 2017
5 Reads

Evidence of indirect symbiont conferred protection against the predatory lady beetle Harmonia axyridis in the pea aphid.

BMC Ecol 2017 07 11;17(1):26. Epub 2017 Jul 11.

University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine, 89 Beaumont Ave, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA.

Background: Defensive symbionts can provide significant fitness advantages to their hosts. Facultative symbionts can protect several species of aphid from fungal pathogens, heat shock, and parasitism by parasitoid wasps. Previous work found that two of these facultative symbionts can also indirectly protect pea aphids from predation by the lady beetle Hippocampus convergens. Read More

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July 2017
2 Reads

What makes a successful species? Traits facilitating survival in altered tropical forests.

BMC Ecol 2017 06 28;17(1):25. Epub 2017 Jun 28.

Department Diversity Dynamics, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin-Leibniz Institute for Evolutionary and Biodiversity Science, Invalidenstraße 43, 10115, Berlin, Germany.

Background: Ongoing conversion, disturbance and fragmentation of tropical forests stress this ecosystem and cause the decline or disappearance of many species. Particular traits have been identified which indicate an increasing extinction risk of a species, but traits facilitating survival in altered habitats have mostly been neglected. Here we search for traits that make a species tolerant to disturbances, thus independent of pristine forests. Read More

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June 2017
3 Reads

Amphibian and reptile road-kills on tertiary roads in relation to landscape structure: using a citizen science approach with open-access land cover data.

BMC Ecol 2017 06 26;17(1):24. Epub 2017 Jun 26.

Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Gregor Mendel Straße 33, 1180, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Amphibians and reptiles are among the most endangered vertebrate species worldwide. However, little is known how they are affected by road-kills on tertiary roads and whether the surrounding landscape structure can explain road-kill patterns. The aim of our study was to examine the applicability of open-access remote sensing data for a large-scale citizen science approach to describe spatial patterns of road-killed amphibians and reptiles on tertiary roads. Read More

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June 2017
3 Reads

No consistent effect of plant species richness on resistance to simulated climate change for above- or below-ground processes in managed grasslands.

BMC Ecol 2017 06 17;17(1):23. Epub 2017 Jun 17.

Geobotany, Faculty of Biology, Schänzlestr. 1, 79104, Freiburg, Germany.

Background: Species richness affects processes and functions in many ecosystems. Since management of temperate grasslands is directly affecting species composition and richness, it can indirectly govern how systems respond to fluctuations in environmental conditions. Our aim in this study was to investigate whether species richness in managed grasslands can buffer the effects of drought and warming manipulations and hence increase the resistance to climate change. Read More

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June 2017
2 Reads

Scavenging on a pulsed resource: quality matters for corvids but density for mammals.

BMC Ecol 2017 06 15;17(1):22. Epub 2017 Jun 15.

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, 2418, Elverum, Norway.

Background: Human food subsidies can provide predictable food sources in large quantities for wildlife species worldwide. In the boreal forest of Fennoscandia, gut piles from moose (Alces alces) harvest provide a potentially important food source for a range of opportunistically scavenging predators. Increased populations of predators can negatively affect threatened or important game species. Read More

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June 2017
5 Reads

Adaptation to new nutritional environments: larval performance, foraging decisions, and adult oviposition choices in Drosophila suzukii.

BMC Ecol 2017 06 7;17(1):21. Epub 2017 Jun 7.

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Rua da Quinta Grande nº6, 2780-156, Oeiras, Portugal.

Background: Understanding how species adapt to new niches is a central issue in evolutionary ecology. Nutrition is vital for the survival of all organisms and impacts species fitness and distribution. While most Drosophila species exploit rotting plant parts, some species have diversified to use ripe fruit, allowing earlier colonization. Read More

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June 2017
6 Reads

High dietary quality of non-toxic cyanobacteria for a benthic grazer and its implications for the control of cyanobacterial biofilms.

BMC Ecol 2017 05 18;17(1):20. Epub 2017 May 18.

Cologne Biocenter, Workgroup Aquatic Chemical Ecology, University of Cologne, Zuelpicher Strasse 47b, 50674, Koeln, Germany.

Background: Mass occurrences of cyanobacteria frequently cause detrimental effects to the functioning of aquatic ecosystems. Consequently, attempts haven been made to control cyanobacterial blooms through naturally co-occurring herbivores. Control of cyanobacteria through herbivores often appears to be constrained by their low dietary quality, rather than by the possession of toxins, as also non-toxic cyanobacteria are hardly consumed by many herbivores. Read More

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May 2017
2 Reads

Genetic diversity of calcareous grassland plant species depends on historical landscape configuration.

BMC Ecol 2017 04 24;17(1):19. Epub 2017 Apr 24.

German Research Center for Environmental Health, Research Group Comparative Microbiome Analysis, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764, Neuherberg, Germany.

Background: Habitat fragmentation is considered to be a main reason for decreasing genetic diversity of plant species. However, the results of many fragmentation studies are inconsistent. This may be due to the influence of habitat conditions, having an indirect effect on genetic variation via reproduction. Read More

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April 2017
6 Reads

Fish with red fluorescent eyes forage more efficiently under dim, blue-green light conditions.

BMC Ecol 2017 04 20;17(1):18. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Department of Animal Evolutionary Ecology, Institution for Evolution and Ecology, University of Tuebingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076, Tuebingen, Germany.

Background: Natural red fluorescence is particularly conspicuous in the eyes of some small, benthic, predatory fishes. Fluorescence also increases in relative efficiency with increasing depth, which has generated speculation about its possible function as a "light organ" to detect cryptic organisms under bluish light. Here we investigate whether foraging success is improved under ambient conditions that make red fluorescence stand out more, using the triplefin Tripterygion delaisi as a model system. Read More

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April 2017
5 Reads

Heterogeneous distributional responses to climate warming: evidence from rodents along a subtropical elevational gradient.

BMC Ecol 2017 04 20;17(1):17. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beichen West Road, Beijing, 100101, China.

Background: Understanding whether species' elevational range is shifting in response to directional changes in climate and whether there is a predictable pattern in that response is one of the major challenges in ecology. However, so far very little is known about the distributional responses of subtropical species to climate change, especially for small mammals. In this study, we examined the elevational range shifts at three range points (upper and lower range limits and abundance-weighted range centre) of rodents over a 30-year period (1986 to 2014-2015), in a subtropical forest of Southwest China. Read More

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April 2017
7 Reads

Broad and flexible stable isotope niches in invasive non-native Rattus spp. in anthropogenic and natural habitats of central eastern Madagascar.

BMC Ecol 2017 04 17;17(1):16. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

Association Vahatra, BP 3972, 101, Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Background: Rodents of the genus Rattus are among the most pervasive and successful invasive species, causing major vicissitudes in native ecological communities. A broad and flexible generalist diet has been suggested as key to the invasion success of Rattus spp. Here, we use an indirect approach to better understand foraging niche width, plasticity, and overlap within and between introduced Rattus spp. Read More

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April 2017
4 Reads