ISRN Ecology http://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. IBP′: A New Index to Estimate Biogeographical Peculiarity Wed, 08 Jan 2014 09:55:04 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2014/198707/ The biogeographical peculiarity of a given geographical area is directly linked to the number of its endemic species. This paper aims to formulate an index directly linked to the biogeographical peculiarity of an area. A graphical model and an index of the biogeographical peculiarity are proposed, based on a cumulative sum (i.e., including all the amounts that were added previously). An example of the computations is proposed, based on the number of different types of geographical ranges (i.e., chorotypes) characterizing two different ecosystems; their biogeographical peculiarity of was evaluated on the basis of presence versus absence of carabid species. Both the graphical model and the index mirrored the different faunistic compositions of the ecosystems, because the index reached a higher value where more endemic species have been found. Our investigation has found a new method for evaluating the biogeographical peculiarity of a given area or biota in a simple way. The index could be used for either conservation biogeography (e.g., monitoring of biotic homogenization) or for theoretical studies integrating ecology and biogeography. Roberto Pizzolotto and Pietro Brandmayr Copyright © 2014 Roberto Pizzolotto and Pietro Brandmayr. All rights reserved. Evaluating the Structure of Enemy Biodiversity Effects on Prey Informs Pest Management Sun, 20 Oct 2013 13:25:19 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/619393/ Evaluating the structure of enemy biodiversity effects on prey in agroecosystems can provide insights into biological pest control functioning. With this aim, theoretical models that describe biological mechanisms underlying prey suppression can be developed and confronted with experimental data by means of model selection. Here, we confront multiplicative risk models to evaluate the structure of multiple predator effects on the whitefly Trialeurodes vaporariorum provided in tomatoes by two spiders (Oxyopes lineatus and Pityohyphantes phrygianus) and two mirids (Nesidiocoris tenuis and Macrolophus melanotoma). Biologically meaningful parameters retained in the best models showed that several predator traits differently affected pest control: species-specific per capita predation rates, prey use extent, different type of interactions between predators, and the response of predator species to prey density and environmental temperature. Even from a limited perspective of single-pest control and short term experiment, this study suggests that assembly of the four predator species results in predator complementarity across prey life stages and density, interactions of prey and predators with environmental conditions, and interactions between predators that do not result in whitefly control disruption. Such information about enemy biodiversity and whitefly control functioning can drive hypotheses about sustainable pest management options in local agroecosystems. Paolo Casula and Mauro Nannini Copyright © 2013 Paolo Casula and Mauro Nannini. All rights reserved. Factors Influencing Aggression Levels in Root Vole Populations under the Effect of Food Supply and Predation Sat, 14 Sep 2013 12:38:57 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/948915/ Which factor determines animal aggressivity? Wynn-Edwards proposed the hypothesis that aggressive level increases with population density; Adams and Mesterton-Gibbons proposed the hypothesis that body weight is an indicator of animal aggressivity; however, Smith and Price hypothesized that aggression level varied with external conditions; that is, the population lived in the most unfavorable environment demonstrated the highest average aggression level, and the population that lived under the most favorable external conditions demonstrated the lowest average aggression level. In this paper, we tested these three hypotheses by manipulating enclosed root vole (Microtus oeconomus) populations under different food and predation treatments and observed their aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior was measured by matching mice in a neutral arena. The experimental results supported Smith and Price’s hypothesis and Adams and Mesterton-Gibbons’s hypothesis; however, they did not support Wynn-Edwards’ hypothesis. Moreover, we found that reproductively active individuals were more aggressive. We concluded that the growth of population density did not cause or otherwise bring about increased aggressive behavior of root voles, but the external factors (predation and food supply) and physical factors (body weight and reproductive condition) were significantly correlated with aggression levels in a root vole population. Haiyan Nie, Mingcan Yao, and Jike Liu Copyright © 2013 Haiyan Nie et al. All rights reserved. Distributional Patterns of Alien Plants in China: The Relative Importance of Phylogenetic History and Functional Attributes Tue, 13 Aug 2013 14:16:18 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/527052/ Distribution patterns of alien species in nonnative ranges might be driven by a combination of various mechanisms, including phylogenetic history, competition for resource, environmental filtering, and so on. Both phylogenetic and functional limitations might work synergistically to determine the distribution of alien species. In this report, by utilizing the information of provincial distribution, functional attributes, and phylogeny for 95 alien species of China, the corresponding phylogenetic and functional community structures are evaluated. The results show that introduction pathway, life form, and flowering time of alien plants of China processed significant phylogenetic clustering patterns, while both the origin of distribution and reproduction mode of alien species showed phylogenetic overdispersion patterns, as revealed by NRI/NTI indices. The phylogenetic signal tests using Pagel’s statistic and Blomberg et al.’s statistic further verified the previous patterns, even though there are some inconsistencies. Through partial Mantel test, it is found that compositional patterns of alien plant community were mainly affected by phylogenetic limitation but not functional limitation. Conclusively, phylogeny plays a more important role in structuring provincial distribution of alien plants in China. Youhua Chen Copyright © 2013 Youhua Chen. All rights reserved. Species Diversity and Tree Regeneration Patterns in Tropical Forests of the Western Ghats, India Thu, 30 May 2013 14:33:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/890862/ Study Aim. To assess species diversity and tree regeneration patterns of different vegetation types of Western Ghats, India. Rarefaction was used to estimate species diversity of different vegetation types. One-way ANOVA was used to test for differences in tree density and basal area of different vegetation types. Sorenson index of similarity was used to calculate change in species composition between mature trees and regenerating individuals. Results showed that species diversity and regeneration pattern of trees differ in different vegetation types of the forest landscape. Species-area and species-individual accumulation curve (rarefaction) against equal-sized sampling area in different vegetation types showed that species heterogeneity was higher in vegetation types at mid elevations while their abundance was higher in vegetation types at higher elevations. All the vegetation types of the study area were heterogeneously distributed. Tree regeneration was higher in species rich vegetation type with no sign of human disturbances. Change in species composition across mature and regenerating phase was more frequent in disturbed forest as compared to undisturbed or less disturbed forests. New entry species occur in all the vegetation types. R. Jayakumar and K. K. N. Nair Copyright © 2013 R. Jayakumar and K. K. N. Nair. All rights reserved. Dominant Occurrence of Cleistogamous Flowers of Lamium amplexicaule in relation to the Nearby Presence of an Alien Congener L. purpureum (Lamiaceae) Tue, 07 May 2013 11:42:43 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/476862/ Here we document a novel phenomenon that, based on field observations in central Japan, cleistogamous flowers (or closed flowers) of an annual herb Lamium amplexicaule were dominantly expressed near an alien congener L. purpureum. The proportion of cleistogamous flowers in an individual L. amplexicaule increased with the frequency of L. purpureum occurring in the same patches but did not increase with the total density of Lamium plants and their own size. To confirm the consistency of the effect of the coexisting alien species, we assessed the cleistogamous frequency at the patch level for three other populations. In these populations as well, the proportion of L. amplexicaule producing cleistogamous flowers increased with the frequency of L. purpureum. Our transplant experiment at one site found no effect of the nearby presence of L. purpureum on the seed set of L. amplexicaule and therefore did not support the hypothesis that the adverse effect on the reproduction via interspecific pollination favored cleistogamous flowers that accepted no external pollen. Further studies must be conducted to examine the negative interactions between the related species before and after seed development. Yasuhiro Sato, Koh-Ichi Takakura, Sachiko Nishida, and Takayoshi Nishida Copyright © 2013 Yasuhiro Sato et al. All rights reserved. Forest Structure, Nutrients, and Pentaclethra macroloba Growth after Deforestation of Costa Rican Lowland Forests Wed, 17 Apr 2013 11:12:54 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/414357/ Succession following deforestation in Neotropical forests has been investigated extensively, yet rarely have studies connected nutrient dynamics with vegetation. This study was conducted in lowland wet forests of Maquenque, Costa Rica. The objectives were (1) to compare carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) characteristics and understory vegetation diversity between regenerating forests and primary forests; and (2) to use these variables to evaluate P. macroloba’s successional role. Four 300 m2 plots were established in primary and secondary forests where P. macroloba was the dominant N-fixing tree. Soil and vegetation data were collected from 2008 to 2010. Values of indicators of C, N, and P cycle activity were generally greater in primary than in secondary forest soils. Efficiency of organic C use and the relative contribution of respiration and organic C to soil biomass were also greater in the primary forest. These trends corresponded with greater richness, biomass, and cover of total and leguminous plant species, greater volume of P. macroloba in primary stands, and greater density of P. macroloba in secondary stands. As cleared regions of former primary forest regenerate, P. macroloba is the important dominant N-fixing tree and a critical driver of C, N, and P recuperation and ecosystem recovery. Daniela J. Shebitz and William Eaton Copyright © 2013 Daniela J. Shebitz and William Eaton. All rights reserved. A Statistical Test for Ripley’s Function Rejection of Poisson Null Hypothesis Sun, 14 Apr 2013 09:57:22 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/753475/ Ripley’s function is the classical tool to characterize the spatial structure of point patterns. It is widely used in vegetation studies. Testing its values against a null hypothesis usually relies on Monte-Carlo simulations since little is known about its distribution. We introduce a statistical test against complete spatial randomness (CSR). The test returns the value to reject the null hypothesis of independence between point locations. It is more rigorous and faster than classical Monte-Carlo simulations. We show how to apply it to a tropical forest plot. The necessary R code is provided. Eric Marcon, Stéphane Traissac, and Gabriel Lang Copyright © 2013 Eric Marcon et al. All rights reserved. Range Expansion of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe Is Promoted by Climate Change Sun, 24 Feb 2013 08:42:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/610126/ Ambrosia artemisiifolia L., native to North America, is a problematic invasive species, because of its highly allergenic pollen. The species is expected to expand its range due to climate change. By means of ecological niche modelling (ENM), we predict habitat suitability for A. artemisiifolia in Europe under current and future climatic conditions. Overall, we compared the performance and results of 16 algorithms commonly applied in ENM. As occurrence records of invasive species may be dominated by sampling bias, we also used data from the native range. To assess the quality of the modelling approaches we assembled a new map of current occurrences of A. artemisiifolia in Europe. Our results show that ENM yields a good estimation of the potential range of A. artemisiifolia in Europe only when using the North American data. A strong sampling bias in the European Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) data for A. artemisiifolia causes unrealistic results. Using the North American data reflects the realized European distribution very well. All models predict an enlargement and a northwards shift of potential range in Central and Northern Europe during the next decades. Climate warming will lead to an increase and northwards shift of A. artemisiifolia in Europe. Sarah Cunze, Marion Carmen Leiblein, and Oliver Tackenberg Copyright © 2013 Sarah Cunze et al. All rights reserved. Interactive Effects of Disturbance, Productivity, and Consumer Diversity on the Structure of Prey Communities Tue, 19 Feb 2013 15:54:32 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2013/160504/ Experiments show that consumer diversity can have important effects on the control of prey diversity and abundance. However, theory also indicates that the strength of consumer effects on such properties will vary depending on system productivity and disturbance regime. Using a laboratory-based system composed of ciliate consumers and bacterial prey, I explored the interactive effects of productivity, disturbance, and consumer diversity on prey diversity and trophic-level abundance. Consumer diversity had productivity-dependent effects on bacterial prey that were consistent with theoretical expectations. At low productivity, increasing consumer diversity reduced prey abundance while at high productivity no effects were detected due to compensatory responses among bacteria. In contrast, consumer diversity had weak effects on prey diversity at low productivity but significantly depressed prey diversity at high productivity. Disturbance on consumers enhanced prey diversity but did not alter consumer diversity effects on prey. These results indicate that consumer diversity may play an important role in the regulation of prey communities, but the strength of this effect varies with system productivity. Christopher F. Steiner Copyright © 2013 Christopher F. Steiner. All rights reserved. Self-Organizing Processes in Landscape Pattern and Resilience: A Review Mon, 26 Nov 2012 12:07:14 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/274510/ Environmental conditions influence the way different types of vegetation are distributed on various scales from the landscape to the globe. However, vegetation does not simply respond passively but may influence its environment in ways that shape those distributions. On the landscape scale, feedbacks from vegetation can lead to patterns that are not easily interpreted as merely reflecting external abiotic conditions. For example, sharp ecotones exist between two vegetation types, even if the basic abiotic gradient is slight, somewhere along the gradient. These are observed in transitions between numerous pairs of ecosystem types, such as tree/grassland, tree/mire, tree tundra, and halophytic plants/glycophytic plants. More complex spatial vegetation patterns may also exist, such as alternating stripes or irregular patterns of either two types of vegetation or vegetation and bare soil. One purpose of this paper is to emphasize that these two types of patterns, sharp ecotones between vegetation types and large-scale landscape patterns of vegetation, both have a common basis in the concept of bistability, in which alternative stable states can occur on an area of land. Another purpose is to note that an understanding of the basis of these patterns may ultimately help in management decisions. Donald L. DeAngelis Copyright © 2012 Donald L. DeAngelis. All rights reserved. Vegetation Productivity/Stability and Other Possible Ecological Invariant Relationships Demonstrated in a Microplot Multispecies Pasture Sward Wed, 14 Nov 2012 15:01:40 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/173792/ The relationship between vegetation functional characteristics of production, stability and descriptive characteristic of species diversity or dominance, and other possible compositional invariants were investigated in 2400 micro-plot sward of 20 species at randomly assigned positions and using different matrix sizes of adjacent plots and four harvest to derive a combination of “vegetations” of differing species configurations.Within the highest frequency section of the data there was little relationship between productivity and stability (deviance) and either species diversity or dominance (% contribution of 1st ranked species). However, considering all data, productivity increased with increasing dominance and was unrelated to species diversity, while stability increased with diversity. Of single parameters combining diversity and dominance, the gradient of the log abundance/rank relationship was superior to Shannon H, with both showing productivity increasing with dominance rather than diversity. The fate of individual micro-plots from a mixed species stand through successive harvests was consistent with the −3/2 thinning rule, though with species cumulative yields. The abundance/rank relationship was compared with many models. Where there was simultaneous fitting to both density and biomass relationships, self-thinning random particle packing models were best and offered an explanation of the process. The positive correlation between regional and local frequency was related to sample area in a random placement model. Observed species composition and mortality was simulated by consideration of plant size related growth and mortality, initial establishment, growth potential and variation in plant size. David Scott Copyright © 2012 David Scott. All rights reserved. Sexual and Asexual Reproduction of Salix sitchensis and the Influence of Beaver (Castor canadensis) Herbivory on Reproductive Success Mon, 05 Nov 2012 17:49:09 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/285748/ The influence of beaver (Castor canadensis Kuhl) herbivory on Salix reproduction, specifically the stimulation of asexual reproduction via browsed stem fragments, is relatively unknown. This study aimed to determine if beaver herbivory stimulates asexual reproduction of riparian willows and results in mature populations dominated by clones. The survival of seedlings and asexual propagules produced by beaver browse in populations of the riparian willow Salix sitchensis (Sanson in Bongard) were quantified to determine overwinter survival at 6 experimental sites. Salix sitchensis clonal diversity, using five microsatellite markers and the polymerase chain reaction, was calculated to detect if asexual reproduction had been stimulated by beaver herbivory. No sexual propagules survived overwinter in any of our study sites. Numerous asexual propagules were observed and 0–41% survived overwinter. Each sampled individual possessed a unique multilocus genotype, and clonal diversity was 1.0. Beaver herbivory did not create current willow populations dominated by clones. Beaver herbivory and asexual reproduction appeared to have played a minor role in the reproductive strategies of S. sitchensis at our sites in central British Columbia, Canada. Travis G. Gerwing, Alyssa M. Allen Gerwing, Eric Rapaport, and Cecilia Alström-Rapaport Copyright © 2012 Travis G. Gerwing et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Nitrogen and Periphyton Extract on the Growth of Nostoc sphaericum in Cultures Mon, 15 Oct 2012 10:16:18 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/935476/ Nostoc sphaericum shows marked growth differences in two Mexican wetland ecosystems consisting of rain forest and tropical deciduous forest, respectively. The amount of nitrogen and periphyton extract dominated by other Cyanoprokaryota had been identified as the most obvious differences between these two ecosystems. We studied the impact of these variables on the physiology and morphology of N. sphaericum. that is, the chlorophyll-a content of the thalli and the changes in the size of the trichomes as well as the cell division rate. Our results combined with a statistical verification indicate that the cell division rate of N. sphaericum with solid media is neither stimulated by nitrogen nor by accompanying cyanoprokaryotes and therefore is assumed to have no impact on the thalli observed in situ. However, these two variables are affecting the size of both the trichomes and the thalli, thus suggested to cause the observed growth differences between the two wetlands. Itzel Becerra-Absalón, Thomas Buhse, Carlos Polanco, and Rosaluz Tavera Copyright © 2012 Itzel Becerra-Absalón et al. All rights reserved. Molecular Evidence for the Wide Distribution of Two Lineages of Terrestrial Green Algae (Chlorophyta) over Tropics to Temperate Zone Tue, 25 Sep 2012 10:26:02 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/795924/ Phylogenetic analyses of 18S rDNA sequences from environmental clones and culture strains revealed a widespread distribution of two subaerial green algal lineages, Jenufa and Xylochloris, recently described from rainforests in southeast Asia. A new lineage of Jenufa (Chlorophyceae), most closely related to or even conspecific with J. minuta, was formed by sequences of European origin. Two more lineages of Jenufa were formed by three additional sequences from Ecuador and Panama. The other lineage was a close relative of Xylochloris irregularis (Trebouxiophyceae), probably representing a new species of the genus and distinct from the only so far described species, X. irregularis. It comprised two distinct clades each containing almost identical sequences from Germany and Ecuador. Analyses of the new sequences for both genera allowed to presume a preference of J. minuta to subaerial growth on rock or artificial hard substrates combined with a remarkable adaptation to extended periods of darkness, whereas Xylochloris may preferably occur on tree bark or in the soil. Ladislav Hodač, Christine Hallmann, Helen Rosenkranz, Fabian Faßhauer, and Thomas Friedl Copyright © 2012 Ladislav Hodač et al. All rights reserved. Constructed Borrow-Pit Wetlands as Habitat for Aquatic Birds in the Peace Parkland, Canada Sun, 16 Sep 2012 14:38:56 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/217357/ The Peace Parkland, Alberta, Canada is part of a continentally important region for breeding and migrating aquatic birds. As a result of resource development and agricultural conversion, many wetlands have been lost. Road construction in the area results in the creation of borrow pits, <3 ha ponds created when soil is removed to form the road bed. We surveyed 200 borrow pits for aquatic birds in May through August 2007. We examined patterns of occurrence and richness, categorizing ponds based on surrounding landscape type: agriculture (0–33.3% forest within 500 m), mixed habitat (33.4–66.6% forest), and forested (66.7–100% forest). Principal Component Analysis indicated that pond environments differed based on local and landscape features. Twenty-seven species of aquatic birds used borrow pits, with 13 nesting. Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling and Indicator Species Analysis of birds observed in each month revealed assemblages characteristic of agricultural ponds, including horned grebe, lesser scaup, American coot, and mallard, and of ponds with >33.3% forest, including bufflehead, ring-necked duck, green-winged teal, and American wigeon. Because borrow pits were used by a variety of dabbling and diving aquatic birds in repeatable assemblages across the breeding season, we propose that these wetlands be integrated into avian conservation strategies. Eva C. Kuczynski and Cynthia A. Paszkowski Copyright © 2012 Eva C. Kuczynski and Cynthia A. Paszkowski. All rights reserved. Changes in Land Use System and Environmental Factors Affect Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Density and Diversity, and Enzyme Activities in Rhizospheric Soils of Acacia senegal (L.) Willd. Tue, 14 Aug 2012 11:22:08 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/563191/ The responses of the soil microbial community features associated to the legume tree Acacia senegal (L.) Willd. including both arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) diversity and soil bacterial functions, were investigated under contrasting environmental conditions. Soil samples were collected during dry and rainy seasons in two contrasting rainfall sites of Senegal (Dahra and Goudiry, in arid and semiarid zone, resp.). Soils were taken from the rhizosphere of A. senegal both in plantation and natural stands in comparison to bulk soil. A multiple analysis revealed positive correlations between soil physicochemical properties, mycorrhizal potential and enzyme activities variables. The positive effects of A. senegal trees on soil mycorrhizal potential and enzyme activities indicates that in sahelian regions, AMF spore density and diversity as well as soil microbial functions can be influenced by land-use systems (plantation versus natural population of A. senegal) and environmental conditions such as moisture and soil nutrient contents. Our study underlines the importance of prior natural AMF screening for better combinations of A. senegal seedlings with AMF species to achieve optimum plant growth improvement, and for restoration and reforestation of degraded lands. Fatou Ndoye, Aboubacry Kane, Eddy Léonard Ngonkeu Mangaptché, Niokhor Bakhoum, Arsène Sanon, Diégane Diouf, Mame Ourèye Sy, Ezékiel Baudoin, Kandioura Noba, and Yves Prin Copyright © 2012 Fatou Ndoye et al. All rights reserved. Ecosystem-Wide Impacts of Deforestation in Mangroves: The Urabá Gulf (Colombian Caribbean) Case Study Tue, 31 Jul 2012 11:49:42 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/958709/ Mangroves are ecologically important and extensive in the Neotropics, but they are visibly threatened by selective logging and conversion to pastures in the Southern Caribbean. The objective of this paper was to summarize the impacts of both threats on forest structure, species composition, aboveground biomass and carbon reservoir, species introgressions, and benthic fauna populations by collating past and current data and by using an interdisciplinary approach in the Urabá Gulf (Colombia) as a case study. Mangroves in the Eastern Coast have been decimated and have produced unskewed tree-diameter (DBH) distributions due to the overexploitation of Rhizophora mangle for poles (DBH range: 7–17 cm) and of Avicennia germinans for planks and pilings (DBH >40 cm). Selective logging increased the importance value of the light-tolerant white mangrove Laguncularia racemosa, also increasing biomass and carbon storage in this species, thus offsetting reductions in other species. Introgressions (cryptic ecological degradation) by L. racemosa and Acrostichum aureum (mangrove fern) and low densities of otherwise dominant detritivore snails (Neritina virginea) were observed in periurban basin mangroves. Finally, basin mangroves were more threatened than fringing mangroves due to their proximity to expanding pastures, villages, and a coastal city. J. F. Blanco, E. A. Estrada, L. F. Ortiz, and L. E. Urrego Copyright © 2012 J. F. Blanco et al. All rights reserved. Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity Creates a “Brown Tide” in Root Phenology and Nutrition Mon, 16 Jul 2012 10:52:05 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/618257/ Spatial and temporal heterogeneity in plant phenology and nutrition benefits herbivores by prolonging the period in which they can forage on nutritious plants. Landscape heterogeneity can therefore enhance population performance of herbivores and may be a critically important feature of their habitat. The benefits of resource heterogeneity over space and time should extend not only to large herbivores using above-ground vegetation but also to omnivores that utilize below-ground resources. We used generalized linear models to evaluate whether spatial heterogeneity influenced temporal variation in the crude protein content of alpine sweetvetch (Hedysarum alpinum) roots in west-central Alberta, Canada, thereby potentially offering nutritional benefits to grizzly bears (Ursus arctos). We demonstrated that temporal patterns in the crude protein content of alpine sweetvetch roots were influenced by spatial heterogeneity in annual growing season temperatures and soil moisture and nutrients. Spatial heterogeneity and asynchrony in the protein content of alpine sweetvetch roots likely benefit grizzly bears by prolonging the period they can forage on high quality resources. Therefore, we have presented evidence of what we termed a “brown wave” or “brown tide” in the phenology and nutrition of a below-ground plant resource, which is analogous to the previously described “green wave” in above-ground resources. Sean C. P. Coogan, Scott E. Nielsen, and Gordon B. Stenhouse Copyright © 2012 Sean C. P. Coogan et al. All rights reserved. Selected Metals in Various Fractions of Soil and Fungi in a Swedish Forest Thu, 05 Jul 2012 09:43:51 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/521582/ The patterns of uptake and distribution of Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb in the soil-mycelium-sporocarps compartments in various transfer steps are presented. I attempted to find out whether there is a difference between the uptake of metals from soil to fungi (mycelium/soil ratio) and transport within fungal thalli (sporocarps/mycelium ratio). The concentration of Cu, Zn, and Cd increased in the order bulk soil < soil-root interface (or rhizosphere) < fungal mycelium < fungal sporocarps. The concentration of Co, Ni, and Pb decreased in the order bulk soil (or rhizosphere) < fungal mycelium < soil-root interface < fungal sporocarps. The uptake of Cu, Zn, and Cd during the entire transfer process in natural conditions between soil and sporocarps occurred against a concentration gradient. Mycorrhizal fungi (mycelium and sporocarps) only absorbed Co, Ni, and Pb but did not accumulate these elements in their thalli. Metal accumulation within fungal mycelium biomass in the top forest soil layer (0–5 cm) may account for about 5% of the total amount of Co, 4% Ni, 7% Cu, 8% Zn, 24% Cd, and 3% Pb. Mykhailo Vinichuk Copyright © 2012 Mykhailo Vinichuk. All rights reserved. A Habitat-Based Framework for Communicating Natural Resource Condition Tue, 15 May 2012 15:00:33 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/384892/ Progress in achieving desired environmental outcomes needs to be rigorously measured and reported for effective environmental management. Two major challenges in achieving this are, firstly, how to synthesize monitoring data in a meaningful way at appropriate temporal and spatial scales and, secondly, how to present results in a framework that allows for effective communication to resource managers and scientists as well as a broader general audience. This paper presents a habitat framework, developed to assess the natural resource condition of the urban Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC, USA), providing insight on how to improve future assessments. Vegetation and stream GIS layers were used to classify three dominant habitat types, Forest, Wetland, and Artificial-terrestrial. Within Rock Creek Park, Forest habitats were assessed as being in good condition (67% threshold attainment of desired condition), Wetland habitats to be in fair condition (49% attainment), and Artificial-terrestrial habitats to be in degraded condition (26% attainment), resulting in an assessed fair/good condition (60% attainment; weighted by habitat area) for all natural resources in Rock Creek Park. This approach has potential to provide assessment of resource condition for diverse ecosystems and provides a basis for addressing management questions across multiple spatial scales. Tim J. B. Carruthers, Shawn L. Carter, Todd R. Lookingbill, Lisa N. Florkowski, Jane M. Hawkey, and William C. Dennison Copyright © 2012 Tim J. B. Carruthers et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Pythium Species and Time in Cold Storage on the Survival of Bareroot and Container-Grown Southern Pine Seedlings Tue, 17 Apr 2012 14:42:49 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/874970/ Cold storing bareroot southern pine (Pinus spp.) seedlings for greater than one week after lifting in the fall can lead to poor outplanting survival when compared to seedlings that are lifted and stored in winter. In contrast, container-grown seedlings typically do not experience adverse effects from storing for periods greater than one week. The practice of lifting bareroot seedlings can cause wounds to root systems, which could allow soil-borne pathogens such as Pythium species to be used as infection sites. Once seedlings are placed in storage, the cool, moist environment may be conducive for zoospore activity, leading to root disease and outplanting failure. Bareroot and container-grown longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), and slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and container-grown shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) were inoculated with either Pythium dimorphum or Pythium irregulare, cold-stored for 3, 4, 6, or 12 weeks, and outplanted. Both Pythium species reduced survival of bareroot longleaf pine but not bareroot slash pine. Length of storage decreased survival for both seedling stock types. Pythium species did not affect the survival of container-grown seedlings. These results suggest that P. dimorphum and P. irregulare are more virulent to bareroot longleaf pine than the other pine species tested. D. Paul Jackson, Scott A. Enebak, and David B. South Copyright © 2012 D. Paul Jackson et al. All rights reserved. Development of an Inventory of Coastal Wetlands for Eastern Georgian Bay, Lake Huron Tue, 17 Apr 2012 11:55:06 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/950173/ Coastal wetlands of eastern Georgian Bay provide critical habitat for a variety of wildlife, especially spawning and nursery habitat for Great Lakes fishes. Although the eastern shoreline has been designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, a complete inventory is lacking. Prior effort by the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Consortium (GLCWC) was unable to fully identify coastal wetland habitat in eastern Georgian Bay due to limited data coverage. Here we outline the methodology, analyses, and applications of the McMaster Coastal Wetland Inventory (MCWI) created from a comprehensive collection of satellite imagery from 2002–2008. Wetlands were manually delineated in a GIS as two broad habitat types: coastal marsh and upstream wetland. Coastal marsh was further subdivided into low marsh (LM; permanently inundated) and high marsh (HM; seasonally inundated) habitat. Within the coastal zone of eastern and northern Georgian Bay there are 12629 distinct wetland units comprised of 5376 ha of LM, 3298 ha of HM and 8676 ha of upstream habitat. The MCWI identifies greater total wetland area within the coastal zone than does the GLCWC inventory (17350 ha versus 3659 ha resp.). The MCWI provides the most current and comprehensive inventory of coastal wetlands in eastern Georgian Bay. Jonathan Midwood, Daniel Rokitnicki-Wojcik, and Patricia Chow-Fraser Copyright © 2012 Jonathan Midwood et al. All rights reserved. Silviculture and Wildlife: Snowshoe Hare Abundance across a Successional Sequence of Natural and Intensively Managed Forests Tue, 17 Apr 2012 11:39:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/593103/ We tested the hypotheses H1 that relative habitat use by snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) would have a bimodal distribution with the highest abundance in young lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stands (both managed and unmanaged), minimal numbers in mature forests, and moderate abundance in old-growth forests and H2 that habitat use would increase in response to enhanced stand attributes from PCT (precommercial thinning) and fertilization treatments. Habitat use was measured by counts of fecal pellets of hares from 1999 to 2003 in forest stands in south-central British Columbia, Canada. Our results did not support the bimodal distribution of hares among coniferous stands, such that old-growth stands, at least in our region, do not provide sufficient habitat for hare populations. High-density (5000 to 13000 stems/ha) unthinned young lodgepole pine stands provide optimum habitat for hares in terms of overstory and stand structure. Thinned and fertilized stands may also provide habitat, particularly at densities ≤1000 stems/ha, and over time as understory conifers develop. Managed stands provided habitat for hares at the same level as mature stands, at 6–10 years after PCT. Maintenance of a range of managed and unmanaged stands in a landscape mosaic would be ideal for integration of silvicultural and wildlife management goals. Thomas P. Sullivan, Druscilla S. Sullivan, Pontus M. F. Lindgren, and Douglas B. Ransome Copyright © 2012 Thomas P. Sullivan et al. All rights reserved. Modeling Agroecosystem Services under Simulated Climate and Land-Use Changes Mon, 02 Apr 2012 14:43:16 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2011/568723/ Ecological functioning of the intensive, homogeneous agroecosystems in the Chippewa River Watershed (CRW), MN, USA, can be improved by reducing soil erosion, runoff, and nutrient leaching. These ecosystem services can be achieved through increased perennials in crop rotations to diversify land use and sustain carbon sequestration. We calibrated, validated, and used APSIM software to simulate the effect of 100 yrs each of historical and future climate change scenario (IPCC-A2) on biophysical processes in representative soil types of the predominant farming systems in CRW. The interrelationships between crop rotations, soil types, climate variables, and ecosystem services indicated that not all objectives of sustainable agro-ecosystem are compatible, and tradeoffs among them are necessary. Site-specific and diversified crop rotations that comply with the environmental constraints of climate and soils could lead to more efficient implementation of strategies to improve ecosystem services in the watershed if current management practices of high external inputs and tillage persisted. Abdullah A. Jaradat and George Boody Copyright © 2011 Abdullah A. Jaradat and George Boody. All rights reserved. Breeding Bird Relationships to Landscape Metrics in Coastal Plain Georgia Mon, 26 Mar 2012 09:22:57 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/359572/ Some avian species in the southeastern United States are declining, and population decreases may arise from changes in vegetation type area or structural condition. Our objective was to compare abundance of conservation priority bird species with landscape variables. We found, even in the highly forested Coastal Plain of Georgia, that areal extent and core area of cover types were related to abundance for certain bird species. Acadian flycatcher and field sparrow had models that incorporated positive area variables. Downy woodpecker, northern parula, orchard oriole, prairie warbler, and summer tanager had models that included positive area and edge associations with varying scales and vegetation types. Edge appeared in models for red-bellied woodpecker, blue jay, and brown-headed cowbird. More than half of all species did not have models that met prediction thresholds. Systematic assessment of area requirements for declining species provides information for management, conservation, and research. Brice B. Hanberry, Stephen Demarais, and Jeanne C. Jones Copyright © 2012 Brice B. Hanberry et al. All rights reserved. Development of a Rapid and Precise Method of Digital Image Analysis to Quantify Canopy Density and Structural Complexity Thu, 15 Mar 2012 12:20:02 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/619842/ Estimation of canopy density is necessary for ecological research and woodland management. However, traditional manual methods are time consuming and subject to interobserver variability, while existing photographic methods usually require expensive fish-eye lenses and complex analysis. Here we introduce and test a new method of digital image analysis, CanopyDigi. This allows user-defined threshold to polarise the 256 grey shades of a standard monochrome bitmap into dark “canopy” and light “sky” pixels (the threshold being selected using false-colour images to ensure its suitability). Canopy density data are calculated automatically and rapidly, and, unlike many other common methods, aggregation data are obtainable using Morisita’s index to differentiate closed (diffuse light) and open (direct light) canopies. Results were highly repeatable in both homogeneous and heterogeneous woodland. Estimates correlated strongly with existing (nondigital) canopy techniques, but quicker and with significantly lower interobserver variability (CV = 3.74% versus 20.73%). We conclude that our new method is an inexpensive and precise technique for quantifying canopy density and aggregation. Anne E. Goodenough and Andrew S. Goodenough Copyright © 2012 Anne E. Goodenough and Andrew S. Goodenough. All rights reserved. Early-Stage Thinning for the Restoration of Young Redwood—Douglas-Fir Forests in Northern Coastal California, USA Tue, 06 Mar 2012 11:54:40 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/725827/ Among forested parks and reserves of the Pacific Coast of the United States, the restoration of late-successional conditions to second-growth stands is a management priority. Some traditional silvicultural treatments may help achieve this objective. We evaluated early-stage thinning as a restoration treatment to facilitate the growth and development of young (33- to 45-year old), homogeneous, and second-growth stands of coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Targeting both stand-level responses and dominant (focal) tree responses for analysis, we compared structural attributes of adjacent thinned and unthinned stands, 12–17 years after thinning. Thinned stands displayed enhanced metrics of tree vigor, growth, and mechanical stability, thereby improving response to future restoration treatments and broadening the range of potential stand conditions. We conclude that early-stage thinning has been successful as a preliminary restoration treatment because it accomplished many initial goals of forest restoration, while retaining sufficient tree numbers to buffer against possible attrition from future disturbances. Jesse F. Plummer, Christopher R. Keyes, and J. Morgan Varner Copyright © 2012 Jesse F. Plummer et al. All rights reserved. Impact of Maize Formulated Herbicides Mesotrione and S-Metolachlor, Applied Alone and in Mixture, on Soil Microbial Communities. Thu, 01 Mar 2012 10:48:11 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/329898/ In order to reduce the amounts of pesticides used, and thereby their associated risks, new generations of less environmentally dangerous molecules with lower weight are currently being used in the mixtures sprayed on crops. Few studies have been made, however, to analyse their impact on the soil, and more particularly on the microorganisms living in the soil which maintain the essential functions of this ecosystem. By taking a microcosmic approach, we were able to assess the impact of the maize herbicides “cocktail” Mesotrione and S-metolachlor on global soil microbial activity, biomass, and structures, by using the formulated compounds, respectively, Callisto and Dual Gold (both registered brands of Syngenta). Our results highlighted a synergetic effect in “cocktail” microcosms resulting in an increase in the Mesotrione herbicide dissipation time and in an impact on the microbial community at onefold field rate equally to more than a single herbicide used at tenfold field rate. Pierre Joly, Pascale Besse-Hoggan, Frédérique Bonnemoy, Isabelle Batisson, Jacques Bohatier, and Clarisse Mallet Copyright © 2012 Pierre Joly et al. All rights reserved. Phytoextraction of Cu, Zn, and Pb Enhanced by Chelators with Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides): Hydroponic and Pot Experiments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 10:18:55 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn.ecology/2012/729693/ Phytoextraction is a green remediation technology for clean-up contaminated soils. The effect of chelator application including EDTA, EDDS, and citric acid on phytoextraction of Cu, Zn, and Pb into high biomass vetiver (Vetiveria zizaniodides) was investigated in the hydroponic experiment and the pot experiment. In the hydroponic test, EDTA induced the most significant toxic symptom on vetiver compared to EDDS and citric acid. Obvious biofilm was attached in the rhizosphere of vetiver with the citric acid addition due to its serving as growth substrate while EDTA posed microbial toxicity to present clear solution. Sequential extraction results demonstrated that EDTA was better than EDDS and citric acid to change the adsorbed metal to loosely bound fraction which is more mobile and bioavailable. In the pot experiment, the critical finding was that vetiver has been demonstrated as a hyperaccumulator for treatment of EDDS with Cu; EDDS, citric acid, and EDTA with Zn; EDTA with Pb. EDDS and EDTA possess the viable phytoextraction ability and can be employed as an remediation alternative, though the groundwater leaching needs to be taken into serious consideration. K. F. Chen, T. Y. Yeh, and C. F. Lin Copyright © 2012 K. F. Chen et al. All rights reserved.