Meertens Institute

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    10315 research outputs found

    Distinguishing autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration based on diel oxygen change curves: revisiting Dr. Faustus

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    * In his paper ‘Climate change, nutrient pollution and the bargain of Dr. Faustus’, Moss (Freshwater Biology, 55, 2010, 175) described the interacting and mutually reinforcing effects of climate change and nutrient pollution on aquatic ecosystems. * Among other things, Moss (Freshwater Biology, 55, 2010, 175) proposed a simple method for determining autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration rates (Ra and Rh) based on the diel oxygen change technique. Here, we show that one of the assumptions on which the method is based is flawed and that Ra and Rh cannot be derived mathematically from diel oxygen change curves. [KEYWORDS: autotrophs ecosystem respiration heterotrophs methods primary production]

    Crowdsourcing de bijbel

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    The spatial structure of Antarctic biodiversity

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    Patterns of environmental spatial structure lie at the heart of the most fundamental and familiar patterns of diversity on Earth. Antarctica contains some of the strongest environmental gradients on the planet and therefore provides an ideal study ground to test hypotheses on the relevance of environmental variability for biodiversity. To answer the pivotal question, “How does spatial variation in physical and biological environmental properties across the Antarctic drive biodiversity?” we have synthesized current knowledge on environmental variability across terrestrial, freshwater, and marine Antarctic biomes and related this to the observed biotic patterns. The most important physical driver of Antarctic terrestrial communities is the availability of liquid water, itself driven by solar irradiance intensity. Patterns of biota distribution are further strongly influenced by the historical development of any given location or region, and by geographical barriers. In freshwater ecosystems, free water is also crucial, with further important influences from salinity, nutrient availability, oxygenation, and characteristics of ice cover and extent. In the marine biome there does not appear to be one major driving force, with the exception of the oceanographic boundary of the Polar Front. At smaller spatial scales, ice cover, ice scour, and salinity gradients are clearly important determinants of diversity at habitat and community level. Stochastic and extreme events remain an important driving force in all environments, particularly in the context of local extinction and colonization or recolonization, as well as that of temporal environmental variability. Our synthesis demonstrates that the Antarctic continent and surrounding oceans provide an ideal study ground to develop new biogeographical models, including life history and physiological traits, and to address questions regarding biological responses to environmental variability and change. Read More:

    Strong effects of drying on water clarity and cyanobacterial blooms in cool tropical reservoirs

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    Keywords: Ethiopia; fish biomass; Microcystis; reservoir ecology; water clarity Summary 1.In semi-arid regions, the construction of small reservoirs is important in alleviating water shortage, although many have poor water quality with high turbidity and dense blooms of algae and cyanobacteria, and there are large differences in the ecology of such reservoirs. 2.We took advantage of two exceptionally dry years in northern Ethiopia to study the effect of a dry period and the associated fish kills on reservoir ecology and water quality. We studied 13 reservoirs, seven of which dried up in 2009. Four of the latter dried up again in 2010. We monitored the ecology of these reservoirs from 2009 to 2011, hypothesising that the pattern of reservoir drying would explain ecological differences among them. 3.Reservoirs that refilled after drying had a significantly lower fish biomass, lower biomass of phytoplankton (expressed as chlorophyll-a) and cyanobacteria (Microcystis), clearer water, greater macrophyte cover and lower nutrient concentrations than reservoirs that did not dry. Although the differences in water quality were most striking in the wet season after a drying event, there were persistent effects on reservoir ecology. The three categories of reservoirs we distinguished, based on their behaviour in 2009 and 2010, also showed differences in 2004, a year during which none of the reservoirs dried out. While drying evidently results in better water quality, we could not disentangle the effects of drying per se from that of reductions in fish biomass. The total combined effect was highly significant in all 3 years, whereas the separate effects of drying and loss of fish were only significant in 2004. 4.Our results suggest that differences in water quality and ecology among reservoirs depend on their propensity to dry out. Drying might be used as a restoration measure to reduce potentially harmful cyanobacterial blooms in reservoirs.

    Sequential effects of root and foliar herbivory on aboveground and belowground induced plant defense responses and insect performance

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    Plants are often simultaneously or sequentially attacked by multiple herbivores and changes in host plants induced by one herbivore can influence the performance of other herbivores. We examined how sequential feeding on the plant Plantago lanceolata by the aboveground herbivore Spodoptera exigua and the belowground herbivore Agriotes lineatus influences plant defense and the performance of both insects. Belowground herbivory caused a reduction in the food consumption by the aboveground herbivore independent of whether it was initiated before, at the same time, or after that of the aboveground herbivore. By contrast, aboveground herbivory did not significantly affect belowground herbivore performance, but significantly reduced the performance of later arriving aboveground conspecifics. Interestingly, belowground herbivores negated negative effects of aboveground herbivores on consumption efficiency of their later arriving conspecifics, but only if the belowground herbivores were introduced simultaneously with the early arriving aboveground herbivores. Aboveground–belowground interactions could only partly be explained by induced changes in an important class of defense compounds, iridoid glycosides (IGs). Belowground herbivory caused a reduction in IGs in roots without affecting shoot levels, while aboveground herbivory increased IG levels in roots in the short term (4 days) but only in the shoots in the longer term (17 days). We conclude that the sequence of aboveground and belowground herbivory is important in interactions between aboveground and belowground herbivores and that knowledge on the timing of exposure is essential to predict outcomes of aboveground–belowground interactions

    Huren of kopen? Een kwestie van gezin, baan, gezondheid en geld

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    De meeste huiseigenaren willen bij verhuizing kopen en de meeste huurders willen blijven huren. Maar er zijn ook overstappers: kopers die willen huren en vooral huurders die willen kopen. Dat is interessant voor een overheid die eigenwoningbezit wil stimuleren. Wie zijn die kopers die geen koopwoning meer willen en welke huurders willen dat juist wel? En wat willen de starters op de woningmarkt? Relatie, baan en gezondheid bepalen de uitkomst, en het geld natuurlijk.

    Seasonal phenology of interactions involving short-lived annual plants, a multivoltine herbivore and its endoparasitoid wasp

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    Spatial-temporal realism is often missing in many studies of multitrophic interactions, which are conducted at a single time frame and/or involving interactions between insects with a single species of plant. In this scenario, an underlying assumption is that the host-plant species is ubiquitous throughout the season and that the insects always interact with it. We studied interactions involving three naturally occurring wild species of cruciferous plants, Brassica rapa, Sinapis arvensis and Brassica nigra, that exhibit different seasonal phenologies, and a multivoltine herbivore, the large cabbage white butterfly, Pieris brassicae, and its gregarious endoparasitoid wasp, Cotesia glomerata. The three plants have very short life cycles. In central Europe, B. rapa grows in early spring, S. arvensis in late spring and early summer, and B. nigra in mid to late summer. P. brassicae generally has three generations per year, and C. glomerata at least two. This means that different generations of the insects must find and exploit different plant species that may differ in quality and which may be found some distance from one another. Insects were either reared on each of the three plant species for three successive generations or shifted between generations from B. rapa to S. arvensis to B. nigra. Development time from neonate to pupation and pupal fresh mass were determined in P. brassicae and egg-to-adult development time and body mass in C. glomerata. Overall, herbivores performed marginally better on S. arvensis and B. nigra plants than on B. rapa plants. Parasitoids performance was closely tailored with that of the host. Irrespective as to whether the insects were shifted to a new plant in successive generations or not, development time of P. brassicae and C. glomerata decreased dramatically over time. Our results show that there were some differences in insect development on different plant species and when transferred from one species to another. However, all three plants were of generally high quality in terms of insect performance. We discuss ecological and evolutionary constraints on insects that must search in new habitats for different plant species over successive generations

    Intra-specific variation in wild Brassica oleracea for aphid-induced plant responses and consequences for caterpillar–parasitoid interactions

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    [KEYWORDS: Cabbage Diadegma semiclausum Herbivory Leaf chewers Mamestra brassicae Microplitis mediator Plutella xylostella phloem feeders] Herbivore-induced plant responses not only influence the initiating attackers, but also other herbivores feeding on the same host plant simultaneously or at a different time. Insects belonging to different feeding guilds are known to induce different responses in the host plant. Changes in a plant’s phenotype not only affect its interactions with herbivores but also with organisms higher in the food chain. Previous work has shown that feeding by a phloem-feeding aphid on a cabbage cultivar facilitates the interaction with a chewing herbivore and its endoparasitoid. Here we study genetic variation in a plant’s response to aphid feeding using plants originating from three wild Brassica oleracea populations that are known to differ in constitutive and inducible secondary chemistry. We compared the performance of two different chewing herbivore species, Plutella xylostella and M. brassicae, and their larval endoparasitoids Diadegma semiclausum and M. mediator, respectively, on plants that had been infested with aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae) for 1 week. Remarkably, early infestation with B. brassicae enhanced the performance of the specialist P. xylostella and its parasitoid D. semiclausum, but did not affect that of the generalist M. brassicae, nor its parasitoid M. mediator. Performance of the two herbivore–parasitoid interactions also varied among the cabbage populations and the effect of aphid infestation marginally differed among the three populations. Thus, the effect of aphid infestation on the performance of subsequent attackers is species specific, which may have concomitant consequences for the assembly of insect communities that are naturally associated with these plants.

    Trait-based approaches for understanding microbial biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

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    In ecology, biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has seen a shift in perspective from taxonomy to function in the last two decades, with successful application of trait-based approaches. This shift offers opportunities for a deeper mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity in maintaining multiple ecosystem processes and services. In this paper, we highlight studies that have focused on BEF of microbial communities with an emphasis on integrating trait-based approaches to microbial ecology. In doing so, we explore some of the inherent challenges and opportunities of understanding BEF using microbial systems. For example, microbial biologists characterize communities using gene phylogenies that are often unable to resolve functional traits. Additionally, experimental designs of existing microbial BEF studies are often inadequate to unravel BEF relationships. We argue that combining eco-physiological studies with contemporary molecular tools in a trait-based framework can reinforce our ability to link microbial diversity to ecosystem processes. We conclude that such trait-based approaches are a promising framework to increase the understanding of microbial BEF relationships and thus generating systematic principles in microbial ecology and more generally ecology.


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