341 research outputs found

    Growth-defense trade-off and habitat specialization by plants in Amazonian forests

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    Journal ArticleTropical forests include a diversity of habitats, which has led to specialization in plants. Near Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon, nutrient-rich clay forests surround nutrient-poor white-sand forests, each harboring a unique composition of habitat specialist trees. We tested the hypothesis that the combination of impoverished soils and herbivory creates strong natural selection for plant defenses in white-sand forest, while rapid growth is favored in clay forests

    To move or to evolve: contrasting patterns of intercontinental connectivity and climatic niche evolution in ├óÔéČ┼ôTerebinthaceae├óÔéČ┬Ł (Anacardiaceae and Burseraceae)

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    Many angiosperm families are distributed pantropically, yet for any given continent little is known about which lineages are ancient residents or recent arrivals. Here we use a comprehensive sampling of the pantropical sister pair Anacardiaceae and Burseraceae to assess the relative importance of continental vicariance, long-distance dispersal and niche-conservatism in generating its distinctive pattern of diversity over time. Each family has approximately the same number of species and identical stem age, yet Anacardiaceae display a broader range of fruit morphologies and dispersal strategies and include species that can withstand freezing temperatures, whereas Burseraceae do not. We found that nuclear and chloroplast data yielded a highly supported phylogenetic reconstruction that supports current taxonomic concepts and time-calibrated biogeographic reconstructions that are broadly congruent with the fossil record. We conclude that the most recent common ancestor of these families was widespread and likely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere during the Cretaceous and that vicariance between Eastern and Western Hemispheres coincided with the initial divergence of the families. The tempo of diversification of the families is strikingly different. Anacardiaceae steadily accumulated lineages starting in the Late CretaceousÔÇôPaleocene while the majority of Burseraceae diversification occurred in the Miocene. Multiple dispersal- and vicariance-based intercontinental colonization events are inferred for both families throughout the past 100 million years. However, Anacardiaceae have shifted climatic niches frequently during this time, while Burseraceae have experienced very few shifts between dry and wet climates and only in the tropics. Thus, we conclude that both Anacardiaceae and Burseraceae move easily but that Anacardiaceae have adapted more often, either due to more varied selective pressures or greater intrinsic lability

    There's no place like home: seedling mortality contributes to the habitat specialisation of tree species across Amazonia

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    Understanding the mechanisms generating species distributions remains a challenge, especially in hyperdiverse tropical forests. We evaluated the role of rainfall variation, soil gradients and herbivory on seedling mortality, and how variation in seedling performance along these gradients contributes to habitat specialisation. In a 4-year experiment, replicated at the two extremes of the Amazon basin, we reciprocally transplanted 4638 tree seedlings of 41 habitat-specialist species from seven phylogenetic lineages among the three most important forest habitats of lowland Amazonia. Rainfall variation, flooding and soil gradients strongly influenced seedling mortality, whereas herbivory had negligible impact. Seedling mortality varied strongly among habitats, consistent with predictions for habitat specialists in most lineages. This suggests that seedling performance is a primary determinant of the habitat associations of adult trees across Amazonia. It further suggests that tree diversity, currently mostly harboured in terra firme forests, may be strongly impacted by the predicted climate changes in Amazonia

    Dra. Nállarett Marina Dávila Cardozo, 1980-2022

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    Nállarett, conocida en varios paı́ses de forma cariñosa como Gigi, era una gran botánica y cientı́fica, además de ser una persona dulce, empática, creativa y brillante. Ella deja un gran legado cientı́fico en sus docenas de artı́culos, sus miles de especı́menes botánicos colectados y sus descripciones de varias especies nuevas para la ciencia. Será recordada por todos los botánicos que cruzan caminos con Caraipa davilae y Compsoneura nallarettiana, ambas especies endémicas del Perú, nombradas en su honor. Nállarett era una especialista y apasionada en bosques de arena blanca, hábitats de suelos pobres dentro de la cuenca amazónica que para ella resultaron áreas fértiles para estudiar la evolución de las maravillosas plantas que los habitan. Igualmente, deja un gran legado humano por su bella forma de ser, su generosidad y su sonrisa luminosa, marcando la vida de sus amigos y colegas de forma profunda. Nállarett es y será extrañada entrañablemente por todos quienes tuvimos la suerte de conocerla. Que descanse en paz

    The importance of environmental heterogeneity and spatial distance in generating phylogeographic structure in edaphic specialist and generalist tree species of Protium (Burseraceae) across the Amazon Basin

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    ABSTRACT Aim Edaphic heterogeneity may be an important driver of population differentiation in the Amazon but remains to be investigated in trees. We compared the phylogeographic structure across the geographic distribution of two Protium (Burseraceae) species with different degrees of edaphic specialization: Protium alvarezianum, an edaphic specialist of white-sand habitat islands; and Protium subserratum, an edaphic generalist found in white sand as well as in more widespread soil types. We predicted that in the edaphic specialist, geographic distance would structure populations more strongly than in the edaphic generalist, and that soil type would not structure populations in the edaphic generalist unless habitat acts as a barrier promoting population differentiation. Location Tropical rain forests of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, Guyana and French Guiana. Methods We sequenced 1209-1211 bp of non-coding nuclear ribosomal DNA (internal transcribed spacer and external transcribed spacer) and a neutral lowcopy nuclear gene (phytochrome C) from P. subserratum (n = 65, 10 populations) and P. alvarezianum (n = 19, three populations). We conducted a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis, constructed maximum parsimony haplotype networks and assessed population differentiation among groups (soil type or geographic locality) using analysis of molecular variance and spatial analysis of molecular variance. Results The edaphic specialist exhibited considerable genetic differentiation among geographically distant populations. The edaphic generalist showed significant genetic differentiation between the Guianan and Amazon Basin populations. Within Peru, soil type and not geographic distance explained most of the variation among populations. Non-white-sand populations in Peru exhibited lower haplotype/nucleotide diversity than white-sand populations, were each other's close relatives, and formed an unresolved clade derived from within the white-sand populations. Main conclusions Geographic distance is a stronger driver of population differentiation in the edaphic specialist than in the generalist. However, this difference did not appear to be related to edaphic generalism per se as adjacent populations from both soil types in the edaphic generalist did not share many haplotypes. Populations of the edaphic generalist in white-sand habitats exhibite

    Globally, functional traits are weak predictors of juvenile tree growth, and we do not know why

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    1. Plant functional traits, in particular specific leaf area (SLA), wood density and seed mass, are often good predictors of individual tree growth rates within communities. Individuals and species with high SLA, low wood density and small seeds tend to have faster growth rates. 2. If community-level relationships between traits and growth have general predictive value, then similar relationships should also be observed in analyses that integrate across taxa, biogeographic regions and environments. Such global consistency would imply that traits could serve as valuable proxies for the complex suite of factors that determine growth rate, and, therefore, could underpin a new generation of robust dynamic vegetation models. Alternatively, growth rates may depend more strongly on the local environment or growth-trait relationships may vary along environmental gradients. 3. We tested these alternative hypotheses using data on 27352 juvenile trees, representing 278 species from 27 sites on all forested continents, and extensive functional trait data, 38% of which were obtained at the same sites at which growth was assessed. Data on potential evapotranspiration (PET), which summarizes the joint ecological effects of temperature and precipitation, were obtained from a global data base. 4. We estimated size-standardized relative height growth rates (SGR) for all species, then related them to functional traits and PET using mixed-effect models for the fastest growing species and for all species together. 5. Both the mean and 95th percentile SGR were more strongly associated with functional traits than with PET. PET was unrelated to SGR at the global scale. SGR increased with increasing SLA and decreased with increasing wood density and seed mass, but these traits explained only 3.1% of the variation in SGR. SGR-trait relationships were consistently weak across families and biogeographic zones, and over a range of tree statures. Thus, the most widely studied functional traits in plant ecology were poor predictors of tree growth over large scales. 6. Synthesis. We conclude that these functional traits alone may be unsuitable for predicting growth of trees over broad scales. Determining the functional traits that predict vital rates under specific environmental conditions may generate more insight than a monolithic global relationship can offer.Additional co-authors: Herv├ę Jactel, Xuefei Li, Kaoru Kitajima, Julia Koricheva, Cristina Mart├şnez-Garza, Christian Messier, Alain Paquette, Christopher Philipson, Daniel Piotto, Lourens Poorter, Juan M. Posada, Catherine Potvin, Kalle Rainio, Sabrina E. Russo, Mariacarmen Ruiz-Jaen, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Campbell O. Webb, S. Joseph Wright, Rakan A. Zahawi, and Andy Hecto

    Child Mortality in Rural Malawi: HIV Closes the Survival Gap between the Socio-Economic Strata

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    BACKGROUND: As HIV-related deaths increase in a population the usual association between low socioeconomic status and child mortality may change, particularly as death rates from other causes decline. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: As part of a demographic surveillance system in northern Malawi in 2002-6, covering a population of 32,000, information was collected on socio-economic status of the households. Deaths were classified as HIV/AIDS-related or not by verbal autopsy. Poisson regression models were used to assess the association of socio-economic indicators with all-cause mortality, AIDS-mortality and non-AIDS mortality among children. There were 195 deaths in infants, 109 in children aged 1-4 years, and 38 in children aged 5-15. All-cause child mortality in infants and 1-4 year olds was similar in households with higher and lower socio-economic status. In infants 13% of deaths were attributed to AIDS, and there were no clear trends with socio-economic status for AIDS or non-AIDS causes. For 1-4 year olds 27% of deaths were attributed to AIDS. AIDS mortality was higher among those with better built houses, and lowest in those with income from farming and fishing, whereas non-AIDS mortality was higher in those with worse built houses, lowest in those with income from employment, and decreased with increasing household assets. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In this population, since HIV infection among adults was initially more common among the less poor, childhood mortality patterns have changed. The usual gap in survival between the poor and the less poor has been lost, but because the less poor have been disproportionately affected by HIV, rather than because of relative improvement in the survival of the poorest

    Improving antibiotic prescribing for adults with community acquired pneumonia: Does a computerised decision support system achieve more than academic detailing alone? ÔÇô a time series analysis

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    BACKGROUND: The ideal method to encourage uptake of clinical guidelines in hospitals is not known. Several strategies have been suggested. This study evaluates the impact of academic detailing and a computerised decision support system (CDSS) on clinicians' prescribing behaviour for patients with community acquired pneumonia (CAP). METHODS: The management of all patients presenting to the emergency department over three successive time periods was evaluated; the baseline, academic detailing and CDSS periods. The rate of empiric antibiotic prescribing that was concordant with recommendations was studied over time comparing pre and post periods and using an interrupted time series analysis. RESULTS: The odds ratio for concordant therapy in the academic detailing period, after adjustment for age, illness severity and suspicion of aspiration, compared with the baseline period was OR = 2.79 [1.88, 4.14], p < 0.01, and for the computerised decision support period compared to the academic detailing period was OR = 1.99 [1.07, 3.69], p = 0.02. During the first months of the computerised decision support period an improvement in the appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing was demonstrated, which was greater than that expected to have occurred with time and academic detailing alone, based on predictions from a binary logistic model. CONCLUSION: Deployment of a computerised decision support system was associated with an early improvement in antibiotic prescribing practices which was greater than the changes seen with academic detailing. The sustainability of this intervention requires further evaluation
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