2,633 research outputs found

    Fungal endophytes affect plant response to leaf litter with contrasting chemical traits

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    Abstract Plant litter decomposition is a crucial process of nutrient cycling within ecosystems. However, many studies have shown that, apart from its several beneficial effects, organic matter decomposition can be disadvantageous to seed germination, seedling growth, and physiological activity of plants. Litter decomposition was reported to affect both plants and their associated soil microbial communities. The aim of this work was to test the relationships between seed-associated endophytic fungi on the either positive or negative plant's response to different litter types. Leaf material of four species was collected and used in a decomposition experiment inside a growth chamber for 120 days. The plant growth experiment was set in a greenhouse using Trifolium repens and Triticum durum with and without their associated endophytic fungi in the presence of the different litter species at two decay levels (fresh litter and after 120 days of decomposition). Results demonstrated that fresh litter exerted a strong inhibition effect on the plant total biomass when compared to decomposed litter. Moreover, seed-associated endophytic fungi enhanced the inhibitory effect of litter in the observed experimental conditions. The removal of seed-associated endophytic fungi improved the capacity of tested plants to resist to litter inhibitory effect

    Applications of Blockchain for the Governance of Integrated Project Delivery: A Crypto Commons Approach

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    This paper outlines why and how blockchain can digitally support and evolve the governance of collaborative project deliveries, such as integrated project deliveries (IPDs), to provide the foundation for novel and disruptive forms of organizational collaboration in the construction industry. Previous work has conceptualized IPDs as a common pool resource (CPR) scenario, where shared resources are collectively governed. Through the use of blockchain and smart contracts for trustworthy peer-to-peer transactions and execution logic, Ostrom's design principles can be digitally encoded to scale CPR scenarios. Building on the identified connections, the paper 1) synthesizes fourteen blockchain-based mechanisms to govern CPRs, 2) identifies twenty-two applications of these mechanisms to govern IPDs, and 3) introduces a conceptualization of the above relationships towards a holistic understanding of collaborative project deliveries on the crypto commons for novel collective organization of construction project delivery between both humans and machines

    Climatic and anthropogenic factors affect Ailanthus altissima invasion in a Mediterranean region

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    Ailanthus altissima is an aggressive invasive tree worldwide, but the ecological factors that lead to the spread of this species in Mediterranean ecosystems are still unclear. Here we aim to identify such factors, focusing on the interaction of human activity with climatic conditions. We determined the occurrence and abundance of Ailanthus in 240 sites and studied their relationship with 20 variables representing climatic, geographic, and topographic factors, as well as land use, in the region of Campania (southern Italy). Overall, we found that temperature and rainfall in Campania are suitable for Ailanthus, with the only major constraint being the temperature at an altitude exceeding 900 m a.s.l. We found that Ailanthus is unable to spread where the mean annual temperature is lower than 11.1 °C. By contrast, precipitation variables showed poor correlation with Ailanthus distribution, suggesting that rainfall in the selected study sites is suitable to sustain the growth of this tree. About land use variables, roads were the primary landscape feature along which this species spread and invaded new areas. Roads probably combine high propagule pressure and favorable growing conditions in terms of available resources i.e., light, water, and mineral nutrients, that allow Ailanthus to establish and spread along roadside edges in different ecosystems. In conclusion, we found that climate and human-associated variables are correlated with the current occurrence of Ailanthus, with the temperature being more influential at high elevation sites and road distance playing a prominent role in low elevation areas

    Experimental realization of a nonlinear acoustic lens with a tunable focus

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    We realize a nonlinear acoustic lens composed of a two-dimensional array of sphere chains interfaced with water. The chains are able to support solitary waves which, when interfaced with a linear medium, transmit compact pulses with minimal oscillations. When focused, the lens is able to produce compact pressure pulses of high amplitude, the “sound bullets.” We demonstrate that the focal point can be controlled via pre-compression of the individual chains, as this changes the wave speed within them. The experimental results agree well both spatially and temporally with analytical predictions over a range of focus locations

    Decomposition and temperature sensitivity of fine root and leaf litter of 43 mediterranean species

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    Aims: Data on the decomposition of fine roots are scarce for the Mediterranean basin. This work aims to compare chemical traits, decomposition rate, and temperature sensitivity (Q10) for root and leaf litter of 43 Mediterranean species. Methods: We carried out a two-years litterbag decomposition experiment using 43 fine roots litter and leaf litter types incubated in laboratory conditions at three different temperatures, i.e. 4 °C, 14 °C, and 24 °C. Litter was characterized for carbon (C), nitrogen (N), lignin and cellulose concentration, C/N, and lignin/N ratios. Results: Fine root litter had lower N content but higher lignin concentration, lignin/N, and C/N ratios compared to leaf litter. The decay rate of fine root litter was slower than leaf litter. For both tissues, the decay rate was negatively associated with lignin concentration, lignin/N, and C/N ratios but positively with N concentration. Q10 was higher for fine root than leaf litter, with a positive correlation with lignin while negative with N concentration. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate a higher Q10 accompanied by a slower decomposition rate of fine root litter compared to leaf litter in Mediterranean ecosystems. These results must be considered in modeling organic C at the ecosystem scale

    “First we eat and then we sell”: participatory guarantee systems for alternative sustainability certification of Bolivian agri-food products

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    Expectations and interest are high in participatory guarantee systems (PGS) as a context-specific alternative to third-party sustainability certification. Self-defined criteria, transparency, trust, and accessibility have made PGS an attractive alternative to exogenous certification in local markets in over 70 countries. There is also increasing interest in the possibilities for participatory certification in international trade for family farm-based products such as cocoa or coffee. Bolivia’s PGS was established in 2012. By 2017, the country ranked second (after India) in number of PGS farmers. Since 2019, however, its numbers are declining. Visiting six PGS initiatives, we interviewed 38 persons from production, processing, distribution, support networks, and policymaking on the current situation of PGS in Bolivia; its challenges; its prospects in local, national, and international trade; and the role of Bolivia’s governmental PGS support. While PGS certification in Bolivia faces challenges – including high fees, weak consumer demand, and insufficient links to broader value chains – it displays strong potential to make locally managed sustainability certification more accessible. We recommend that decision-makers ensure accessibility and help promote PGS with consumers. Importing countries could support PGS, in particular by incentivizing access of PGS-certified products to their national markets by recognizing them as organic via peer-to-peer certification

    Pea-Wheat Rotation Affects Soil Microbiota Diversity, Community Structure, and Soilborne Pathogens

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    Intensive cultivation based on monocultures has a significant impact on ecosystem function, and sustainable agriculture must rely on alternative methods, including crop rotation. On the Canadian prairies, the use of pulse crops is a common practice, but few studies have investigated the impact on soil microorganisms. Here, we studied the effect of pea, wheat, pea–wheat rotation, and fallow in bulk soil bacterial and fungal communities. We characterized soil microbiota by high-throughput sequencing of 16S and 18S rRNA genes for bacteria and eukaryotes. Different crop rotations and fallow significantly modified soil community composition, as well as bacterial and fungal diversity. Pea alone caused a strong reduction of bacterial and fungal richness and diversity compared to wheat, pea–wheat rotation, and fallow. Notably, pea–wheat rotation increased the abundance of Fusarium graminearum compared to other management practices. The bacterial community was less responsive to crop rotation identity compared to the fungal microbiota, and we found minor differences at the phylum level, with an increase in Actinobacteria in fallow and Firmicutes in wheat. In summary, our study demonstrated that rotations alter bulk soil microbial community diversity and composition in Canadian prairies. The frequent use of pea in rotation with wheat should be carefully evaluated, balancing their ecological effects on nitrogen mineralization, water conservation, and impact on beneficial, as well as pathotrophic, fungi

    Results on Multiple Coulomb Scattering from 12 and 20 GeV electrons on Carbon targets

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    Multiple scattering effects of 12 and 20 GeV electrons on 8 and 20 mm thickness carbon targets have been studied with high-resolution silicon microstrip detectors of the UA9 apparatus at the H8 line at CERN. Comparison of the scattering angle between data and GEANT4 simulation shows excellent agreement in the core of the distributions leaving some residual disagreement in the tails.Comment: 14 pages, 16 figures. Updated to match published versio

    Topography modulates near-ground microclimate in the Mediterranean Fagus sylvatica treeline

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    Understanding processes controlling forest dynamics has become particularly important in the context of ongoing climate change, which is altering the ecological fitness and resilience of species worldwide. However, whether forest communities would be threatened by projected macroclimate change or unaffected due to the controlling effect of local site conditions is still a matter for debate. After all, forest canopy buffer climate extremes and promote microclimatic conditions, which matters for functional plant response, and act as refugia for understory species in a changing climate. Yet precisely how microclimatic conditions change in response to climate warming will depend on the extent to which vegetation structure and local topography shape air and soil temperature. In this study, we posited that forest microclimatic buffering is sensitive to local topographic conditions and canopy cover, and using meteorological stations equipped with data-loggers we measured this effect during 1 year across a climate gradient (considering aspect as a surrogate of local topography) in a Mediterranean beech treeline growing in contrasting aspects in southern Italy. During the growing season, the below-canopy near-ground temperatures were, on average, 2.4 and 1.0 °C cooler than open-field temperatures for south and north-west aspects, respectively. Overall, the temperature offset became more negative (that is, lower under-canopy temperatures at the treeline) as the open-field temperature increased, and more positive (that is, higher under-canopy temperatures at the treeline) as the open-field temperature decreased. The buffering effect was particularly evident for the treeline on the south-facing slope, where cooling of near-ground temperature was as high as 8.6 °C for the maximum temperature (in August the offset peaked at 10 °C) and as high as 2.5 °C for the average temperature. In addition, compared to the south-facing slope, the northern site exhibited less decoupling from free-air environment conditions and low variability in microclimate trends that closely track the free-air biophysical environment. Although such a decoupling effect cannot wholly isolate forest climatic conditions from macroclimate regional variability in the south-facing treeline, it has the potential to partly offset the regional macroclimatic warming experienced in the forest understory due to anthropogenic climate change
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