Biodiversity and Climate Research Center

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Biodiversity and Climate Research Center

Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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Hemp C.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
Zootaxa | Year: 2017

A list of the Caelifera and Ensifera (Orthoptera) of lowland wet forest of the Udzungwa Mountains is presented. Five new species are described. These are the Agraeciini Afroagraecia mangula n. sp. (Conocephalinae), the Meconematinae Afrophisis undosa n. sp. and Phlugidia ampendiculata n. sp., the Phaneropterinae Eurycorypha pianofortis n. sp., and the lentulid Usambilla castigata n. sp. A total number of 19 Caelifera and 26 Tettigoniidea species are recorded. About one third of the species are endemic to the Udzungwa Mountains. © 2017 Magnolia Press.

A checklist of Ensifera and Acridomorpha of Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserve, Kisarawe near Dar es Salaam is given and eight new Tettigoniidae species described. These are the Agraeciini species Afroagraecia kisarawe n. sp., the Meconematinae species Phlugidia kisarawe n. sp., and the female of Aerotegmina megaloptera (Hexacentrinae). The Phaneropterinae species Dioncomena scutellata n. sp. is known at present only from two localities, the Pugu Hills near Dar es Salaam and Kwamgumi forest reseve on the foothills of the East Usambara Mountains. Two new Eurycorypha species, E. annexata n. sp. and E. ligata n. sp. are described from the area known at present only from the male sex. A second species is described in the genus Lunidia Hemp, L. acuticercata n. sp. Two new Phaneropterinae genera are erected on Pseudopreussia flavifolia n. gen. n. sp. and Materuana ericki n. gen. n. sp., species of wet lowland forest along coastal Tanzania and forest reserves in the East Usambara and on the foothills of the Uluguru Mountains. Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserve is severly threatened by encroachment and deforestation although it is recognized as belonging to the oldest surviving forests of the world. © Copyright 2017 Magnolia Press.

Wells K.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Wells K.,University of Ulm | O'Hara R.B.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2013

Ecological network models based on aggregated data from species interactions are widely used to make inferences about species specialization, functionality and extinction risk. While increasing number of network data are available and are used in comparative studies, data quality and uncertainty have received little attention. Moreover, key individual-level information such as the proportion of individuals not involved in interactions and underlying processes driving interactions are ignored by aggregated data analysis. We suggest an individual-level hierarchical interaction model as a more flexible approach to considering uncertainty, sampling effort and conditions under which interactions take place and from which network attributes can be derived. We performed a simulation exercise to compare inference under different sample sizes and from aggregated data matrices to those from our individual-level model. Formalizing the process of network formation in an individual-level model made clear that per-species interaction frequencies are not independent of sample size and population pools and also ignore important information given by the proportion of non-interacting individuals. Hierarchical linear models are a possible solution to infer community-level attributes of network formation and allow various kinds of comprehensive model extensions to capture variation of per-individual interactions in space and time that shape upper level organization. Individual-level hierarchical models provide the link between individual behaviour and interactions under variable environmental conditions and can be summarized into networks in a conceptually neat way. Such models may not only help to account for various sources of variation but also conceptualize aspects overlooked in aggregated data. In particular, the quantification of per-individual interactions under different sampling scenarios emphasizes that per-species interaction frequencies at the species level are not necessarily a surrogate of species abundance in natural systems under investigation. © 2012 The Authors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. © 2012 British Ecological Society.

Loehr J.,University of Helsinki | O'Hara R.B.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
Biology Letters | Year: 2013

We investigated fitness, military rank and survival of facial phenotypes in large-scale warfare using 795 Finnish soldiers who fought in the Winter War (1939-1940). We measured facial width-to-height ratio-a trait known to predict aggressive behaviour in males-and assessed whether facial morphology could predict survival, lifetime reproductive success (LRS) and social status. We found no difference in survival along the phenotypic gradient, however, wider-faced individuals had greater LRS, but achieved a lower military rank.

Pfeiffer M.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne | Spessa A.,Max Planck Institute for Chemistry | Spessa A.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Kaplan J.O.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Geoscientific Model Development | Year: 2013

Fire is the primary disturbance factor in many terrestrial ecosystems. Wildfire alters vegetation structure and composition, affects carbon storage and biogeochemical cycling, and results in the release of climatically relevant trace gases including CO2, CO, CH4, NOx, and aerosols. One way of assessing the impacts of global wildfire on centennial to multi-millennial timescales is to use process-based fire models linked to dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs). Here we present an update to the LPJ-DGVM and a new fire module based on SPITFIRE that includes several improvements to the way in which fire occurrence, behaviour, and the effects of fire on vegetation are simulated. The new LPJ-LMfire model includes explicit calculation of natural ignitions, the representation of multi-day burning and coalescence of fires, and the calculation of rates of spread in different vegetation types. We describe a new representation of anthropogenic biomass burning under preindustrial conditions that distinguishes the different relationships between humans and fire among hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and farmers. We evaluate our model simulations against remote-sensing-based estimates of burned area at regional and global scale. While wildfire in much of the modern world is largely influenced by anthropogenic suppression and ignitions, in those parts of the world where natural fire is still the dominant process (e.g. in remote areas of the boreal forest and subarctic), our results demonstrate a significant improvement in simulated burned area over the original SPITFIRE. The new fire model we present here is particularly suited for the investigation of climate-human-fire relationships on multi-millennial timescales prior to the Industrial Revolution. © 2011 Author(s).

Scharf K.-D.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Berberich T.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Ebersberger I.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Nover L.,Goethe University Frankfurt
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms | Year: 2012

Ten years after the first overview of a complete plant Hsf family was presented for Arabidopsis thaliana by Nover et al. [1], we compiled data for 252 Hsfs from nine plant species (five eudicots and four monocots) with complete or almost complete genome sequences. The new data set provides interesting insights into phylogenetic relationships within the Hsf family in plants and allows the refinement of their classification into distinct groups. Numerous publications over the last decade document the diversification and functional interaction of Hsfs as well as their integration into the complex stress signaling and response networks of plants. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Plant gene regulation in response to abiotic stress. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Mutshinda C.M.,University of Helsinki | O'Hara R.B.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
Oecologia | Year: 2011

Elucidating the mechanisms underlying the assembly and dynamics of ecological communities is a fundamental goal of ecology. Two conceptual approaches have emerged in this respect: the niche-assembly view and the neutral perspective. The debate as to which approach best explains the biodiversity patterns observed in nature is becoming outdated, as ecologists increasingly agree on the existence of a niche-neutral continuum of community dynamical behaviors. However, attempts to make the continuum idea operational and measurable remain sparse. Here, we propose a model-based approach to achieving this. The proposed methodology consists of separating out fluctuations in species abundances into niche-mediated and stochastic factors, linking the niche configuration to community dynamics through competition, and adding demographic stochasticity. This results in a comprehensive framework including neutrality and strict niche segregation as extreme cases. We develop an index of departure from neutral drift as a surrogate for community position on the niche-neutral continuum. We evaluate the performance of our modeling approach with simulated data, and subsequently use the model to analyze rodent web-trapping data from a real-world system. The model fitting is carried out with a Bayesian approach using Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation methods. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Ploch S.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Thines M.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Thines M.,Goethe University Frankfurt
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2011

Mutualistic interactions of plants with true fungi are a well-known and widespread phenomenon, which includes mycorrhiza and non-mycorrhizal endophytes like species of Epichloë. Despite the fact that these organisms intrude into plants, neither strong defence reactions nor the onset of symptoms of disease can be observed in most or even all infested plants, in contrast to endophytic pathogens. Oomycetes are fungal-like organisms belonging to the kingdom Straminipila, which includes diatoms and seaweeds. Although having evolved many convergent traits with true fungi and occupying similar evolutionary niches, widespread oomycete endophytes are not known to date, although more than 500 endophytic pathogens, including species of the obligate biotrophic genus Albugo, have been described. Here, we report that oomycetes of the genus Albugo are widespread in siliques of natural host populations. A total of 759 plants, encompassing four genera with rare reports of white blister incidents and one with common incidents, were collected from 25 sites in Germany. Nested PCR with species-specific primers revealed that 5-27% of the hosts with rare disease incidence carried asymptomatic Albugo in their siliques, although only on a single plant of 583 individuals, an isolated pustule on a single leaf could be observed. Control experiments confirmed that these results were not because of attached spores, but because of endophytic mycelium. Vertical inheritance of oomycete infections has been reported for several plant pathogens, and it seems likely that in nature this way of transmission plays an important role in the persistence of asymptomatic endophytic Albugo species. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Thines Marco M.,The Sainsbury Laboratory | Thines Marco M.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Kamoun S.,The Sainsbury Laboratory
Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Year: 2010

Oomycetes are a diverse group of eukaryotic organisms that have colonised many ecological niches; yet more than 60% of the known species are parasitic on plants. Parasitism of plants has evolved several times independently in three different lineages of the Oomycota. Here, we provide an overview of the current knowledge of the diversity, evolution and lifestyles of plant parasitic oomycetes. We then report on recent advances in molecular studies on oomycete-plant interactions with a particular emphasis on work with oomycete effectors. In the future, genome sequencing of a broader spectrum of oomycete species will expand our knowledge of pathogenicity mechanisms and will likely reveal novel structural and functional classes of effectors. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Leinonen T.,University of Helsinki | McCairns R.J.S.,University of Helsinki | O'Hara R.B.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Merila J.,University of Helsinki
Nature Reviews Genetics | Year: 2013

Comparative studies of the divergence of quantitative traits and neutral molecular markers, known as Q ST -F ST comparisons, provide a means for researchers to distinguish between natural selection and genetic drift as causes of population differentiation in complex polygenic traits. The use of Q ST -F ST comparisons has increased rapidly in the last few years, highlighting the utility of this approach for addressing a wide range of questions that are relevant to evolutionary and ecological genetics. These studies have also provided lessons for the design of future Q ST -F ST comparisons. Methods based on the Q ST -F ST approach could also be used to analyse various types of 'omics' data in new and revealing ways. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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