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Richmond, United Kingdom

Spake R.,University of Southampton | van der Linde S.,Imperial College London | Newton A.C.,Bournemouth University | Suz L.M.,Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology | And 2 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2016

Setting aside overmature planted forests is currently seen as an option for preserving species associated with old-growth forests, such as those with dispersal limitation. Few data exist, however, on the utility of set-aside plantations for this purpose, or the value of this habitat type for biodiversity relative to old-growth semi-natural ecosystems. Here, we evaluate the contribution of forest type relative to habitat characteristics in determining species richness and composition in seven forest blocks, each containing an ancient old-growth stand (>. 1000. yrs) paired with a set-aside even-aged planted stand (ca. 180. yrs). We investigated the functionally important yet relatively neglected ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF), a group for which the importance of forest age has not been assessed in broadleaved forests. We found that forest type was not an important determinant of EMF species richness or composition, demonstrating that set-aside can be an effective option for conserving ancient EMF communities. Species richness of above-ground EMF fruiting bodies was principally related to the basal area of the stand (a correlate of canopy cover) and tree species diversity, whilst richness of below-ground ectomycorrhizae was driven only by tree diversity. Our results suggest that overmature planted forest stands, particularly those that are mixed-woods with high basal area, are an effective means to connect and expand ecological networks of ancient old-growth forests in historically deforested and fragmented landscapes for ectomycorrhizal fungi. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Bjora C.S.,University of Oslo | Wabuyele E.,University of Oslo | Wabuyele E.,Kenyatta University | Grace O.M.,Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Year: 2015

Background: The genus Aloe is renowned for its medicinal and cosmetic properties and long history of use. Sixty-three Aloe species occur in Kenya, of which around 50% are endemic. Several species of aloes are threatened with extinction and knowledge about their use is of major importance for sound conservation strategies. The main aims of this study were to assess the biocultural value of Aloe in Kenya by documenting local uses of aloes and evaluating how the vernacular names reflect the relative importance in different ethnic groups. Methods: Ethnobotanical and ethnotaxonomical data were collected using field observations and semi-structured interviews. Information was collected by interviewing 63 respondents from nine different ethnic groups, representing different ages, gender and occupations. Statistical analyses were performed using R version 3.1.2. Results: A total of 19 species of Aloe were found in the study area, of which 16 were used. On the generic level Aloe was easily distinguished. At species level, the local and scientific delimitation were almost identical for frequently used taxa. Aloe secundiflora, with 57 unique use records was the most important species. The two most frequently mentioned Aloe treatments, were malaria and poultry diseases. In our study area neither age nor gender had a significant influence on the level of knowledge of Aloe use. Finally, no correlation was found between extent of use and people's perception of decrease in local aloe populations. The aloes are highly appreciated and are therefore propagated and transported over large areas when people relocate. Conclusion: Biocultural value is reflected in the ethnotaxonomy of Aloe in Kenya. Different ethnic groups recognise their most-valued Aloe at the genus level as "the aloe" and add explanatory names for the other species, such as the "spotted aloe" and the "one-legged aloe". Widespread species of Aloe have the highest number of uses. There is no obvious correlation with high use and decrease in abundance of aloes locally, and we found no compelling evidence for local uses causing devastating damage to populations of the 19 species in use, whereas habitat loss and commercial harvesting appear to be of urgent concern for these important plants. © 2015 Bjorå et al. Source

Fernandez-Pascual E.,Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology | Fernandez-Pascual E.,University of Oviedo
Aquatic Botany | Year: 2016

Mires are continental wetlands of high scientific and conservation interest. Knowing the seed germination traits of mire species is essential for understanding their regeneration ecology and conducting active restoration policies. Here, a comparative study of seed germination traits was performed with 34 plant species from bog and fen communities, including many European indicators of these habitats. Freshly collected seeds were exposed to a laboratory germination experiment designed to characterize their response to (1) cold stratification and (2) simulated field temperatures. Germination strategy groups were interpreted according to these responses, and the relation between these groups and different mire types was discussed. Seeds of all tested species had physiological dormancy. Most of them showed conditional type 2 non-deep physiological dormancy: fresh seeds could germinate only at warm temperature, but attained the ability to germinate at colder temperature as they lost dormancy. Most mire species from bogs, poor fens and base-rich fens followed a warm germination strategy analogous to that of other wetland species. Species from this warm group responded to very warm temperatures which rarely occur in the field, and this was interpreted as a gap-detecting mechanism. In contrast, species from calcareous springs and flushes had a cold germination strategy, which would fit with the cold and stable soils where they occur. Finally, a group of species associated with the pioneer Rhynchosporion vegetation of bare peat areas had very low germination, suggesting an intermediate or deep seed dormancy and a long term seed bank. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. Source

Rudall P.J.,Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology | Alves M.,Federal University of Pernambuco | Sajo M.G.,Sao Paulo State University
PeerJ | Year: 2016

Background and Aims. A recently described Brazilian species, Lacandonia brasiliana, shares with its longer established putative sister species from Mexico, L. schismatica, inverted floral patterning (carpels surrounding stamens) that is almost unique among angiosperms. We present a detailed ontogenetic study of L. brasiliana for comparison with other members of the tribe Triurideae (Triuridaceae) to explore the possible evolutionary origins of "inside-out" flowers. Methods. Wild-source populations of L. brasiliana were compared morphologically and ontogenetically with related species of Triurideae, using light and scanning electron microscopy. Key Results. Relatively few morphological differences separate flowers of L. brasiliana and L. schismatica. Both species have tepals with late-developing subapical appendages. In both species, the three central (almost sessile) anthers develop precociously with respect to the carpels; the anthers remain closed, and fertilization is achieved via pollentube growth from germinating pollen grains of the same cleistogamous flower. Carpels are initiated on fascicles. Conclusions. The close similarity between the two Lacandonia species makes it unlikely that they arose independently from two separate homeotic transformation events; they could either represent sister species or two populations of a single disjunct species. Our study underlines the problematic generic and species boundaries within Triurideae. We present an evolutionary scenario of character evolution in Triuridaceae. The inside-out Lacandonia flower could have resulted from a stabilized homeotic transformation; this hypothesis is not in conflict with constrasting theories of the origin of the Triuridaceae flower, which coincided with a shift to unisexuality. The unisexual yet highly plastic flowers that are typical of Triuridaceae could have pre-adapted the origin of the extraordinary Lacandonia morphology. © Copyright 2016 Rudall et al. Source

Paulsen T.R.,University of Bergen | Colville L.,Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology | Daws M.I.,Alcoa | Eliassen S.,University of Bergen | And 4 more authors.
Seed Science Research | Year: 2015

In imbibing seeds, resumption of metabolism leads to the unavoidable release of volatile by-products that are perceived as cues by rodent seed predators. The crypsis hypothesis proposes that the primary function of a water-impermeable, hard seed coat is to reduce rodent seed predation by rendering seeds olfactorily cryptic. In an opinion paper, Jayasuriya et al. (2015) find the crypsis hypothesis unscientific and ‘not consistent with Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection’. It is unfortunate that Jayasuriya et al. (2015) did not appreciate that the crypsis hypothesis offers an alternative explanation for the evolution of water-impermeable seeds: released seed volatiles are cues used by rodents to locate seeds, and variation in seed-coat permeability leading to differences in seed volatile release represents the variable under selection. Furthermore, the sealing of water-impermeable seed coats imposes a cost of increased generation time and, therefore, dormancy-release mechanisms are expected to subsequently evolve in response to local environmental conditions. We also disagree with most other claims by Jayasuriya et al. (2015), who failed to appreciate how species with dimorphic seeds – one morph with permeable and the other with impermeable seed coats – benefit from rodent caching behaviour and population dynamics. We welcome this opportunity to clarify and elaborate on key features and the evolution of water-impermeable seed coats according to the crypsis hypothesis. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Source

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