European Academy Bozen Bolzano

Bolzano, Italy

European Academy Bozen Bolzano

Bolzano, Italy
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Tasser E.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Leitinger G.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Leitinger G.,University of Innsbruck | Tappeiner U.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Tappeiner U.,University of Innsbruck
Land Use Policy | Year: 2017

Land use and climate change are both strong drivers of landscape transformation. Using a representative valley of the Central Alps (Stubai Valley, Tyrol, Austria) we assess (1) the historical and likely future spatial patterns of land use/land cover (LULC), (2) the influence of temperature increase on the LULC distribution, and (3) the speed at which these changes will occur. Based on the historical landscape development and spatially explicit models, the effects of various land use and climate scenarios were modelled. Employing a pan-Alpine model, we were able to detect the temporal trajectory of spatial reforestation. The results show that land-use changes that already occurred during the last decades are responsible for the main future LULC changes (by secondary succession). Only an extreme land abandonment scenario and extreme climate scenarios (5 K temperature increase) would bring about similar changes in LULC distribution and expansion of the forested areas. While alpine grasslands, alpine pioneer formation and glaciers would shrink drastically, especially deciduous forests would spread. To a considerable degree, such changes might take place over the next 300 years. By contrast, the increase in forest areas triggered by temperature changes would be slower and longer termed (up to 700–800 years). The effects and intensity of land-use change in the investigated valley, that is comparable to many regions in the Alps, will be at least equally severe and responsible for transformation of the landscape as those of a projected temperature increase. © 2016

Niedertscheider M.,University of Vienna | Tasser E.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Patek M.,University of Vienna | Rudisser J.,University of Innsbruck | And 3 more authors.
Ecosystems | Year: 2017

The role of ecosystems as carbon (C) sinks or sources is intrinsically related to land-use intensity, which determines the land required for biomass production. Here, we systematically investigate the role of different land-use types including their land-use intensities on vegetation C-stocks (SCact) in the Stubai valley, located in the Austrian central Alps. After a period of high land-use impacts until 1954, indicated by massive C-depletion, land-use shifted to completely new courses. Polarization into high-intensity low-land areas and extensification at higher altitudes allowed for a tripling of SCact until 2003. The most important land-use change was the intensification of the livestock sector accompanied by abandonment of extensive grasslands and reduced harvest pressure on forests after WWII. Market integration, abundance of fossil energy carriers, as well as structural change of the economy were important underlying socio-economic drivers of these trends. However, despite this remarkable SCact increase, SCact amounted to only 62% of the potential carbon stocks (SCpot) in 2003. Although conversion of forests to agriculture clearly contributed the lion’s share to this SC-gap, forest management explains roughly one quarter of the SC-difference. We found that time-lags between land-use shifts and the establishment of a new C-climax had fundamental repercussions on recent C-dynamics in the study region. Apparently, the land system is still net-accumulating C, although land-use changes have peaked decades earlier. Our findings are crucial for the understanding of C-dynamics, including the role of land management and time-lags in mountainous regions, which are regarded key areas for terrestrial C-sequestration. © 2017 The Author(s)

Meier M.,University of Innsbruck | Stohr D.,Tyrolean Forest Service | Walde J.,University of Innsbruck | Tasser E.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2017

The often highly elevated stocks of ungulates (red and roe deer and chamois) in the Alps shape the composition of the woody vegetation. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of ungulates on the mixed deciduous and coniferous mountain forest in the district of Reutte, which boasts the highest density of ungulates in Tyrol (Austria), with a special focus on the effect of browsing by ungulates on plant diversity of the herb layer, different shrub layers. and the tree layer. Our results showed that within the fenced ungulate exclosures, (1) the composition of trees shifted towards fir (Abies alba) and various deciduous trees, whereas outside the fences, spruce became the dominant species; (2) the cover of dwarf shrubs and upper and lower shrub layers (1.3–5.0 and 0.5–1.3 m, respectively) increased significantly; (3) the cover of grasses decreased significantly and (4) the diversity decreased as an increase in the diversity of the tree and shrub layer was overcompensated by a significant decrease in the diversity of the undergrowth vegetation. Browsing by ungulates benefited grass species in the understory and altered the relative abundance of tree species in the lower layer which could, over time, result in compositional shifts in the canopy. © 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Pecher C.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Tasser E.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Tappeiner U.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Tappeiner U.,University of Innsbruck
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2011

Sustainability indicator systems often use administrative entities as a reference, which may cause overor underestimations of results within topographically different regions. Within the European Alps the highest impacts due to human activities are concentrated below the potential treeline, making these zones comparable to the potentially highly impacted surroundings of the European Alps. An application of the area below the potential treeline as a reference unit for sustainability indicators allows for a more equitable comparison of the European Alps and their surroundings. Therefore, we first developed a method for the identification of the potential treeline in the European Alps. In a second step we tested the zones below the potential treeline as a reference unit for landscape indicators. In order to obtain the position of the potential treeline, initially the highest forest areas within 7 transects throughout the Alps were identified using Corine land cover and a DEM. The correlation among the highest 10% of forest occurring within each transect was then represented by means of a polynomial regression. The resulting 7 polynomial functions were applied to the European Alps within 5 × 5km raster-cells, thus ascertaining the potential treeline. For testing the zones below the potential treeline as a reference unit for landscape indicators we selected a set of 9 landscape indicators, calculating them for 5936 Alpine municipalities. The potential treeline ascertained is able to represent the real potential treeline at a regional scale. The mean altitudes of the defined potential treeline are 2000m at the Alpine margin, and 2200-2350m in the central regions of the European Alps. While in the inner-Alpine regions the actual treeline is on average situated about 350-400m below the potential treeline, the difference is much smaller in the Alpine fringe. Identifying the difference between the potential and the actual treeline allows for the first time an assessment of the intensity of human impact in formerly forested mountain areas. The statistical analysis of the indicator results revealed strong differences among the results, with the difference increasing from the Alpine margin to inner-Alpine regions. We conclude that indicators referring to municipal areas below the potential treeline allow for a more equitable comparison of topographically different regions. Furthermore, such indicators provide detailed information of those zones within the European Alps that are subject to the highest impact due to human activities, which is of prime importance for local decision-making processes. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Pecher C.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Tasser E.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Walde J.,University of Innsbruck | Tappeiner U.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Tappeiner U.,University of Innsbruck
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2013

The European Alps and their surroundings is a heterogeneous region, where different spatial conditions require appropriate research approaches as well as political and planning strategies. Researchers and decision makers are dependent principally on information relating to environmental and spatial characteristics in their area of interest. Up until now and following the call of Agenda 21, a significant amount of information has already been compiled in a variety of sustainability-indicator systems that also contain information on spatial conditions. The aim of the presented study was to develop a regional typology of the European Alps and their surroundings, on the basis of spatial-pattern indicators. In a first step, a set of 25 spatial-pattern indicators on topography, landscape composition, landscape pattern, and road accessibility were calculated for the 17,504 municipalities in the Alpine-Space cooperation area. The indicator results were subjected to a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) using Varimax rotation with Kaiser normalization. The PCA resulted in five components that explain 71.0% of the total variance. A PCA validation using a sub-sampling approach revealed that the PCA was valid. The PCA results were subsequently employed in a hierarchical clustering-approach using the Ward algorithm with squared Euclidean distance. The number of clusters was chosen by means of the dendrogram, according to the elbow criteria, and by reasons of interpretability. The hierarchical clustering resulted in 6 clusters. Cluster 1 represents "Non-mountainous cultural landscapes", cluster 2 "Poorly structured agricultural landscapes", cluster 3 "Agricultural landscapes, interspersed with highly structured semi-natural and natural areas", cluster 4 "Remote, highly structured cultural landscapes with a high level of insolation", cluster 5 "Mountainous, forested areas", and cluster 6 "Mountainous, semi-natural and natural open areas". Although the presented typology and its underlying analyses have some limitations, they can be applied for various purposes. The spatial-pattern indicators provide individual information for more than 17,000 municipalities in the Alpine Space. Supra-regional relationships of spatial-pattern types are offered by the five extracted components and the six clusters. The results can support researchers and stakeholders from the local to international level. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Rudisser J.,University of Innsbruck | Tasser E.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Tappeiner U.,University of Innsbruck | Tappeiner U.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2012

The ongoing worldwide biodiversity crisis comes along with a growing demand for feasible environmental indicators to measure, evaluate and communicate anthropogenic influence on biodiversity. Those indicators can be useful tools for national and regional management and support decision making processes. We propose degree of naturalness (N d), distance to natural habitat (D n) and the composite index distance to nature (D 2N) as a highly comprehensible environmental indicator set that can be used as surrogate for land use related anthropogenic influence on biodiversity. A high resolution naturalness map for Austria based on the best nationwide available land use data was produced and used to test and demonstrate the applicability of the indicator set. Spatially inclusive and comprehensive indicator maps were calculated for the entire country (83,872 km 2). Exemplary indicator values for all 2359 municipalities and six altitudinal zones were calculated and evaluated. Indicator maps of Austria clearly delimitate regions with elevated anthropogenic pressure on biodiversity due to land use characteristics. A sensitivity analysis conducted to evaluate the effect of land use data with different spatial and thematic resolution on the indicators showed that D n reacts sensitive to spatially more detailed information about natural and near natural habitats. By contrast N d and D 2N were robust regarding the spatial and thematic resolution of input data. The proposed indicators do not measure biodiversity or a part of it directly, but the degree of habitat changes caused by anthropogenic land use, therefore they can be used for analysis over wide geographic ranges including different bio-geographic or climatic zones, and different spatial scales. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Neely G.G.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | Kuba K.,Akita University | Cammarato A.,Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research | Isobe K.,Akita University | And 35 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2010

Heart diseases are the most common causes of morbidity and death in humans. Using cardiac-specific RNAi-silencing in Drosophila, we knocked down 7061 evolutionarily conserved genes under conditions of stress. We present a first global roadmap of pathways potentially playing conserved roles in the cardiovascular system. One critical pathway identified was the CCR4-Not complex implicated in transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms. Silencing of CCR4-Not components in adult Drosophila resulted in myofibrillar disarray and dilated cardiomyopathy. Heterozygous not3 knockout mice showed spontaneous impairment of cardiac contractility and increased susceptibility to heart failure. These heart defects were reversed via inhibition of HDACs, suggesting a mechanistic link to epigenetic chromatin remodeling. In humans, we show that a common NOT3 SNP correlates with altered cardiac QT intervals, a known cause of potentially lethal ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Thus, our functional genome-wide screen in Drosophila can identify candidates that directly translate into conserved mammalian genes involved in heart function. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Ameur A.,Uppsala University | Enroth S.,Uppsala University | Johansson A.,Uppsala University | Zaboli G.,Uppsala University | And 20 more authors.
American Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2012

Omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) are essential for the development and function of the human brain. They can be obtained directly from food, e.g., fish, or synthesized from precursor molecules found in vegetable oils. To determine the importance of genetic variability to fatty-acid biosynthesis, we studied FADS1 and FADS2, which encode rate-limiting enzymes for fatty-acid conversion. We performed genome-wide genotyping (n = 5,652 individuals) and targeted resequencing (n = 960 individuals) of the FADS region in five European population cohorts. We also analyzed available genomic data from human populations, archaic hominins, and more distant primates. Our results show that present-day humans have two common FADS haplotypes - defined by 28 closely linked SNPs across 38.9 kb - that differ dramatically in their ability to generate LC-PUFAs. No independent effects on FADS activity were seen for rare SNPs detected by targeted resequencing. The more efficient, evolutionarily derived haplotype appeared after the lineage split leading to modern humans and Neanderthals and shows evidence of positive selection. This human-specific haplotype increases the efficiency of synthesizing essential long-chain fatty acids from precursors and thereby might have provided an advantage in environments with limited access to dietary LC-PUFAs. In the modern world, this haplotype has been associated with lifestyle-related diseases, such as coronary artery disease. © 2012 by The American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved.

Culy C.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Lyding V.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2011

Large text corpora are a main language resource for the human-driven analysis of linguistic phenomena. With the ever increasing amount of data, it is vital to find ways to help people understand the data, and visualization techniques provide one way to do that. Corpus Clouds is a program which provides visualizations of different types of frequency information dynamically derived from a corpus via a standard query system, integrated with a standard KWIC display. We apply established principles from information visualization to provide dynamic, interactive representations of the query results. The selected design principles and alternatives to the implementation will be discussed and a preview on what other types of information connected to corpora can be visualized in similar ways are provided. Corpus Clouds can thus be seen as answer to the call by Collins et al. [1] to design in a principled way new visualization tools for linguistic data. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Pichler I.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Pichler I.,University of Chicago | Fuchsberger C.,European Academy Bozen Bolzano | Fuchsberger C.,University of Chicago | And 9 more authors.
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2010

Although the North American Hutterites trace their origins to South Tyrol, no attempts have been made to examine the genetic migration history of the Hutterites before emigrating to the United States in the 1870s. To investigate this, we studied 9 microsatellite loci and 11 unique event polymorphism (UEP) markers on the Y-chromosome, the hypervariable region I (HVRI) of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), as well as the complete mtDNA genome of Hutterite and South Tyrolean samples. Only 6 out of 14 Y-chromosome UEPmicrosatellite haplotypes and 3 out of 11 mitochondrial haplotypes that were present in the Hutterites were also present in the South Tyrolean population. The phylogenetic relationships inferred from Y-chromosome and mtDNA databases show that the Hutterites have a unique genetic background related to a similar extent to central and eastern European populations. An admixture analysis indicates, however, a relatively high genetic contribution of central European populations to the Hutterite gene pool. These results are consistent with historical records on Hutterite migrations and demographic history. In addition, our data reveal similar numbers of Y and mitochondrial haplotypes in Hutterite male and female founders, respectively. The Hutterite male and female gene pools are similar with respect to genetic diversity and genetic distance measures and comparable with respect to their origins, suggesting a similar evolutionary history. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

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