Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research
Aberystwyth, United Kingdom

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural science is a department of Aberystwyth University, and is located in the town of Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales, on Cardigan Bay. It has a remit for teaching, research as well as business innovation in the area of land use and the rural economy. Taught undergraduate degree schemes offered by the Institute include those in Agriculture, Animal Science, Countryside Management and Species Conservation, Equine Science, as well as Tourism Management. The Institute has approximately 500 undergraduate students, approximately 40 postgraduate students, 28 full-time lecturers and a similar number of part-time associate-lecturers . The Institute has three research groups: Environmental Ecology, Animal Science and Rural Development. In addition, the Institute is also the home to the Organic Centre Wales, as well as the Farm Business Survey unit of the Welsh Assembly Government.IBERS has a complex history of mergers. The Institute of Rural science was created in 1995 from the merger of the Welsh Agricultural College with the University's Department of Agriculture. The current Institute has taken over the Welsh Agricultural College site and buildings, now called the Llanbadarn Campus of the University, Wikipedia.

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: INFRA-2007-2.1-01 | Award Amount: 1.17M | Year: 2008

This Design Study aims at implementing a new concept of integrated research infrastructures in Europe for research on agro-ecosystems and natural ecosystems and environment. This infrastructure consists in interfacing three types of platforms: (i)The in situ Long Term Experimental Plateforms which consists in developing experiments for the main type of land use systems (arable crops, grasslands, forest, marchlands, heathlands), where different types of land management are imposed for a long term and where the state variables of the system are monitored for long term in conjunction with the measurement of the environmental fluxes to atmosphere and hydrosphere. (ii)The in vitro ECOTRON equipments where blocks of ecosystems of different size could be introduced within controlled environment. Since feedbacks between the plants and the soil responses take time to establish, experiments often need to last a few years. An alternative use of Ecotrons is to analyse the physiology of blocks of ecosystems which have been subjected in situ for years to various treatments within LTEP platforms. In that case, Ecotrons can be seen as ecological analysers receiving samples for analysis. (iii) The in silico Data base and Modelling platform should complete the system by developing facilities for sharing data bases among European scientific community, and possibilities for coupling experimental with theoretical approaches. This Design Study aims at developing and sharing this ANAEE concept among European research partners in order to (i) specify the needs for such instrument for the scientific stakes on continental biosphere; (ii) convince national strategic research institutions to support such a concept; (iii) inventory the capacities of partners to develop such a network of equipments; and (iv) determine the condition for networking and sharing these infrastructures among different European countries.

Quinn P.F.,Newcastle University | Hewett C.J.M.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | Muste M.,University of Iowa | Popescu I.,UNESCOIHE
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Water Management | Year: 2010

This paper discusses the instigation of a programme intended to create a water-focused upper Mississippi river basin observatory. The observatory would consist of a number of interdisciplinary, multi-institutional teams synergistically collaborating on a series of research sites at different locations within the basin. There is no existing recipe for establishing an observatory, but there is a vast amount of experience and knowledge that can be shared to help establish one. The concept of an observatory process is introduced to encapsulate the long-term, interactive and dynamic nature of what is proposed. Building an observatory should be a collaborative, inclusive and equitable process and could be used to establish a practical problem-solving agenda linking the abundance of research carried out in the upper Mississippi river basin to the needs of mission agencies and stakeholders within the basin. In order to begin the process, a workshop brought together an international team of research scientists and practitioners to discuss how the process could become a reality. Surveys were used to assess the understanding, perceived challenges and aspirations of the participants before and after the workshop, the results of which are presented as a key element of the action research. A draft Amana protocol, based on the outcomes of the workshop discussions, is presented as a possible means of moving the observatory process forward.

Chilibroste P.,Grass Production and Utilisation on Grazing Systems Group | Gibb M.J.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | Soca P.,Grass Production and Utilisation on Grazing Systems Group | Mattiauda D.A.,Grass Production and Utilisation on Grazing Systems Group
Animal Production Science | Year: 2015

Research conducted over recent decades to improve understanding of the functional responses among sward characteristics, intake rate and grazing behaviour has been reviewed. The opportunities to modify grazing pattern by changes in feeding management are discussed and the implications for dairy-farm feeding strategies are highlighted. Progress in the understanding of the functional responses between sward characteristics and intake rate and their main components (bite mass, bite area, bite depth and bite rates) has been substantial. However, progress in understanding the factors that mediate the initiation and the end of individual meals has been poorer and requires further study. Much of the research has been conducted using short-term experiments with a limited number of experimental animals and mostly conducted on mono-specific uniform swards. The physiological state of the animal as well as the maintenance energy associated with grazing strategies have received very little, if any, attention. More integrated (sward, animal, management) and long-term basic research is required to improve feeding practices at the farm level and the design of farms for the new generation of grassland-based dairy-production systems. © CSIRO 2015.

Del Prado A.,Rothamsted Research | Misselbrook T.,Rothamsted Research | Chadwick D.,Rothamsted Research | Hopkins A.,Rothamsted Research | And 6 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2011

Multiple demands are placed on farming systems today. Society, national legislation and market forces seek what could be seen as conflicting outcomes from our agricultural systems, e.g. food quality, affordable prices, a healthy environmental, consideration of animal welfare, biodiversity etc., Many of these demands, or desirable outcomes, are interrelated, so reaching one goal may often compromise another and, importantly, pose a risk to the economic viability of the farm.SIMS DAIRY, a farm-scale model, was used to explore this complexity for dairy farm systems. SIMS DAIRY integrates existing approaches to simulate the effect of interactions between farm management, climate and soil characteristics on losses of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. The effects on farm profitability and attributes of biodiversity, milk quality, soil quality and animal welfare are also included. SIMS DAIRY can also be used to optimise fertiliser N.In this paper we discuss some limitations and strengths of using SIMS DAIRY compared to other modelling approaches and propose some potential improvements. Using the model we evaluated the sustainability of organic dairy systems compared with conventional dairy farms under non-optimised and optimised fertiliser N use. Model outputs showed for example, that organic dairy systems based on grass-clover swards and maize silage resulted in much smaller total GHG emissions per l of milk and slightly smaller losses of NO 3 leaching and NO x emissions per l of milk compared with the grassland/maize-based conventional systems. These differences were essentially because the conventional systems rely on indirect energy use for 'fixing' N compared with biological N fixation for the organic systems. SIMS DAIRY runs also showed some other potential benefits from the organic systems compared with conventional systems in terms of financial performance and soil quality and biodiversity scores. Optimisation of fertiliser N timings and rates showed a considerable scope to reduce the (GHG emissions per l milk too). © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Short S.,University of Portsmouth | Guler Y.,University of Portsmouth | Yang G.,University of Portsmouth | Yang G.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | And 2 more authors.
International Journal for Parasitology | Year: 2012

The current consensus is that Microsporidia belong to a select group of parasites capable of causing both intersexuality and complete sex reversal in their hosts. Indeed, species such as Nosema granulosis and Dictyocoela duebenum, which infect amphipod crustaceans, are regularly referred to as 'feminising microsporidians'. This categorisation is based on a combination of findings: that these species are vertically transmitted and occur at a high prevalence of infection in intersex and female amphipods, that infected amphipod populations are female-biased, and that infected females have significantly female-biased broods with no concurrent increase in mortality. In this study, we report on a population of the amphipod Echinogammarus marinus presenting both female bias and high levels of intersexuality, which are infected with D. deubenum. In keeping with its feminising classification, infection is prevalent in animals presenting female and intersex phenotypes. However, a further screen revealed the presence of a previously unknown paramyxean parasite related to organisms of the genus Marteilia, a group known to cause catastrophic sexual dysfunction in bivalves. We found that the paramyxean parasite was also vertically transmitted, with infections being more prevalent in females and intersex animals. Critically, every animal infected with D. deubenum was also co-infected with the paramyxean, with few animals presenting an independent paramyxean infection. In contrast, co-infection of E. marinus with a paramyxean and the non-feminising microsporidian Dictyocoela berillonum rarely occurred. These observations raise a new hypothesis, namely, that D. duebenum and other feminising microsporidians are not actually capable of host feminisation but instead 'hitch-hike' together with a feminising paramyxean parasite. © 2012 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.

Yang G.,University of Portsmouth | Yang G.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | Short S.,University of Portsmouth | Kille P.,University of Cardiff | Ford A.T.,University of Portsmouth
Marine Biology | Year: 2011

A notable body of research has established a clear link between intersexuality and the feminising influence of microsporidia infection in amphipods. In this study, we investigated the relationship between microsporidia infection and intersexuality in the amphipod Echinogammarus marinus (Leach) from Portsmouth, southern England. The analysis revealed a male-biased population (~2:1) harbouring both Dictyocoela berillonum and Dictyocoela duebenum microsporidia, with ~38 and 6% of animals displaying 'high' levels of infection, respectively. We also reveal the presence of several intersex phenotypes: intersex females (1%) that possess genital papillae. Two male intersex phenotypes-internal intersex (8.2%), possessing an oviduct structure on their testes, and external intersex males (4.4%), which possess external brood plates. We found a statistically significant relationship between D. berillonum infection and the external intersex male phenotype; however, the male-biased population and low levels of female infection suggest that the correlation may not be the result of incomplete feminisation. In addition, we found that the internal and external intersex characteristics are rarely seen on the same specimen, suggesting that the male intersex phenotypes are caused by distinct mechanisms. In combination, these findings are suggestive of a more complex relationship between amphipod intersexuality and their microsporidia than had previously been recognised. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Shang Z.H.,Lanzhou University | Shang Z.H.,CAS Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research | Gibb M.J.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | Long R.J.,Lanzhou University
Rangeland Journal | Year: 2012

Severe snowfall events, termed snow disasters, lead to losses of livestock, preventing sustainable development of livestock systems, in the rangelands of northern China. In order to reduce losses under snow disasters, a review of the factors contributing to these losses was used to indicate the most appropriate strategy. It is proposed that governments and herders should implement a holistic strategy using a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure sustainable development in these rangelands. The possibility of seeing snow disasters as a natural restraint on livestock numbers and allowing losses to take place during these events is not considered as acceptable as part of a holistic strategy. The aim of the strategy is to improve animal nutrition, health and disease control rather than simply mounting rescue missions to save threatened livestock. It is suggested that central and local governments should encourage permanent solutions through a combination of education, the provision of materials for animal housing and the creation of reserve banks sufficient to ensure adequate feeding and survival of livestock through the winter, whether threatened by snow disasters or not. The economic return from the marketing of animal products should be enhanced through a combination of government and herder initiatives to promote a higher turnover rate of livestock and to encourage the sale of high-quality products. Regeneration of degraded grassland by herders should be encouraged by enhancing vegetation cover and forage plant height, thereby reducing the effect of snow cover on forage accessibility. Since current stocking rates on many rangelands are too high, their reduction should be an absolute priority in order to prevent irreversible degradation of rangelands. Only by improving herders' confidence in their economic survival, through the adoption of such changes, will they be persuaded to reduce grazing livestock numbers, thereby helping to ensure, not only the short-term survival of livestock through snow disasters, but the long-term survival of their rangeland pastures upon which their livelihood depends. © Australian Rangeland Society 2012.

Buanafina M.M.O.,Pennsylvania State University | Buanafina M.M.O.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | Langdon T.,Aberystwyth University | Langdon T.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | And 3 more authors.
Planta | Year: 2012

An endo-xylanase from Trichoderma reesei (xyn2) has been expressed in tall fescue targeted to the vacuole, apoplast or Golgi, constitutively under the control of the rice actin promoter, and to the apoplast under the control of a senescence enhanced gene promoter. Constitutive xylanase expression in the vacuole, apoplast, and golgi, resulted in only a small number of plants with low enzyme activities and in reduced plant growth in apoplast, and golgi targeted plants. Constitutive expression in the apoplast also resulted in increased levels of cell wall bound hydroxycinnamic acid monomers and dimers, but no significant effect on cell wall xylose or arabinose content. In situ constitutive xylanase expression in the Golgi also resulted in increased ferulate dimers. However, senescence induced xylanase expression in the apoplast was considerably higher and did not affect plant growth or the level of monomeric hydroxycinnamic acids or lignin in the cell walls. These plants also showed increased levels of ferulate dimers, and decreased levels of xylose with increased levels of arabinose in their cell walls. While the release of cell wall hydroxycinnamic acids on self digestion was enhanced in these plants in the presence of exogenously applied ferulic acid esterase, changes in cell wall composition resulted in decreases in both tissue digestibility and cellulase mediated sugar release. In situ detection of H2O2 production mediated by ethylene release in leaves of plants expressing apoplast xylanase could be leading to increased dimerisation. High-level xylanase expression in the apoplast also resulted in necrotic lesions on the leaves. Together these results indicate that xylanase expression in tall fescue may be triggering plant defence responses analogous to foliar pathogen attack mediated by ethylene and H2O2. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

De Moraes M.G.,Federal University of Goais | De Carvalho M.A.M.,Institute Botanica | Franco A.C.,University of Brasilia | Pollock C.J.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | Figueiredo-Ribeiro R.D.C.L.,Institute Botanica
BioScience | Year: 2016

The Cerrado biome covers a large area of central Brazil, containing a mosaic of physiognomies determined by soil fertility, seasonal rainfall, and fire. The ground layer vegetation presents a high eudicot diversity and a high proportion of belowground phytomass, represented mainly by a diversity of underground organs storing carbohydrates. Fructans and other soluble carbohydrates are claimed to be more than reserves, conferring protection against abiotic stresses due to osmoregulation properties and rapid turnover. Inulin- and levan-type fructans are prominent and found respectively in the underground organs of Asteraceae and Amaranthaceae, abundant families in the herbaceous Cerrado flora. Poaceae, mainly Panicoideae, is also abundant and accumulates glucose, sucrose, and malto-oligosaccharides, but not fructans, in contrast with temperate grasses. Here, we review evidence that fructans in the herbaceous flora of the Cerrado play a significant role in tolerance to drought and fire, promoting the rapid recovery of the ground-layer vegetation after environmental disturbances. © 2016 The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.

Mattiauda D.A.,Agronomy Faculty | Tamminga S.,Wageningen University | Gibb M.J.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | Soca P.,Agronomy Faculty | And 2 more authors.
Livestock Science | Year: 2013

The objective of this study was to assess the effects of restricting access time to pasture and time of grazing allocation on grazing behaviour, daily dry matter intake (DMI), rumen fermentation, milk production and composition in dairy cows. Twenty-one autumn-calving Holstein cows were assigned to one of the following 3 treatments: providing access to a daily strip of pasture for either 8. h between 07:00 and 15:00. h (T7-15), 4. h between 07:00 and 11:00. h (T7-11), or 4. h between 11:00 and 15:00. h (T11-15). The experimental period consisted of 3 weeks of adaptation and 6 weeks of measurements. Cows were offered a daily herbage allowance of 18. kg DM/cow to ground level, 6.1. kg DM/day of a ground sorghum grain-based supplement and 5.2. kg DM/day of maize silage. Milk yield was greater for cows with 8. h access time to the pasture (25.4 vs. 24.1 for 8 and 4. h access time, respectively). Milk yield was not different between cows that access early (T7-11) or late (T11-15) to the grazing session. Milk protein yield was greater for cows with 8. h access time (0.75. kg/d) vs. 4. h access time treatments (0.72. kg/d). Cows with late access time to grazing in the morning produce more protein (0.74. kg/d) than cows with early access to the pasture (0.70. kg/d). Duration of access had a significant effect on herbage DMI (8.3 vs. 6.6. kg/d, for 8 and 4. h access, respectively), but there was no significant effect of time of grazing allocation. Intakes of concentrate and maize silage DM did not differ between treatments.Pasture depletion rate was significantly slower when cows had access to the pasture for 8. h compared with 4. h (0.04 vs. 0.09. cm/h), but was not affected by allocation time in the 4-h treatments.Cows grazed for significantly longer in treatment T7-11 than T11-15, achieved significantly more biting and non-biting grazing jaw movements. However, because herbage DMI did not differ between treatments T7-11 and T11-15, it appears that cows grazed more efficiency on treatment T11-15.The present study showed that reducing the period of access to pasture from 8 to 4. h decreases DMI and milk production. Cows that started their 4-h grazing session later in the morning (T11-15) produced more protein than cows that started earlier (T7-11), probably as a consequence of a larger bite mass and a tendency for higher intake rate. Rumen pH of cows grazing on treatment T11-15 declined faster than in cows on T7-11, which is in accordance with the higher VFA and ammonia rumen concentrations observed after the grazing session started. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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