Trento, Italy
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Mondoni A.,Museo Delle Science | Rossi G.,University of Pavia | Orsenigo S.,University of Pavia | Probert R.J.,Royal Botanic Gardens
Annals of Botany | Year: 2012

Background and AimsDespite the considerable number of studies on the impacts of climate change on alpine plants, there have been few attempts to investigate its effect on regeneration. Recruitment from seeds is a key event in the life-history of plants, affecting their spread and evolution and seasonal changes in climate will inevitably affect recruitment success. Here, an investigation was made of how climate change will affect the timing and the level of germination in eight alpine species of the glacier foreland. MethodsUsing a novel approach which considered the altitudinal variation of temperature as a surrogate for future climate scenarios, seeds were exposed to 12 different cycles of simulated seasonal temperatures in the laboratory, derived from measurements at the soil surface at the study site.Key ResultsUnder present climatic conditions, germination occurred in spring, in all but one species, after seeds had experienced autumn and winter seasons. However, autumn warming resulted in a significant increase in germination in all but two species. In contrast, seed germination was less sensitive to changes in spring and/or winter temperatures, which affected only three species.ConclusionsClimate warming will lead to a shift from spring to autumn emergence but the extent of this change across species will be driven by seed dormancy status. Ungerminated seeds at the end of autumn will be exposed to shorter winter seasons and lower spring temperatures in a future, warmer climate, but these changes will only have a minor impact on germination. The extent to which climate change will be detrimental to regeneration from seed is less likely to be due to a significant negative effect on germination per se, but rather to seedling emergence in seasons that the species are not adapted to experience. Emergence in autumn could have major implications for species currently adapted to emerge in spring. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved.


Spitale D.,Museo Delle Science
Ecoscience | Year: 2012

Even though there is no reason to believe in a unique mechanism that would explain rarity, recognizing common patterns might aid in identifying effective conservation strategies. This study therefore approached the problem of rarity in spring habitats both at the level of multiple taxonomic groups (molluscs, oligochaeta, water mites, copepods, ostracods, chironomids, stoneflies, caddisflies, diatoms, and vascular plants) and, in more detail, at the level of a single group (bryophytes). The aim was to evaluate whether the proportion of rare species was associated with uncommon environmental conditions, while for the bryophytes an additional aim was to test whether common and rare species differed concerning their niche parameters (niche breadth and niche position), their biological traits (involved in dispersal processes), and their habitat preferences. Overall, 4 major results may be highlighted. 1) The significant concordance between the rarity of virtually all the taxonomic groups inhabiting spring habitats and their environmental conditions suggested that most of the rare species at community level might be explained by their uncommon resource requirements. 2) Rare bryophyte species not only had high niche positions, as did all the taxonomic groups, but also had narrow niche breadths. This result suggests an interesting distinction between resource use and resource availability. 3) Because the species traits linked to dispersal ability did not differ between common and rare species, the hypothesis of an important role being played by these traits in determining species distribution was not supported. 4) Among the rare bryophyte species, an undefined number were casual. Because they were less hygrophilous and less influenced by the environment, this result suggests that they might recruit essentially by chance from the surrounding habitats.


Maeseele P.,University of Antwerp | Allgaier J.,Jülich Research Center | Martinelli L.,Museo delle Science
Croatian Medical Journal | Year: 2013

The representation of biological innovations in and through communication and media practices is vital for understanding the nature of "bio-objects" and the process we call "bio-objectification." This paper discusses two ideal-typical analytical approaches based on different underlying communication models, ie, the traditional (science- and media-centered) and media sociological (a multi-layered process involving various social actors in defining the meanings of scientific and technological developments) approach. In this analysis, the latter is not only found to be the most promising approach for understanding the circulation, (re)production, and (re)configuration of meanings of bio-objects, but also to interpret the relationship between media and science. On the basis of a few selected examples, this paper highlights how media function as a primary arena for the (re)production and (re)configuration of scientific and biomedical information with regards to bio-objects in the public sphere in general, and toward decision-makers, interest groups, and the public in specific.


Martinelli L.,Museo delle Science | Karbarz M.,University of Rzeszow | Siipi H.,University of Turku
Croatian Medical Journal | Year: 2013

Genetically modified (GM) food is discussed as an example of the controversial relation between the intrinsic uncertainty of the scientific approach and the demand of citizen-consumers to use products of science innovation that are known to be safe. On the whole, peer-reviewed studies on GM food safety do not note significant health risks, with a few exceptions, like the most renowned "Pusztai affair" and the recent "Seralini case." These latter studies have been disregarded by the scientific community, based on incorrect experimental designs and statistic analysis. Such contradictory results show the complexity of risk evaluation, and raise concerns in the citizen-consumers against the GM food. A thoughtful consideration by scientific community and decision makers of the moral values that are present in risk evaluation and risk management should be the most trustable answer to citizen-consumers to their claim for clear and definitive answers concerning safety/un-safety of GM food.


Brambilla M.,Museo Delle Science | Bionda R.,Parco Naturale Alpe Veglia e Devero Alta Valle Antrona
Ornis Fennica | Year: 2013

Source-sink dynamics refer to systems with some units as sources of juveniles, and others as sinks. The same pattern can theoretically occur at a small spatial scale, within single populations. Under these circumstances, varying quality of breeding habitats/territories determines different levels of survival and/or reproduction, which in turn result in varying contributions of territories to the population dynamics. Territory occupancy has been proposed as an indirect measure of habitat quality. Here, we used territory occupancy and productivity from a long-termmonitoring of an Eagle Owl Bubo bubo population in NW Italy to (i) show how different contributions to population dynamicsmay characterize territories over limited geographical scale in a strongly territorial species, and (ii) investigate the potential use of territory occupancy as a proxy for habitat quality in this species. Three out of 10 territories appeared to producemost fledglings (potential sources), whereas the others were characterized by extremely low productivity (possible sinks). The overall productivity is likely to nearly balancemortality, but the general equilibriummasks complex variation in the contributions of territories to the population dynamic. Territory occupancywas affected by average productivity, and thus long-term occupancy could be used as a proxy for habitat quality. In long-lived and scarce territorial species, such as the Eagle Owl, preservation of suitable conditions at key territories can be crucial for the population survival.


Horsak M.,Masaryk University | Hajek M.,Masaryk University | Spitale D.,Museo delle Science | Hajkova P.,Masaryk University | And 4 more authors.
Ecology | Year: 2012

While the effects of contemporaneous local environment on species richness have been repeatedly documented, much less is known about historical effects, especially over large temporal scales. Using fen sites in the Western Carpathian Mountains with known radiocarbon-dated ages spanning Late Glacial to modern times (16 975-270 cal years before 2008), we have compiled richness data from the same plots for three groups of taxa with contrasting dispersal modes: (1) vascular plants, which have macroscopic propagules possessing variable, but rather low, dispersal abilities; (2) bryophytes, which have microscopic propagules that are readily transported long distances by air; and (3) terrestrial and freshwater mollusks, which have macroscopic individuals with slow active migration rates, but which also often possess high passive dispersal abilities. Using path analysis we tested the relationships between species richness and habitat age, area, isolation, and altitude for these groups. When only matrix-derived taxa were considered, no significant positive relation was noted between species richness and habitat size or age. When only calcareous-fen specialists were considered, however, habitat age was found to significantly affect vascular plant richness and, marginally, also bryophyte richness, whereas mollusk richness was significantly affected by habitat area. These results suggest that in inland insular systems only habitat specialist (i.e., interpatch disperser and/or relict species) richness is influenced by habitat age and/or area, with habitat age becoming more important as species dispersal ability decreases. © 2012 by the Ecological Society of America.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.37M | Year: 2014

NASSTEC will train 11 Early Stage Researchers and 1 Experienced Researcher in native seed science, conservation and use, so that environmental mitigation and adaptation projects can have increased impact. Without immediate enhancement of capacity and capability in this specific area of biodiversity science, the native seed industry in Europe will fail to develop towards the multi-million dollar markets of the US and Australia. NASSTEC plans to interconnect the public and private sector through the establishment of a multidisciplinary European doctoral school with the aim of integrating knowledge in plant ecology, genetics, molecular biology, taxonomy, ecology, conservation, seed biology, environmental science, agricultural botany, crop science, breeding and horticulture. This knowledge will be transferred to industry, thereby contributing to the EU bio-economy. NASSTEC includes 7 full (FP) and 7 associated partners (AP) from 4 EU Member States. It interconnects 4 different sectors: private companies (3 FP and 2 AP), NGOs (2 AP), public land governance bodies and academic institutions (4 FP and 3 AP). The scientific and training programmes embrace 12 research topics, clustered under three sub programmes: A) In situ seed sampling; B) Seed biology characterisation; and C) Production and deployment of seed. Critically, the findings from the three sub-programmes will be interconnected, integrated and communicated rapidly and effectively to the ESRs/ER and all external stakeholders through a global e-Learning Environment (ELE). This ELE will be pivotal in delivering a balanced scheme of exchange visits and secondments, a rich programme of network events, news of network achievements and research information; including the findings of the final NASSTEC conference. NASSTEC will increase the competitiveness of ESRs/ER substantially and ensure that human capital is directed towards the development of a sustainable and dynamic European native seed industry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: SiS-2008-3.0.3.1 | Award Amount: 776.00K | Year: 2009

The M.I.C. (My Ideal City) project aims to encourage a European dimension in the communication of science and technology through museums events targeting the public. More specifically, it will support the networking around the development of a coordinated exhibition in different museums, in Member and Associate Countries, that is going to use a virtual worlds dimension in order to connect urban planning choices and the awareness of citizens about them, and an International Conference that will bring together academics and science centers to discuss the relationships between urban planning, cyberspace, and science events. The exhibition is going to provide visitors with a virtual worlds environment that will re-produce in alternative and different ways their own city as well as the other ones involved in the project. The new cities, the ideal ones, will make possible for citizens to re-think their urban environments and the choices done in order to make it as it appear in the virtual environment. The project will not only provide citizens with an exhibition able to raise socio cultural awareness in relation to the urban choices, but also involve them in the planning of the ideal cities, giving another contribution to the spread of an open an transparent process of communication between science (sustainable urban planning), technology (the virtual environment), institutions (science centers) and people. After the exhibition evaluation, the organization of an International Conference will take place, in order to make the awareness about the potential of the mixture developed in the exhibition spread around Europe.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-NIGHT | Award Amount: 122.69K | Year: 2013

Science is a global endeavour with a very local impact on our lives. For this reason we call the project Km0 Research (in Italian, Km0 is the term used for local short supply chain products) and will show how: researchers are normal people among us (the Km0 Researcher; Km0 is also how far a researcher is from you); the outputs and results of the research are among us (the Km0 Lab); the inputs of science and research come from us and from our needs (the Km0 Science). The RSN is organized along the lines mentioned above. The awareness campaign will focus on a strong humanization of researchers and various activities will allow to know researchers in their daily lives. It will show how the results of research permeate our livesfrom food to waste, from work to recreational and outdoors activities. Finally the RSN will suggest how the inputs and ideas of research come from us: citizens will be able to set the agenda of the Night and take part in labs. The more strategic goals include promoting the profession of researchers (researchers are normal people), promoting the impact of research (the outputs of science), and highlight that the ultimate beneficiaries of science are people (Km0 science). The event will take place in the brand new Science Museum in Trento. The location, designed by Renzo Piano is a 19,000 square meters area located in Trentos city centre and it is the ideal setting for the RSN, in terms of space, facilities, installations, and overall experience. Laboratories, interactive exhibitions, and areas specifically dedicated to children will complement the scientific offering of the Night. Trento has organized the RSN for four years, with a very good response. The RSN has become an integral part of the long-term communication strategy to help promoting the work of researchers in Trentino. Impact assessments conducted in the past demonstrated the positive effect of the RSN on peoples evaluation of research activities and researchers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS-2010-2.2.1.1 | Award Amount: 2.62M | Year: 2010

The science education community agrees that pedagogical practices based on IBSE methods are more effective. But the reality on the ground is different. For various reasons, this type of teaching is not practiced in most European classrooms. INSPIRE counteract this by developing and offering a one-year practically based IBSE teacher training course that will reach out to hundreds of teachers, and in turn thousands of children, in 11 European countries. The course is run through 14 Botanic Gardens and Natural History Museums - some of Europes most inspirational cultural and learning institutions. These places act as catalysts, training and supporting teachers and educators to develop their proficiency in IBSE and become reflective practitioners. Most of the partner institutions have experience in delivering IBSE. To ensure excellence, theoretical rigour and project progression, two highly regarded science education research institutions participate: Kings College UK (informal learning; practitioners research) and University of Bremen BRD (research into teacher education). The training locations, the practical nature of the course, the support offered and the subject content encourages teachers and educators to enrol in INSPIRE courses and try out IBSE in their everyday teaching. Biodiversity loss and climate change are the major global issues of the 21st century and many teachers are looking for innovative ways to tackle these subjects. INSPIRE training supports teachers to do just that and introduce them to institutions where children can carry out real investigations and see science in action. INSPIRE training courses are promoted through national systems that support professional development for teachers as well as informal education training networks. The website encourages the uptake of IBSE. It promotes dialogue between partners and teachers, showcase best practice published on other EU websites and highlight the results of practitioner research in IBSE.

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