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- ItemInsectivorous birds reduce herbivory but do not increasemangrove growth across productivity zones(Wiley, 2022-05-24) Forde, Alexander J.; Feller, Ilka C.; Parker, John D.; Gruner, Daniel S.Top-down effects of predators and bottom-up effects of resources are important drivers of community structure and function in a wide array of ecosystems. Fertilization experiments impose variation in resource availability that can mediate the strength of predator impacts, but the prevalence of such interactions across natural productivity gradients is less clear. We studied the joint impacts of top-down and bottom-up factors in a tropical mangrove forest system, leveraging fine-grained patchiness in resource availability and primary productivity on coastal cays of Belize. We excluded birds from canopies of red mangrove (Rhizophoraceae: Rhizophora mangle) for 13 months in zones of phosphorus-limited, stunted dwarf mangroves, and in adjacent zones of vigorous mangroves that receive detrital subsidies. Birds decreased total arthropod densities by 62%, herbivore densities more than fivefold, and reduced rates of leaf and bud herbivory by 45% and 52%, respectively. Despite similar arthropod densities across both zones of productivity, leaf and bud damage were 2.0 and 4.3 times greater in productive stands. Detrital subsidies strongly impacted a suite of plant traits in productive stands, potentially making leaves more nutritious and vulnerable to damage. Despite consistently strong impacts on herbivory, we did not detect top-down forcing that impacted mangrove growth, which was similar with and without birds. Our results indicated that both top-down and bottom-up forces drive arthropod community dynamics, but attenuation at the plant-herbivore interface weakens top-down control by avian insectivores.
- ItemSetting a reference for wetland carbon: the importance of accounting for hydrology, topography, and natural variability(Institute of Physics, 2023-05-19) Stewart, Graham A.; Kottkamp, Anna I.; Williams, Michael R.; Palmer, Margaret A.Wetland soils are a key global sink for organic carbon (C) and a focal point for C management and accounting efforts. The ongoing push for wetland restoration presents an opportunity for climate mitigation, but C storage expectations are poorly defined due to a lack of reference information and an incomplete understanding of what drives natural variability among wetlands. We sought to address these shortcomings by (1) quantifying the range of variability in wetland soil organic C (SOC) stocks on a depressional landscape (Delmarva Peninsula, USA) and (2) investigating the role of hydrology and relative topography in explaining variability among wetlands. We found a high degree of variability within individual wetlands and among wetlands with similar vegetation and hydrogeomorphic characteristics. This suggests that uncertainty should be presented explicitly when inferring ecosystem processes from wetland types or land cover classes. Differences in hydrologic regimes, particularly the rate of water level recession, explained some of the variability among wetlands, but relationships between SOC stocks and some hydrologic metrics were eclipsed by factors associated with separate study sites. Relative topography accounted for a similar portion of SOC stock variability as hydrology, indicating that it could be an effective substitute in large-scale analyses. As wetlands worldwide are restored and focus increases on quantifying C benefits, the importance of appropriately defining and assessing reference systems is paramount. Our results highlight the current uncertainty in this process, but suggest that incorporating landscape heterogeneity and drivers of natural variability into reference information may improve how wetland restoration is implemented and evaluated.
- ItemHuman biting mosquitoes and implications for West Nile virus transmission(Springer Nature, 2023-01-02) Uelmen, Johnny A. Jr.; Lamcyzk, Bennett; Irwin, Patrick; Bartlett, Dan; Stone, Chris; Mackay, Andrew; Arsenault-Benoit, Arielle; Ryan, Sadie J.; Mutebi, John-Paul; Hamer, Gabriel L.; Fritz, Megan; Smith, Rebecca L.West Nile virus (WNV), primarily vectored by mosquitoes of the genus Culex, is the most important mosquito-borne pathogen in North America, having infected thousands of humans and countless wildlife since its arrival in the USA in 1999. In locations with dedicated mosquito control programs, surveillance methods often rely on frequent testing of mosquitoes collected in a network of gravid traps (GTs) and CO2-baited light traps (LTs). Traps specifically targeting oviposition-seeking (e.g. GTs) and host-seeking (e.g. LTs) mosquitoes are vulnerable to trap bias, and captured specimens are often damaged, making morphological identification difficult. This study leverages an alternative mosquito collection method, the human landing catch (HLC), as a means to compare sampling of potential WNV vectors to traditional trapping methods. Human collectors exposed one limb for 15 min at crepuscular periods (5:00–8:30 am and 6:00–9:30 pm daily, the time when Culex species are most actively host-seeking) at each of 55 study sites in suburban Chicago, Illinois, for two summers (2018 and 2019). A total of 223 human-seeking mosquitoes were caught by HLC, of which 46 (20.6%) were mosquitoes of genus Culex. Of these 46 collected Culex specimens, 34 (73.9%) were Cx. salinarius, a potential WNV vector species not thought to be highly abundant in upper Midwest USA. Per trapping effort, GTs and LTs collected > 7.5-fold the number of individual Culex specimens than HLC efforts. The less commonly used HLC method provides important insight into the complement of human-biting mosquitoes in a region with consistent WNV epidemics. This study underscores the value of the HLC collection method as a complementary tool for surveillance to aid in WNV vector species characterization. However, given the added risk to the collector, novel mitigation methods or alternative approaches must be explored to incorporate HLC collections safely and strategically into control programs.
- ItemNo association between habitat, autogeny and genetics in Moroccan Culex pipiens populations(Springer Nature, 2022-11-03) Arich, Soukaina; Haba, Yuki; Assaid, Najlaa; Fritz, Megan L.; McBride, Carolyn S.; Weill, Mylène; Taki, Hassan; Sarih, M’hammed; Labbé, PierrickMosquitoes of the Culex pipiens complex are found across the globe and are the focus of many research studies. Among the temperate species C. pipiens sensu stricto (s.s.), two forms are usually described: molestus and pipiens. These two forms are indistinguishable in terms of morphology but show behavioral and physiological differences that may have consequences for their associated epidemiology. The two forms are well defined in the northern part of the species distribution, where autogeny is strictly associated with the molestus form. However, whether the two remain distinct and show the characteristic differences in behavior is less clear in North Africa, at the southern edge of their range. The association between autogeny, as determined by ovarian dissection, and molecular forms, based on the CQ11 microsatellite marker, was studied in six Moroccan populations of C. pipiens. An overall low prevalence of autogeny was found at three of the Moroccan regions studied, although it reached 17.5% in the Agadir population. The prevalence of form-specific CQ11 alleles was quite similar across all populations, with the molestus allele being rarer (approx. 15%), except in the Agadir population where it reached 43.3%. We found significant deficits in heterozygotes at the diagnostic CQ11 locus in three populations, but the three other populations showed no significant departure from panmixia, which is in line with the results of a retrospective analysis of the published data. More importantly, we found no association between the autogeny status and CQ11 genotypes, despite the many females analyzed. There was limited evidence for two discrete forms in Morocco, where individuals carrying pipiens and molestus alleles breed and mate in the same sites and are equally likely to be capable of autogeny. These observations are discussed in the epidemiological context of Morocco, where C. pipiens is the main vector of several arboviruses.
- ItemNutrient co-limitation of primary producer communities(Blackwell, 2011) Harpole, Stanley; Ngai, Jacqueline; Cleland, Elsa; Seabloom, Eric; Borer, Elizabeth; Bracken, Matthew; Elser, James; Gruner, Daniel; Hillebrand, Helmut; Shurin, Jonathan; Smith, JenniferSynergistic interactions between multiple limiting resources are common, highlighting the importance of co-limitation as a constraint on primary production. Our concept of resource limitation has shifted over the past two decades from an earlier paradigm of single-resource limitation towards concepts of co-limitation by multiple resources, which are predicted by various theories. Herein, we summarise multiple-resource limitation responses in plant communities using a dataset of 641 studies that applied factorial addition of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in freshwater, marine and terrestrial systems. We found that more than half of the studies displayed some type of synergistic response to N and P addition. We found support for strict definitions of co-limitation in 28% of the studies: i.e. community biomass responded to only combined N and P addition, or to both N and P when added separately. Our results highlight the importance of interactions between N and P in regulating primary producer community biomass and point to the need for future studies that address the multiple mechanisms that could lead to different types of co-limitation.