School of BioSciences - Research Publications

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 2072
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    Functional decay in tree community within tropical fragmented landscapes: Effects of landscape-scale forest cover
    Rocha-Santos, L ; Benchimol, M ; Mayfield, MM ; Feria, D ; Pessoa, MS ; Talora, DC ; Mariano-Neto, E ; Cazetta, E ; Zang, R (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2017-04-12)
    As tropical rainforests are cleared, forest remnants are increasingly isolated within agricultural landscapes. Understanding how forest loss impacts on species diversity can, therefore, contribute to identifying the minimum amount of habitat required for biodiversity maintenance in human-modified landscapes. Here, we evaluate how the amount of forest cover, at the landscape scale, affects patterns of species richness, abundance, key functional traits and common taxonomic families of adult trees in twenty Brazilian Atlantic rainforest landscapes. We found that as forest cover decreases, both tree community richness and abundance decline, without exhibiting a threshold. At the family-level, species richness and abundance of the Myrtaceae and Sapotaceae were also negatively impacted by the percent forest remaining at the landscape scale. For functional traits, we found a reduction in shade-tolerant, animal-dispersed and small-seeded species following a decrease in the amount of forest retained in landscapes. These results suggest that the amount of forest in a landscape is driving non-random losses in phylogenetic and functional tree diversity in Brazil's remaining Atlantic rainforests. Our study highlights potential restraints on the conservation value of Atlantic rainforest remnants in deforested landscapes in the future.
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    Integrating the underlying structure of stochasticity into community ecology
    Shoemaker, LG ; Sullivan, LL ; Donohue, I ; Cabral, JS ; Williams, RJ ; Mayfield, MM ; Chase, JM ; Chu, C ; Harpole, WS ; Huth, A ; HilleRisLambers, J ; James, ARM ; Kraft, NJB ; May, F ; Muthukrishnan, R ; Satterlee, S ; Taubert, F ; Wang, X ; Wiegand, T ; Yang, Q ; Abbott, KC (WILEY, 2019-12-26)
    Stochasticity is a core component of ecology, as it underlies key processes that structure and create variability in nature. Despite its fundamental importance in ecological systems, the concept is often treated as synonymous with unpredictability in community ecology, and studies tend to focus on single forms of stochasticity rather than taking a more holistic view. This has led to multiple narratives for how stochasticity mediates community dynamics. Here, we present a framework that describes how different forms of stochasticity (notably demographic and environmental stochasticity) combine to provide underlying and predictable structure in diverse communities. This framework builds on the deep ecological understanding of stochastic processes acting at individual and population levels and in modules of a few interacting species. We support our framework with a mathematical model that we use to synthesize key literature, demonstrating that stochasticity is more than simple uncertainty. Rather, stochasticity has profound and predictable effects on community dynamics that are critical for understanding how diversity is maintained. We propose next steps that ecologists might use to explore the role of stochasticity for structuring communities in theoretical and empirical systems, and thereby enhance our understanding of community dynamics.
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    The effect of habitat fragmentation on the bee visitor assemblages of three Australian tropical rainforest tree species
    Smith, TJ ; Mayfield, MM (WILEY, 2018-08-01)
    Tropical forest loss and fragmentation can change bee community dynamics and potentially interrupt plant-pollinator relationships. While bee community responses to forest fragmentation have been investigated in a number of tropical regions, no studies have focused on this topic in Australia. In this study, we examine taxonomic and functional diversity of bees visiting flowers of three tree species across small and large rainforest fragments in Australian tropical landscapes. We found lower taxonomic diversity of bees visiting flowers of trees in small rainforest fragments compared with large forest fragments and show that bee species in small fragments were subsets of species in larger fragments. Bees visiting trees in small fragments also had higher mean body sizes than those in larger fragments, suggesting that small-sized bees may be less likely to persist in small fragments. Lastly, we found reductions in the abundance of eusocial stingless bees visiting flowers in small fragments compared to large fragments. These results suggest that pollinator visits to native trees living in small tropical forest remnants may be reduced, which may in turn impact on a range of processes, potentially including forest regeneration and diversity maintenance in small forest remnants in Australian tropical countryside landscapes.
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    Characterization of microsatellite markers for the vulnerable grassland forb Senecio macrocarpus (Asteraceae).
    Ahrens, CW ; James, EA (Wiley, 2013-11)
    UNLABELLED: PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Development of microsatellite markers for the vulnerable forb Senecio macrocarpus was performed to begin an assessment of its population structure and breeding method to aid in the conservation of the species in Victoria, Australia. • METHODS AND RESULTS: Fifteen microsatellite markers were developed for S. macrocarpus from 454 pyrosequencing. The markers were tested on 104 individuals from four populations. The markers produced between two and seven alleles per locus while the expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.20 to 0.67 and the observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.00 to 1.00. The observed heterozygosity is suggestive that the populations may be apomictic. • CONCLUSIONS: The microsatellite markers developed for S. macrocarpus are intended to be used on future studies that aim to assess the population genetics and local breeding dynamics of the species with an emphasis on conservation.
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    Submillimeter diameter rotary-pullback fiber-optic endoscope for narrowband red-green-blue reflectance, optical coherence tomography, and autofluorescence in vivo imaging.
    Buenconsejo, AL ; Hohert, G ; Manning, M ; Abouei, E ; Tingley, R ; Janzen, I ; McAlpine, J ; Miller, D ; Lee, A ; Lane, P ; MacAulay, C (SPIE-Intl Soc Optical Eng, 2019-10)
    A fiber-based endoscopic imaging system combining narrowband red-green-blue (RGB) reflectance with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and autofluorescence imaging (AFI) has been developed. The system uses a submillimeter diameter rotary-pullback double-clad fiber imaging catheter for sample illumination and detection. The imaging capabilities of each modality are presented and demonstrated with images of a multicolored card, fingerprints, and tongue mucosa. Broadband imaging, which was done to compare with narrowband sources, revealed better contrast but worse color consistency compared with narrowband RGB reflectance. The measured resolution of the endoscopic system is 25  μm in both the rotary direction and the pullback direction. OCT can be performed simultaneously with either narrowband RGB reflectance imaging or AFI.
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    In silico analysis of high affinity potassium transporter (HKT) isoforms in different plants.
    Zamani Babgohari, M ; Ebrahimie, E ; Niazi, A (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2014)
    BACKGROUND: High affinity potassium transporters (HKTs) are located in the plasma membrane of the vessels and have significant influence on salt tolerance in some plants. They exclude Na(+) from the parenchyma cells to reduce Na(+) concentration. Despite many studies, the underlying regulatory mechanisms and the exact functions of HKTs within different genomic backgrounds are relatively unknown. In this study, various bioinformatics techniques, including promoter analysis, identification of HKT-surrounding genes, and construction of gene networks, were applied to investigate the HKT regulatory mechanism. RESULTS: Promoter analysis showed that rice HKTs carry ABA response elements. Additionally, jasmonic acid response elements were detected on promoter region of TmHKT1;5. In silico synteny highlighted several unknown and new loci near rice, Arabidopsis thaliana and Physcomitrella patent HKTs, which may play a significant role in salt stress tolerance in concert with HKTs. Gene network prediction unravelled that crosstalk between jasmonate and ethylene reduces AtHKT1;1 expression. Furthermore, antiporter and transferase proteins were found in AtHKT1;1 gene network. Interestingly, regulatory elements on the promoter region of HKT in wild genotype (TmHKT1;5) were more frequent and variable than the ones in cultivated wheat (TaHKT1;5) which provides the possibility of rapid response and better understanding of environmental conditions for wild genotype. CONCLUSION: Detecting ABA and jasmonic acid response elements on promoter regions of HKTs provide valuable clues on underlying regulatory mechanisms of HKTs. In silico synteny and pathway discovery indicated several candidates which act in concert with HKTs in stress condition. We highlighted different arrangement of regulatory elements on promoter region of wild wheat (TmHKT1;5) compared to bread wheat (TaHKT1;5) in this study.
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    Hybridization promotes color polymorphism in the aposematic harlequin poison frog, Oophaga histrionica.
    Medina, I ; Wang, IJ ; Salazar, C ; Amézquita, A (Wiley, 2013-11)
    Whether hybridization can be a mechanism that drives phenotypic diversity is a widely debated topic in evolutionary biology. In poison frogs (Dendrobatidae), assortative mating has been invoked to explain how new color morphs persist despite the expected homogenizing effects of natural selection. Here, we tested the complementary hypothesis that new morphs arise through hybridization between different color morphs. Specifically, we (1) reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships among the studied populations of a dart-poison frog to provide an evolutionary framework, (2) tested whether microsatellite allele frequencies of one putative hybrid population of the polymorphic frog O. histrionica are intermediate between O. histrionica and O. lehmanni, and (3) conducted mate-choice experiments to test whether putatively intermediate females prefer homotypic males over males from the other two populations. Our findings are compatible with a hybrid origin for the new morph and emphasize the possibility of hybridization as a mechanism generating variation in polymorphic species. Moreover, because coloration in poison frogs is aposematic and should be heavily constrained, our findings suggest that hybridization can produce phenotypic novelty even in systems where phenotypes are subject to strong stabilizing selection.
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    The role of the environment in the evolution of nest shape in Australian passerines.
    Medina, I (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-04-03)
    Avian nests present great variation in structure but, after excluding cavity nesters, probably the most obvious difference is that between open and domed nests. Some species lay their eggs in open structures, exposed to environmental variables, while other species build domed, enclosed nests with a roof, which are suggested to protect eggs and nestlings from weather conditions, high radiation levels, and predation. To date it is unclear which variables drove the evolution of different nest types. In this study, environmental and nest type information was extracted for continental Australian passerines, showing that species with open and closed nests are distributed in similar climates. However, species with open nests have larger ranges and are distributed in a wider variety of climatic conditions, suggesting open nests could be an evolutionary key innovation. This analysis was complemented with a detailed study of the evolution of particular nest traits in the largest Australasian avian radiation (Meliphagoidea), confirming that adult body size - but not environment - is an important factor in nest architecture, and larger species tend to build nests that are shallow and supported from underneath. Nest structure is a multidimensional trait that has probably evolved to match the phenotype of the nest owner, but that could also constrain or facilitate establishment in different environments.
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    Physiological changes in post-hatchling green turtles (Chelonia mydas) following short-term fasting: implications for release protocols.
    March, DT ; Ariel, E ; Munns, S ; Rudd, D ; Blyde, D ; Christidis, L ; Kelaher, BP ; Cooke, S (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019)
    Relocation of sea turtle nests and the retention of post-hatchlings for head-starting programs are both commonly used to improve conservation outcomes and facilitate eco-tourism ventures. Currently, there is little literature surrounding the husbandry protocols required during these programs to optimize post-release outcomes. To assess the impact of varied feeding regimes on exercise performance, (which will hereafter be referred to as 'fitness'), 40 10-month-old captive post-hatchling green turtles (Chelonia mydas) were divided into four groups of 10 and fasted for either 3, 9, 10 or 15 h. The animals were then subjected to a fitness test via repetitive use of the 'righting reflex' on land. Health assessments were conducted prior to the fitness test, including; heart rate, haematocrit (Hct), heterophil to lymphocyte ratio and the measurement of 11 biochemical analytes, including pH, partial pressures of carbon dioxide (PvCO2) and oxygen (PvO2), lactate, bicarbonate (HCO3 -), sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl-), ionized calcium (iCa2+), glucose and urea. Results were corrected for multiple comparisons and significant differences among groups were demonstrated for temperature, pH, HCO3 -, iCa2+, urea and lactate. To investigate physiological relationships between analytes, correlation coefficients were calculated between fitness and glucose, fitness and lactate, glucose and lactate, pH and iCa2+, pH and K+, pH and PvCO2, pH and HCO3 - and Hct and K+. Following correction for multiple comparisons, significant relationships were seen between pH and iCa2+ and pH and HCO3 -. Post-hatchling turtles appear to enter a catabolic state when exposed to short-term fasting. While this did not have a direct impact on fitness, the production of an intense energetic output from a catabolic state may induce a physiological debt. This study suggests that handling that induces a physical response should be minimized and animals should be fed within 10 h of release.
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    Therapeutic Potential of alpha- and beta-Pinene: A Miracle Gift of Nature
    Salehi, B ; Upadhyay, S ; Orhan, IE ; Jugran, AK ; Jayaweera, SLD ; Dias, DA ; Sharopov, F ; Taheri, Y ; Martins, N ; Baghalpour, N ; Cho, WC ; Sharifi-Rad, J (MDPI, 2019-11-01)
    α- and β-pinene are well-known representatives of the monoterpenes group, and are found in many plants' essential oils. A wide range of pharmacological activities have been reported, including antibiotic resistance modulation, anticoagulant, antitumor, antimicrobial, antimalarial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-Leishmania, and analgesic effects. This article aims to summarize the most prominent effects of α- and β-pinene, namely their cytogenetic, gastroprotective, anxiolytic, cytoprotective, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective effects, as well as their effects against H2O2-stimulated oxidative stress, pancreatitis, stress-stimulated hyperthermia, and pulpal pain. Finally, we will also discuss the bioavailability, administration, as well as their biological activity and clinical applications.