Matching Items (25)

The Long Alchemy of Becoming: Aqua es Vida Film

Description

“The Long Alchemy of Becoming: Aqua es Vida” is a short, artistic film depicting the history of the Universe shown through the microcosm of the Mexican town, Cuatro Ciénegas, in

“The Long Alchemy of Becoming: Aqua es Vida” is a short, artistic film depicting the history of the Universe shown through the microcosm of the Mexican town, Cuatro Ciénegas, in the state of Coahuila. The film takes the viewer from the start of the universe to what scientists believe will be its end, via a poem written by Dr. James Elser. “The Long Alchemy of Becoming: Aqua es Vida” starts with the Big Bang, through the formation of matter, stars, planets, including Earth. From there, the viewer witnesses how life evolved illustrated via scenes in the ciénegas (‘marsh’ in Spanish) found in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, Mexico. The film explores how life expanded out from water, producing plants and animals, including humans. Then, modern life in Cuatro Ciénegas is shown, including the modern agricultural practices that are threatening to destroy the ciénegas that sustain long histories of microbial evolution. The film concludes with the end mankind and the eventual destruction of Earth by the dying sun. Cuatro Ciénegas is a biologically and ecologically significant location, because its pools and marshes are home to many endemic species, including stromatolites, which are very rare, bio-chemical living structures. This film is part of a National Science Foundation grant, and reflects the extensive scientific research efforts in and around Cuatro Ciénegas and its unique pools.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

Obligate herbivory in an ancestrally carnivorous lineage: the giant panda and bamboo from the perspective of nutritional geometry

Description

Herbivores face various nutritional challenges in their life cycles, challenges that may become increasingly acute under ongoing environmental changes.
Here, focusing on calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen, we used nutritional geometry

Herbivores face various nutritional challenges in their life cycles, challenges that may become increasingly acute under ongoing environmental changes.
Here, focusing on calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen, we used nutritional geometry to analyse individual-based data on foraging and extraction efficiencies, and combined these with data on reproduction and migratory behaviour to understand how a large herbivorous carnivore can complete its life cycle on a narrow and seemingly low quality bamboo diet.
Behavioural results showed that pandas during the year switched between four main food categories involving the leaves and shoots of two bamboo species available. Nutritional analysis suggests that these diet shifts are related to the concentrations and balances of calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Notably, successive shifts in range use and food type corresponded with a transition to higher concentrations and/or a more balanced intake of these multiple key constituents.
Our study suggests that pandas obligatorily synchronize their seasonal migration and reproduction with the disjunct nutritional phenologies of two bamboo species. This finding has potentially important implications for habitat conservation for this species and, more generally, draws attention to the need for understanding the nutritional basis of food selection in devising management plans for endangered species.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-01-01

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Response of Daphnia feeding rate to food C:P ratio: a test for the ""stoichiometric knife edge"" mechanism

Description

It is well known that deficiencies in key chemical elements (such as phosphorus, P) can reduce animal growth; however, recent empirical data have shown that high levels of dietary nutrients

It is well known that deficiencies in key chemical elements (such as phosphorus, P) can reduce animal growth; however, recent empirical data have shown that high levels of dietary nutrients can also reduce animal growth. In ecological stoichiometry, this phenomenon is known as the "stoichiometric knife edge," but its underlying mechanisms are not well-known. Previous work has suggested that the crustacean zooplankter Daphnia reduces its feeding rates on phosphorus-rich food, causing low growth due to insufficient C (energy) intake. To test for this mechanism, feeding rates of Daphnia magna on algae (Scenedesmus acutus) differing in C:P ratio (P content) were determined. Overall, there was a significant difference among all treatments for feeding rate (p < 0.05) with generally higher feeding rates on P-rich algae. These data indicate that both high and low food C:P ratio do affect Daphnia feeding rate but are in contradiction with previous work that showed that P-rich food led to strong reductions in feeding rate. Additional experiments are needed to gain further insights.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Nutrient limitation of decomposers in the travertine streams of the Huachuca Mountains of southeastern Arizona

Description

Many studies have shown that as the calcium carbonate precipitates, it sequesters phosphate. Although the geochemical interactions between phosphate and calcium carbonate are known, only a few studies have considered

Many studies have shown that as the calcium carbonate precipitates, it sequesters phosphate. Although the geochemical interactions between phosphate and calcium carbonate are known, only a few studies have considered calcium carbonate deposition's effect on stream ecology. Further, those studies considering decomposition have produced conflicting results. In this study, nutrient-diffusing cups with organic substrata were used to determine the nutrient limitation of decomposers in the travertine streams in the Huachuca Mountains. After processing a subset of the experiments, only one site (in Huachuca Canyon) from the four study streams was significantly nutrient-limited (NP co-limitation).

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Impacts of Nitrogen and Phosphorus: From Genomes to Natural Ecosystems and Agriculture

Description

Nitrogen (N) and/or phosphorus (P) availability can limit growth of primary producers across most of the world's aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. These constraints are commonly overcome in agriculture by applying

Nitrogen (N) and/or phosphorus (P) availability can limit growth of primary producers across most of the world's aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. These constraints are commonly overcome in agriculture by applying fertilizers to improve yields. However, excessive anthropogenic N and P inputs impact natural environments and have far-reaching ecological and evolutionary consequences, from individual species up to entire ecosystems. The extent to which global N and P cycles have been perturbed over the past century can be seen as a global fertilization experiment with significant redistribution of nutrients across different ecosystems. Here we explore the effects of N and P availability on stoichiometry and genomic traits of organisms, which, in turn, can influence: (i) plant and animal abundances; (ii) trophic interactions and population dynamics; and (iii) ecosystem dynamics and productivity of agricultural crops. We articulate research priorities for a deeper understanding of how bioavailable N and P move through the environment and exert their ultimate impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-07-06

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Does the Growth Rate Hypothesis Apply across Temperatures? Variation in the Growth Rate and Body Phosphorus of Neotropical Benthic Grazers

Description

The growth rate hypothesis predicts that organisms with higher maximum growth rates will also have higher body percent phosphorus (P) due to the increased demand for ribosomal RNA production needed

The growth rate hypothesis predicts that organisms with higher maximum growth rates will also have higher body percent phosphorus (P) due to the increased demand for ribosomal RNA production needed to sustain rapid growth. However, this hypothesis was formulated for invertebrates growing at the same temperature. Within a biologically relevant temperature range, increased temperatures can lead to more rapid growth, suggesting that organisms in warmer environments might also contain more P per gram of dry mass. However, since higher growth rates at higher temperature can be supported by more rapid protein synthesis per ribosome rather than increased ribosome investment, increasing temperature might not lead to a positive relationship between growth and percent P. We tested the growth rate hypothesis by examining two genera of Neotropical stream grazers, the leptophlebiid mayfly Thraulodes and the bufonid toad tadpole Rhinella. We measured the body percent P of field-collected Thraulodes as well as the stoichiometry of periphyton resources in six Panamanian streams over an elevational gradient spanning approximately 1,100 m and 7°C in mean annual temperature. We also measured Thraulodes growth rates using in situ growth chambers in two of these streams. Finally, we conducted temperature manipulation experiments with both Thraulodes and Rhinella at the highest and lowest elevation sites and measured differences in percent P and growth rates. Thraulodes body percent P increased with temperature across the six streams, and average specific growth rate was higher in the warmer lowland stream. In the temperature manipulation experiments, both taxa exhibited higher growth rate and body percent P in the lowland experiments regardless of experimental temperature, but growth rate and body percent P of individuals were not correlated. Although we found that Thraulodes from warmer streams grew more rapidly and had higher body percent P, our experimental results suggest that the growth rate hypothesis does not apply across temperatures. Instead, our results indicate that factors other than temperature drive variation in organismal percent P among sites.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-04-18

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Nutritional imbalance suppresses migratory phenotypes of the Mongolian locust (Oedaleus asiaticus)

Description

For many species, migration evolves to allow organisms to access better resources. However, the proximate factors that trigger these developmental changes, and how and why these vary across species, remain

For many species, migration evolves to allow organisms to access better resources. However, the proximate factors that trigger these developmental changes, and how and why these vary across species, remain poorly understood. One prominent hypothesis is that poor-quality food promotes development of migratory phenotypes and this has been clearly shown for some polyphenic insects. In other animals, particularly long-distance bird migrants, it is clear that high-quality food is required to prepare animals for a successful migration. We tested the effect of diet quality on the flight behaviour and morphology of the Mongolian locust, Oedaleus asiaticus. Locusts reared at high population density and fed low-N grass (performance-enhancing for this species) had enhanced migratory morphology relative to locusts fed high-N grass. Furthermore, locusts fed synthetic diets with an optimal 1 : 2 protein : carbohydrate ratio flew for longer times than locusts fed diets with lower or higher protein : carbohydrate ratios. In contrast to the hypothesis that performance-degrading food should enhance migration, our results support the more nuanced hypothesis that high-quality diets promote development of migratory characteristics when migration is physiologically challenging.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-06-07

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Carbon:Nitrogen:Phosphorus Stoichiometry in Fungi: A Meta-Analysis

Description

Surveys of carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus ratios are available now for major groups of biota and for various aquatic and terrestrial biomes. However, while fungi play an important role in nutrient cycling in

Surveys of carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus ratios are available now for major groups of biota and for various aquatic and terrestrial biomes. However, while fungi play an important role in nutrient cycling in ecosystems, relatively little is known about their C:N:P stoichiometry and how it varies across taxonomic groups, functional guilds, and environmental conditions. Here we present the first systematic compilation of C:N:P data for fungi including four phyla (Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Glomeromycota, and Zygomycota). The C, N, and P contents (percent of dry mass) of fungal biomass varied from 38 to 57%, 0.23 to 15%, and 0.040 to 5.5%, respectively. Median C:N:P stoichiometry for fungi was 250:16:1 (molar), remarkably similar to the canonical Redfield values. However, we found extremely broad variation in fungal C:N:P ratios around the central tendencies in C:N:P ratios. Lower C:P and N:P ratios were found in Ascomycota fungi than in Basidiomycota fungi while significantly lower C:N ratios (p < 0.05) and higher N:P ratios (p < 0.01) were found in ectomycorrhizal fungi than in saprotrophs. Furthermore, several fungal stoichiometric ratios were strongly correlated with geographic and abiotic environmental factors, especially latitude, precipitation, and temperature. The results have implications for understanding the roles that fungi play in function in symbioses and in soil nutrient cycling. Further work is needed on the effects of actual in situ growth conditions of fungal growth on stoichiometry in the mycelium.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-07-14

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Shifts in leaf N: P stoichiometry during rehabilitation in highly alkaline bauxite processing residue sand

Description

Large quantities of sodic and alkaline bauxite residue are produced globally as a by-product from alumina refineries. Ecological stoichiometry of key elements [nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)] plays a critical

Large quantities of sodic and alkaline bauxite residue are produced globally as a by-product from alumina refineries. Ecological stoichiometry of key elements [nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)] plays a critical role in establishing vegetation cover in bauxite residue sand (BRS). Here we examined how changes in soil chemical properties over time in rehabilitated sodic and alkaline BRS affected leaf N to P stoichiometry of native species used for rehabilitation. Both Ca and soil pH influenced the shifts in leaf N:P ratios of the study species as supported by consistently significant positive relationships (P < 0.001) between these soil indices and leaf N:P ratios. Shifts from N to P limitation were evident for N-fixing species, while N limitation was consistently experienced by non-N-fixing plant species. In older rehabilitated BRS embankments, soil and plant indices (Ca, Na, pH, EC, ESP and leaf N:P ratios) tended to align with those of the natural ecosystem, suggesting improved rehabilitation performance. These findings highlight that leaf N:P stoichiometry can effectively provide a meaningful assessment on understanding nutrient limitation and productivity of native species used for vegetating highly sodic and alkaline BRS, and is a crucial indicator for assessing ecological rehabilitation performance.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-10-07

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Variability of rRNA Operon Copy Number and Growth Rate Dynamics of Bacillus Isolated from an Extremely Oligotrophic Aquatic Ecosystem

Description

The ribosomal RNA (rrn) operon is a key suite of genes related to the production of protein synthesis machinery and thus to bacterial growth physiology. Experimental evidence has suggested an

The ribosomal RNA (rrn) operon is a key suite of genes related to the production of protein synthesis machinery and thus to bacterial growth physiology. Experimental evidence has suggested an intrinsic relationship between the number of copies of this operon and environmental resource availability, especially the availability of phosphorus (P), because bacteria that live in oligotrophic ecosystems usually have few rrn operons and a slow growth rate. The Cuatro Ciénegas Basin (CCB) is a complex aquatic ecosystem that contains an unusually high microbial diversity that is able to persist under highly oligotrophic conditions. These environmental conditions impose a variety of strong selective pressures that shape the genome dynamics of their inhabitants. The genus Bacillus is one of the most abundant cultivable bacterial groups in the CCB and usually possesses a relatively large number of rrn operon copies (6–15 copies). The main goal of this study was to analyze the variation in the number of rrn operon copies of Bacillus in the CCB and to assess their growth-related properties as well as their stoichiometric balance (N and P content). We defined 18 phylogenetic groups within the Bacilli clade and documented a range of from six to 14 copies of the rrn operon. The growth dynamic of these Bacilli was heterogeneous and did not show a direct relation to the number of operon copies. Physiologically, our results were not consistent with the Growth Rate Hypothesis, since the copies of the rrn operon were decoupled from growth rate. However, we speculate that the diversity of the growth properties of these Bacilli as well as the low P content of their cells in an ample range of rrn copy number is an adaptive response to oligotrophy of the CCB and could represent an ecological mechanism that allows these taxa to coexist. These findings increase the knowledge of the variability in the number of copies of the rrn operon in the genus Bacillus and give insights about the physiology of this bacterial group under extreme oligotrophic conditions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-01-05