Dry grassland vegetation of Central Podolia (Ukraine) – a preliminary overview of its syntaxonomy, ecology and biodiversity
Anna A. Kuzemko
Yakiv P. Didukh
Ioana Violeta Ardelean
Evgeniy I. Vorona
Olena H. Yavorska
- We present the data of the 2nd research expedition of the European Dry Grassland Group (EDGG), which was conducted in 2010 in Central Podolia, Ukraine. The aim was to collect plot data to compare Ukrainian dry grasslands with those of other parts of Europe in terms of syntaxonomy and biodiversity. We sampled 21 nested-plot series (0.0001–100 m²) and 184 normal plots (10 m²) covering the full variety of dry grassland types occurring in the study region. For all plots, we recorded species composi-tion of terrestrial vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens, while for the 226 10-m² plots we estimated and measured percentage cover of all species, structural, topographic, soil and landuse parameters. The 10-m² plots were used for phytosociological classification based on iteratively refined TWINSPAN classification as well as for DCA ordination. Differences between the derived vegetation types with respect to environmental conditions and species richness were assessed with ANOVAs. We assigned our plots to nine association-level units but refrained from placing them into formal associations with two exceptions. In the study area, dry grasslands of the Festuco-Brometea were far more common than those of the Koelerio-Corynephoretea. Among the Festuco-Brometea, xeric Festucetalia valesiacae grasslands were more frequent and represented by the Festucion valesiacae (2 associations, including the Allio taurici-Dichanthietum ischaemi ass. nova) and the Stipion lessingianae (1) compared to the Brachypodietalia pinnati with the Agrostio vinealis-Avenulion schellianae (3). The Koelerio-Corynephoretea were represented by three associations, each from a different order and alliance: basiphilous outcrops (Alysso alyssoidis-Sedetalia: Alysso alyssoidis-Sedion?), acidophilous outcrops (Sedo-Scleranthetalia: Veronico dillenii-Sedion albi?) and mesoxeric sandy grasslands (Trifolio arvensis-Festucetalia ovinae: Agrostion vinealis). We discuss the issue of the mesoxeric order Galietalia veri placed within the Molinio-Arrhenatheretea by Ukrainian authors and conclude that the content of that order would probably be better placed in the mesoxeric orders of the Koelerio-Corynephoretea and Festuco-Brometea. Other syntaxonomic questions could not be solved with our geographically limited dataset and await a supraregional analysis, e.g. whether the Ukrainian outcrop communities should be assigned to the same alliances as known from Central Europe or rather represent new vicariant units. The analysis of the biodiversity patterns showed that at a grain size of 10 m², Podolian Koelerio-Corynephoretea communities were overall richer than Festuco-Brometea communities (46.4 vs. 40.6 species). This difference was due to the Koelerio-Corynephoretea containing twice as many bryophytes and nine times more lichens, while vascular plant species richness did not differ significantly between classes. The orders within the classes showed no real differences in species richness. The richness patterns observed in Podolia were almost the opposite of those usually found in dry grasslands, where Brachypodietalia pinnati are richer than Festucetalia valesiacae, and these richer than stands of the Koelerio-Corynpehoretea – and we do not have a good explanation for these idiosyncrasies. In conclusion, Podolian dry grasslands behave quite unexpectedly regarding biodiversity, and their syntaxonomy is still poorly understood. These knowledge gaps can only be addressed with supranational analyses based on comprehensive datasets.
Nomenclatural revision of dry grassland syntaxa of the Central Balkan
Zora Dajić Stevanović
- An extensive survey of the relevant literature of dry grassland communities described for the territory of Serbia allowed us to check the validity and legitimacy of the nomenclature of this vegetation. Nomenclature rules of the International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature were strictly followed. The syntaxonomic affiliation of communities to higher syntaxa was assessed according to existing syntaxonomic schemes for Serbia and the position determined by the original source. Higher syntaxa followed the synsystem of the socalled “EuroVegChecklist”. We have highlighted problems and some disagreement with the existing classification of dry grassland communities in Europe. A total of 134 dry grassland communities have so far been registered for Serbia. This list of syntaxa may serve for further research of grassland vegetation and its appropriate positioning within a syntaxonomical scheme of Europe.
Continental dry grasslands from range margin to range centre – Editorial to the 9th Dry Grassland Special Feature
Do short-lived ruderal and arable weed communities reflect regional climate differences? A case study from SE Styria
- The Feldbach district is situated near the town of Feldbach in the southeastern province of Styria, Austria. Since 2007, a climate observation network of 151 climate stations within an area of approximately 20 x 15 km (grid cell 1.4 × 1.4 km) has provided a unique collection of spatial and temporal meteorological data. Examining short-lived ruderal and arable weed communities, we search for correlations and spatial patterns between the community composition and climate data. Do such plant communities respond to temperature differences within an agricultural landscape and on a regional scale? Data of 277 relevés from short-lived weed communities were collected across the investigated area during the summer of 2011. Relevés were assigned to the corresponding climate stations and classified. Average Ellenberg indicator values for temperature were calculated for each relevé and community cluster. Measured temperature data were assigned and correlated with community data by applying linear regression and redundancy analyses (RDA). The classification resulted in six associations; the two most frequently observed associations were divided into subtypes resulting in 13 vegetation clusters that could be analyzed further. A significant relationship could be found only between the clusters of arable weed communities and the average winter temperatures. Site variables explain twice as much variance as measured climate variables; this ratio changes to 50 : 50 when we analyzed only arable field community data. No clear spatial patterns concerning mean annual temperature were visible. However, the Setaria faberi subtype of the Echinochloo-Setarietum and the Sorghum halepense subtype of the Convolvulo-Agropyretum show a tendency toward a temperature-induced spatial pattern, such that both were sensitive to winter temperature. On a regional scale, the occurrence and composition of short-lived ruderal plant communities correlated weakly with climate variables. However, the studied arable weed communities showed a certain tendency to follow small-scale temperature differences, especially those of average winter temperature. We conclude that short-lived weed communities have the potential to be indicators for global warming, but the spatial temperature gradients are not clear enough in our approach to allow the production of better regression models and elucidation of distinct spatial patterns.
Predictive value of interferon-lambda gene polymorphisms for treatment response in chronic hepatitis C
- Background: IL28B gene polymorphism is the best baseline predictor of response to interferon alfa-based antiviral therapies in chronic hepatitis C. Recently, a new IFN-L4 polymorphism was identified as first potential functional variant for induction of IL28B expression. Individualization of interferon alfa-based therapies based on a combination of IL28B/IFN-L4 polymorphisms may help to optimize virologic outcome and economic resources.
Methods: Optimization of treatment outcome prediction was assessed by combination of different IL28B and IFN-L4 polymorphisms in patients with chronic HCV genotype 1 (n = 385), 2/3 (n = 267), and 4 (n = 220) infection treated with pegylated interferon alfa (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin with (n = 79) or without telaprevir. Healthy people from Germany (n = 283) and Egypt (n = 96) served as controls.
Results: Frequencies of beneficial IL28B rs12979860 C/C genotypes were lower in HCV genotype 1/4 infected patients in comparison to controls (20–35% vs. 46–47%) this was also true for ss469415590 TT/TT (20–35% vs. 45–47%). Single interferon-lambda SNPs (rs12979860, rs8099917, ss469415590) correlated with sustained virologic response (SVR) in genotype 1, 3, and 4 infected patients while no association was observed for genotype 2. Interestingly, in genotype 3 infected patients, best SVR prediction was based on IFN-L4 genotype. Prediction of SVR with high accuracy (71–96%) was possible in genotype 1, 2, 3 and 4 infected patients who received PEG-IFN/ribavirin combination therapy by selection of beneficial IL28B rs12979860 C/C and/or ss469415590 TT/TT genotypes (p<0.001). For triple therapy with first generation protease inhibitors (PIs) (boceprevir, telaprevir) prediction of high SVR (90%) rates was based on the presence of at least one beneficial genotype of the 3 IFN-lambda SNPs.
Conclusion: IFN-L4 seems to be the best single predictor of SVR in genotype 3 infected patients. For optimized prediction of SVR by treatment with dual combination or first generation PI triple therapies, grouping of interferon-lambda haplotypes may be helpful with positive predictive values of 71–96%.
High variability in oral glucose tolerance among 1,128 patients with cystic fibrosis: a multicenter screening study
Reinhard W. Holl
Julia M. Hermann
Silke van Koningsbruggen-Rietschel
- Background: In cystic fibrosis, highly variable glucose tolerance is suspected. However, no study provided within-patient coefficients of variation. The main objective of this short report was to evaluate within-patient variability of oral glucose tolerance.
Methods: In total, 4,643 standardized oral glucose tolerance tests of 1,128 cystic fibrosis patients (median age at first test: 15.5 [11.5; 21.5] years, 48.8% females) were studied. Patients included were clinically stable, non-pregnant, and had at least two oral glucose tolerance tests, with no prior lung transplantation or systemic steroid therapy. Transition frequency from any one test to the subsequent test was analyzed and within-patient coefficients of variation were calculated for fasting and two hour blood glucose values. All statistical analysis was implemented with SAS 9.4.
Results: A diabetic glucose tolerance was confirmed in 41.2% by the subsequent test. A regression to normal glucose tolerance at the subsequent test was observed in 21.7% and to impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance or both in 15.2%, 12.0% or 9.9%. The average within-patient coefficient of variation for fasting blood glucose was 11.1% and for two hour blood glucose 25.3%.
Conclusion: In the cystic fibrosis patients studied, a highly variable glucose tolerance was observed. Compared to the general population, variability of two hour blood glucose was 1.5 to 1.8-fold higher.
In How Many Ways is the Approximate Number System Associated with Exact Calculation?
Vitor Geraldi Haase
- The approximate number system (ANS) has been consistently found to be associated with math achievement. However, little is known about the interactions between the different instantiations of the ANS and in how many ways they are related to exact calculation. In a cross-sectional design, we investigated the relationship between three measures of ANS acuity (non-symbolic comparison, non-symbolic estimation and non-symbolic addition), their cross-sectional trajectories and specific contributions to exact calculation. Children with mathematical difficulties (MD) and typically achieving (TA) controls attending the first six years of formal schooling participated in the study. The MD group exhibited impairments in multiple instantiations of the ANS compared to their TA peers. The ANS acuity measured by all three tasks positively correlated with age in TA children, while no correlation was found between non-symbolic comparison and age in the MD group. The measures of ANS acuity significantly correlated with each other, reflecting at least in part a common numerosity code. Crucially, we found that non-symbolic estimation partially and non-symbolic addition fully mediated the effects of non-symbolic comparison in exact calculation.
Curare - a curative poison: a scientometric analysis
Jan David Alexander Groneberg
- Introduction: Curare is one of the best-examined neurotoxins of the world, which has empirically been used for centuries by American Indigenes. Research on curare has been performed much later, a global scientometric analysis on curare research or its derivates does not yet exist. This bibliometric analysis is part of the global NewQis-project and should illuminate both toxic and historic issues of research on curare.
Methods: The ISI Web of Science was searched for data covering 1900 to 2013 using a term which included as many original articles on curare as possible. 3,867 articles were found and analyzed for common bibliometric items such as the number of citations, language of the articles or the (modified) Hirsch-Index (h-index). Results are illustrated utilizing modern density equalizing map projections (DEMP) or beam diagrams.
Results: Most publications were located in North America and Europe. The USA has the highest number of publications as well as the highest h-index. The number of publications overall rose until the late 1990s and later decreased. Furthermore, sudden increases of research activity are ascribable to historic events, like the first use of curare as muscle relaxant during surgery.
Discussion: This scientometric analysis of curare research reflects several tendencies as previously seen in other bibliometric investigations, i.e. the scientific quality standard of North America and Europe. Research on curare decreased however, due to the declining attention towards this muscle relaxant. This work exemplifies also how scientometric methods can be used to illuminate historic circumstances immediately stimulating scientific research.
Esthetic outcome of implant-based reconstructions in augmented bone: comparison of autologous and allogeneic bone block grafting with the pink esthetic score (PES)
- From 2003 to 2009, 67 patients underwent alveolar ridge augmentation and were enrolled in the study, 41 meet the inclusion criteria and 31 agreed to take part in the study. Patients were 18-69 years old (mean: 49.3 ± 13.8 years), and predominantly female. Patients received bone block grafts either autologous (n = 48) (AUBB) or allografts (ABB) (n = 19). Implants were inserted 4-7 months (autografts) or 5-6 months (allografts) after bone grafting. The Pink Esthetic Score (PES) as well as radiographic and subjective assessments were employed for the outcome analysis. The PES was assessed twice within one month based on digital photographic images that were randomly rearranged between evaluations by three independent, experienced investigators.
Synthesis of new 1,2,3-triazol-4-yl-quinazoline nucleoside and acyclonucleoside analogues
Joachim W. Engels
Hassan B. Lazrek
- In this study, we describe the synthesis of 1,4-disustituted-1,2,3-triazolo-quinazoline ribonucleosides or acyclonucleosides by means of 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition between various O or N-alkylated propargyl-quinazoline and 1'-azido-2',3',5'-tri-O-benzoylribose or activated alkylating agents under microwave conditions. None of the compounds selected showed significant anti-HCV activity in vitro.