Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Parameter-induced uncertainty quantification of soil N 2 O, NO and CO 2 emission from Höglwald spruce forest (Germany) using the LandscapeDNDC model
- Assessing the uncertainties of simulation results of ecological models is becoming increasingly important, specifically if these models are used to estimate greenhouse gas emissions on site to regional/national levels. Four general sources of uncertainty effect the outcome of process-based models: (i) uncertainty of information used to initialise and drive the model, (ii) uncertainty of model parameters describing specific ecosystem processes, (iii) uncertainty of the model structure, and (iv) accurateness of measurements (e.g., soil-atmosphere greenhouse gas exchange) which are used for model testing and development.
The aim of our study was to assess the simulation uncertainty of the process-based biogeochemical model LandscapeDNDC. For this we set up a Bayesian framework using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method, to estimate the joint model parameter distribution. Data for model testing, parameter estimation and uncertainty assessment were taken from observations of soil fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide (NO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) as observed over a 10 yr period at the spruce site of the Höglwald Forest, Germany. By running four independent Markov Chains in parallel with identical properties (except for the parameter start values), an objective criteria for chain convergence developed by Gelman et al. (2003) could be used.
Our approach shows that by means of the joint parameter distribution, we were able not only to limit the parameter space and specify the probability of parameter values, but also to assess the complex dependencies among model parameters used for simulating soil C and N trace gas emissions. This helped to improve the understanding of the behaviour of the complex LandscapeDNDC model while simulating soil C and N turnover processes and associated C and N soil-atmosphere exchange. In a final step the parameter distribution of the most sensitive parameters determining soil-atmosphere C and N exchange were used to obtain the parameter-induced uncertainty of simulated N2O, NO and CO2 emissions. These were compared to observational data of an calibration set (6 yr) and an independent validation set of 4 yr. The comparison showed that most of the annual observed trace gas emissions were in the range of simulated values and were predicted with a high certainty (Root-mean-squared error (RMSE) NO: 2.4 to 18.95 g N ha−1 d−1, N2O: 0.14 to 21.12 g N ha−1 d−1, CO2: 5.4 to 11.9 kg C ha−1 d−1). However, LandscapeDNDC simulations were sometimes still limited to accurately predict observed seasonal variations in fluxes.
Physico-chemical variables determining the invasion risk of freshwater habitats by alien mollusks and crustaceans
- The aim of this study was to assess the invasion risk of freshwater habitats and determine the environmental variables that are most favorable for the establishment of alien amphipods, isopods, gastropods, and bivalves. A total of 981 sites located in streams and rivers in Germany. Therefore we analyzed presence-absence data of alien and indigenous amphipods, isopods, gastropods, and bivalves from 981 sites located in small to large rivers in Germany with regard to eight environmental variables: chloride, ammonium, nitrate, oxygen, orthophosphate, distance to the next navigable waterway, and maximum and minimum temperature. Degraded sites close to navigable waters were exposed to an increased invasion risk by all major groups of alien species. Moreover, invaded sites by all four groups of alien species were similar, whereas the sites where indigenous members of the four groups occurred were more variable. Increased temperature and chloride concentration as well as decreased oxygen concentration were identified as major factors for the invasibility of a site. Species-specific analyses showed that chloride was among the three most predictive environmental variables determining species assemblage in all four taxonomic groups. Also distance to the next navigable waterways was similarly important. Additionally, the minimum temperature was among the most important variables for amphipods, isopods, and bivalves. The bias in the occurrence patterns of alien species toward similarly degraded habitats suggests that the members of all four major groups of freshwater alien species are a non-random, more tolerant set of species. Their common tolerance to salinity, high temperature, and oxygen depletion may reflect that most alien species were spread in ballast water tanks, where strong selective pressures, particularly temperature fluctuations, oxygen depletion, and increased salinity may create a bottleneck for successful invasion. Knowledge on the major factors that influence the invasion risk of a habitat is needed to develop strategies to limit the spread of invasive species.
Die Gamma-Strahlen-Meßkurve der Oberjura-Gesteinsfolgen in Preußisch Oldendorf und Wehrendorf (Westliches Wiehengebirge, Nordwestdeutschland)
Franz Jürgen Harms
- Im Wiehengebirge (Osnabrücker Bergland) wurden die lithostratigraphisch gegliederten Gesteinsfolgen des Oberjura (Oxford, Kimmeridge, Gigas-Schichten bis Eimbeckhäuser Platten kalk) in zwei Tagesaufschlüssen am Linken-Berg bei Preußisch Oldendorf und am Osterberg bei Wehrendorf mit einer Gamma-Sonde nach dem Scintillometer-Prinzip vermessen. Oie synthetisch erzeugten Gamma- Kurven lassen sich eindeutig mit den Gamma-ray-Kurven der in der Nähe niedergebrachten Bohrungen vergleichen.
Genetic Basis of Self-Incompatibility in the Lichen-Forming Fungus Lobaria pulmonaria and Skewed Frequency Distribution of Mating-Type Idiomorphs: Implications for Conservation
Francesco Dal Grande
- Fungal populations that reproduce sexually are likely to be genetically more diverse and have a higher adaptive potential than asexually reproducing populations. Mating systems of fungal species can be self-incompatible, requiring the presence of isolates of different mating-type genes for sexual reproduction to occur, or self-compatible, requiring only one. Understanding the distribution of mating-type genes in populations can help to assess the potential of self-incompatible species to reproduce sexually. In the locally threatened epiphytic lichen-forming fungus Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm., low frequency of sexual reproduction is likely to limit the potential of populations to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Our study provides direct evidence of self-incompatibility (heterothallism) in L. pulmonaria. It can thus be hypothesized that sexual reproduction in small populations might be limited by an unbalanced distribution of mating-type genes. We therefore assessed neutral genetic diversity (using microsatellites) and mating-type ratio in 27 lichen populations (933 individuals). We found significant differences in the frequency of the two mating types in 13 populations, indicating a lower likelihood of sexual reproduction in these populations. This suggests that conservation translocation activities aiming at maximizing genetic heterogeneity in threatened and declining populations should take into account not only presence of fruiting bodies in transplanted individuals, but also the identity and balanced representation of mating-type genes.
Biological activities of ethanolic extracts from deep-sea antarctic marine sponges
Jerneja Ambrožič Avguštin
- We report on the screening of ethanolic extracts from 33 deep-sea Antarctic marine sponges for different biological activities. We monitored hemolysis, inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, cytotoxicity towards normal and transformed cells and growth inhibition of laboratory, commensal and clinically and ecologically relevant bacteria. The most prominent activities were associated with the extracts from sponges belonging to the genus Latrunculia, which show all of these activities. While most of these activities are associated to already known secondary metabolites, the extremely strong acetylcholinesterase inhibitory potential appears to be related to a compound unknown to date. Extracts from Tetilla leptoderma, Bathydorus cf. spinosus, Xestospongia sp., Rossella sp., Rossella cf. racovitzae and Halichondria osculum were hemolytic, with the last two also showing moderate cytotoxic potential. The antibacterial tests showed significantly greater activities of the extracts of these Antarctic sponges towards ecologically relevant bacteria from sea water and from Arctic ice. This indicates their ecological relevance for inhibition of bacterial microfouling.
Morphology and Molecules Reveal Unexpected Cryptic Diversity in the Enigmatic Genus Sinobirma Bryk, 1944 (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae)
Wolfgang A. Nässig
- The wild silkmoth genus Sinobirma Bryk, 1944 is a poorly known monotypic taxon from the eastern end of the Himalaya Range. It was convincingly proposed to be closely related to some members of an exclusively Afro-tropical group of Saturniidae, but its biogeographical and evolutionary history remains enigmatic. After examining recently collected material from Tibet, northern India, and northeastern Myanmar, we realized that this unique species, S. malaisei Bryk, 1944 only known so far from a few specimens and from a very restricted area near the border between north-eastern Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China, may in fact belong to a group of closely related cryptic species. In this work, we combined morphological comparative study, DNA barcoding, and the sequences of a nuclear marker (D2 expansion segment of the 28S rRNA gene) to unequivocally delimit three distinct species in the genus Sinobirma, of which two are described as new to science: S. myanmarensis sp. n. and S. bouyeri sp. n. An informative DNA barcode sequence was obtained from the female holotype of S. malaisei—collected in 1934—ensuring the proper assignation of this name to the newly collected and studied specimens. Our findings represent another example of the potential of coupling traditional taxonomy and DNA barcoding for revealing and solving difficult cases of cryptic diversity. This approach is now being generalized to the world fauna of Saturniidae, with the participation of most of the taxonomists studying these moths.
Species richness-environment relationships of European arthropods at two spatial grains: habitats and countries
Martin H. Entling
Ben A. Woodcock
- We study how species richness of arthropods relates to theories concerning net primary productivity, ambient energy, water-energy dynamics and spatial environmental heterogeneity. We use two datasets of arthropod richness with similar spatial extents (Scandinavia to Mediterranean), but contrasting spatial grain (local habitat and country). Samples of ground-dwelling spiders, beetles, bugs and ants were collected from 32 paired habitats at 16 locations across Europe. Species richness of these taxonomic groups was also determined for 25 European countries based on the Fauna Europaea database. We tested effects of net primary productivity (NPP), annual mean temperature (T), annual rainfall (R) and potential evapotranspiration of the coldest month (PETmin) on species richness and turnover. Spatial environmental heterogeneity within countries was considered by including the ranges of NPP, T, R and PETmin. At the local habitat grain, relationships between species richness and environmental variables differed strongly between taxa and trophic groups. However, species turnover across locations was strongly correlated with differences in T. At the country grain, species richness was significantly correlated with environmental variables from all four theories. In particular, species richness within countries increased strongly with spatial heterogeneity in T. The importance of spatial heterogeneity in T for both species turnover across locations and for species richness within countries suggests that the temperature niche is an important determinant of arthropod diversity. We suggest that, unless climatic heterogeneity is constant across sampling units, coarse-grained studies should always account for environmental heterogeneity as a predictor of arthropod species richness, just as studies with variable area of sampling units routinely consider area.
Chemical composition of modern and fossil Hippopotamid teeth and implications for paleoenvironmental reconstructions and enamel formation - Part 1: Major and minor element variation
Thomas C. Brachert
Dieter F. Mertz
- Bioapatite in mammalian teeth is readily preserved in continental sediments and represents a very important archive for reconstructions of environment and climate evolution. This project provides a comprehensive data base of major, minor and trace element and isotope tracers for tooth apatite using a variety of microanalytical techniques. The aim is to identify specific sedimentary environments and to improve our understanding on the interaction between internal metabolic processes during tooth formation and external nutritional control and secondary alteration effects. Here, we use the electron microprobe to determine the major and minor element contents of fossil and modern molar enamel, cement and dentin from Hippopotamids. Most of the studied specimens are from different ecosystems in Eastern Africa, representing modern and fossil lacustrine (Lake Kikorongo, Lake Albert, and Lake Malawi) and modern fluvial environments of the Nile River system. Secondary alteration effects - in particular FeO, MnO, SO3 and F concentrations – are 2 to 10 times higher in fossil than in modern enamel; the secondary enrichment of these components in fossil dentin and cement is even higher. In modern and fossil enamel, along sections perpendicular to the enamel-dentin junction (EDJ) or along cervix-apex profiles, P2O5 and CaO contents and the CaO/P2O5 ratios are very constant (StdDev ∼1%). Linear regression analysis reveals tight control of the MgO (R2∼0.6), Na2O and Cl variation (for both R2>0.84) along EDJ-outer enamel rim profiles, despite large concentration variations (40% to 300%) across the enamel. These minor elements show well defined distribution patterns in enamel, similar in all specimens regardless of their age and origin, as the concentration of MgO and Na2O decrease from the enamel-dentin junction (EDJ) towards the outer rim, whereas Cl displays the opposite trend. Fossil enamel from Hippopotamids which lived in the saline Lake Kikorongo have a much higher MgO/Na2O ratio (∼1.11) than those from the Neogene fossils of Lake Albert (MgO/Na2O∼0.4), which was a large fresh water lake like those in the western Branch of the East African Rift System today. Similarly, the MgO/Na2O ratio in modern enamel from the White Nile River (∼0.36), which has a Precambrian catchment of dominantly granites and gneisses and passes through several saline zones, is higher than that from the Blue Nile River, whose catchment is the Neogene volcanic Ethiopian Highland (MgO/Na2O∼0.22). Thus, particularly MgO/Na2O might be a sensitive fingerprint for environments where river and lake water have suffered strong evaporation. Enamel formation in mammals takes place at successive mineralization fronts within a confined chamber where ion and molecule transport is controlled by the surrounding enamel organ. During the secretion and maturation phases the epithelium generates different fluid composition, which in principle, should determine the final composition of enamel apatite. This is supported by co-linear relationships between MgO, Cl and Na2O which can be interpreted as binary mixing lines. However, if maturation starts after secretion is completed, the observed element distribution can only be explained by equilibration of existing and addition of new apatite during maturation. It appears the initial enamel crystallites precipitating during secretion and the newly formed bioapatite crystals during maturation equilibrate with a continuously evolving fluid. During crystallization of bioapatite the enamel fluid becomes continuously depleted in MgO and Na2O, but enriched in Cl which results in the formation of MgO, and Na2O-rich, but Cl-poor bioapatite near the EDJ and MgO- and Na2O-poor, but Cl-rich bioapatite at the outer enamel rim. The linkage between lake and river water compositions, bioavailability of elements for plants, animal nutrition and tooth formation is complex and multifaceted. The quality and limits of the MgO/Na2O and other proxies have to be established with systematic investigations relating chemical distribution patterns to sedimentary environment and to growth structures developing as secretion and maturation proceed during tooth formation.
Chemical composition of modern and fossil Hippopotamid teeth and implications for paleoenvironmental reconstructions and enamel formation - Part 2: Alkaline earth elements as tracers of watershed hydrochemistry and provenance
Thomas C. Brachert
Dieter F. Mertz
- For reconstructing environmental change in terrestrial realms the geochemistry of fossil bioapatite in bones and teeth is among the most promising applications. This study demonstrates that alkaline earth elements in enamel of Hippopotamids, in particular Ba and Sr are tracers for water provenance and hydrochemistry. The studied specimens are molar teeth from Hippopotamids found in modern and fossil lacustrine settings of the Western Branch of the East African Rift system (Lake Kikorongo, Lake Albert, and Lake Malawi) and from modern fluvial environments of the Nile River.
Concentrations in enamel vary by ca. two orders of magnitude for Ba (120–9336 μg g−1) as well as for Sr (9–2150 μg g−1). Concentration variations in enamel are partly induced during post-mortem alteration and during amelogenesis, but the major contribution originates from the variable water chemistry in the habitats of the Hippopotamids which is dominated by the lithologies and weathering processes in the watershed areas. Amelogenesis causes a distinct distribution of Ba and Sr in modern and fossil enamel, in that element concentrations increase along profiles from the outer rim towards the enamel-dentin junction by a factor of 1.3–1.5. These elements are well correlated with MgO and Na2O in single specimens, thus suggesting that their distribution is determined by a common, single process. Presuming that the shape of the tooth is established at the end of the secretion process and apatite composition is in equilibrium with the enamel fluid, the maturation process can be modeled by closed system Rayleigh crystallization.
Enamel from many Hippopotamid specimens has Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca which are typical for herbivores, but the compositions extend well into the levels of plants and carnivores. Within enamel from single specimens these element ratios covary and provide a specific fingerprint of the Hippopotamid habitat. All specimens together, however, define subparallel trends with different Ba/Sr ranging from 0.1 to 3. This ratio varies on spatial and temporal scales and traces provenance signals as well as the fractionation of the elements in the hydrological cycle. Thus, Sr concentrations and Ba/Sr in enamel differentiate between habitats having basaltic or Archean crustal rocks as the ultimate sources of Sr and Ba. The provenance signal is modulated by climate change. In Miocene to Pleistocene enamel from the Lake Albert region, Ba/Sr decreases systematically with time from about 2 to 0.5. This trend can be correlated with changes in climate from humid to arid in vegetation from C3 to C4 biomass as well as with increasing evaporation of the lake water. The most plausible explanation is that with time, Ba mobility decreased relative to that of Sr. This can arise if preferential adsorption of Ba to clay and Fe-oxide-hydroxide is related to increasing aridification. Additionally, weathering solutions and lake water can become increasingly alkaline and barite becomes stable. In this case, Ba will be preferentially deposited on the watershed of Lake Albert and rivers with low Ba/Sr will feed the habitats of the Hippopotamids.
A new golden frog species of the genus Diasporus (Amphibia, Eleutherodactylidae) from the Cordillera Central, western Panama
- We describe the frog species Diasporus citrinobapheussp. n. from the Cordillera Central of western Panama. The new species differs from all other species in its genus in coloration, disk cover and disk pad shape, skin texture, advertisement call, and size. It is most similar to Diasporus tigrillo, from which it differs in dorsal skin texture, relative tibia length, number of vomerine teeth, ventral coloration, dorsal markings, and relative tympanum size, and to Diasporus gularis, from which it can be distinguished by the lack of membranes between the toes, adult size, posterior thigh coloration, and position of the choanae. We provide data on morpho- logy, vocalization, and distribution of the new species, as well as brief information on its natural history.