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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Marine Population Connectivity: Range Boundaries And Climate Change, Rhiannon Leigh Rognstad Dec 2014

Marine Population Connectivity: Range Boundaries And Climate Change, Rhiannon Leigh Rognstad

Theses and Dissertations

Population connectivity, particularly in open systems, is an important metric for understanding population-level processes on both ecological and evolutionary timescales. In coastal marine systems, adults are typically sedentary and dispersal occurs primarily during a larval stage when individuals are transported in ocean currents. Because coastal marine populations exist as networks of interconnected subpopulations, variation in the magnitude and extent of population connectivity can have profound effects on population dynamics and species distribution limits. Connectivity is a complex process, affected by a multitude of factors, including adult inputs and physical dispersal, which operate at multiple scales and may interact. This dissertation ...


Thermal Ecology And Physiology Of An Intertidal Predator-Prey System: Pisaster Ochraceus And Mytilus Californianus, Cristian J. Monaco Dec 2014

Thermal Ecology And Physiology Of An Intertidal Predator-Prey System: Pisaster Ochraceus And Mytilus Californianus, Cristian J. Monaco

Theses and Dissertations

Untangling natural systems’ complexity requires understanding the mechanisms responsible for organisms’ responses to environmental change. Recently, significant advances have been made by recognizing the relevance of direct and indirect effects, which take place when multiple biotic and abiotic factors influence each other. I examined potential direct effects of environmental variables on a predator-prey interaction, as well as potential indirect effects of these variables on the interaction itself. I placed emphasis on behavioral and physiological adaptations, which would potentially contribute/modify these effects. My study system was comprised of a rocky intertidal keystone predator, the sea star Pisaster ochraceus, and its ...


Cold Hardiness And Deacclimation Of Overwintering Papilio Zelicaon Pupae, Caroline M. Williams, Nicolai Annegret, Brent J. Sinclair, Laura V. Ferguson, Mark A. Bernards, Jessica J. Hellmann Dec 2014

Cold Hardiness And Deacclimation Of Overwintering Papilio Zelicaon Pupae, Caroline M. Williams, Nicolai Annegret, Brent J. Sinclair, Laura V. Ferguson, Mark A. Bernards, Jessica J. Hellmann

Biology Publications

Seasonally-acquired cold tolerance can be reversed at warm temperatures, leaving temperate ectotherms vulnerable to cold snaps. However, deacclimation, and its underlying mechanisms, has not been well-explored in insects. Swallowtail butterflies are widely distributed but in some cases their range is limited by low temperature and their cold tolerance is seasonally acquired, implying that they experience mortality resulting from deacclimation. We investigated cold tolerance and hemolymph composition of Anise swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) pupae during overwintering in the laboratory, and after four days exposure to warm temperatures in spring. Overwintering pupae had supercooling points around − 20.5 °C and survived brief exposures ...


Small Mammals Matter? Linking Plant Invasion, Biotic Resistance, And Climate Change In Post-Fire Plant Communities, Rory Charles O'Connor Dec 2014

Small Mammals Matter? Linking Plant Invasion, Biotic Resistance, And Climate Change In Post-Fire Plant Communities, Rory Charles O'Connor

Theses and Dissertations

The introduction and establishment of exotic species can profoundly alter ecosystems. Two exotic species drastically changing the landscape of deserts in western North America are Bromus tectorum L. and Bromus rubens L. Through the buildup of biomass and slow decomposition rates in deserts these two exotic annual grasses can alter fire regimes that change the plant and animal community dynamics in the ecosystems. To better understand the ecological mechanisms that could restrict or alter the patterns of invasive plant establishment we established a replicated full factorial experiment in the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. The combinations of factors being manipulated ...


Collapse Of An Ecological Network In Ancient Egypt, Justin Yeakel, Mathias Pires, Lars Rudolf, Nathaniel Dominy Oct 2014

Collapse Of An Ecological Network In Ancient Egypt, Justin Yeakel, Mathias Pires, Lars Rudolf, Nathaniel Dominy

Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Scholarship

The dynamics of ecosystem collapse are fundamental to determining how and why biological communities change through time, as well as the potential effects of extinctions on ecosystems. Here, we integrate depictions of mammals from Egyptian antiquity with direct lines of paleontological and archeological evidence to infer local extinctions and community dynamics over a 6,000-y span. The unprecedented temporal resolution of this dataset enables examination of how the tandem effects of human population growth and climate change can disrupt mammalian communities. We show that the extinctions of mammals in Egypt were nonrandom and that destabilizing changes in community composition coincided ...


Acclimation Of Photosynthetic Temperature Optima Of Temperate And Boreal Tree Species In Response To Experimental Forest Warming, Kerrie M. Sendall, Peter B. Reich, Changming Zhao, Hou Jihua, Xia Orong Wei, Artur Stefanski, Karen Rice, Roy L. Rich, Rebecca A. Montgomery Oct 2014

Acclimation Of Photosynthetic Temperature Optima Of Temperate And Boreal Tree Species In Response To Experimental Forest Warming, Kerrie M. Sendall, Peter B. Reich, Changming Zhao, Hou Jihua, Xia Orong Wei, Artur Stefanski, Karen Rice, Roy L. Rich, Rebecca A. Montgomery

Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Rising temperatures caused by climate change could negatively alter plant ecosystems if temperatures exceed optimal

temperatures for carbon gain. Such changes may threaten temperature-sensitive species, causing local extinctions and

range migrations. This study examined the optimal temperature of net photosynthesis (Topt) of two boreal and four

temperate deciduous tree species grown in the field in northern Minnesota, United States under two contrasting temperature

regimes. We hypothesized that Topt would be higher in temperate than co-occurring boreal species, with

temperate species exhibiting greater plasticity in Topt, resulting in better acclimation to elevated temperatures. The

chamberless experiment, located at two sites in ...


Natural Selection On Thermal Performance In A Novel Thermal Environment, Michael L. Logan, Robert M. Cox, Ryan Calsbeek Sep 2014

Natural Selection On Thermal Performance In A Novel Thermal Environment, Michael L. Logan, Robert M. Cox, Ryan Calsbeek

Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Scholarship

Tropical ectotherms are thought to be especially vulnerable to climate change because they are adapted to relatively stable temperature regimes, such that even small increases in environmental temperature may lead to large decreases in physiological performance. One way in which tropical organisms may mitigate the detrimental effects of warming is through evolutionary change in thermal physiology. The speed and magnitude of this response depend, in part, on the strength of climate-driven selection. However, many ectotherms use behavioral adjustments to maintain preferred body temperatures in the face of environmental variation. These behaviors may shelter individuals from natural selection, preventing evolutionary adaptation ...


Wetland Sediment Nutrient Flux In Response To Proposed Hydrologic Reconnection And Climate Warming, James T. Smit Aug 2014

Wetland Sediment Nutrient Flux In Response To Proposed Hydrologic Reconnection And Climate Warming, James T. Smit

Masters Theses

Wetland restoration and creation are common practices, but wetlands restored or created on former agricultural land may act as a source of nutrients, rather than as a sink. I studied P sediment-water exchange in two flooded celery fields (west and east), which are designated for wetland restoration, in order to assess the effects that hydrologic reconnection of the area to an adjacent creek would have on P dynamics. We also examined the influence of climate change, specifically warming temperatures, by conducting the sediment-water exchange experiments at ambient and plus 2°C temperature conditions. Lab-based sediment core incubations revealed that TP ...


Establishment Of Larrea Tridentata At The Northern Edge Of The Modern Mojave Desert: Insights From Neotoma Paleomiddens, Clare Steinberg Jul 2014

Establishment Of Larrea Tridentata At The Northern Edge Of The Modern Mojave Desert: Insights From Neotoma Paleomiddens, Clare Steinberg

Biology ETDs

Shifting climates affect the composition of biological communities. If environmental conditions change sufficiently, new species can invade, leading to large-scale community turnover. Understanding how and why such shifts occur is crucial in this era of anthropogenic global change. Paleontological studies provide a valuable long-term perspective of the dynamics of community turnover. Here, we examine changes in the plant community over the past 34 thousand years in what is now the northern Mojave Desert. This time period includes the last glacial maximum as well as numerous smaller climatic fluctuations in the Holocene and the end of the Pleistocene. We quantified plant ...


Changes In Spring Arrival And Fall Departure Dates Of Migratory Birds As An Indication Of Local Climate Change: A Phenological Study Of New York State's Capital Region Using Citizen Science, Olivia C. Townsend Jun 2014

Changes In Spring Arrival And Fall Departure Dates Of Migratory Birds As An Indication Of Local Climate Change: A Phenological Study Of New York State's Capital Region Using Citizen Science, Olivia C. Townsend

Honors Theses

Climate change is becoming an increasingly important topic of scientific research, and studies commonly analyze biological indicators. Migratory birds are responsive to environmental changes because life cycles depend on finding proper seasonal locations. eBird is a citizen science database launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society in 2002, and this study focused on eBird data to analyze migratory shifts over the past two decades for the Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator), Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Snow Goose (Chen ...


Inferring Herpetofaunal Distributions And Habitat Preferences For Conservation Planning, Lisa M. Prowant May 2014

Inferring Herpetofaunal Distributions And Habitat Preferences For Conservation Planning, Lisa M. Prowant

Master's Theses

Global climate change is a serious threat to global biodiversity (IPCC, 2001). Due to their limited dispersal ability, reptiles and amphibians might be more vulnerable to rapid climate change than are other taxonomic groups (Gibbons et al., 2000). Herpetofauna in south-central Kansas was sampled from May through August in 2012 and 2013. Seven study sites spanning Meade, Clark, Comanche, and Barber counties were sampled. Drift fence and cover-board traps were arranged in transects at each site to capture reptiles and amphibians. Species were also sampled through surveys on all-terrain vehicles and on foot. Two thousand nine hundred and forty five ...


Range Collapse, Genetic Differentiation, And Climate Change: An Ecological History Of The Diana Fritillary, Speyeria Diana And Projections For Its Future, Carrie Wells May 2014

Range Collapse, Genetic Differentiation, And Climate Change: An Ecological History Of The Diana Fritillary, Speyeria Diana And Projections For Its Future, Carrie Wells

All Dissertations

The geographic ranges of most plant and animal species are tied closely to climatic factors, including temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture. For this reason, recent changes in the global climate due to human activities are predicted to have profound effects on natural populations, communities and ecosystems over a relatively short period of time. Combined effects from global warming and other anthropogenic activities such as land-use changes, pollution, and habitat loss/fragmentation, are altering species' distributions faster than they can be documented. Recent climate change has also been shown to alter species' breeding behaviors and alter the synchrony and timing of ...


Sex Ratio Bias And Extinction Risk In An Isolated Population Of Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus), Kristine L. Grayson, Nicola J. Mitchell, Joanne M. Monks, Susan N. Keall, Joanna N. Wilson, Nicola J. Nelson Apr 2014

Sex Ratio Bias And Extinction Risk In An Isolated Population Of Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus), Kristine L. Grayson, Nicola J. Mitchell, Joanne M. Monks, Susan N. Keall, Joanna N. Wilson, Nicola J. Nelson

Biology Faculty Publications

Understanding the mechanisms underlying population declines is critical for preventing the extinction of endangered populations. Positive feedbacks can hasten the process of collapse and create an ‘extinction vortex,’ particularly in small, isolated populations. We provide a case study of a male-biased sex ratio creating the conditions for extinction in a natural population of tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) on North Brother Island in the Cook Strait of New Zealand. We combine data from long term mark-recapture surveys, updated model estimates of hatchling sex ratio, and population viability modeling to measure the impacts of sex ratio skew. Results from the mark-recapture surveys show ...


Biochemical Markers For Thermal Stress In North American Pikas (Ochotona Princeps), Austin Nearpass Apr 2014

Biochemical Markers For Thermal Stress In North American Pikas (Ochotona Princeps), Austin Nearpass

Life and Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Theses

North American pikas (Ochotona princeps) are a high altitude keystone species that are indicative of that ecosystem’s condition. Over the last twenty years, numerous populations of pikas have declined or disappeared. Because pikas are exceptionally sensitive to high ambient temperatures, it has been suggested that these declines are due to thermal stress imposed by climate change. Thermal stress has been shown to cause oxidative stress through an increased cellular concentration of oxygen radicals. Therefore, levels of oxidative stress markers are strong indicators of thermal stress. In order to quantify the degree of thermal stress placed on pika populations, fecal ...


Snowshoe Hares Display Limited Phenotypic Plasticity To Mismatch In Seasonal Camouflage, Marketa Zimova, L. Scott Mills, Paul M. Lukacs, Michael S. Mitchell Mar 2014

Snowshoe Hares Display Limited Phenotypic Plasticity To Mismatch In Seasonal Camouflage, Marketa Zimova, L. Scott Mills, Paul M. Lukacs, Michael S. Mitchell

Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences Faculty Publications

As duration of snow cover decreases owing to climate change, species undergoing seasonal colour moults can become colour mismatched with their background. The immediate adaptive solution to this mismatch is phenotypic plasticity, either in phenology of seasonal colour moults or in behaviours that reduce mismatch or its consequences. We observed nearly 200 snowshoe hares across a wide range of snow conditions and two study sites in Montana, USA, and found minimal plasticity in response to mismatch between coat colour and background. We found that moult phenology varied between study sites, likely due to differences in photoperiod and climate, but was ...


How Important Is Land-Based Foraging To Polar Bears (Ursus Maritimus) During The Ice-Free Season In Western Hudson Bay? An Examination Of Dietary Shifts, Compositional Patterns, Behavioral Observations And Energetic Contributions, Linda J. Gormezano Feb 2014

How Important Is Land-Based Foraging To Polar Bears (Ursus Maritimus) During The Ice-Free Season In Western Hudson Bay? An Examination Of Dietary Shifts, Compositional Patterns, Behavioral Observations And Energetic Contributions, Linda J. Gormezano

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Trophic mismatches between predators and their prey are increasing as climate change causes decoupling of phenological relationships. Predators linked to the life histories of a particular prey will have a more difficult time persisting through environmental change unless they can alter their behavior to maintain the historical match or possess the ability to pursue alternate prey. Arctic predators typically possess flexible foraging strategies to survive in the labile environment, however, quantifying the limits of those strategies can be difficult when life history information is incomplete. In such cases, piecing together different aspects of a predator's foraging behavior, particularly when ...


Evolution Of Tnf-Induced Apoptosis Reveals 550 My Of Functional Conservation, Steven D. Quistad, Aleksandr Stotland, Katie Barott, Cameron A. Smurthwaite, Brett J. Hilton, Juris A. Grasis, Roland Wolkowicz, Forest Rohwer Jan 2014

Evolution Of Tnf-Induced Apoptosis Reveals 550 My Of Functional Conservation, Steven D. Quistad, Aleksandr Stotland, Katie Barott, Cameron A. Smurthwaite, Brett J. Hilton, Juris A. Grasis, Roland Wolkowicz, Forest Rohwer

Departmental Papers (Biology)

The Precambrian explosion led to the rapid appearance of most major animal phyla alive today. It has been argued that the complexity of life has steadily increased since that event. Here we challenge this hypothesis through the characterization of apoptosis in reef-building corals, representatives of some of the earliest animals. Bioinformatic analysis reveals that all of the major components of the death receptor pathway are present in coral with high-predicted structural conservation with Homo sapiens. The TNF receptor-ligand superfamilies (TNFRSF/TNFSF) are central mediators of the death receptor pathway, and the predicted proteome of Acropora digitifera contains more putative coral ...


Egg Cannibalism In A Gull Colony Increases With Sea Surface Temperature, Lynelle M. Weldon, Shandelle M. Henson, James Hayward, Brianna G. Payne, Libby C. Megna, Andre E. Moncrieff Jan 2014

Egg Cannibalism In A Gull Colony Increases With Sea Surface Temperature, Lynelle M. Weldon, Shandelle M. Henson, James Hayward, Brianna G. Payne, Libby C. Megna, Andre E. Moncrieff

Faculty Publications

Cannibalism occurs regularly across a broad range of taxa with a variety of ecological and evolutionary consequences. Rises in sea surface temperature (SST) have been linked to increased cannibalism in some species, including polar bears (Ursus maritimus), Peruvian anchovy (Engraulis ringens), and Peruvian hake (Merluccius gayi peruanus), and might be expected in birds that depend on marine food webs for sustenance. Increased SSTs are associated with lowered ocean thermoclines and weakened upwellings. These changes, in turn, lead to decreased productivity in surface water and movement of surviving forage fish to deeper water, thereby food-stressing surface feeders such as gulls, diminishing ...


Comparison Of Phenology And Pathogen Prevalence, Including Infection With The Ehrlichia Muris-Like (Eml) Agent, Of Ixodes Scapularis Removed From Soldiers In The Midwestern And Northeastern United States Over A 15 Year Period (1997-2012), Ellen Stromdahl, Sarah Hamer, Sarah Jenkins, Lynne Sloan, Phillip Williamson, Erik Foster, Robyn Nadolny, Chad Elkins, Mary Vince, Bobbi Pritt Jan 2014

Comparison Of Phenology And Pathogen Prevalence, Including Infection With The Ehrlichia Muris-Like (Eml) Agent, Of Ixodes Scapularis Removed From Soldiers In The Midwestern And Northeastern United States Over A 15 Year Period (1997-2012), Ellen Stromdahl, Sarah Hamer, Sarah Jenkins, Lynne Sloan, Phillip Williamson, Erik Foster, Robyn Nadolny, Chad Elkins, Mary Vince, Bobbi Pritt

Biological Sciences Faculty Publications

Background: Since 1997, human-biting ticks submitted to the Department of Defense Human Tick Test Kit Program (HTTKP) of the US Army Public Health Command have been tested for pathogens by PCR. We noted differences in the phenology and infection prevalence among Ixodes scapularis ticks submitted from military installations in different geographic regions. The aim of this study was to characterize these observed differences, comparing the phenology and pathogen infection rates of I. scapularis submitted from soldiers at two sites in the upper Midwest ( Camp Ripley, MN, and Ft. McCoy, WI) and one site in the northeastern US (Ft. Indiantown Gap ...


Approaches To Restoration: Assessing The Roles Of Structure And Function In Saltmarsh Restoration In Light Of Climate Change, Abby O. Pearson Jan 2014

Approaches To Restoration: Assessing The Roles Of Structure And Function In Saltmarsh Restoration In Light Of Climate Change, Abby O. Pearson

All Theses & Dissertations

The aim of this thesis is to review the current goals and methods for salt marsh restoration, to question how those goals and methods may change in light of global change, and to present a case study that offers a look at the kinds of information that can be gleaned by studying both structure and functionality in restoration.


Here Be Dragons: Functional Analyses Of Thermal Adaptation And Biogeography Of Reptiles In A Changing World, Rory S. Telemeco Jan 2014

Here Be Dragons: Functional Analyses Of Thermal Adaptation And Biogeography Of Reptiles In A Changing World, Rory S. Telemeco

Graduate Theses and Dissertations

Environments around the world are changing rapidly and a major challenge for modern biologists is to understand how these changes affect organisms, communities, and ecosystems. Ideally, we would like to predict which taxa/populations are likely to remain stable, increase, or decline in response to predicted environmental perturbations. This information will allow us to create informed management plans and will provide insight into the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape biodiversity. For my Ph.D. dissertation, I examined factors that mediate the responses of reptile populations to rapid changes in the thermal environment, explored the ability of these factors to ...


Nitrogen Fertilization Has A Stronger Effect On Soil Nitrogen-Fixing Bacterial Communities Than Elevated Atmospheric Co2, Sean T. Berthrong, Chris M. Yeager, Laverne Gallegos-Graves, Blaire Steven, Stephanie A. Eichorst, Robert B. Jackson, Cheryl R. Kuske Jan 2014

Nitrogen Fertilization Has A Stronger Effect On Soil Nitrogen-Fixing Bacterial Communities Than Elevated Atmospheric Co2, Sean T. Berthrong, Chris M. Yeager, Laverne Gallegos-Graves, Blaire Steven, Stephanie A. Eichorst, Robert B. Jackson, Cheryl R. Kuske

Scholarship and Professional Work - LAS

Biological nitrogen fixation is the primary supply of N to most ecosystems, yet there is considerable uncertainty about how N-fixing bacteria will respond to global change factors such as increasing atmospheric CO2 and N deposition. Using the nifH gene as a molecular marker, we studied how the community structure of N-fixing soil bacteria from temperate pine, aspen, and sweet gum stands and a brackish tidal marsh responded to multiyear elevated CO2 conditions. We also examined how N availability, specifically, N fertilization, interacted with elevated CO2 to affect these communities in the temperate pine forest. Based on data ...


On The Challenges Of Modeling The Net Radiative Forcing Of Wetlands: Reconsidering Mitsch Et Al. 2013, Scott C. Neubauer Jan 2014

On The Challenges Of Modeling The Net Radiative Forcing Of Wetlands: Reconsidering Mitsch Et Al. 2013, Scott C. Neubauer

Biology Publications

Wetlands play a role in regulating global climate by removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and sequestering it as soil carbon, and by emitting methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) to the atmosphere. In a recent article in this journal (Mitsch et al. Landscape Ecol 28:583–597, 2013), CO2 sequestration and CH4 emissions were modeled for several freshwater wetlands that vary in vegetation type, climate, and hydrology. The authors of that study made significant errors that caused them to underestimate the importance of wetland CH4 emissions on climate dynamics. Here, I reanalyze the Mitsch et al. dataset and ...