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    Neural and Response Correlations to Complex Natural Sounds in the Auditory Midbrain. 

    Lyzwa, Dominika; Wörgötter, Florentin
    Frontiers in neural circuits 2016; 10: Art. 89
    How natural communication sounds are spatially represented across the inferior colliculus, the main center of convergence for auditory information in the midbrain, is not known. The neural representation of the acoustic stimuli results from the interplay of locally differing input and the organization of spectral and temporal neural preferences that change gradually across the nucleus. This raises the question of how similar the neural representation of the communication sounds is across these gradients of neural preferences, and whether it also changes gradually. Analyzed neural recordings were multi-unit cluster spike trains from guinea pigs presented with a spectrotemporally rich set of eleven species-specific communication sounds. Using cross-correlation, we analyzed the response similarity of spiking activity across a broad frequency range for neurons of similar and different frequency tuning. Furthermore, we separated the contribution of the stimulus to the correlations to investigate whether similarity is only attributable to the stimulus, or, whether interactions exist between the multi-unit clusters that lead to neural correlations and whether these follow the same representation as the response correlations. We found that similarity of responses is dependent on the neurons' spatial distance for similarly and differently frequency-tuned neurons, and that similarity decreases gradually with spatial distance. Significant neural correlations exist, and contribute to the total response similarity. Our findings suggest that for multi-unit clusters in the mammalian inferior colliculus, the gradual response similarity with spatial distance to natural complex sounds is shaped by neural interactions and the gradual organization of neural preferences.
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    Key Components of Different Plant Defense Pathways Are Dispensable for Powdery Mildew Resistance of the Arabidopsis mlo2 mlo6 mlo12 Triple Mutant. 

    Kuhn, Hannah; Lorek, Justine; Kwaaitaal, Mark; Consonni, Chiara; Becker, Katia; Micali, Cristina; Ver Loren van Themaat, Emiel; Bednarek, Paweł; Raaymakers, Tom M.; Appiano, Michela; et al.
    Bai, YulingMeldau, DorotheaBaum, StephaniConrath, UweFeussner, IvoPanstruga, Ralph
    Frontiers in plant science 2017; 8: Art. 1006
    Loss of function mutations of particular plant MILDEW RESISTANCE LOCUS O (MLO) genes confer durable and broad-spectrum penetration resistance against powdery mildew fungi. Here, we combined genetic, transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses to explore the defense mechanisms in the fully resistant Arabidopsis thaliana mlo2 mlo6 mlo12 triple mutant. We found that this genotype unexpectedly overcomes the requirement for indolic antimicrobials and defense-related secretion, which are critical for incomplete resistance of mlo2 single mutants. Comparative microarray-based transcriptome analysis of mlo2 mlo6 mlo12 mutants and wild type plants upon Golovinomyces orontii inoculation revealed an increased and accelerated accumulation of many defense-related transcripts. Despite the biotrophic nature of the interaction, this included the non-canonical activation of a jasmonic acid/ethylene-dependent transcriptional program. In contrast to a non-adapted powdery mildew pathogen, the adapted powdery mildew fungus is able to defeat the accumulation of defense-relevant indolic metabolites in a MLO protein-dependent manner. We suggest that a broad and fast activation of immune responses in mlo2 mlo6 mlo12 plants can compensate for the lack of single or few defense pathways. In addition, our results point to a role of Arabidopsis MLO2, MLO6, and MLO12 in enabling defense suppression during invasion by adapted powdery mildew fungi.
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    Defoliating Insect Mass Outbreak Affects Soil N Fluxes and Tree N Nutrition in Scots Pine Forests. 

    Grüning, Maren M.; Simon, Judy; Rennenberg, Heinz; L-M-Arnold, Anne
    Frontiers in plant science 2017; 8: Art. 954
    Biotic stress by mass outbreaks of defoliating pest insects does not only affect tree performance by reducing its photosynthetic capacity, but also changes N cycling in the soil of forest ecosystems. However, how insect induced defoliation affects soil N fluxes and, in turn, tree N nutrition is not well-studied. In the present study, we quantified N input and output fluxes via dry matter input, throughfall, and soil leachates. Furthermore, we investigated the effects of mass insect herbivory on tree N acquisition (i.e., organic and inorganic 15N net uptake capacity of fine roots) as well as N pools in fine roots and needles in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forest over an entire vegetation period. Plots were either infested by the nun moth (Lymantria monacha L.) or served as controls. Our results show an increased N input by insect feces, litter, and throughfall at the infested plots compared to controls, as well as increased leaching of nitrate. However, the additional N input into the soil did not increase, but reduce inorganic and organic net N uptake capacity of Scots pine roots. N pools in the fine roots and needles of infested trees showed an accumulation of total N, amino acid-N, protein-N, and structural N in the roots and the remaining needles as a compensatory response triggered by defoliation. Thus, although soil N availability was increased via surplus N input, trees did not respond with an increased N acquisition, but rather invested resources into defense by accumulation of amino acid-N and protein-N as a survival strategy.
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    Driving factors and temporal fluctuation of Collembola communities and reproductive mode across forest types and regions. 

    Pollierer, Melanie M.; Scheu, Stefan
    Ecology and evolution 2017-06; 7(12) p.4390-4403
    Despite the major role of Collembola in forest soil animal food webs, ecological and evolutionary determinants of their community composition are not well understood. We investigated abundance, community structure, life forms, and reproductive mode of Collembola in four different forest types (coniferous, young managed beech, old managed beech, and unmanaged beech forests) representing different management intensities. Forest types were replicated within three regions across Germany: the Schorfheide-Chorin, the Hainich, and the Swabian Alb, differing in geology, altitude, and climate. To account for temporal variation, samples were taken twice with an interval of 3 years. To identify driving factors of Collembola community structure, we applied structural equation modeling, including an index of forest management intensity, abiotic and biotic factors such as pH, C-to-N ratio of leaf litter, microbial biomass, and fungal-to-bacterial ratio. Collembola abundance, biomass, and community composition differed markedly between years, with most pronounced differences in the Schorfheide, the region with the harshest climatic conditions. There, temporal fluctuations of parthenogenetic Collembola were significantly higher than in the other regions. In the year with the more favorable conditions, parthenogenetic species flourished, with their abundance depending mainly on abiotic, density-independent factors. This is in line with the "Structured Resource Theory of Sexual Reproduction," stating that parthenogenetic species are favored if density-independent factors, such as desiccation, frost or flooding, prevail. In contrast, sexual species in the same year were mainly influenced by resource quality-related factors such as the fungal-to-bacterial ratio and the C-to-N ratio of leaf litter. The influence of forest management intensity on abundances was low, indicating that disturbance through forest management plays a minor role. Accordingly, differences in community composition were more pronounced between regions than between different forest types, pointing to the importance of regional factors.
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    Habitat selection by Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is primarily driven by avoidance of human activity during day and prey availability during night. 

    Filla, Marc; Premier, Joseph; Magg, Nora; Dupke, Claudia; Khorozyan, Igor; Waltert, Matthias; Bufka, Luděk; Heurich, Marco
    Ecology and evolution 2017-08; 7(16) p.6367-6381
    The greatest threat to the protected Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Central Europe is human-induced mortality. As the availability of lynx prey often peaks in human-modified areas, lynx have to balance successful prey hunting with the risk of encounters with humans. We hypothesized that lynx minimize this risk by adjusting habitat choices to the phases of the day and over seasons. We predicted that (1) due to avoidance of human-dominated areas during daytime, lynx range use is higher at nighttime, that (2) prey availability drives lynx habitat selection at night, whereas high cover, terrain inaccessibility, and distance to human infrastructure drive habitat selection during the day, and that (3) habitat selection also differs between seasons, with altitude being a dominant factor in winter. To test these hypotheses, we analyzed telemetry data (GPS, VHF) of 10 lynx in the Bohemian Forest Ecosystem (Germany, Czech Republic) between 2005 and 2013 using generalized additive mixed models and considering various predictor variables. Night ranges exceeded day ranges by more than 10%. At night, lynx selected open habitats, such as meadows, which are associated with high ungulate abundance. By contrast, during the day, lynx selected habitats offering dense understorey cover and rugged terrain away from human infrastructure. In summer, land-cover type greatly shaped lynx habitats, whereas in winter, lynx selected lower altitudes. We concluded that open habitats need to be considered for more realistic habitat models and contribute to future management and conservation (habitat suitability, carrying capacity) of Eurasian lynx in Central Europe.
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    Exploring Niches for Short-Season Grain Legumes in Semi-Arid Eastern Kenya - Coping with the Impacts of Climate Variability. 

    Sennhenn, Anne; Njarui, Donald M. G.; Maass, Brigitte L.; Whitbread, Anthony M.
    Frontiers in plant science 2017; 8: Art. 699
    Climate variability is the major risk to agricultural production in semi-arid agroecosystems and the key challenge to sustain farm livelihoods for the 500 million people who inhabit these areas worldwide. Short-season grain legumes have great potential to address this challenge and help to design more resilient and productive farming systems. However, grain legumes display a great diversity and differ widely in growth, development, and resource use efficiency. Three contrasting short season grain legumes common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] and lablab [Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet] were selected to assess their agricultural potential with respect to climate variability and change along the Machakos-Makueni transect in semi-arid Eastern Kenya. This was undertaken using measured data [a water response trial conducted during 2012/13 and 2013/14 in Machakos, Kenya] and simulated data using the Agricultural Production System sIMulator (APSIM). The APSIM crop model was calibrated and validated to simulate growth and development of short-season grain legumes in semi-arid environments. Water use efficiency (WUE) was used as indicator to quantify the production potential. The major traits of adaptation include early flowering and pod and seed set before the onset of terminal drought. Early phenology together with adapted canopy architecture allowed more optimal water use and greater partitioning of dry matter into seed (higher harvest index). While common bean followed a comparatively conservative strategy of minimizing water loss through crop transpiration, the very short development time and compact growth habit limited grain yield to rarely exceed 1,000 kg ha-1. An advantage of this strategy was relatively stable yields independent of in-crop rainfall or season length across the Machakos-Makueni transect. The growth habit of cowpea in contrast minimized water loss through soil evaporation with rapid ground cover and dry matter production, reaching very high grain yields at high potential sites (3,000 kg ha-1) but being highly susceptible to in-season drought. Lablab seemed to be best adapted to dry environments. Its canopy architecture appeared to be best in compromising between the investment in biomass as a prerequisite to accumulate grain yield by minimizing water loss through soil evaporation and crop transpiration. This lead to grain yields of up to 2,000 kg ha-1 at high potential sites and >1,000 kg ha-1 at low potential sites. The variance of observed and simulated WUE was high and no clear dependency on total rainfall alone was observed for all three short-season grain legumes, highlighting that pattern of water use is also important in determining final WUEbiomass and WUEgrain. Mean WUEgrain was lowest for cowpea (1.5-3.5 kggrain ha-1 mm-1) and highest for lablab (5-7 kggrain ha-1 mm-1) reflecting the high susceptibility to drought of cowpea and the good adaptation to dry environments of lablab. Results highlight that, based on specific morphological, phonological, and physiological characteristics, the three short-season grain legumes follow different strategies to cope with climate variability. The climate-smart site-specific utilization of the three legumes offers promising options to design more resilient and productive farming systems in semi-arid Eastern Kenya.
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    Modeling Allometric Relationships in Leaves of Young Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) Grown at Different Temperature Treatments. 

    Tian, Tian; Wu, Lingtong; Henke, Michael; Ali, Basharat; Zhou, Weijun; Buck-Sorlin, Gerhard
    Frontiers in plant science 2017; 8: Art. 313
    Functional-structural plant modeling (FSPM) is a fast and dynamic method to predict plant growth under varying environmental conditions. Temperature is a primary factor affecting the rate of plant development. In the present study, we used three different temperature treatments (10/14°C, 18/22°C, and 26/30°C) to test the effect of temperature on growth and development of rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) seedlings. Plants were sampled at regular intervals (every 3 days) to obtain growth data during the length of the experiment (1 month in total). Total leaf dry mass, leaf area, leaf mass per area (LMA), width-length ratio, and the ratio of petiole length to leaf blade length (PBR), were determined and statistically analyzed, and contributed to a morphometric database. LMA under high temperature was significantly smaller than LMA under medium and low temperature, while leaves at high temperature were significantly broader. An FSPM of rapeseed seedlings featuring a growth function used for leaf extension and biomass accumulation was implemented by combining measurement with literature data. The model delivered new insights into growth and development dynamics of winter oilseed rape seedlings. The present version of the model mainly focuses on the growth of plant leaves. However, future extensions of the model could be used in practice to better predict plant growth in spring and potential cold damage of the crop.
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    Analyzing job satisfaction and preferences of employees: the case of horticultural companies in Germany 

    Meyerding, Stephan G. H.
    International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 2017; 20(5) p.765-788
    German horticulture, as well as horticulture and agriculture in other industrialized countries, faces increasing skilled labor shortage. Additionally family run businesses in horticulture and agriculture are lacking a new generation of entrepreneurs, leading to increased structural change. Insights about job attributes attractiveness as well as their impact on job satisfaction lead to a more transparent environment in which employers and employees can make better-informed decisions and redesign the professional environment, resulting in increased job satisfaction, performance and career sustainability. For this purpose, a survey was undertaken from August 2013 to February 2015 through a questionnaire examining the preferences and perception of employees (N=229) regarding job characteristics. The theoretical background of the study is Warr’s vitamin model, which assumes non-linear relationships between job characteristics and job satisfaction. The strongest connections with job satisfaction among employees are with future prospects and conflict between work-andfamily. The study is one of the first of its kind to provide a detailed overview of job satisfaction of different groups of employees in German horticulture.
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    Alterations in the Rumen Liquid-, Particle- and Epithelium-Associated Microbiota of Dairy Cows during the Transition from a Silage- and Concentrate-Based Ration to Pasture in Spring. 

    Schären, Melanie; Kiri, Kerstin; Riede, Susanne; Gardener, Mark; Meyer, Ulrich; Hummel, Jürgen; Urich, Tim; Breves, Gerhard; Dänicke, Sven
    Frontiers in microbiology 2017; 8: Art. 744
    In spring dairy cows are often gradually transitioned from a silage- and concentrate-based ration (total mixed ration, TMR) to pasture. Rumen microbiota adaptability is a key feature of ruminant survival strategy. However, only little is known on the temporal and spatial microbial alterations involved. This study aims to investigate how the rumen liquid (LAAB), particle (PAAB), and epithelium (EAAB) associated archaea and bacteria are influenced by this nutritional change. A 10-wk trial was performed, including 10 rumen-fistulated dairy cows, equally divided into a pasture- and a confinement- group (PG and CG). The CG stayed on a TMR-based ration, while the PG was gradually transitioned from TMR to pasture (wk 1: TMR-only, wk 2: 3 h/day on pasture, wk 3 & 4: 12 h/day on pasture, wk 5-10: pasture-only). In wk 1, wk 5, and wk 10 samples of solid and liquid rumen contents, and papillae biopsies were collected. The DNA was isolated, and PCR-SSCP and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing analysis were performed. Cluster analysis revealed a higher similarity between LAAB and PAAB, compared to the EAAB, characterized by higher species diversity. At all three locations the microbiota was significantly influenced by the ration change, opposite the generally acknowledged hypothesis that the EAAB remain more consistent throughout dietary changes. Even though the animals in the PG were already on a full-grazing ration for 4-6 days in wk 5, the microbiota at all three locations was significantly different compared to wk 10, suggesting an adaptation period of several days to weeks. This is in line with observations made on animal level, showing a required time for adaptation of 2-3 weeks for production and metabolic variables. A large part of the rumen prokaryote species remained unaltered upon transition to pasture and exhibited a strong host influence, supporting the hypothesis that the rumen microbiota consists of a core and a variable microbiota. For the effect of the location as well as the ration change either very similar or opposite trends among member species of common taxa were observed, demonstrating that microbes that are phylogenetically close may still exhibit substantially different phenotypes and functions.
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    Possible mechanisms underlying abundance and diversity responses of nematode communities to plant diversity 

    Cortois, Roeland; Veen, G. F. Ciska; Duyts, Henk; Abbas, Maike; Strecker, Tanja; Kostenko, Olga; Eisenhauer, Nico; Scheu, Stefan; Gleixner, Gerd; De Deyn, Gerlinde B.; et al.
    van der Putten, Wim H.
    Ecosphere 2017; 8(5): Art. e01719
    Plant diversity is known to influence the abundance and diversity of belowground biota; however, patterns are not well predictable and there is still much unknown about the driving mechanisms. We analyzed changes in soil nematode community composition as affected by long-term manipulations of plant species and functional group diversity in a field experiment with plant species diversity controlled by sowing a range of 1–60 species mixtures and controlling non-sown species by hand weeding. Nematode communities contain a variety of species feeding on bacteria, fungi, plants, invertebrates, while some are omnivorous. We analyzed responses of nematode abundance and diversity to plant species and functional diversity, and used structural equation modeling (SEM) to explore the possible mechanisms underlying the observed patterns. The abundance of individuals of all nematode feeding types, except for predatory nematodes, increased with both plant species and plant functional group diversity. The abundance of microbial-feeding nematodes was related positively to aboveground plant community biomass, whereas abundance of plant-feeding nematodes was related positively to shoot C:N ratio. The abundance of predatory nematodes, in turn, was positively related to numbers of plant-feeding nematodes, but not to the abundance of microbial feeders. Interestingly, the numbers of plant-feeding nematodes per unit root mass were lowest in the high-diversity plant communities, pointing at reduced exposure to belowground herbivores when plants grow in species-diverse communities. Taxon richness of plant-feeding and microbialfeeding nematodes increased with plant species and plant functional group diversity. Increasing plant functional group diversity also enhanced taxon richness of predatory nematodes. The SEM suggests that bottom-up control effects of plant species and plant functional group diversity on abundance of nematodes in the various feeding types predominantly involve mechanistic linkages related to plant quality instead of plant quantity; especially, C:N ratios of the shoot tissues, and/or effects of plants on the soil habitat, rather than shoot quantity explained nematode abundance. Although aboveground plant properties may only partly serve as a proxy for belowground resource quality and quantity, our results encourage further studies on nematode responses to variations in plant species and plant functional diversity in relation to both quantity and quality of the belowground resources.
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    Genomic Comparison of Indigenous African and Northern European Chickens Reveals Putative Mechanisms of Stress Tolerance Related to Environmental Selection Pressure. 

    Fleming, Damarius S.; Weigend, Steffen; Simianer, Henner; Weigend, Annett; Rothschild, Max; Schmidt, Carl; Ashwell, Chris; Persia, Mike; Reecy, James; Lamont, Susan J.
    G3 (Bethesda, Md.) 2017-05-05; 7(5) p.1525-1537
    Global climate change is increasing the magnitude of environmental stressors, such as temperature, pathogens, and drought, that limit the survivability and sustainability of livestock production. Poultry production and its expansion is dependent upon robust animals that are able to cope with stressors in multiple environments. Understanding the genetic strategies that indigenous, noncommercial breeds have evolved to survive in their environment could help to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying biological traits of environmental adaptation. We examined poultry from diverse breeds and climates of Africa and Northern Europe for selection signatures that have allowed them to adapt to their indigenous environments. Selection signatures were studied using a combination of population genomic methods that employed FST , integrated haplotype score (iHS), and runs of homozygosity (ROH) procedures. All the analyses indicated differences in environment as a driver of selective pressure in both groups of populations. The analyses revealed unique differences in the genomic regions under selection pressure from the environment for each population. The African chickens showed stronger selection toward stress signaling and angiogenesis, while the Northern European chickens showed more selection pressure toward processes related to energy homeostasis. The results suggest that chromosomes 2 and 27 are the most diverged between populations and the most selected upon within the African (chromosome 27) and Northern European (chromosome 2) birds. Examination of the divergent populations has provided new insight into genes under possible selection related to tolerance of a population's indigenous environment that may be baselines for examining the genomic contribution to tolerance adaptions.
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    FnrL and Three Dnr Regulators Are Used for the Metabolic Adaptation to Low Oxygen Tension in Dinoroseobacter shibae. 

    Ebert, Matthias; Laaß, Sebastian; Thürmer, Andrea; Roselius, Louisa; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Daniel, Rolf; Härtig, Elisabeth; Jahn, Dieter
    Frontiers in microbiology 2017; 8: Art. 642
    The heterotrophic marine bacterium Dinoroseobacter shibae utilizes aerobic respiration and anaerobic denitrification supplemented with aerobic anoxygenic photosynthesis for energy generation. The aerobic to anaerobic transition is controlled by four Fnr/Crp family regulators in a unique cascade-type regulatory network. FnrL is utilizing an oxygen-sensitive Fe-S cluster for oxygen sensing. Active FnrL is inducing most operons encoding the denitrification machinery and the corresponding heme biosynthesis. Activation of gene expression of the high oxygen affinity cbb3-type and repression of the low affinity aa3-type cytochrome c oxidase is mediated by FnrL. Five regulator genes including dnrE and dnrF are directly controlled by FnrL. Multiple genes of the universal stress protein (USP) and cold shock response are further FnrL targets. DnrD, most likely sensing NO via a heme cofactor, co-induces genes of denitrification, heme biosynthesis, and the regulator genes dnrE and dnrF. DnrE is controlling genes for a putative Na+/H+ antiporter, indicating a potential role of a Na+ gradient under anaerobic conditions. The formation of the electron donating primary dehydrogenases is coordinated by FnrL and DnrE. Many plasmid encoded genes were DnrE regulated. DnrF is controlling directly two regulator genes including the Fe-S cluster biosynthesis regulator iscR, genes of the electron transport chain and the glutathione metabolism. The genes for nitrate reductase and CO dehydrogenase are repressed by DnrD and DnrF. Both regulators in concert with FnrL are inducing the photosynthesis genes. One of the major denitrification operon control regions, the intergenic region between nirS and nosR2, contains one Fnr/Dnr binding site. Using regulator gene mutant strains, lacZ-reporter gene fusions in combination with promoter mutagenesis, the function of the single Fnr/Dnr binding site for FnrL-, DnrD-, and partly DnrF-dependent nirS and nosR2 transcriptional activation was shown. Overall, the unique regulatory network of the marine bacterium D. shibae for the transition from aerobic to anaerobic growth composed of four Crp/Fnr family regulators was elucidated.
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    A Nonsense Variant in the ST14 Gene in Akhal-Teke Horses with Naked Foal Syndrome. 

    Bauer, Anina; Hiemesch, Theresa; Jagannathan, Vidhya; Neuditschko, Markus; Bachmann, Iris; Rieder, Stefan; Mikko, Sofia; Penedo, M Cecilia; Tarasova, Nadja; Vitková, Martina; et al.
    Sirtori, NicolòRoccabianca, PaolaLeeb, TossoWelle, Monika M.
    G3 (Bethesda, Md.) 2017; 7(4) p.1315-1321
    Naked foal syndrome (NFS) is a genodermatosis in the Akhal-Teke horse breed. We provide the first scientific description of this phenotype. Affected horses have almost no hair and show a mild ichthyosis. So far, all known NFS affected horses died between a few weeks and 3 yr of age. It is not clear whether a specific pathology caused the premature deaths. NFS is inherited as a monogenic autosomal recessive trait. We mapped the disease causing genetic variant to two segments on chromosomes 7 and 27 in the equine genome. Whole genome sequencing of two affected horses, two obligate carriers, and 75 control horses from other breeds revealed a single nonsynonymous genetic variant on the chromosome 7 segment that was perfectly associated with NFS. The affected horses were homozygous for ST14:c.388G>T, a nonsense variant that truncates >80% of the open reading frame of the ST14 gene (p.Glu130*). The variant leads to partial nonsense-mediated decay of the mutant transcript. Genetic variants in the ST14 gene are responsible for autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis 11 in humans. Thus, the identified equine ST14:c.388G>T variant is an excellent candidate causative variant for NFS, and the affected horses represent a large animal model for a known human genodermatosis. Our findings will enable genetic testing to avoid the nonintentional breeding of NFS-affected foals.
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    Pitfall trap sampling bias depends on body mass, temperature, and trap number: insights from an individual-based model 

    Engel, Jan; Hertzog, Lionel; Tiede, Julia; Wagg, Cameron; Ebeling, Anne; Briesen, Heiko; Weisser, Wolfgang W.
    Ecosphere 2017; 8(4): Art. e01790
    The diversity and community composition of ground arthropods is routinely analyzed by pitfall trap sampling, which is a cost- and time-effective method to gather large numbers of replicates but also known to generate data that are biased by species-specific differences in locomotory activity. Previous studies have looked at factors that influence the sampling bias. These studies, however, were limited to one or few species and did rarely quantify how the species-specific sampling bias shapes community-level diversity metrics. In this study, we systematically quantify the species-specific and community-level sampling bias with an allometric individual-based model that simulates movement and pitfall sampling of 10 generic ground arthropod species differing in body mass. We perform multiple simulation experiments covering different scenarios of pitfall trap number, spatial trap arrangement, temperature, and population density. We show that the sampling bias decreased strongly with increasing body mass, temperature, and pitfall trap number, while population density had no effect and trap arrangement only had little effect. The average movement speed of a species in the field integrates body mass and temperature effects and could be used to derive reliable estimates of absolute species abundance. We demonstrate how unbiased relative species abundance can be derived using correction factors that need only information on species body mass. We find that community-level diversity metrics are sensitive to the particular community structure, namely the relation between body mass and relative abundance across species. Generally, pitfall trap sampling flattens the rank-abundance distribution and leads to overestimations of ground arthropod Shannon diversity. We conclude that the correction of the species-specific pitfall trap sampling bias is necessary for the reliability of conclusions drawn from ground arthropod field studies. We propose bias correction is a manageable task using either body mass to derive unbiased relative abundance or the average speed to derive reliable estimates of absolute abundance from pitfall trap sampling.
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    Social-ecological traps hinder rural development in southwestern Madagascar 

    Hänke, Hendrik; Barkmann, Jan; Coral, Claudia; Enfors Kaustky, Elin; Marggraf, Rainer
    Ecology and Society 2017; 22(1): Art. 42
    The semiarid Mahafaly region in southwestern Madagascar is not only a unique biodiversity hotspot, but also one of the poorest regions in the world. Crop failures occur frequently, and despite a great number of rural development programs, no effective progress in terms of improved yields, agricultural income, or well-being among farming households has been observed. In addition to the severe development challenges in the region, environmental degradation and the loss of biodiversity are prevailing issues. This paper takes a social-ecological systems perspective to analyze why the region appears locked in poverty. Specifically, we address the socialecological interaction between environmental factors such as low and variable precipitation, the lack of sustainable intensification in agriculture resulting in recalcitrant hunger, and several environmental degradation trends. The study is based on (i) longitudinal data from 150 farming households interviewed at high temporal resolution during the course of 2014, and (ii) extensive recall surveys from the southwestern Madagascar project region. The analysis reveals a complex interplay of pronounced seasonality in income generation due to recurrent droughts and crop failures making local farmers highly risk averse. This interplay results in a gradual depletion of environmental assets and hinders the accumulation of capital in the hands of smallholder farmers, and improvements in agricultural production even where environmental conditions would allow for it. As a result, households are insufficiently buffered and insured against repetitive income and food security shocks. This can be understood as a set of interacting, partly nested social-ecological traps, which entrench the Mahafalian smallholder population in deep poverty while the productivity of the environment declines. We provide new insights on the interplay between hunger, poverty, and loss of environmental assets in a global biodiversity hotspot. Finally, we propose a set of key issues that need to be considered to unlock this severe lock-in and enable transformation toward a more sustainable development in southwestern Madagascar.
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    Mechanisms of vortices termination in the cardiac muscle. 

    Hornung, D; Biktashev, V N; Otani, N F; Shajahan, T K; Baig, T; Berg, S; Han, S; Krinsky, V I; Luther, S
    Royal Society open science 2017-03; 4(3): Art. 170024
    We propose a solution to a long-standing problem: how to terminate multiple vortices in the heart, when the locations of their cores and their critical time windows are unknown. We scan the phases of all pinned vortices in parallel with electric field pulses (E-pulses). We specify a condition on pacing parameters that guarantees termination of one vortex. For more than one vortex with significantly different frequencies, the success of scanning depends on chance, and all vortices are terminated with a success rate of less than one. We found that a similar mechanism terminates also a free (not pinned) vortex. A series of about 500 experiments with termination of ventricular fibrillation by E-pulses in pig isolated hearts is evidence that pinned vortices, hidden from direct observation, are significant in fibrillation. These results form a physical basis needed for the creation of new effective low energy defibrillation methods based on the termination of vortices underlying fibrillation.
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    Melicope stonei, section Pelea (Rutaceae), a new species from Kaua'i, Hawaiian Islands: with notes on its distribution, ecology, conservation status, and phylogenetic placement. 

    Wood, Kenneth R.; Appelhans, Marc S.; Wagner, Warren L.
    PhytoKeys(83) p.119-132
    Melicope stonei K.R. Wood, Appelhans & W.L. Wagner (section Pelea, Rutaceae), a new endemic tree species from Kaua'i, Hawaiian Islands, is described and illustrated with notes on its distribution, ecology, conservation status, and phylogenetic placement. The new species differs from its Hawaiian congeners by its unique combination of distinct carpels and ramiflorous inflorescences arising on stems below the leaves; plants monoecious; leaf blades (5-)8-30 × (4-)6-11 cm, with abaxial surface densely tomentose, especially along midribs; and very long petioles of up to 9 cm. Since its discovery in 1988, 94 individuals have been documented and are confined to a 1.5 km2 region of unique high canopy mesic forest. Melicope stonei represents a new Critically Endangered (CR) single island endemic species on Kaua'i.
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    Changing Structure and Sustainable Development for China’s Hog Sector 

    Zhang, Xiaoheng; Chu, Feng; Yu, Xiaohua; Zhou, Yingheng; Tian, Xu; Geng, Xianhui; Yang, Jinyang
    Sustainability 2017; 9(1): Art. 69
    Supply shortages and competitive disadvantages are the main problems faced by China’s hog sector. The non-essential import of pork products, triggered by competitive disadvantages, poses great challenges to hog farms. Structural changes are an important policy concern in China and elsewhere. Previous literature has ignored whether the ongoing structural changes from backyard to large farms can contribute to sustainable development. This study adopts the micro-level data of hog farms collected from Jiangsu Province, and uses a two-step metafrontier model and a primal system approach. The empirical results reveal that the ongoing structural changes are capable of boosting the growth in output in China’s hog sector, since the stronger increase in comparable technical efficiency compensates for the inappropriate technology. Furthermore, the ongoing structural changes are also beneficial in the reduction of production costs and in improving competitiveness in China’s hog sector. The decline in technical and allocative inefficiency costs, particularly for technical inefficiency costs, contributes to the cost advantage with the increasing farm size.
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    Seasonal changes in energy expenditure, body temperature and activity patterns in llamas (Lama glama). 

    Riek, Alexander; Brinkmann, Lea; Gauly, Matthias; Perica, Jurcevic; Ruf, Thomas; Arnold, Walter; Hambly, Catherine; Speakman, John R.; Gerken, Martina
    Scientific reports 2017-08-08; 7(1): Art. 7600
    Mammals typically keep their body temperature (Tb) within a narrow limit with changing environmental conditions. There are indications that some wild ungulates can exhibit certain forms of energy saving mechanisms when ambient temperatures are low and/or food is scarce. Therefore, the aim of the study was to determine if the llama, one of the most extensively kept domestic livestock species, exhibits seasonal adjustment mechanisms in terms of energy expenditure, Tb and locomotion. For that purpose llamas (N = 7) were kept in a temperate habitat on pasture. Locomotor activity, Tb (measured in the rumen) and the location of each animal were recorded continuously for one year using a telemetry system. Daily energy expenditure was measured as field metabolic rate (FMR). FMR fluctuated considerably between seasons with the lowest values found in winter (17.48 ± 3.98 MJ d-1, 402 kJ kg-0.75 d-1) and the highest in summer (25.87 ± 3.88 MJ d-1, 586 kJ kg-0.75 d-1). Llamas adjusted their energy expenditure, Tb and locomotor activity according to season and also time of day. Thus, llamas seem to have maintained the ability to reduce their energy expenditure and adjust their Tb under adverse environmental conditions as has been reported for some wild ungulates.
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    Four dimensional material movies: High speed phase-contrast tomography by backprojection along dynamically curved paths. 

    Ruhlandt, A.; Töpperwien, M.; Krenkel, M.; Mokso, R.; Salditt, T.
    Scientific reports 2017-07-26; 7(1): Art. 6487
    We present an approach towards four dimensional (4d) movies of materials, showing dynamic processes within the entire 3d structure. The method is based on tomographic reconstruction on dynamically curved paths using a motion model estimated by optical flow techniques, considerably reducing the typical motion artefacts of dynamic tomography. At the same time we exploit x-ray phase contrast based on free propagation to enhance the signal from micron scale structure recorded with illumination times down to a millisecond (ms). The concept is demonstrated by observing the burning process of a match stick in 4d, using high speed synchrotron phase contrast x-ray tomography recordings. The resulting movies reveal the structural changes of the wood cells during the combustion.
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