Temperature is a main driver for most ecological processes, and temperature time series provide key environmental indicators for various applications and research fields. High spatial and temporal resolutions are crucial for detailed analyses in various fields of research. A disadvantage of temperature data obtained by satellites is the occurrence of gaps that must be reconstructed. Here, we present a new method to reconstruct high-resolution land surface temperature (LST) time series at the continental scale gaining 250-m spatial resolution and four daily values per pixel. Our method constitutes a unique new combination of weighted temporal averaging with statistical modeling and spatial interpolation. This newly developed reconstruction method has been applied to greater Europe, resulting in complete daily coverage for eleven years. To our knowledge, this new reconstructed LST time series exceeds the level of detail of comparable reconstructed LST datasets by several orders of magnitude. Studies on emerging diseases, parasite risk assessment and temperature anomalies can now be performed on the continental scale, maintaining high spatial and temporal detail. We illustrate a series of applications in this paper. Our dataset is available online for download as time aggregated derivatives for direct usage in GIS-based applications.
Marine chemical ecology comprises the study of the production and interaction of bioactive molecules affecting organism behavior and function. Here we focus on bioactive compounds and interactions associated with phytoplankton, particularly bloom-forming diatoms, prymnesiophytes and dinoflagellates. Planktonic bioactive metabolites are structurally and functionally diverse and some may have multiple simultaneous functions including roles in chemical defense (antipredator, allelopathic and antibacterial compounds), and/or cell-to-cell signaling (e. g., polyunsaturated aldehydes (PUAs) of diatoms). Among inducible chemical defenses in response to grazing, there is high species-specific variability in the effects on grazers, ranging from severe physical incapacitation and/or death to no apparent physiological response, depending on predator susceptibility and detoxification capability. Most bioactive compounds are present in very low concentrations, in both the producing organism and the surrounding aqueous medium. Furthermore, bioactivity may be subject to synergistic interactions with other natural and anthropogenic environmental toxicants. Most, if not all phycotoxins are classic secondary metabolites, but many other bioactive metabolites are simple molecules derived from primary metabolism (e. g., PUAs in diatoms, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in prymnesiophytes). Producing cells do not seem to suffer physiological impact due to their synthesis. Functional genome sequence data and gene expression analysis will provide insights into regulatory and metabolic pathways in producer organisms, as well as identification of mechanisms of action in target organisms. Understanding chemical ecological responses to environmental triggers and chemically-mediated species interactions will help define crucial chemical and molecular processes that help maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functionality.
Urban forest ecosystems provide a range of social and ecological services, but due to the heterogeneity of these canopies their spatial extent is difficult to quantify and monitor. Traditional per-pixel classification methods have been used to map urban canopies, however, such techniques are not generally appropriate for assessing these highly variable landscapes. Landsat imagery has historically been used for per-pixel driven land use/land cover (LULC) classifications, but the spatial resolution limits our ability to map small urban features. In such cases, hyperspatial resolution imagery such as aerial or satellite imagery with a resolution of 1 meter or below is preferred. Object-based image analysis (OBIA) allows for use of additional variables such as texture, shape, context, and other cognitive information provided by the image analyst to segment and classify image features, and thus, improve classifications. As part of this research we created LULC classifications for a pilot study area in Seattle, WA, USA, using OBIA techniques and freely available public aerial photography. We analyzed the differences in accuracies which can be achieved with OBIA using multispectral and true-color imagery. We also compared our results to a satellite based OBIA LULC and discussed the implications of per-pixel driven vs. OBIA-driven field sampling campaigns. We demonstrated that the OBIA approach can generate good and repeatable LULC classifications suitable for tree cover assessment in urban areas. Another important finding is that spectral content appeared to be more important than spatial detail of hyperspatial data when it comes to an OBIA-driven LULC.
Abstract Based on a review of the existing literature on xenarthrans, we argue that there are few obvious examples of publications that could be considered “classics”, i.e., those with far-reaching and long-lasting impacts. Why not? Xenarthrans are exceptional mammals, but they are notoriously difficult to study in the wild. Perhaps for this reason, among others, much of the research on xenarthrans has been primarily descriptive. Clearly, this is a necessary first step when so little is known about so many species. However, if we are to increase general awareness of xenarthrans and their biology, we need to move beyond a focus on the intrinsically interesting properties of particular species to how those properties can be exploited to address fundamental questions in ecology, evolution, and other disciplines, ideally with findings that will have implications for the study of non-xenarthrans as well. In this essay we try to identify specific areas that appear promising for such an approach. For field studi... Resumen Basado en una revisión de la literatura existente sobre los xenartros, argumentamos que existen pocos ejemplos claros de publicaciones que podrían considerarse “clásicos”, o sea, que tengan un impacto duradero y de amplio alcance. ¿Por qué no? Los xenartros son mamíferos excepcionales, pero son notoriamente difíciles de estudiar en estado silvestre. Tal vez por esta razón, entre otros, gran parte de la investigación sobre xenartros haya sido principalmente descriptiva. Está claro que es un primer paso necesario cuando se sabe tan poco sobre tantas especies. Sin embargo, si queremos incrementar el conocimiento general sobre los xenartros y su biología, debemos ir más allá de un enfoque en las propiedades intrínsecamente interesantes de determinadas especies, para mostrar cómo estas propiedades pueden ser explotadas para abarcar preguntas fundamentales en ecología, evolución y otras disciplinas, idealmente mediante hallazgos que también tendrán implicancias para el estudio de no-xenartros. En este e...
Microbes are the most abundant biological entities on earth, therefore, studying them is important for understanding their roles in global ecology. The science of metagenomics is a relatively young field of research that has enjoyed significant effort since its inception in 1998. Studies using next-generation sequencing techniques on single genomes and collections of genomes have not only led to novel insights into microbial genomics, but also revealed a close association between environmental niches and genome evolution. Herein, we review studies investigating microbial genomics (largely in the marine ecosystem) at the individual and community levels to summarize our current understanding of microbial ecology in the environment.
Water scarcity, land use conversion and cultural and ecosystem changes threaten the way of life for traditional irrigation communities of the semi-arid southwestern United States. Traditions are strong, yet potential upheaval is great in these communities that rely on acequia irrigation systems. Acequias are ancient ditch systems brought from the Iberian Peninsula to the New World over 400 years ago; they are simultaneously gravity flow water delivery systems and shared water governance institutions. Acequias have survived periods of drought and external shocks from changing economics, demographics, and resource uses. Now, climate change and urbanization threaten water availability, ecosystem functions, and the acequia communities themselves. Do past adaptive practices hold the key to future sustainability, or are new strategies required? To explore this issue we translated disciplinary understanding into a uniform format of causal loop diagrams to conceptualize the subsystems of the entire acequia-based human-natural system. Four subsystems are identified in this study: hydrology, ecosystem, land use/economics, and sociocultural. Important linkages between subsystems were revealed as well as variables indicating community cohesion (e.g., total irrigated land, intensity of upland grazing, mutualism). Ongoing work will test the conceptualizations with field data and modeling exercises to capture tipping points for non-sustainability and thresholds for sustainable water use and community longevity.
Comprehensive land-use planning (CLUP) at the county level in China must include land-use zoning. This is specifically stipulated by the China Land Management Law and aims to achieve strict control on the usages of land. The land-use zoning problem is treated as a multi-objective optimization problem (MOOP) in this article, which is different from the traditional treatment. A particle swarm optimization (PSO) based model is applied to the problem and is developed to maximize the attribute differences between land-use zones, the spatial compactness, the degree of spatial harmony and the ecological benefits of the land-use zones. This is subject to some constraints such as: the quantity limitations for varying land-use zones, regulations assigning land units to a certain land-use zone, and the stipulation of a minimum parcel area in a land-use zoning map. In addition, a crossover and mutation operator from a genetic algorithm is adopted to avoid the prematurity of PSO. The results obtained for Yicheng, a county in central China, using different objective weighting schemes, are compared and suggest that: (1) the fundamental demand for attribute difference between land-use zones leads to a mass of fragmentary land-use zones; (2) the spatial pattern of land-use zones is remarkably optimized when a weight is given to the sub-objectives of spatial compactness and the degree of spatial harmony, simultaneously, with a reduction of attribute difference between land-use zones; (3) when a weight is given to the sub-objective of ecological benefits of the land-use zones, the ecological benefits get a slight increase also at the expense of a reduction in attribute difference between land-use zones; (4) the pursuit of spatial harmony or spatial compactness may have a negative effect on each other; (5) an increase in the ecological benefits may improve the spatial compactness and spatial harmony of the land-use zones; (6) adjusting the weights assigned to each sub-objective can generate a corresponding optimal solution, with a different quantity structure and spatial pattern to satisfy the preference of the different decision makers; (7) the model proposed in this paper is capable of handling the land-use zoning problem, and the crossover and mutation operator can improve the performance of the model, but, nevertheless, leads to increased time consumption.
The study of mercury accumulation in peat cores provides an excellent opportunity to improve the knowledge on mercury cycling and depositional processes at remote locations far from pollution sources. We analyzed mercury concentrations in 150 peat samples from two cores from Rano Aroi (Easter Island, 27° S) and in selected vegetation samples of present-day flora of the island, in order to characterize the mercury cycling for the last ~71 ka BP. The mercury concentrations showed values ranging between 35 and 200 ng g−1, except for a large maxima (~1000 ng g−1) which occurred at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ~20 ka cal BP) in both peat cores. Low temperatures during the LGM would accelerate the atmospheric oxidation of Hg(0) to divalent mercury that, coupled with higher rainfall during this period, most likely resulted in a very efficient surface deposition of atmospheric mercury. Two exceptional short-lived Hg peaks occurred during the Holocene at 8.5 (350 ng g−1) and 4.7 (1000 ng g−1) ka cal BP. These values are higher than those recorded in most peat records belonging to the industrial period, highlighting that natural factors played a significant role in Hg accumulation—sometimes even more so than anthropogenic sources. Our results suggest that wet deposition, linked to atmospheric oxidation, was the main process controlling the short-lived Hg events, both in the mire and in the catchment soils.
The ability of bacteria to survive and propagate can be dramatically reduced upon exposure to lytic bacteriophages. Study of this impact, from a bacterium's perspective, tends to focus on phage-bacterial interactions that are governed by mass action, such as can be observed within continuous flow or similarly planktonic ecosystems. Alternatively, bacterial molecular properties can be examined, such as specific phage-resistance adaptations. In this study I address instead how limitations on bacterial movement, resulting in the formation of cellular arrangements, microcolonies, or biofilms, could increase the vulnerability of bacteria to phages. Principally: (1) Physically associated clonal groupings of bacteria can represent larger targets for phage adsorption than individual bacteria; and (2), due to a combination of proximity and similar phage susceptibility, individual bacteria should be especially vulnerable to phages infecting within the same clonal, bacterial grouping. Consistent with particle transport theory-the physics of movement within fluids-these considerations are suggestive that formation into arrangements, microcolonies, or biofilms could be either less profitable to bacteria when phage predation pressure is high or require more effective phage-resistance mechanisms than seen among bacteria not living within clonal clusters. I consider these ideas of bacterial 'spatial vulnerability' in part within a phage therapy context.
Few studies have explored the relationship between PM2.5 and lung cancer incidence. Although results are mixed, some studies have demonstrated a positive relationship between PM2.5 and lung cancer mortality. Using an ecologic study design, we examined the county-level associations between PM2.5 concentrations (2002-2005) and lung cancer incidence and mortality in North Carolina (2002-2006). Positive trends were observed between PM2.5 concentrations and lung cancer incidence and mortality; however, the R-2 for both were < 0.10. The slopes for the relationship between PM2.5 and lung cancer incidence and mortality were 1.26 (95% CI 0.31, 2.21, p-value 0.01) and 0.73 (95% CI 0.09, 1.36, p-value 0.03) per 1 mu g/m(3) PM2.5, respectively. These associations were slightly strengthened with the inclusion of variables representing socioeconomic status and smoking. Although variability is high, thus reflecting the importance of tobacco smoking and other etiologic agents that influence lung cancer incidence and mortality besides PM2.5, a positive trend is observed between PM2.5 and lung cancer incidence and mortality. This suggests the possibility of an association between PM2.5 concentrations and lung cancer incidence and mortality.