We present a summer precipitation reconstruction for the last glacial (LG) on the western edge of the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP) using a well-dated organic carbon isotopic dataset together with an independent modern process study results. Our results demonstrate that summer precipitation variations in the CLP during the LG were broadly correlated to the intensity of the Asian summer monsoon (ASM) as recorded by stalagmite oxygen isotopes from southern China. During the last deglaciation, the onset of the increase in temperatures at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere and decline in the intensity of the East Asia winter monsoon in mid latitudes was earlier than the increase in ASM intensity and our reconstructed summer precipitation in the western CLP. Quantitative reconstruction of a single paleoclimatic factor provides new insights and opportunities for further understanding of the paleoclimatic variations in monsoonal East Asia and their relation to the global climatic system.
Ice sheets appeared in the northern hemisphere around 3 Ma (million years) ago and glacial–interglacial cycles have paced Earth's climate since then. Superimposed on these long glacial cycles comes an intricate pattern of millennial and sub-millennial variability, including Dansgaard–Oeschger and Heinrich events. There are numerous theories about these oscillations. Here, we review a number of them in order to draw a parallel between climatic concepts and dynamical system concepts, including, in particular, the relaxation oscillator, excitability, slow–fast dynamics and homoclinic orbits. Namely, almost all theories of ice ages reviewed here feature a phenomenon of synchronization between internal climate dynamics and astronomical forcing. However, these theories differ in their bifurcation structure and this has an effect on the way the ice age phenomenon could grow 3 Ma ago. All theories on rapid events reviewed here rely on the concept of a limit cycle excited by changes in the surface freshwater balance of the ocean. The article also reviews basic effects of stochastic fluctuations on these models, including the phenomenon of phase dispersion, shortening of the limit cycle and stochastic resonance. It concludes with a more personal statement about the potential for inference with simple stochastic dynamical systems in palaeoclimate science.
palaeoclimates; dynamical systems; limit cycle; ice ages; Dansgaard–Oeschger events
Cetacean strandings elicit much community and scientific interest, but few quantitative analyses have successfully identified environmental correlates to these phenomena. Data spanning 1920–2002, involving a total of 639 stranding events and 39 taxa groups from southeast Australia, were found to demonstrate a clear 11–13- year periodicity in the number of events through time. These data positively correlated with the regional persistence of both zonal (westerly) and meridional (southerly) winds, reflecting general long-term and large-scale shifts in sea-level pressure gradients. Periods of persistent zonal and meridional winds result in colder and presumably nutrient-rich waters being driven closer to southern Australia, resulting in increased biological activity in the water column during the spring months. These observations suggest that large-scale climatic events provide a powerful distal influence on the propensity for whales to strand in this region. These patterns provide a powerful quantitative framework for testing hypotheses regarding environmental links to strandings and provide managers with a potential predictive tool to prepare for years of peak stranding activity.
cetacean strandings; southeast Australia; climate; meridional winds; zonal winds; sea-surface temperature
The Asian summer monsoon affects more than sixty percent of the world's population; understanding its controlling factors is becoming increasingly important due to the expanding human influence on the environment and climate and the need to adapt to global climate change. Various mechanisms have been suggested; however, an overarching paradigm delineating the dominant factors for its generation and strength remains debated. Here we use observation data and numerical experiments to demonstrates that the Asian summer monsoon systems are controlled mainly by thermal forcing whereas large-scale orographically mechanical forcing is not essential: the South Asian monsoon south of 20°N by land–sea thermal contrast, its northern part by the thermal forcing of the Iranian Plateau, and the East Asian monsoon and the eastern part of the South Asian monsoon by the thermal forcing of the Tibetan Plateau.
Rapid climatic shifts across the last glacial to Holocene transition are pervasive feature of the North Atlantic as well as low latitude proxy archives. Our decadal to centennial scale record of summer monsoon proxy Globigerina bulloides from rapidly accumulating sediments from Hole 723A, Arabian Sea shows two distinct intervals of weak summer monsoon wind coinciding with cold periods within Ållerød inerstadial of the North Atlantic named here as IACP-A1 and IACP-A2 and dated (within dating uncertainties) at 13.5 and 13.3 calibrated kilo years before the present (cal kyr BP), respectively. Spectral analysis of the Globigerina bulloides time series for the segment 13.6–13.1 kyr (Ållerød period) reveals a strong solar 208-year cycle also known as de Vries or Suess cycle, suggesting that the centennial scale variability in Indian summer monsoon winds during the Ållerød inerstadial was driven by changes in the solar irradiance through stratospheric-tropospheric interactions.
The rise of high mountain chains is widely seen as one of the factors driving rapid diversification of land plants and the formation of biodiversity hotspots. Supporting evidence was reported for the impact of the rapid rise of the Andean mountains but this hypothesis has so far been less explored for the impact of the “roof of the world”. The formation of the Himalaya, and especially the rise of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau in the recent 20 million years, altered the monsoon regimes that dominate the current climates of South East Asia. Here, we infer the hypothesis that the rise of Himalaya had a strong impact on the plant diversity in the biodiversity hotspot of the Southwest Chinese Mountains.
Our analyses of the diversification pattern of the derived fern genus Lepisorus recovered evidence for changes in plant diversity that correlated with the strengthening of South East Asian monsoon. Southwest China or Southwest China and Japan was recovered as the putative area of origin of Lepisorus and enhancing monsoon regime were found to shape the early diversification of the genus as well as subsequent radiations during the late Miocene and Pliocene.
We report new evidence for a coincidence of plant diversification and changes of the climate caused by the uplift of the Himalaya. These results are discussed in the context of the impact of incomplete taxon sampling, uncertainty of divergence time estimates, and limitations of current methods used to assess diversification rates.
Diversification pattern; East Asian monsoon; Himalaya; LASER; Lepisorus
In mid to high latitudes glacial and interglacial cycles have repeatedly changed the area available for plant growth. The speed at which plants are able to colonize areas at the onset of an interglacial is hypothesized to limit their distribution ranges even today (migrational lag). If the spread of plants would have been generally slow then plant diversity in previously glaciated areas would be expected to increase over time. We explore this hypothesis using results from six palynological investigations from two previously glaciated regions: central Sweden and north-eastern Germany. Rarefaction, slope of rank order abundance, and taxa accumulation plots were used to evaluate richness and evenness in pollen data in an attempt to separate richness from evenness. These analyses show little change in palynological richness for the northern sites throughout the Holocene. In contrast, the southern sites show an increase in richness and evenness during the early Holocene; this may be explained by the different initial conditions at the onset of the Holocene. A strong rise in palynological richness around 6000 and 1000 years ago at the southern sites can be attributed to the regional initiation of agriculture and major opening of the forest, respectively. For the northern sites there is no evidence for increased taxonomic diversity through time that could be due to delayed immigration of species.
Quaternary glacial–interglacial cycles create lasting biogeographic, demographic and genetic effects on ecosystems, yet the ecological effects of ice ages on benthic marine communities are unknown. We analysed long-term datasets to develop a niche-based model of southern Californian giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forest distribution as a function of oceanography and geomorphology, and synthesized palaeo-oceanographic records to show that late Quaternary climate change probably drove high millennial variability in the distribution and productivity of this foundation species. Our predictions suggest that kelp forest biomass increased up to threefold from the glacial maximum to the mid-Holocene, then rapidly declined by 40–70 per cent to present levels. The peak in kelp forest productivity would have coincided with the earliest coastal archaeological sites in the New World. Similar late Quaternary changes in kelp forest distribution and productivity probably occurred in coastal upwelling systems along active continental margins worldwide, which would have resulted in complex shifts in the relative productivity of terrestrial and marine components of coastal ecosystems.
palaeoecology; giant kelp; Macrocystis pyrifera; productivity; holocene; temperate reefs
Climate change in the past has led to significant changes in species' distributions. However, how individual species respond to climate change depends largely on their adaptations and environmental tolerances. In the Quaternary, temperate-adapted taxa are in general confined to refugia during glacials while cold-adapted taxa are in refugia during interglacials. In the Northern Hemisphere, evidence appears to be mounting that in addition to traditional southern refugia for temperate species, cryptic refugia existed in the North during glacials. Equivalent cryptic southern refugia, to the south of the more conventional high-latitude polar refugia, exist in montane areas during periods of warm climate, such as the current interglacial. There is also a continental/oceanic longitudinal gradient, which should be included in a more complete consideration of the interaction between species ranges and climates. Overall, it seems clear that there is large variation in both the size of refugia and the duration during which species are confined to them. This has implications for the role of refugia in the evolution of species and their genetic diversity.
cryptic refugia; Quaternary; climate change; speciation; geographical distribution
The Andaman Sea and other macrotidal semi-enclosed tropical seas feature large amplitude internal waves (LAIW). Although LAIW induce strong fluctuations i.e. of temperature, pH, and nutrients, their influence on reef development is so far unknown. A better-known source of disturbance is the monsoon affecting corals due to turbulent mixing and sedimentation. Because in the Andaman Sea both, LAIW and monsoon, act from the same westerly direction their relative contribution to reef development is difficult to discern. Here, we explore the framework development in a number of offshore island locations subjected to differential LAIW- and SW-monsoon impact to address this open question. Cumulative negative temperature anomalies – a proxy for LAIW impact – explained a higher percentage of the variability in coral reef framework height, than sedimentation rates which resulted mainly from the monsoon. Temperature anomalies and sediment grain size provided the best correlation with framework height suggesting that so far neglected subsurface processes (LAIW) play a significant role in shaping coral reefs.
Whereas fossil evidence indicates extensive treeless vegetation and diverse grazing megafauna in Europe and northern Asia during the last glacial, experiments combining vegetation models and climate models have to-date simulated widespread persistence of trees. Resolving this conflict is key to understanding both last glacial ecosystems and extinction of most of the mega-herbivores. Using a dynamic vegetation model (DVM) we explored the implications of the differing climatic conditions generated by a general circulation model (GCM) in “normal” and “hosing” experiments. Whilst the former approximate interstadial conditions, the latter, designed to mimic Heinrich Events, approximate stadial conditions. The “hosing” experiments gave simulated European vegetation much closer in composition to that inferred from fossil evidence than did the “normal” experiments. Given the short duration of interstadials, and the rate at which forest cover expanded during the late-glacial and early Holocene, our results demonstrate the importance of millennial variability in determining the character of last glacial ecosystems.
Elevated heating by the Tibetan Plateau was long thought to drive the South Asian summer monsoon, but recent work showed this monsoon was largely unaffected by removal of the plateau in a climate model, provided the narrow orography of adjacent mountain ranges was preserved. There is debate about whether those mountain ranges generate a strong monsoon by insulating the thermal maximum from cold and dry extratropical air or by providing a source of elevated heating. Here we show that the strength of the monsoon in a climate model is more sensitive to changes in surface heat fluxes from non-elevated parts of India than it is to changes in heat fluxes from adjacent elevated terrain. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that orography creates a strong monsoon by serving as a thermal insulator, and suggests that monsoons respond most strongly to heat sources coincident with the thermal maximum.
Understanding deltaic resilience in the face of Holocene climate change and human impacts is an important challenge for the earth sciences in characterizing the full range of present and future wetland responses to global warming. Here, we report an 8000-year mass balance record from the Nile Delta to reconstruct when and how this sedimentary basin has responded to past hydrological shifts. In a global Holocene context, the long-term decrease in Nile Delta accretion rates is consistent with insolation-driven changes in the ‘monsoon pacemaker’, attested throughout the mid-latitude tropics. Following the early to mid-Holocene growth of the Nile’s deltaic plain, sediment losses and pronounced erosion are first recorded after ~4000 years ago, the corollaries of falling sediment supply and an intensification of anthropogenic impacts from the Pharaonic period onwards. Against the backcloth of the Saharan ‘depeopling’, reduced river flow underpinned by a weakening of monsoonal precipitation appears to have been particularly conducive to the expansion of human activities on the delta by exposing productive floodplain lands for occupation and irrigation agriculture. The reconstruction suggests that the Nile Delta has a particularly long history of vulnerability to extreme events (e.g. floods and storms) and sea-level rise, although the present sediment-starved system does not have a direct Holocene analogue. This study highlights the importance of the world’s deltas as sensitive archives to investigate Holocene geosystem responses to climate change, risks and hazards, and societal interaction.
In older adults, difficulties processing complex auditory scenes, such as speech comprehension in noisy environments, might be due to a specific impairment of temporal processing at early, automatic processing stages involving auditory sensory memory (ASM). Even though age effects on auditory temporal processing have been well-documented, there is a paucity of research on how ASM processing of more complex tone-patterns is altered by age. In the current study, age effects on ASM processing of temporal and frequency aspects of two-tone patterns were investigated using a passive listening protocol. The P1 component, the mismatch negativity (MMN) and the P3a component of event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to tone frequency and temporal pattern deviants were recorded in younger and older adults as a measure of auditory event detection, ASM processing, and attention switching, respectively. MMN was elicited with smaller amplitude to both frequency and temporal deviants in older adults. Furthermore, P3a was elicited only in the younger adults. In conclusion, the smaller MMN amplitude indicates that automatic processing of both frequency and temporal aspects of two-tone patterns is impaired in older adults. The failure to initiate an attention switch, suggested by the absence of P3a, indicates that impaired ASM processing of patterns may lead to less distractibility in older adults. Our results suggest age-related changes in ASM processing of patterns that cannot be explained by an inhibitory deficit.
aging; audition; sensory memory; MMN; temporal processing
The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) has become one of the hotspots for phylogeographical studies due to its high species diversity. However, most previous studies have focused on the effects of the Quaternary glaciations on phylogeographical structures and the locations of glacial refugia, and little is known about the effects of the aridization of interior Asia on plant population structure and speciation. Here the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) trnT-trnF and trnS-trnfM sequences were used to investigate the differentiation and phylogeographical history of 14 Ephedra species from the QTP and northern China, based on a sampling of 107 populations. The phylogeographical analysis, together with phylogenetic reconstruction based on combined four cpDNA fragments (rbcL, rpl16, rps4, and trnS-trnfM), supports three main lineages (eastern QTP, southern QTP, and northern China) of these Ephedra species. Divergence of each lineage could be dated to the Middle or Late Miocene, and was very likely linked to the uplift of the QTP and the Asian aridification, given the high drought and/or cold tolerance of Ephedra. Most of the Ephedra species had low intraspecific variation and lacked a strong phylogeographical structure, which could be partially attributed to clonal reproduction and a relatively recent origin. In addition, ten of the detected 25 cpDNA haplotypes are shared among species, suggesting that a wide sampling of species is helpful to investigate the origin of observed haplotypes and make reliable phylogeographical inference. Moreover, the systematic positions of some Ephedra species are discussed.
Paleoproductivity is a critical component in past ocean biogeochemistry, but accurate reconstructions of productivity are often hindered by limited integration of proxies. Here, we integrate geochemical (phosphorus) and micropaleontological proxies at millennial timescales, revealing that the coccolithophore record in the Subantarctic zone of the South Atlantic Ocean is driven largely by variations in marine phosphorus availability. A quantitative micropaleontological and geochemical analysis carried out in sediments retrieved from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1089 (Subantarctic Zone) reveals that most of the export productivity in this region over the last 0.5 my was due to coccolithophores. Glacial periods were generally intervals of high productivity, with productivity reaching a peak at terminations. Particularly high productivity was observed at Termination V and Termination IV, events that are characterized by high abundance of coccolithophores and maxima in the phosphorus/titanium and strontium/titanium records. We link the increase in productivity both to regional oceanographic phenomena, i.e., the northward displacement of the upwelling cell of the Antarctic divergence when the ice-sheet expanded, and to the increase in the inventory of phosphorus in the ocean due to enhanced transfer of this nutrient from continental margins during glacial lowstands in sea level. The Mid-Brunhes interval stands out from the rest of the record, being dominated by the small and highly calcified species Gephyrocapsa caribbeanica that provides most of the carbonate in these sediments. This likely represents higher availability of phosphorus in the surface ocean, especially in mesotrophic and oligotrophic zones. Under these condition, some coccolithophore species developed an r-strategy (opportunistic species; growth rate maximized) resulting in the bloom of G. caribbeanica. These seasonal blooms of may have induced “white tides” similar to those observed today in Emiliania huxleyi.
Southern Ocean; Pleistocene; coccolithophores; phosphorus; paleoecology; paleoproductivity; geochemistry; ocean drilling program
An important interplay exists between specific viral respiratory infections and altered airway responsiveness in the development and exacerbations of asthma. However, the mechanistic basis of this interplay remains to be identified. This study addressed the hypothesis that rhinovirus (RV), the most common viral respiratory pathogen associated with acute asthma attacks, directly affects airway smooth muscle (ASM) to produce proasthmatic changes in receptor-coupled ASM responsiveness. Isolated rabbit and human ASM tissue and cultured ASM cells were inoculated with human RV (serotype 16) or adenovirus, each for 6 or 24 h. In contrast to adenovirus, which had no effect, inoculation of ASM tissue with RV induced heightened ASM tissue constrictor responsiveness to acetylcholine and attenuated the dose-dependent relaxation of ASM to beta-adrenoceptor stimulation with isoproterenol. These RV-induced changes in ASM responsiveness were largely prevented by pretreating the tissues with pertussis toxin or with a monoclonal blocking antibody to intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), the principal endogenous receptor for most RVs. In extended studies, we found that the RV-induced changes in ASM responsiveness were associated with diminished cAMP accumulation in response to dose-dependent administration of isoproterenol, and this effect was accompanied by autologously upregulated expression of the Gi protein subtype, Gialpha3, in the ASM. Finally, in separate experiments, we found that the RV-induced effects on ASM responsiveness were also accompanied by autologously induced upregulated mRNA and cell surface protein expression of ICAM-1. Taken together, these findings provide new evidence that RV directly induces proasthmatic phenotypic changes in ASM responsiveness, that this effect is triggered by binding of RV to its ICAM-1 receptor in ASM, and that this binding is associated with the induced endogenously upregulated expression of ICAM-1 and enhanced expression and activation of Gi protein in the RV-infected ASM.
Observations of the interactions of large amplitude internal seiches with the sloping boundary of Lake Simcoe, Canada show a pronounced asymmetry between up- and downwelling. Data were obtained during a 42-day period in late summer with an ADCP and an array of four thermistor chains located in a 5 km line at the depths where the thermocline intersects the shallow slope of the lakebed. The thermocline is located at depths of 12–14 m during the strongly stratified period of late summer. During periods of strong westerly winds the thermocline is deflected as much as 8 m vertically and interacts directly with the lakebed at depth between 14–18 m. When the thermocline was rising at the boundary, the stratification resembles a turbulent bore that propagates up the sloping lakebed with a speed of 0.05–0.15 m s−1 and a Froude number close to unity. There were strong temperature overturns associated with the abrupt changes in temperature across the bore. Based on the size of overturns in the near bed stratification, we show that the inferred turbulent diffusivity varies by up to two orders of magnitude between up- and downwellings. When the thermocline was rising, estimates of turbulent diffusivity were high with KZ ∼10−4 m2s−1, whereas during downwelling events the near-bed stratification was greatly increased and the turbulence was reduced. This asymmetry is consistent with previous field observations and underlines the importance of shear-induced convection in benthic bottom boundary layers of stratified lakes.
The extent to which a species responds to environmental changes is mediated not only by extrinsic processes such as time and space, but also by species-specific ecology. The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau uplifted approximately 3000 m and experienced at least four major glaciations during the Pleistocene epoch in the Quaternary Period. Consequently, the area experienced concurrent changes in geomorphological structure and climate. Two species, the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii, chiru) and Tibetan gazelle (Procapra picticaudata), both are endemic on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, where their habitats overlap, but have different migratory behaviors: the chiru is inclined to have female-biased dispersal with a breeding migration during the calving season; in contrast, Tibetan gazelles are year-round residents and never migrate distantly. By using coalescence methods we compared mitochondrial control region DNA sequences and variation at nine microsatellite loci in these two species. Coalescent simulations indicate that the chiru and Tibetan gazelle do not share concordant patterns in their genealogies. The non-migratory Tibetan gazelle, that is more vulnerable to the impact of drastic geographic changes such as the elevation of the plateau, glaciations and so on, appears to have a strong population genetic structure with complicated demographic history. Specifically, the Tibetan gazelle population appears to have experienced isolation and divergence with population fluctuations since the Middle Pleistocene (0.781 Ma). However, it showed continued decline since the Upper Pleistocene (0.126 Ma), which may be attributed to the irreversible impact of increased human activities on the plateau. In contrast, the migratory chiru appears to have simply experienced population expansion. With substantial gene flow among regional populations, this species shows no historical population isolation and divergence. Thus, this study adds to many empirical studies that show historical and contemporary extrinsic and intrinsic processes shape the recent evolutionary history and population genetic structure of species.
The climatic cycles of the Quaternary, during which global mean annual temperatures have regularly changed by 5–10°C, provide a special opportunity for studying the rate, magnitude, and effects of geographic responses to changing climates. During the Quaternary, high- and mid-latitude species were extirpated from regions that were covered by ice or otherwise became unsuitable, persisting in refugial retreats where the environment was compatible with their tolerances. In this study we combine modern geographic range data, phylogeny, Pleistocene paleoclimatic models, and isotopic records of changes in global mean annual temperature, to produce a temporally continuous model of geographic changes in potential habitat for 59 species of North American turtles over the past 320 Ka (three full glacial-interglacial cycles). These paleophylogeographic models indicate the areas where past climates were compatible with the modern ranges of the species and serve as hypotheses for how their geographic ranges would have changed in response to Quaternary climate cycles. We test these hypotheses against physiological, genetic, taxonomic and fossil evidence, and we then use them to measure the effects of Quaternary climate cycles on species distributions. Patterns of range expansion, contraction, and fragmentation in the models are strongly congruent with (i) phylogeographic differentiation; (ii) morphological variation; (iii) physiological tolerances; and (iv) intraspecific genetic variability. Modern species with significant interspecific differentiation have geographic ranges that strongly fluctuated and repeatedly fragmented throughout the Quaternary. Modern species with low genetic diversity have geographic distributions that were highly variable and at times exceedingly small in the past. Our results reveal the potential for paleophylogeographic models to (i) reconstruct past geographic range modifications, (ii) identify geographic processes that result in genetic bottlenecks; and (iii) predict threats due to anthropogenic climate change in the future.
Autumn migration of adult Eurasian hobbies Falco subbuteo from Europe to southern Africa was recorded by satellite telemetry and observed routes were compared with randomly simulated routes. Two non-random features of observed routes were revealed: (i) shifts to more westerly longitudes than straight paths to destinations and (ii) strong route convergence towards a restricted area close to the equator (1° S, 15° E). The birds migrated south or southwest to approximately 10° N, where they changed to south-easterly courses. The maximal spread between routes at 10° N (2134 km) rapidly decreased to a minimum (67 km) close to the equator. We found a striking relationship between the route convergence and the distribution of continuous rainforest, suggesting that hobbies minimize flight distance across the forest, concentrating in a corridor where habitat may be more suitable for travelling and foraging. With rainforest forming a possible ecological barrier, many migrants may cross the equator either at 15° E, similar to the hobbies, or at 30–40° E, east of the rainforest where large-scale migration is well documented. Much remains to be understood about the role of the rainforest for the evolution and future of the trans-equatorial Palaearctic-African bird migration systems.
bird migration; Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteo; equatorial rainforest; route convergence; ecological barrier
Quaternary climatic oscillations had dramatic effects on species evolution. In northern latitudes, populations had to survive the coldest periods in refugial areas and recurrently colonized northern regions during interglacials. Such a history usually results in a loss of genetic diversity. Populations that did not experience glaciations, in contrast, probably maintained most of their ancestral genetic diversity. These characteristics dramatically affected the present-day distribution of genetic diversity and may influence the ability of species to cope with the current global changes. We conducted a range-wide study of mitochondrial genetic diversity in the pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa/T. wilkinsoni complex, Notodontidae), a forest pest occurring around the Mediterranean Basin and in southern Europe. This species is responding to the current climate change by rapid natural range expansion and can also be accidentally transported by humans. Our aim was to assess if Quaternary climatic oscillations had a different effect across the species' range and to determine if genetic footprints of contemporary processes can be identified in areas of recent introduction.
We identified three main clades that were spatially structured. In most of Europe, the genetic diversity pattern was typical for species that experienced marked glaciation cycles. Except in refugia, European populations were characterized by the occurrence of one main haplotype and by a strong reduction in genetic diversity, which is expected in regions that were rapidly re-colonized when climatic conditions improved. In contrast, all other sub-clades around the Mediterranean Basin occurred in limited parts of the range and were strongly structured in space, as is expected in regions in which the impact of glaciations was limited. In such places, genetic diversity was retained in most populations, and almost all haplotypes were endemic. This pattern was extreme on remote Mediterranean islands (Crete, Cyprus, Corsica) where highly differentiated, endemic haplotypes were found. Recent introductions were typified by the existence of closely-related haplotypes in geographically distant populations, which is difficult to detect in most of Europe because of a lack of overall genetic structure.
In regions that were not prone to marked glaciations, recent moth introductions/expansions could be detected due to the existence of a strong spatial genetic structure. In contrast, in regions that experienced the most intense Quaternary climatic oscillations, the natural populations are not genetically structured, and contemporary patterns of population expansion remain undetected.
We review here four recent findings that have altered in a fundamental way our understanding of airways smooth muscle (ASM), its dynamic responses to physiological loading, and their dominant mechanical role in bronchospasm. These findings highlight ASM remodeling processes that are innately out-of-equilibrium and dynamic, and bring to the forefront a striking intersection between topics in condensed matter physics and ASM cytoskeletal biology. By doing so, they place in a new light the role of enhanced ASM mass in airway hyper-responsiveness as well as in the failure of a deep inspiration to relax the asthmatic airway. These findings have established that (i) ASM length is equilibrated dynamically, not statically; (ii) ASM dynamics closely resemble physical features exhibited by so-called soft glassy materials; (iii) static force-length relationships fail to describe dynamically contracted ASM states; (iv) stretch fluidizes the ASM cytoskeleton. Taken together, these observations suggest that at the origin of the bronchodilatory effect of a deep inspiration, and its failure in asthma, may lie glassy dynamics of the ASM cell.
Limnologists have regarded temporal coherence (synchrony) as a powerful tool for identifying the relative importance of local-scale regulators and regional climatic drivers on lake ecosystems. Limnological studies on Asian reservoirs have emphasized that climate and hydrology under the influences of monsoon are dominant factors regulating seasonal patterns of lake trophic status; yet, little is known of synchrony or asynchrony of trophic status in the single reservoir ecosystem. Based on monthly monitoring data of chlorophyll a, transparency, nutrients, and nonvolatile suspended solids (NVSS) during 1-year period, the present study evaluated temporal coherence to test whether local-scale regulators disturb the seasonal dynamics of trophic state indices (TSI) in a giant dendritic reservoir, China (Three Gorges Reservoir, TGR). Reservoir-wide coherences for TSICHL, TSISD, and TSITP showed dramatic variations over spatial scale, indicating temporal asynchrony of trophic status. Following the concept of TSI differences, algal productivity in the mainstream of TGR and Xiangxi Bay except the upstream of the bay were always limited by nonalgal turbidity (TSICHL−TSISD <0) rather than nitrogen and phosphorus (TSICHL−TSITN <0 and TSICHL−TSITP <0). The coherence analysis for TSI differences showed that local processes of Xiangxi Bay were the main responsible for local asynchrony of nonalgal turbidity limitation levels. Regression analysis further proved that local temporal asynchrony for TSISD and nonalgal turbidity limitation levels were regulated by local dynamics of NVSS, rather than geographical distance. The implications of the present study are to emphasize that the results of trophic status obtained from a single environment (reservoir mainstream) cannot be extrapolated to other environments (tributary bay) in a way that would allow its use as a sentinel site.
Temporal coherence; Trophic state indices; Nonalgal turbidity limitation; Three Gorges Reservoir
Studies on allele length polymorphism designate several glacial refugia for Norway spruce (Picea abies) in the South Carpathian Mountains, but infer only limited expansion from these refugia after the last glaciation. To better understand the genetic dynamics of a South Carpathian spruce lineage, we compared ancient DNA from 10,700 and 11,000-year-old spruce pollen and macrofossils retrieved from Holocene lake sediment in the Retezat Mountains with DNA extracted from extant material from the same site. We used eight primer pairs that amplified short and variable regions of the spruce cpDNA. In addition, from the same lake sediment we obtained a 15,000-years-long pollen accumulation rate (PAR) record for spruce that helped us to infer changes in population size at this site.
We obtained successful amplifications for Norway spruce from 17 out of 462 pollen grains tested, while the macrofossil material provided 22 DNA sequences. Two fossil sequences were found to be unique to the ancient material. Population genetic statistics showed higher genetic diversity in the ancient individuals compared to the extant ones. Similarly, statistically significant Ks and Kst values showed a considerable level of differentiation between extant and ancient populations at the same loci.
Lateglacial and Holocene PAR values suggested that population size of the ancient population was small, in the range of 1/10 or 1/5 of the extant population. PAR analysis also detected two periods of rapid population growths (from ca. 11,100 and 3900 calibrated years before present (cal yr BP)) and three bottlenecks (around 9180, 7200 and 2200 cal yr BP), likely triggered by climatic change and human impact.
Our results suggest that the paternal lineages observed today in the Retezat Mountains persisted at this site at least since the early Holocene. Combination of the results from the genetic and the PAR analyses furthermore suggests that the higher level of genetic variation found in the ancient populations and the loss of ancient allele types detected in the extant individuals were likely due to the repeated bottlenecks during the Holocene; however our limited sample size did not allow us to exclude sampling effect.
This study demonstrates how past population size changes inferred from PAR records can be efficiently used in combination with ancient DNA studies. The joint application of palaeoecological and population genetics analyses proved to be a powerful tool to understand the influence of past population demographic changes on the haplotype diversity and genetic composition of forest tree species.