The replacement of native Portuguese forests by Eucalyptus globulus is often associated with deleterious effects on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Several studies have suggested that such a phenomenon is linked with the leaf essential oils released into the environment during the Eucalyptus leaf degradation process. However, to date, the way these compounds affect leaf degradation in terrestrial systems i.e. by direct toxic effects to soil invertebrates or indirectly by affecting food of soil fauna, is still unknown. In order to explore this question, the effect of essential oils extracted from E. globulus leaves on terrestrial systems was investigated. Fungal growth tests with species known as leaf colonizers (Mucor hiemalis, Alternaria alternata, Penicillium sp., Penicillium glabrum and Fusarium roseum) were performed to evaluate the antifungal effect of essential oils. In addition, a reproduction test with the collembolans Folsomia candida was done using a gradient of eucalyptus essential oils in artificial soil. The influence of essential oils on feeding behaviour of F. candida and the isopods Porcellio dilatatus was also investigated through food avoidance and consumption tests. Eucalyptus essential oils were lethal at concentrations between 2.5–20 µL/mL and inhibited growth of all fungal species between 1.25–5 µL/mL. The collembolan reproduction EC50 value was 35.0 (28.6–41.2) mg/kg and both collembola and isopods preferred leaves without oils. Results suggested that the effect of essential oils in leaf processing is related to direct toxic effects on fungi and soil fauna and to indirect effects on the quality and availability of food to soil invertebrates.
Soils contain highly diverse communities of microorganisms and invertebrates. The trophic interactions between these species are largely unknown. Collembolans form an abundant part of the invertebrate community in soils. A prevailing view is that soil collembolans are generalist feeders on fungi, lichens, fragmented litter and bacteria. However, in laboratory food choice experiments, it has been shown that collembolans preferentially select certain taxa of fungi. To examine this apparent contradiction, we developed a molecular technique based on the analysis of 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences to explore the diversity of fungi in soils and in the guts of collembolans. We report that the diversity of fungi found in the natural soil was 33 times higher than that in the guts of the collembolan Protaphorura armata. The data support the view that collembolan species can be highly selective when foraging on fungi in soils.
collembolan; food selection; soil food web; ribosomal DNA; fungi
Despite its significance regarding the conservation and management of biological resources, the body of theory predicting that the correlation between successive environmental states can profoundly influence extinction has not been empirically validated. Identical clonal populations from a model experimental system based on the collembolan Folsomia candida were used in the present study to investigate the effect of environmental autocorrelation on time to extinction. Environmental variation was imposed by variable implementation (present/absent) of a culling procedure according to treatments that represented six patterns of environmental autocorrelation. The average number of culling events was held constant across treatments but, as environmental autocorrelation increased, longer runs of both favourable and unfavourable culling tended to occur. While no difference was found among the survival functions for the various treatments, the time taken for 50% of the component populations to become extinct decreased significantly with increasing environmental autocorrelation. Similarly, analysis of all extinct populations demonstrated that time to extinction was shortened as environmental autocorrelation increased. However, this acceleration of extinction can be fully offset if sequential introduction is used in place of simultaneous introduction when founding the populations.
Emergence from an aquatic environment to the land is one of the major evolutionary transitions within the arthropods. It is often considered that the first hexapods, and in particular the first springtails, were semi-aquatic and this assumption drives evolutionary models towards particular conclusions. To address the question of the ecological origin of the springtails, phylogenetic analyses by optimization alignment were performed on D1 and D2 regions of the 28S rDNA for 55 collembolan exemplars and eight outgroups. Relationships among the orders Symphypleona, Entomobryomorpha and Poduromorpha are inferred. More specifically, a robust hypothesis is provided for the subfamilial relationships within the order Poduromorpha. Contrary to previous statements, the semi-aquatic species Podura aquatica is not basal or 'primitive', but well nested in the Poduromorpha. The analyses performed for the 24 different weighting schemes yielded the same conclusion: semi-aquatic ecology is not ancestral for the springtails. It is a derived condition that evolved independently several times. The adaptation for semi-aquatic life is better interpreted as a step towards independence from land, rather than indication of an aquatic origin.
Previous observations have indicated homology in the cellular components between collembolan eyes and the compound eyes of insects. However, behavioral or physiological studies indicating similarities in function are lacking. Collembolan eyes were examined from three species in the Family Isotomidae using scanning electron microscopy. Collembolan eyes are arranged dorsally and laterally on each side of the head in two species, Proisotoma minuta with eight eyes on each side of the head and Folsomia similis with one eye on each side of the head. In both of these species the eyes were located just posterior to the postantennal organ. In Folsomia candida, no external eye structures were detected. These three species were assayed for a series of behavioral preferences using ultraviolet (UV), white light and dark, and temperature conditions. The tests demonstrated that over 76% of all three species, including the eyeless F. Candida, chose white over UV light, over 69% preferred dark over UV, and over 77% favored dark over white light. The results demonstrated that all three species detect both UV and white light and avoid it, preferring cool, dark habitats. From the results of this study, it is hypothesized that F. candida may, in fact, be only “lensless” and may be able to detect light by having internal, non-ocular photoreceptors. Further histological studies are needed to investigate this possibility.
Isotomidae; photoreceptors; SEM; ommatidium; behavior
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are common pollutants in soil, have negative effects on soil ecosystems, and are potentially carcinogenic. The Springtail (Collembola) Folsomia candida is often used as an indicator species for soil toxicity. Here we report a toxicogenomic study that translates the ecological effects of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon phenanthrene in soil to the early transcriptomic responses in Folsomia candida.
Microarrays were used to examine two different exposure concentrations of phenanthrene, namely the EC10 (24.95 mg kg-1 soil) and EC50 (45.80 mg kg-1 soil) on reproduction of this springtail, which evoked 405 and 251 differentially expressed transcripts, respectively. Fifty transcripts were differential in response to either concentration. Many transcripts encoding xenobiotic detoxification and biotransformation enzymes (phases I, II, and III) were upregulated in response to either concentration. Furthermore, indications of general and oxidative stress were found in response to phenanthrene. Chitin metabolism appeared to be disrupted particularly at the low concentration, and protein translation appeared suppressed at the high concentration of phenanthrene; most likely in order to reallocate energy budgets for the detoxification process. Finally, an immune response was evoked especially in response to the high effect concentration, which was also described in a previous transcriptomic study using the same effect concentration (EC50) of cadmium.
Our study provides new insights in the molecular mode of action of the important polluting class of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil animals. Furthermore, we present a fast, sensitive, and specific soil toxicity test which enhances traditional tests and may help to improve current environmental risk assessments and monitoring of potentially polluted sites.
Crustacean Hyperglycemic Hormone (CHH) family peptides are neurohormones known to regulate several important functions in decapod crustaceans such as ionic and energetic metabolism, molting and reproduction. The structural conservation of these peptides, together with the variety of functions they display, led us to investigate their evolutionary history. CHH family peptides exist in insects (Ion Transport Peptides) and may be present in all ecdysozoans as well. In order to extend the evolutionary study to the entire family, CHH family peptides were thus searched in taxa outside decapods, where they have been, to date, poorly investigated.
CHH family peptides were characterized by molecular cloning in a branchiopod crustacean, Daphnia magna, and in a collembolan, Folsomia candida. Genes encoding such peptides were also rebuilt in silico from genomic sequences of another branchiopod, a chelicerate and two nematodes. These sequences were included in updated datasets to build phylogenies of the CHH family in pancrustaceans. These phylogenies suggest that peptides found in Branchiopoda and Collembola are more closely related to insect ITPs than to crustacean CHHs. Datasets were also used to support a phylogenetic hypothesis about pancrustacean relationships, which, in addition to gene structures, allowed us to propose two evolutionary scenarios of this multigenic family in ecdysozoans.
Evolutionary scenarios suggest that CHH family genes of ecdysozoans originate from an ancestral two-exon gene, and genes of arthropods from a three-exon one. In malacostracans, the evolution of the CHH family has involved several duplication, insertion or deletion events, leading to neuropeptides with a wide variety of functions, as observed in decapods. This family could thus constitute a promising model to investigate the links between gene duplications and functional divergence.
Environmental quality assessment is traditionally based on responses of reproduction and survival of indicator organisms. For soil assessment the springtail Folsomia candida (Collembola) is an accepted standard test organism. We argue that environmental quality assessment using gene expression profiles of indicator organisms exposed to test substrates is more sensitive, more toxicant specific and significantly faster than current risk assessment methods. To apply this species as a genomic model for soil quality testing we conducted an EST sequencing project and developed an online database.
Collembase is a web-accessible database comprising springtail (F. candida) genomic data. Presently, the database contains information on 8686 ESTs that are assembled into 5952 unique gene objects. Of those gene objects ~40% showed homology to other protein sequences available in GenBank (blastx analysis; non-redundant (nr) database; expect-value < 10-5). Software was applied to infer protein sequences. The putative peptides, which had an average length of 115 amino-acids (ranging between 23 and 440) were annotated with Gene Ontology (GO) terms. In total 1025 peptides (~17% of the gene objects) were assigned at least one GO term (expect-value < 10-25). Within Collembase searches can be conducted based on BLAST and GO annotation, cluster name or using a BLAST server. The system furthermore enables easy sequence retrieval for functional genomic and Quantitative-PCR experiments. Sequences are submitted to GenBank (Accession numbers: EV473060 – EV481745).
Collembase is a resource of sequence data on the springtail F. candida. The information within the database will be linked to a custom made microarray, based on the Agilent platform, which can be applied for soil quality testing. In addition, Collembase supplies information that is valuable for related scientific disciplines such as molecular ecology, ecogenomics, molecular evolution and phylogenetics.
In a variable yet predictable world, organisms may use environmental cues to make adaptive adjustments to their phenotype. Such phenotypic flexibility is expected commonly to evolve in life history traits, which are closely tied to Darwinian fitness. Yet adaptive life history flexibility remains poorly documented. Here we introduce the collembolan Folsomia candida, a soil-dweller, parthenogenetic (all-female) microarthropod, as a model organism to study the phenotypic expression, genetic variation, fitness consequences and long-term evolution of life history flexibility. We demonstrate that collembola have a remarkable adaptive ability for adjusting their reproductive phenotype: when transferred from harsh to good conditions (in terms of food ration and crowding), a mother can fine-tune the number and the size of her eggs from one clutch to the next. The comparative analysis of eleven clonal populations of worldwide origins reveals (i) genetic variation in mean egg size under both good and bad conditions; (ii) no genetic variation in egg size flexibility, consistent with convergent evolution to a common physiological limit; (iii) genetic variation of both mean reproductive investment and reproductive investment flexibility, associated with a reversal of the genetic correlation between egg size and clutch size between environmental conditions ; (iv) a negative genetic correlation between reproductive investment flexibility and adult lifespan. Phylogenetic reconstruction shows that two life history strategies, called HIFLEX and LOFLEX, evolved early in evolutionary history. HIFLEX includes six of our 11 clones, and is characterized by large mean egg size and reproductive investment, high reproductive investment flexibility, and low adult survival. LOFLEX (the other five clones) has small mean egg size and low reproductive investment, low reproductive investment flexibility, and high adult survival. The divergence of HIFLEX and LOFLEX could represent different adaptations to environments differing in mean quality and variability, or indicate that a genetic polymorphism of reproductive investment reaction norms has evolved under a physiological tradeoff between reproductive investment flexibility and adult lifespan.
The vast repertoire of toxic fungal secondary metabolites has long been assumed to have an evolved protective role against fungivory. It still remains elusive, however, whether fungi contain these compounds as an anti-predator adaptation. We demonstrate that loss of secondary metabolites in the soil mould Aspergillus nidulans causes, under the attack of the fungivorous springtail Folsomia candida, a disadvantage to the fungus. Springtails exhibited a distinct preference for feeding on a mutant deleted for LaeA, a global regulator of Aspergillus secondary metabolites. Consumption of the mutant yielded a reproductive advantage to the arthropod but detrimental effects on fungal biomass compared with a wild-type fungus capable of producing the entire arsenal of secondary metabolites. Our results demonstrate that fungal secondary metabolites shape food choice behaviour, can affect population dynamics of fungivores, and suggest that fungivores may provide a selective force favouring secondary metabolites synthesis in fungi.
chemical defence; filamentous fungi; food choice; LaeA; secondary metabolites; soil arthropods
Since toxicity is time dependent, short-term toxicity tests may overlook mixture effects, because chemical accumulation within an organism takes time. We therefore studied the effects of cadmium on the toxicokinetics of pyrene and its metabolites in the soil-dwelling collembolan Folsomia candida exposed through Lufa 2.2 soil. Single pyrene was rapidly taken up and steady state was reached within the 337-h exposure period. Simultaneous exposure to cadmium significantly decreased the pyrene uptake and elimination rate, resulting in a prolonged half life. Kinetics of the first phase metabolite OH-pyrene was also significantly influenced by cadmium. Cadmium increased the hydroxylation rate of pyrene but slowed down its further metabolization, again resulting in a prolonged half life. We showed that pyrene accumulation and metabolization are significantly influenced by the presence of cadmium. Our results suggest that mixture effects may be dependent on exposure time.
Uptake and elimination kinetics; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Biotransformation; Soil arthropods; Mixtures
Wolbachia is an extremely widespread bacterial endosymbiont of arthropods and nematodes that causes a variety of reproductive peculiarities. Parthenogenesis is one such peculiarity but it has been hypothesised that this phenomenon may be functionally restricted to organisms that employ haplodiploid sex determination. Using two antibiotics, tetracycline and rifampicin, we attempted to eliminate Wolbachia from the diplodiploid host Folsomia candida, a species of springtail which is a widely used study organism.
Molecular assays confirmed that elimination of Wolbachia was successfully achieved through continuous exposure of populations (over two generations and several weeks) to rifampicin administered as 2.7% dry weight of their yeast food source. The consequence of this elimination was total sterility of all individuals, despite the continuation of normal egg production.
Microbial endosymbionts play an obligatory role in the reproduction of their diplodiploid host, most likely one in which the parthenogenetic process is facilitated by Wolbachia. A hitherto unknown level of host-parasite interdependence is thus recorded.
Mitogenomics data, i.e. complete mitochondrial genome sequences, are popular molecular markers used for phylogenetic, phylogeographic and ecological studies in different animal lineages. Their comparative analysis has been used to shed light on the evolutionary history of given taxa and on the molecular processes that regulate the evolution of the mitochondrial genome. A considerable literature is available in the fields of invertebrate biochemical and ecophysiological adaptation to extreme environmental conditions, exemplified by those of the Antarctic. Nevertheless, limited molecular data are available from terrestrial Antarctic species, and this study represents the first attempt towards the description of a mitochondrial genome from one of the most widespread and common collembolan species of Antarctica.
In this study we describe the mitochondrial genome of the Antarctic collembolan Cryptopygus antarcticus Willem, 1901. The genome contains the standard set of 37 genes usually present in animal mtDNAs and a large non-coding fragment putatively corresponding to the region (A+T-rich) responsible for the control of replication and transcription. All genes are arranged in the gene order typical of Pancrustacea. Three additional short non-coding regions are present at gene junctions. Two of these are located in positions of abrupt shift of the coding polarity of genes oriented on opposite strands suggesting a role in the attenuation of the polycistronic mRNA transcription(s). In addition, remnants of an additional copy of trnL(uag) are present between trnS(uga) and nad1. Nucleotide composition is biased towards a high A% and T% (A+T = 70.9%), as typically found in hexapod mtDNAs. There is also a significant strand asymmetry, with the J-strand being more abundant in A and C. Within the A+T-rich region, some short sequence fragments appear to be similar (in position and primary sequence) to those involved in the origin of the N-strand replication of the Drosophila mtDNA.
The mitochondrial genome of C. antarcticus shares several features with other pancrustacean genomes, although the presence of unusual non-coding regions is also suggestive of molecular rearrangements that probably occurred before the differentiation of major collembolan families. Closer examination of gene boundaries also confirms previous observations on the presence of unusual start and stop codons, and suggests a role for tRNA secondary structures as potential cleavage signals involved in the maturation of the primary transcript. Sequences potentially involved in the regulation of replication/transcription are present both in the A+T-rich region and in other areas of the genome. Their position is similar to that observed in a limited number of insect species, suggesting unique replication/transcription mechanisms for basal and derived hexapod lineages. This initial description and characterization of the mitochondrial genome of C. antarcticus will constitute the essential foundation prerequisite for investigations of the evolutionary history of one of the most speciose collembolan genera present in Antarctica and other localities of the Southern Hemisphere.
Available instances of inheritance of epigenetic transgenerational phenotype are limited to environmental exposures during embryonic and adult gonadal development. Adult exposures can also affect gametogenesis and thereby potentially result in reprogramming of the germline. Although examples of epigenetic effects on gametogenesis exist, it is notable that transgenerational inheritance of environment-induced adult phenotype has not yet been reported. Epigenetic codes are considered to be critical in neural plasticity. A Drosophila systems model of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) induced long-term brain plasticity has recently been described. In this model, chronic PTZ treatment of adult males causes alterations in CNS transcriptome. Here, we describe our search for transgenerational spermatogenic inheritance of PTZ induced gene expression phenotype acquired by adult Drosophila males. We generated CNS transcriptomic profiles of F1 adults after treating F0 adult males with PTZ and of F2 adults resulting from a cross between F1 males and normal females. Surprisingly, microarray clustering showed F1 male profile as closest to F1 female and F0 male profile closest to F2 male. Differentially expressed genes in F1 males, F1 females and F2 males showed significant overlap with those caused by PTZ. Interestingly, microarray evidence also led to the identification of upregulated rRNA in F2 males. Next, we generated microarray expression profiles of adult testis from F0 and F1 males. Further surprising, clustering of CNS and testis profiles and matching of differentially expressed genes in them provided evidence of a spermatogenic mechanism in the transgenerational effect observed. To our knowledge, we report for the first time detection of transgenerational spermatogenic inheritance of adult acquired somatic gene expression characteristic. The Drosophila systems model offers an excellent opportunity to understand the epigenetic mechanisms underlying the phenomenon. The finding that adult acquired transcriptomic alteration in soma is spermatogenically inherited across generations has potential implications in human health and evolution.
The influence of maternal and grandmaternal age on progeny egg-to-adult viability was assessed in Drosophila serrata. Viability in progeny decreased with increasing maternal age. The potential for cumulative age effects was investigated in two environments, one of which involved nutrient and cold stress. Environment influenced viability and female age influenced progeny egg-to-adult viability across one generation. The influence on viability was cumulative across two generations. Females from old mothers, who also had old grandmothers, had the lowest viability in both environments. Grandmaternal effects were associated with a decrease in egg hatch rate whereas maternal effects also involved larval-to-adult viability. The age of the mother and grandmother should be taken into account when evaluating life-history traits in Drosophila.
In recent years, several new hypotheses on phylogenetic relations among arthropods have been proposed on the basis of DNA sequences. One of the challenged hypotheses is the monophyly of hexapods. This discussion originated from analyses based on mitochondrial DNA datasets that, due to an unusual positioning of Collembola, suggested that the hexapod body plan evolved at least twice. Here, we re-evaluate the position of Collembola using ribosomal protein gene sequences.
In total 48 ribosomal proteins were obtained for the collembolan Folsomia candida. These 48 sequences were aligned with sequence data on 35 other ecdysozoans. Each ribosomal protein gene was available for 25% to 86% of the taxa. However, the total sequence information was unequally distributed over the taxa and ranged between 4% and 100%. A concatenated dataset was constructed (5034 inferred amino acids in length), of which ~66% of the positions were filled. Phylogenetic tree reconstructions, using Maximum Likelihood, Maximum Parsimony, and Bayesian methods, resulted in a topology that supports monophyly of Hexapoda.
Although ribosomal proteins in general may not evolve independently, they once more appear highly valuable for phylogenetic reconstruction. Our analyses clearly suggest that Hexapoda is monophyletic. This underpins the inconsistency between nuclear and mitochondrial datasets when analyzing pancrustacean relationships. Caution is needed when applying mitochondrial markers in deep phylogeny.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals generally function as steroid receptor signaling antagonists or agonists that influence development to promote adult-onset disease. Exposure to the endocrine disruptors during the initiation of male reproductive tract development interferes with the normal hormonal signaling and formation of male reproductive organs. In particular, exposure to the endocrine disruptor vinclozolin promotes transgenerational transmission of adult-onset disease states such as male infertility, increased frequencies of tumors, prostate disease, kidney diseases, and immune abnormalities that develop as males age. An epigenetic change in the germ line would be involved in the transgenerational transmission of these induced phenotypes. Nevertheless, other studies have also reported transgenerational transmission of induced epigenetic changes, without altering the germ line. Here we propose a nomenclature to help clarify both cases of transgenerational epigenetic transmission. An intrinsic epigenetic transgenerational process would require a germ-line involvement, a permanent alteration in the germ cell epigenome, and only one exposure to the environmental factor. An extrinsic epigenetic transgenerational process would involve an epigenetic alteration in a somatic tissue and require exposure at each generation to maintain the transgenerational phenotype.
Transgenerational; epigenetic; endocrine disruptors; germ line; DNA methylation
Springtails, arthropods who live in soil, in decaying material, and on plants, have adapted to demanding conditions by evolving extremely effective and robust anti-adhesive skin patterns. However, details of these unique properties and their structural basis are still unknown. Here we demonstrate that collembolan skin can resist wetting by many organic liquids and at elevated pressures. We show that the combination of bristles and a comb-like hexagonal or rhombic mesh of interconnected nanoscopic granules distinguish the skin of springtails from anti-adhesive plant surfaces. Furthermore, the negative overhang in the profile of the ridges and granules were revealed to be a highly effective, but as yet neglected, design principle of collembolan skin. We suggest an explanation for the non-wetting characteristics of surfaces consisting of such profiles irrespective of the chemical composition. Many valuable opportunities arise from the translation of the described comb-like patterns and overhanging profiles of collembolan skin into man-made surfaces that combine stability against wear and friction with superior non-wetting and anti-adhesive characteristics.
Conservation physiology (CP) and nutritional ecology (NE) are both integrative sciences that share the fundamental aim of understanding the patterns, mechanisms and consequences of animal responses to changing environments. Here, we explore the high-level similarities and differences between CP and NE, identifying as central themes to both fields the multiple timescales over which animals adapt (and fail to adapt) to their environments, and the need for integrative models to study these processes. At one extreme are the short-term regulatory responses that modulate the state of animals in relation to the environment, which are variously considered under the concepts of homeostasis, homeorhesis, enantiostasis, heterostasis and allostasis. In the longer term are developmental responses, including phenotypic plasticity and transgenerational effects mediated by non-genomic influences such as parental physiology, epigenetic effects and cultural learning. Over a longer timescale still are the cumulative genetic changes that take place in Darwinian evolution. We present examples showing how the adaptive responses of animals across these timescales have been represented in an integrative framework from NE, the geometric framework (GF) for nutrition, and close with an illustration of how GF can be applied to the central issue in CP, animal conservation.
nutritional homeostasis; nutritional ecology; geometric framework for nutrition; allostasis; conservation physiology
When Drosophila melanogaster larvae are reared on isocaloric diets differing in their amounts of protein relative to sugar, emerging adults exhibit significantly different development times and metabolic pools of protein, glycogen and trigylcerides. In the current study, we show that the influence of larval diet experienced during just one generation extends into the next generation, even when that subsequent generation had been shifted to a standard diet during development. Offspring of flies that were reared on high protein relative to sugar underwent metamorphosis significantly faster, had higher reproductive outputs, and different metabolic pool contents compared to the offspring of adults from low protein relative to sugar diets. In addition, isofemale lines differed in the degree to which parental effects were observed, suggesting a genetic component to the observed transgenerational influences.
Global change can greatly affect plant populations both directly by influencing growing conditions and indirectly by maternal effects on development of offspring. More information is needed on transgenerational effects of global change on plants and their interactions with pathogens. The current study assessed potential maternal effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on performance and disease susceptibility of first-generation offspring of the Mediterranean legume Onobrychis crista-galli. Mother plants were grown at three CO2 concentrations, and the study focused on their offspring that were raised under common ambient climate and CO2. In addition, progeny were exposed to natural infection by the fungal pathogen powdery mildew. In one out of 3 years, offspring of high-CO2 treatments (440 and 600 ppm) had lower shoot biomass and reproductive output than offspring of low-CO2 treatment (280 ppm). Disease severity in a heavy-infection year was higher in high-CO2 than in low-CO2 offspring. However, some of the findings on maternal effects changed when the population was divided into two functionally diverging plant types distinguishable by flower color (pink, Type P; white, Type W). Disease severity in a heavy-infection year was higher in high-CO2 than in low-CO2 progeny in the more disease-resistant (Type P), but not in the more susceptible plant type (Type W). In a low-infection year, maternal CO2 treatments did not differ in disease severity. Mother plants of Type P exposed to low CO2 produced larger seeds than all other combinations of CO2 and plant type, which might contribute to higher offspring performance. This study showed that elevated CO2 potentially exerts environmental maternal effects on performance of progeny and, notably, also on their susceptibility to natural infection by a pathogen. Maternal effects of global change might differently affect functionally divergent plant types, which could impact population fitness and alter plant communities.
atmospheric CO2 enrichment; biomass production; environmental maternal effects; fungal pathogen; natural population; Onobrychis crista-galli; plant disease; plant type
Plants respond to environmental conditions not only by plastic changes to their own development and physiology, but also by altering the phenotypes expressed by their offspring. This transgenerational plasticity was initially considered to entail only negative effects of stressful parental environments, such as production of smaller seeds by resource- or temperature-stressed parent plants, and was therefore viewed as environmental noise. Recent evolutionary ecology studies have shown that in some cases, these inherited environmental effects can include specific growth adjustments that are functionally adaptive to the parental conditions that induced them, which can range from contrasting states of controlled laboratory environments to the complex habitat variation encountered by natural plant populations. Preliminary findings suggest that adaptive transgenerational effects can be transmitted by means of diverse mechanisms including changes to seed provisioning and biochemistry, and epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation that can persist across multiple generations. These non-genetically inherited adaptations can influence the ecological breadth and evolutionary dynamics of plant taxa and promote the spread of invasive plants. Interdisciplinary studies that join mechanistic and evolutionary ecology approaches will be an important source of future insights.
maternal effects; seed provisioning; seedling development; epigenetics; DNA methylation
The question whether top-down or bottom-up forces dominate trophic relationships, energy flow, and abundances within food webs has fuelled much ecological research with particular focus on soil litter ecosystems. Because litter simultaneously provides habitat structure and a basal resource, disentangling direct trophic and indirect non-trophic effects on different trophic levels remains challenging. Here, we focussed on short-term per capita interaction strengths of generalist predators (centipedes) on their microbi-detritivore prey (springtails) and addressed how the habitat structuring effects of the leaf litter modifies this interaction. We performed a series of laboratory functional response experiments where four levels of habitat structure were constructed by adding different amounts of leaf litter to the experimental arenas. We found that increased leaf litter reduced the consumption rate of the predator. We interpreted this as a dilution effect of the augmented habitat size provided by the increasing leaf litter surface available to the species. Dilution of the prey population decreased encounter rates, whereas the capture success was not affected. Interestingly, our results imply that top-down control by centipedes decreased with increasing resource supply for the microbi-detritivore prey (i.e. the leaf litter that simultaneously provides habitat structure). Therefore, effective top-down control of predators on microbi-detritvore populations seems unlikely in litter-rich ecosystems due to the non-trophic, habitat-structuring effect of the basal litter resource.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2530-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Bottom-up control; Functional response; Non-linear interaction strength; Predator–prey interaction; Soil food webs
A number of epidemiologic frameworks, exemplified through extant research examples, provide insight into the role of stress in the expression of asthma and other allergic disorders. Biological, psychological, and social processes interact throughout the life course to influence disease expression. Studies exploiting a child development framework focus on critical periods of exposure, including the in utero environment, to examine the influence of stress on disease onset. Early stress effects that alter the normal course of morphogenesis and maturation that affect both structure and function of key organ systems (e.g., immune, respiratory) may persist into adult life underscoring the importance of a life course perspective. Other evidence suggests that maternal stress influences programming of integrated physiological systems in their offspring (e.g., neuroendocrine, autonomic, immune function) starting in pregnancy, consequently stress effects may be transgenerational. A multi-level approach which includes an ecological perspective may help to explain heterogeneities in asthma expression across socioeconomic and geographic boundaries that to date remain largely unexplained. Evolving studies incorporating psychological, behavioral, and physiological correlates of stress more specifically inform underlying mechanisms operating in these critical periods of development. The role of genetics, gene by environment interactions, and epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression have been sparsely examined in epidemiologic studies on stress and asthma although overlapping evidence provides proof of concept for such studies in the future.
Two major volatiles produced by the mycelia and fruiting bodies of Tricholoma matsutake (1-octen-3-ol and methyl cinnamate) repel a mycophagous collembolan, Proisotoma minuta. Aggregation of the collembolans on their diet was significantly inhibited by exposure to 1 ppm methyl cinnamate or 10 to 100 ppm 1-octen-3-ol. The aggregation activity decreased dose-dependently upon exposure to 1-octen-3-ol at concentrations higher than 0.01 ppm. Aggregation in the presence of methyl cinnamate exhibited three phases: no significant effect at concentrations ranging from 0.001 to 0.1 ppm, significant inhibition from 1 to 100 ppm, and strong inhibition at 1,000 ppm. These results may explain why certain collembolan species do not prefer T. matsutake fruiting bodies.
Collembola; Matsutake; Methyl cinnamate; 1-Octen-3-ol; Repellent activity of Tricholoma.