[Experimental] List of manuscripts available for review volunteers
6 manuscripts available for review volunteers
March 18, 2017
Background. Ecosystem functions of rivers are greatly impaired because of the negative effects of human activities in different regions of the Earth. It is the need of the hour to understand the relationship between structures and ecological processes of natural rivers to facilitate restoration of the impaired river ecosystems. Microbial abundance and enzyme activity in sediments of rivers are important processes that regulate a variety of ecological functions in the river. However, detailed studies related to these are scarce. Methods. Three of the repeatedly occurring rapid-pool-benchland systems, a basic structural unit of a natural river in the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the natural Duliu River in China were selected for the study. Microbial abundance in sediments of these systems was measured using the plate counting and most-probable-number method. The enzyme activity was measured using the titration and colorimetric methods. Correlation between microbial abundance, enzyme activity, and ecological functions mediated by these enzymes were analyzed. Results. The number of bacteria was significantly greater than that of ammonifiers, actinomycetes, fungi, and denitrifying bacteria in all the rapid-pool-benchland systems of the different reaches. Microbial abundance was greater in the upper than in the middle and lower reaches. The five types of microbes present in sediments of pools where nutrients were easily accumulated indicated greatest microbial abundance than those in sediments of rapids and benchlands, which were ranked second and third, respectively. Catalase activity in sediments of benchlands was higher than in rapids and pools, but the activities of phosphatase, urease and dehydrogenase in the pools was higher than in rapids and benchlands. Phosphatase and urease activities significantly correlated with the abundance of five types of microorganisms (r=0.653 to 0.836, p<0.05). However, the activity of catalase and dehydrogenase were lower in correlation with the five types of microbes (r=0.077 to 0.619, p>0.05~<0.05). Habitat heterogeneity in the rapid-pool-benchland system causes alterations in microbial abundance and enzyme activities that regulate ecological functions such as decomposition of hydrogen peroxide and organic matter, release of phosphate ions, ammonia and CO2 from sediments. Discussion. Recurrently occurring rapid-pool-benchland systems significantly affect the microbial abundance and enzyme activity in sediments of the river that further results in diverse ecological functions. Restoration of degraded rivers toward the rapid-pool-benchland systems is beneficial in maintaining a diverse ecosystem. Key words: Natural rivers, Ecosystem function, Rapid-pools-benchland system, Microorganisms, Enzyme activity, Sediments
March 11, 2017
Despite recent algorithmic improvements, learning the optimal structure of a Bayesian network from data is typically infeasible past a few dozen variables. Fortunately, domain knowledge can frequently be exploited to achieve dramatic computational savings, and in many cases domain knowledge can even make structure learning tractable. Several methods have previously been described for representing this type of structural prior knowledge, including global orderings, super-structures, and constraint rules. While super-structures and constraint rules are flexible in terms of what prior knowledge they can encode, they achieve savings in memory and computational time simply by avoiding considering invalid graphs. We introduce the concept of a "constraint graph" as an intuitive method for incorporating rich prior knowledge into the structure learning task. We describe how this graph can be used to reduce the memory cost and computational time required to find the optimal graph subject to the encoded constraints, beyond merely eliminating invalid graphs. In particular, we show that a constraint graph can break the structure learning task into independent subproblems even in the presence of cyclic prior knowledge. These subproblems are well suited to being solved in parallel on a single machine or distributed across many machines without excessive communication cost.
March 10, 2017
Insecticidal crystal (Cry) proteins produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) target cells in the midgut epithelium of susceptible larvae. While the mode of action of Cry toxins has been extensively investigated, the midgut response to Cry intoxication and its regulation are not well characterized. In this work, we report the secreted proteome (secretome) of primary mature midgut cell cultures from Heliothis virescens larvae after exposure to Cry1Ac toxin compared to control buffer treatment. Biological activity of the Cry1Ac-induced secretome was monitored as higher proliferation and differentiation and an overall reduction in total cell mortality over time in primary H. virescens midgut stem cell cultures when compared to treatment with control buffer secretome. Differential proteomics identified 4 proteins with significant differences in abundance comparing Cry1Ac-treated and control secretomes. The most significant difference detected in the Cry1Ac secretome was an arylphorin protein not detected in the control secretome. Feeding of purified arylphorin to H. virescens larvae resulted in midgut hyperplasia and significantly reduced susceptibility to Cry1Ac toxin compared to controls. These data identify arylphorin as a protein with a putative relevant role in the midgut regeneration process in response to Cry1Ac intoxication.
March 4, 2017
Background. Restoration of degraded forest ecosystem is crucial for regional sustainable development. To protect the country’s fragile and fragmented environment, the Chinese government has initiated an ecological engineering, the Natural Forest Protection Program in seventeen provinces in China since 1998. Fully hillside-closed forest protection (vegetation restoration naturally without any artificial disturbance) was one of vital measures of the Natural Forest Protection Program applied national wide. Whether plant diversity, biomass and age structure of dominant tree species and soil nutrients in protected stands may become better with increase of protected period are still open problems. Methods. We investigated community diversity, biomass of dominant tree species, age structures, and analyzed soil chemical properties of a Pinus tabulaeformis population at protected sites representing different protected ages at Huanglongshan Forest Bureau on the Loess Plateau, Shaanxi, China. Results. Plant species richness of Pinus tabulaeformis community was significantly affected (p<0.05) by forest protection and the effect attenuated with protected age.Shannon evenness index of plant species generally increased with protected age. Stands protected for 45 years had the highest tree biomass and considerable natural regeneration capacity. Contents of organic carbon, available phosphorus and available potassium in top soil increased in protected stands less than 45 years, however decreased significantly thereafter. Long-term forest protection also decreased content of mineral nitrogen in top soil. Discussion. We found that richness of shrubs and herbs was significantly affected by forest protection, and evenness indices of tree, shrub and herb increased inconsistently with protected ages. Forest protection created more complex age structures and tree densities with increasing age of protection. Content of soil mineral nitrogen at 0-20 cm soil depth showed a decreasing trend in stands of up to 30 years. Soil available phosphorus and potassium contents were higher in stands with greater proportions of big and middle trees. Long-term protection (> 45 years) of Pinus tabulaeformis stand in southeast Loess Plateau, China, may be associated with decreasing plant species richness, proportion of medium to large trees, dominant biomass of Pinus tabulaeformis and soil nutrients.
March 1, 2017
Denitrification is an important part of the nitrogen cycle and the key step to removal of nitrogen in surface-flow wetlands. Denitrifying bacteria also function in denitrification. In this study, we explored space-time analysis with high-throughput sequencing to elucidate the relationships between denitrifying bacteria community structures and environmental factors during different seasons. Our results showed that along the flow direction of different processing units, there were dynamic changes in physical and chemical indicators. The bacterial abundance indexes (ACEs) in May, August, and October were 686.8, 686.8, and 996.2, respectively, whereas the Shannon-Weiner indexes were3.718, 4.303, and 4.432, respectively. Along the flow direction, the denitrifying bacterial abundance initially increased and then decreased subsequently during the same months, although diversity tended to increase. The abundance showed similar changes during the different months. Surface flow wetlands mainly contained the following denitrifying bacteria genus: unclassified Bacteria (37.12%),unclassified Proteobacteria (18.16%), Dechloromonas (16.21%), unranked environmental samples (12.51%),unclassified Betaproteobacteria (9.73%),unclassified Rhodocyclaceae (2.14%), and Rhodanobacter (1.51%). During different seasons, the same species processing units showed alternating changes, and during the same season, bacterial community structures were influenced by the second genus proportion in different processing units. ACEs were strongly correlated with temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH. Bacterial diversity was strongly correlated with temperature, electrical conductivity, pH, and oxidation reduction potential. All denitrifying bacterial species were greatly affected by environmental factors, including temperature and pH, and the effects of electrical conductivity and oxidation reduction potential were similar.
February 28, 2017
Background. Litchi stink-bug, Tessaratoma papillosa Drury (Hemiptera: Tessaratomidae) is a major pest on litchi and longan in Southern China. It is urgent to develop valid biological agent for control the pest and improve IPM strategy on orchard farming. Entomopathogenic fungi was regarded as avital ecological factor pressing pest populations in field, however, there were fewer searches conducted on entomopathogenic fungi against litchi stink-bug. Methods & Results. In this study, two pathogenic fungus were isolated from the adult diseased T. papillosa by normal methods and rDNA-ITS homogeneous analysis, they are identified as Paecilomyces lilacinus and Beauveria bassiana. Laboratory tests showed that the two entomopathogenic fungi both had a good lethal effect to young nymph and old nymph of T. papillosa. The toxicity determination showed that the LC50 value for Beauveria bassiana was higher than P. lilacinus. Conclusion.These pathogenic fungus did not have the risk of pollution or residue, and they can be a alternative option for integrated pest management approache.

FAQs

Is this open peer review?

No, peer review is still single-blind and all recommendations are private between the authors and Academic Editor. However, any reviewer has the option to sign their report, and once accepted for publication then that review can be shown publicly - again this is optional.

Will I be guaranteed to review if I volunteer?

No. Volunteering is not a guarantee that you will be asked to review. This is for many reasons. For one, reviewers must have relevant qualifications for any manuscript and void of any conflicts of interest. Additionally, it could be that enough reviewers have accepted an invitation to review already, in which case we would not invite any more.

Why aren't there more manuscripts available?

Manuscripts are shown when authors have opted-in for obtaining reviewers through the reviewer-match service. Additionally, there may already be enough reviewers found through other means, for example, invitations sent by the Academic Editor in charge.

What are the editorial criteria?

Please visit the editorial criteria page for initial guidance. You will also be given additional information if invited to review.