[Experimental] List of manuscripts available for review volunteers
2 manuscripts available for review volunteers
November 9, 2017
Grazing exclusion is one of most efficient approaches to restore degraded grasslands but this practice may have negative effects on the restoration of species diversity. Species diversity can provide information about the factors driving present and future community structure. However, diversity patterns emerging as a result of different ecological processes are poorly understood between grazed and fenced grasslands, especially in harsh, desert environments. Here, six plots were established in a desert steppe ecosystems in northern China and soil properties and species diversity were examined under grazed and fenced conditions. Three models were used to describe the species-area curve (SAR): the logistic model, the exponential model and the power model. Variograms applied to examine the spatial characteristics of diversity. Variation partitioning and Null models used to determine the relative contributions of different processes. Results showed that species richness, abundance and Shannon diversity were found to respond to sampling unit in a dissimilar way both inside and outside of the exclusion. Grazing exclusion had a significant impact on the species richness- area curves. For both inside and outside of the exclusion, fine scale effects (around 1 m) were dominant and strong spatial autocorrelations in the diversity variables existed. After grazing exclusion, the spatial heterogeneity declined for species richness, increased for abundance and did not change for the Shannon diversity, the ecological processes were more complex and competitive exclusion may play a significant role in reducing richness, the important of deterministic processes (environmental filtering) decreased while the contribution of an undetermined component increased. Our results suggest that management of these ecosystems should take into account the impact of grazing exclusion on species diversity and incorporate fine scale assembly processes to maximize species diversity in semi-arid regions, especially when manipulating processes that reduce dominant species, introduce new species, and promote environmental heterogeneity.
October 18, 2017
Venom has been associated with the ecological success of many groups of organisms, most notably reptiles, gastropods, and arachnids. In some cases, diversification has been directly linked to tailoring of venoms for dietary specialization. Spiders in particular are known for their diverse venoms and wide range of predatory behaviors, although there is much to learn about scales of variation in venom composition and function. The current study focuses on venom characteristics in different sexes within a species of spider. We chose the genus Tetragnatha (Tetragnathidae) because of its unusual courtship behavior involving interlocking of the venom delivering chelicerae (i.e., the jaws), and several species in the genus are already known to have sexually dimorphic venoms. Here, we use transcriptome and proteome analyses to identify venom components that are dimorphic in Tetragnatha versicolor. We present cDNA sequences of unique high molecular weight proteins that are only present in males and that have remote, if any, detectable similarity to known venom components in spiders or other venomous lineages and several have no detectable homologs in existing databases. While the function of these proteins is not known, their presence in association with the cheliceral locking mechanism during mating together with the presence of prolonged male-male mating attempts in a related, cheliceral-locking species (Doryonychus raptor) lacking the dimorphism suggests potential for a role in sexual communication.


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