Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Potatoes, pathogens and pests : effects of genetic modifi cation for plant resistance on non-target arthropods
Lazebnik, Jenny - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Joop van Loon; Marcel Dicke. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431620 - 151
solanum tuberosum - potatoes - oomycetes - phytophthora infestans - genetic engineering - transgenic plants - disease resistance - risk assessment - nontarget organisms - arthropods - insect pests - herbivores - trophic levels - ecological risk assessment - greenhouse experiments - field experimentation - aardappelen - oömyceten - genetische modificatie - transgene planten - ziekteresistentie - risicoschatting - niet-doelorganismen - geleedpotigen - insectenplagen - herbivoren - trofische graden - ecologische risicoschatting - kasproeven - experimenteel veldonderzoek

Currently, fungicides are necessary to protect potato crops against late blight, Phytophthora infestans, one of the world’s most damaging crop pathogens. The introgression of plant resistance genes from wild potato species targeted specifically to the late blight pathogen into susceptible potato varieties may alleviate the environmental impact of chemical control. Genetically modified plants are subject to an environmental risk assessment, and this includes testing for risks to the non-target arthropod community associated with the crop. The thesis begins with a review about the main plant defense responses and their role in influencing sequential interactions between herbivores and plant pathogens. The experimental chapters each focus on different aspects of the interaction between potato plants (both resistant and susceptible), the target pathogen (P. infestans) and several non-target insects. With each chapter, the scope widens: from the molecular gene expression in potato leaves in response to sequential attacks, to field scale biodiversity analyses. At the molecular level, one of the main findings was that the genomic position of the Rpi-vnt1 insertion conferring resistance to P. infestans influenced potato gene expression measured in leaves, when interacting with the non-target insect pests Myzus persicae (Green peach aphid) and Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado potato beetle). Insect performance differed between the resistant GM and susceptible non-GM comparator. In the following chapter, the differences in insect performance were tested across a range of conventionally bred cultivars varying in resistance to P. infestans. Differences in M. persicae performance between several cultivars greatly outweighed the differences previously detected between the GM and non-GM comparator. These results are crucial in shaping the way risk is assessed in the context of GM crops, and these results are supported in our experiments assessing effects on biodiversity with pitfall traps in the field. The third trophic level was also addressed by comparing the performance of the parasitoid Aphidius colemani reared on GM and non-GM fed aphids, both with an without exposure to P. infestans. Differences in parasitoid performance were only found on the susceptible cultivar when inoculated with P. infestans. In the last experimental chapter the risk assessment is taken to the field comparing pitfall trap catches over two years and in two countries. Different methods for statistical analysis of biodiversity data were compared to arrive at recommendations for such analysis in the framework of environmental risk assessments. Drawing on these lessons, the discussion ends with ideas for the development of protocols for environmental risk assessments in the light of expected scientific progress in agricultural biotechnology.

Large herbivores as a driving force of woodland-grassland cycles : the mutual interactions between the population dynamics of large herbivores and vegetation development in a eutrophic wetland
Cornelissen, Perry - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Frank Berendse; Karle Sykora, co-promotor(en): Jan Bokdam. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463430159 - 151
grasslands - woodlands - herbivores - population dynamics - vegetation - wetlands - graslanden - bosgebieden - herbivoren - populatiedynamica - vegetatie

This thesis examines the mutual interactions between the population dynamics of large herbivores and wood-pasture cycles in eutrophic wetlands. Therefore, habitat use and population dynamics of large herbivores, the effects of large herbivores on vegetation development, and the mutual interactions between vegetation development and herbivore population dynamics were studied in the eutrophic wetland the Oostvaardersplassen. At the Oostvaardersplassen cattle, horses and red deer were introduced in a fenced area with no predators, and population numbers are bottom-up controlled by food supply. The study showed that high densities of cattle, horses and red deer were able to break down woody vegetation and create grasslands. As the populations of large herbivores increased, the amount of the preferred grass available per animal decreased. This forced the large herbivores to use other food plants in other vegetation types, such as scrub, and transforming these into grasslands. In this way, the large herbivores facilitated high numbers of geese. As geese can clip the grass very short (<2 cm), they forced the large herbivores even more to forage in alternative vegetation types. Cattle, the largest herbivore in the system, were the first to experience the negative consequences of this strong competition, and their numbers declined. This raises the question whether an assemblage of bottom-up regulated populations of cattle, horses and red deer, or other large herbivores, can sustainably coexist under these circumstances. The results of our modelling study and experiences in the field suggest that resource partitioning may be a more reliable mechanism for long term coexistence than temporal variability due to climatic extremes or disease outbreaks. The best way to provide opportunities for resource partitioning in the Oostvaardersplassen is to enlarge the area and connect it to other reserves in order to increase the heterogeneity of the grazed system. Although the results of our model suggest that weather variability and presence of geese gave minor opportunities for the coexistence of large herbivores, both factors were necessary for creating windows of opportunity for the establishment of thorny shrubs. Weather variability creates strong reductions of the large herbivore populations while geese influence the maximum and minimum numbers, which are lower when geese are present. The effects of geese on the minimum numbers are small, but apparently sufficient to make the wood-pasture cycle operate. This raises another question whether a large predator, such as the wolf, could have similar effects on these ecosystems as the geese in the model. The impact of geese combined with a possible positive effect of wolves on wood-pasture cycles could perhaps increase the frequency of the windows of opportunity and increase the survival of established thorny shrubs. Until now, we have seen that a few conditions for the wood-pasture cycle are met by the herbivores. However, a few important requirements are not satisfied: (a) a temporary reduction of large herbivore numbers allowing the establishment of light demanding thorny shrubs and the development of thorny scrubland within the created grasslands; (b) the establishment of palatable trees within these thorny scrubs; (c) the formation of closed canopies which shade out the shrubs and lead to unprotected groups of trees and groves. This means that we still cannot conclude if the large herbivores are a driving force for the whole cycle in a highly productive environment. As long as we have not experienced a complete wood-pasture cycle in the Oostvaardersplassen or any other area, it remains to be seen what will happen in the future. Whatever the outcome will be, the results of our study suggest that some adjustments would benefit the Oostvaardersplassen-system such as increasing heterogeneity through connecting the area with other large nature reserves. This will not only increase opportunities for resource and space partitioning and thus increase opportunities for the coexistence of the large herbivores, but also for wood-pasture cycles and increased biodiversity.

Arriving at the right time : a temporal perspective on above-belowground herbivore interactions
Wang, Minggang - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Wim van der Putten, co-promotor(en): T.M. Bezemer; A. Biere. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578142 - 174 p.
herbivores - aboveground belowground interactions - herbivory - defence mechanisms - roots - leaves - mycorrhizas - population dynamics - soil biology - herbivoren - boven- en ondergrondse interacties - herbivorie - verdedigingsmechanismen - wortels - bladeren - mycorrhizae - populatiedynamica - bodembiologie
Change in Mesoherbivore Browsing Is Mediated by Elephant and Hillslope Position
Lagendijk, D.D.G. ; Thaker, M. ; Boer, W.F. de; Page, B.R. ; Prins, H.H.T. ; Slotow, R. - \ 2015
PLoS One 10 (2015)6. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 15 p.
kruger-national-park - loxodonta-africana - woodland regeneration - aepyceros-melampus - foraging behavior - east-africa - dry-season - savanna - herbivores - population
Elephant are considered major drivers of ecosystems, but their effects within small-scale landscape features and on other herbivores still remain unclear. Elephant impact on vegetation has been widely studied in areas where elephant have been present for many years. We therefore examined the combined effect of short-term elephant presence (<4 years) and hillslope position on tree species assemblages, resource availability, browsing intensity and soil properties. Short-term elephant presence did not affect woody species assemblages, but did affect height distribution, with greater sapling densities in elephant access areas. Overall tree and stem densities were also not affected by elephant. By contrast, slope position affected woody species assemblages, but not height distributions and densities. Variation in species assemblages was statistically best explained by levels of total cations, Zinc, sand and clay. Although elephant and mesoherbivore browsing intensities were unaffected by slope position, we found lower mesoherbivore browsing intensity on crests with high elephant browsing intensity. Thus, elephant appear to indirectly facilitate the survival of saplings, via the displacement of mesoherbivores, providing a window of opportunity for saplings to grow into taller trees. In the short-term, effects of elephant can be minor and in the opposite direction of expectation. In addition, such behavioural displacement promotes recruitment of saplings into larger height classes. The interaction between slope position and elephant effect found here is in contrast with other studies, and illustrates the importance of examining ecosystem complexity as a function of variation in species presence and topography. The absence of a direct effect of elephant on vegetation, but the presence of an effect on mesoherbivore browsing, is relevant for conservation areas especially where both herbivore groups are actively managed.
Indirect interactions among tropical tree species through shared rodent seed predators: a novel mechanism of tree species coexistence
Garzon-Lopez, C.X. ; Ballesteros-Mejia, L. ; Ordonez, A. ; Bohlman, S.A. ; Olff, H. ; Jansen, P.A. - \ 2015
Ecology Letters 18 (2015)8. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 752 - 760.
rain-forest tree - apparent competition - density-dependence - spatial autocorrelation - plant recruitment - dispersal - palm - herbivores - diversity - survival
The coexistence of numerous tree species in tropical forests is commonly explained by negative dependence of recruitment on the conspecific seed and tree density due to specialist natural enemies that attack seeds and seedlings (‘Janzen–Connell’ effects). Less known is whether guilds of shared seed predators can induce a negative dependence of recruitment on the density of different species of the same plant functional group. We studied 54 plots in tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, with contrasting mature tree densities of three coexisting large seeded tree species with shared seed predators. Levels of seed predation were far better explained by incorporating seed densities of all three focal species than by conspecific seed density alone. Both positive and negative density dependencies were observed for different species combinations. Thus, indirect interactions via shared seed predators can either promote or reduce the coexistence of different plant functional groups in tropical forest.
Tales on insect-flowering plant interactions : the ecological significance of plant responses to herbivores and pollinators
Lucas Gomes Marques Barbosa, D. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Marcel Dicke, co-promotor(en): Joop van Loon. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462572119 - 207
bloeiende planten - insecten - insect-plant relaties - plant-herbivoor relaties - herbivoren - bestuivers (dieren) - trofische graden - parasitoïden - herbivoor-geinduceerde plantengeuren - flowering plants - insects - insect plant relations - plant-herbivore interactions - herbivores - pollinators - trophic levels - parasitoids - herbivore induced plant volatiles - cum laude
cum laude graduation
High-throughput phenotyping of plant resistance to aphids by automated video tracking
Kloth, K.J. ; Broeke, C.J.M. ten; Thoen, H.P.M. ; Hanhart-van den Brink, M. ; Wiegers, G.L. ; Krips, O.E. ; Noldus, L.P.J.J. ; Dicke, M. ; Jongsma, M.A. - \ 2015
Plant Methods 11 (2015). - ISSN 1746-4811 - 14 p.
green peach aphid - nasonovia-ribisnigri - glucosinolate accumulation - signaling pathways - defense responses - feeding-behavior - myzus-persicae - lettuce aphid - arabidopsis - herbivores
Background: Piercing-sucking insects are major vectors of plant viruses causing significant yield losses in crops.Functional genomics of plant resistance to these insects would greatly benefit from the availability of highthroughput, quantitative phenotyping methods. Results: We have developed an automated video tracking platform that quantifies aphid feeding behaviour on leaf discs to assess the level of plant resistance. Through the analysis of aphid movement, the start and duration of plant penetrations by aphids were estimated. As a case study, video tracking confirmed the near-complete resistance of lettuce cultivar ‘Corbana’ against Nasonovia ribisnigri (Mosely), biotype Nr:0, and revealed quantitative resistance in Arabidopsis accession Co-2 against Myzus persicae (Sulzer). The video tracking platform was benchmarked against Electrical Penetration Graph (EPG) recordings and aphid population development assays. The use of leaf discs instead of intact plants reduced the intensity of the resistance effect in video tracking, but sufficiently replicated experiments resulted in similar conclusions as EPG recordings and aphid population assays. One video tracking platform could screen 100 samples in parallel. Conclusions: Automated video tracking can be used to screen large plant populations for resistance to aphids and other piercing-sucking insects.
Disentangling above- and belowground neighbor effects on the growth, chemistry and arthropod community on a focal plant
Kos, M. ; Bukovinszky, T. ; Mulder, P.P.J. ; Bezemer, T.M. - \ 2015
Ecology 96 (2015)1. - ISSN 0012-9658 - p. 164 - 175.
soil feedback - associational susceptibility - vegetational diversity - competition - herbivores - root - resistance - responses - fertilization - density
Neighboring plants can influence arthropods on a focal plant and this can result in associational resistance or associational susceptibility. These effects can be mediated by above- and belowground interactions between the neighbor and focal plant, but determining the relative contribution of the above- and belowground effects remains an open challenge. We performed a common garden experiment with a design that enabled us to disentangle the above- and belowground effects of five different plant species on the growth and chemistry of the focal plant ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris), and the arthropod community associated to this plant. Aboveground effects of different neighboring plant species were more important for the growth and quality of J. vulgaris and for the arthropod abundance on this plant than belowground effects of neighbors. This remained true when only indirect neighbor effects (via affecting the biomass or quality of the focal plant) were considered. The aboveground neighbor effects on arthropod abundance on the focal plant were strongly negative. However, the magnitude of the effect depended on the identity of the neighboring species, and herbivore abundance on the focal plant was higher when surrounded by conspecific than by heterospecific plants. We also observed interactions between above- and belowground neighbor effects, indicating that these effects may be non-additive. We conclude that above- and belowground associational effects are not equally strong, and that neighbor effects on plant-arthropod interactions occur predominantly aboveground.
Vegetation dynamics prior to wildlife reintroductions in southern umfurudzi park, Zimbabwe
Muposhi, V. ; Ndlovu, N. ; Gandiwa, E. ; Muvengwi, J. ; Muboko, N. - \ 2014
Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences 24 (2014)6. - ISSN 1018-7081 - p. 1680 - 1690.
gonarezhou national-park - tree species-diversity - woody vegetation - miombo woodlands - tanzania - forest - size - herbivores - elephants - savannas
Vegetation assessments are critical in the status and success of reintroduction programs and are an important aspect in ecological restoration. Vegetation structure and composition influences the suitability and availability of unique habitats for different wildlife species. The objectives of this study were to (1) establish the vegetation structure and composition, and (2) determine the soil-vegetation associations in southern Umfurudzi Park, Zimbabwe, prior to the reintroduction of wildlife species. Using a stratified random design, 15 rectangular plots from three strata were assessed in April and May 2012. A total of 23 woody plants from 58 tree and 68 shrub families as well as 30 grass species were recorded. Tree basal area, canopy cover, tree density, tree and grass species diversity, and tree height for the riverine strata were significantly different from the miombo and vlei strata. The influence of soil properties on the occurrence and diversity of woody and grass species was evident across the three strata. Long-term changes in the vegetation dynamics and primary productivity in southern Umfurudzi Park due to the reintroduced mega-herbivores is recommended for the success of the restoration program.
Diversity and structure of woody vegetation across areas with different soils in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe
Gandiwa, E. ; Zisadza-Gandiwa, P. ; Goza, D. ; Mashapa, C. ; Muboko, N. - \ 2014
Southern Forests 76 (2014)2. - ISSN 2070-2620 - p. 111 - 116.
african savanna tree - bottom-up - top-down - southeast zimbabwe - herbivores - ecosystems - community - woodland - rainfall - dynamics
Despite the importance of edaphic factors in influencing woody vegetation diversity and structure in savannas, there is still limited research on the topic across most savanna ecosystems. Here we investigate the differences and/or similarities of woody vegetation diversity and structure across areas with different edaphic factors (i.e. soil group) in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. We stratified our study area into two strata based on soil group, namely siallitic soil in northern Gonarezhou and regosol soil in central Gonarezhou. Data were collected from 96 sample plots between March and April in 2011. Our results showed significantly higher woody species diversity in siallitic soil stratum compared to regosol soil stratum. In contrast, there were no significant differences in woody vegetation structure between the two study strata. Our results suggest that soil variations play an important role in influencing woody vegetation diversity more than woody vegetation structure in Gonarezhou. Future studies should investigate the role of soils on a specific woodland type's composition and structure, and also determine the interactive effects between soils and other environmental determinants in Gonarezhou and similar protected areas in savanna ecosystems.
Response of the zoophytophagous predators Macrolophus pygmaeus and Nesidiocoris tenuis to volatiles of uninfested plants and to plants infested by prey or conspecifics
Lins, J.C. ; Loon, J.J.A. van; Bueno, V.H.P. ; Lucas-Barbosa, D. ; Dicke, M. ; Lenteren, J.C. van - \ 2014
BioControl 59 (2014)6. - ISSN 1386-6141 - p. 707 - 718.
borer tuta-absoluta - carnivorous arthropods - heteroptera miridae - biological-control - infochemical use - spider-mites - tomato - herbivores - bug - caliginosus
Knowledge about the orientation mechanisms used by two important predaceous mirids (Macrolophus pygmaeus Rambour and Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter)) in finding their prey (whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) and the tomato borer Tuta absoluta (Meyrick)) is limited. In a Y-tube olfactometer, we tested the behavioral responses of naïve and experienced predators to uninfested plants, herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) from plants infested with T. absoluta and/or B. tabaci, the sex pheromone of T. absoluta, and volatiles produced by plants injured by the predators. Nesidiocoris tenuis responds to volatiles produced by uninfested plants only after experience with the plant, whereas naïve and experienced M. pygmaeus show positive chemotaxis. Both predators are attracted to volatiles from prey-infested plants, and we provide the first evidence that experience affects this response in M. pygmaeus. Infestation of the same plant by both prey species elicited similar responses by the two predators as plants infested by either herbivore singly. Neither predator responded to sex pheromones of T. absoluta. Macrolophus pygmaeus avoided plants injured by conspecifics, while N. tenuis females were attracted by such plants. The implications of these results for augmentative biological control are discussed.
Grazing-induced changes in plant–soil feedback alter plant biomass allocation
Veen, C.F. ; Vries, S. de; Bakker, E.S. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Olff, H. - \ 2014
Oikos 123 (2014)7. - ISSN 0030-1299 - p. 800 - 806.
tallgrass prairie - borne pathogens - invasive plant - grassland - herbivores - community - competition - coexistence - defoliation - diversity
Large vertebrate herbivores, as well as plant–soil feedback interactions are important drivers of plant performance, plant community composition and vegetation dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems. However, it is poorly understood whether and how large vertebrate herbivores and plant–soil feedback effects interact. Here, we study the response of grassland plant species to grazing-induced legacy effects in the soil and we explore whether these plant responses can help us to understand long-term vegetation dynamics in the field. In a greenhouse experiment we tested the response of four grassland plant species, Agrostis capillaris, Festuca rubra, Holcus lanatus and Rumex acetosa, to field-conditioned soils from grazed and ungrazed grassland. We relate these responses to long-term vegetation data from a grassland exclosure experiment in the field. In the greenhouse experiment, we found that total biomass production and biomass allocation to roots was higher in soils from grazed than from ungrazed plots. There were only few relationships between plant production in the greenhouse and the abundance of conspecifics in the field. Spatiotemporal patterns in plant community composition were more stable in grazed than ungrazed grassland plots, but were not related to plant–soil feedbacks effects and biomass allocation patterns. We conclude that grazing-induced soil legacy effects mainly influenced plant biomass allocation patterns, but could not explain altered vegetation dynamics in grazed grasslands. Consequently, the direct effects of grazing on plant community composition (e.g. through modifying light competition or differences in grazing tolerance) appear to overrule indirect effects through changes in plant–soil feedback.
Effect of sequential induction by Mamestra brassicae L. and Tetranychus urticae Koch on Lima bean plant indirect defense
Menzel, T.R. ; Huang, T.Y. ; Weldegergis, B.T. ; Gols, R. ; Loon, J.J.A. van; Dicke, M. - \ 2014
Journal of Chemical Ecology 40 (2014)9. - ISSN 0098-0331 - p. 977 - 985.
induced volatile emission - host-plant - jasmonic acid - mediated interactions - arabidopsis-thaliana - methyl salicylate - induced responses - predatory mite - herbivores - prey
Attack by multiple herbivores often leads to modification of induced plant defenses compared to single herbivory, yet little is known about the effects on induced indirect plant defense. Here, we investigated the effect of sequential induction of plant defense by Mamestra brassicae caterpillar oral secretion and an infestation by Tetranychus urticae spider mites on the expression of indirect plant defense in Lima bean plants. The effect on indirect defense was assessed using behavior assays with the specialist predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis in an olfactometer, headspace analysis of 11 major herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) including (E)-ß-ocimene, and transcript levels of the corresponding gene Phaseolus lunatus (E)-ß-ocimene synthase (PlOS). Predatory mites were found to distinguish between plants induced by spider mites and caterpillar oral secretion but not between plants with single spider mite infestation and plants induced by caterpillar oral secretion prior to spider mite infestation. Indeed, the volatile blends emitted by plants induced by spider mites only and the sequential induction treatment of caterpillar oral secretion followed by spider mite infestation, were similar. Our results suggest that plant indirect defense is not affected by previous treatment with oral secretion of M. brassicae caterpillars.
Reciprocal interactions between native and introduced populations of common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, and the specialist aphid, Aphis nerii
Bukovinszky, T. ; Gols, R. ; Agrawal, A.A. ; Roge, C. ; Bezemer, T.M. ; Biere, A. ; Harvey, J.A. - \ 2014
Basic and Applied Ecology 15 (2014)5. - ISSN 1439-1791 - p. 444 - 452.
oleander aphid - biological-control - density-dependence - genetic-variation - local adaptation - natural enemies - invasive plants - host plants - herbivores - evolution
Following its introduction into Europe (EU), the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) has been free of most specialist herbivores that are present in its native North American (NA) range, except for the oleander aphid Aphis nerii. We compared EU and NA populations of A. nerii on EU and NA milkweed populations to test the hypothesis that plant–insect interactions differ on the two continents. First, we tested if herbivore performance is higher on EU plants than on NA plants, because the former have escaped most of their herbivores and have perhaps been selected for lower defence levels following introduction. Second, we compared two A. nerii lines (one from each continent) to test whether genotypic differences in the herbivore may influence species interactions in plant–herbivore communities in the context of species introductions. The NA population of A. nerii developed faster, had higher fecundity and attained higher population growth rates than the EU population. There was no overall significant continental difference in aphid resistance between the plants. However, milkweed plants from EU supported higher population growth rates and faster development of the NA line of A. nerii than plants from NA. In contrast, EU aphids showed similar (low) performance across plant populations from both continents. In a second experiment, we examined how chewing herbivores indirectly mediate interactions between milkweeds and aphids, and induced A. syriaca plants from each continent by monarch caterpillars (Danaus plexippus) to compare the resulting changes in plant quality on EU aphid performance. As specialist chewing herbivores of A. syriaca are only present in NA, we expected that plants from the two continents may affect aphid growth in different ways when they are challenged by a specialist chewing herbivore. Caterpillar induction decreased aphid developmental times on NA plants, but not on EU plants, whereas fecundity and population growth rates were unaffected by induction on both plant populations. The results show that genetic variation in the plants as well as in the herbivores can determine the outcome of plant–herbivore interactions.
Negative density dependence of seed dispersal and seedling recruitment in a Neotropical palm
Jansen, P.A. ; Visser, M.D. ; Joseph Wright, S. ; Rutten, G. ; Muller-Landau, H.C. - \ 2014
Ecology Letters 17 (2014)9. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 1111 - 1120.
scatter-hoarding rodent - tropical tree - spatial-patterns - plant diversity - forest - competition - removal - consequences - mechanisms - herbivores
Negative density dependence (NDD) of recruitment is pervasive in tropical tree species. We tested the hypotheses that seed dispersal is NDD, due to intraspecific competition for dispersers, and that this contributes to NDD of recruitment. We compared dispersal in the palm Attalea butyracea across a wide range of population density on Barro Colorado Island in Panama and assessed its consequences for seed distributions. We found that frugivore visitation, seed removal and dispersal distance all declined with population density of A. butyracea, demonstrating NDD of seed dispersal due to competition for dispersers. Furthermore, as population density increased, the distances of seeds from the nearest adult decreased, conspecific seed crowding increased and seedling recruitment success decreased, all patterns expected under poorer dispersal. Unexpectedly, however, our analyses showed that NDD of dispersal did not contribute substantially to these changes in the quality of the seed distribution; patterns with population density were dominated by effects due solely to increasing adult and seed density.
Toxicity of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids to Spodoptera exigua Using Insect Cell Lines and Injection Bioassays
Nuringtyas, T.R. ; Verpoorte, R. ; Klinkhamer, P.G.L. ; Oers, M.M. van; Leiss, K.A. - \ 2014
Journal of Chemical Ecology 40 (2014)6. - ISSN 0098-0331 - p. 609 - 616.
tertiary amine - n-oxides - performance - herbivores - resistance - asteraceae - vulgaris - hybrids - plants
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are feeding deterrents and toxic compounds to generalist herbivores. Among the PAs of Jacobaea vulgaris Gaertn, jacobine and erucifoline are the most effective against insect herbivores as indicated by correlative studies. Because little is known about the effect of jacobine and erucifoline as individual PAs, we isolated these compounds from their respective Jacobaea chemotypes. These PAs and other commercially available senecionine-like PAs, including senecionine, seneciphylline, retrorsine, and senkirkine, were tested as free base and N-oxide forms at a range of 0–70 ppm. Feeding bioassays using live insects are closer to the natural pattern but require relatively large amounts of test compounds. We, therefore, compared the toxicity of PAs using both Spodoptera exigua cell line and larval injection bioassays. Both bioassays led to similar results in the order of PA toxicity, indicating that the cell lines are a valuable tool for a first toxicity screen. Testing individual PAs, jacobine and erucifoline were the most toxic PAs, suggesting their major role in plant defense against generalist herbivores. Senkirkine and seneciphylline were less toxic than jacobine and erucifoline but more toxic than retrorsine. Senecionine was not toxic at the tested concentrations. For all toxic PAs, the free base form was more toxic than the N-oxide form. Our results demonstrate that structural variation of PAs influences their effectiveness in plant defense.
Data from: Stable isotope labeled n-alkanes to assess digesta passage kinetics through the digestive tract of ruminants
Warner, D. ; Ferreira, L.M.M. ; Breuer, M.J.H. ; Dijkstra, J. ; Pellikaan, W.F. - \ 2013
digesta passage - hydrocarbons - herbivores - ruminants
We describe the use of carbon stable isotope (13C) labeled n-alkanes as a potential internal tracer to assess passage kinetics of ingested nutrients in ruminants. Plant cuticular n-alkanes originating from intrinsically 13C labeled ryegrass plants were pulse dosed intraruminally in four rumen-cannulated lactating dairy cows receiving four contrasting ryegrass silage treatments that differed in nitrogen fertilization level (45 or 90 kg nitrogen ha−1) and maturity (early or late). Passage kinetics through the gastrointestinal tract were derived from the δ13C (i.e. the ratio 13C:12C) in apparently undigested fecal material. Isotopic enrichment was observed in a wide range of long-chain n-alkanes (C27–C36) and passage kinetics were determined for the most abundant C29, C31 and C33 n-alkanes, for which a sufficiently high response signal was detected by combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Basal diet treatment and carbon chain length of n-alkanes did not affect fractional passage rates from the rumen (K1) among individual n-alkanes (3.71–3.95%/h). Peak concentration time and transit time showed a quantitatively small, significant (p≤0.002) increase with carbon chain length. K1 estimates were comparable to those of the 13C labeled digestible dry matter fraction (3.38%/h; r = 0.61 to 0.71; p≤0.012). A literature review has shown that n-alkanes are not fermented by microorganisms in the rumen and affirms no preferential depletion of 13C versus 12C. Our results suggest that 13C labeled n-alkanes can be used as nutrient passage tracers and support the reliability of the δ13C signature of digestible feed nutrients as a tool to measure nutrient-specific passage kinetics.
African wildlife and people : finding solutions where equilibrium models fail
Poshiwa, X. - \ 2013
University. Promotor(en): Herbert Prins; Ekko van Ierland, co-promotor(en): Ignas Heitkonig; Rolf Groeneveld. - Wageningen : Wageningen UR - ISBN 9789461737618 - 173
wild - extensieve weiden - evenwicht - droogte - mensen - herbivoren - vee - verstoring - ecologische verstoring - zimbabwe - afrika - wildlife - rangelands - equilibrium - drought - people - herbivores - livestock - disturbance - ecological disturbance - africa

Grazing systems, covering about half of the terrestrial surface, tend to be either equilibrial or non-equilibrial in nature, largely depending on the environmental stochasticity.The equilibrium model perspective stresses the importance of biotic feedbacks between herbivores and their resource, while the non-equilibrium model perspective stresses stochastic abiotic factors as the primary drivers of vegetation and herbivore dynamics.In semi-arid and arid tropical systems, environmental stochasticity is rather high, making the systems essentially non-equilibrial in nature, suggesting that feedback between livestock and vegetation is absent or at least severely attenuated for much of the time. In southern Africa, range and livestock management however, has been built around the concept of range condition class and the practices of determining carrying capacities and manipulating livestock numbers and grazing seasons to influence range condition. This management approach is derived from the equilibrium or climax concept of Clementsian succession. The erratic and variable rainfall in many pastoral areas of Africa poses a fundamental challenge to this conventional notion of carrying capacity in range management. This realization has caused a shift towards models that embrace non-equilibrium dynamics in ecosystems. The main concern is that application of the range model may contribute to mismanagement and degradation of some rangeland ecosystems. However, only a few studies in rangelands have empirically tested the non-equilibrium hypothesis leading to the debate on rangeland dynamics remaining unresolved.

Across the savannas of Africa, grasslands are being changed into cultivation due to increasing human population, at the expense of decreasing wildlife populations. African savannas however, still contain pockets of wilderness surviving as protected areas, but even there, species richness of large mammals is decreasing. The inevitable result is the loss of most of the wild plants and animals that occupy these natural habitats, at the same time threatening the well-being of the inhabitants of these savannas. Hence, to facilitate the management of arid and semi-arid savannas for both biological conservation and sustainable use (improving human welfare) an improved understanding of the complex dynamics of these savannas is critical. Furthermore, it is widely recognized that a high level of uncertainty typifies the lives of rural farmers in developing countries.Non-equilibrium dynamics bring additional uncertainty and risk to the system.However, attempts to understand efficient and sustainable ways to improve biodiversity and human welfare in systems showing non-equilibrium dynamics have been rare.The behaviour of non-equilibrium systems is characterised as more dynamic and less predictable than equilibrium systems. Therefore, non-equilibrium dynamics in dryland ecosystems present a different kind of management problem for both livestock and wildlife systems since their management has been dictated by the equilibrium assumption. Additionally, loss of biodiversity is regarded today as one of the great unsolved environmental problems.Faced with this biodiversity crisis, the challenge is to find ways to respond in a flexible way to deal with uncertainty and surprises brought about by non-equilibrium dynamics.

In this thesis I use a bioeconomic approach in analyzing the implications of non-equilibrium dynamics for the efficient and sustainable management of wildlife and livestock in dryland grazing systems. The study area for this thesis is southeastern lowveld of Zimbabwe.

In chapter 2, I investigate the role of abiotic and biotic factors in determining plant species composition. While early studies emphasized the importance of edaphic and environmental controls on plant species distribution and spatial variation in vegetation composition, recent studies have documented the importance of both natural and anthropogenic disturbances in this respect. At a regional scale vegetation structure (i.e., grass/tree ratio) and species composition in savannas is largely determined by precipitation, whereas at the nested landscape-scale vegetation structure and composition is more prominently determined by geologic substrate, topography, fire and herbivory. Chapter 2, shows that at the landscape scale, abiotic variables such as rainfall and soil fertility override the effect of humans and livestock on the herbaceous and the woody plant composition.

Then, in Chapter 3, I ask the question whether there is something like non-equilibrium and what are the impacts of such dynamics on cattle herd dynamics? I studied the relevance of non-equilibrium theory to my study area by testing whether annual changes in cattle numbers showed the presence of crashes and if so, what were the factors best explaining those crashes and what age and sex classes of cattle were most vulnerable to such crashes? Chapter 3 showed that crashes in annual cattle numbers were evident and were best explained by rainfall and NDVI and their lags. Immigration i.e., movement in of animals was also an important factor in years when rainfall was below the threshold and so it was a possible source of cattle recovery after a crash together with high calving rates. In years when rainfall was above the rainfall threshold, NDVI explained more variation in annual changes of livestock. The impacts of crashes were greater on calves than other cattle age categories thus explaining why there are legacy effects (lags) in cattle numbers that can only partly be offset by cattle purchases from elsewhere because of poverty or lack of surplus stock elsewhere. These findings make the southeastern lowveld system to be dominated by non-equilibrium dynamics.

The welfare of local people is the issue that I focused on in my economic section of this thesis (Chapters 4 and 5). I addressed the question of how risks of fluctuations in household income can be managed in order to improve human welfare. The expectation was that in systems exhibiting non-equilibrium dynamics people can improve their welfare by exploiting a combination of wildlife and agricultural activities (livestock and cropping) in their attempts to reduce fluctuations in their annual welfare. This would be possible if the risks in wildlife and agro-pastoral systems were sufficiently different. Exploiting different sources of income requires efficient allocation of resources. The most prominent resource is land and land varies spatially in quality and ecological resources require spatial connectivity. Therefore the spatial dimension is important in this allocation.

In Chapter 4 I asked the question: To what extent can wildlife income buffer rural households’ incomes against fluctuations in rainfall? I studied the extent to which wildlife derived income can buffer local households’ income against fluctuations due to rainfall. The addition of wildlife as an asset for rural farmers’ portfolio of assets showed that wildlife can be used as a hedge asset to offset risk from agricultural production without compromising on return. However, the power of diversification using wildlife is limited because revenues from agriculture and wildlife assets were positively correlated. However, the correlation was very weak (only 0.4 and the explained variance thus only be 16 %) which gives ample scope for buffering. Therefore, revenues from wildlife have potential to reduce household income fluctuations due to drought, but only to a limited extent.

In Chapter 5 the question was: From a theoretical perspective, can wildlife income have an insurance value to local people? I used a modelling approach to study the extent to which wildlife income offers an insurance value to local people against fluctuating annual rainfall. Findings did not support the common assertion that wildlife can offer insurance to local people against income fluctuations due to rainfall fluctuations. The failure by wildlife income to offer insurance value to local people could be explained by high costs of harvesting the wildlife resource and high densities of both human and livestock populations in southeastern lowveld.As corollary I draw the conclusion that wildlife cannot pay its way in these rangelands as long as there are high densities of people as shown in Chapter 5. Definitely wildlife income becomes insufficient if long-term sustainability of wildlife resources is considered.

Chapter 6, finally synthesizes the conclusions that can be drawn from the preceding chapters and puts the issues addressed in a broader context. In summary, this thesis shows evidence of non-equilibrium dynamics in semi-arid grazing systems. Furthermore, the small contribution of wildlife income to local people’s welfare goes to show the widely shared view that financial rewards generated through integrated conservation and development programmes such as CAMPFIRE have generally been seen as insufficient. This led me to suggest that if we have a moral or ethical obligation to protect wildlife species, then an important way for people to meet their aspirations economically was suggested by Malthus.

Multitrophic interactions on a range-expanding plant species
Fortuna, T.F.M. - \ 2013
University. Promotor(en): Louise Vet; J.A. Harvey. - Wageningen : Wageningen UR - ISBN 9789461737656 - 229
planten - invasieve soorten - geïntroduceerde soorten - herbivoren - ongewervelde dieren - natuurlijke vijanden - predatoren - parasitoïden - multitrofe interacties - bunias orientalis - verdedigingsmechanismen - plants - invasive species - introduced species - herbivores - invertebrates - natural enemies - predators - parasitoids - multitrophic interactions - defence mechanisms

Studies on the ecological impacts of exotic invasive plants have mainly focused on inter-continental invasions. However due to global environmental changes, a rapid increase in intra-continental range-expanding plants has been observed. In this context, multitrophic interactions between exotic plants, native herbivores and their natural enemies have been largely ignored. This thesis aimed at examining how an exotic range-expanding plant interacts with aboveground insect herbivores and their natural enemies and how it can contribute to the successful establishment of the exotic plant. In addition, it examines how resistance traits of different populations of the range-expander affect the behaviour and performance of herbivores and their natural enemies in the new habitat. Bunias orientalis (Capparales: Brassicaceae) is perennial plant from extreme south-eastern Europe and Asia that has recently expanded its range and become invasive in northern and central parts of Europe. In the Netherlands, it is considered naturalized but non-invasive.

Firstly, using a community approach, I found that Bu. orientalis suffered less herbivore damage and harboured smaller invertebrate communities than sympatric native Brassicaceae in the Netherlands. The exotic plant has been found of low quality for the larval growth of the specialist herbivore (Pieris brassicae). Furthermore, two of its gregarious parasitoids were differentially affected by the quality of the exotic plant. The pupal parasitoid (Pteromalus puparum) survived better than the larval parasitoid (Cotesia glomerata), and the latter parasitized less hosts on the exotic than on native plants. Therefore, the herbivore can be selected to adapt to the new plant by conferring an enemy free space to the herbivore. In this case, a plant shift by the specialist herbivore might occur and thus preventing the further spread of the exotic plant. Conversely, in the field I found greater carnivore pressure on Bu. orientalis compared to other native Brassicaceae, particularly in the peak of arthropod abundance. Hence, top-down forces exerted by herbivore natural enemies may act in concert with bottom-up control of plant resistance traits to counteract herbivore plant shift and promote the successful range expansion of the exotic plant.

Secondly, using a biogeographical approach, I found a considerable intraspecific variation in defence traits (trichomes, glucosinolates, metabolic fingerprints) of Bu. orientalis populations from the native and the exotic range. Plants collected in the native range were better defended than their exotic conspecifics. This variation matched with the performance of a generalist herbivore (Mamestra brassicae) and its parasitoid (Microplitis mediator), which developed poorly in plants from the native range. The results suggest that the defensive mechanisms of Bu. orientalis might have been counter-selected during the range expansion of the exotic plant. Further studies, however, need to examine if enemy release in the new range is followed by an increase in performance of the exotic plant. Finally, a comparative study of multitrophic interactions, both above- and belowground, in the plant native range and along the transect of its range expansion can help to clarify the mechanisms underlying the invasive success of Bu. orientalis.

Stable isotope labeled n-alkanes to assess digesta passage kinetics through the digestive tract of ruminants
Warner, D. ; Ferreira, L.M.M. ; Breuer, M.J.H. ; Dijkstra, J. ; Pellikaan, W.F. - \ 2013
PLoS One 8 (2013)10. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 9 p.
marker excretion patterns - carbon-isotope - dairy-cows - enrichments delta-c-13 - botanical composition - particle-size - in-vitro - rumen - herbivores - cattle
We describe the use of carbon stable isotope (13C) labeled n-alkanes as a potential internal tracer to assess passage kinetics of ingested nutrients in ruminants. Plant cuticular n-alkanes originating from intrinsically 13C labeled ryegrass plants were pulse dosed intraruminally in four rumen-cannulated lactating dairy cows receiving four contrasting ryegrass silage treatments that differed in nitrogen fertilization level (45 or 90 kg nitrogen ha-1) and maturity (early or late). Passage kinetics through the gastrointestinal tract were derived from the d13C (i.e. the ratio 13C:12C) in apparently undigested fecal material. Isotopic enrichment was observed in a wide range of long-chain n-alkanes (C27–C36) and passage kinetics were determined for the most abundant C29, C31 and C33 n-alkanes, for which a sufficiently high response signal was detected by combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Basal diet treatment and carbon chain length of n-alkanes did not affect fractional passage rates from the rumen (K1) among individual n-alkanes (3.71–3.95%/h). Peak concentration time and transit time showed a quantitatively small, significant (p=0.002) increase with carbon chain length. K1 estimates were comparable to those of the 13C labeled digestible dry matter fraction (3.38%/h; r = 0.61 to 0.71; p=0.012). A literature review has shown that n-alkanes are not fermented by microorganisms in the rumen and affirms no preferential depletion of 13C versus 12C. Our results suggest that 13C labeled n-alkanes can be used as nutrient passage tracers and support the reliability of the d13C signature of digestible feed nutrients as a tool to measure nutrient-specific passage kinetics.
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