• Habitat structure mediates biodiversity effects on ecosystem properties

      Godbold, J. A.; Bulling, Mark T.; Solan, Martin (2013-05-24)
      Much of what we know about the role of biodiversity in mediating ecosystem processes and function stems from manipulative experiments, which have largely been performed in isolated, homogeneous environments that do not incorporate habitat structure or allow natural community dynamics to develop. Here, we use a range of habitat configurations in a model marine benthic system to investigate the effects of species composition, resource heterogeneity and patch connectivity on ecosystem properties at both the patch (bioturbation intensity) and multi-patch (nutrient concentration) scale. We show that allowing fauna to move and preferentially select patches alters local species composition and density distributions, which has negative effects on ecosystem processes (bioturbation intensity) at the patch scale, but overall positive effects on ecosystem functioning (nutrient concentration) at the multi-patch scale. Our findings provide important evidence that community dynamics alter in response to localized resource heterogen- eity and that these small-scale variations in habitat structure influence species contributions to ecosystem properties at larger scales. We conclude that habitat complexity forms an important buffer against dis- turbance and that contemporary estimates of the level of biodiversity required for maintaining future multi-functional systems may need to be revised.
    • Habitat suitability, corridors and dispersal barriers for large carnivores in Poland

      Huck, Maren; Jędrzejewski, Włodzimierz; Borowik, Tomasz; Miłosz-Cielma, Małgorzata; Schmidt, Krzysztof; Jędrzejewska, Bogumiła; Nowak, Sabina; Mysłajek, Robert W.; Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences; Association for Nature "Wolf" (2010)
      Carnivores are often particularly sensitive to landscape fragmentation. Ecological corridors may help to connect local populations, ensuring gene flow and retaining viable meta-populations. We aimed to establish habitat suitability models for two large carnivores in Poland, the grey wolf Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758 and the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx Linnaeus, 1758, based on ecological niche factor analysis (ENFA). Secondly, we calculated least cost paths (LCPs) based on cost values obtained from ENFA. Thirdly, we determined structures that might act as barriers, thus diminishing the value of the corridor unless appropriate conservation measures are taken. We compared some of the results with actual dispersal data of four lynx in eastern Poland. Results indicate that both species are highly marginalised. Less habitat that is currently available in Poland is suitable for lynx than for wolves. We determined a total of 76 LCPs. Comparison of these theoretical corridors with actual dispersal routes suggests that the traits of calculated LCPs are mostly within the range of those of real routes. We highlight a variety of features that might act as barriers, such as major roads (including planned highways), urbanized areas, and large un-forested areas. We give suggestions where concerted conservation efforts (eg wildlife passages) might be particularly well-directed.
    • Heat waves are a major threat to turbid coral reefs in Brazil

      Duarte, Gustavo A. S.; Villela, Helena D. M.; Deocleciano, Matheus; Silva, Denise; Barno, Adam; Cardoso, Pedro M.; Vilela, Caren L. S.; Rosado, Phillipe; Messias, Camila S. M. A.; Chacon, Maria Alejandra; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2020-03-30)
      Coral reefs are threatened by climate change on a global scale with thermal stress events and mass coral bleaching being widely reported. The reefs off the east coast of Brazil (and other turbid areas) have, however, historically escaped such thermal stress events, with relatively low levels of background coral mortality (5–10%). This has recently changed. Here we show that, in 2019, degree heating weeks (DHW) of 19.65 coincided with catastrophic declines in coral cover, especially in the major reef building hydrocoral Millepora alcicornis. The decline was due to bleaching associated with exposure to high temperature stress culminating in DHW values exceeding 15 for a period of 50 days. At two independent sites, surveys showed upwards of 83.5 ± 9.0 and 89.1 ± 3.9% mortality, and a third site showed relatively lower (albeit still high) mortality rates of 43.3 ± 12.0%. The mass die-off in 2019 is unprecedented in the South Atlantic reefs and coincides with increased heating events.
    • Herbicides increase the vulnerability of corals to rising sea surface temperature

      Negri, Andrew P.; Flores, Florita; Röthig, Till; Uthicke, Sven; Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Queensland, Australia (Wiley, 2011-02-03)
      In order to examine the potential interactive pressures of local pollution and global climate change, we exposed corals and crustose coralline algae (CCA) to three agricultural photosystem II (PSII) herbicides at four temperatures (26–32°C). The coral Acropora millepora was 3‐ to 10‐fold more sensitive to the three herbicides than the CCA Neogoniolithon fosliei. While the photosynthesis of CCA was not affected by the herbicide concentrations used (< 1 μg L−1), temperatures of 31°C and 32°C alone significantly inhibited photosynthetic efficiency (ΔF:F′m) and caused chronic photoinhibition (reduced Fv:Fm) and substantial bleaching. Environmentally relevant concentrations of each herbicide increased the negative effects of thermal stress on coral at 31°C and 32°C. Mixed model analyses of variance showed that the effects of elevated sea surface temperatures (SST) and herbicide on photosynthetic efficiency of coral symbionts were additive. Furthermore, the effect of either diuron or atrazine in combination with higher SST (31°C and 32°C) on chronic photoinhibition was distinctly greater than additive (synergistic). Reducing the herbicide concentration by 1 μg L−1 diuron above 30°C would protect photosynthetic efficiency by the equivalent of 1.8°C and reduce chronic photoinhibition by the equivalent of a 1°C reduction. Reduced water quality increases the vulnerability of corals to elevated SSTs, and effective management of local water quality can reduce negative effects of global stressors such as elevated SST.
    • High salinity tolerance of the Red Sea coral Fungia granulosa under desalination concentrate discharge conditions: an in situ photophysiology experiment.

      van der Merwe, Riaan; Röthig, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.; Ochsenkühn, Michael A.; Lattemann, Sabine; Amy, Gary L.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Frontiers, 2014-11-10)
      Seawater reverse osmosis desalination concentrate may have chronic and/or acute impacts on the marine ecosystems in the near-field area of the discharge. Environmental impact of the desalination plant discharge is supposedly site- and volumetric- specific, and also depends on the salinity tolerance of the organisms inhabiting the water column in and around a discharge environment. Scientific studies that aim to understand possible impacts of elevated salinity levels are important to assess detrimental effects to organisms, especially for species with no mechanism of osmoregulation, e.g., presumably corals. Previous studies on corals indicate sensitivity toward hypo- and hyper-saline environments with small changes in salinity already affecting coral physiology. In order to evaluate sensitivity of Red Sea corals to increased salinity levels, we conducted a long-term (29 days) in situ salinity tolerance transect study at an offshore seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) discharge on the coral Fungia granulosa. While we measured a pronounced increase in salinity and temperature at the direct outlet of the discharge structure, effects were indistinguishable from the surrounding environment at a distance of 5 m. Interestingly, corals were not affected by varying salinity levels as indicated by measurements of the photosynthetic efficiency. Similarly, cultured coral symbionts of the genus Symbiodinium displayed remarkable tolerance levels in regard to hypo- and hypersaline treatments. Our data suggest that increased salinity and temperature levels from discharge outlets wear off quickly in the surrounding environment. Furthermore, F. granulosa seem to tolerate levels of salinity that are distinctively higher than reported for other corals previously. It remains to be determined whether Red Sea corals in general display increased salinity tolerance, and whether this is related to prevailing levels of high(er) salinity in the Red Sea in comparison to other oceans.
    • Highly refractory Archaean peridotite cumulates: Petrology and geochemistry of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex, SW Greenland

      Szilas, Kristoffer; van Hinsberg, Vincent J.; McDonald, Iain; Næraa, Tomas; Rollinson, Hugh; Adetunji, Jacob; Bird, Dennis; Stanford University; McGill University; Lund University; et al. (Elsevier, 2017-06-06)
      This paper investigates the petrogenesis of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex, which covers a total area of approximately 0.5 km2. The ultramafic rocks are hosted by tonalitic orthogneiss of the ca. 3000 Ma Akia terrane with crosscutting granitoid sheets providing an absolute minimum age of 2978 ± 8 Ma for the Seqi Ultramafic Complex. The Seqi rocks represent a broad range of olivine-dominated plutonic rocks with varying modal amounts of chromite, orthopyroxene and amphibole, i.e. various types of dunite (s.s.), peridotite (s.l.), as well as chromitite. The Seqi Ultramafic Complex is characterised primarily by refractory dunite, with highly forsteritic olivine with core compositions having Mg# ranging from about 91 to 93. The overall high modal contents, as well as the specific compositions, of chromite rule out that these rocks represent a fragment of Earth’s mantle. The occurrence of stratiform chromitite bands in peridotite, thin chromite layers in dunite and poikilitic orthopyroxene in peridotite instead supports the interpretation that the Seqi Ultramafic Complex represents the remnant of a fragmented layered complex or a magma conduit, which was subsequently broken up and entrained during the formation of the regional continental crust. Integrating all of the characteristics of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex points to formation of these highly refractory peridotites from an extremely magnesian (Mg# ~ 80), near-anhydrous magma, as olivine-dominated cumulates with high modal contents of chromite. It is noted that the Seqi cumulates were derived from a mantle source by extreme degrees of partial melting (>40%). This mantle source could potentially represent the precursor for the sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) in this region, which has previously been shown to be ultra-depleted. The Seqi Ultramafic Complex, as well as similar peridotite bodies in the Fiskefjord region, may thus constitute the earliest cumulates that formed during the large-scale melting event(s), which resulted in the ultra depleted cratonic keel under the North Atlantic Craton. Hence, a better understanding of such Archaean ultramafic complexes may provide constraints on the geodynamic setting of Earth’s first continents and the corresponding SCLM.
    • Home-range use of wild solitary Azara's owl monkeys (Aotus azarae) in relation to group ranges in Formosa, Argentina

      Huck, Maren; Fernández-Duque, Eduardo; University of Derby (International Primatological Society, 2016-08-25)
      Little is known about the secret lives of subadult owl monkeys that have left their natal group to "float" in the population, before they find a new group or die. Groups are territorial, and in suitable habitat territories take up all available space. Thus, “floaters” cannot avoid overlapping with established groups while roaming, and may be attacked by groups that are trying to avoid take-overs. We hypothesized that floaters minimize temporal and/or spatial overlap with groups. Using location data of 23 floaters and surrounding groups (range 23-96 (25-973), median=42 (93) locations for floaters (groups)), we determined home-range sizes and home-range overlaps. Temporal avoidance was analyzed by comparing floaters’ distances to groups during simultaneous observations to distances between randomly selected location pairs of floaters and groups. Spatial avoidance was investigated by comparing the actual Utilization Distribution Overlap Indices (UDOIs) for 50% kernels of floaters and groups against UDOIs derived from randomized home-ranges. We predicted greater distances for parallel observations and lower spatial/home range overlap. Linear mixed models did not suggest temporal avoidance (parallel=361.8m vs. 381.5m), but UDOIs were smaller than expected based on randomized ranges (0.012 vs. 0.014). It seems that floaters do not monitor exact locations of groups closely enough to avoid them completely, but preferentially use areas outside the core home range of groups. Funding to EFD: NSF-BCS-0621020/1219368/1232349, NSF-REU 0837921/0924352/1026991 and NIA- P30 AG012836-19
    • How biodiversity affects ecosystem processes: implications for ecological revolutions and benthic ecosystem function

      Solan, Martin; Batty, P.; Bulling, Mark T.; Godbold, J. A. (2013-06-11)
      Current and projected rates of extinction provide impetus to investigate the conse- quences of biodiversity loss for ecosystem processes. Yet our understanding of present day biodiver- sity–ecosystem functioning relations contrasts markedly with our understanding of the responses of species to changes that have occurred in the geological record. Of the experiments that have explic- itly tested the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, few have attempted to reconcile whether the underlying process that gives rise to the observed response is affected by bio- diversity in the same way as the observed response. In the present study, we use benthic macrofau- nal invertebrates to examine and distinguish the effects of species richness and species identity on bioturbation intensity, a key mechanism that has been important on evolutionary timescales regulat- ing ecosystem functioning in the marine benthos. Our study identifies significant effects of species richness that reflect species-specific impacts on particle reworking that, in turn, lead to elevated lev- els of nutrient generation. However, our findings also suggest that the consideration of only bioturba- tion intensity forms an incomplete evaluation of bioturbation effects because the way in which spe- cies interact with the benthic environment does not necessarily reflect organism traits only associated with particle transport. Our study emphasises the need for caution when extrapolating from assumed knowledge of organism traits to how changes in species composition associated with ecological crises may impact ecosystem function. Nonetheless, the empirically derived mechanistic effects of bioturba- tion on ecosystem functioning documented here are sufficiently general to seek correlations between diversity and function in natural systems, including those from the palaeoecological record.
    • A hypothetico-deductive approach to assessing the social function of chemical signalling in a non-territorial solitary carnivore

      Clapham, Melanie; Nevin, Owen T.; Ramsey, Andrew; Rosell, Frank; Renou, Michel; University of Cumbria (2012)
      The function of chemical signalling in non-territorial solitary carnivores is still relatively unclear. Studies on territorial solitary and social carnivores have highlighted odour capability and utility, however the social function of chemical signalling in wild carnivore populations operating dominance hierarchy social systems has received little attention. We monitored scent marking and investigatory behaviour of wild brown bears Ursus arctos, to test multiple hypotheses relating to the social function of chemical signalling. Camera traps were stationed facing bear ‘marking trees’ to document behaviour by different age sex classes in different seasons. We found evidence to support the hypothesis that adult males utilise chemical signalling to communicate dominance to other males throughout the non-denning period. Adult females did not appear to utilise marking trees to advertise oestrous state during the breeding season. The function of marking by subadult bears is somewhat unclear, but may be related to the behaviour of adult males. Subadults investigated trees more often than they scent marked during the breeding season, which could be a result of an increased risk from adult males. Females with young showed an increase in marking and investigation of trees outside of the breeding season. We propose the hypothesis that females engage their dependent young with marking trees from a young age, at a relatively ‘safe’ time of year. Memory, experience, and learning at a young age, may all contribute towards odour capabilities in adult bears.
    • I am really ever so not good at graph drawing: the Charlie and Lola approach to lineweaver-burk plots

      Beaumont, Ellen S.; Wilkinson, Alan-Shaun; Derby University (The Chemical Educator, 2015-09)
      Marking exam scripts can be eye-opening to instructors in terms of identifying errors in their preconceptions of students’ data handling and graph drawing skills. This short communication reports a novel approach to reducing the errors of undergraduate Biological and Forensic Science students in graphical representation of enzyme kinetic data. The approach involves using fictional units, the names of which are drawn from a popular children’s animated television series. Increases of 30.8% and 25.9% were recorded in the marks awarded for correct axis labelling in an end of module exam when compared to the two previous cohorts, suggesting the approach may be worthy of further exploration.
    • Identification of a bacterial pathogen associated with Porites white patch syndrome in the Western Indian Ocean

      Séré, Mathieu G.; Chabanet, Pascale; Quod, Jean-Pascal; Sweet, Michael J.; Tortosa, Pablo; Schleyer, Michael; University of Derby; Agence pour la Recherche et la Valorisation Marines (ARVAM); Ste Clotilde Reunion Island France; Unité Mixte de Recherche “Processus Infectieux en Milieu Insulaire Tropical” (UMR PIMIT); Université de La Réunion; Inserm1187; CNRS9192, IRD249; Plateforme de Recherche CYROI; 2 rue Maxime Rivière 97490 Ste Clotilde Saint Denis France; IRD - UMR ENTROPIE; Labex CORAIL; CS 41095 97495 Sainte Clotilde Cedex La Réunion; et al. (Wiley, 2015-08-24)
      Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS) is a coral disease recently described in the Western Indian Ocean. This study aimed to isolate and identify potential pathogens associated with PWPS utilizing both culture and nonculture screening techniques and inoculation trials. A total of 14 bacterial strains (those dominant in disease lesions, absent or rare in healthy tissues and considered potential pathogens in a previous study) were cultured and used to experimentally inoculate otherwise healthy individuals in an attempt to fulfil Henle–Koch's postulates. However, only one (P180R), identified as closely related (99–100% sequence identity based on 1.4 kb 16S RNA sequence) to Vibrio tubiashii, elicited signs of disease in tank experiments. Following experimental infection (which resulted in a 90% infection rate), the pathogen was also successfully re-isolated from the diseased tissues and re-inoculated in healthy corals colonies, therefore fulfilling the final stages of Henle–Koch's postulates. Finally, we report that PWPS appears to be a temperature-dependent disease, with significantly higher tissue loss (anova: d.f. = 2, F = 39.77, P < 0.01) occurring at 30 °C [1.45 ± 0.85 cm2 per day (mean ± SE)] compared to ambient temperatures of 28 and 26 °C (0.73 ± 0.80 cm2 per day (mean ± SE) and 0.51 ± 0.50 cm2 per day (mean ± SE), respectively).
    • Identification of an arginine-rich motif in human papillomavirus type 1 E1^E4 protein necessary for E4-mediated inhibition of cellular DNA Synthesis In Vitro and in Cells

      Roberts, Sally; Kingsbury, S. R.; Stoeber, K.; Knight, Gillian L.; Gallimore, P. H.; Williams, Gareth H. (2013-03-20)
      Productive infections by human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are restricted to nondividing, differentiated keratinocytes. HPV early proteins E6 and E7 deregulate cell cycle progression and activate the host cell DNA replication machinery in these cells, changes essential for virus synthesis. Productive virus replication is accompanied by abundant expression of the HPV E4 protein. Expression of HPV1 E4 in cells is known to activate cell cycle checkpoints, inhibiting G2-to-M transition of the cell cycle and also suppressing entry of cells into S phase. We report here that the HPV1 E4 protein, in the presence of a soluble form of the replicationlicensing factor (RLF) Cdc6, inhibits initiation of cellular DNA replication in a mammalian cell-free DNA replication system. Chromatin-binding studies show that E4 blocks replication initiation in vitro by preventing loading of the RLFs Mcm2 and Mcm7 onto chromatin. HPV1 E4-mediated replication inhibition in vitro and suppression of entry of HPV1 E4-expressing cells into S phase are both abrogated upon alanine replacement of arginine 45 in the full-length E4 protein (E1^E4), implying that these two HPV1 E4 functions are linked. We hypothesize that HPV1 E4 inhibits competing host cell DNA synthesis in replication-activated suprabasal keratinocytes by suppressing licensing of cellular replication origins, thus modifying the phenotype of the infected cell in favor of viral genome amplification.
    • Identification of multi-style hydrothermal alteration using integrated compositional and topographic remote sensing datasets

      Ferrier, Graham; Naden, Jon; Ganas, Athanassios; Kemp, Simon; Pope, Richard J. J.; University of Hull; British Geological Survey; National Observatory of Athens; British Geological Survey; University of Derby (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), 2016-07-29)
      The western part of the island of Milos, Greece has undergone widespread, intense alteration associated with a range of mineralization, including seafloor Mn-Fe-Ba, sub seafloor Pb-Zn-Ag, and epithermal Au-Ag. The surrounding country rocks are a mixture of submarine and subaerial calc-alkaline volcanic rocks ranging from basaltic andesite to rhyolite in composition, but are predominantly andesites and dacites. The current surface spatial distribution of the alteration mineralogy is a function not only of the original hydrothermal, but also subsequent tectonic and erosional processes. The high relief and the excellent rock exposure provide ideal conditions to evaluate the potential of Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite remote sensing data to identify and differentiate the different styles of alteration mineralisation. Laboratory spectral reflectance and calculated emittance measurements of field samples, supported by XRD analysis and field mapping, were used to support the analysis. Band ratio and spectral matching techniques were applied to the shortwave-infrared (SWIR) reflectance and thermal-infrared (TIR) emissivity imagery separately and were then integrated with topographic data. The band ratio and spectral matching approaches produced similar results in both the SWIR and TIR imagery. In the SWIR imagery, the advanced argillic, argillic and hydrous silica alteration zones were clearly identifiable, while in the TIR imagery, the silicic and advanced argillic alteration zones, along with the country rock, were differentiable. The integrated mineralogical–topographic datasets provided an enhanced understanding of the spatial and altitude distribution of the alteration zones when combined with conceptual models of their genesis, which provides a methodology for the differentiation of the multiple styles of alteration.
    • Impact of biodiversity-climate futures on primary production and metabolism in a model benthic estuarine system

      Hicks, Natalie; Bulling, Mark T.; Solan, Martin; Raffaelli, D.; White, Piran C. L.; Paterson, David M. (2013-05-24)
      Background: Understanding the effects of anthropogenically-driven changes in global temperature, atmospheric carbon dioxide and biodiversity on the functionality of marine ecosystems is crucial for predicting and managing the associated impacts. Coastal ecosystems are important sources of carbon (primary production) to shelf waters and play a vital role in global nutrient cycling. These systems are especially vulnerable to the effects of human activities and will be the first areas impacted by rising sea levels. Within these coastal ecosystems, microalgal assemblages (microphytobenthos: MPB) are vital for autochthonous carbon fixation. The level of in situ production by MPB mediates the net carbon cycling of transitional ecosystems between net heterotrophic or autotrophic metabolism. In this study, we examine the interactive effects of elevated atmospheric CO 2 concentrations (370, 600, and 1000 ppmv), temperature (6°C, 12°C, and 18°C) and invertebrate biodiversity on MPB biomass in experimental systems. We assembled communities of three common grazing invertebrates ( Hydrobia ulvae, Corophium volutator and Hediste diversicolor) in monoculture and in all possible multispecies combinations. This experimental design specifically addresses interactions between the selected climate change variables and any ecological consequences caused by changes in species composition or richness. Results: The effects of elevated CO 2 concentration, temperature and invertebrate diversity were not additive, rather they interacted to determine MPB biomass, and overall this effect was negative. Diversity effects were underpinned by strong species composition effects, illustrating the importance of individual species identity. Conclusions: Overall, our findings suggest that in natural systems, the complex interactions between changing environmental conditions and any associated changes in invertebrate assemblage structure are likely to reduce MPB biomass. Furthermore, these effects would be sufficient to affect the net metabolic balance of the coastal ecosystem, with important implications for system ecology and sustainable exploitation.
    • Impact of external sources of infection on the dynamics of bovine tuberculosis in modelled badger populations

      Hardstaff, Joanne L.; Bulling, Mark T.; Marion, Glenn; Hutchings, Michael R.; White, Piran C. L. (2013-05-23)
      Background The persistence of bovine TB (bTB) in various countries throughout the world is enhanced by the existence of wildlife hosts for the infection. In Britain and Ireland, the principal wildlife host for bTB is the badger (Meles meles). The objective of our study was to examine the dynamics of bTB in badgers in relation to both badger-derived infection from within the population and externally-derived, trickle-type, infection, such as could occur from other species or environmental sources, using a spatial stochastic simulation model. Results The presence of external sources of infection can increase mean prevalence and reduce the threshold group size for disease persistence. Above the threshold equilibrium group size of 6–8 individuals predicted by the model for bTB persistence in badgers based on internal infection alone, external sources of infection have relatively little impact on the persistence or level of disease. However, within a critical range of group sizes just below this threshold level, external infection becomes much more important in determining disease dynamics. Within this critical range, external infection increases the ratio of intra- to inter-group infections due to the greater probability of external infections entering fully-susceptible groups. The effect is to enable bTB persistence and increase bTB prevalence in badger populations which would not be able to maintain bTB based on internal infection alone. Conclusions External sources of bTB infection can contribute to the persistence of bTB in badger populations. In high-density badger populations, internal badger-derived infections occur at a sufficient rate that the additional effect of external sources in exacerbating disease is minimal. However, in lower-density populations, external sources of infection are much more important in enhancing bTB prevalence and persistence. In such circumstances, it is particularly important that control strategies to reduce bTB in badgers include efforts to minimise such external sources of infection.
    • The impact of freshwater mussels (order Unionoida) on river bed characteristics and sediment flux: A flume-based study.

      Leng, Andrea; Davies-Vollum, K. Siân; Ramsey, Andrew; University of Derby (2018-05-05)
      Unionoid mussels are considered keystone species due to their ability to modify and link pelagic, benthic and hyporheic environments in freshwater systems, [1,2,3] yet empirical data to determine their influence on river bed dynamics and sediment flux is lacking. A recirculating flume-based study using fifty individuals of the unionoid species Anodonta anatina investigated the impact of this species on bedform development and particle flux of a polymodal substrate representative of the grain size distribution of the mussel's river habitat. River seston was added to the flume at weekly intervals, and water and substrate conditions were monitored for the eight-week duration of the study. The control experiment had mussels absent from the flume. It was found that the presence of A. anatina increased the organic content of the substrate through deposition of pseudofaeces, and led to significant reductions in near-bed velocity, boundary shear-stress and the amount of suspended and dissolved solids in the water column. However, despite these impacts a greater quantity of sediment and a larger range of grainsizes entered the flume's sediment trap compared to the control experiment when mussels were absent. The impact of mussel bioturbation appears to outweigh any sediment stabilisation effects arising from the increased organic content of the substrate and the reduced near bed velocities. Additionally, sediment grainsize and longitudinal wetted profile measurements indicate that the mussels increased bed roughness and heterogeneity of the substrate. Given that freshwater mussels can exist at very high densities within rivers, [3] increased mixing and mobilisation of bedload, improved habitat heterogeneity and the transferral of material from the water to the substrate by mussels implies they constitute a critical element in the sediment and nutrient dynamics of fluvial systems. References: 1. Vaughn, C.C., Nichols, S.J. & Spooner, D.E., 2008. Community and foodweb ecology of freshwater mussels. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 27(2), pp.409-423. 2. Gutierrez, J.L. et al., 2003. Mollusks as ecosystem engineers: the role of shell production in aquatic habitats. Oikos, 101(1), pp.79-90. 3. Aldridge, D.C. et al, 2007. Freshwater mussel abundance predicts biodiversity in UK lowland rivers. Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 17(January), pp.554-564.
    • The impacts of commercial woodland management on butterfly biodiversity.

      Taylor, Donna L.; Ramsey, Andrew; Convery, Ian; Lawrence, Anna; Weatheral, Andrew; University of Cumbria; Forestry Research (2013)
      Although the effects on biodiversity in woodland managed for conservation have been studied for a range of species, there is very little empirical data on the potential impacts of commercial woodland management on biodiversity in the UK. This study measured species richness and abundance of diurnal butterflies as a proxy for the habitat quality of three different woodland management techniques in the Morecambe Bay limestone woodland region. Butterflies were sampled at two sites; Gait Barrows and Witherslack, where three woodland management techniques were carried out: low management woodland (woodland with no recent intervention); traditional coppice management for conservation; and commercial woodland management. Both coppice management for conservation and commercial management had significantly higher butterfly species richness and abundance when compared to low management woodland; neither butterfly species richness nor abundance were significantly different between the traditional coppice management for conservation and commercial woodland management. UK Biodiversity Action Plan fritillary species (high brown fritillary Argynnis adippe; pearl bordered fritillary Boloria euphrosyne; and small pearl bordered fritillary Boloria selene) were not significantly different between the traditional coppice management for conservation and commercial management.
    • Impacts of lagoon opening and implications for coastal management: case study from Muni-Pomadze lagoon, Ghana

      Davies-Vollum, K. Siân; Zhang, Zihao; Agyekumhene, Andrews; University of Derby; University of Virginia; Wildlife Division (Forestry Commission)Winneba,Ghana (Springer, 2018-09-18)
      Lagoon-barrier systems are a dynamic coastal environment. When an ephemeral connection between a lagoon and the ocean develops, it has significant impact on hydrology, sedimentology and ecology. Increasingly, human actions and sea level rise also influence lagoons with the potential to increase their connectivity with the ocean. TheMuni-Pomadze lagoon in central Ghana is a small lagoon-barrier system that is intermittently open to the ocean. Following opening in 2014 the lagoon was open to the ocean for more than two years. Causes for the unusually long period of lagoon opening are unclear although human intrevention has played a role. Field observation, digital mapping and GIS analysis of the shoreline during the two year period of lagoon opening has enabled an understanding of how the lagoon-ocean connection has impacted coastal morphology, erosion and sedimentation. Opening has resulted in rapid changes to the location of the barrier breaching (tidal inlet), erosion on the barrier and sedimentation in the lagoon. Such modifications have implications for local resources and ecosystem services that underpin the livelihood and wellbeing of local communities. Elucidating how a connection to the ocean impacts lagoons and the coastal communities they support are important to managing lagoons not only in Ghana but across West Africa.
    • The implementation of decentralised biogas plants in Assam, NE India: The impact and effectiveness of the National Biogas and Manure Management Programme

      Raha, Debadayita; Mahanta, Pinakeswar; Clarke, Michele L; University of Nottingham (Elsevier, 2014-02-06)
      The Indian Government's National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP) seeks to deliver renewable energy services to households across the country by facilitating the deployment of family-sized (<6m3) anaerobic (biogas) digesters. NBMMP policy is implemented at three levels, from government and state nodal agency, via private contractors to households, creating multiple institutional arrangements. We analysed the scheme in Assam, north-east India, focusing on how policy was implemented across two districts and interviewing stakeholders in rural households, state and non-state institutions. The top-down, supply-side approach to policy enables government to set targets and require individual states to deploy the scheme, which benefits households who can afford to participate. NBMMP delivered improved energy service outcomes to a majority of households, although the level of knowledge and understanding of the technology amongst users was limited. Training and education of householders, and particularly women, is needed in relation to the maintenance of digesters, feedstock suitability and the environmental and potential livelihood benefits of digestate. A revised bottom-up approach to policy, which highlights the contextual and demand-side issues around adopting the technology, may deliver monetary benefits from market competition and enable development of community-focused microfinance schemes to improve the affordability of biogas systems.
    • Implications of traditional commercial practices on the current environmental status of River Yamuna in the Delhi-Mathura-Agra region, India

      Mehra, Aradhana; Banerjee, Deepak; University of Derby (International Water Association, 2014-03)
      The River Yamuna is regarded as a holy river in Indian mythology. It originates in the Himalayas and several important cities, pilgrimage centres and temple towns are located along its banks. It is a source of water supply to these cities and also receives their wastewaters from domestic and industrial activities. This study aims to assess the environmental and human health implications of traditional commercial practices such as electroplating and jewellery making in the cottage industries along the banks of River Yamuna in the Delhi-Mathura-Agra region. Human exposure to contaminants from overbank soil and also through the food chain from crops grown on floodplains are considered through analyses of overbank and floodplain soils with special reference to toxic trace metals such as silver, cadmium, copper, and zinc. The findings of study show that the overbank and floodplain soils at the temple town of Mathura are highly contaminated with silver and cadmium, and are above normal background concentrations for copper and zinc. This leads to suggest that the traditional and cultural activities of jewellery-making and electroplating works at Mathura are contributing a high metal load to its overbank and floodplain soils and are a cause for concern for human health.