Browsing by Subject "COMPETITION"

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  • Vesa, Juho Antti; Kantola, Anu; Binderkrantz, Anne Skorkjaer (2018)
  • Raerinne, Jani (2018)
    In addition to their core explanatory and predictive assumptions, scientific models include simplifying assumptions, which function as idealizations, approximations, and abstractions. There are methods to investigate whether simplifying assumptions bias the results of models, such as robustness analyses. However, the equally important issue - the focus of this paper - has received less attention, namely, what are the methodological and epistemic strengths and limitations associated with different simplifying assumptions. I concentrate on one type of simplifying assumption, the use of mega parameters as abstractions in ecological models. First, I argue that there are two kinds of mega parameters qua abstractions, sufficient parameters and aggregative parameters, which have gone unnoticed in the literature. The two are associated with different heuristics, holism and reductionism, which many view as incompatible. Second, I will provide a different analysis of abstractions and the associated heuristics than previous authors. Reductionism and holism and the accompanying abstractions have different methodological and epistemic functions, strengths, and limitations, and the heuristics should be viewed as providing complementary research perspectives of cognitively limited beings. This is then, third, used as a premise to argue for epistemic and methodological pluralism in theoretical ecology. Finally, the presented taxonomy of abstractions is used to comment on the current debate whether mechanistic accounts of explanation are compatible with the use of abstractions. This debate has suffered from an abstract discussion of abstractions. With a better taxonomy of abstractions the debate can be resolved.
  • Abrego, Nerea; Roslin, Tomas; Huotari, Tea; Tack, Ayco J. M.; Lindahl, Bjorn D.; Tikhonov, Gleb; Somervuo, Panu; Schmidt, Niels Martin; Ovaskainen, Otso (2020)
    Understanding the role of interspecific interactions in shaping ecological communities is one of the central goals in community ecology. In fungal communities, measuring interspecific interactions directly is challenging because these communities are composed of large numbers of species, many of which are unculturable. An indirect way of assessing the role of interspecific interactions in determining community structure is to identify the species co-occurrences that are not constrained by environmental conditions. In this study, we investigated co-occurrences among root-associated fungi, asking whether fungi co-occur more or less strongly than expected based on the environmental conditions and the host plant species examined. We generated molecular data on root-associated fungi of five plant species evenly sampled along an elevational gradient at a high arctic site. We analysed the data using a joint species distribution modelling approach that allowed us to identify those co-occurrences that could be explained by the environmental conditions and the host plant species, as well as those co-occurrences that remained unexplained and thus more probably reflect interactive associations. Our results indicate that not only negative but also positive interactions play an important role in shaping microbial communities in arctic plant roots. In particular, we found that mycorrhizal fungi are especially prone to positively co-occur with other fungal species. Our results bring new understanding to the structure of arctic interaction networks by suggesting that interactions among root-associated fungi are predominantly positive.
  • Hu, Man; Lehtonen, Aleksi; Minunno, Francesco; Mäkelä, Annikki (2020)
    Tree structure equations derived from pipe model theory (PMT) are well-suited to estimate biomass allocation in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestrisL.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies[L.] Karst.). However, age dependence of parameters should be accounted for when applying the equations.
  • Xia, Zhichao; Yu, Lei; He, Yue; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2019)
    Tree performance in mixed-species forest plantations is ultimately the net result of positive and negative interactions among species. Despite increasing knowledge of interspecific interactions, relatively little is known about the chemical mechanisms mediating such interactions. We constructed mixed planting systems with two species including Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook) and broadleaf species Cinnamomum camphora L. Presl, Elaeocarpus decipiens Hemsl, Liquidambar formosana Hance, or Michelia macclurei Dandy. Based on a series of manipulative experiments, we investigated the performance of Chinese fir and analyzed root placement patterns and the composition of main soil microbial groups. The broadleaf trees influenced the growth of Chinese fir roots more than the growth of shoots. Furthermore, C. camphora roots released allelochemicals into the soil environment, resulting in growth inhibition of Chinese fir and changes in main soil microbial groups. However, when grown with E. decipiens and M. macclurei, the growth of Chinese fir was consistently promoted. It responded by enhancing its root growth and altering root behavior, resulting in a shift from growth inhibition to chemical facilitation. These positive inter-specific interactions also stimulated changes in the composition of soil microbes. Complementary experiments indicated that non-toxic signaling molecules in the root exudates of E. decipiens and M. macclurei may be responsible for mediating positive root-root interactions and regulating the composition of main soil microbial groups. Thus, our study demonstrated that broadleaf species chemically mediate the growth of Chinese fir through root exudates. Such a novel mechanism offers many implications and applications for reforestation programs undertaken to rehabilitate forest plantations that suffer from declining productivity related to densely planted monocultures.
  • Valanko, Sebastian; Heino, Jani; Westerbom, Mats; Viitasalo, Markku; Norkko, Alf (2015)
    The majority of studies in metacommunity ecology have focused on systems other than marine benthic ecosystems, thereby providing an impetus to broaden the focus of metacommunity research to comprise marine systems. These systems are more open than many other systems and may thus exhibit relatively less discrete patterns in community structure across space. Metacommunity structure of soft-sediment benthic invertebrates was examined using a fine-grained (285 sites) data set collected during one summer across a large spatial extent (1700km(2)). We applied the elements of metacommunity structure (EMS) approach, allowing multiple hypothesis of variation in community structure to be tested. We demonstrated several patterns associated with environmental variation and associated processes that could simultaneously assemble species to occur at the sites. A quasi-Clementsian pattern was observed frequently, suggesting interdependent ecological relationships among species or similar response to an underlying environmental gradient across sites. A quasi-nested clumped species loss pattern was also observed, which suggests nested habitat specialization. Species richness declined with depth (from 0.5 to 44.8m). We argue that sensitive species may survive in shallower water, which are more stable with regard to oxygen conditions and present greater habitat complexity, in contrast to deeper waters, which may experience periodic disturbance due to hypoxia. Future studies should better integrate disturbance in terms of temporal dynamics and dispersal rates in the EMS approach. We highlight that shallow water sites may act as sources of recruitment to deeper water sites that are relatively more prone to periodic disturbances due to hypoxia. However, these shallow sites are not currently monitored and should be better prioritized in future conservation strategies in marine systems.
  • Meysick, Lukas; Ysebaert, Tom; Jansson, Anna; Montserrat, Fransesc; Valanko, Sebastian; Villnäs, Anna; Boström, Christoffer; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    Foundation species host diverse associated communities by ameliorating environmental stress. The strength of this facilitative effect can be highly dependent on the underlying biotic and abiotic context. We investigated community level patterns of macrofauna associated with and adjacent to the marine foundation species eelgrass (Zostera marina) along a hydrodynamic stress gradient. We could demonstrate that the relative importance of this foundation species for its infaunal community increases with environmental variables associated with increasing hydrodynamic stress (depth, sand ripples formation, sediment grain size and organic content). Faunal assemblages in proximity to the Zostera patch edges, however, showed no (infauna) or negative (epifauna) response to hydrodynamic stress. Our study highlights that the facilitative outcome of a foundation species is conditional to the faunal assemblage in question and can be highly variable even between positions within the habitat.
  • Diekmann, Odo; Gyllenberg, Mats; Metz, J. A. J.; Nakaoka, Shinji; de Roos, Andre M. (2010)
  • Marsman, Floor; Nystuen, Kristin O.; Opedal, Oystein H.; Foest, Jessie J.; Sorensen, Mia Vedel; De Frenne, Pieter; Graae, Bente Jessen; Limpens, Juul (2021)
    Questions Changes in climate and herbivory pressure affect northern alpine ecosystems through woody plant encroachment, altering their composition, structure and functioning. The encroachment often occurs at unequal rates across heterogeneous landscapes, hinting at the importance of habitat-specific drivers that either hamper or facilitate woody plant establishment. Here, we assess: (1) the invasibility of three distinct alpine plant community types (heath, meadow andSalixshrubland) byPinus sylvestris(Scots pine); and (2) the relative importance of biotic (above-ground interactions with current vegetation, herbivory and shrub encroachment) and microclimate-related abiotic (soil temperature, moisture and light availability) drivers of pine seedling establishment success. Location Dovrefjell, Central Norway. Methods We conducted a pine seed sowing experiment, testing how factorial combinations of above-ground removal of co-occurring vegetation, herbivore exclusion and willow transplantation (simulated shrub encroachment) affect pine emergence, survival and performance (new stem growth, stem height and fraction of healthy needles) in three plant communities, characteristic of alpine tundra, over a period of five years. Results Pine seedling emergence and survival were similar across plant community types. Herbivore exclusion and vegetation removal generally increased pine seedling establishment and seedling performance. Within our study, microclimate had minimal effects on pine seedling establishment and performance. These results illustrate the importance of biotic resistance to seedling establishment. Conclusion Pine seedlings can easily establish in alpine tundra, and biotic factors (above-ground plant interactions and herbivory) are more important drivers of pine establishment in alpine tundra than abiotic, microclimate-related, factors. Studies aiming to predict future vegetation changes should thus consider local-scale biotic interactions in addition to abiotic factors.
  • Majekova, Maria; Paal, Taavi; Plowman, Nichola S.; Bryndova, Michala; Kasari, Liis; Norberg, Anna; Weiss, Matthias; Bishop, Tom R.; Luke, Sarah H.; Sam, Katerina; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Leps, Jan; Götzenberger, Lars; de Bello, Francesco (2016)
    Functional diversity (FD) is an important component of biodiversity that quantifies the difference in functional traits between organisms. However, FD studies are often limited by the availability of trait data and FD indices are sensitive to data gaps. The distribution of species abundance and trait data, and its transformation, may further affect the accuracy of indices when data is incomplete. Using an existing approach, we simulated the effects of missing trait data by gradually removing data from a plant, an ant and a bird community dataset (12, 59, and 8 plots containing 62, 297 and 238 species respectively). We ranked plots by FD values calculated from full datasets and then from our increasingly incomplete datasets and compared the ranking between the original and virtually reduced datasets to assess the accuracy of FD indices when used on datasets with increasingly missing data. Finally, we tested the accuracy of FD indices with and without data transformation, and the effect of missing trait data per plot or per the whole pool of species. FD indices became less accurate as the amount of missing data increased, with the loss of accuracy depending on the index. But, where transformation improved the normality of the trait data, FD values from incomplete datasets were more accurate than before transformation. The distribution of data and its transformation are therefore as important as data completeness and can even mitigate the effect of missing data. Since the effect of missing trait values pool-wise or plot-wise depends on the data distribution, the method should be decided case by case. Data distribution and data transformation should be given more careful consideration when designing, analysing and interpreting FD studies, especially where trait data are missing. To this end, we provide the R package "traitor" to facilitate assessments of missing trait data.
  • Luoma, Ville; Saarinen, Ninni; Kankare, Ville; Tanhuanpaa, Topi; Kaartinen, Harri; Kukko, Antero; Holopainen, Markus; Hyyppa, Juha; Vastaranta, Mikko (2019)
    Exact knowledge over tree growth is valuable information for decision makers when considering the purposes of sustainable forest management and planning or optimizing the use of timber, for example. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) can be used for measuring tree and forest attributes in very high detail. The study aims at characterizing changes in individual tree attributes (e.g., stem volume growth and taper) during a nine year-long study period in boreal forest conditions. TLS-based three-dimensional (3D) point cloud data were used for identifying and quantifying these changes. The results showed that observing changes in stem volume was possible from TLS point cloud data collected at two different time points. The average volume growth of sample trees was 0.226 m(3) during the study period, and the mean relative change in stem volume was 65.0%. In addition, the results of a pairwise Student's t-test gave strong support (p-value 0.0001) that the used method was able to detect tree growth within the nine-year period between 2008-2017. The findings of this study allow the further development of enhanced methods for TLS-based single tree and forest growth modeling and estimation, which can thus improve the accuracy of forest inventories and offer better tools for future decision-making processes.
  • Vahl, Wouter K.; Boiteau, Gilles; de Heij, Maaike E.; MacKinley, Pamela D.; Kokko, Hanna (2013)
  • Ovaskainen, Otso; Tikhonov, Gleb; Dunson, David; Grotan, Vidar; Engen, Steinar; Saether, Bernt-Erik; Abrego, Nerea (2017)
    Estimation of intra- and interspecific interactions from time-series on species-rich communities is challenging due to the high number of potentially interacting species pairs. The previously proposed sparse interactions model overcomes this challenge by assuming that most species pairs do not interact. We propose an alternative model that does not assume that any of the interactions are necessarily zero, but summarizes the influences of individual species by a small number of community-level drivers. The community-level drivers are defined as linear combinations of species abundances, and they may thus represent e.g. the total abundance of all species or the relative proportions of different functional groups. We show with simulated and real data how our approach can be used to compare different hypotheses on community structure. In an empirical example using aquatic microorganisms, the community-level drivers model clearly outperformed the sparse interactions model in predicting independent validation data.
  • Lynch, Robert; Lummaa, Virpi; Panchanathan, Karthik; Middleton, Kevin; Rotkirch, Anna; Danielsbacka, Mirkka; O'Brien, David; Loehr, John (2019)
    Understanding how refugees integrate into host societies has broad implications for researchers interested in intergroup conflict and for governments concerned with promoting social cohesion. Using detailed records tracking the movements and life histories of Finnish evacuees during World War II, we find that evacuees who intermarry are more likely to be educated, work in professional occupations, marry someone higher in social status and remain in the host community. Evacuees who intermarry before the war have fewer children, whereas those who marry into their host community after the war have more children. These results indicate that life-history and assimilation outcomes depend on key differences between pre-war environments—when migrants are living in their own communities—and post-war environments—when migrants are living in the host community. Overall, this suggests that integration involves a trade-off between reproduction and status such that evacuees who integrate gain social status, whereas those who maintain stronger bonds with their natal communities have higher fertility. We discuss these results within the framework of social capital, intergroup conflict and life-history theory and suggest how they can inform our understanding of evolutionary adaptations that affect tribalism.
  • Czechowski, Wojciech; Rutkowski, Tomasz; Stephan, Wojciech; Vepsäläinen, Kari (2016)
    A unique accumulation of workers ('colony') of the wood ant Formica polyctena Forst., trapped within an old bunker for storing nuclear weapons, is described. The source of the 'colony' is a large colony nesting outdoors, on top of the bunker. Individuals that have fallen down through a ventilation pipe are not able to find their way back to the mother nest. In total darkness, they have constructed an earthen mound, which they have maintained all-year-round by moulding it and keeping the nest entrances open. Judging from the huge deposits of wood-ant corpses in the bunker, the 'colony' has survived for years. Through these years, the mortality has been more than compensated by new workers that fall down during the active season of the free-living colony outside, and at present the number of the bunker workers is counted in hundreds of thousands. The 'colony' has evidently produced no offspring, which is due to low (though relatively stable) temperatures and scanty food in the bunker.
  • Wang, Shaopeng; Brose, Ulrich; van Nouhuys, Saskya; Holt, Robert D.; Loreau, Michel (2021)
    Metapopulation capacity provides an analytic tool to quantify the impact of landscape configuration on metapopulation persistence, which has proven powerful in biological conservation. Yet surprisingly few efforts have been made to apply this approach to multispecies systems. Here, we extend metapopulation capacity theory to predict the persistence of trophically interacting species. Our results demonstrate that metapopulation capacity could be used to predict the persistence of trophic systems such as prey- predator pairs and food chains in fragmented landscapes. In particular, we derive explicit predictions for food chain length as a function of metapopulation capacity, top-down control, and population dynamical parameters. Under certain assumptions, we show that the fraction of empty patches for the basal species provides a useful indicator to predict the length of food chains that a fragmented landscape can support and confirm this prediction for a host-parasitoid interaction. We further show that the impact of habitat changes on biodiversity can be predicted from changes in metapopulation capacity or approximately by changes in the fraction of empty patches. Our study provides an important step toward a spatially explicit theory of trophic metacommunities and a useful tool for predicting their responses to habitat changes.
  • Mikola, Juha Tapio; Silfver, Tarja Hannele; Rousi, Matti (2018)
    Facilitative plant-plant interactions are common in harsh environments such as Arctic and alpine tree lines. In Fennoscandia, mountain birch dominates tree lines, but mixes with Scots pine in less severe areas. Using over 30-yr. old Scots pine common gardens, established at three locations near the present Scots pine tree line, we tested (1) if mountain birch can facilitate Scots pine numbers and (2) if improved soil fertility under mountain birch canopies has a role in facilitation. We counted the number of pines within 1-m and 3-m radii of the tallest mountain birch vs. a random spot in 70-75 planting plots and sampled soil for nutrients at 0.3-, 1- and 3-m distance to the birch in ten plots in each location. Number of Scots pines was 29% higher within a 1-m radius of a mountain birch than of a random spot. This effect did not depend on location, although the locations differed significantly in soil fertility, and no effect was detected within a 3-m radius. Concentrations of water, NH4, NO3 and PO4 decreased significantly with increasing distance to a mountain birch, but only in the least fertile location. Mountain birch can significantly facilitate Scots pine in tree line conditions. However, unlike we expected, improved soil fertility under birch canopies may not have a general role in facilitation.
  • Harrow, Gabrielle L.; Lees, John A.; Hanage, William P.; Lipsitch, Marc; Corander, Jukka; Colijn, Caroline; Croucher, Nicholas J. (2021)
    Streptococcus pneumoniae can be divided into many strains, each a distinct set of isolates sharing similar core and accessory genomes, which co-circulate within the same hosts. Previous analyses suggested the short-term vaccine-associated dynamics of S. pneumoniae strains may be mediated through multi-locus negative frequency-dependent selection (NFDS), which maintains accessory loci at equilibrium frequencies. Long-term simulations demonstrated NFDS stabilised clonally-evolving multi-strain populations through preventing the loss of variation through drift, based on polymorphism frequencies, pairwise genetic distances and phylogenies. However, allowing symmetrical recombination between isolates evolving under multi-locus NFDS generated unstructured populations of diverse genotypes. Replication of the observed data improved when multi-locus NFDS was combined with recombination that was instead asymmetrical, favouring deletion of accessory loci over insertion. This combination separated populations into strains through outbreeding depression, resulting from recombinants with reduced accessory genomes having lower fitness than their parental genotypes. Although simplistic modelling of recombination likely limited these simulations' ability to maintain some properties of genomic data as accurately as those lacking recombination, the combination of asymmetrical recombination and multi-locus NFDS could restore multi-strain population structures from randomised initial populations. As many bacteria inhibit insertions into their chromosomes, this combination may commonly underlie the co-existence of strains within a niche.
  • Sarjokari, K.; Hovinen, M.; Seppä-Lassila, L.; Norring, M.; Hurme, T.; Peltoniemi, O.A.T.; Soveri, T.; Rajala-Schultz, P.J. (2018)
    ABSTRACT On-farm death (OFD) of a dairy cow is always a financial loss for a farmer, and potentially a welfare issue that has to be addressed within the dairy industry. The aim of this study was to explore the associations between OFD of dairy cows, housing, and herd management in freestall barns. To achieve the goal, we followed 10,837 cows calving in 2011 in 82 herds. Data were gathered with observations and a structured interview during farm visits and from a national dairy herd improvement database. The hazard of OFD was modeled with a shared frailty survival model, with SAS 9.3 PHREG procedure (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). The study population was 58% Ayrshire and 42% Holstein cows. The median herd size and mean milk yield in the study herds were 116 cows and 9,151 kg of milk per cow per year. The overall probability of OFD was 6.0%; 1.8% of the cows died unassisted and 4.2% were euthanized. Variation in OFD percentage between individual herds was large, from 0 to 16%, accounting for 0 to 58% of all removals in the herds. Keeping close-up dry cows in an own group was associated with higher hazard of OFD [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.37] compared with keeping them in the same pen with far-off dry cows. Higher hazard on OFD was observed when barns had only one kind of calving pens; single (HR = 2.09) or group pens (HR = 1.72), compared with having both of those types. The hazard of OFD was lower if the whole herd was housed in barns or pens that had only 1 type of feed barrier at the feed bunk, namely post-and-rail (HR = 0.51) or a type with barriers between the cow's heads (HR = 0.49), compared with having 2 types. Lower OFD hazard was observed with wider than 340 cm of walking alley next to the feeding table (HR = 0.75), and with housing a whole herd in pens with only 1 type of walking alley surface, specifically slatted (HR = 0.53) or solid (HR = 0.48), compared with having both types. The hazard of OFD was higher with stalls wider than 120 cm (HR = 1.38) compared with narrower stalls. The hazard of OFD was also associated with breed, parity, and calving season. This study identified many factors that contribute to the incidence of OFD of dairy cows. The solutions for reducing on-farm mortality include housing, management, and breeding choices that are most probably herd specific.
  • Eskelinen, Teppo; Ylonen, Matti (2017)
    Tax havens and tax flight have lately received increasing attention, while interest toward multilateral trade policies has somewhat diminished. We argue that more attention needs to be paid exactly to the interrelations between trade and tax policies. Drawing from two case studies on Panama's trade disputes, we show how World Trade Organization (WTO) rules can be used both to resist attempts to sanction secrecy structures and to promote measures against tax flight. The theory of new constitutionalism can help to explain how trade treaties can 'lock in' tax policies. However, our case studies show that trade policy not only 'locks in' democratic policy-making, but also enables tax havens to use their commercialized sovereignty to resists anti-secrecy measures. What is being 'locked in' are the policy tools, not necessarily the policies. The changing relationship between trade and tax policies can also create new and unexpected tools for tackling tax evasion, underlining the importance of epistemic arbitrage in the context of new constitutionalism. In principle, political actors with sufficient technical and juridical knowledge can shape global tax governance to various directions regardless of their formal position in the world political hierarchies. This should be taken into account when trade treaties are being negotiated or revised.