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.
  • Franks, Victoria R.; Ewen, John G.; McCready, Mhairi; Rowcliffe, J. Marcus; Smith, Donal; Thorogood, Rose (2020)
    Animal sociality arises from the cumulative effects of both individual social decisions and environmental factors. While juveniles' social interactions with parents prior to independence shape later life sociality, in most bird and mammal species at least one sex undergoes an early life dispersal before first-year reproduction. The social associations from this period could also have implications for later life yet are rarely characterized. Here, we derived predictions from available examples of juvenile groups in the literature (mobile 'flocks', spatially stable 'gangs' or adult-associated 'creches') and then used three cohorts of juvenile hihi, Notiomystis cincta, a threatened New Zealand passerine, to demonstrate how multistate modelling and social network analysis approaches can be used to characterize group type based on residency, movement, relatedness and social associations. At sites where hihi congregated, we found that juveniles were resighted at a higher frequency than adults and associated predominantly with unrelated juveniles rather than siblings or parents. Movement between group sites occurred, but associations developed predominantly within the sites. We suggest therefore that juvenile hihi social structure is most similar to a 'gang', a group structure in which juveniles congregate without adults at predictable sites. Such gangs have previously only been described formally in ravens, Corvus corax. By combining spatial and social network analyses, our study demonstrates how social group structures can be described and therefore facilitate broader comparisons and discussion about the form and function of juvenile groups across taxa. (C) 2020 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • 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.
  • Guo, Qingxue; Liu, Jiantong; Yu, Lei; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2021)
    Plant-soil microbe interactions are determined by plant characters. Sexual dimorphism in root development, nitrogen (N) assimilation and resource allocation have been studied in different environments. However, how dioecious plants affect soil microbial communities in natural forests, particularly in low precipitation regions, is still poorly known. In this study, natural Populus euphratica forests were investigated in three arid regions. We hypothesized that males and females impose sex-specific impacts on physiochemical traits of soil, microbial communities and N-cycling processes. We discovered only little sex effect on most physiochemical traits, and bacterial and fungal communities in top soil (0-20 cm) in the three studied forests. However, the sex effect was greater in deep soil. Compared with fungi, the structure and composition of bacterial communities were affected more by plant sex in the rhizosphere and bulk soil. Sex indirectly affected N-cycling processes through a negative impact on the soil water content. Expressions of AOA, AOB, nifH, nirS and nirK in the rhizosphere soil were significantly affected by sex, forest site and their interactions. Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes in the rhizosphere and bulk soils of P. euphratica males showed more significant effects on ammoxidation, N fixation, denitrification and protease activities when compared to females. The results suggest that sexual differences in shaping bacterial communities and affecting N-cycling processes are greater when the soil becomes drier. Thus, low precipitation causes intense sex differences in the nitrogen uptake and use efficiency. Our study highlights the importance of sexual effects on shaping specific microbial communities and N-cycling processes.
  • Saarinen, Ninni; Kankare, Ville; Huuskonen, Saija; Hynynen, Jari; Bianchi, Simone; Yrttimaa, Tuomas; Luoma, Ville; Junttila, Samuli; Holopainen, Markus; Hyyppae, Juha; Vastaranta, Mikko (2022)
    Trees adapt to their growing conditions by regulating the sizes of their parts and their relationships. For example, removal or death of adjacent trees increases the growing space and the amount of light received by the remaining trees enabling their crowns to expand. Knowledge about the effects of silvicultural practices on crown size and shape and also about the quality of branches affecting the shape of a crown is, however, still limited. Thus, the aim was to study the crown structure of individual Scots pine trees in forest stands with varying stem densities due to past forest management practices. Furthermore, we wanted to understand how crown and stem attributes and also tree growth affect stem area at the height of maximum crown diameter (SAHMC), which could be used as a proxy for tree growth potential. We used terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) to generate attributes characterizing crown size and shape. The results showed that increasing stem density decreased Scots pine crown size. TLS provided more detailed attributes for crown characterization compared with traditional field measurements. Furthermore, decreasing stem density increased SAHMC, and strong relationships (Spearman's correlations > 0.5) were found between SAHMC and crown and stem size and also stem growth. Thus, this study provided quantitative and more comprehensive characterization of Scots pine crowns and their growth potential. The combination of a traditional growth and yield study design and 3D characterization of crown architecture and growth potential can open up new research possibilities.
  • 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.
  • Yrttimaa, Tuomas; Luoma, Ville; Saarinen, Ninni; Kankare, Elina; Junttila, Samuli; Holopainen, Markus; Hyyppa, Juha; Vastaranta, Mikko (2022)
    Tree growth is a physio-ecological phenomena of high interest among researchers across disciplines. Observing changes in tree characteristics has conventionally required either repeated measurements of the characteristics of living trees, retrospective measurements of destructively sampled trees, or modelling. The use of close-range sensing techniques such as terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) has enabled non-destructive approaches to reconstruct the three-dimensional (3D) structure of trees and tree communities in space and time. This study aims at improving the understanding of tree allometry in general and interactions between tree growth and its neighbourhood in particular by using two-date point clouds. We investigated how variation in the increments in basal area at the breast height (Delta g(1.3)), basal area at height corresponding to 60% of tree height (Delta g(0)(6h)), and volume of the stem section below 50% of tree height (Delta v(05h) ) can be explained with TLS point cloud-based attributes characterizing the spatiotemporal structure of a tree crown and crown neighbourhood, entailing the competitive status of a tree. The analyses were based on 218 trees on 16 sample plots whose 3D characteristics were obtained at the beginning (2014, T1) and at the end of the monitoring period (2019, T2) from multi-scan TLS point clouds using automatic point cloud processing methods. The results of this study showed that, within certain tree communities, strong relationships (vertical bar r vertical bar > 0.8) were observed between increments in the stem dimensions and the attributes characterizing crown structure and competition. Most often, attributes characterizing the competitive status of a tree, and the crown structure at T1, were the most important attributes to explain variation in the increments of stem dimensions. Linear mixed-effect modelling showed that single attributes could explain up to 35-60% of the observed variation in Delta g(1.3), Delta g(0)(6h) and Delta V-0(5h), depending on the tree species. This tree-level evidence of the allometric relationship between stem growth and crown dynamics can further be used to justify landscape-level analyses based on airborne remote sensing technologies to monitor stem growth through the structure and development of crown structure. This study contributes to the existing knowledge by showing that laser-based close-range sensing is a feasible technology to provide 3D characterization of stem and crown structure, enabling one to quantify structural changes and the competitive status of trees for improved understanding of the underlying growth 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.
  • Li, Xiaofei; Wang, Shengnan; Prather, Chelse; Wan, Ho Yi; Zhu, Hui; Nummi, Petri; Inbar, Moshe; Gao, Qiang; Wang, Deli; Zhong, Zhiwei (2021)
    Large herbivores often co-occur and share plant resources with herbivorous insects in grassland ecosystems; yet, how they interact with each other remains poorly understood. We conducted a series of field experiments to investigate whether and how large domestic herbivores (sheep; Ovis aries) may affect the abundance of a common herbivorous insect (aphid; Hyalopterus pruni) in a temperate grassland of northeast China. Our exclosure experiment showed that 3 years (2010-2012) of sheep grazing had led to 86% higher aphid abundance compared with ungrazed sites. Mechanistically, this facilitative effect was driven by grazing altering the plant community, rather than by changes in food availability and predator abundance for aphids. Sheep significantly altered plant community by reducing the abundance of unpalatable forbs for the aphids. Our small-scale forb removal experiment revealed an "associational plant defense" by forbs which protect the grass Phragmites australis from being attacked by the aphids. However, selective grazing on forbs by sheep indirectly disrupted such associational plant defense, making P. australis more susceptible to aphids, consequentially increasing the density of aphids. These findings provide a novel mechanistic explanation for the effects of large herbivores on herbivorous insects by linking selective grazing to plant community composition and the responses of insect populations in grassland ecosystems.
  • 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.