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- SourceAvailable from: Nicolas Dussex[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The impact of population bottlenecks is an important factor to consider when assessing species survival. Population declines can considerably limit the evolutionary potential of species and make them more susceptible to stochastic events. New Zealand has a well documented history of decline of endemic avifauna related to human colonization. Here, we investigate the genetic effects of a recent population decline in the endangered kea (Nestor notabilis). Kea have undergone a long-lasting persecution between the late 1800s to 1970s where an estimated 150,000 kea were culled under a governmental bounty scheme. Kea now number 1,000–5,000 individuals in the wild and it is likely that the recent population decline may have reduced the genetic diversity of the species. Comparison of contemporary (n = 410), historical (n = 15) and fossil samples (n = 4) showed a loss of mitochondrial diversity since the end of the last glaciation (Otiran Glacial) but no loss of overall genetic diversity associated with the cull. Microsatellite data indicated a recent bottleneck for only one population and a range-wide decline in N e dating back some 300 – 6,000 years ago, a period pre-dating European arrival in NZ. These results suggest that despite a recent human persecution, kea might have experienced a large population decline before stabilizing in numbers prior to human settlement of New Zealand in response to Holocene changes in habitat distribution. Our study therefore highlights the need to understand the respective effects of climate change and human activities on endangered species dynamics when proposing conservation guidelines.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0118522
Article: What Drives Academic Data Sharing?[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Despite widespread support from policy makers, funding agencies, and scientific journals, academic researchers rarely make their research data available to others. At the same time, data sharing in research is attributed a vast potential for scientific progress. It allows the reproducibility of study results and the reuse of old data for new research questions. Based on a systematic review of 98 scholarly papers and an empirical survey among 603 secondary data users, we develop a conceptual framework that explains the process of data sharing from the primary researcher’s point of view. We show that this process can be divided into six descriptive categories: Data donor, research organization, research community, norms, data infrastructure, and data recipients. Drawing from our findings, we discuss theoretical implications regarding knowledge creation and dissemination as well as research policy measures to foster academic collaboration. We conclude that research data cannot be regarded as knowledge commons, but research policies that better incentivise data sharing are needed to improve the quality of research results and foster scientific progress.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0118053
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ABSTRACT: Understanding interactions between grasses and their herbivores is central to the conservation of species-rich grasslands and the protection of our most important crops against pests. Grasses employ a range of defenses against their natural enemies; silicon-based defenses have been shown to be one of the most effective. Silicon (Si) is laid down on the leaf surface as spines and other sharp bodies, known as phytoliths, making grasses abrasive and their foliage indigestible to herbivores. Previous studies on Si defenses found that closely related species may have similar levels of Si in the leaves but differ markedly in abrasiveness. Here we show how the number, shape and distribution of Si-rich phytoliths and spines differ within and between different grass species and demonstrate that species also differ in their ability to change the deposition and distribution of these defenses in response to damage or increases in Si supply. Specifically, we tested the response of two genotypes of Festuca arundinacea known to differ in their surface texture and three different grass species (F. ovina, F. rubra, and Deschampsia cespitosa) differing in their abrasiveness to combined manipulation of leaf damage and Si supply. F. arundinacea plants with a harsh leaf surface had higher Si content and more spines on their leaf surface than soft varieties. F. ovina and D. cespitosa plants increased their leaf Si concentration and produced an increase in the number of leaf spines and phytoliths on the leaf surface in response to Si addition. F rubra also increased leaf Si content in response to treatments, particularly in damaged leaves, but did not deposit this in the form of spines or increased densities of phytoliths. We discuss how the form in which grasses deposit Si may affect their anti-herbivore characteristics and consider the ecological and agricultural implications of the differences in allocation to Si-based defenses between grass species.Frontiers in Plant Science 02/2015; 6:35. DOI:10.3389/fpls.2015.00035
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