St. Louis BEES Fall 2011 Retreat
Islands of fertility: an artifact of grazing?
Ginger R.H. Allington, Thomas J. Valone, Katryna Kibler (St. Louis University)
Fertile islands under shrub canopies have been identified in desertified grasslands and historic shrub deserts and are considered a characteristic of arid systems. While empirical support for the fertile pattern is strong, all data come from sites grazed by livestock. At three sites with 50 years of rest from grazing we failed to detect a fertile island pattern, whereas the pattern was present in the grazed area directly outside the fence. These data are the first to document the lack of a fertile island pattern in an arid rangeland system and suggest that the island of fertility pattern may be an artifact of livestock grazing rather than an inherent property of arid shrublands. This has significant implications for our understanding of the dynamics of desert vegetation and the possibility of restoration of desertified systems.
Leaf-tying caterpillars increase abundance of Asiatic oak weevil on deciduous trees through ecosystem engineering
Christina Baer (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
Tritrophic Interactions of Leaf-tying Caterpillars in a Missouri Oak-Hickory Forest
Kirk Barnett (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
The relationships between body shape and water velocity in Pimephales notatus (Cyprinidae) and Etheostoma nigrum (Percidae)
Collin E. Beachum, Matt J. Michel, and Jason H. Knouft (St. Louis University)
The goal of this study was to determine whether body shape is correlated with water velocity in two widely distributed stream fishes, Pimephales notatus and Etheostoma nigrum. This was accomplished using relative warp scores from geometric morphometric analyses in mixed effects models where centroid size (body size) and mean water velocity were fixed effects at the individual and population level, respectively. There were no significant correlations between body shape and mean water velocity for P. notatus. However, for E. nigrum, relative warp 2 was positively correlated with mean water velocity (p = 0.002) and negatively correlated with centroid size (p < 0.001).
Has Pueraria montana (kudzu) undergone an environmental niche shift upon invasion?
Steven Callen, Jason Knouft, and Allison Miller (St. Louis University)
Comparative analysis of the environmental niches of introduced populations and the native populations from which they originated facilitates the identification of environmental factors associated with successful invasion. In order to identify potential differences in the native and introduced environmental niches that may be contributing to kudzu’s success in the United States, GIS-based techniques in ArcGIS v9.3 and Maxent were used to describe the environmental niches of native (Asia) and introduced (United States) kudzu populations. While biotic factors such as release from specialist enemies and community structure likely play a role in kudzu’s invasion, these preliminary results suggest apparent differences in abiotic factors characterizing the native and introduced ranges of kudzu, i.e. a climatic niche shift.
Consequences of plant diversity for above and belowground properties
Kerri Crawford (Washington University)
Flora Mesoamericana [GSPC 2020 Target 1: Understanding and documenting plant diversity: An online flora of all known plants]
G. Davidse & C. Ulloa (Missouri Botanical Gardens)
The Flora Mesoamericana is a collaborative project between the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Institute of Biology of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma of Mexico, and the Natural History Museum, London, with more than 400 specialists around the world. The Flora, published in Spanish, describes all vascular plants in five States in the southeastern Mexico (including the Yucatán Peninsula) and the seven republics of Central America. About 18,000 species of native and cultivated plants are in the area and since the beginning of the project 10% of species have been described as new, most recently the genus Hondurodendron (Aptandraceae). Three printed volumes with a total of 93 families, 773 genera and 5392 species have been published: Volume 6, Alismataceae to Cyperaceae; Volume 1, Psilotaceae Salviniaceae and recently 4 (1), Cucurbitaceae to Polemoniaceae. Volume 4(2) Rubiaceae to Lamiaceae with 1418 spp. is expected to be published in early 2012. Two volumes are under edition: 7(2) (Orchidaceae) and 5(2) Asteraceae. The Internet version of Flora (W3FM) is organized in a format of annotated list where each botanical name has its own page linked to other pages and you can search for data in various ways to produce lists of taxa. There are links with descriptions, illustrations, identification keys, herbarium specimens, maps, and synonyms. This version is updated at any time as new or improved information becomes available. Since 2009 APG III classification for the families has been adopted.
Effects of habitat degradation on the regeneration of an Andean tree species (Polylepis tomentella, Rosaceae)
Alejandra I. Domic & Gerardo Camilo (St. Louis University)
This study assessed the effects of logging and farming on habitat conditions and populations structure of Polylepis tomentella. Results suggest that regeneration is not limited by seed production and that changes in soil chemical properties decreases significantly seed germination and increases seedling mortality.
Population Dynamics of Etheostoma
Making natural connections: An authentic field research collaboration
Susan K. Flowers, Lydia Toth, Kathi Beyer, Jonathan M. Chase (Washington University)
Type of High School Biology Program and
its Affect on Student Attitude
Charles Granger (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
A specially designed questionnaire and a science classroom activity checklist were used to categorize 299 life science students enrolled in a university life science course into two groups: those with high school biology backgrounds founded in the Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS) philosophy of enquiry and those with traditional oriented backgrounds. These groups were compared with respect to grade achievement in college-level life science courses, ratings of their background preparation for the college course, and their attitude toward biology as established by their high school experiences. With respect to enquiry and student-centered methods, textbooks were revealed as poor indicators of type of educational experiences provided.
Ludwigia (Onagraceae): understanding an ancient plant lineage
Phylogeography of Asian wild rice, Oryza rufipogon: a genome-wide view
Pu Huang & Barbara Schaal
Testing the niche width hypothesis using Quercus species endemic to the continuous US
John Hodge & Ivan Jimenez (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
The niche width hypothesis proposes that inter-specific variation in environmental tolerance (measured as the range of environmental conditions where a species occurs) is a major determinant of variation in geographic range size among species. An alternative hypothesis proposes the opposite direction of causality: variation in geographic range size among species may determine inter-specific variation in environmental tolerance. Using computer simulations based on USDA Forest Inventory data and climatic data from Worldclim, we show that both hypotheses predict a positive relationship between environmental tolerance and geographic range size, but also that the two hypotheses differ in terms of the predicted shape of that relationship. We confronted distinct predictions from each hypothesis against data on the geographic and environmental distribution of 30 Quercus species endemic to the conterminous United States and thus measure the explanatory ability of each hypothesis.
Vana Kuczynska (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
The Diversification of a Globally Integrated Research Program - Radiations In Evolutionary, Ecological, Biogeography and Behavioral Biology, Faunal Inventories, Geography, Modeling, and Informatics
Richard Mayden, Agnew Moore, Mary*, Anderson, Karl+, Balabhadra, Samyuktha*** , De Los Santos, Anna Belia**, Dong, Caroline***, Dunham, William***, Ilverson, Anne*, Lega, Paul*, Nagireddi, Supria Lakshmi Satya***, Neun, Heather*, Rivard, Chris*** , Schonhuth, Susana++, Wu, Elvis*, Yang, Lei++, Yoo, Jisoo***
* Graduate Student, ** Staff, ***Undergraduate Student, +Former Graduate and Staff, ++Postdoc (St. Louis University)
Research in the Mayden Lab varies tremendously but focuses on freshwater fish diversity and evolution and processes underlying diversification. Diverse interests by recruited undergraduate and graduate students and postocs, together with 23 years of continuous funding from NSF and worldwide collaborations and travel has permitted the expansion of interrelated ideas and technology focused in many areas towards common goals.
Andrew Miller (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
The relationship between regional species richness, local hydrologic characteristics, and local species richness in North American freshwater fishes
Sophia Qian Niu and Jason H. Knouft (St. Louis University)
We assessed the relative importance of regional species pool and local hydrological characteristics in local species richness of North American stream fishes. Using data on fish assemblages, and daily discharge for 41 streams, as well as regional species distribution, we conducted multiple regression analyses, relating total species richness and richness of the four most diverse families to regional species pool and hydrological variables. We found regional species pool is significant predictor of local richness for various lineages except Percidae, while flow variability explains a substantial proportion of variation in richness in Centrarchidae and Cyprinidae, and discharge volume seems more important for richness within Percidae and Catostomidae.
Blue jays affect the caching behavior of eavesdropping squirrels
Shawn E. Nordell, Thomas J. Valone, Courtney A. Harrington, & Tina Mozelewski (St. Louis University)
Individuals can gain important information about their environment by eavesdropping on interactions between others. We examined whether gray squirrels learn about the presence of blue jays (food cache robbers) by hearing their vocalizations. When jay vocalizations were played, squirrels cached fewer items and carried them farther from the speaker compared to the control. There was no difference in direction moved between treatments. Our data suggest that squirrels learn about the presence of jays by listening to their vocalizations and modify their behavior to reduce the likelihood of losing their caches.
Does the growth mortality tradeoff affect radial variation in wood density of tropical canopy trees?
Oyomoare Osazuwa-Peters (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
Escape in space: Effects of density and distance from invasive vegetation on post-dispersal seed-consumption of congeneric lupines
Eleanor Pardini, Melissa Patten, Tiffany M. Knight (Washington University)
Genetic variation and comparative demography of island bird populations of the southern Lesser Antilles
Maria W. Pil (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
Synthesizing the effects of plant invasions on diversity at different spatial scales
Kristin Powell, Jonathan Chase, Tiffany Knight (Washington University)
Comparison of Haemosporidian parasites from the Galapagos flycatcher (Myiarchus magnirostris) and from its continental sister species (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
Eloisa H.R. Sari & Patricia G. Parker (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
The maladaptive significance of maternal effects for plants in anthropogenically modified environments
Matt Schuler (Washington University)
Modeling Avian Malaria Prevalence in Disturbed Landscapes of Central Amazonia
Leticia Soares and Robert Ricklefs (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
The understanding of how host-parasite interactions work in disturbed habitats is relevant to manage modified landscapes. Regarding avian malaria (Haemosporida: Plasmodium, Haemoproteus), there is empirical evidence showing higher parasite prevalence in host communities occurring in undisturbed habitats compared to communities in deforested habitats. The goal of this project is to understand the determinants of avian malaria occurrence in avian hosts occupying modified landscapes in central Amazonia. We propose that birds occurring in mosaic areas of primary and secondary forests will show lower prevalence than birds of which the occupancy is restricted to primary forests. This study will be conduced in the sites of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, north of the city of Manaus, Brazil. Molecular techniques and microscopy will be used to detect and characterize haemosporidian infections in nine bird species that commonly occur in secondary and primary forests.
Nonadaptive evolution in social bacteria: theory and tests with Myxococcus bacteria
Species richness and community composition of moths (Geometridae) along a complete rainforest gradient in Papua New Guinea
Pagi Toko (University of Missouri - St. Louis)
Long term changes
in Niger Delta mangrove landscape
Scalable modeling of Mosquito Population Dynamics
Eric J. Westhus & Gerardo R. Camilo (St. Louis University)
Nonlinear processes and spatial variation among populations prevent simple proportional scaling of population models. Scale transition is a developing ecological theory that attempts to link small-scale and large-scale processes by providing a mathematical framework to account for nonlinear processes and spatial variation. This investigation expands the mathematical framework for traditional scale transition theory to the multivariate realm and applies it to a model of mosquito population dynamics.
A metacommunity approach to modeling the effect of habitat destruction on species richness scaling
Lauren M. Woods, Jonathan Chase (Washington University)
Red Book of Endemic Plants of Ecuador, Second edition [GSPC 2020 Target 2: An assessment of the conservation status of all known plant species]
Susana León-Yánez, Renato Valencia, Nigel Pitman, Lorena Endara, Carmen Ulloa Ulloa & Hugo Navarrete, eds. (Missouri Botanical Gardens)
The second evaluation of IUCN threat categories for plant endemics of Ecuador is presented a decade after the publication of the first edition. This project is directed by Ecuador’s QCA herbarium in collaboration with MO, AAU, LOJA, QCNE, QPLS, GOET, and participation of 84 worldwide authors. Some 4800 species were evaluated and 4500 categorized; surprisingly the level of threat has not diminished and 72% of the species are still not covered by any of the country’s protected areas. 78% of the species have some level of Threat, of this: 46% are Vulnerable; 24% Endangered; 8% Critically EN. Four species may be extinct and some 60 have not been recently collected or documented.
Species Delimitation: Inferring Gaps in Morphology across Geography
Felipe Zapata and Iván Jiménez (Missouri Botanical Gardens)
Species are commonly delimited on the basis of gaps in patterns of morphological variation, but there seems to be little recent work on methods to objectively assess such gaps. Here we introduce a statistical approach that uses measurements of continuous morphological characters and geographic variation in those characters to (i) measure the strength of the evidence for the existence of a gap in morphological variation between two hypothesized species, and (ii) examine if a gap in morphological variation between two hypothesized species can be explained by an alternative hypothesis of geographic variation within a species. This approach is based on recent developments in analyses of multivariate normal mixtures, estimates of multivariate tolerance regions, and principal coordinates of neighboring matrices. The method we propose can help strengthen the link between the theory and practice of species delimitation by increasing the transparency and consistency of taxonomic decisions based on morphology, thus contributing to integrative approaches for species delimitation that consider morphological and geographic data on an equal footing with other kinds of information.
Chemosensation, Sexual Selection, and Speciation in Drosophila