Underpinnings of the distribution of allopolyploid species (hybrids with duplicated genome) along spatial and ecological gradients are elusive. As allopolyploid speciation combines the range of genetic and ecological characteristics of divergent diploids, allopolyploids initially show their additivity and are predicted to evolve differentiated ecological niches to establish in face of their competition. Here, we use four diploid wild wheats that differentially combined into four independent allopolyploid species to test for such additivity and assess the impact of ecological constraints on species ranges. Divergent genetic variation from diploids being fixed in heterozygote allopolyploids supports their genetic additivity. Spatial integration of comparative phylogeography and modeling of climatic niches supports ecological additivity of locally adapted diploid progenitors into allopolyploid species which subsequently colonized wide ranges. Allopolyploids fill suitable range to a larger extent than diploids and conservative evolution following the combination of divergent species appears to support their expansion under environmental changes.
Ecological processes in food webs depend on species interactions. By identifying broad-scaled interaction patterns, important information on species ecological roles may be revealed. Here, we use the group model to examine how spatial resolution and proximity influence the group structure. We examine a dataset from the Barents Sea, with species occurrences for both the whole region and 25 subregions. Specifically, we test how the group structure in the networks differ comparing i) the regional metaweb to subregions and ii) subregion to subregion. We find that more than half the species in the metaweb change groups when compared to subregions. Between subregions, networks with similar group structure are usually spatially related. Interestingly, although species overlap is important for similarity in group structure, there are notable exceptions. Our results highlight that species ecological roles differ depending on fine-scaled differences in patterns of interactions, and that local network characteristics are important to consider.
We have developed a new database of structures and bond energies of 45 noble-gas containing molecules. The structures were calculated by CCSD(T)/aug-cc-pVTZ methods and the bond energies were obtained using CCSD(T)/CBS (complete basis set) method. Many wavefunction-based and density functional theory methods have been benchmarked against the 45 accurate bond energies. Our result showed that the MPW1B95, B2GP-PLYP, and DSD-BLYP functionals with the aug-cc-pVTZ basis set excel on predicting the bond energies of the noble-gas molecules with MUEs (mean unsigned errors) of 1.5-1.9 kcal/mol. When combinations of Dunning’s basis sets are used, the MPW1B95, MPW1PW91, and B2GP-PLYP functional give significantly lower MUEs of 1.1-1.3 kcal/mol. Doubly hybrid methods using B2GP-PLYP and DSD-BLYP functionals and MP2 calculation also provide satisfactory accuracy with MUEs of 1.3-1.4 kcal/mol. If the noble-gas bond energies and the total atomization energies of a group of 109 main-group molecules are considered at the same time, the MPW1B95/aug-cc-pVTZ single-level method (MUE = 2.7 kcal/mol) and the B2GP-PLYP functional with combinations of basis sets (MUEs = 1.8 kcal/mol) give the overall best result.
In Belgium, IWVA uses Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) to recharge the aquifer with treated wastewater generated from the communities to sustain the potable water supply on the Belgian coast. This MAR facility is faced with a challenge of reduced infiltration rates during the winter season when pond water temperatures near 4 °C. This study involves the identification of the predominant factor influencing the rate of infiltration through the pond bed. Several factors including pumping rates, natural recharge, tidal influences of the North Sea and pond-water temperature were identified as potential causes for variation of the recharge rate. Correlation statistics and linear regression analysis were used to determine the sensitivity of the infiltration rate to the aforementioned factors. Two groundwater flow models were developed in visual MODFLOW to simulate the water movement under the pond bed and to obtain the differences in flux to track the effects of variation of hydraulic conductivity during the two seasons. A 32 % reduction in vertical hydraulic gradient in the top portion of the aquifer was observed in winter causing the recharge rates to fluctuate. Results showed that water temperature caused a 30 % increase in hydraulic conductivity in summer as compared to winter and has the maximum impact on infiltration rate. Cyclic variations in water viscosity, occurring because of seasonal temperature changes, influence the saturated hydraulic conductivity of the pond bed. Results from the models confirm the impact on infiltration rate by temperature influenced hydraulic conductivity.
Skin sensitization occurs when an exogenous chemical substance forms a covalent adduct with a dermal protein electrophile or nucleophile. This instigates an immune response which leads to inflammation. The local lymph node assay (LLNA) is an in-vivo model used in the assessment of relative skin sensitizing potency of chemicals. The method is time consuming and expensive, as well as poses ethical questions given that a number of mice must be sacrificed for each compound assessed. In this work we investigate the use of an inexpensive, rapid and ethical method to predict the skin sensitization potential of Schiff base chemicals. We employ quantum chemical methods to rationalize the sensitization potential of 22 compounds with a diverse range of activities. To this end we have evaluated the mechanistic profile associated with this type of reaction using gas-phase models. We subsequently use the predicted rate determining barriers and key physico-chemical parameters (such as logP) to establish SAR guidelines to predict the skin sensitization potential for new chemicals. We find that the predicted rate determining barriers for aldehydes, ketone and 1,2 and 1,3 diones generally decrease in the given order, which concurs with the overall trends in sensitization. We find that lipophilicity also plays a role, with those chemicals displaying both low barriers to reaction, and lower lipophilicity (i.e. diones), being more likely to display undesirable skin sensitization effects. These findings are in line with experimental based observations in the literature and point to the value 3D quantum chemical simulations can play in the combination of approaches used to estimate skin sensitization potential of chemicals.
Long-distance migrations by marine fish have long fascinated scientists, but are difficult to track by visual surveys. Here, we propose a new method to easily and precisely track such migrations using stable nitrogen isotopic composition at the base of the food web (δ15NBase), which can be estimated by using compound-specific isotope analysis. δ15NBase exclusively reflects the δ15N of nitrate in the ocean at a regional scale and is not affected by the trophic position of sampled organisms. We initially constructed a δ15NBase isoscape in the northern North Pacific, and determined retrospective δ15NBase values of chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) from their vertebral centra. Then, we estimated the migration routes of chum salmon during their skeletal growth by using a state-space model. Our isotope tracking method successfully reproduced a known chum salmon migration route between the Okhotsk and Bering seas, and indicates the presence of a novel migration route to the eastern Bering Sea Shelf during a later growth stage.
Lactic acid producing bacteria are important in many fermentations, such as the production of biobased plastics. Insight in the competitive advantage of lactic acid bacteria over other fermentative bacteria in a mixed culture enables ecology-based process design and can aid the development of sustainable and energy-efficient bioprocesses. Here we demonstrate the enrichment of lactic acid bacteria in a controlled sequencing batch bioreactor environment using a glucose based medium supplemented with peptides and B vitamins. A mineral medium enrichment operated in parallel was dominated by Ethanoligenens species and fermented glucose to acetate, butyrate and hydrogen. The complex medium enrichment was populated by Lactococcus, Lactobacillus and Megasphaera species and showed a product spectrum of acetate, ethanol, propionate, butyrate and valerate. An intermediate peak of lactate was observed, showing the simultaneous production and consumption of lactate, which is of concern for lactic acid production purposes. This study underlines that the competitive advantage for lactic acid producing bacteria primarily lies in their ability to attain a high biomass specific uptake rate of glucose, which was two times higher for the complex medium enrichment when compared to the mineral medium enrichment. The competitive advantage of lactic acid production in rich media can be explained using a resource allocation theory for microbial growth processes.
3D cell culture has developed rapidly over the past 5-10 years with the goal of better replicating human physiology and tissue complexity in the laboratory. Quantifying cellular responses is fundamental in understanding how cells and tissues respond during their growth cycle and in response to external stimuli. There is a need to develop and validate tools that can give insight into cell number, viability and distribution in real-time, non-destructively and without the use of stains or other labelling processes. Impedance spectroscopy can address all of these challenges and is currently used both commercially and in academic laboratories to measure cellular processes in 2D cell culture systems. However, its use in 3D cultures is not straight forward due to the complexity of the electrical circuit model of 3D tissues. In addition, there are challenges in the design and integration of electrodes within 3D cell culture systems. Researchers have used a range of strategies to implement impedance spectroscopy in 3D systems. This review examines electrode design, integration and outcomes of a range of impedance spectroscopy studies and multi-parametric systems relevant to 3D cell cultures. While these systems provide whole culture data, impedance tomography approaches have shown how this technique can be used to achieve spatial resolution. This review demonstrates how impedance spectroscopy and tomography can be used to provide real-time sensing in 3D cell cultures, but challenges remain in integrating electrodes without affecting cell culture functionality. If these challenges can be addressed and more realistic electrical models for 3D tissues developed, the implementation of impedance-based systems will be able to provide real-time, quantitative tracking of 3D cell culture systems.
Tropical montane cloud forests (TMCF) are recognized for their capacity to maintain high dry-season baseflow, and a host of other, ecosystem services. Despite their importance, they are endangered with a multidirectional array of land use changes, including conversion to pasture and crops such as coffee, while there are places where forest is being recovered. However, little is known about the effects of this complex dynamic on catchment hydrology. We investigated the effect of land use on rainfall-runoff response in five neighboring headwater micro-catchments in central Veracruz, Mexico, by comparing primary TMCF (PF), young (20 yr-old) and intermediate (40 yr-old) naturally regenerating TMCF (YF and IF, respectively), shaded coffee (SC), and an intensively grazed pasture (IP). We used a 4-year record of high-resolution rainfall and streamflow (10 min) data, collected from 2015 to 2019. These data were analyzed via hydrologic metrics and statistical tests. Results showed no statistical difference in the regulation capacity of high flows after 20 years of natural regeneration, compared to the PF. In terms of baseflow sustenance, our results suggested that PF and IF better promote this hydrological service than the other land uses, although all the catchments showed high mean annual low flows. SC exhibited a high capacity to modulate peak flows comparable to that of PF, and an intermediate capacity to sustain baseflow, suggesting that the integrated functioning of this catchment was largely preserved. Finally, we found that 40 years of pasture management can decrease the soil hydraulic properties in the area, causing a fivefold increase in the peak discharge response, and a much lower baseflow maintenance compared to PF.