Drones used to assess health of Antarctic vegetation — methods.blog

Below is a press release about the Methods paper ‘Unmanned aircraft system advances health mapping of fragile polar vegetation‘ taken from the University of Wollongong. New method faster, more efficient and less damaging to the environment A team of researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the University of Tasmania has developed a new method […]

via Drones used to assess health of Antarctic vegetation — methods.blog

Environmental isolation shapes genetic diversity in Brachypodium

During the last decade Brachypodium distachyon (L.) P. Beauv. has become one of the most important model systems for functional genomic studies of temperate cereals and forage grasses and for bioenergy crops. However, despite all genomic progresses in B.
distachyon and the fact that it is widely spread across the Mediterranean area, information about its natural genetic diversity remains scarce.

Our recent publication funded by our People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme has revealed the existence of at least three genetic clusters providing additional evidence for the existence of a significant genetic structure in the Iberian Peninsula and supporting this geographical area as an important genetic reservoir. Populations growing on basic soils were significantly more diverse than those growing in acidic soils. A partial Mantel test confirmed a statistically significant Isolation-By-Distance (IBD) among all studied populations, as well as a statistically significant Isolation-By-Environment (IBE) revealing the presence of environmental-driven isolation as one explanation for the genetic patterns found in the Iberian Peninsula.

Read our full article here: https://bmcevolbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12862-017-0996-x

Ecto-Mycorrhizal Fungi: A Stronger Role In Pathogen Defense than In Nutrient Uptake — Journal of Ecology blog

In this new video, Felipe Albornoz presents the findings of his recent study, accepted for publication in Journal of Ecology, and titled ‘Native soilborne pathogens equalize differences in competitive ability between plants of contrasting nutrient-acquisition strategies‘. This study was part of Felipe’s PhD project on the role of mycorrhizal fungi on plant-plant interactions and in maintaining plant diversity, that he […]

via Ecto-Mycorrhizal Fungi: A Stronger Role In Pathogen Defense than In Nutrient Uptake — Journal of Ecology blog

Bacterial isolates from seagrass samples: a new approach — The Seagrass Microbiome Project

So for the last couple of years I’ve supervised a series of undergraduates who have spent some time isolating bacteria from seagrass samples… sometimes from the plants themselves and sometimes from associated sediment. We usually used non-specific aerobic media such as Marine Broth and Seawater Nutrient Agar. The result has been a series of the […]

via Bacterial isolates from seagrass samples: a new approach — The Seagrass Microbiome Project

Ecological intensification of agriculture: ideas that begin to take root — The Applied Ecologist’s blog

In this post Nahuel Policelli discusses a recent paper by Timothy M. Bowles and colleagues ‘Ecological intensification and arbuscular mycorrhizas: a meta-analysis of tillage and cover crop effects‘ In a context of increasing global food demands, ecological intensification of agriculture emerges as an ideal approach for land management. It combines the benefits of intensive and […]

via Ecological intensification of agriculture: ideas that begin to take root — The Applied Ecologist’s blog

Past climate changes facilitated homoploid speciation in three mountain spiny fescues

How much do we actually know about the impact of climate changes as a driven factor of speciation? Here is a example of how it help in the establishment of a new homoploid hybrid species: http://rdcu.be/msmM

To investigate this question, we selected an hypothetical natural fescue hybrid between two diploid species that occurs in two different mountain ranges (Cantabrian Mountains and Pyrenees) separated by more than 400 km. To unravel the outcomes of this mode of speciation and the impact of climate during speciation we used a multidisciplinary approach combining genome size and chromosome counts, data from an extensive nuclear genotypic analysis, plastid sequences and ecological niche models (ENM). Our results show that the same homoploid hybrid was originated independently in the two mountain ranges, being currently isolated from both parents and producing viable seeds. Parental species had the opportunity to contact as early as 21000 years ago although niche divergence occurs nowadays as result of a climate-driven shift. A high degree of niche divergence was observed between the hybrid and its parents and no recent introgression or backcrossed hybrids were detected, supporting the current presence of reproductive isolation barriers between these species.

It is nice to see it finally published through our Marie Skłodowska-Curie IOF project ORIGIN 🙂

Genetic diversity in the model species Brachypodium stacei

brachypodiumOur article of Brachypodium stacei has finally been published today! This is the first article of our PhD student Valeria Shiposha where she has studied population structure and genetic variation among 181 individuals from 19 populations of B. stacei occurring in its predominant range, the western Mediterranean area: mainland Iberian Peninsula, continental Balearic Islands and oceanic Canary Islands. She has found a predominant selfing system with extremely high levels of homozygosity across the analyzed populations. The article is fully available on the open access Journal PeerJ: https://peerj.com/articles/2407/

Congratulations to all co-authors and especially to Valeria Shiposha for the publication of her first article!! Yeah!!