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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Hydrobiologia, 2017, Vol.799(1), pp.37-48
    Description: Ephemeral ponds are often dominated by species with both terrestrial and aquatic life phases. Such species have the potential to strongly alter the food web structure of ponds, particularly if they are predators. Here we experimentally tested the effects of salamander larvae ( Salamandra salamandra ) on invertebrate communities in ephemeral forest ponds. We repeatedly split two ponds into salamander enclosure- and exclosure-segments, and compared the diversity and biomass of potential prey organisms. We used stable isotopes of carbon (δ 13 C) and nitrogen (δ 15 N) of resources and consumers to characterise the food web structure. The presence of salamander larvae did not affect abundances of culicid larvae, their preferred prey. The population dynamics of most insect larvae was independent of the presence of salamander larvae, and was instead driven by the timing of hatching and emergence. However, a significant reduction resulting from salamander predation could be detected in the less abundant chironomid larvae. There was no substantial alteration of the food web structure as indicated by stable isotopes. However, the stable isotope results suggest a strong trophic subsidisation from the terrestrial system, which is probably the reason for the weak top-down effects of the salamander larvae on the invertebrate food web.
    Keywords: Biodiversity ; Salamandra salamandra ; Top-down ; Trophic cascades ; Aquatic-terrestrial linkage
    ISSN: 0018-8158
    E-ISSN: 1573-5117
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Oecologia, 2013, Vol.173(1), pp.281-291
    Description: Shifts in life history traits and in the behaviour of species can potentially alter ecosystem functioning. The reproduction of the central European fire salamander ( Salamandra salamandra ), which usually deposits its larvae in first-order streams, in small pool and pond-like habitats, is an example of a recent local adaptation in this species. Here we aimed to quantify the direct and indirect effects of the predatory larvae on the aquatic food webs in the ponds and on the flux of matter between the ponds and adjacent terrestrial habitats. Our estimates are based on biomass data of the present pond fauna as well as on the analysis of stomach content data, growth rates and population dynamics of the salamander larvae in pond habitats. By their deposition of larvae in early spring, female fire salamanders import between 0.07 and 2.86 g dry mass m −2 larval biomass into the ponds. Due to high mortality rates in the larval phase and the relatively small size at metamorphosis of the pond-adapted salamanders compared to stream-adapted ones, the biomass export of the metamorphosed salamanders clearly falls below the initial biomass import. Catastrophic events such as high water temperatures and low oxygen levels may even occasionally result in mass mortalities of salamander larvae and thus in a net 100 % import of the salamander biomass into the pond food webs. Indirect effects further accelerate this net import of matter into the aquatic habitat, e.g. the feeding of salamanders on aquatic insect larvae with the emergence of terrestrial adults—thus preventing export—and on terrestrial organisms that fall on the water surface (supporting import). This study demonstrates that the adaptation of salamanders to pond reproduction can alter food web linkages across ecosystem boundaries by enhancing the flux of materials and energy from terrestrial (i.e. forest) to the aquatic (i.e. pond) habitat.
    Keywords: Habitat coupling ; Ecosystem processes ; Microevolution ; Biomass flux ; Salamandra salamandra
    ISSN: 0029-8549
    E-ISSN: 1432-1939
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Oecologia, 2013, Vol.173(1), p.281(11)
    Description: Shifts in life history traits and in the behaviour of species can potentially alter ecosystem functioning. The reproduction of the central European fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), which usually deposits its larvae in first-order streams, in small pool and pond-like habitats, is an example of a recent local adaptation in this species. Here we aimed to quantify the direct and indirect effects of the predatory larvae on the aquatic food webs in the ponds and on the flux of matter between the ponds and adjacent terrestrial habitats. Our estimates are based on biomass data of the present pond fauna as well as on the analysis of stomach content data, growth rates and population dynamics of the salamander larvae in pond habitats. By their deposition of larvae in early spring, female fire salamanders import between 0.07 and 2.86 g dry mass [m.sup.-2] larval biomass into the ponds. Due to high mortality rates in the larval phase and the relatively small size at metamorphosis of the pond-adapted salamanders compared to stream-adapted ones, the biomass export of the metamorphosed salamanders clearly falls below the initial biomass import. Catastrophic events such as high water temperatures and low oxygen levels may even occasionally result in mass mortalities of salamander larvae and thus in a net 100% import of the salamander biomass into the pond food webs. Indirect effects further accelerate this net import of matter into the aquatic habitat, e.g. the feeding of salamanders on aquatic insect larvae with the emergence of terrestrial adults--thus preventing export--and on terrestrial organisms that fall on the water surface (supporting import). This study demonstrates that the adaptation of salamanders to pond reproduction can alter food web linkages across ecosystem boundaries by enhancing the flux of materials and energy from terrestrial (i.e. forest) to the aquatic (i.e. pond) habitat. Keywords Habitat coupling * Ecosystem processes * Microevolution * Biomass flux * Salamandra salamandra
    Keywords: Ponds – Analysis ; Ecosystems – Analysis
    ISSN: 0029-8549
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Amphibia-Reptilia, 2015, Vol.36(2), pp.97-109
    Description: The matching of life-history-events to the availability of prey is essential for the growth and development of predators. Mismatches can constrain individuals to complete life-cycle steps in time and in ephemeral habitats it can lead to mortality unless compensation mechanisms exist. Here we measured the performance of a population of European fire-salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) and their prey in ephemeral ponds. We analysed how short time inter-annual variability of yearly rainfall and temperature (two consecutive years, 2011 and 2012) affects matching of predator and prey and how two different weather scenarios influenced the predator's population structure. A single species (larvae of the mosquito Aedes vexans) dominates the prey community here, which occurs in high quantities only in the beginning of the season. When the occurrence of prey and predator matched during a period of sufficiently high temperatures (as in 2011), initial growth of the salamander larvae was high and population size development homogeneous. At low temperatures during matching of predatory and prey (as in 2012), the initial growth was low but the salamander larvae developed into two distinctly different sizes. Further, some individuals in the large cohort became cannibalistic and initial size differences increased. As a result, the latest (smallest) cohort disappeared completely. Temperature measurements and estimation of maximal growth rates revealed that temperature differences alone could explain the different early development between years. Our data show that weather conditions (rainfall; temperature during early growth phase) strongly determined the performance of salamander larvae in ponds. Our data also add to the match-mismatch concept that abiotic growth conditions (here: low temperature) could prevent efficient conversion of prey- into predator-biomass despite high prey availability.
    Keywords: Zoology
    ISSN: 0173-5373
    E-ISSN: 1568-5381
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  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
    In: Nature Communications, 2016, Vol.7
    Description: Complex microbial communities inhabit vertebrate digestive systems but thorough understanding of the ecological dynamics and functions of host-associated microbiota within natural habitats is limited. We investigate the role of environmental conditions in shaping gut and skin microbiota under natural conditions by performing a field survey and reciprocal transfer experiments with salamander larvae inhabiting two distinct habitats (ponds and streams). We show that gut and skin microbiota are habitat-specific, demonstrating environmental factors mediate community structure. Reciprocal transfer reveals that gut microbiota, but not skin microbiota, responds differentially to environmental change. Stream-to-pond larvae shift their gut microbiota to that of pond-to-pond larvae, whereas pond-to-stream larvae change to a community structure distinct from both habitat controls. Predicted functions, however, match that of larvae from the destination habitats in both cases. Thus, microbial function can be matched without taxonomic coherence and gut microbiota appears to exhibit metagenomic plasticity.
    Keywords: Ecosystem ; Ponds ; Rivers ; Gastrointestinal Microbiome -- Genetics ; Larva -- Microbiology ; RNA, Ribosomal, 16s -- Genetics ; Salamandra -- Microbiology ; Skin -- Microbiology;
    ISSN: 2041-1723
    E-ISSN: 2041-1723
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  • 8
    In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, March 2019, Vol.29(3), pp.353-360
    Description: Assessing the conservation status of a species is strongly dependent upon data on species distribution and abundance. With the emergence of novel methods for species monitoring – such as the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) – monitoring success can be improved at reduced expenditure in the field, particularly in remote regions and terrains where access is difficult or dangerous. The highly endangered crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus Ahl, 1930) inhabits fragmented sites of the remaining evergreen forest with running water systems in a narrow distribution range in southern China and north‐east Vietnam. Crocodile lizards spend most of the day within or above water bodies, which are commonly remote and inaccessible. To monitor recent spatial occurrences, and to confirm the persistence or extinction of previously reported populations (especially in heavily altered habitats), the suitability of using eDNA and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was tested as an alternative method for monitoring this semiaquatic lizard. To assess the accuracy and limitations of this method, eDNA results from the field were compared with eDNA data from mesocosms and census data on the actual abundance of this species in the field. Environmental DNA of the crocodile lizard was detected in all of the positive controls, and in four of six natural sites; thus, all data collected using traditional field surveys were confirmed with eDNA results. eDNA monitoring was found to be a reliable method for assessing the viability of populations; we suggest that it should be developed as a tool for efficient wildlife management, particularly under difficult field and funding conditions.
    Keywords: Endangered Species ; Reptiles ; Riparian ; Species Monitoring ; Streams
    ISSN: 1052-7613
    E-ISSN: 1099-0755
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  • 9
    Language: English
    Description: Changes of habitats are amongst the main drivers of evolutionary processes. Corresponding shifts in the behaviour and life history traits of species might in turn also alter ecosystem attributes. The reproduction of Western European fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra), in small pond habitats instead of first order streams, is one example of a recent local adaptation. Since fire salamander larvae are important top-predators in these fish free habitats, their presence likely changes various aspects of ecosystem functioning. Here, it was analysed how the ecological performance of salamander larvae in ponds in the Kottenforst in Western Germany changed in comparison to sympatric stream populations. Further, it was analysed how their presence in ponds influenced key ecosystem attributes such as prey density and diversity and aquatic-terrestrial linkage. To assess the impact of the life cycle shifts in salamanders on the pond functioning, detailed investigations of salamander larvae population dynamics, phenology, and macroinvertebrate community development in ponds were combined with experimental manipulations of the salamander presence. In the first part of this study, the impact of pond presence of fire salamanders in terms of ecosystem functioning focussing on aquatic terrestrial subsidy transfer was calculated. The study could show, that the adaptation of fire salamanders to breed in pools led to strong increases of animal-mediated import of terrestrial matter into the aquatic habitats. The hypothesis about the impact on macroinvertebrate communities derived from these calculations was then tested experimentally. It was shown, that presence of salamander larvae could influence some taxa of macroinvertebrates but they had only limited effects on the food web structure in their aquatic habitats. Yet, a high relevance of the subsidy exchange from aquatic to terrestrial and its high relevance for the predator persistence in the system could again be confirmed. Moreover, it was demonstrated, that the larval behaviour and performance could have a high inter-annual variability as a reaction to contrasting ecosystem constraints in comparison to the stream habitats. A fact that integrally separates the pond ecotype from stream ecotype conspecifics.
    Keywords: Info:Eu-Repo/Classification/Ddc/597 ; Ddc:597 ; Ökologie ; Nahrungsnetze ; Habitatwechsel ; Anpassung ; Ecology ; Amphibians ; Food Webs ; Habitat Change ; Adaptation
    Source: Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations
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  • 10
    Language: English
    Description: Changes of habitats are amongst the main drivers of evolutionary processes. Corresponding shifts in the behaviour and life history traits of species might in turn also alter ecosystem attributes. The reproduction of Western European fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra), in small pond habitats instead of first order streams, is one example of a recent local adaptation. Since fire salamander larvae are important top-predators in these fish free habitats, their presence likely changes various aspects of ecosystem functioning. Here, it was analysed how the ecological performance of salamander larvae in ponds in the Kottenforst in Western Germany changed in comparison to sympatric stream populations. Further, it was analysed how their presence in ponds influenced key ecosystem attributes such as prey density and diversity and aquatic-terrestrial linkage. To assess the impact of the life cycle shifts in salamanders on the pond functioning, detailed investigations of salamander larvae population dynamics, phenology, and macroinvertebrate community development in ponds were combined with experimental manipulations of the salamander presence. In the first part of this study, the impact of pond presence of fire salamanders in terms of ecosystem functioning focussing on aquatic terrestrial subsidy transfer was calculated. The study could show, that the adaptation of fire salamanders to breed in pools led to strong increases of animal-mediated import of terrestrial matter into the aquatic habitats. The hypothesis about the impact on macroinvertebrate communities derived from these calculations was then tested experimentally. It was shown, that presence of salamander larvae could influence some taxa of macroinvertebrates but they had only limited effects on the food web structure in their aquatic habitats. Yet, a high relevance of the subsidy exchange from aquatic to terrestrial and its high relevance for the predator persistence in the system could again be confirmed. Moreover, it was demonstrated, that the larval behaviour and performance could have a high inter-annual variability as a reaction to contrasting ecosystem constraints in comparison to the stream habitats. A fact that integrally separates the pond ecotype from stream ecotype conspecifics.
    Keywords: Ökologie ; Nahrungsnetze ; Habitatwechsel ; Anpassung ; Ecology ; Amphibians ; Food Webs ; Habitat Change ; Adaptation ; Ddc:597 ; Rvk:Wi 4700 ; Rvk:Wh 9430
    Source: Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations
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