Ecological effects of alien species can be dramatic, but management and prevention of negative impacts are often hindered by crypticity of the species or their ecological functions. Ecological functions can change dramatically over time, or manifest after long periods of an innocuous presence. Such cryptic processes may lead to an underestimation of long-term impacts and constrain management effectiveness. Here, we present a conceptual framework of crypticity in biological invasions. We identify the underlying mechanisms, provide evidence of their importance, and illustrate this phenomenon with case studies. This framework has potential to improve the recognition of the full risks and impacts of invasive species.
A major programme of dam building is underway in many of the world's tropical countries. This raises the question of whether existing research is sufficient to fully understand the impacts of dams on tropical river systems. This paper provides a systematic review of what is known about the impacts of dams on river flows, sediment dynamics and geomorphic processes in tropical rivers. The review was conducted using the SCOPUS® and Web of Science® databases, with papers analysed to look for temporal and geographic patterns in published work, assess the approaches used to help understand dam impacts, and assess the nature and magnitude of impacts on the flow regimes and geomorphology ('hydromorphology') of tropical rivers. As part of the review, a meta-analysis was used to compare key impacts across different climate regions. Although research on tropical rivers remains scarce, existing work is sufficient to allow us to draw some very broad, general conclusions about the nature of hydromorphic change: tropical dams have resulted in reductions in flow variability, lower flood peaks, reductions in sediment supply and loads, and complex geomorphic adjustments that include both channel incision and aggradation at different times and downstream distances. At this general level, impacts are consistent with those observed in other climate regions. However, studies are too few and variable in their focus to determine whether some of the more specific aspects of change observed in tropical rivers (e.g. time to reach a new, adjusted state, and downstream recovery distance) differ consistently from those in other regions. The review helps stress the need for research that incorporates before-after comparisons of flow and geomorphic conditions, and for the wider application of tools available now for assessing hydromorphic change. Very few studies have considered hydromorphic processes when designing flow operational policies for tropical dams.
The structure of ecological networks reflects the evolutionary history of their biotic components, and their dynamics are strongly driven by ecoevolutionary processes. Here, we present an appraisal of recent relevant research, in which the pervasive role of evolution within ecological networks is manifest. Although evolutionary processes are most evident at macroevolutionary scales, they are also important drivers of local network structure and dynamics. We propose components of a blueprint for further research, emphasising process-based models, experimental evolution, and phenotypic variation, across a range of distinct spatial and temporal scales. Evolutionary dimensions are required to advance our understanding of foundational properties of community assembly and to enhance our capability of predicting how networks will respond to impending changes.
Coastal wetlands including salt marshes are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth. They are known for improving the quality of coastal water and provisioning coastal fisheries. However, this ecosystem is under potential threat due to urban coastal land reclamation, limited sediment supply, increased nutrient/eutrophication, and sea level rise. Therefore, restoration efforts to protect the degraded salt marsh habitat are considerably increasing worldwide. In this paper, we present an overview of salt marsh restoration techniques and success indicators. Published scientific literature in English language was collected by searching the most relevant keywords from popular search engines, namely, Google Scholar, Scopus, and Mendeley to get the information about salt marsh restoration techniques and success indicators. This study comprehensively reviewed data from 78 peer-reviewed papers. Results indicated that much of the salt marsh was restored through assisted abiotic strategies (e.g., recovery of tidal exchange, managed realignment, and sediment level amendment). A total of 214 indicators were found, spanning over six major ecological attributes such as structural diversity, ecosystem functions, physical conditions, species composition, external exchange, and absence of threat. Author keywords analysis revealed several hotspots for recent research (e.g., 16 s rRNA, fungi, microbial communities, carbon accumulation, and blue carbon). This paper proposes a model for restoring degraded salt marsh, as well as tracking their success. The information presented here will assist the marine ecosystem restoration practitioners in getting a comprehensive understanding of salt marsh restoration success evaluation.
This paper introduces the concept of free surface breakwaters for coastal protection. The advantages, limitations and applications of these breakwaters are discussed. Based on their configurations, free surface breakwaters have been classified into four types, namely solid-type, plate-type, caisson-type and multipart-type. Typical designs of the respective breakwater types are presented and the hydraulic characteristics are reviewed. In addition, comparisons of hydraulic efficiency of some of the free surface breakwaters are also addressed in this paper.
Due to widespread distribution of dwarf bamboo, Chimonobambusa utilis, in mountain environment, the effects of elevation (low and high) and canopy condition (forest understorey and forest edge) on the clonal morphology and leaf fluctuating asymmetry were investigated in an evergreen broadleaves forest of Jinfo Mountain Nature Reserve. Elevation and canopy condition were significant for all morphological traits of C. utilis (except for effect of elevation on node number under branch). Traits of clonal morphology such as height, basal diameter, height under branch tended to be higher in forest understorey and in high elevation. Forest understorey in high elevation was favour of shooting number. Interaction of elevation and canopy conditions had a significant effect on growth of node. Single leaf area (SLA) and all indices of fluctuating asymmetry were significantly higher in low elevation than that in high elevation of forest understorey. Thus, elevation and canopy condition formed environmental stress that lead to the adaptation of morphological traits and leaf fluctuating asymmetry of C. utilis populations to mountain forest habitats.
Seagrass systems of the Western Pacific region are biodiverse habitats, providing vital services to ecosystems and humans over a vast geographic range. SeagrassNet is a worldwide monitoring program that collects data on seagrass habitats, including the ten locations across the Western Pacific reported here where change at various scales was rapidly detected. Three sites remote from human influence were stable. Seagrasses declined largely due to increased nutrient loading (4 sites) and increased sedimentation (3 sites), the two most common stressors of seagrass worldwide. Two sites experienced near-total loss from of excess sedimentation, followed by partial recovery once sedimentation was reduced. Species shifts were observed at every site with recovering sites colonized by pioneer species. Regulation of watersheds is essential if marine protected areas are to preserve seagrass meadows. Seagrasses in the Western Pacific experience stress due to human impacts despite the vastness of the ocean area and low development pressures.
In South-East Asian dipterocarp forests, many trees synchronize their reproduction at the community level, but irregularly, in a phenomenon known as general flowering (GF). Several proximate cues have been proposed as triggers for the synchronization of Southeast Asian GF, but the debate continues, as many studies have not considered geographical variation in climate and flora. We hypothesized that the spatial pattern of GF forests is explained by previously proposed climatic cues if there are common cues for GF among regions. During the study, GF episodes occurred every year, but the spatial occurrence varied considerably from just a few forests to the whole of Peninsular Malaysia. In 2001, 2002 and 2005, minor and major GF occurred widely throughout Peninsular Malaysia (GF2001, GF2002, and GF2005), and the geographical patterns of GF varied between the episodes. In the three regional-scale GF episodes, most major events occurred in regions where prolonged drought (PD) had been recorded prior, and significant associations between GF scores and PD were found in GF2001 and GF2002. However, the frequency of PD was higher than that of GF throughout the peninsula. In contrast, low temperature (LT) was observed during the study period only before GF2002 and GF2005, but there was no clear spatial relationship between GF and LT in the regional-scale episodes. There was also no evidence that last GF condition influenced the magnitude of GF. Thus, our results suggest that PD would be essential to trigger regional-scale GF in the peninsula, but also that PD does not fully explain the spatial and temporal patterns of GF. The coarse relationships between GF and the proposed climatic cues may be due to the geographical variation in proximate cues for GF, and the climatic and floristic geographical variations should be considered to understand the proximate factors of GF.
Macrobenthos in coastal environment that play a significant role in the food web. It could also use as a good indicator of aquatic ecosystem health. The abundance and composition of macrobenthos in Bakkhali channel system, Cox's Bazar were conducted in relation to the soil parameters. Samples were collected using Ekman Berge bottom grab from five different stations of Bakkhali channel. Macrobenthos were comprised of five major groups namely Polychaeta (9.96-30.31%), Oligochaeta (3.68-59.707%), Crustacea (0.02-58.40%), Bivalvia (1.40-82.09%) and Gastropoda (0.08-4.25%). Total number of macrobenthos was higher at station I (9000 individuals m(-2)) and station II (8517 individuals m(-2)) compared to other stations. Shannon diversity index among the stations ranged from 0.65-1.04. Soil pH and soil moisture ranged from 6.1-6.4 and 23.44-31.29%, respectively. The highest organic carbon concentration was observed at station I (2.11%) and lowest at station III (1.40%). Maximum fraction of sand by weight was found at stations II (81.88%) and III (87.88) while the highest fraction of clay (21.52%) and silt (8.0%) were recorded in station I. It was observed that benthic bivalves were positively correlated (r = 0.891, p > 0.05) with silt fraction of the sediments.
Today the majority of wild great ape populations are found outside of the network of protected areas in both Africa and Asia, therefore determining if these populations are able to survive in forests that are exploited for timber or other extractive uses and how this is managed, is paramount for their conservation.
Logging, pervasive across the lowland tropics, affects millions of hectares of forest, yet its influence on nutrient cycling remains poorly understood. One hypothesis is that logging influences phosphorus (P) cycling, because this scarce nutrient is removed in extracted timber and eroded soil, leading to shifts in ecosystem functioning and community composition. However, testing this is challenging because P varies within landscapes as a function of geology, topography and climate. Superimposed upon these trends are compositional changes in logged forests, with species with more acquisitive traits, characterized by higher foliar P concentrations, more dominant. It is difficult to resolve these patterns using traditional field approaches alone. Here, we use airborne light detection and ranging-guided hyperspectral imagery to map foliar nutrient (i.e. P, nitrogen [N]) concentrations, calibrated using field measured traits, over 400 km2 of northeastern Borneo, including a landscape-level disturbance gradient spanning old-growth to repeatedly logged forests. The maps reveal that canopy foliar P and N concentrations decrease with elevation. These relationships were not identified using traditional field measurements of leaf and soil nutrients. After controlling for topography, canopy foliar nutrient concentrations were lower in logged forest than in old-growth areas, reflecting decreased nutrient availability. However, foliar nutrient concentrations and specific leaf area were greatest in relatively short patches in logged areas, reflecting a shift in composition to pioneer species with acquisitive traits. N:P ratio increased in logged forest, suggesting reduced soil P availability through disturbance. Through the first landscape scale assessment of how functional leaf traits change in response to logging, we find that differences from old-growth forest become more pronounced as logged forests increase in stature over time, suggesting exacerbated phosphorus limitation as forests recover.
Classical ecological theory posits that species partition resources such that each species occupies a unique resource niche. In general, the availability of more resources allows more species to co-occur. Thus, a strong relationship between communities of consumers and their resources is expected. However, correlations may be influenced by other layers in the food web, or by the environment. Here we show, by studying the relationship between communities of consumers (land snails) and individual diets (from seed plants), that there is in fact no direct, or at most a weak but negative, relationship. However, we found that the diversity of the individual microbiome positively correlates with both consumer community diversity and individual diet diversity in three target species. Moreover, these correlations were affected by various environmental variables, such as anthropogenic activity, habitat island size, and a possibly important nutrient source, guano runoff from nearby caves. Our results suggest that the microbiome and the environment explain the absence of correlations between diet and consumer community diversity. Hence, we advocate that microbiome inventories are routinely added to any community dietary analysis, which our study shows can be done with relatively little extra effort. Our approach presents the tools to quickly obtain an overview of the relationships between consumers and their resources. We anticipate our approach to be useful for ecologists and environmentalists studying different communities in a local food web.
Tree autotrophic respiratory processes, especially stem respiration or stem CO2 efflux (Estem), are important components of the forest carbon budget. Despite efforts to investigate the controlling processes of Estem in recent years, a considerable lack in our knowledge remains on the abiotic and biotic drivers affecting Estem dynamics. It has been strongly advocated that long-term measurements would shed light onto those processes. The expensive scientific instruments needed to measure gas exchange have prevented Estem measurements from being applied on a larger temporal and spatial scale. Here, we present an automated closed dynamic chamber system based on inexpensive and industrially broadly applied CO2 sensors, reducing the costs for the sensing system to a minimum. The CO2 sensor was cross-calibrated with a commonly used gas exchange system in the laboratory and in the field, and we found very good accordance of these sensors. We tested the system under harsh tropical climatic conditions, characterized by heavy tropical rainfall events, extreme humidity and temperatures, in a moist lowland forest in Malaysia. We recorded Estem of three Dyera costulata (Miq.) trees with our prototype over various days. The variation of Estem was large among the three tree individuals and varied by 7.5-fold. However, clear diurnal changes in Estem were present in all three tree individuals. One tree showed high diurnal variation in Estem, and the relationship between Estem and temperature was characterized by a strong hysteresis. The large variations found within one single tree species highlight the importance of continuous measurement to quantify ecosystem carbon fluxes.
Anthropogenic pressures are causing substantial degradation to the freshwater ecosystems globally and Malaysia has not escaped such a bleak scenario. Prompted by the predicament, this study's objective was to pioneer a river assessment system that can be readily adopted to monitor, manage and drive improvement in a wholesome manner. Three sets of a priori metrics were selected to form the Ichthyofaunal Quality Index (IQI: biological), Water Quality Index (WQI: chemical) and River Physical Quality Index (RPQI: physical). These indices were further integrated on equal weighting to construct a novel Malaysian River Integrity Index (MyRII). To test its robustness, the MyRII protocol was field tested in four eco-hydrological zones located in the Kampar River water basin for 18 months to reveal its strengths, weaknesses, and establish the "excellent", "good", "average", "poor" and "impaired" thresholds based on the "best performer" reference site in an empirical manner. The resultant MyRII showed a clear trend that corresponded with different levels of river impairment. Test site zone A which was a reference site with minimal disturbance achieved the highest MyRII (88.95 ± 4.29), followed by partially disturbed zone B (61.95 ± 5.90) and heavily disturbed zone C (50.00 ± 4.29). However, the MyRII in zone D (59.9 ± 6.39), which was a heavily disturbed wetland that was disjointed from the river, did not conform to such trend. Also unveiled and recognized, however, are some unexpected nuances, limitations and challenges that emerged from this study. These are critically discussed as precautions when interpreting and implementing the MyRII protocol. This study adds to the mounting body of evidence that water resource stakeholders and policymakers must look at the big picture and adopt the "balanced ecosystem" mind-set when assessing, restoring and managing the rivers as a freshwater resource.
Leaf litter and its breakdown products represent an important input of organic matter and nutrients to mangrove sediments and adjacent coastal ecosystems. It is commonly assumed that old-grown stands with mature trees contribute more to the permanent sediment organic matter pool than younger stands. However, neither are interspecific differences in leaf decay rates taken into account in this assumption nor is our understanding of the underlying mechanisms or drivers of differences in leaf chemistry sufficient. This study examines the influence of different plant species and ontogenetic stage on the microbial decay of mangrove leaf litter. A litterbag experiment was conducted in the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, Malaysia, to monitor leaf litter mass loss, and changes in leaf litter chemistry and microbial enzyme activity. Four mangrove species of different morphologies were selected, namely the trees Rhizophora apiculata and Bruguiera parviflora, the fern Acrostichum aureum and the shrub Acanthus ilicifolius. Decay rates of mangrove leaf litter decreased from A. ilicifolius to R. apiculata to B. parviflora to A. aureum. Leaf litter mass, total phenolic content, protein precipitation capacity and phenol oxidase activity were found to decline rapidly during the early stage of decay. Leaf litter from immature plants differed from that of mature plants in total phenolic content, phenolic signature, protein precipitating capacity and protease activity. For R. apiculata, but not of the other species, leaf litter from immature plants decayed faster than the litter of mature plants. The findings of this study advance our understanding of the organic matter dynamics in mangrove stands of different compositions and ages and will, thus, prove useful in mangrove forest management.
The determinant factors for macroinvertebrate assemblages in river ecosystems are varied and are unique and specific to the type of macroinvertebrate family. This study aims to assess the determinant factors for macroinvertebrate assemblages in a recreational river. The study was conducted on the Ulu Bendul River, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. A total of ten sampling stations were selected. The research methodology included (1) water quality measurement, (2) habitat characterization, and (3) macroinvertebrate identification and distribution analysis. The statistical analysis used in this study was canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) to represent the relationship between the environmental factors and macroinvertebrate assemblages in the recreational river. This study found that most of the families of macroinvertebrates were very dependent on the temperature, DO, NH3-N, type of riverbed, etc. All of these factors are important for the survival of the particular type of macroinvertebrate, plus they are also important for selecting egg-laying areas and providing suitable conditions for the larvae to grow. This study advises that improved landscape design for watershed management be implemented in order to enhance water quality and physical habitats, and hence the protection and recovery of the macroinvertebrate biodiversity.
The present study examines historical perspectives of the macrobenthic community in response to different phases of anthropogenic perturbations in Kakinada Bay, a tropical embayment on the east coast of India. Multivariate analysis of the snapshot data (1958-2017) revealed considerable changes in the Bay environment following a breakwater construction across the Bay mouth in 1997. Subsequently, port expansion activities, industrialization, urbanization, and geomorphic alterations in the Godavari delta brought deterrent changes in the Bay. The fluctuations over the years in hydrographical and sediment characteristics increased environmental heterogeneity and caused significant spatio-temporal shifts in the macrobenthic community between 1995-1996 and 2016-2017. The observed variabilities were suggestive of anthropogenic perturbations of the system with future repercussions on Bay ecosystem functioning. Overall, this study provides evidence on the long-term impact of anthropogenic activities on coastal marine communities and stresses the importance of macrobenthos as bioindicators of such changes in tropical systems.