Recent Submissions

  • Journal Article

    Mating avoidance in female olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by Treponema pallidum 

    Paciência, F. M. D.; Rushmore, J.; Chuma, I. S.; Lipende, I. F.; Caillaud, D.; Knauf, S.; Zinner, D.
    Science Advances 2019; 5(12): Art. eaaw9724
    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are ubiquitous within wild animal populations, yet it remains largely unknown whether animals evolved behavioral avoidance mechanisms in response to STI acquisition. We investigated the mating behavior of a wild population of olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. This pathogen causes highly conspicuous genital ulcerations in males and females, which signal infectious individuals. We analyzed data on 876 mating attempts and associated acceptance or rejection responses in a group of about 170 baboons. Our findings indicate that females are more likely to avoid copulation if either the mating partner or females themselves have ulcerated genitals. We suggest that this outcome is linked to the overall higher choosiness and infection-risk susceptibility typically exhibited by females. Our results show that selection pressures imposed by pathogens induce individual behavioral modifications, leading to altered mate choice and could reduce promiscuity in a wild nonhuman primate population.
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  • Journal Article

    Multiscale Modeling of Dyadic Structure-Function Relation in Ventricular Cardiac Myocytes 

    Cosi, Filippo G.; Giese, Wolfgang; Neubert, Wilhelm; Luther, Stefan; Chamakuri, Nagaiah; Parlitz, Ulrich; Falcke, Martin
    Biophysical Journal 2019; 117(12) p.2409-2419
    Cardiovascular disease is often related to defects of subcellular components in cardiac myocytes, specifically in the dyadic cleft, which include changes in cleft geometry and channel placement. Modeling of these pathological changes requires both spatially resolved cleft as well as whole cell level descriptions. We use a multiscale model to create dyadic structure-function relationships to explore the impact of molecular changes on whole cell electrophysiology and calcium cycling. This multiscale model incorporates stochastic simulation of individual L-type calcium channels and ryanodine receptor channels, spatially detailed concentration dynamics in dyadic clefts, rabbit membrane potential dynamics, and a system of partial differential equations for myoplasmic and lumenal free Ca2+ and Ca2+-binding molecules in the bulk of the cell. We found action potential duration, systolic, and diastolic [Ca2+] to respond most sensitively to changes in L-type calcium channel current. The ryanodine receptor channel cluster structure inside dyadic clefts was found to affect all biomarkers investigated. The shape of clusters observed in experiments by Jayasinghe et al. and channel density within the cluster (characterized by mean occupancy) showed the strongest correlation to the effects on biomarkers.
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  • Journal Article

    Tensile and Impact Bending Properties of Chemically Modified Scots Pine 

    Bollmus, Susanne; Beeretz, Cara; Militz, Holger
    Forests 2020; 11(1): Art. 84
    This study deals with the influence of chemical modification on elasto-mechanical properties of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). The elasto-mechanical properties examined were impact bending strength, determined by impact bending test; tensile strength; and work to maximum load in traction, determined by tensile tests. The modification agents used were one melamine-formaldehyde resin (MF), one low molecular weight phenol-formaldehyde resin, one higher molecular weight phenol-formaldehyde resin, and a dimethylol dihydroxyethyleneurea (DMDHEU). Special attention was paid to the influence of the solution concentration (0.5%, 5%, and 20%). With an increase in the concentration of each modification agent, the elasto-mechanical properties decreased as compared to the control specimens. Especially impact bending strength decreased greatly by modifications with the 0.5% solutions of each agent (by 37% to 47%). Modification with DMDHEU resulted in the highest overall reduction of the elasto-mechanical properties examined (up to 81% in work to maximum load in traction at 20% solution concentration). The results indicate that embrittlement is not primarily related to the degree of modification depended on used solution concentration. It is therefore assumed that molecular size and the resulting ability to penetrate into the cell wall could be crucial. The results show that, in the application of chemically modified wood, impact and tensile loads should be avoided even after treatment with low concentrations.
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  • Journal Article

    An Unprecedented Fully H - Substituted Phosphate Hydride Sr5(PO4)3H Expanding the Apatite Family 

    Mutschke, Alexander; Wylezich, Thomas; Ritter, Clemens; Karttunen, Antti J.; Kunkel, Nathalie
    European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2019; 2019(48) p.5073-5076
    The apatite family is a mineral class that also contains the biologically very important hydroxyapatite. Here, we are reporting on the synthesis and characterization of a fully hydride‐substituted strontium apatite, which could be obtained via mechanochemical synthesis and subsequent annealing treatment. The full substitution by hydride anions is proven by various methods, such as neutron powder diffraction of a deuterated sample Sr5(PO4)3D, as well 1H MAS solid state NMR combined with quantum chemical calculations, vibrational spectroscopy and elemental analysis. The present work expands the apatite family from the known halide and hydroxide apatites to the fully hydride‐anion‐substituted variant and is expected to open up a new field of materials containing coexistent phosphate and hydride anions.
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  • Journal Article

    Sequential Double Dearomatization of the Pyrazolate-Based “Two-in-One” Pincer Ligand in a Dinuclear Rhodium(I) Complex 

    Gers-Barlag, Alexander; Goursot, Pierre; Li, Ming; Dechert, Sebastian; Meyer, Franc
    European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2019; 2019(28) p.3329-3334
    A binucleating pyrazolate‐based ligand providing two tridentate PNN compartments is shown to form a dinuclear rhodium(I) complex [L{Rh(CO)}2](PF6) (1) that can be deprotonated at both side arm methylene groups between pyridine and phosphino donors to give K[L**{Rh(CO)}2] (3). Sequential twofold deprotonation has been monitored by NMR and UV/Vis spectroscopy and proceeds via the neutral intermediate L*{Rh(CO)}2 (2). X‐ray crystallographic characterization of 1 and the K[2,2,2]+ salt 3′ ([2,2,2] is a cryptand) evidences pyridine dearomatization upon deprotonation, and all spectroscopic and structural signatures are in good agreement with those of related mononuclear rhodium complexes based on a common PNN pincer ligand, which corroborates that pyrazolate‐bridged L– is best described as a scaffold with two pincer‐type subunits.
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  • Journal Article

    Climatic and vegetational drivers of insect beta diversity at the continental scale 

    Chesters, Douglas; Beckschäfer, Philip; Orr, Michael C.; Adamowicz, Sarah J.; Chun, Kwok‐Pan; Zhu, Chao‐Dong
    Ecology and Evolution 2019; 9(24) p.13764-13775
    Aim: We construct a framework for mapping pattern and drivers of insect diversity at the continental scale and use it to test whether and which environmental gradients drive insect beta diversity. Location: Global; North and Central America; Western Europe. Time period: 21st century. Major taxa studied: Insects. Methods: An informatics system was developed to integrate terrestrial data on insects with environmental parameters. We mined repositories of data for distribution, climatic data were retrieved (WorldClim), and vegetation parameters inferred from remote sensing analysis (MODIS Vegetation Continuous Fields). Beta diversity between sites was calculated and then modeled with two methods, Mantel test with multiple regression and generalized dissimilarity modeling. Results: Geographic distance was the main driver of insect beta diversity. Independent of geographic distance, bioclimate variables explained more variance in dissimilarity than vegetation variables, although the particular variables found to be significant were more consistent in the latter, particularly, tree cover. Tree cover gradients drove compositional dissimilarity at denser coverages, in both continental case studies. For climate, gradients in temperature parameters were significant in driving beta diversity more so than gradients in precipitation parameters. Main conclusions: Although environmental gradients drive insect beta diversity independently of geography, the relative contribution of different climatic and vegetational parameters is not expected to be consistent in different study systems. With further incorporation of additional temporal information and variables, this approach will enable the development of a predictive framework for conserving insect biodiversity at the global scale.
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  • Journal Article

    Root system size response of bzh semi-dwarf oilseed rape hybrids to different nitrogen levels in the field 

    Schierholt, Antje; Tietz, Tina; Bienert, Gerd Patrick; Gertz, Andreas; Miersch, Sebastian; Becker, Heiko C
    Annals of Botany 2018; 124(6) p.891-901
    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: In oilseed rape (Brassica napus) semi-dwarf hybrid varieties from crosses between bzh dwarf and normal-type lines are of increasing interest. They have improved nitrogen (N) uptake, N-utilization and N-use efficiency compared to normal types. This study aimed to elucidate whether these N-related effects can be explained by the bzh shoot growth-type alone or also by differences in root traits. METHODS: Root system size was measured using root electrical capacitance (EC) in field trials with two N levels in two sets of genotypes segregating for the bzh-locus: (1) 108 doubled haploid (DH) test hybrids in two seasons, 2010-2012, and (2) 16 near-isogenic hybrids in the 2016-17 season. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for root EC were estimated in DH test hybrids. Seedling root architecture parameters were monitored in vitro. KEY RESULTS: In vitro root growth showed a higher root: shoot ratio in bzh semi-dwarf hybrids. Root EC in field trials was higher at high N supply than at zero N fertilization. In most trials semi-dwarf hybrids had higher EC than normal-type hybrids, but they reduced root EC in response to N limitation more than normal types. Root EC was more heritable at the end of flowering (h2 = 0.73) than at the beginning of flowering (h2 = 0.36) in near-isogenic hybrids and had a lower heritability in trials of DH test hybrids (h2 = 0.27). A QTL for root EC in the genomic region of the bzh-locus on linkage group A06 was significant at zero N fertilization. CONCLUSIONS: Root EC proved to be a meaningful method in oilseed rape breeding programmes targeting root system size. The greater reduction of semi-dwarf root EC compared to the normal type under low N supply with simultaneous increase in N efficiency implies that in roots it is not a question of 'the more the merrier' and that the bzh root system reacts highly economically when N is scarce.
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  • Journal Article

    Chemotaxis in external fields: Simulations for active magnetic biological matter 

    Codutti, Agnese; Bente, Klaas; Faivre, Damien; Klumpp, Stefan
    PLOS Computational Biology 2019; 15(12): Art. e1007548
    The movement of microswimmers is often described by active Brownian particle models. Here we introduce a variant of these models with several internal states of the swimmer to describe stochastic strategies for directional swimming such as run and tumble or run and reverse that are used by microorganisms for chemotaxis. The model includes a mechanism to generate a directional bias for chemotaxis and interactions with external fields (e.g., gravity, magnetic field, fluid flow) that impose forces or torques on the swimmer. We show how this modified model can be applied to various scenarios: First, the run and tumble motion of E. coli is used to establish a paradigm for chemotaxis and investigate how it is affected by external forces. Then, we study magneto-aerotaxis in magnetotactic bacteria, which is biased not only by an oxygen gradient towards a preferred concentration, but also by magnetic fields, which exert a torque on an intracellular chain of magnets. We study the competition of magnetic alignment with active reorientation and show that the magnetic orientation can improve chemotaxis and thereby provide an advantage to the bacteria, even at rather large inclination angles of the magnetic field relative to the oxygen gradient, a case reminiscent of what is expected for the bacteria at or close to the equator. The highest gain in chemotactic velocity is obtained for run and tumble with a magnetic field parallel to the gradient, but in general a mechanism for reverse motion is necessary to swim against the magnetic field and a run and reverse strategy is more advantageous in the presence of a magnetic torque. This finding is consistent with observations that the dominant mode of directional changes in magnetotactic bacteria is reversal rather than tumbles. Moreover, it provides guidance for the design of future magnetic biohybrid swimmers.
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  • Journal Article

    A Fosmid-Based System for the Generation of Recombinant Cercopithecine Alphaherpesvirus 2 Encoding Reporter Genes 

    Chukhno, Ekaterina; Gärtner, Sabine; Rahman Siregar, Abdul; Mehr, Alexander; Wende, Marie; Petkov, Stoyan; Götting, Jasper; Dhingra, Akshay; Schulz, Thomas; Pöhlmann, Stefan; et al.
    Winkler, Michael
    Viruses 2019; 11(11): Art. 1026
    The transmission of Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1 (McHV-1) from macaques, the natural host, to humans causes encephalitis. In contrast, human infection with Cercopithecine alphaherpesvirus 2 (CeHV-2), a closely related alphaherpesvirus from African vervet monkeys and baboons, has not been reported and it is believed that CeHV-2 is apathogenic in humans. The reasons for the differential neurovirulence of McHV-1 and CeHV-2 have not been explored on a molecular level, in part due to the absence of systems for the production of recombinant viruses. Here, we report the generation of a fosmid-based system for rescue of recombinant CeHV-2. Moreover, we show that, in this system, recombineering can be used to equip CeHV-2 with reporter genes. The recombinant CeHV-2 viruses replicated with the same efficiency as uncloned, wt virus and allowed the identification of cell lines that are highly susceptible to CeHV-2 infection. Collectively, we report a system that allows rescue and genetic modification of CeHV-2 and likely other alphaherpesviruses. This system should aid future analysis of CeHV-2 biology.
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  • Journal Article

    Calm Before the Storm: A Glimpse into the Secondary Metabolism of Aspergillus welwitschiae, the Etiologic Agent of the Sisal Bole Rot 

    Quintanilha-Peixoto, Gabriel; Torres, Rosimére Oliveira; Alves Reis, Isabella Mary; Alves Santos de Oliveira, Thiago; Bortolini, Dener Eduardo; Alves Duarte, Elizabeth Amélia; Ariston de Carvalho Azevedo, Vasco; Brenig, Bertram; Guimarães Rocha Aguiar, Eric Roberto; Soares, Ana Cristina Fermino; et al.
    Góes-Neto, AristótelesBranco, Alexsandro
    Toxins 2019; 11(11): Art. 631
    Aspergillus welwitschiae is a species of the Nigri section of the genus Aspergillus. In nature, it is usually a saprotroph, decomposing plant material. However, it causes the bole rot disease of Agave sisalana (sisal), a plant species used for the extraction of hard natural fibers, causing great economic loss to this culture. In this study, we isolated and sequenced one genome of A. welwitschiae (isolate CCMB 674 (Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms of Bahia)) from the stem tissues of sisal and performed in silico and wet lab experimental strategies to describe its ability to produce mycotoxins. CCMB 674 possesses 64 secondary metabolite gene clusters (SMGCs) and, under normal conditions, it produces secondary metabolism compounds that could disturb the cellular cycle of sisal or induce abnormalities in plant growth, such as malformin C. This isolate also produces a pigment that might explain the characteristic red color of the affected tissues. Additionally, this isolate is defective for the production of fumonisin B1, and, despite bearing the full cluster for the synthesis of this compound, it did not produce ochratoxin A. Altogether, these results provide new information on possible strategies used by the fungi during the sisal bole rot, helping to better understand this disease and how to control it.
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  • Journal Article

    Passing the Message: Representation Transfer in Modular Balanced Networks 

    Zajzon, Barna; Mahmoudian, Sepehr; Morrison, Abigail; Duarte, Renato
    Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 2019; 13: Art. 79
    Neurobiological systems rely on hierarchical and modular architectures to carry out intricate computations using minimal resources. A prerequisite for such systems to operate adequately is the capability to reliably and efficiently transfer information across multiple modules. Here, we study the features enabling a robust transfer of stimulus representations in modular networks of spiking neurons, tuned to operate in a balanced regime. To capitalize on the complex, transient dynamics that such networks exhibit during active processing, we apply reservoir computing principles and probe the systems' computational efficacy with specific tasks. Focusing on the comparison of random feed-forward connectivity and biologically inspired topographic maps, we find that, in a sequential set-up, structured projections between the modules are strictly necessary for information to propagate accurately to deeper modules. Such mappings not only improve computational performance and efficiency, they also reduce response variability, increase robustness against interference effects, and boost memory capacity. We further investigate how information from two separate input streams is integrated and demonstrate that it is more advantageous to perform non-linear computations on the input locally, within a given module, and subsequently transfer the result downstream, rather than transferring intermediate information and performing the computation downstream. Depending on how information is integrated early on in the system, the networks achieve similar task-performance using different strategies, indicating that the dimensionality of the neural responses does not necessarily correlate with nonlinear integration, as predicted by previous studies. These findings highlight a key role of topographic maps in supporting fast, robust, and accurate neural communication over longer distances. Given the prevalence of such structural feature, particularly in the sensory systems, elucidating their functional purpose remains an important challenge toward which this work provides relevant, new insights. At the same time, these results shed new light on important requirements for designing functional hierarchical spiking networks.
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  • Journal Article

    Oxidative Coupling of Terminal Rhenium Pnictide Complexes 

    Abbenseth, Josh; Diefenbach, Martin; Hinz, Alexander; Alig, Lukas; Würtele, Christian; Goicoechea, Jose M.; Holthausen, Max C.; Schneider, Sven
    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2019; 58(32) p.10966-10970
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  • Journal Article

    A Terminal Iridium Oxo Complex with a Triplet Ground State 

    Delony, Daniel; Kinauer, Markus; Diefenbach, Martin; Demeshko, Serhiy; Würtele, Christian; Holthausen, Max C.; Schneider, Sven
    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2019; 58(32) p.10971-10974
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  • Journal Article

    First-Row Transition Metal (De)Hydrogenation Catalysis Based On Functional Pincer Ligands 

    Alig, Lukas; Fritz, Maximilian; Schneider, Sven
    Chemical Reviews 2018; 119(4) p.2681-2751
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  • Journal Article

    Metal-Ligand Cooperative Synthesis of Benzonitrile by Electrochemical Reduction and Photolytic Splitting of Dinitrogen 

    Schendzielorz, Florian; Finger, Markus; Abbenseth, Josh; Würtele, Christian; Krewald, Vera; Schneider, Sven
    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2018; 58(3) p.830-834
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  • Journal Article

    Assessment of Preservative-Treated Wooden Poles Using Drilling-Resistance Measurements 

    Sharapov, Evgenii; Brischke, Christian; Militz, Holger
    Forests 2020; 11(1): Art. 20
    An IML-Resi PD-400 drilling tool with two types of spade drill bits (IML System GmbH, Wiesloch, Germany) was used to evaluate the internal conditions of 3 m wooden poles made from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). Drilling tests were performed on poles that were industrially vacuum-pressure-impregnated with a copper-based preservative (Korasit KS-M) and untreated reference poles. Both types of poles were subject to 10.5 years of in-ground exposure. Wood moisture content (MC) was measured using a resistance-type moisture meter. MC varied between 15% and 60% in the radial and axial directions in both treated and untreated poles. A higher MC was detected in the underground, top, and outer (sapwood) parts of the poles. Typical drilling-resistance (DR) profiles of poles with internal defects were analyzed. Preservative treatment had a significant influence on wood durability in the underground part of the poles. Based on DR measurements, we found that untreated wood that was in contact with soil was severely degraded by insects and wood-destroying fungi. Conversely, treated wood generally showed no reduction in DR or feeding resistance (FR). DR profiling is a potential method for the in-situ or in vitro assessment and quality monitoring of preservative treatments and wood durability. The technological benefits of using drill bits with one major cutting edge, instead of standard drill bits with center-spiked tips and two major cutting edges, were not evident. A new graphical method was applied to present DR data and their spatial distribution in the poles. Future studies should focus on the impact of preservative treatments, thermal modification, and chemical modification on the DR and FR of wood. This may further elucidate the predictive value of DR and FR for wood properties.
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  • Journal Article

    Effect of Hydrogen Charging on Pop-in Behavior of a Zr-Based Metallic Glass 

    Tian, Lin; Tönnies, Dominik; Hirsbrunner, Moritz; Sievert, Tim; Shan, Zhiwei; Volkert, Cynthia A.
    Metals 2020; 10(1): Art. 22
    In this work, structural and mechanical properties of hydrogen-charged metallic glass are studied to evaluate the e ect of hydrogen on early plasticity. Hydrogen is introduced into samples of a Zr-based (Vit 105) metallic glass using electrochemical charging. Nanoindentation tests reveal a clear increase in modulus and hardness as well as in the load of the first pop-in with increasing hydrogen content. At the same time, the probability of a pop-in occurring decreases, indicating that hydrogen hinders the onset of plastic instabilities while allowing local homogeneous deformation. The hydrogen-induced sti ening and hardening is rationalized by hydrogen stabilization of shear transformation zones (STZs) in the amorphous structure, while the improved ductility is attributed to the change in the spatial correlation of the STZs.
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  • Journal Article

    Disruption of Arabidopsis neutral ceramidases 1 and 2 results in specific sphingolipid imbalances triggering different phytohormone‐dependent plant cell death programmes 

    Zienkiewicz, Agnieszka; Gömann, Jasmin; König, Stefanie; Herrfurth, Cornelia; Liu, Yi‐Tse; Meldau, Dorothea; Feussner, Ivo
    New Phytologist p.1-19
    Sphingolipids act as regulators of programmed cell death (PCD) and the plant defence response. The homeostasis between long-chain base (LCB) and ceramide (Cer) seems to play an important role in executions of PCD. Therefore, deciphering the role of neutral ceramidases (NCER) is crucial to identify the sphingolipid compounds that trigger and execute PCD. We performed comprehensive sphingolipid and phytohormone analyses of Arabidopsis ncer mutants, combined with gene expression profiling and microscopic analyses. While ncer1 exhibited early leaf senescence (developmentally controlled PCD - dPCD) and an increase in hydroxyceramides, ncer2 showed spontaneous cell death (pathogen-triggered PCD-like - pPCD) accompanied by an increase in LCB t18:0 at 35 d, respectively. Loss of NCER1 function resulted in accumulation of jasmonoyl-isoleucine (JA-Ile) in the leaves, whereas disruption of NCER2 was accompanied by higher levels of salicylic acid (SA) and increased sensitivity to Fumonisin B1 (FB1 ). All mutants were also found to activate plant defence pathways. These data strongly suggest that NCER1 hydrolyses ceramides whereas NCER2 functions as a ceramide synthase. Our results reveal an important role of NCER in the regulation of both dPCD and pPCD via a tight connection between the phytohormone and sphingolipid levels in these two processes.
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  • Journal Article

    Intertwined effects of climate and land use change on environmental dynamics and carbon accumulation in a mangrove‐fringed coastal lagoon in Java, Indonesia 

    Hapsari, K. Anggi; Jennerjahn, Tim C.; Lukas, Martin C.; Karius, Volker; Behling, Hermann
    Global Change Biology
    The identification and quantification of natural carbon (C) sinks is critical to global climate change mitigation efforts. Tropical coastal wetlands are considered important in this context, yet knowledge of their dynamics and quantitative data are still scarce. In order to quantify the C accumulation rate and understand how it is influenced by land use and climate change, a palaeoecological study was conducted in the mangrove-fringed Segara Anakan Lagoon (SAL) in Java, Indonesia. A sediment core was age-dated and analyzed for its pollen and spore, elemental and biogeochemical compositions. The results indicate that environmental dynamics in the SAL and its C accumulation over the past 400 years were controlled mainly by climate oscillations and anthropogenic activities. The interaction of these two factors changed the lagoon's sediment supply and salinity, which consequently altered the organic matter composition and deposition in the lagoon. Four phases with varying climates were identified. While autochthonous mangrove C was a significant contributor to carbon accumulation in SAL sediments throughout all four phases, varying admixtures of terrestrial C from the hinterland also contributed, with natural mixed forest C predominating in the early phases and agriculture soil C predominating in the later phases. In this context, climate-related precipitation changes are an overarching control, as surface water transport through rivers serves as the "delivery agent" for the outcomes of the anthropogenic impact in the catchment area into the lagoon. Amongst mangrove-dominated ecosystems globally, the SAL is one of the most effective C sinks due to high mangrove carbon input in combination with a high allochthonous carbon input from anthropogenically enhanced sediment from the hinterland and increased preservation. Given the substantial C sequestration capacity of the SAL and other mangrove-fringed coastal lagoons, conservation and restoration of these ecosystems is vitally important for climate change mitigation.
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  • Journal Article

    Sustainable bioenergy for climate mitigation: developing drought-tolerant trees and grasses 

    Taylor, G.; Donnison, I .S.; Murphy-Bokern, D.; Morgante, M.; Bogeat-Triboulot, M.-B.; Bhalerao, R.; Hertzberg, M.; Polle, A.; Harfouche, A.; Alasia, F.; et al.
    Petoussi, V.Trebbi, D.Schwarz, K.Keurentjes, J. J. B.Centritto, M.Genty, B.Flexas, J.Grill, E.Salvi, S.Davies, W. J.
    Annals of Botany 2019; 124(4) p.513-520
    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Bioenergy crops are central to climate mitigation strategies that utilize biogenic carbon, such as BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage), alongside the use of biomass for heat, power, liquid fuels and, in the future, biorefining to chemicals. Several promising lignocellulosic crops are emerging that have no food role - fast-growing trees and grasses - but are well suited as bioenergy feedstocks, including Populus, Salix, Arundo, Miscanthus, Panicum and Sorghum. SCOPE: These promising crops remain largely undomesticated and, until recently, have had limited germplasm resources. In order to avoid competition with food crops for land and nature conservation, it is likely that future bioenergy crops will be grown on marginal land that is not needed for food production and is of poor quality and subject to drought stress. Thus, here we define an ideotype for drought tolerance that will enable biomass production to be maintained in the face of moderate drought stress. This includes traits that can readily be measured in wide populations of several hundred unique genotypes for genome-wide association studies, alongside traits that are informative but can only easily be assessed in limited numbers or training populations that may be more suitable for genomic selection. Phenotyping, not genotyping, is now the major bottleneck for progress, since in all lignocellulosic crops studied extensive use has been made of next-generation sequencing such that several thousand markers are now available and populations are emerging that will enable rapid progress for drought-tolerance breeding. The emergence of novel technologies for targeted genotyping by sequencing are particularly welcome. Genome editing has already been demonstrated for Populus and offers significant potential for rapid deployment of drought-tolerant crops through manipulation of ABA receptors, as demonstrated in Arabidopsis, with other gene targets yet to be tested. CONCLUSIONS: Bioenergy is predicted to be the fastest-developing renewable energy over the coming decade and significant investment over the past decade has been made in developing genomic resources and in collecting wild germplasm from within the natural ranges of several tree and grass crops. Harnessing these resources for climate-resilient crops for the future remains a challenge but one that is likely to be successful.
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