Integration of Physiological and Molecular Traits Would Help to Improve the Insights of Drought Resistance in Highbush Blueberry Cultivars
Balboa, K.; Ballesteros, G.I.; Molina-Montenegro, M.A.
Water deficit or drought is one of the most severe factors limiting plant yield or fruit quality. Thus, water availability for irrigation is decisive for crop success, such as the case of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). Therefore, drought stress may compromise blueberry production due to lower fruit weight or fruit yield. Despite this, it is unclear if there is any difference in the response of blueberry cultivars to water deficit, either in terms of physiological and molecular parameters, or in terms of their sensitivity or resistance to drought. In this study, we determined the effect of drought on different physiological parameters in blueberry plants (relative water content (RWC), photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), Carbon Isotopic Discrimination, and proline content) in six V. corymbosum cultivars. We also explored molecular responses in terms of gene expression coding for late embryogenesis abundant proteins. Finally, we estimated cultivar water deficit resistance using an integrative model based on physiological results. Upon water deficit conditions, we found reductions in Fv/Fm, RWC, and isotopic discrimination of 13C (Δ13C), while proline content increased significantly for all cultivars. Additionally, we also found differences in the estimated water deficit resistance index. These results indicate differences in water deficit resistance, possibly due to variations in cultivars’ genetic composition.
Palabras claves: blueberry cultivar; drought stress; water deficit tolerance index; physiological parameters; late embryogenesis abundant proteins
Genome-wide genetic diversity yields insights into genomic responses of candidate climate-selected loci in an Andean wetland plant
Bertin, A., Espinosa, M.I., Bustamante, C.A., Troncoso, A.J., & Gouin, N.
Assessing population evolutionary potential has become a central tenet of conservation biology. Since adaptive responses require allelic variation at functional genes, consensus has grown that genetic variation at genes under selection is a better surrogate for adaptive evolutionary potential than neutral genetic diversity. Although consistent with prevailing theory, this argument lacks empirical support and ignores recent theoretical advances questioning the very concept of neutral genetic diversity. In this study, we quantified genome-wide responses of single nucleotide polymorphism loci linked to climatic factors over a strong latitudinal gradient in natural populations of the high Andean wetland plant, Carex gayana, and then assessed whether genetic variation of candidate climate-selected loci better predicted their genome-wide responses than genetic variation of non-candidate loci. Contrary to this expectation, genomic responses of climate-linked loci only related significantly to environmental variables and genetic diversity of non-candidate loci. The effects of genome-wide genetic diversity detected in this study may be a result of either the combined influence of small effect variants or neutral and demographic factors altering the adaptive evolutionary potential of C. gayana populations. Regardless of the processes involved, our results redeem genome-wide genetic diversity as a potentially useful indicator of population adaptive evolutionary potential.
A country’s response to tackling plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems: The Chilean way
Urbina, MA, Luna‐Jorquera, G, Thiel, M, Acuña‐Ruz, T., Amenábar, M.A., Andrade, C.C., Ahrendt, C., Castillo, C., Chevallier, A., Cornejo‐D'Ottone, M., Correa‐Araneda, F., Duarte, C., Fernández, C., Galbán‐Malagón, C., Godoy, C., González‐Aravena, M., Hinojosa, I.A., Jorquera, A., Kiessling, T., Lardies, M.A., Lenzi, J., Mattar, C., Munizaga, M., Olguín‐Campillay, N., Perez‐Venegas, D.J., Portflitt‐Toro, M., Pozo, K., Pulgar, J., Vargas, E.
Marine plastic pollution is worse than expected, and we are starting to realize its full extent and severity. Solving the plastic pollution problem is not easy, as it requires the action and commitment of all sectors of our society. With a coastline extending over 4,000 km (from 18°S to 56°S), Chile is a maritime country, and since plastics are potentially harmful for marine and coastal ecosystems, food security, and public health, plastic pollution is a real threat.
Chile is the sixth‐largest exporter of seafood (fish, invertebrates, and algae) in the world, but the extent of plastic contamination of marine organisms, its potential effects on commercial species and aquaculture, and its subsequent effects on human health are mostly unknown.
Chile has recently introduced some legislation to prevent plastics from reaching the environment and the coastal ocean. Governmental and non‐governmental organizations have joined an informal alliance to take action against plastic pollution, both at a national and regional level, but stronger involvement of producers and commerce is required for effective measures.
Chilean scientists working on plastic pollution have created the Scientific Plastic Pollution Alliance of Chile network, aiming to promote collaborative and coordinated research focused on this pollutant. The wide geographical extent of Chile, with researchers working in diverse ecosystems, provides a unique opportunity to better understand the consequences of one of the most recent and severe threats to biodiversity.
Rather than solely presenting the plastic pollution problem from the scientific perspective, this paper includes views from different sectors of society. Mitigating plastic pollution is exceptionally complex, with this study highlighting the importance of local engagement, media, solving social inequities, new legislation, and law enforcement in order to advance on decreasing plastic pollution from a country‐wide perspective.
Palabras claves: Chilean society, legal commitments, media and social perception, ocean, plastic pollution
Genetic diversity, population structure, and historical demography of a highly vagile and human‐impacted seabird in the Pacific Ocean: The red‐tailed tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda
Varela, A.I., Brokordt, K., Ismar‐Rebitz, S.M.H., Gaskin, C.P., Carlile, N., O'Dwyer, T., Adams, J., VanderWerf, E.A., Luna‐Jorquera, G.
Many seabird breeding colonies have recovered from heavy anthropogenic disturbance after conservation actions. The widely distributed red‐tailed tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda, was used as a model species to assess potential anthropogenic impacts on the genetic diversity of breeding colonies in the Pacific Ocean.
Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and control region sequences analyses were conducted across the range of the species in the Pacific Ocean. The study sites were at islands without human‐related disturbance (non‐impacted islands) and with human‐related disturbance (impacted islands). We hypothesized that (i) breeding colonies of the red‐tailed tropicbird on impacted islands have lower genetic diversity compared with colonies on non‐impacted islands, and (ii) breeding colonies of the red‐tailed tropicbird show significant fine and broad‐scale genetic structure across the Pacific Ocean. Bayesian skyline analyses were conducted to infer past changes in population sizes.
Genetic diversity was similar between impacted and non‐impacted islands. There was significant broad‐scale genetic structure among colonies separated by over 6,000 km, but a lack of significant fine‐scale genetic structure within Australasia and Hawai'i, although a significant level of differentiation was found within Chile with ΦST analyses. Skyline analyses showed that effective population sizes remained relatively constant through time, but experienced either a slight decrease or the end of an expansion event through the last 1,000 years. These changes may be related to the arrival of humans on Pacific islands.
Impacted islands may have received immigrants from other relatively close islands, buffering the loss of genetic diversity. However, it is also possible that colonies have retained ancestral variation or that a large effective population size coupled with a long generation time (13 years) has prevented the loss of genetic diversity in human‐impacted islands. Future research using higher‐resolution markers is needed to resolve the population genetic structure of the red‐tailed tropicbird in an ecological time‐scale.
Palabras claves: Anthropogenic disturbance, breeding seabirds, conservation actions, dispersal, mtDNA sequences, oceanic islands, population differentiation
Fungal Endophytes Enhance the Photoprotective Mechanisms and Photochemical Efficiency in the Antarctic Colobanthus quitensis (Kunth) Bartl. Exposed to UV-B Radiation
Barrera, A., Hereme, R., Ruiz-Lara, S., Larrondo, L.F., Gundel, P.E., Pollmann, S., Molina-Montenegro, M.A., and Ramos, P.
Antarctic plants have developed mechanisms to deal with one or more adverse factors which allow them to successfully survive such extreme environment. Certain effective mechanisms to face adverse stress factors can arise from the establishment of functional symbiosis with endophytic fungi. In this work, we explored the role of fungal endophytes on host plant performance under high level of UV-B radiation, a harmful factor known to damage structure and function of cell components. In order to unveil the underlying mechanisms, we characterized the expression of genes associated to UV-B photoreception, accumulation of key flavonoids, and physiological responses of Colobanthus quitensis plants with (E+) and without (E−) fungal endophytes, under contrasting levels of UV-B radiation. The deduced proteins of CqUVR8, CqHY5, and CqFLS share the characteristic domains and display high degrees of similarity with other corresponding proteins in plants. Endophyte symbiotic plants showed lower lipid peroxidation and higher photosynthesis efficiency under high UV-B radiation. In comparison with E−, E+ plants showed lower CqUVR8, CqHY5, and CqFLS transcript levels. The content of quercetin, a ROS-scavenger flavonoid, in leaves of E- plants exposed to high UV-B was almost 8-fold higher than that in E+ plants 48 h after treatment. Our results suggest that endophyte fungi minimize cell damage and boost physiological performance in the Antarctic plants increasing the tolerance to UV-B radiation. Fungal endophytes appear as fundamental biological partners for plants to cope with the highly damaging UV-B radiation of Antarctica.
Palabras claves: UV-B stress, Antarctica, Colobanthus quitensis, molecular response, flavonols, fungal endophytes
Novel co‐occurrence of functionally redundant consumers induced by range expansion alters community structure
Aguilera, M. A., Valdivia, N., Broitman, B. R., Jenkins, S. R., and Navarrete, S. A..
Ongoing climate change is shifting the geographic distributions of some species, potentially imposing rapid changes in local community structure and ecosystem functioning. Besides changes in population‐level interspecific interactions, such range shifts may also cause changes in functional structure within the host assemblages, which can result in losses or gains in ecosystem functions. Because consumer‐resource dynamics are central to community regulation, functional reorganization driven by introduction of new consumer species can have large consequences on ecosystem functions. Here we experimentally examine the extent to which the recent poleward range expansion of the intertidal grazer limpet Scurria viridula along the coast of Chile has altered the role of the resident congeneric limpet S. zebrina, and whether the net collective impacts, and functional structure, of the entire herbivore guild have been modified by the introduction of this new member. We examined the functional role of Scurria species in controlling ephemeral algal cover, bare rock availability, and species richness and diversity, and compared the effects in the region of range overlap against their respective “native” abutted ranges. Experiments showed depression of per capita effects of the range‐expanded species within the region of overlap, suggesting environmental conditions negatively affect individual performance. In contrast, effects of S. zebrina were commonly invariant at its range edge. When comparing single species versus polycultures, effects on bare rock cover were altered by the presence of the other Scurria species, suggesting competition between Scurria species. Importantly, although the magnitude of S. viridula effects at the range overlap was reduced, its addition to the herbivore guild seems to complement and intensify the role of the guild in reducing green algal cover, species richness and increasing bare space provision. Our study thus highlights that range expansion of an herbivore can modify the functional guild structure in the recipient community. It also highlights the complexity of predicting how functional structure may change in the face of natural or human‐induced range expansions. There is a need for more field‐based examination of regional functional compensation, complementarity, or inhibition before we can construct a conceptual framework to anticipate the consequences of species range expansions.
Palabras claves: Animal–plant interaction strength, biogeographic transition zone, functional diversity, functional role, guild, range overlap, regional compensation
Root endophytic Penicillium promotes growth of Antarctic vascular plants by enhancing nitrogen mineralization
Oses-Pedraza, R., Torres-Díaz, C., Lavín, P., Retamales-Molina, P., Atala, C., Gallardo-Cerda, J., Acuña-Rodríguez, I.S., & Molina-Montenegro, M.A.
Fungal endophyte associations have been suggested as a possible strategy of Antarctic vascular plants for surviving the extreme environmental conditions of Antarctica. However, the mechanisms by which this occurs are still poorly understood. The role of root fungal endophytes in nitrogen mineralization and nutrient uptake, as well as their impact on the performance of Antarctic plants, were studied. We tested root endophytes, isolated from Colobanthus quitensis and Deschampsia antarctica, for lignocellulolytic enzyme production, nitrogen mineralization, and growth enhancement of their host plants. Penicillium chrysogenum and Penicillium brevicompactum were identified using a molecular approach as the main root endophytes inhabiting C. quitensis and D. antarctica, respectively. Both root endophytes were characterized as psychrophilic fungi displaying amylase, esterase, protease, cellulase, hemicellulase, phosphatase and urease enzymatic activities, mainly at 4 °C. Moreover, the rates and percentages of nitrogen mineralization, as well as the final total biomass, were significantly higher in symbiotic C. quitensis and D. antarctica individuals. Our findings suggest that root endophytes exert a pivotal ecological role based not only to breakdown different nutrient sources but also on accelerating nitrogen mineralization, improving nutrient acquisition, and therefore promoting plant growth in Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems.
Palabras claves: Endophytes, Antarctic vascular plants, Penicillium, Growth, Nitrogen, Mineralization
Effect of predation risk and ectoparasitic louse flies on physiological stress condition of the red-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda) from Rapa Nui and Salas & Gómez islands
Luna, N., Varela, A.I., Luna-Jorquera, G., Brokordt, K.
Introduced predators at seabird colonies and parasites may have lethal and/or sub-lethal consequences for bird populations. We assessed the potential sub-lethal negative effects of these stressors in a native seabird listed as vulnerable in its south-eastern pacific distribution. This study was conducted in two red-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda) colonies, one located in Rapa Nui Island, which is threatened by the presence of introduced predators, and the other located in Salas & Gómez Island, which has no introduced predators, but birds are infested by ectoparasitic louse flies.
Palabras claves: Introduced predators, Ectoparasitic blood feeders, Sub-lethal effects, Leukocytes, H/L ratio, HSP70, Body condition, Native seabird, oceanic islands, Easter Island ecoregion
Mathematical modeling and quality parameters of Salicornia fruticosa dried by convective drying
Rodríguez-Ramos, F., Leiva-Portilla, D., Rodríguez-Núñez, K., Pacheco, P., Briones-Labarca, V.
The effect of convective drying at 50, 60 and 70 °C on the drying kinetics and quality parameters of Salicornia fruticosa was investigated. To estimate the equilibrium moisture content a desorption isotherm was performed using five empirical models: Halsey, Caurie, Henderson, Smith and Oswin. The experimental data was also fitted to different drying kinetic models (Logarithmic, Two-Terms, Midilli–Kucuk and Exponential Two-Terms). A numerical simulation using the Finite Volume Method allowed us to describe the evolution of temperature and moisture content distributions during drying. The Henderson model was found to be the most suitable for predicting the equilibrium moisture content of S. fruticosa, with values of Xwe in the drying process of 1.51; 1.54 and 1.36 g water/g d.m for 50, 60 and 70 °C, respectively. A good agreement was found between the numerical and experimental results of temperature and moisture during Salicornia drying. The Midilli–Kucuk model presented the best fitting to the drying curves. The effects of drying on S. fruticosa were significant in two quality parameters. Antioxidant capacity decreased in ca. 45% and lightness (> L*) significantly increased at a drying temperature of 70 °C, compared to the fresh samples. The optimum drying temperature where drying time and nutrients loss was minimum was 70 °C. These results can be used to estimate the best drying conditions for producing dehydrated Salicornia. The use of halophytes as sustainable crops is promising, and the vision of their commercial production must be evaluated and considered, given water scarcity in many areas of the planet.
Palabras claves: Salicornia fruticosa, Hot air drying, Drying kinetics, Mathematical modeling
Foraging ecology of masked boobies (Sula dactylatra) in the world’s largest “oceanic desert”
Lerma, M., Serratosa, J., Luna-Jorquera, G., Garthe, S.
The South Pacific Gyre has the most hyper-oligotrophic waters in the world and is considered the largest “oceanic desert.” Rapa Nui (Easter Island), located within the South Pacific Gyre, is a breeding ground for masked boobies (Sula dactylatra), which are seabirds with a foraging range that effectively confines them within the gyre. The foraging ecology of this species in the gyre was examined by attaching GPS and time-depth devices to chick-rearing adult birds (9 and 14 birds in 2016 and 2017, respectively) and by collecting regurgitates (18 and 15 samples in 2016 and 2017, respectively). In addition, the birds’ foraging ecology between years was compared. Masked boobies traveled in various directions, dived at unspecific locations, and explored areas < 110 km from the colony. Local environmental conditions were not significantly different between years, and differences in foraging parameters (maximum foraging range, trip duration, and dive depth) were greater among individuals than between years. The foraging characteristics of masked boobies suggest that resources were ephemerally distributed around the colony, with similar abundances across years. Under these conditions, traveling to unspecific locations may increase the area covered and the probability of prey encounter. The spatial and temporal consistencies in environmental conditions explain the uniformity of foraging parameters between years. The ability of masked boobies to exploit ephemerally distributed resources in seascapes like Rapa Nui may help explain its pantropical distribution.