ECOLOGY

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					ECOLOGY
DEVELOPING A TIMBER QUALITY MODEL FOR SCOTS PINE

David Auty1, 2, Andrew Cameron1 and Barry Gardiner2
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, (Ecology)
2
  Forest Research, Northern Research Station, Roslin


Targeting higher-value construction timber markets for Scots pine first requires an
understanding of the effects of silvicultural practices on timber quality, in order to model
these effects and to use these models to inform management decisions. This study has been
designed to provide a detailed analysis of locally-grown Scots pine timber in order to
construct models for the intrinsic wood properties that are important in timber designated for
structural end-uses. Key properties of interest are stiffness (modulus of elasticity, or MoE),
strength (modulus of rupture, or MoR), microfibril angle and knot distribution. Detailed
stand- and tree-level measurements were recorded in 12 even-aged stands in NE Scotland
(age range: 17 to 90 years) and sample material removed from a total of 108 trees for
destructive analysis. Detailed branching information was recorded on 48 trees from the
young (17-28 years old) and mid-rotation (43-49 years old) stands, to be combined with
existing branching data from 18 trees from 3 additional mature stands (73-80 years old).
Linear and non-linear mixed modelling techniques will be applied to construct practical tree-
level models which use easily obtainable stand and tree characteristics (e.g. height, diameter,
crown dimensions) as predictor variables. An existing Scots pine growth model will be
adapted and linked to the wood properties models to enable detailed scenario modelling and
the prediction of wood quality from future Scots pine plantations. The use of competition
indices will also make the models more applicable to forests which are undergoing
transformation to ‘continuous cover forestry’ (CCF) management.




                                      POSTER BOARD 28
THE FUNCTION OF DISPERSAL AS A RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN A
LONG-LIVED SEABIRD

Emily Barlow1 2, Francis Daunt1, Jane Reid2, Stephen Cavers1 & Sarah Wanless1
1
  Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Penicuik
2
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)


There is growing concern that climate change is causing marked changes in the number and
distribution of many species. One of the clearest signs of climate change is a shift in species’
distribution and this can occur either through extinction of local populations, or through the
dispersal of individuals away from unfavourable conditions. Dispersal is therefore a
potentially important mechanism whereby populations can adapt to climatic change. This
study is being carried out on the European shag, Phalacrocorax aristotelis, a long-lived
seabird that is declining in a region known to be experiencing rapid environmental change.
The project aims to establish how dispersal within and between shag colonies along the north
east coast of the British Isles varies in response to climatic variables. CEH possess a long-
term, individual based study on the European shag on the Isle of May, Scotland. This contains
data on breeding performance and provenance of more than 30,000 birds from over 30 years
and as such is a valuable resource for assessing population change in this study. Through this,
and the use of genetic techniques, the potential for individual dispersal to enable populations
to adapt to environmental change is being ascertained, since dispersal away from
unfavourable conditions during this time of climatic change may be crucial to species’
persistence.




                                       POSTER BOARD 29
ARE SCOTTISH POPULATIONS OF ARABIDOPSIS LYRATA SPP. PETRAEA LOCALLY
ADAPTED TO SERPENTINE SOILS?

Elizabeth Bourne1,2, Robin Pakeman1, Justin Travis2 , Bill Kunin3 and Rob Brooker1
1
  The Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen
2
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)
3
  University of Leeds


Understanding local adaptation is essential for making predictions about the response of plant
populations to environmental change. The limited distribution and high selective impact of
serpentine soils, often deficient in mineral nutrients, high in heavy metal content, and with a
poor water holding capacity, provide an excellent model system for studying local adaptation
processes. This study assesses local adaptation to serpentine soil in different populations of
Arabidopsis lyrata spp. petraea, which occurs both on and off this soil type. 54 individuals
from each of three populations of serpentine (S1-S3) and two non-serpentine sites (NS1,
NS2), were measured for key morphological traits related to resource use and biomass
allocation. These included the number of rosettes per clump, mean crown diameter, and
number of leaves (averaged from three rosettes). Soil samples from each site (except NS2,
awaiting data) were analysed for nutrient mineral and heavy metal content. A PCA revealed
the serpentine sites as deficient in K and higher in heavy metals compared to NS2. A
characteristically low Ca:Mg ratio was below 1 for all three serpentine sites. The serpentine
sites also separated according to their mineral and heavy metal content, revealing variation in
conditions between serpentine sites. Investment into mean crown diameter was significantly
greater in the non-serpentine sites, with more rosettes formed within a crown. In conclusion,
the low Ca:Mg ratio and higher heavy metal content of serpentine soils may reduce
investment to above ground biomass in plants of serpentine sites, and represent a selection
pressure to promote local adaptation.




                                       POSTER BOARD 30
INVASIVE SPECIES MANAGEMENT: SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES FOR MINK
CONTROL

Rosalind Bryce, Matt Oliver, Helen Gray, Llinos Davies, Anna Evely and Xavier
Lambin
Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)


The Cairngorms are a stronghold for the endangered water vole in the UK. The species has
suffered serious declines due to predation by the invasive American mink. The Cairngorms
Water Vole Conservation Project is the largest mink control project in mainland Britain
covering an area of 5500km2.

The aims of the project are to use community based conservation and an adaptive
management approach to implement sustainable mink control in order to protect water voles
and other native species.
Mink rafts, floating platforms that detect presence of mink, are deployed along water ways,
the preferred habitat of mink. The project aims to clear entire river catchments of mink.
Areas of the upper Dee and Spey catchments are now mink free and there is a realistic
prospect of achieving multiple catchment scale clearance within 3-5 years.

The project has successfully recruited approximately 100 volunteers, with a diverse range of
interests, to monitor 80% of the 400 mink rafts distributed around the area. An increasing
number of volunteers are also actively trapping mink. Volunteer involvement is essential to
achieve the large raft coverage and overall awareness required. Volunteers report satisfaction
from active participation in conservation and receiving project progress reports.

Genetic analysis of culled mink in North-East Scotland have has revealed large dispersal
movements of individuals. Sibling-sibling and parent-offspring pairs were found up to 100km
apart. The potential for mink to recolonise controlled areas makes it compelling to aim for
very large scale control over multiple catchments.




                                      POSTER BOARD 31
CHANGE IN DISTRIBUTION OF HARBOUR SEALS IN A SPECIAL AREA OF
CONSERVATION

Line S. Cordes & Paul M. Thompson
Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Lighthouse Field Station (Ecology)


Harbour seals haul out on a wide variety of substrates, but little is known about what factors
affect site choice and how site choice may change over time. In the Moray Firth studies show
marked declines in abundance of harbour seals over the last 20 years. More recent work has
shown wide spread declines across Scotland, but the factors causing the declines are still
unknown. Within the Moray Firth there are two main clusters of haul-out sites. The most
serious declines have occurred in the northern region of the Moray Firth, which includes the
Dornoch Firth Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for harbour seals and the nearby Loch
Fleet National Nature Reserve. Overall, numbers have declined by 5% per year since 1993.
Land-based count surveys of adult seals have been carried out twice-monthly during the
pupping season in the Dornoch Firth and Loch Fleet from 1988 to 2008. In addition, pup
counts were obtained from aerial surveys in 1989 and 2007. The relative importance of sites
within the Dornoch Firth SAC has on average declined by 2% per year since the early 1990s.
In 1989, 100% of pups were born within the SAC (n = 87), compared to 67% in 2007 (n =
87). Possible factors which could cause seals to move out of the Dornoch Firth SAC include
structural changes in tidal sandbanks, human disturbance and distribution of food resources.
Due to the apparent increase in importance of Loch Fleet we suggest that consideration
should be given to expanding the SAC to include Loch Fleet.




                                      POSTER BOARD 32
SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL RELATIONSHIP OF DEEP PELAGIC
BIOLUMINESCENCE TO ALGAL BIOMASS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA


Jessica Craig1, Rory Hutson2, Alan J. Jamieson1 & Imants G. Priede1
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Oceanlab (Ecology)
2
  Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, PL1 3DH, UK


The relationship between surface algal primary production and subsequent deep pelagic
bioluminescence in the Mediterranean Sea is investigated. The density of bioluminescent
animals was measured from the sub-surface layer to the seafloor using an ISIT camera
profiler within the eastern (Sicily Strait, Ionian and Adriatic Seas) and western basins (Lions
Gulf and Tyrrhenian Sea). For each ISIT deployment, six 10-day MODIS-Aqua chlorophyll
composites were generated (100km radius), for the preceding 60 days. Including all data,
linear regression within the depth range 500-750m was positive and significant (p<0.05)
between mean density of bioluminescent animals (m-3) and square root transformed mean
Chl a (mg.m-3) for all time intervals (1-10, 10-20, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50 and 50-60 days prior to
sampling). At depth range 750-1000m linear regression was positive and significant for all
time intervals except 0-10 and 50-60 days prior. The significance of the linear regression
peaked at 20-30 days prior in both cases (p<0.001 at 500-750m; p<0.05 at 750-1000m). When
high leverage points were excluded from the analysis, the significance of the regressions
peaked at 0-10 days prior (p=0.01 at 500-750m; p<0.001 at 750-1000m). Below 1000m
(1000-1250 and 1250-1500m) no significant linear relationship between algal biomass and the
density of bioluminescent animals was detected. In all but one case (all data, 750-1000m, 0-
10 days prior) the least significant regression was obtained 50-60 days prior. We demonstrate
a closely coupled positive relationship, sustained for up to two months, between pelagic
bioluminescence in the mesopelagic zone (500-1000m) and surface primary production.




                                      POSTER BOARD 33
ALUMINIUM CONCENTRATION OF TROPICAL FOREST TREES IN BRUNEI
DARUSSALAM: A PRELIMINARY STUDY

Faizah, M. and Burslem, D.F.R.P.
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)


Foliar aluminium (Al) concentrations are highly variable among plant species, but the causes
and functional significance of this variation are unknown. To determine the importance of soil
conditions and phylogenetic constraints we measured foliar Al concentration in 322 trees
selected from 58 species (from 31 genera in 18 families) growing on 0.96-ha plots of Mixed
Dipterocarp Forest (MDF) at the Andulau Forest Reserve and heath forest at the Badas and
Sawat Forest Reserves in Brunei Darussalam. The soil at Andulau (MDF) has a higher pH
and concentrations of exchangeable Al than that at Badas and Sawat (heath), but is lower in
N, P, Ca and Mg. Mean foliar Al concentration between species ranged from 0.08 ± 0.02 to
33.88 ± 2.52 mg Al g-1. The highest mean Al concentration was recorded in Symplocos
crassipes (Symplocaceae) from Andulau (MDF). We partitioned variation in foliar Al
concentration between phylogenetic factors and soil/forest types (MDF and heath) and
identified Al hyper-accumulators in the sample. In intra-generic comparisons a significantly
higher proportion of contrasts suggested that foliar Al concentrations were higher at Andulau
than in the heath forest sites. Al-accumulators (with concentrations greater than 1 mg Al g-1)
were more frequent in the mixed dipterocarp forest at Andulau (18 out of 37 species) than the
heath forests at Badas (1 out of 12 species) and Sawat (4 out of 23 species). We identified Al-
accumulators in the Anisophylleaceae, Fagaceae, Icacinaceae, Melastomataceae,
Pentaphylacaceae, Phyllanthaceae, Polygalaceae, Rubiaceae and Symplocaceae.




                                      POSTER BOARD 34
OCCURRENCE AND CONSEQUENCES OF EXTRA-PAIR PATERNITY IN THE SONG
SPARROW, MELOSPIZA MELODIA.

Fell, R.1., Reid, J.1, Keller, L. F. 2, and Arcese, P3.
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)
2
  Zoological Museum, University of Zurich, Switzerland
3
  Department of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Canada


Extra-pair paternity (EPP) occurs in over 75% of socially monogamous passerines. Despite
considerable research effort, the adaptive benefits of this behaviour and its consequences are
not yet fully understood. Comprehensive knowledge of EPP is integral to understanding avian
mating strategies and more generally, the evolution of mate choice and variance in
reproductive success. While several studies have shown that it is often the female that
controls EPP, theories for both direct and indirect genetic benefits for females have seldom
been rigorously tested. I will use a long-term study of song sparrows on Mandarte Island,
British Columbia, Canada to investigate the costs and benefits of EPP for females in detail. I
will genotype over 2000 individuals to determine paternity and create a corrected genetic
pedigree for the entire population covering the past 15 years. I will use this extensive pedigree
to test for an indirect genetic benefit for females by using a maternal half-sibling fitness
comparison. Specifically, I will test whether extra-pair young are fitter than within-pair
young, as measured by comprehensive fitness measures, such as the total recruited
grandoffspring.




                                       POSTER BOARD 35
EFFECTS OF BIODIVERSITY AND HABITAT STRUCTURE ON BIOTURBATION
INTENSITY AND NUTRIENT GENERATION

Jasmin Godbold1, Mark Bulling2 and Martin Solan1
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology), Oceanlab
2
  Environment Department, University of York, York


Habitat fragmentation and homogenisation are expected to substantially affect global
biodiversity over the next century, but their effects on ecosystem processes are still unclear.
Manipulative experiments explicitly testing the relationship between biodiversity and
ecosystem processes have largely been carried out in isolated, homogenous environments that
do not incorporate structural heterogeneity. Here we experimentally investigated the effects of
biodiversity, faunal movement and habitat structure on bioturbation and nutrient generation in
marine benthic communities. Communities were established within a multi-patch mesocosm
system, in which patches were either isolated or connected by corridors and enriched or non-
enriched with an algal resource. Our results show that bioturbation intensity and nutrient
generation are enhanced in more diverse systems, but that the magnitude of effect is
underpinned by the presence of a dominant species. Moreover, increasing the openness of the
system and allowing fauna to move and select preferential patches, increased nutrient
concentration, but reduced within patch bioturbation intensity. Collectively our findings
suggest that incorporation of habitat structure and more natural community dynamics into
experimental manipulations is vital, as these change the composition, behaviour and density-
distribution of species assemblages, which can alter the effects of biodiversity on local and
regional ecosystem properties.




                                      POSTER BOARD 36
MACROFAUNAL CARBON CYCLING IN DEEP WATER SUB-ARCTIC SEDIMENTS

Gontikaki E1,2, Mayor D.J1, Narayanaswami E.B2, Witte U1
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Oceanlab (Ecology)
2
  The Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Oban


Phytoplankton, faecal pellets and other organic material, collectively known as phytodetritus,
slowly sink into the deep sea and serve as food for a range of organisms. The fate of
phytodetritus in deep sea, sub-arctic sediments was investigated in the Faroe-Shetland
Channel (FSC) using a 13C pulse-chase experiment in May 2007. The hydrographic regime of
the Faroe–Shetland Channel is complex, with warm North Atlantic waters overlying the cold
water flows from the Norwegian Sea. The Faroe-Shetland Channel Bottom Water (FSCBW)
flows in a south-westerly direction at a temperature of 0oC or below. This study will be the
first to investigate the biologically mediated carbon cycling at such low temperatures and will
enhance our knowledge on short-term carbon remineralization processes in sub-arctic and
arctic sediments.

A phytodetritus sedimentation event was simulated by adding 13C-labelled diatoms to
replicate sediment cores retrieved from 1000 m in the FSC. Additional cores without the
addition of diatoms were maintained as controls. All cores were incubated at ambient
temperature for 6 days. Macrofauna reacted rapidly to organic matter (OM) input: 47% and
70% of specimen had ingested the labelled substrate after 3 and 6 days respectively. The main
contributors to OM uptake were surface deposit-feeding polychaetes such as ampharetids and
cirratulids. Vertical penetration of the tracer due to faunal feeding activities was negligible
and 95% of tracer uptake took place within the first 2 cm of sediment. Approximately 2 mg C
m-2 were processed by the macrofaunal community of the deep FSC in 6 days.




                                      POSTER BOARD 37
MICROPHYTOBENTHIC PRODUCTION IN PRESENT AND FUTURE CO2 CLIMATES

Natalie Hicks, Martin Solan, Mark Bulling, David Raffaelli, Piran White and David
Paterson
Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)


Human induced climate change has already altered ecosystems, and changes in carbon
dioxide (CO2) and temperature are expected to have global consequences on marine
ecosystem processes. Compared to terrestrial ecosystems, very little research has been done in
marine ecosystems to determine the possible impacts of rising temperature and carbon
dioxide levels. This study determines the relationship between infaunal invertebrate
biodiversity and microphytobenthic production (measured using PAM fluorescence) for an
estuarine community under a range of temperature-CO2 regimes using a replicated mesocosm
approach with single and multispecies macrofaunal assemblages. The CO2 levels represent
present day atmospheric CO2 concentration (370 ppmv) and future IPCC projections for the
year 2050 (450 ppmv) and 2100 (1000 ppmv) and were run at three constant temperatures
(6ºC, 12ºC, 18ºC) that reflect the seasonal temperatures at the study.




                                      POSTER BOARD 38
IMPROVING WOOD STRENGTH THROUGH SELECTIVE BREEDING IN SITKA
SPRUCE

S.G. Kennedy1, A.D. Cameron1, S.J. Lee2
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology Theme)
2
  Forestry Commission, Northern Research Station, Roslin, Midlothian


The potential for improving timber strength by determining the genetic heritability of certain
wood properties of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis Bong Carr.) within the outer zone of the
juvenile core was investigated. Fifteen trees were sampled from each of 33 families selected
from a 20 year old open pollinated progeny trial. A number of wood properties critical to
wood strength were measured; namely, density, grain angle, microfibril angle and branching
characteristics. In addition acoustic measurements were taken using a newly developed tool
on the standing trees to determine if indirect measurements of wood stiffness could later be
correlated with direct measurements from static bending. All wood properties were
moderately heritable, wood density and acoustic velocity were the most heritable traits (h2i
0.71 and 0.67 respectively). Genetic correlations showed that wood strength and stiffness
were strongly correlated with wood density (0.86 and 1.04 respectively) and microfibril angle
(-0.79 and -0.62 respectively). Acoustic velocity was strongly correlated with wood stiffness
(0.81) and microfibril angle (-0.83). The ability to select trees for wood stiffness with the use
of acoustics along with the moderate inheritance of this trait should enable good
improvements in the wood quality of Sitka spruce to be possible.




                                       POSTER BOARD 39
DON’T SHOW-OFF!!!...YOU ARE ALONE

Martinez-Padilla, J1,2., Mougeot, F.3, Webster, L.2, Pérez-Rodríguez, L. Piertney, S.2
and Redpath, S.M1.
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Aberdeen Centre for Environmental
Sustainability (ACES) - Aberdeen University & The Macaulay Institute
2
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences
3
  Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos, IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ciudad
Real, Spain.


There is growing interest in understanding the causes of variability in carotenoid-based
displays, mainly on the mechanisms which mediate the availability of carotenoids and their
allocation to ornaments. Carotenoids have important immuno-stimulant properties so
individuals can either allocate available carotenoids to their ornaments or to enhance immune
function. Testosterone may enhance ornament expression but may immunosupress the
signaler. There is experimental evidence suggesting that testosterone 1) may enhance or not,
secondary sexual caracters, 2) may increase or not circulating levels of carotenoids. We
hypothesise that social context may mediate this testosterone-dependent effects on
carotenoids and carotenoid-pigmented signals, because there would not be necessary to invest
in a costly signal if there are not conespecific around the signaler. In an experimental
manipulation of testosterone in wild Red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus in two populations
contrasting in density, we show that testostorone enhance ornament size and colouration.
However, the effect of testosterone on levels of carotenoids, was site-dependent. Testosterone
increased levels of circulating carotneoids only in the population where grouse density was
lower. Overall, if individuals may control the phisiological effects of testosterone to enhance
sexual signaling, we suggest that this control migh be derived towards self-maintance
(improving immunity) rather than signaling depending of the social context (abundance of
conespecifics).




                                      POSTER BOARD 40
IMPACTS OF PLANT DEFENCES ON VERTEBRATE HERBIVORE POPULATIONS


Fergus Massey1, Xavier Lambin1, Matt Smith2 and Sue Hartley3
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Science (Ecology)
2
  Computational Ecology and Environmental Science Group, Microsoft Research, Cambridge
3
  Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of Sussex.


Understanding the regulation of population dynamics is fundamental to biology and cyclic
populations can provide ideal systems for study. The influence of ‘top down’ factors
(predators and parasites) are often invoked as driving mechanisms for herbivore populations
cycles, however the role of ‘bottom-up’ factors (food plants) is less well studied. We assess
whether silica-based defences in grasses, could drive the cyclic population dynamics of field
voles (Microtus agrestis). From field survey and growth performance trials, we demonstrate
that past and future vole population densities are correlated with current grass silica content as
predicted by theory. In addition, we show that overwintering vole growth rates are adversely
affected by high silica levels in grass leaves. The results provide strong evidence to suggest a
dynamic feedback between levels of vole grazing, grass defence levels and future vole
population growth. Therefore, we postulate that silica defences could underpin the 3-5 year
vole population cycles observed in the field.




                                        POSTER BOARD 41
FOOD QUALITY AFFECTS CARBON CYCLING IN THE DEEP SEA

Daniel J Mayor1, Barry Thornton2, Steve Hay3, Ursula Witte1
1
  Institute of BBiological & Environmental Sciences, Oceanlab (Ecology)
2
  The Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen
3
  FRS Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen


Deep sea sediments represent an enormous habitat, coving >50 % of the Earth’s surface. They
store vast quantities of carbon, and therefore play a major role in the global carbon cycle.
Organisms inhabiting this environment depend upon organic matter (OM) produced in the
overlying waters, and play a major role in dictating the fate of carbon in the deep sea. Discrete
pulses of labile (‘high-quality’) OM are known to arrive in the deep sea at the end of the
spring diatom bloom as these cells coagulate and rapidly sink. Stable isotope ‘pulse-chase’
experiments, in which 13C-labelled diatoms are introduced onto the seabed and the fate of the
13
   C followed into bacterial- and macrofaunal biomass and labelled carbon dioxide (13CO2),
have revolutionised our understanding of carbon cycling in deep sea sediments. However,
almost nothing is known about how deep sea sediment communities respond to an influx of
refractory (‘low-quality’), zooplankton faecal pellets, which form the staple diet for these
organisms over much of the year.

Stable isotope pulse-chase experiments were conducted on sediment communities retrieved
from 1070 m in the Faroe-Shetland Channel in May and October 2008. Highly replicated
pulses of 13C-labelled diatoms and zooplankton faecal pellets were used to examine how food
quality affects carbon cycling in deep sea sediments. Preliminary analysis of the data
indicates that food quality does not affect rates of oxygen consumption. In contrast, it is
apparent that food quality has a clear and highly significant effect on the rate with which
13
   CO2 is produced.




                                       POSTER BOARD 42
INACCURACIES IN PROPORTION OF ATLANTIC HERRING (CLUPEA HARENGUS
L.) MATURE DURING THE NOTH SEA HERRING ACOUSTIC SURVEY

McPherson, L. R., Marshall, C. T.
Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)


Accurate maturity data is essential for calculation of spawning stock biomass (SSB).
Macroscopic maturity staging of North Sea herring has not been validated since 1961 when
the staging scale was first produced by Bowers and Holliday (1961). The aim of this study
was to assess the accuracy of maturity staging during the North Sea herring acoustic survey.
Maturity staging carried out onboard FRV Scotia in 2006 and 2007 (and from Scottish market
samples) and FF Johan Hjort in 2007 was compared to histological assessment of maturity
stage.    A total of 188 samples were analysed. Maturity staging error was relatively low
onboard FRV Scotia, 2006 (21% and 17% error for females and males respectively) but was
much higher onboard both FRV Scotia (57% and 46%) and FF Johan Hjort (47% and 27%)
in 2007. This lead to the proportion mature being underestimated onboard FF Johan Hjort
and slightly overestimated onboard FRV Scotia, 2007. Furthermore, the histological slides
also revealed a high prevalence of atresia. Prevalence was highest onboard FRV Scotia, 2007
(43%, n=42) and lowest onboard FRV Scotia, 2006 (18%, n=28) with intermediate levels
onboard FF Johan Hjort, 2007 (21%, n=33). High levels of atresia may suggest that some
fish classified as mature may be reabsorbing their oocytes and skipping spawning, leading to
an overestimation of SSB. Inaccuracies in maturity staging and high prevalence of atresia
may lead to substantial errors in SSB calculations.




                                     POSTER BOARD 43
TAWNY OWL AND VOLE CYCLE: IS SILVER SPOON REALLY SILVER?

Alexandre Millon1, Steve J. Petty2 & Xavier Lambin1
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences,
2
  Ecology Division, Forest Research, Northern Research Station, Roslin (Ecology)


There is growing evidence that early conditions affect individual fitness prospects. Under
spatially correlated environments, this process triggers unbalanced recruitment pattern and
delayed effects on population growth and/or stability. Heterogeneous cohort contribution is
well-known for predators of cyclic rodents, for which winter conditions usually entail a
dramatic – but highly variable – survival bottleneck. Surprisingly, whether surviving
individuals suffer from long-lasting effect of food stress experienced at birth, has been
overlooked so far. This is what we want to investigate in tawny owls from Kielder Forest UK,
where field voles display periodic fluctuations, in terms of survival and reproductive output,
as well as to measure to what extent such heterogeneity affects owl population dynamics.




                                      POSTER BOARD 44
SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OF MICROSATELLITE DNA DIVERSITY AMONG
POPULATIONS OF BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS) FROM THE
UK AND IRELAND.

Gillian Murray-Dickson1, Paul M Thompson2 & Stuart B Piertney1
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)
2
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Lighthouse Field Station (Ecology)


Levels of genetic structure among the three main resident populations of bottlenose dolphin in
the UK and Ireland was assessed using 10 microsatellite markers. Relatively consistent levels
of microsatellite diversity were found across the populations (Ho = 0.58 – 0.61; allelic
richness 3-8-4.6). Non-a priori assignment of individuals into genetic groups among the
entire sample set identified four distinct clusters, indicative of genetic structure. However,
these did not equate to sampling locations, with some individuals from the same location
being assigned to different genetic groups. A principle coordinate ordination plot of
individual genetic differences showed some clustering of individuals from the same
populations, but with overlap such that each population did not form a discrete cluster.
Overall the data indicate relatively weak genetic structure between the resident populations,
indicative of occasional dispersal, such that the populations cannot be recognised as
demographically independent units. The significance of the results are considered in relation
to the designation of Special Areas of Conservation to maintain the conservation status of
bottlenose dolphins in UK waters.




                                      POSTER BOARD 45
RATCLIFFE REVISITED: FIFTY YEARS OF UPLAND HEATH VEGETATION
CHANGE IN THE NORTH-WEST HIGHLANDS.

Louise Ross1, Sarah Woodin1, Alison Hester2, Des Thompson3 and John Birks4,5
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology),
2
  Macaulay Institute
3
  Scottish Natural Heritage
4
  University of Bergen
5
  University College London


Long-term data in the form of archived biological records can be an important resource for
analysing vegetation change. Fifty years ago, a survey to describe and classify upland
vegetation of the Scottish Highlands provided a snapshot of plant community composition.
Since that time, the vegetation has been impacted on by a range of environmental change
drivers, including aerial deposition of nitrogen, grazing pressure from sheep and deer, climate
change and burning practices. Using this dataset, we re-sample plots from upland heath
communities in the North-West Highlands of Scotland to quantify and characterise vegetation
change over the past 50 years and explore links between drivers and the observed changes.
We infer what kind of environmental factors have induced changes in the vegetation by using
Ellenberg numbers, a set of indicator values where each species has a value that estimates the
position along environmental gradients such as light and moisture at which it is most
abundant. The results of the new survey indicate a shift from fairly well-defined, discrete
heathland communities dominated by dwarf-shrubs and lichens to a more homogenous plant
community composition, more often dominated by generalist grasses such as Nardus stricta,
Molinia caerulea and Trichophorum cespitosum. However there was little change in the
environmental conditions according to the Ellenberg scores, suggesting land management
practices such as grazing and burning may be more important in driving vegetation change as
they are less likely to affect these scores than climate change and nitrogen deposition.




                                      POSTER BOARD 46
PROCESSING INFORMATION ABOUT NON-NATIVE SPECIES

Sebastian Selge1, Anke Fischer, Rene van der Wal
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, ACES (Ecology)


A frequently cited view on biological invasions is that they are one of the major threats to
biodiversity. Many invasive non-native species are also believed to be a great threat to human
health and wellbeing as well as to the economy. However, only a minority of all non-native
species turn out to be invasive. Worldwide, approximately 99% of all crops and livestock are
intentionally introduced plants, animals, and microbes. Therefore there are clearly both costs
and benefits associated with non-native species. It is thus not surprising that the topic of non-
native species provides plenty of opportunity for different conflicting issues to arise.
However, little is known about how people perceive and form attitudes towards non-native
species. The aim of the project is to contribute to a better understanding of how people form
their attitudes towards non-native species. So far nine focus group discussions and three
personal interviews with a wide range of stakeholders and members of the general public
have been conducted. Preliminary results indicate that well-known psychological patterns can
be observed in the processing of information related to non-native species. Results might
contribute to a better communication between conservation stakeholders and the general
public.




                                       POSTER BOARD 47
MAPPING THE SEABED SEDIMENT LANDSCAPE OFF THE NOTH-EAST COAST OF
SCOTLAND

Natalia Serpetti 1, 2, Mike Heath 1, Ursula Witte 2, Malcolm Rose 1
1
  FRS Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen
2
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Oceanlab (Ecology)


Seabed sediments in a 65 km2 area of coastal waters off northeast Scotland were mapped by
hydro acoustic discrimination techniques (single beam RoxAnn, and multibeam swath QTC)
during December 2006, followed by a ground truthing survey using grab and TV sampling in
April 2007. Seabed classifications generated internally by the QTC system were used to
supervise classifications based on roughness and hardness measures produced by the RoxAnn
system. The resulting hydro acoustic classes agreed well with cluster analyses of data on grain
size from the grab sampling, and indicated that the area could be described by 12 sediment
classes ranging from muddy sand to boulders and rock. Elemental analysis of surface
sediment samples showed a strong relationship between carbon, grain size characteristics, and
hydroacoustic hardness and roughness. A General Additive Model was developed describing
the distribution of carbon in relation to roughness and hardness, which was then used to
generate detailed maps of spatial distributions of this elements in the sediment. We are using
this new application as the basis to describe the biogeochemical landscape of the area and
assess the contribution of seabed sediment fluxes to water column nutrient dynamics.




                                      POSTER BOARD 48
THE DEMOGRAPHY OF A DECLINING RING OUZEL POPULATION
Innes Sim1&2, Graham Rebecca1, Sonja Ludwig1, Murray Grant1, Jane Reid2 &
Steve Redpath2
1
  Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Edinburgh
2
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)

The Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) is a summer visitor to the UK, wintering largely in the
Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The species has been in decline in the UK since at least the
1950s, and was placed on the red-list (species of highest conservation concern) due to a 58%
population decline during 1990-1999. There is no strong evidence as to causes of decline, but
a recent study suggests that warm late summer periods may be detrimental. Our aim was to
determine which demographic parameters are associated with a declining Ring Ouzel
population in Glen Clunie, near Braemar, north-east Scotland. This population declined by
62% between 1998 and 2008. There was no evidence that fecundity (number of young
fledged/breeding pair) or adult survival have declined over time, but some evidence of a
decline in first year return rate, indicating that first year survival may have decreased.
Predicted population trajectory using demographic estimates closely follows observed census
data, suggesting that our estimates are robust. Elasticity analysis indicates that Population
Growth Rate is most sensitive to adult survival (0.54), followed by early nest fecundity/ chick
survival (0.38) and late nest fecundity/chick survival (0.08). Population stability could be
achieved by increasing adult & first year survival by 5%. Further research is required to
determine when and where factors limiting survival are operating.




                                      POSTER BOARD 49
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN BIOLOGY (A ROCK) AND PHYSICS (A HARD
PLACE) FOR TIDAL ENERGY RESEARCH

Tamsin Smith1, Beth Scott1
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Science, (Ecology)


The physical properties of seawater effects different marine species (with differing
morphologies) disproportionately according to their Reynolds numbers (the ratio of inertial to
viscous forces). This influences the interaction between all individuals but is especially
important with respect to foraging behaviour of the different trophic levels.

It is thought that most marine animals use the current profile to enhance their foraging and
this is particularly observable in surface feeding birds such as the black-legged kittiwake
(Rissa tridactyla) that uses upwelling features in the water column or interacts with bottom
feeding animals which herd prey up to the surface. Turbulent flows can act to coagulate prey
(for example within tidal convergences) but, in some areas, it can also increase the energetic
cost of foraging (e.g. for deep diving birds). In the same way, the efficiency of tidal energy
turbines is significantly reduced in turbulent flows. The energy cost of turbulence is higher in
turbines than birds due to the additional the risk of cavitation (which can severely damage the
device).

This highlights the importance of turbine placement both with respect to possible interaction
with marine animals and device efficiency. The Isle of May is taken as a study site to
investigate the utilisation of tidally changing current profiles by the local marine community.
Time dependant current profiles will be quantitatively described along with animal
distribution and usage and a tidal energy turbine will be deployed in order to assess the effect
on flow regimes and any change in animal behaviour.




                                       POSTER BOARD 50
GROWTH AND SURVIVAL RATES OF DRYOBALANOPS SEEDLINGS IN A
RECIPROCAL TRANSPLANT EXPERIMENT IN BRUNEI

Rahayu Sukmaria Sukri1, David F.R.P. Burslem1 and Kamariah Abu Salim2
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (Ecology)
2
  Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam


Field-based reciprocal transplant experiments have been recently employed as in-situ tests of
habitat associations of tropical trees. This study uses a reciprocal transplant design to
investigate the effects of soil type and topographic position on growth and survival of
Dipterocarpaceae tree seedlings in Brunei. The target species were Dryobalanops aromatica,
a sandy-soil specialist, and Dryobalanops rappa, a peat swamp specialist. Seedlings of the
two species were planted in nine gap-understorey plot pairs on ridge, slope and valley
positions in Mixed Dipterocarp Forest at Andulau (infertile sandy soil) and Belalong (fertile
clay-rich soil). The experiment tests the hypothesis that Dryobalanops seedlings manifest a
trade-off between survival and growth rates across soil types, which serves as the mechanism
underlying habitat specialisation.




                                      POSTER BOARD 51
FROM PATTERN TO PROCESS: MAPPING SEDIMENT FUNCTION

Teal, L. R.1,3, Fones, G.R.2, Parker, E.R.3, Solan M.1
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Science, Oceanlab (Ecology)
2
  CEFAS, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft
3
  Univeristy of Portsmouth, SEES, Portsmouth


In order to link biological data on bioturbation to ecosystem processes in the sediment, such
as nutrient regeneration, simultaneous in-situ measurements of both biology and sediment
chemistry conditions are required. A novel in-situ technique has been developed for
measuring sediment redox conditions alongside biological activity (bioturbation) by
combining DGT gels and time-lapse sediment profile imaging (t-SPI). The SPI including the
gels (g-SPI) was deployed at two sites within the North Sea (Oyster Ground and Dogger
Bank) that support different biological communities. The profile images show higher
biological activity at the Oyster ground than the Dogger Bank. DGT profiles further suggest
that bioturbation is a primary determinant of Fe and Mn cycling patterns at the Oyster
Ground, where spatial heterogeneity in sediment processes is also observed. At the Dogger
Bank sediment mixing is shallow and high sulphate reduction rates explain the discrepancy
between the apparent mixing depth (where Fe is bound to the sediment) and DGT Fe profiles
(where Fe appears in the porewaters). The link between biology and chemistry provides a key
step towards determining the function of macrofauna in relation to reaction rates (nutrient
cycling) within the sediment. Furthermore, the novel technique is capable of measuring not
only patterns across an area, but can quantify sediment function (processes) and explicitly
link organism-sediment relations to ecologically relevant processes.




                                      POSTER BOARD 52
TEMPORAL VARIATION IN SEDIMENT PERMEABILITY CHANGES THE
METABOLIC FUNCTIONING OF ESTUARINE SANDS

Eva-Maria Zetsche1, David G. Lumsdon2, Ursula Witte1
1
  Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Oceanlab, (Ecology)
2
  The Macaulay Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK


Estuaries play a major role in the provision of goods and services to humans and are key to
the global carbon cycle. They form the interface between freshwater and marine environments
making them particularly prone to human impacts such as increased land run-off. Subsequent
increased nutrient and particle loadings may, for example, lead to enhanced growth of
microorganisms, and subsequent clogging of pore spaces reducing sediment permeability.

Permeability is a key factor allowing advective transport processes to dominate the cycling of
material in sandy sediments. It is influenced by various biological and physical characteristics
and as these vary with time and space, this may result in significant changes in permeability
and consequently ecosystem functioning.

In this study we identify seasonality in an intertidal sandflat and its subsequent influence on
sediment metabolism. Ex situ determinations of sediment oxygen consumption (SOC) in
stirred benthic chamber incubations were combined with measurements of permeability and
sediment characteristics on a bi-monthly basis for one year. Findings suggest that
permeabilities enabled advective pore water exchange at all times and expressed seasonality.
SOC also revealed a seasonal signal with higher respiration rates in summer corresponding to
observed lower permeabilities. Despite generally poor macrofaunal presence, increased
respiration rates during summer may result from increased macrofaunal abundances, whereas
the increased presence of microphytobenthos or enhanced deposition of phytodetritus may
explain the decrease in permeability. Acknowledging that sediment permeability is prone to
this




                                       POSTER BOARD 53

				
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