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Maria A. Sarika, Anastasia N. Christopoulou, Sevasti D. Zervou and Andreas C. Zikos

Abstract

The vegetation of the European Natura 2000 protected area of Spercheios river and Maliakos gulf, that includes Mediterranean sclerophyllous shrublands, as well as riverine and coastal habitats, was studied during 2000 and 2014–2015. The vegetation was analysed following the Braun-Blanquet method. Twenty six plant communities were recorded, one of which (Pistacio terebinthi-Quercetum cocciferae) described for the first time. The communities belong to fifteen alliances, fourteen orders and eleven phytosociological classes. The distinguished vegetation units are described, presented in phytosociological tables and compared with similar communities from other Mediterranean countries. Eleven different habitat types were identified. Two of them (“Quercus coccifera woods” and “Reed beds”) are Greek habitat types, while the rest are included in Annex I of the Directive 92/43/EEC. Three of the latter (1420, 2110, 3170) have a scattered presence in the Natura 2000 network in Greece, while one (3170) is a priority habitat type.

Open access

Denisa Bazalová, Katarína Botková, Katarína Hegedüšová, Jana Májeková, Jana Medvecká, Mária Šibíková, Iveta Škodová, Mária Zaliberová and Ivan Jarolímek

Abstract

Replacing native forests by alien tree plantations can lead to changes in the species composition of the understory. However, differences in the understory species spectrum can also be a part of the natural variability of forest stands. We have tested the suitability of the twin plots method for an evaluation of the impact of alien trees on the species composition of the understory. This research was conducted on an alluvial plain (SW Slovakia) that was originally covered by a hardwood floodplain forest. The study was based on 7 twin plots of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and native forest plots, with a maximum distance of 100 meters between the members of the twins. The dissimilarity of the plots within the black locust forest was significantly lower than the dissimilarity between the twin plots. In addition, the dissimilarity of the plots within the hardwood floodplain forest was also significantly lower than the dissimilarity between the twin plots. Under the same environmental conditions, the higher dissimilarity of the twin plots was caused by major edificators and their impact on the understory vegetation. The twin plots method proved to be a suitable tool for analyses of the impact of alien trees on understory vegetation.

Open access

Somayeh Esfandani-Bozchaloyi, Masoud Sheidai, Maryam Keshavarzi and Zahra Noormohammadi

Abstract

Species identification is fundamentally important within the fields of biology, biogeography, ecology and conservation. The genus Geranium L. (Geraniaceae) comprises about 430 species distributed throughout most parts of the world. According to the most recent treatments, subg. Geranium is the largest subgenus with over 370 species classified in ten sections. The subg. Geranium is represented in Iran by 13 species. These species are grouped 3 sections. In spite vast distribution of many Geranium species that grow in Iran, there are not any available report on their genetic diversity, mode of divergence and patterns of dispersal.

Therefore, we performed molecular (ISSR markers) and morphological studies of 102 accessions from 13 species of Geranium (subg. Geranium) that were collected from different habitats in Iran. The aims of present study are: 1) can ISSR markers identify Geranium species, 2) what is the genetic structure of these taxa in Iran, and 3) to investigate the species inter-relationship? The present study revealed that combination of morphological and ISSR data can identify the species.

Open access

Samar Damiati

Summary

Background: Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be associated with pregnancy loss. Asymmetric dimethyl-L-arginine (ADMA) and symmetric dimethyl-L-arginine (SDMA) are arginine analogues that have direct and indirect effects on nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and endothelial dysfunction. This study aimed to evaluate ADMA and SDMA levels among women with history of pregnancy loss compared to women without history of pregnancy loss and all participants were suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

Methods: To investigate the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and ADMA and SDMA, both groups of women were experiencing vitamin D deficiency. All women enrolled in this study had a vitamin D level below 75 nmol/L and were not pregnant. ADMA and SDMA levels were investigated in 28 women without a history of pregnancy loss and 19 women with a history of pregnancy loss.

Results: No statistically significant differences were found in ADMA and SDMA levels among the two groups. The correlation analysis showed that vitamin D deficiency was not significantly inversely correlated with ADMA and SDMA in women without a history of pregnancy loss, but was significantly correlated with SDMA in women with a history of pregnancy loss.

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency, in women with or without a history of failed clinical pregnancies, has no effect on the circulating levels of ADMA and SDMA. Further studies are needed to investigate any possible link between these parameters.

Open access

Selda Telo, Mutlu Kuluöztürk, Figen Deveci, Gamze Kırkıl, Önsel Öner and Dilara Kaman

Summary

Background: The aim of this study was to determine the level of serum cystatin C (CysC) in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) during exacerbation and stable periods and to investigate its potential diagnostic value and the relationship between CysC levels and the pulmonary function test (PFT).

Methods: One hundred twenty-six patients with COPD (68 in stable periods, 58 during exacerbation periods) and 50 healthy subjects were included in the study. PFT, body mass index (BMI), white blood cell counts, C-reactive protein (CRP), serum urea and creatinine levels were evaluated in both groups of patients. CysC levels were measured in all participants.

Results: Serum CysC levels were statistically higher in both COPD groups than the control group (p<0.001 for both) although there was no statistically significant difference between COPD groups (p>0.05). CysC levels showed negative correlation with forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and a positive correlation with C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in patients with stable COPD. There was a positive correlation between serum CysC levels and serum urea, creatinine, CRP levels in patients with COPD exacerbation (r=0.333, p=0.011; r=0.260, p=0.049; r=0.414, p<0.01 respectively). When stable COPD and control groups were evaluated, serum CysC had an area under the curve (AUC) in the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.951 (0.909–0.994 95% CI: p<0.001).

Conclusions: Our results showed that CysC levels increased in both COPD groups. Increased CysC levels may be related with lung function decline and inflammation in COPD patients. In addition, CysC levels may be a potential indicator for the diagnosis of COPD.