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Open access

Rafal Baranski, Magdalena Klimek-Chodacka and Aneta Lukasiewicz

Abstract

In this review, we present genetically modified (GM) horticultural events that have passed the regulatory process and have been approved for cultivation or food use in different countries. The first authorization or deregulation of a GM horticultural plant issued 25 years ago initiated a fast expansion of GM organisms (GMO) engineered by using gene transfer technology. The list of GM horticultural species comprises representatives of vegetables, fruit plants and ornamentals. We describe their unique characteristics, often not achievable by conventional breeding, and how they were developed, and the approval process. Information on the adoption of GM horticultural cultivars and sale is accessed if commercialization has occurred. The review comprises, among others, Flavr SavrTM and other tomato cultivars with delayed ripening and improved shelf-life, insect-resistant eggplant (or brinjal), as well as virus-resistant squash, melon and the common bean, and also fruit trees, plum and papaya. Cultivation of the latter was particularly valuable to farmers in Hawaii as it ensured restoration of papaya production devastated earlier by the Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV). In contrast, a plum resistant to sharka (Plum pox virus; PPV) deregulated in the USA is still awaiting commercialization. GM events with improved quality include the recently marketed non-browning apple and high-lycopene pineapple. We also present orange petunia, blue ‘Applause’ rose and Moon-series carnations with a modified purple and violet flower colour. Finally, we discuss prospects of GM horticultural plants, including their development using promising new breeding technologies relying on genome editing and considered as an alternative to the transgenic approach.

Open access

Oliver Gailing and Ruhua Zhang

Abstract

Reproductive isolation between related oak species within one taxonomic section is incomplete. Even though pre- and post­zygotic isolation mechanisms have been described for interfer­tile oak species, natural hybridization is common in contact zones between related oaks. The apparent restriction of inter­specific hybrids between ecologically divergent species to intermediate environments in contact zones suggests postzy­gotic isolation via environmental selection against hybrids in parental environments. Overrepresentation of hybrids in seeds as compared to adult trees provides additional indirect evi­dence for selection against hybrids. Here, we used genetic assignment analyses in progeny obtained from a sympatric stand of Quercus rubra and Quercus ellipsoidalis, two interfertile species with different adaptations to drought, to characterize the number of hybrids and “pure” species in the non-germinated acorns and in seedlings. The occurrence of 43.6 % F1 hybrids and introgressive forms among the non-germinated acorns and their very low frequency in the seedlings (9.3 %) is to our knowledge the first direct evidence for early selection against hybrids in oaks possibly as result of genetic incompatibilities. Additionally, we found a signature of positive selection on EST-SSR PIE200 in Q. rubra which needs further confirmation. These results contribute to our under­standing of reproductive isolation and divergence between interfertile oak species with different ecological adaptations.

Open access

Himangshu Dutta

Abstract

Global warming, light pollution and noise are common human-induced environmental problems that are escalating at a high rate. Their consequences on wildlife have mostly been overlooked, with the exception of a few species with respect to climate change. The problems often occur simultaneously and exert their negative effects together at the same time. In other words, their impacts are combined. Studies have never focused on more than one problem, and so, such combined effects have never been understood properly. The review addresses this lacuna in the case of amphibians, which are a highly vulnerable group. It divides the overall impacts of the problems into seven categories (behaviour, health, movement, distribution, phenology, development and reproductive success) and then assesses their combined impact through statistical analyses. It revealed that amphibian calling is the most vulnerable aspect to the combined impacts. This could provide important input for conservation of amphibians.

Open access

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

Punnat Changsalak, Arunothai Jampeetong and Narin Printarakul

Abstract

Trachycarpidium echinatum (Pottiaceae) is here reported as a new genus and species for Thailand, where it occurs on soil in deciduous dipterocarp-oak hardwood seasonal forest in a protected area of the Hariphunchai Education Centre of Chiang Mai University, Lamphun Province, northern Thailand. A description, line drawings, photographs and SEM micrographs based on Thai material are provided, and the ecology and distribution of this species are described and discussed.

Open access

Daniela Franz, Manuel Acosta, Núria Altimir, Nicola Arriga, Dominique Arrouays, Marc Aubinet, Mika Aurela, Edward Ayres, Ana López-Ballesteros, Mireille Barbaste, Daniel Berveiller, Sébastien Biraud, Hakima Boukir, Timothy Brown, Christian Brümmer, Nina Buchmann, George Burba, Arnaud Carrara, Allessandro Cescatti, Eric Ceschia, Robert Clement, Edoardo Cremonese, Patrick Crill, Eva Darenova, Sigrid Dengel, Petra D’Odorico, Gianluca Filippa, Stefan Fleck, Gerardo Fratini, Roland Fuß, Bert Gielen, Sébastien Gogo, John Grace, Alexander Graf, Achim Grelle, Patrick Gross, Thomas Grünwald, Sami Haapanala, Markus Hehn, Bernard Heinesch, Jouni Heiskanen, Mathias Herbst, Christine Herschlein, Lukas Hörtnagl, Koen Hufkens, Andreas Ibrom, Claudy Jolivet, Lilian Joly, Michael Jones, Ralf Kiese, Leif Klemedtsson, Natascha Kljun, Katja Klumpp, Pasi Kolari, Olaf Kolle, Andrew Kowalski, Werner Kutsch, Tuomas Laurila, Anne de Ligne, Sune Linder, Anders Lindroth, Annalea Lohila, Bernhard Longdoz, Ivan Mammarella, Tanguy Manise, Sara Maraňón Jiménez, Giorgio Matteucci, Matthias Mauder, Philip Meier, Lutz Merbold, Simone Mereu, Stefan Metzger, Mirco Migliavacca, Meelis Mölder, Leonardo Montagnani, Christine Moureaux, David Nelson, Eiko Nemitz, Giacomo Nicolini, Mats B. Nilsson, Maarten Op de Beeck, Bruce Osborne, Mikaell Ottosson Löfvenius, Marian Pavelka, Matthias Peichl, Olli Peltola, Mari Pihlatie, Andrea Pitacco, Radek Pokorný, Jukka Pumpanen, Céline Ratié, Corinna Rebmann, Marilyn Roland, Simone Sabbatini, Nicolas P.A. Saby, Matthew Saunders, Hans Peter Schmid, Marion Schrumpf, Pavel Sedlák, Penelope Serrano Ortiz, Lukas Siebicke, Ladislav Šigut, Hanna Silvennoinen, Guillaume Simioni, Ute Skiba, Oliver Sonnentag, Kamel Soudani, Patrice Soulé, Rainer Steinbrecher, Tiphaine Tallec, Anne Thimonier, Eeva-Stiina Tuittila, Juha-Pekka Tuovinen, Patrik Vestin, Gaëlle Vincent, Caroline Vincke, Domenico Vitale, Peter Waldner, Per Weslien, Lisa Wingate, Georg Wohlfahrt, Mark Zahniser and Timo Vesala

Abstract

Research infrastructures play a key role in launching a new generation of integrated long-term, geographically distributed observation programmes designed to monitor climate change, better understand its impacts on global ecosystems, and evaluate possible mitigation and adaptation strategies. The pan-European Integrated Carbon Observation System combines carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG; CO2, CH4, N2O, H2O) observations within the atmosphere, terrestrial ecosystems and oceans. High-precision measurements are obtained using standardised methodologies, are centrally processed and openly available in a traceable and verifiable fashion in combination with detailed metadata. The Integrated Carbon Observation System ecosystem station network aims to sample climate and land-cover variability across Europe. In addition to GHG flux measurements, a large set of complementary data (including management practices, vegetation and soil characteristics) is collected to support the interpretation, spatial upscaling and modelling of observed ecosystem carbon and GHG dynamics. The applied sampling design was developed and formulated in protocols by the scientific community, representing a trade-off between an ideal dataset and practical feasibility. The use of open-access, high-quality and multi-level data products by different user communities is crucial for the Integrated Carbon Observation System in order to achieve its scientific potential and societal value.

Open access

Paolo Manfredi, Chiara Cassinari, Roberta Salvi, Raffaella Battaglia, Adriano Marocco and Marco Trevisan

Summary

Reconstitution is a pedotechnique to counter land degradation and desertification. The reconstitution, patented by the research laboratory m.c.m. Ecosistemi, applies chemical-mechanical actions to a mixture of degraded soil and matrices (such as waste sludge) in order to produce reconstituted soil, a very high fertility soil. This paper is about a pot study in a greenhouse to investigate how reconstituted soil affects emergence speed and seminal roots development of Zea mays L. seedlings, in comparison with a Technosol. 200 seedlings are monitored up to the 16th day after the seeding. The emergence percentage is 98% on reconstituted soil and 91% on Technosol. Average length and weight of fresh seminal roots are higher on reconstituted soil.

Open access

Kazuhito Kita, Hirokazu Kon, Wataru Ishizuka, Evgenios Agathokleous and Makoto Kuromaru

Abstract

We grafted scions of Dahurian larch (Larix gmelinii var. japonica) onto Japanese larch (L. kaempferi) and F1 hybrid larch (L. gmeli­nii var. japonica × L. kaempferi) rootstocks and examined root­stock-scion compatibility by assessing the survival rate (SR) in two independent experiments. Scion overgrowth on the root­stock was not observed. SR was not significantly different among rootstocks due to large interquartile ranges (IQR) among clones within a rootstock type. Results suggested that the SR was more dependent on the clonal characteristics of the scion than on the growth vigor of the rootstock. Shoot elonga­tion of grafts on F1 hybrid rootstock was superior to that of grafts on Japanese larch rootstock. Selection of an appropriate combination of scion and rootstock may improve the SR of grafted Dahurian larch and shorten the cultivation period.

Open access

Sigrid Dengel, Alexander Graf, Thomas Grünwald, Markus Hehn, Pasi Kolari, Mikaell Ottosson Löfvenius, Lutz Merbold, Giacomo Nicolini and Marian Pavelka

Abstract

Precipitation is one of the most important abiotic variables related to plant growth. Using standardised measurements improves the comparability and quality of precipitation data as well as all other data within the Integrated Carbon Observation System network. Despite the spatial and temporal variation of some types of precipitation, a single point measurement satisfies the requirement as an ancillary variable for eddy covariance measurements. Here the term precipitation includes: rain, snowfall (liquid water equivalent) and snow depth, with the latter two being of interest only where occurring. Weighing gauges defined as Integrated Carbon Observation System standard with the capacity of continuously measuring liquid and solid precipitation are installed free-standing, away from obstacles obstructing rain or snowfall. In order to minimise wind-induced errors, gauges are shielded either naturally or artificially to reduce the adverse effect of wind speed on the measurements. Following standardised methods strengthens the compatibility and comparability of data with other standardised environmental observation networks while opening the possibility for synthesis studies of different precipitation measurement methodologies and types including a wide range of ecosystems and geolocations across Europe.