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Modeling the Spatial Distribution and Fruiting Pattern of a Key Tree Species in a Neotropical Forest: Methodology and Potential Applications

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Background: The movement patterns of wild animals depend crucially on the spatial and temporal availability of resources in their habitat. To date, most attempts to model this relationship were forced to rely on simplified assumptions about the spatiotemporal distribution of food resources. Here we demonstrate how advances in statistics permit the combination of sparse ground sampling with remote sensing imagery to generate biological relevant, spatially and temporally explicit distributions of food resources. We illustrate our procedure by creating a detailed simulation model of fruit production patterns for Dipteryx oleifera, a keystone tree species, on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama. Methodology and Principal Findings: Aerial photographs providing GPS positions for large, canopy trees, the complete census of a 50-ha and 25-ha area, diameter at breast height data from haphazardly sampled trees and long-term phenology data from six trees were used to fit 1) a point process model of tree spatial distribution and 2) a generalized linear mixed-effect model of temporal variation of fruit production. The fitted parameters from these models are then used to create a stochastic simulation model which incorporates spatio-temporal variations of D. oleifera fruit availability on BCI. Conclusions and Significance: We present a framework that can provide a statistical characterization of the habitat that can be included in agent-based models of animal movements. When environmental heterogeneity cannot be exhaustively mapped, this approach can be a powerful alternative. The results of our model on the spatio-temporal variation in D. oleifera fruit availability will be used to understand behavioral and movement patterns of several species on BCI.

Geology of the Martian crustal dichotomy boundary: Age, modifications, and implications for modeling efforts

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The contrast in crustal thickness, surface age, elevation, and morphology between the southern cratered highlands and northern lowland plains of Mars is termed the crustal dichotomy. The oldest exposed sections of the crustal dichotomy boundary are ancient cratered slopes, which influenced post-Noachian fresh crater morphometry, Late Noachian valley network planform, and the degradation patterns of Middle to Late Noachian (similar to 3.92-3.7 Ga) impact craters. Noachian visible and topographically defined impact craters at the top of the cratered slope show no evidence of flexure-induced normal faulting. These observations and published geophysical data collectively require an Early to Pre-Noachian age for the crustal dichotomy, prior to the largest recognized impact basins. Late Noachian plateau deposits and more prolonged Tharsis volcanism appear to have buried parts of the old cratered slope, and fretted terrain developed in this transition zone during the Early Hesperian Epoch (similar to 3.7-3.6 Ga). Fretted/knobby terrains, lowland plains, and most visible structures (wrinkle ridges, fractures, and normal faults) postdate Noachian crater modification and are several hundred million years younger than the cratered slope of the crustal dichotomy, so they provide no valid basis or constraint for models of its formation. Long-wavelength topography in cratered terrain dates to Early to Pre-Noachian time and provides a useful model constraint. Geological and geophysical observations are thus reconciled around an early age and relatively rapid development of the Martian crustal dichotomy.

Asteraceae

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51. Family Syrphidae

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9. Family Lygistorrhinidae

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Origin of the structure and planform of small impact craters in fractured targets: Endurance Crater at Meridiani Planum, Mars

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We present observations and models that together explain many hallmarks of the structure and growth of small impact craters forming in targets with aligned fractures. Endurance Crater at Meridiani Planum on Mars (diameter [approximate]150 m) formed in horizontally-layered aeolian sandstones with a prominent set of wide, orthogonal joints. A structural model of Endurance Crater is assembled and used to estimate the transient crater planform. The model is based on observations from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity: (a) bedding plane orientations and layer thicknesses measured from stereo image pairs; (b) a digital elevation model of the whole crater at 0.3 m resolution; and (c) color image panoramas of the upper crater walls. This model implies that the crater's current shape was mostly determined by highly asymmetric excavation rather than long-term wind-mediated erosion. We show that modal azimuths of conjugate fractures in the surrounding rocks are aligned with the square component of the present-day crater planform, suggesting excavation was carried farther in the direction of fracture alignments. This was previously observed at Barringer Crater in Arizona and we show the same relationship also holds for Tswaing Crater in South Africa. We present models of crater growth in which excavation creates a "stellate" transient cavity that is concave-cuspate in planform. These models reproduce the "lenticular-crescentic" layering pattern in the walls of some polygonal impact craters such as Endurance and Barringer Craters, and suggest a common origin for tear faults and some crater rays. We also demonstrate a method for detailed error analysis of stereogrammetric measurements of bedding plane orientations.

An efficient noninvasive method for discriminating among faeces of sympatric North American Canids

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Molecular technology can identify species noninvasively from faeces found in the field. We describe a fast and reliable genetic method that differentiates faeces of five potentially sympatric North American canids without using multiple primer sets or restriction enzyme digestion. Our primer set amplifies a short fragment (237–288 bp) of the mitochondrial d-loop that is a different length in each species: kit fox (Vulpes macrotis), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), coyote (Canis latrans), and dog (Canis familiaris). We extensively tested our technique using published and novel d-loop sequences and then applied it to two large faecal data sets collected in California and Virginia. It provides an efficient tool for noninvasively distinguishing sympatric canids in diverse regions of North America.

Aitken Crater and Its Environs

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The dynamic evolutionary history of the bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) in the Caribbean revealed by a multigene analysis

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BACKGROUND: The bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) is a small nectivorous and frugivorous emberizine bird (order Passeriformes) that is an abundant resident throughout the Caribbean region. We used multi-gene analyses to investigate the evolutionary history of this species throughout its distribution in the West Indies and in South and Middle America. We sequenced six mitochondrial genes (3744 base pairs) and three nuclear genes (2049 base pairs) for forty-four bananaquits and three outgroup species. We infer the ancestral area of the present-day bananaquit populations, report on the species' phylogenetic, biogeographic and evolutionary history, and propose scenarios for its diversification and range expansion. RESULTS: Phylogenetic concordance between mitochondrial and nuclear genes at the base of the bananaquit phylogeny supported a West Indian origin for continental populations. Multi-gene analysis showing genetic remnants of successive colonization events in the Lesser Antilles reinforced earlier research demonstrating that bananaquits alternate periods of invasiveness and colonization with biogeographic quiescence. Although nuclear genes provided insufficient information at the tips of the tree to further evaluate relationships of closely allied but strongly supported mitochondrial DNA clades, the discrepancy between mitochondrial and nuclear data in the population of Dominican Republic suggested that the mitochondrial genome was recently acquired by introgression from Jamaica. CONCLUSION: This study represents one of the most complete phylogeographic analyses of its kind and reveals three patterns that are not commonly appreciated in birds: (1) island to mainland colonization, (2) multiple expansion phases, and (3) mitochondrial genome replacement. The detail revealed by this analysis will guide evolutionary analyses of populations in archipelagos such as the West Indies, which include islands varying in size, age, and geological history. Our results suggest that multi-gene phylogenies will permit improved comparative analysis of the evolutionary histories of different lineages in the same geographical setting, which provide replicated "natural experiments" for testing evolutionary hypotheses.
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