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Strategies shrubby junipers adopt to tolerate drought differ by site

Drought-induced dieback episodes are globally reported among forest ecosystems but they have been understudied in scrublands. Chronically-stressed individuals are supposed to be more vulnerable prior to drought which triggers death. Drought-triggered dieback and mortality events affecting Mediterranean Juniperus phoenicea scrublands were analyzed in two sites with contrasting climate and soil conditions located in Spain. The radial growth patterns of coexisting living and dead junipers, including the calculation of growth statistics used as early-warning signals, quantified growth response to climate, were characterized and the wood C and O isotope discrimination was analyzed. In the inland, continental site with rocky substrates (Yaso, Huesca, N Spain), dead junipers grew less than living junipers about three decades prior to the dieback started in 2016. However, in the coastal, mild site with sandy soils (Doñana, Huelva, SW Spain), dead junipers were smaller but grew more than living junipers about two decades before the dieback onset in 2005. The only common patterns between sites were the higher growth coherence in both living and dead junipers prior to the dieback, and the decrease in growth persistence of dead junipers. Cool and wet conditions in the prior winter and current spring, and cool summer conditions enhanced juniper growth. In Doñana, growth of living individuals was more reduced by warm July conditions than in the case of dead individuals. Higher ?13C values in Yaso indicate also more pronounced drought stress. In Yaso, dead junipers presented lower ?18O values, but the opposite occurred in Doñana suggesting different changes in stomatal conductance prior to death. Warm summer conditions enhance evapotranspiration rates and trigger dieback in this shallow-rooted species, particularly in sites with a poor water-holding capacity. Chronic, slow growth is not always a reliable predictor of drought-triggered mortality. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Camarero et al (2020) Dieback and mortality of junipers caused by drought: Dissimilar growth and wood isotope patterns preceding shrub death. Agr Forest Meteorol 291, 108078. DOI 10.1016/j.agrformet.2020.108078


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168192320301805?dgcid=author#ack0001
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The costs of nestling begging behavior

The costs of nestling begging behavior

Many theoretical models on the evolution of nestling begging assume this behavior is costly, so that only nestlings in real need of food would profit from giving intensive signals to parents. However, evidence accumulated for the last 2 decades is either contradictory (growth costs) or scant (immunological cost). Here, the existence of both costs is experimentally tested in pied flycatcher nestlings, a species in which parents appropriately respond to honest begging signals. Nestlings were paired by nest of origin and similar body mass. In each pair, a nestling was forced to beg for 51s/meal, whereas the other begged for only 3.4s/meal, both receiving the same amount of food. Simultaneously, the nestling immune response to an antigen (phytohemagglutinin) was measured. Experimental nestlings showed reduced immunocompetence compared with control chicks, which in this species could be regarded as a genuine direct cost. High-begging nestlings also gained less mass during the daylight activity hours. However, they lost less mass while resting at night, resulting in similar mass gains for both groups across the whole daily cycle. This suggests that negative effects of excess begging on mass gain can be compensated for by nestlings, thus avoiding the negative fitness consequences (i.e., cost) of a retarded growth. Mixed results found in previous studies may reflect interspecific differences in compensatory changes in mass gain. But if such differences do not map into fitness consequences, they may be of little help to answer the question of whether begging entails direct growth costs. Redondo et al (2016) Pied flycatcher nestlings incur immunological but not growth begging costs. Behav Ecol doi: 10.1093/beheco/arw045


http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/04/08/beheco.arw045.abstract?keytype=ref&ijkey=yWq6I8LCzowWIzD