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Eye flukes are common infections of freshwater fish and their occurrence as metacercarial stages may occur non-randomly resulting in an asymmetrical distribution within the host eyes. However, from previous studies the presentation of bias by these trematodes lacks consistency suggesting that congenital asymmetrical effects are unlikely to be the cause and exogenous factors, such as environmental stress, may be more influential. The present study, undertaken over a 4-year period, investigates the impact of an extreme heatwave and drought on the annual bilateral asymmetry and occurrence of two eye fluke species (Diplostomum sp. in the lens and Tylodelphys sp. in the vitreous humour) from perch (Perca fluviatilis) and roach (Rutilus rutilus). The onset of the extreme climatic event resulted in a significant negative effect on the occurrence of the eye flukes. Bilateral asymmetry, which was present within both trematode species and hosts, appeared to be highly variable between eye fluke and fish species and also year of study. However, during the pre-drought period both host species demonstrated significant asymmetry for Tylodelphys sp. but not for Diplostomum sp. while during the drought this bias was reversed. The potential role of fluctuating asymmetry of fish hosts in structuring the bilateral asymmetry of eye flukes is discussed.
We study the impact of a severe drought on children's educational outcomes in rural Maharashtra, a state in central India. Using pooled cross section data on children's test scores, we employ a difference-in-differences methodology to estimate the impact. We find that the drought caused a decline of 4.14 per cent in math scores and 2.67 per cent in reading scores of affected children. We also study heterogeneity in the impact by gender, age, parents' schooling, and household wealth, finding evidence in support of an income effect whereby households with limited means to smooth consumption disinvest in their children in response to the drought.
Tree establishment in tropical dry forests is constrained by drought-related seedling mortality during early stages of recruitment. Predicted increases in the duration of growing-season droughts in the future pose a significant threat to these ecosystems that could significantly alter their vegetation structure and composition. Here, we examined drought tolerance in seedlings of seven common dry-forest tree species from the Indian subcontinent. We conducted a dry-down experiment on 3-wk-old seedlings, and asked whether the key plant functional traits, specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), seed size and stem specific density (SSD) were good predictors of seedling growth under well-watered conditions, and survival during drought. Seedlings displayed substantial drought tolerance with most seedlings surviving for more than 2 wk under protracted drought. Seed size in combination with SLA predicted seedling growth under well-watered conditions and seed size predicted survival under drought. In contrast to our expectations, seedlings with lower SSD survived for longer without water. Our results suggest that dry-forest species will be differentially affected by the predicted increases in the duration of growing-season droughts, and detrimental effects will be more severe for species with smaller seeds.
Among grain legumes, faba bean is reputed to be relatively sensitive to drought stress. Epicuticular wax (ECW) quantity is considered as an important drought adaptation strategy in plant species. This study aimed to define variation in leaf ECW concentration as a drought-adaptive trait in 197 faba bean accessions under well-watered conditions. The relationship between ECW and stomatal characteristics was also investigated. Highly significant differences were found in the ECW concentration, which ranged from 0.680 to 2.104 mg/dm2. No relationships were found between ECW and any measure of stomatal morphology and function. This study provides evidence of the wide variation in ECW in faba bean germplasm, which is independent of stomatal characteristics and leaf water content. This variation may allow the genetic improvement of ECW as a drought-adaptive character in faba bean breeding programs aiming at the economical use of water.
Lentil is now an integral part of prairie cropping systems. Climate forecasts point to variable and increased drought frequency, putting lentil production in jeopardy. Future lentil genotypes will require root systems that can extract more water under drought conditions. This study focuses on root diameter and root tip number, traits known to play an important role in water uptake during drought. We compared the total root length (TRL) in three soil horizons of both wild and cultivated lentil genotypes for three root diameter classes when plants were grown under moderate or severe drought, and when re-watered after exposure to moderate drought conditions. Our study demonstrates that roots of both wild and cultivated lentil genotypes can be categorized into very fine, fine and small diameter classes. Some wild lentil genotypes had significantly higher TRL in the B and C soil horizons when grown under severe or moderate drought and therefore, could act as resources for the transfer of root traits to cultivated lentil genotypes. Further evaluations focused on the root systems of interspecific recombinant inbred lines under drought conditions will be required to determine whether these traits are heritable.
The North China Famine of 1876–1879 has received some attention recently, but little of this work has focused on the north-western province of Shaanxi. This imbalance is reflected in the local histories that devote far more space to the documentation and commemoration of the Hui rebellion than to the famine. This paper argues that the drought of those years and the ensuing famine is historically much more significant than this biased documentation would suggest, and that the rebellion can only be fully understood by paying attention to the environmental and social conditions in which it unfolded. Further, the paper engages with Mike Davis’s argument that portrays the famine in China as part of a ‘late-Victorian holocaust.’ While persuasive, his focus on outside forces is problematic as it ignores the history of the Qing Empire as an expanding force in itself and inadvertently reinforces the victimization narrative that dominates modern Chinese historiography.
Drought stress ‘particularly at seedling stage’ causes morpho-physiological differences in wheat which are crucial for its survival and adaptability. In the present study, 209 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from synthetic wheat (W7984)× ‘Opata’ (also known as SynOpRIL) population were investigated under well-watered and water-limited conditions to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for morphological traits at seedling stage. Analysis of variance revealed significant differences (P < 0.01) among RILs, and water treatments for all traits with moderate to high broad sense heritability. Pearson's coefficient of correlation revealed positive correlation among all traits except dry root weight that showed poor correlation with fresh shoot weight (FSW) under water-limited conditions. A high-density linkage map was constructed with 2639 genotyping-by-sequencing markers and covering 5047 cM with an average marker density of 2 markers/cM. Composite interval mapping identified 16 QTL distributed over nine chromosomes, of which six were identified under well-watered and 10 in water-limited conditions. These QTL explained from 4 to 59% of the phenotypic variance. Six QTL were identified on chromosome 7B; three for shoot length under water-limited conditions (QSL.nust-7B) at 64, 104 and 221 cM, two for fresh root weight (QFRW.nust-7B) at 124 and 128 cM, and one for root length (QRL.nust-7B) at 122 cM positions. QFSW.nust-7B appeared to be the most significant QTL explaining 59% of the phenotypic variance and also associated with FSW at well-watered conditions. These QTL could serve as target regions for candidate gene discovery and marker-assisted selection in wheat breeding.
Drought represents one of the major constraints on agricultural productivity and food security and in future is destined to spread widely as a consequence of climate change. Research efforts are focused on developing strategies to make crops more resilient and to mitigate the effects of stress on crop production. In this context, the use of root-associated microbial communities and chemical priming strategies able to improve plant tolerance to abiotic stresses, including drought, have attracted increasing attention in recent years. The current review offers an overview of recent research aimed at verifying the role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and chemical agents to improve plant tolerance to drought and to highlight the mechanisms involved in this improvement. Attention will be devoted mainly to current knowledge on the mechanisms involved in water transport.
Identifying climates favoring extreme weather phenomena is a primary aim of paleoclimate and paleohydrological research. Here, we present a well-dated, late Holocene Dead Sea sediment record of debris flows covering 3.3 to 1.9 cal ka BP. Twenty-three graded layers deposited in shallow waters near the western Dead Sea shore were identified by microfacies analysis. These layers represent distal subaquatic deposits of debris flows triggered by torrential rainstorms over the adjacent western Dead Sea escarpment. Modern debris flows on this escarpment are induced by rare rainstorms with intensities exceeding >30 mm h−1 for at least one hour and originate primarily from the Active Red Sea Trough synoptic pattern. The observed late Holocene clustering of such debris flows during a regional drought indicates an increased influence of Active Red Sea Troughs resulting from a shift in synoptic atmospheric circulation patterns. This shift likely decreased the passages of eastern Mediterranean cyclones, leading to drier conditions, but favored rainstorms triggered by the Active Red Sea Trough. This is in accord with present-day meteorological data showing an increased frequency of torrential rainstorms in regions of drier climate. Hence, this study provides conclusive evidence for a shift in synoptic atmospheric circulation patterns during a late Holocene drought.
Paleoclimate records indicate that the hydroclimate of the northeast United States changed continuously during the Holocene, but the signals of multi-century variations have been difficult to distinguish from local effects and noise. Systematic replication of the signals can help diagnose the patterns of change. Here, we use ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and sediment core analyses to extend and compare the regional network of lake-level records. We reconstruct the histories of two lakes in northeast Pennsylvania, which show that multi-century hydrologic changes observed in coastal New England extended to the Susquehanna River watershed. Correlations with isotopic and marine temperature records (r>0.65) indicate that high temperatures coincided with low water at 4.9–3.8 and 2.8–2.0 ka. Widely recognized Holocene events at ca. 4.2 and 2.7 ka, therefore, may have shared similar ocean-atmosphere dynamics in this region. Low water levels in Pennsylvania from ca. 5.5–4.9 ka, however, demonstrate that other multi-century changes had different patterns. At ca. 5.5 ka, anti-phased inland and coastal hydrologic changes followed a sharp temperature decline and produced drought possibly as far inland as the Great Lakes. The long-term increase in water levels since then underscores that current pluvial conditions in the region probably lack a Holocene precedent.
A temporal analysis of the benthic polychaete community and its relationship with environmental variables was conducted by comparing coastal sediment samples collected in three separate sampling events between 1998 and 2013 from the southern end of the Southern California Bight (SCB). Environmental variables indicated a spatio-temporal increase of the sand fraction in sediment composition. Station stratification by depth from shallow to deep, and a reduction of trace metal enrichment (Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn) was also found. There was a notable change in polychaete family composition due to high abundances and frequency of Spionidae, Chaetopteridae and Phyllodocidae in 2013, especially close to the Binational wastewater treatment plant discharge. An increase in polychaete abundance, richness and diversity was indicative of a probable relationship with regional weather conditions (El Niño-Southern Oscillation and recent drought events during sampling) along with local anthropogenic discharges of wastewater treatment plants in the area.
In this study, agro-morphological and yield-related traits associated with drought tolerance in 80 barley genotypes belonging to 15 wild species together with the cultivated one, and their potential to improve adaptation to different levels of drought stress conditions (moisture environments) were studied. There was significant genetic variation among the genotypes and species for all of the measured traits, as well as differential responses of genotypes across environments. The results indicated high variation for grain yield (GY) under drought stress among the genotypes, and that some of the wild genotypes had consistently superior specific adaptation to the water stress conditions. The genotypes belong to wild barley species, especially Hordeum murinum and Hordeum marinum had lower GY but relatively higher yield stability under different environments. Traits such as number of seed per plant and hundred kernel weight were positively correlated with GY in all of the environments. High negative correlation between GY and days to ripening was observed only under intense drought environment, showing drought escape as a strategy of wild plants under highly stressed conditions. Grouping of the genotypes by principal component analysis completely separated cultivated barley and its progenitor (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum) from other wild genotypes; however, the other wild species were slightly separated from each other. In addition, the Iranian and foreign genotypes did not completely separate from each other. The identified wild barley genotypes with favourable characters and high drought tolerance could be used in genetic studies and barley improvement programmes especially for drought stress.
This study investigates which factors may influence producers’ use of irrigation technologies and/or water management practices (WMPs). One major finding is that Arkansas producers are more likely to rely on WMPs instead of sprinkler irrigation as a response to changes in depth to water and drought occurrences. This finding highlights the importance of expanding the existing literature that focuses mostly on more efficient irrigation technologies, especially in areas where WMPs are more prevalent. Climate factors also play a role. Sprinkler systems are more prevalent in regions with lower average temperature. WMPs are used to mitigate the impact of more frequent droughts.
Climatic fluctuation is often cited as a major factor in the collapse of Maya civilisation during the Terminal Classic Period (e.g. Luzzadder-Beach et al.2016). Evidence of how people dealt or failed to deal with it has only recently become a more widespread focus for archaeologists. Investigations at Xcoch in the Puuc Hills show the various ways in which resident populations sought to manage water stores when faced with a climate prone to drought and other meteorological extremes. The study also presents results from the analysis of nearby speleothem laminae, which indicate that severe episodes of flooding and droughts may have contributed to a collapse in the population around AD 850.
Interseeding annual clovers in cereal grains may help organic producers reduce use of tillage following cereal harvest. Using clovers that winterkill would minimize need for tillage in the spring also. The objective of this study was to evaluate seedling emergence and survival of berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Berseem clover (hereafter, referred to as berseem) was planted 0, 2 and 4 weeks after initiation of winter wheat growth in the spring. Berseem density was highest when planted on April 12, 2 weeks after winter wheat broke dormancy. Establishment density was 40–80% less with the other planting dates. A dry interval during the 5 weeks preceding winter wheat harvest reduced seedling survival of berseem, killing more than 80% of seedlings. Winter wheat yield was reduced at the last planting date of berseem, which was attributed to mechanical injury to winter wheat by the drill when planting berseem. Berseem may not be viable for interseeding at this location or in drier regions. Clover species that are more drought tolerant will be needed.
Hound’s-tongue is an invasive, biennial weed that thrives in dry rangelands of British Columbia. Rosette formation in the first year of growth and a deep root system offer this weed a competitive advantage against associated grasses under dry conditions. To study effects of water stress on seedling growth and mycorrhizal colonization in hound’s-tongue, seedlings of this weed were grown in pots in a greenhouse and subjected to four (100, 80, 60, and 40% of field capacity) soil moisture treatments. Effects of soil moisture stress (SMS) on several growth parameters as well as mycorrhizal colonization of roots were studied. The total biomass, shoot and root fresh and dry weights, leaf number, petiole length, leaf area, and specific leaf weight (leaf dry weight per unit leaf area) decreased with increasing SMS; shoot and root water content was not affected. Because of a greater effect of SMS on root compared with the shoot biomass, shoot:root ratio increased as the moisture stress increased. Water stress decreased mycorrhizal colonization and arbuscule and vesicle abundance. A reduction in total biomass, leaf number and leaf area per plant, petiole length, and mycorrhizal colonization may reduce the competitive advantage of hound’s-tongue over its neighbors under drought conditions. The effect on plant size may also influence herbivory, by biocontrol agents and other herbivores, and fecundity of this weed.
This research employs an agricultural sector model that links seasonal crop production with disaggregated livestock production sectors, in tandem with observed quarterly data on U.S. drought conditions to assess the long term economic implications of drought for U.S beef cattle producers. Short term impacts show increases in feed costs as well as increases in cattle slaughter resulting from drought-induced culling. The price of live cattle decreases in the short run; however, feed prices remain above baseline levels, and beef cattle breeding inventories decline in the long run, leading to fewer calves moving through the supply chain.
We examine the “tropical storm” hypothesis that precipitation variability in the Yucatan Peninsula (YP) was linked to the frequency of tropical cyclones during the demise of the Classic Maya civilization, in the Terminal Classic Period (TCP, AD 750—950). Evidence that supports the hypothesis includes: (1) a positive relationship between tropical storm frequency and precipitation amount over the YP today (proof of feasibility), (2) a statistically significant correlation between a stalagmite (Chaac) quantitative precipitation record from the YP and the number of named tropical cyclones affecting this region today (1852—2004) (calibration sensu lato), and, (3) correlations between the stalagmite Chaac precipitation record and an Atlantic basin tropical cyclone count record and two proxy records of shifts in macroscale climate and ocean states that influence Atlantic tropical cyclongenesis. At face value, regional paleotempestology proxy records suggest that tropical storm activity in the YP was either similar or significantly lower than today during the TCP. The “tropical storm” hypothesis has implications for our understanding of the role the hydrological cycle played in the collapse of Classic Maya polities and the role of tropical storms in possibly ameliorating future drought in the YP and other tropical regions.
Fe and Zn deficiency are widespread worldwide. As wheat is the primary food for the majority of the world people, producing wheat grains with high mineral content can ameliorate the problem of mineral hunger. However, the genetic variation available for breeders is limited. The aim of this study was to assess the genetic variation in grain Fe and Zn contents in 47 synthetic hexaploid wheats and to identify marker loci associated with Fe and Zn contents. We measured the grain Fe and Zn contents using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy and performed genotyping using SSR markers. The results showed considerable genetic variation for these minerals. We identified three lines with high Fe and Zn contents and six quantitative trait loci of which three were associated with Fe content and the other three with Zn content. The minerals showed positive phenotypic and genotypic correlation and high heritability (>60%). The ratio of the σ2g to the σ2g×e was ≥1 for the two mineral contents indicating that breeding for increasing mineral content within the synthetic lines is possible. The synthetic wheat lines identified in this study are valuable genetic resources, and can be utilized for breeding wheat cultivars with high mineral content.
Assessing the carrying capacity is of primary importance in arid rangelands. This becomes even more important during droughts, when rangelands exhibit non-equilibrium dynamics, and the dynamics of livestock conditions and forage resource are decoupled. Carrying capacity is usually conceived as an equilibrium concept, that is, the consumer density that can co-exist in long-term equilibrium with the resource. As one of the first, here we address the concept of carrying capacity in systems, where there is no feedback between consumer and resource in a limited period of time. To this end, we developed an individual-based model describing the basic characteristics of a rangeland during a drought. The model represents a rangeland composed by a single water point and forage distributed all around, with livestock units moving from water to forage and vice versa, for eating and drinking. For each livestock unit we implemented an energy balance and we accounted for the gut-filling effect (i.e. only a limited amount of forage can be ingested per unit time). Our results showed that there is a temporal threshold above which livestock begin to experience energy deficit and burn fat reserves. We demonstrated that such a temporal threshold increases with the number of animals and decreases with the rangeland conditions (amount of forage). The temporal threshold corresponded to the time livestock take to consume all the forage within a certain distance from water, so that the livestock can return to water for drinking without spending more energy than they gain within a day. In this study, we highlight the importance of a time threshold in the assessment of carrying capacity in non-equilibrium conditions. Considering this time threshold could explain contrasting observations about the influence of livestock number on livestock conditions. In case of private rangelands, the herd size should be chosen so that the spatial threshold equals (or exceeds) the length of the drought.