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Chapter 1 introduces some fundamental concepts, starting with a tentative definition of reproduction that will be revised and enriched in the following chapters and with the traditional distinction between sexual and asexual reproduction. We address the delicate issues relating to the notions of biological individual, generation and life cycle (but we refrain from discussing these topics from a philosophical perspective). We also deal with the not always clearly defined relationship between reproductive and developmental processes, in particular those related to regeneration.
The field of otology is increasingly at the forefront of innovation in science and medicine. The inner ear, one of the most challenging systems to study, has been rendered much more open to inquiry by recent developments in research methodology. Promising advances of potential clinical impact have occurred in recent years in biological fields such as auditory genetics, ototoxic chemoprevention and organ of Corti regeneration. The interface of the ear with digital technology to remediate hearing loss, or as a consumer device within an intelligent ecosystem of connected devices, is receiving enormous creative energy. Automation and artificial intelligence can enhance otological medical and surgical practice. Otology is poised to enter a new renaissance period, in which many previously untreatable ear diseases will yield to newly introduced therapies.
This paper speculates on the direction otology will take in the coming decades.
Making predictions about the future of otology is a risky endeavour. If the predictions are found wanting, it will likely be because of unforeseen revolutionary methods.
Endometrial injury is an important cause of intrauterine adhesion (IUA), amenorrhea and infertility in women, with limited effective therapies. Recently, stem cells have been used in animal experiments to repair and improve injured endometrium. To date, our understanding of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) in endometrial injury repair and their further therapeutic mechanisms is incomplete. Here, we examined the benefit of ADSCs in restoration of injured endometrium by applying a rat endometrial injury model. The results revealed by immunofluorescence showed that green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labelled ADSCs can differentiate into endometrial epithelial cells in vivo. At 30 days after ADSCs transplantation, injured endometrium was significantly improved, with increased microvessel density, endometrial thickness and glands when compared with the model group. Furthermore, the fertility of rats with injured endometrium in ADSCs group was improved and had a higher conception rate (60% vs 20%, P = 0.014) compared with the control phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) group. However, there was no difference in the control group compared with the sham group. In addition, expression levels of the oestrogen receptor Eα/β (ERα, ERβ) and progesterone receptor (PR) detected by western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were higher in the ADSCs group than in the PBS group. Taken together, these results suggested that ADSC transplantation could improve endometrial injury as a novel therapy for IUA.
Large frugivores provide critical seed dispersal services for many plant species and their extirpation from forested ecosystems can cause compositional shifts in regenerating plant cohorts. Yet, we still poorly understand whether large seed-dispersers have complementary or redundant roles for forest regeneration. Here, to assess the functional complementarity of large-bodied frugivores in forest regeneration, we quantified the effects of varying abundance of hornbills, primates and the forest elephant on the density, species richness and the mean weighted seed length of animal-dispersed tree species among seedlings in five sites in a forest–savanna mosaic in D. R. Congo, while accounting for percentage forest cover and the local presence of fruiting trees. We found that the abundance of primates was positively associated with species richness of seedlings, while percentage forest cover was negatively associated (R2 = 0.19). The abundance of hornbills, the presence of elephants and percentage forest cover were positively associated with mean seed length of the regenerating cohort (R2 = 0.13). Spatially explicit analysis indicated that some additional processes have an important influence on these response indices. Primates would seem to have a preponderant role for maintaining relatively high species richness, while hornbills and elephant would seem to be predominantly responsible for the recruitment of large-seeded trees. Our results could indicate that these taxa of frugivores play complementary functional roles for forest regeneration. This suggests that the extirpation of one or more of these dispersers would likely not be functionally compensated for by the remaining taxa, hence possibly cascading into compositional shifts.
Silvery-Thread Moss (Bryum argenteum Hedw.) is an undesirable invader of golf course putting greens across North America, establishing colonies and proliferating despite practices to suppress it. The goal was to grow genotypes of green (growing in putting greens) and native (growing in habitats outside of putting greens) B. argenteum in a common garden experiment, allowing an experimental test of life-history traits between genotypes from these two habitats. Seventeen collections of green and 17 collections of native B. argenteum were cloned to single genotypes and raised through a minimum of two asexual generations in the lab. A culture of each genotype was initiated using a single detached shoot apex and was allowed to grow for 6 mo under conditions of inorganic nutrients present and absent. Compared with genotypes from native habitats, genotypes of B. argenteum from putting greens exhibited earlier shoot regeneration and shoot induction, faster protonemal extension, longer (higher) shoots, lower production of gemmae and bulbils, and greater aerial rhizoid cover, and showed similar tendencies of chlorophyll fluorescence properties and chlorophyll content. Cultures receiving no inorganic nutrients produced less chlorophyll content, greatly reduced growth, and bleaching of shoots. Mosses from putting greens establish more quickly, grow faster, produce more abundant rhizoids, and yet do not produce as many specialized asexual propagules compared with mosses of the same species from native habitats. The highly managed putting green environment has either selected for a suite of traits that allow the moss to effectively compete with grasses, or genotypic diversity is very high in this species, allowing a set of specialized genotypes to colonize the putting green from native habitats. Successful golf course weeds have been able to adapt to this highly competitive environment by selection acting on traits or genotypes to produce plants more successful in competing with golf course grasses.
Liana abundance and size have increased in neotropical forests. High vegetative reproductive capacity (clonality) may be the cause of high abundance in some liana species. Correlations between vegetative propagation capacity and (1) relative abundance of liana species, (2) rooting and foliar sprouting potentials of congeneric species, and (3) phylogenetic position were determined. Species selection was based on the relative abundance of lianas in ten 0.5-ha parcels in continuous forest within the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP), Brazil. Five individuals per species were replicated with seven cuttings per individual. Cuttings placed in moistened sand and coconut fibre were observed for 5 mo in a humid greenhouse. Survival percentage, rooting percentage, potential regeneration index and longest root length were determined per species. The two most abundant species (9.3% and 4.1% relative abundance) had low vegetative regeneration capacity, contrary to expectations. However, a significant, positive relationship between vegetative propagation and relative abundance of liana species whose relative abundances were <4% was found. Congeneric species showed no difference in vegetative propagation between rare and abundant species, except congeners of Machaerium. Vegetative reproductive capacity occurred in all major evolutionary lineages, but was highest in Fabaceae and Bignoniaceae, families of high abundance both locally and broadly across Neotropical forests.
A systematic review was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of fibroblast growth factor-2 on the regeneration of tympanic membrane perforation.
The PubMed database was searched for relevant studies. Experimental studies, human randomised controlled trials, prospective single-arm studies and retrospective studies reporting acute and chronic tympanic membrane perforations in relation to two healing outcomes (success rate and closure time), were selected.
All 11 clinical studies investigating the effect of fibroblast growth factor-2 on traumatic tympanic membrane perforations in humans reported a success rate of 89.3–100 per cent, with a closure time of around 2 weeks. Three studies of fibroblast growth factor-2 combined with Gelfoam showed that the success rate of chronic tympanic membrane perforation was 83–98.1 per cent in the fibroblast growth factor-2 group, but 10 per cent in the gelatine sponge groups.
Fibroblast growth factor-2 with or without biological material patching promotes regeneration in cases of acute and chronic tympanic membrane perforation, and is safe and efficient. However, the best dosage, application time and administration pathway of fibroblast growth factor-2 are still to be elucidated.
The ramus communicans, neural connection between medial and lateral plantar nerves of the horse, was transected to determine the degree to which medial and lateral plantar nerves contribute to the plantar ramus. After 2 months, sections of plantar nerves immediately proximal and distal to the communicating branch were collected and processed for electron microscopy. All examined nerves had undergone Wallerian degeneration and contained regenerating and mature fibers. Layers of the myelin sheath were separated by spaces and vacuoles, indicating demyelination of medial and lateral plantar nerves. Shrunken axons varied in diameter and were surrounded by an irregular axolemma. Shrunken axoplasm of both myelinated and non-myelinated fibers contained ruptured mitochondria and cristae, disintegrating cytoskeleton, and vacuoles of various sizes. The cytoplasm of neurolemmocytes contained various-sized vesicles, ruptured mitochondria within a fragile basal lamina and myelin whorls of multilayered structures indicative of Wallerian degeneration. These ultrastructural changes, found proximal and distal to the ramus in medial and lateral plantar nerves, suggest that axonal flow is bi-directional through the ramus communicans of the pelvic limbs of horses, a previously unreported finding. As well, maturity of nerves proximal and distal to the ramus indicates that all nerve fibers do not pass through the ramus.
The effects of fragmentation and overstorey tree diversity on tree regeneration were assessed in tropical rain forests of the Western Ghats, India. Ninety plots were sampled for saplings (1–5 cm diameter at breast height (dbh); 5×5-m plots) and overstorey trees (>9.55 cm dbh; 20×20-m plots) within two fragments (32 ha and 18 ha) and two continuous forests. We tested the hypotheses that fragmentation and expected seed-dispersal declines (1) reduce sapling densities and species richness of all species and old-growth species, and increase recruitment of early-successional species, (2) reduce the prevalence of dispersed recruits and (3) increase influence of local overstorey on sapling densities and richness. Continuous forests and fragments had similar sapling densities and species richness overall, but density and richness of old-growth species declined by 62% and 48%, respectively, in fragments. Fragments had 39% lower densities and 24% lower richness of immigrant saplings (presumed dispersed into sites as conspecific adults were absent nearby), and immigrant densities of old-growth bird-dispersed species declined by 79%. Sapling species richness (overall and old-growth) increased with overstorey species richness in fragments, but was unrelated to overstorey richness in continuous forests. Our results show that while forest fragments retain significant sapling diversity, losses of immigrant recruits and increased overstorey influence strengthen barriers to natural regeneration of old-growth tropical rain forests.
We compared exotic pasture grass cover near the edges of 20–25-y-old secondary forests (N = 8) with those of mature forests (N = 8), bordering actively grazed pastures on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. We estimated grass cover in 224 1 × 3-m plots along transects that ran from the pasture edge into forest interiors (11–44 m). Using a spline regression, we divided the transects into three segments: exterior (in the pasture), edge and interior (in the forest). With a stepwise regression, we tested the effect of transect section, forest type and distance from edge on grass cover. Forest type, distance from edge, interior transect section and the combined effect of distance from edge in both the interior and exterior sections explained variation in grass cover. Grass abundance was higher and penetrated further into secondary than mature forests. Edge proximity and differences in forest canopy openness likely favours recruitment and persistence of pasture grasses.
The rapidity with which epithelial cells cover a wound surface helps determine whether scarring or scar-less healing results. As methylene blue is a vital dye that is absorbed by damaged tissue but not undamaged epidermis, it can be used to assess wound closure. We sought to develop a quantitative methylene blue exclusion assay to estimate the timeframe for re-epithelialization in regenerating appendages in zebrafish and axolotls, two classic model systems of regeneration. Following application of methylene blue to the amputation plane and extensive washing, the regenerating tail was imaged in vivo until staining was no longer visible. The percent area of the amputation plane positive for methylene blue, representing the area of the amputation plane not yet re-epithelialized, was measured for each time point. The loss of methylene blue occurred rapidly, within ~2.5 h in larval and juvenile axolotls and <1 h in adult zebrafish, consistent with high rates of re-epithelialization in these models of regeneration. The assay allows simple, rapid estimation of the time course for regenerative re-epithelialization without affecting subsequent regenerative ability. This technique will permit comparison of re-epithelialization across different strains and stages, as well as under the influence of various pharmacological inhibitors that affect regeneration.
Some species-rich secondary forests in New Caledonia have a monodominant canopy. Here we investigate growth and biomass allocation traits that might explain single-species’ dominance of these post-disturbance stands, and their later decline in the absence of large-scale disturbance. Seedlings of 20 rain-forest trees were grown in two light treatments in a nursery house. In the sun treatment, monodominants grew faster (56.7 ± 1.4 mg g−1 wk−1) than subordinates (40.2 ± 2.6 mg g−1 wk−1). However, some episodically regenerating (ER) subordinates had high growth rates similar to those of monodominants. In the shade treatment, monodominants and subordinates had similar growth rates (33.7 ± 2.6 and 34.0 ± 1.9 mg g−1 wk−1 respectively). Notably, monodominants in both sun and shade treatments had lower root mass fraction (0.29 ± 0.02 and 0.27 ± 0.02 g g−1 respectively) than subordinates (0.39 ± 0.02 and 0.37 ± 0.02 g g−1). Fast growth in sunny conditions is probably imperative for these relatively shade-intolerant ER monodominants. In field conditions, high shoot mass fraction combined with efficient root performance may facilitate faster growth in monodominants competing with other ER species in sunlit sites. Slower growth in shade may contribute to loss of dominance over time in undisturbed forests.
Seed germination is vital for persistence in species that rely on seeds for post-disturbance regeneration. It is a high-risk phase and vulnerable to environmental parameters. Here, I assessed temperature sensitivity for germination in Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae) from south-western Australia, screening all 38 endemic obligate seeder species. A bi-directional temperature gradient plate with 49 temperature combinations (constant and fluctuating) between 5 and 40°C was used to profile germination temperature requirements and identify upper and lower temperature thresholds for germination. Using these data the impact of increasing temperatures on germination in these species was modelled under high and low greenhouse gas scenarios for 2050 and 2070. The results suggest that many Banksia species from the region have wide physiological tolerance for high germination temperatures, although a number of common, but geographically restricted species, such as B. praemorsa, B. oreophila and B. quercifolia, have more narrow temperature windows for germination than at least one of the rarer species (B. verticillata). Only B. dryandroides is expected to decline in germination in the future; however, the optimal germination timing for many species is predicted to occur later under climate warming. In conjunction with declining rainfall, this germination delay will place seedlings closer to the summer dry in this seasonal Mediterranean-climate ecosystem and thus they will be more vulnerable to desiccation. The framework developed here can be used to identify vulnerable species for monitoring of early population decline.
Several monodominant rain-forest trees in New Caledonia have population size structures suggesting establishment following large-scale disturbance, with eventual replacement by shade-tolerant species predicted in the absence of future disturbance. Links of dominance and population dynamics to leaf-level photosynthesis were investigated in seedlings of 20 tree species from these forests, grown in experimental sun and shade conditions. In particular, we tested whether episodically regenerating (ER) species, including monodominants, have higher assimilation rates at high irradiances and lower tolerance of shade than continuously regenerating species (CR). ER species had higher maximum net assimilation rates (Amax-area) in sun plants (9.6 ± 0.4 μmol m−2 s−1) than CR species (6.2 ± 0.3 μmol m−2 s−1) and high plasticity, typical of shade-intolerant species, but monodominant species did not differ from other ER species. CR species had leaf-level traits consistent with shade tolerance, including lower dark respiration rates (Rd-area = 0.47 ± 0.03μmol m−2 s−1; Rd-mass = 7 ± 1 nmol g−1 s−1) than ER species (Rd-area = 0.63 ± 0.06 μmol m−2 s−1; Rd-mass = 11 ± 2 nmol g−1 s−1) in shade plants. Hence leaf-level assimilation traits were largely consistent with regeneration patterns, but do not explain why some shade-intolerant species can achieve monodominance.
Small mammals can impede tree regeneration by injuring seedlings and saplings in several ways. One fatal way is by severing their stems, but apparently this type of predation is not well-studied in tropical rain forest. Here, we report on the incidence of ‘stem-cutting’ to new, wild seedlings of two locally dominant, canopy tree species monitored in 40 paired forest understorey and gap-habitat areas in Korup, Cameroon following a 2007 masting event. In gap areas, which are required for the upward growth and sapling recruitment of both species, 137 seedlings of the long-lived, light-demanding, fast-growing large tropical tree (Microberlinia bisulcata) were highly susceptible to stem-cutting (83% of deaths) — it killed 39% of all seedlings over a c. 2-y period. In stark contrast, seedlings of the more shade-tolerant, slower-growing tree species (Tetraberlinia bifoliolata) were hardly attacked (4.3%). In the understorey, however, stem-cutting was virtually absent. Across the gap areas, the incidence of stem-cutting of M. bisulcata seedlings showed significant spatial variation that could not be explained significantly by either canopy openness or Janzen–Connell type effects (proximity and basal area of conspecific adult trees). To examine physical and chemical traits that might explain the species difference to being cut, bark and wood tissues were collected from a separate sample of seedlings in gaps (i.e. not monitored for stem-cutting). These analyses suggested that, compared with T. bifoliolata, the lower stem density, higher Mg and K and fatty acid concentrations in bark, and fewer phenolic and terpene compounds in M. bisulcata seedlings made them more palatable and attractive to small-mammal predators, likely rodents. We conclude that selective stem-cutting is a potent countervailing force to the current local canopy dominance of the grove-forming M. bisulcata by limiting the recruitment and abundance of its saplings. Given the ubiquity of gaps and ground-dwelling rodents in pantropical forests, it would be surprising if this form of lethal browsing was restricted to Korup.
We take a fresh look at the classical problem of runs in a sequence of independent and identically distributed coin tosses and derive a general identity/recursion which can be used to compute (joint) distributions of functionals of run types. This generalizes and unifies already existing approaches. We give several examples, derive asymptotics, and pose some further questions.
Increasing anthropogenic disturbance in tropical rainforests is a major challenge to biodiversity conservation. The responses of herbivorous insect communities to habitat changes are not well understood. In this study, we investigated the resilience of galling insect communities associated with Neoboutonia macrocalyx (Euphorbiaceae) trees to logging in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Resilience was measured by comparing the species density, abundance and community structure of gallers in nine differently aged successional forests with those in adjacent primary forests. Insect galls were sampled from the canopy of 10 randomly selected trees in each successional stage, five times in a 10-month period. A total of 7219 individuals representing five galler species were recorded. No significant differences were found in the species density and overall density of gallers between the regenerating and primary forests. The mean tree height was positively correlated with the overall density of gallers. The community structure of gallers differed significantly among the successional stages, but exhibited no clear directional recovery trend. In addition, remarkable seasonal variations were observed in galler communities, with peak abundance being found in the wettest months. The results of the preset study indicate that specialist galling insects whose hosts are pioneer trees can recolonize successional sites rapidly and are resilient to the effects of selective and clear-cut logging in case primary or secondary forests with an established population of Neoboutonia host trees (source populations) are close by. Thus, recovering tropical forests can provide important habitats for galling insect biodiversity, highlighting the need to include them in management and conservation priority plans.
Aquatic plants play a substantial role in almost all freshwater habitats throughout the world. Even though submerged aquatic plants dominantly spread by the dispersal of vegetative plant fragments, most aquatic plant species show a broad distribution range. Here we studied the differences in the regeneration capacity and the regeneration type of fragments (by root and/or shoot growth) of eight submerged plant species (Ceratophyllum demersum, Egeria najas, Elodea canadensis, Elodea nuttallii, Hydrilla verticillata, Myriophyllum aquaticum, Myriophyllum heterophyllum and Myriophyllum spicatum) under different water nutrients in sediment-free conditions. Overall, M. spicatum showed the highest regeneration (82±2%) in this study, followed by C. demersum (73±2%) and M. aquaticum (47±4%), whereas M. heterophyllum showed the lowest (1±1%). The shoot fragments of E. canadensis, H. verticillata, E. najas and E. nuttallii regenerated by 40±2, 23±2, 16±2 and 7±1%. The nitrate concentration affected the regeneration capacities of E. najas (P=0.05), M. spicatum (P=0.013) and C. demersum (P=0.001), whereas phosphate had no significant effect. Additionally, the different nutrient concentrations had a significant effect on the portion of the regeneration types within E. canadensis, E. nuttallii and H. verticillata. Summarizing, submerged plants differ significantly in their regeneration capacity, and water nutrients have a potential effect on the regeneration of submerged plant fragments. This might influence the further colonization and spread of the species under field conditions.
High densities of palms are common in many tropical forests. In some cases, the dominance of palms has been associated with a depauperate understorey and high rates of native seedling mortality. A variety of different potential mechanisms has been suggested to explain the sustained palm dominance in the understorey and canopy of these forests. Working in a Cocos nucifera-dominated wet tropical forest at Palmyra Atoll in the central Pacific, we examine how litterfall from this pantropical, and economically important palm, impacts seedling survival. We compare rates of litterfall, and rates of litterfall-associated damage, between forest stands dominated by C. nucifera (coconut palm) and forest stands with low abundance of C. nucifera. To assess litterfall damage we survey damage to both artificial seedlings (n = 711), outplanted real seedlings of two species (with and without protection via caging; n = 204), and standing rates of litterfall damage. We find that rates of large-litterfall damage were an average of five times higher in sites with high densities of C. nucifera. Associated with these increases we observe that levels of physical damage to artificial model seedlings caused by litterfall over a 4-mo period increased from 4.9% in sites with low abundance of C. nucifera to 16.1% in sites with high abundance of C. nucifera. Extrapolated to annual rates, litterfall damage of this magnitude exceeds the average levels observed in other published studies. Living native seedlings also showed more than 300% higher levels of mortality in forest stands with high densities of C. nucifera, a difference that was greatly reduced when protected by caging from litterfall. In contrast, uncaged C. nucifera seedlings actually had slightly higher survivorship in habitats dominated by conspecifics. We suggest that litterfall damage may be an important mechanism by which this tropical palm reaches and maintains near monodominance in many coastal and insular habitats.
In dioecious plant species different frugivore activity between genders may influence the abundance and richness of the seedling banks underneath their canopies throughout seed removal and dispersal. In the tropical dry forest of Chamela, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, the role of S. purpurea female trees as nucleation sites of regeneration was investigated. The standing density, species richness and dispersal syndrome of woody seedlings (i.e. trees and shrubs, 10–100 cm tall) recruited underneath and outside the canopy of 10 male and 10 female S. purpurea trees were recorded in a total of 160 1-m2 plots. Total density was greater in seedling communities associated with female trees (i.e. underneath and outside their canopies) as compared with male trees (231 vs. 153 seedlings, respectively); whereas overall species richness was greater underneath female canopies. Further, the density of zoochorous species were greater underneath the canopy of S. purpurea females (range = 0–5 plants m−2), than elsewhere (outside female canopies, range = 0–3 plants m−2; underneath and outside male canopies, range = 0–2 plants m−2), suggesting a directional dispersal bias towards them. Females of dioecious plant species may act as nucleation sites of initial seedling recruitment in tropical dry forests.