Joh R. Henschel
Bio: Joh R. Henschel is an academic researcher from University of the Free State. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Arid & Welwitschia. The author has an hindex of 15, co-authored 34 publication(s) receiving 915 citation(s).
Topics: Arid, Welwitschia, Population, Sustainability, Spatial ecology
TL;DR: It is concluded that aquatic insects had a bottom-up effect on spiders and that this subsidy facilitated a top-down effect that cascaded from spiders to leafhoppers to plants.
Abstract: Rivers produce an abundance of aquatic insects that traverse land, where they can have bottom-up effects on predators, who, in turn, can have top-down effects on terrestrial herbivores. This effect can cascade down to plants. These trophic relationships were demonstrated in a field of stinging nettles, Urtica dioica, along a river in Germany. At the shore compared to similar microhabitats 30-60 m away the abundance and biomass of: midges were highest, spiders were also highest, while herbivorous leafhoppers were lowest. At the shore, nettle plants were less damaged by herbivores and thus had less regrowth. Spiders regularly captured both aquatic midges as well as terrestrial leafhoppers and they captured more individuals of both groups at the shore than further away. Midges supported high densities of shore spiders. This was inferred from correlation of distribution and diet in the absence of other environmental gradients. Removal of spiders from experimental plots caused leafhoppers to increase at the shore, causing more plant damage. These effects were not evident at spider-removal sites away from the shore. This demonstrated that spiders depressed leafhoppers and decreased herbivory on plants only at the shore. It is concluded that aquatic insects had a bottom-up effect on spiders and that this subsidy facilitated a top-down effect that cascaded from spiders to leafhoppers to plants. Similar effects would explain the distribution of arthropods along many rivers. Allochthony connects river food webs with shore food webs, making both components essential for each other.
Ika Djukic, Sebastian Kepfer-Rojas1, Inger Kappel Schmidt1, Klaus Steenberg Larsen1 +306 more•Institutions (3)
TL;DR: In this article, the potential litter decomposition was investigated by using standardized substrates (Rooibos and Green tea) for comparison of litter mass loss at 336 sites (ranging from
Abstract: Through litter decomposition enormous amounts of carbon is emitted to the atmosphere. Numerous large-scale decomposition experiments have been conducted focusing on this fundamental soil process in order to understand the controls on the terrestrial carbon transfer to the atmosphere. However, previous studies were mostly based on site-speciﬁc litter and methodologies, adding major uncertainty to syntheses, comparisons and meta-analyses across different experiments and sites. In the TeaComposition initiative, the potential litter decomposition is investigated by using standardized substrates (Rooibos and Green tea) for comparison of litter mass loss at 336 sites (ranging from
01 Mar 2008-Atmospheric Research
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors highlight the pioneering work of Professor Gideon Louw's pioneering work on water relations and economy, which includes osmoregulation in desert plants and animals such as grass, beetles and springbok, established a foundation that inspired numerous studies by colleagues and students.
Abstract: Although the Namib Desert is classified as hyperarid, with rainfall extremely rare, there are several other sources of atmospheric moisture, namely, humidity, dew and fog, which make it possible for organisms to live there. Methods to use these sources include locating moist micro-climates, drinking from wet surfaces, consuming moist food, collecting water on the body, and absorbing water vapour. In describing these mechanisms from published sources, we highlight the work of Professor Gideon Louw, to whom we dedicate this paper. Louw's pioneering work on water relations and economy, which includes osmoregulation in desert plants and animals such as grass, beetles, and springbok, established a foundation that inspired numerous studies by colleagues and students. Ecophysiology provides many more lessons that have potential to be mimicked and applied in the occult collection of water in arid regions.
01 Oct 2000-Plant Ecology
TL;DR: The knowledge gaps and needs for further ecological studies, including the continuation of the LTER programme, are indicated, to elucidate the reproductive output, seed dispersal, recruitment, water availability, age structure, and ecological differences between the sexes, and long-term life history strategies of this unique Namib Desert perennial.
Abstract: Over the past 14 years, long-term ecological research (LTER) was conducted on the desert perennial, Welwitschia mirabilis (Gnetales: Welwitschiaceae), located in the Welwitschia Wash near Gobabeb in the Central Namib Desert. We measured leaf growth of 21 plants on a monthly basis and compared this with climatic data. The population structure as well as its spatial distribution was determined for 110 individuals. Growth rate was 0.37 mm day−1, but varied 22-fold within individuals, fluctuating seasonally and varying between years. Seasonal patterns were correlated with air humidity, while annual differences were affected by rainfall. During three years, growth rate quadrupled following episodic rainfall events >11 mm during mid-summer. One natural recruitment event followed a 13-mm rainfall at the end of summer. Fog did not appear to influence growth patterns and germination. Plant location affected growth rate; plants growing on the low banks, or ledges, of the main drainage channel grew at a higher rate, responded better and longer to rainfall and had relatively larger leaves than plants in the main channel or its tributaries. This could be due to better water and nutrient conditions on the ledges than elsewhere. The population appears to be growing outwards, with the smallest (youngest?) plants highest. Sex ratio was male-biased and males grew larger than females. Our study, in conjunction with the extensive literature base on Welwitschia, published here in a bibliography comprising 297 papers, indicates the knowledge gaps and needs for further ecological studies, including the continuation of our LTER programme. This should elucidate the reproductive output, seed dispersal, recruitment, water availability, age structure, and ecological differences between the sexes, and long-term life history strategies. Such knowledge would contribute to desert ecology and improve the management strategies of this unique Namib Desert perennial.
Search for extraterrestrial intelligence1, Ames Research Center2, University of Washington3, University of the Western Cape4, University of Pretoria5, International Livestock Research Institute6, Auckland University of Technology7, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis8, University of Cape Town9, University of Hawaii at Hilo10
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors measured 0.1% of incident sunlight as the lower limit for hypolithic growth on quartz rocks in the Namib and found that uncolonized ventral rock surfaces were limited by light rather than moisture.
Abstract:  Hypolithic microbial communities are productive niches in deserts worldwide, but many facets of their basic ecology remain unknown. The Namib Desert is an important site for hypolith study because it has abundant quartz rocks suitable for colonization and extends west to east across a transition from fog- to rain-dominated moisture sources. We show that fog sustains and impacts hypolithic ecology in several ways, as follows: (1) fog effectively replaces rainfall in the western zone of the central Namib to enable high (≥95%) hypolithic abundance at landscape (1–10 km) and larger scales; and (2) high water availability, through fog (western zone) and/or rainfall (eastern zone), results in smaller size-class rocks being colonized (mean 6.3 ± 1.2 cm) at higher proportions (e.g., 98% versus approximately 3%) than in previously studied hyperarid deserts. We measured 0.1% of incident sunlight as the lower limit for hypolithic growth on quartz rocks in the Namib and found that uncolonized ventral rock surfaces were limited by light rather than moisture. In situ monitoring showed that although rainfall supplied more liquid water (36 h) per event than fog (mean 4 h), on an equivalent annual basis, fog provided nearly twice as much liquid water as rainfall to the hypolithic zone. Hypolithic abundance reaches 100% at a mean annual precipitation (MAP) of approximately 40–60 mm, but at a much lower MAP (approximately 25 mm) when moisture from fog is available.
01 Feb 2005-Freshwater Biology
TL;DR: Characteristics of reciprocal prey subsidies are reviewed and it is investigated whether reciprocal prey fluxes stabilise linked stream–riparian ecosystems, how landscape context affects the magnitude and importance of subsidies, and how impacts of human disturbance can propagate between streams and riparian zones via these trophic linkages.
Abstract: SUMMARY 1. Streams and their adjacent riparian zones are closely linked by reciprocal flows of invertebrate prey. We review characteristics of these prey subsidies and their strong direct and indirect effects on consumers and recipient food webs. 2. Fluxes of terrestrial invertebrates to streams can provide up to half the annual energy budget for drift-feeding fishes such as salmonids, despite the fact that input occurs principally in summer. Inputs appear highest from closed-canopy riparian zones with deciduous vegetation and vary markedly with invertebrate phenology and weather. Two field experiments that manipulated this prey subsidy showed that it affected both foraging and local abundance of stream fishes. 3. Emergence of adult insects from streams can constitute a substantial export of benthic production to riparian consumers such as birds, bats, lizards, and spiders, and contributes 25–100% of the energy or carbon to such species. Emergence typically peaks in early summer in the temperate zone, but also provides a low-level flux from autumn to spring in ice-free streams. This flux varies with in-stream productivity, and declines exponentially with distance from the stream edge. Some predators aggregate near streams and forage on these prey during periods of peak emergence, whereas others rely on the lower subsidy from autumn through spring when terrestrial prey are scarce. Several field experiments that manipulated this subsidy showed that it affected the short-term behaviour, growth, and abundance of terrestrial consumers. 4. Reciprocal prey subsidies also have important indirect effects on both stream and riparian food webs. Theory predicts that allochthonous prey should increase density of subsidised predators, thereby increasing predation on in situ prey and causing a negative indirect effect via apparent competition. However, short-term experiments have produced either positive or negative indirect effects. These contrasting results may be due to characteristics of the subsidies and individual consumers, but could also result from differences in experimental designs. 5. New study approaches are needed to better determine the direct and indirect effects of reciprocal prey subsidies. Experiments coupled with comparative research will be required to measure their effects on individual consumer fitness and population demographics. Future work should investigate whether reciprocal prey fluxes stabilise linked stream–riparian ecosystems, explore how landscape context affects the magnitude and importance of subsidies, and determine how impacts of human disturbance can propagate between streams and riparian zones via these trophic linkages. Study of these
01 May 2012-Biological Reviews
TL;DR: The consequences of the presence and magnitude of different costs during different phases of the dispersal process, and their internal organisation through covariation with other life‐history traits are synthesised with respect to potential consequences for species conservation and the need for development of a new generation of spatial simulation models.
Abstract: Dispersal costs can be classified into energetic, time, risk and opportunity costs and may be levied directly or deferred during departure, transfer and settlement. They may equally be incurred during life stages before the actual dispersal event through investments in special morphologies. Because costs will eventually determine the performance of dispersing individuals and the evolution of dispersal, we here provide an extensive review on the different cost types that occur during dispersal in a wide array of organisms, ranging from micro-organisms to plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. In general, costs of transfer have been more widely documented in actively dispersing organisms, in contrast to a greater focus on costs during departure and settlement in plants and animals with a passive transfer phase. Costs related to the development of specific dispersal attributes appear to be much more prominent than previously accepted. Because costs induce trade-offs, they give rise to covariation between dispersal and other life-history traits at different scales of organismal organisation. The consequences of (i) the presence and magnitude of different costs during different phases of the dispersal process, and (ii) their internal organisation through covariation with other life-history traits, are synthesised with respect to potential consequences for species conservation and the need for development of a new generation of spatial simulation models.
01 Jul 2002-Veterinary Journal
TL;DR: Female longevity was negatively correlated with number of progeny and positively correlated with age at first childbirth, and the findings show that human life histories involve a trade-off between longevity and reproduction.
Abstract: The disposable soma theory on the evolution of ageing states that longevity requires investments in somatic maintenance that reduce the resources available for reproduction. Experiments in Drosophila melanogaster indicate that trade-offs of this kind exist in non-human species. We have determined the interrelationship between longevity and reproductive success in Homo sapiens using a historical data set from the British aristocracy. The number of progeny was small when women died at an early age, increased with the age of death, reaching a plateau through the sixth, seventh and eighth decades of life, but decreased again in women who died at an age of 80 years or over. Age at first childbirth was lowest in women who died early and highest for women who died at the oldest ages. When account was taken only of women who had reached menopause, who were aged 60 years and over, female longevity was negatively correlated with number of progeny and positively correlated with age at first childbirth. The findings show that human life histories involve a trade-off between longevity and reproduction.
01 Jan 1985