Interacting effects of habitat structure and seeding with oysters on the intertidal biodiversity of seawalls.
ABSTRACT: The construction of artificial structures, such as seawalls, is increasing globally, resulting in loss of habitat complexity and native species biodiversity. There is increasing interest in mitigating this biodiversity loss by adding topographic habitat to these structures, and/or seeding them with habitat-forming species. Settlement tile experiments, comparing colonisation of species to more and less complex habitats, have been used to inform eco-engineering interventions prior to their large-scale implementation. Most studies have focused on applying one type of intervention (either adding habitat structure or seeding with native organisms), so it is unclear whether there are greater benefits to biodiversity when multiple interventions are combined. Using a fully orthogonal experiment, we assessed the independent and interactive effects of habitat structure (flat vs. crevice/ridges) and seeding with native oysters (unseeded vs. seeded) on the biodiversity of four different functional groups (sessile and mobile taxa, cryptobenthic and pelagic fishes). Concrete tiles (flat unseeded, flat seeded, complex unseeded and complex seeded) were deployed at two sites in Sydney Harbour and monitored over 12 months, for the survival and colonisation of oysters and the species density and abundances of the four functional groups. The survival of seeded oysters was greater on the complex than flat tiles, at one of the two sites, due to the protective role of crevices. Despite this, after 12 months, the species density of sessile invertebrates and the percentage cover of seeded and colonising oysters did not differ between complex and seeded tiles each of which supported more of these variables than the flat unseeded tiles. In contrast, the species density of mobile invertebrates and cryptobenthic fishes and the MaxN of pelagic fishes, at 1 month, were only positively influenced by seeding with oysters, which provided food as well as habitat. Within the complex seeded and unseeded tiles, there was a greater species density of sessile taxa, survival and percentage cover of oysters in the crevices, which were more humid and darker at month 12, had lower high temperature extremes at months 1 and 12, than on the ridges or flat tiles. Our results suggest that eco-engineering projects which seek to maximise the biodiversity of multiple functional groups on seawalls, should apply a variety of different microhabitats and habitat-forming species, to alter the environmental conditions available to organisms.
Project description:The spread and persistence of weedy plants in rangelands highlight the need for refinement of existing management techniques and development of novel strategies to address invasions. Strip-seeding - the strategic seeding of a portion of an invaded area to reduce costs and enhance success - is an underutilized management approach that holds promise for reducing weed dominance in grassland habitats. A strip-seeding experiment was established in 2011 in a California grassland where portions (between 0-100%) of invaded plots were seeded with native grasses. In 2016, we assessed the height, above-ground biomass and flower production of two late-season invasive plants: field bindweed and prickly lettuce. We found significant reductions in plant height and flower production (for both target invasives), and biomass (for field bindweed) in many of the seeded strips compared to the unseeded strips. Smaller seed applications demonstrated similar or better utility for weed control compared to greater seed applications, suggesting that this approach can be effective while reducing labor and materials cost of typical restoration management approaches. We did not find evidence that seeded strips provided invasion resistance to unseeded strips. This is possibly due to the lag in native species dispersal and establishment into contiguous unseeded strips, and suggests that strip-seeding might not provide invasion resistance to unseeded strips on timescales that are relevant to managers. However, this work does suggest that strip-seeding native species that overlap in phenology with target invasives can reduce late-season weed dominance on rangelands.
Project description:Current synthetic vascular prostheses do not acquire lining of vascular endothelium in humans or dogs. Endothelial seeding of vascular grafts has been proposed as a means of reducing the thrombogenicity of these grafts. We examined feasibility of cultivating endothelial cells (EC) by tissue culture technique and their subsequent seeding onto small diameter polytetra fluoroethylene (PTFE) grafts. Twenty adult dogs underwent common carotid artery interposition with 4 mm PTFE grafts. Ten dogs received seeded and the remaining ten received unseeded grafts. Grafts were removed at 4 and 12 weeks and their gross/morphological features compared. Cumulative patency rates for seeded grafts were 70% as compared to unseeded ones 30%. Seeded grafts were completely surfaced with a mono-layer of endothelium by 4 weeks. Small graft patency appears to be related to the establishment of an endothelial surface, the development of which is clearly facilitated by seeding with autogenous endothelium.
Project description:Acute thrombosis is a crucial cause of bioresorbable vascular graft (BVG) failure. Bone marrow-derived mononuclear cell (BM-MNC)-seeded BVGs demonstrated high graft patency, however, the effect of seeded BM-MNCs against thrombosis remains to be elucidated. Thus, we evaluated an antithrombotic effect of BM-MNC-seeding and utilized platelet-depletion mouse models to evaluate the contribution of platelets to acute thrombosis of BVGs.BVGs were composed of poly(glycolic acid) mesh sealed with poly(l-lactideco-?-caprolactone). BM-MNC-seeded BVGs and unseeded BVGs were implanted to wild type C57BL/6 mice (n?=?10/group) as inferior vena cava interposition conduits. To evaluate platelet effect on acute thrombosis, c-Mpl-/- mice and Pf4-Cre+; iDTR mice with decreased platelet number were also implanted with unseeded BVGs (n?=?10/group). BVG patency was evaluated at 2, 4, and 8?weeks by ultrasound. BM-MNC-seeded BVGs demonstrated a significantly higher patency rate than unseeded BVGs during the acute phase (2-week, 90% vs 30%, p?=?.020), and patency rates of these grafts were sustained until week 8. Similar to BM-MNC-seeded BVGs, C-Mpl-/- and Pf4-Cre+; iDTR mice also showed favorable graft patency (2-week, 90% and 80%, respectively) during the acute phase. However, the patency rate of Pf4-Cre+; iDTR mice decreased gradually after DTR treatment as platelet number recovered to baseline. An in vitro study revealed BM-MNC-seeding significantly inhibited platelet adhesion to BVGs compared to unseeded BVGs, (1.75?±?0.45 vs 8.69?±?0.68?×?103?platelets/mm2, p?<?.001).BM-MNC-seeding and the reduction in platelet number prevented BVG thrombosis and improved BVG patency, and those results might be caused by inhibiting platelet adhesion to the BVG.
Project description:Anthropogenic habitats are increasingly prevalent in coastal marine environments. Previous research on sessile epifauna suggests that artificial habitats act as a refuge for nonindigenous species, which results in highly homogenous communities across locations. However, vertebrate assemblages that live in association with artificial habitats are poorly understood. Here, we quantify the biodiversity of small, cryptic (henceforth "cryptobenthic") fishes from marine dock pilings across six locations over 35° of latitude from Maine to Panama. We also compare assemblages from dock pilings to natural habitats in the two southernmost locations (Panama and Belize). Our results suggest that the biodiversity patterns of cryptobenthic fishes from dock pilings follow a Latitudinal Diversity Gradient (LDG), with average local and regional diversity declining sharply with increasing latitude. Furthermore, a strong correlation between community composition and spatial distance suggests distinct regional assemblages of cryptobenthic fishes. Cryptobenthic fish assemblages from dock pilings in Belize and Panama were less diverse and had lower densities than nearby reef habitats. However, dock pilings harbored almost exclusively native species, including two species of conservation concern absent from nearby natural habitats. Our results suggest that, in contrast to sessile epifaunal assemblages on artificial substrates, artificial marine habitats can harbor diverse, regionally characteristic assemblages of vertebrates that follow macroecological patterns that are well documented for natural habitats. We therefore posit that, although dock pilings cannot function as a replacement for natural habitats, dock pilings may provide cost-effective means to preserve native vertebrate biodiversity, and provide a habitat that can be relatively easily monitored to track the status and trends of fish biodiversity in highly urbanized coastal marine environments.
Project description:Effective skin regeneration therapies require a successful interface between progenitor cells and biocompatible delivery systems. We previously demonstrated the efficiency of a biomimetic pullulan-collagen hydrogel scaffold for improving bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell survival within ischemic skin wounds by creating a "stem cell niche" that enhances regenerative cytokine secretion. Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) represent an even more appealing source of stem cells because of their abundance and accessibility, and in this study we explored the utility of ASCs for hydrogel-based therapies. To optimize hydrogel cell seeding, a rapid, capillary force-based approach was developed and compared with previously established cell seeding methods. ASC viability and functionality following capillary hydrogel seeding were then analyzed in vitro and in vivo. In these experiments, ASCs were seeded more efficiently by capillary force than by traditional methods and remained viable and functional in this niche for up to 14 days. Additionally, hydrogel seeding of ASCs resulted in the enhanced expression of multiple stemness and angiogenesis-related genes, including Oct4, Vegf, Mcp-1, and Sdf-1. Moving in vivo, hydrogel delivery improved ASC survival, and application of both murine and human ASC-seeded hydrogels to splinted murine wounds resulted in accelerated wound closure and increased vascularity when compared with control wounds treated with unseeded hydrogels. In conclusion, capillary seeding of ASCs within a pullulan-collagen hydrogel bioscaffold provides a convenient and simple way to deliver therapeutic cells to wound environments. Moreover, ASC-seeded constructs display a significant potential to accelerate wound healing that can be easily translated to a clinical setting.
Project description:An oligonucleotide DNA probe (VVAP) was constructed from a portion of the Vibrio vulnificus cytolysin gene (hylA) sequence and labeled with alkaline phosphatase covalently linked to the DNA. Control and environmental isolates probed with VVAP showed an exact correlation with results obtained with a plasmid DNA probe (derived from pCVD702) previously described as having 100% specificity and sensitivity for this organism. Identification of V. vulnificus strains was confirmed independently by analysis of the cellular fatty acid composition and by API 20E. Naturally occurring V. vulnificus bacteria were detected without enrichment or selective media by VVAP in unseeded oyster homogenates and seawater collected from a single site in Chesapeake Bay during June at concentrations of 6 x 10(2) and 2 x 10(1) bacteria per ml, respectively. V. vulnificus bacteria were also enumerated by VVAP in oysters seeded with known concentrations of bacteria and plated on nonselective medium. The VVAP method provides a rapid, accurate means of identifying and enumerating V. vulnificus in seawater and oysters without the use of selective media or additional biochemical tests.
Project description:Securing economically and ecologically significant molluscs, as our oceans warm due to climate change, is a global priority. South eastern Australia receives warm water in a strengthening East Australia Current and so resident species are vulnerable to elevated temperature and marine heat waves. This study tested whether prior exposure to elevated temperature can enhance resilience of oysters to ocean warming. Two Australian species, the flat oyster, Ostrea angasi, and the Sydney rock oyster, Saccostrea glomerata, were obtained as adults and "heat shocked" by exposure to a dose of warm water in the laboratory. Oysters were then transferred to elevated seawater temperature conditions where the thermal outfall from power generation was used as a proxy to investigate the impacts of ocean warming. Shell growth, condition index, lipid content and survival of flat oysters and condition of Sydney rock oysters were all significantly reduced by elevated seawater temperature in the field. Flat oysters grew faster than Sydney rock oysters at ambient temperature, but their growth and survival was more sensitive to elevated temperature. "Stress inoculation" by heat shock did little to ameliorate the negative effects of increased temperature, although the survival of heat-shocked flat oysters was greater than non-heat shocked oysters. Further investigations are required to determine if early exposure to heat stress can enhance resilience of oysters to ocean warming.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to evaluate the molecular mechanisms underlying nerve repair by a decellularized nerve allograft seeded with adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and compare it to the unseeded allograft and autograft nerve. Methods:Undifferentiated MSCs were seeded onto decellularized nerve allografts and used to reconstruct a 10 mm gap in a rat sciatic nerve model. Gene expression profiles of genes essential for nerve regeneration and immunohistochemical staining (IHC) for PGP9.5, NGF, RECA-1, and S100 were obtained 2 weeks postoperatively. Results:Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that the angiogenic molecule VEGFA was significantly increased in seeded allografts, and transcription factor SOX2 was downregulated in seeded allografts. Seeded grafts showed a significant increase in immunohistochemical markers NGF and RECA-1, when compared with unseeded allografts. Conclusions:MSCs contributed to the secretion of trophic factors. A beneficial effect of the MSCs on angiogenesis was found when compared with the unseeded nerve allograft, but implanted MSCs did not show evidence of differentiation into Schwann cell-like cells.
Project description:Isolating the effects of fragmentation per se (i.e., spatial configuration of habitat patches) on species richness is an ongoing challenge as habitat configuration often covaries with the amount of habitat. Consequently, there is a lack of experimental evidence for configurational effects on species richness in the whole landscape. Here, we developed a novel experimental system for testing the independent and interactive effects of habitat area and configuration on tropical intertidal species richness. Our results confirmed the expectation that average species richness would increase monotonically with habitat area. More intriguingly, we found mixed evidence for a non-monotonic relationship between species richness and fragmentation per se, with the highest richness at intermediate fragmentation configuration, that is, when habitat tiles were placed in a "several-small" configuration. The effect of habitat configuration was not due to passive sampling (since area was controlled for), variation in total individual abundance, or niche specialization of species to different landscape configurations. We postulate that a combination of processes, including local negative density dependence and dispersal limitation, could give rise to the observed pattern. We emphasize the importance of considering configurational effects on biodiversity at broader spatial scales and for more experimental research to delve into the mechanisms driving the patterns seen here.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In an earlier study we demonstrated the feasibility to create tissue engineered venous scaffolds in vitro and in vivo. In this study we investigated the use of tissue engineered constructs for ureteral replacement in a long term orthotopic minipig model. In many different projects well functional ureretal tissue was established using tissue engineering in animals with short-time follow up (12 weeks). Therefore urothelial cells were harvested from the bladder, cultured, expanded in vitro, labelled with fluorescence and seeded onto the autologous veins, which were harvested from animals during a second surgery. Three days after cell seeding the right ureter was replaced with the cell-seeded matrices in six animals, while further 6 animals received an unseeded vein for ureteral replacement. The animals were sacrificed 12, 24, and 48 weeks after implantation. Gross examination, intravenous pyelogram (IVP), H&E staining, Trichrome Masson's Staining, and immunohistochemistry with pancytokeratin AE1/AE3, smooth muscle alpha actin, and von Willebrand factor were performed in retrieved specimens. RESULTS: The IVP and gross examination demonstrated that no animals with tissue engineered ureters and all animals of the control group presented with hydronephrosis after 12 weeks. In the 24-week group, one tissue engineered and one unseeded vein revealed hydronephrosis. After 48 weeks all tissue engineered animals and none of the control group showed hydronephrosis on the treated side. Histochemistry and immunohistochemistry revealed a multilayer of urothelial cells attached to the seeded venous grafts. CONCLUSIONS: Venous grafts may be a potential source for ureteral reconstruction. The results of so far published ureteral tissue engineering projects reveal data up to 12 weeks after implantation. Even if the animal numbers of this study are small, there is an increasing rate of hydronephrosis revealing failure of ureteral tissue engineering with autologous matrices in time points longer than 3 months after implantation. Further investigations have to prove adequate clinical outcome and appropriate functional long-term results.