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Browsing by Subject "diversity"

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  • Repetti, Sonja I. (2022)
    My master’s thesis aims to determine the effect of salinity on phytoplankton traits related to nutrient acquisition, and particularly how this interacts with resource availability. Salinity is an important driver structuring phytoplankton communities in the Baltic Sea. Salinity can also influence nutrient uptake by increasing metabolic rates required for osmotic adjustment. Thus, interaction between salinity and nutrient availability is expected to change community structure by altering phytoplankton traits determining resource competition. This is a particularly relevant area of study for the Baltic Sea due to predicted future freshening of the sea’s upper layer. We performed a microcosm experiment using artificial communities of 10 diverse phytoplankton species grown under different combinations of salinity (0, 5, 12 and 24), Nitrogen to Phosphorus molar ratio (N:P ratio = 2, 10, 16 and 80) and light (10 and 130 µmol photon m-2 s-1) conditions. A three-way interaction among these environmental parameters influenced phytoplankton traits associated with resource competition, as well as the presence and proportions of phytoplankton taxa. Light limitation inhibited community growth under all salinity conditions, but allowed diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to dominate. Community growth rate was higher under high light, but also more variable between salinity conditions. The strongest negative effects of nutrient limitation (N, P, and both nutrients together), both on growth rate and taxonomic diversity, were observed in the highest salinity treatment. In the freshwater treatment with the highest proportion of green algae Monoraphidium sp., N-limitation did not inhibit phytoplankton community growth and P-limitation had a more profound negative effect on community performance. Decreasing salinity appeared to decrease community C:N and C:P ratios. This shift is in opposition to the increasing C:N and C:P predicted as a consequence of other climate change-related drivers. Our results emphasise the importance of a trade-off between salinity and resource limitation in functioning of phytoplankton communities and suggest that future freshening of the Baltic Sea is likely to modify phytoplankton community composition and performance.
  • Crosier, Brittni Joette (2020)
    Biogeography is a crucial aspect to ecological studies, as an ecosystem is comprised of the physical habitat, the organisms living there, and the interactions of these components. Community structure, and therefore functioning, are inherently of a spatial nature. Spatial structure of populations is often crucial basic knowledge for understanding the evolutionary history, dispersal patterns, and resilience of any given species. One aspect of spatial structure, and the topic covered in this study, is community distance decay, or the rate at which community similarity decreases with physical distance. More of the landscape is constantly being altered by humans on a large scale, so it is increasingly important to understand the effects that these anthroprogenic changes to the environment has on local populations. Studying community distance decay helps form understanding of dispersal and establishment limitations for different organisms, which is necessary for mitigating biodiversity loss. Many studies show that habitat fragmentation and loss has greatly impacted the structure of plant and animal communities, but there has been much less focus on fungal communities. There’s no certainty that fungi is impacted in the same ways, given the different lifestyles and dispersal methods, so the aim of this study is to contribute to the much needed research on fungal community structure at various scales. This aim is addressed by examining fungal community distance decay from small scale of a couple kilometers or less to a fairly large scale encompassing a landscape of primarily urban, forest, and agricultural areas. The five main localities of sampling were in middle and southern Finland: Helsinki, Lahti, Tampere, Jyväskylä, and Joensuu. Sampling locations and plot design were chosen to allow the comparison of communities separated by a mosaic, as well as along a short rural to urban gradient, to assess the effects of habitat type. From each location, six plots were decided, two in urban core, one in urban edge, two in natural core, and one in natural edge. The role of dispersal ability and functional traits in distance decay is also studied by comparing results from two different methods of fungi sampling, which were collecting spores from the air using cyclone samplers, and taking soil cores to gather fungal biomass. All samples were DNA analysed with high-throughput sequencing and the results from the DNA barcoding were used to create OTU clusters, by which the 30 plots could be compared through relative abundances of OTU’s. I determined the similarity of fungal communities using an analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) test in R, where all possible variables (site, habitat type, sample type) were used as a grouping in individual tests, thereby indicating which variable is associated with highest community difference. I also determined the differences in functional groups and major taxonomic levels among locations and sampling method using interactive taxanomic (KRONA) charts. Results showed that there are differences in fungal community structure among habitat type and sampling type. However there was greater difference at the level of plots than site locations, so clear patterns of strong community distance decay with physical distance was not measured in this study. The results suggest that fungal communities can be fairly impacted by human caused habitat change, and individual characteristics, such as dispersal methods or lifestyle, effect the rate of community distance-decay. This provides a valuable early insight into fungal community patterns, which need deeper study to understand the complexities and mechanisms behind them.
  • Manninen, Juulia (2022)
    Immune-mediated diseases, such as various allergies and asthma, are increasing rapidly in an urbanized world where biodiversity is steadily declining. Decreased biodiversity and homogenous microbiota have been associated with weaker immune defence. Studies show that contact with the natural environment enriches the human microbiota, promotes immune response, and protects against allergies and inflammatory diseases. For this reason, in order to prevent immune-mediated diseases, solutions have been sought from nature-based approaches in which the immune system encounters environmental microbial stimuli in a natural way. The aim of this master's thesis was to study how different nature-based materials (sod and forest floor) affect the skin microbiota of kindergarten-age children and to examine how different factors such as varying weather conditions and different sampling times affect the results. The results supported the hygiene hypothesis and previous research according to which increasing biodiversity can have a positive effect on human skin microbial communities. A positive effect on children's skin was achieved with sod alone, which is important information in the development of suitable biodiverse materials for urban planning. The results also supported the surmise that different weather conditions and sampling methods can significantly affect the results.
  • Mäkelä, Iida (2021)
    Microbial diversity can be found everywhere around us. The diversity is however declining globally and the diversity loss is most visible in highly urbanized areas. The lack of microbial biodiversity has been linked to increased risk of certain im-mune mediated diseases most prevalent within urban population. Understanding how diversity differs between urban and rural areas can help us to figure out mechanisms behind biodiversity loss and higher frequency of immune-mediated dis-eases and develop prevention methods for the latter. The aim of the thesis is to study how bacterial communities differ between urban and rural areas using indicator species as proxy. The aim is also to find out if the results support the biodiversity hypothesis. The results of the thesis found out significant differences in diversity indexes between bacterial communities in urban and rural areas, which supports the biodiversity hypothesis. The study also found differences in Proteobacteria diversity index-es, which have been linked to some immune mediated diseases in previous studies.