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Histology basics and cell death detection in honeybee tissue
Maja Ivana Smodiš Škerl, original scientific article

Abstract: Honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) inside the hive (nurse workers and other hive bees) and outside the hive (foragers) are exposed to climate and weather changes, various pesticides, pathogens, and malnutrition, mainly entering through the mouth and primarily affecting the digestive tracts of adult bees. To understand and prevent the effects of such external and internal stressors on honeybees, one useful research method is the immunohistochemical method. A basic protocol is described to prepare the midgut (ventriculus) and hypopharyngeal glands (HPGs) of adult bees for histological analysis. A detailed methodology is described to assess the level of cell damage and distinguish necrosis from programmed cell death (apoptosis) as a natural process of tissue regeneration. The results of adult honeybee treatment with oxalic acid and pesticides (insecticide and acaricide) and the determination of cell death in the ventriculus and HPGs are presented. The pros and cons of the methodology are also discussed.
Keywords: cell death, honeybee, histology, environment
Published in DiRROS: 08.07.2022; Views: 91; Downloads: 16
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Advanced materials research for a green future
Bojan Podgornik, 2021, professional article

Keywords: advanced materials, research, metals, environment
Published in DiRROS: 06.05.2022; Views: 141; Downloads: 92
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Variation in floristic and trait composition along environmental gradients in the herb layer of temperate forests in the transition zone between Central and SE Europe
Janez Kermavnar, Lado Kutnar, Aleksander Marinšek, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Species- and trait-environment linkages in forest plant communities continue to be a frequent topic in ecological research. We studied the dependence of floristic and functional trait composition on environmental factors, namely local soil properties, overstory characteristics, climatic parameters and other abiotic and biotic variables. The study area comprised 50 monitoring plots across Slovenia, belonging to the EU ICP Forests monitoring network. Vegetation was surveyed in accordance with harmonized protocols, and environmental variables were either measured or estimated during vegetation sampling. Significant predictors of species composition were identified by canonical correspondence analysis. Correlations between plant traits, i.e. plant growth habit, life form, flowering features and CSR signature, were examined with fourth-corner analysis and linear regressions. Our results show that variation in floristic composition was mainly explained by climatic parameters (mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation), soil properties (pH) and tree layer-dependent light conditions. Trait composition was most closely related with tree layer characteristics, such as shade-casting ability (SCA, a proxy for light availability in the understory layer), tree species richness and tree species composition. Amongst soil properties, total nitrogen content and soil texture (proportion of clay) were most frequently correlated with different species traits or trait states. The CSR signature of herb communities was associated with tree layer SCA, soil pH and mean annual temperature. The floristic composition of the studied herb-layer vegetation depended on temperature and precipitation, which are likely to be influenced by ongoing climate change (warming and drying). Trait composition exhibited significant links to tree layer characteristics and soil conditions, which are in turn directly modified by forest management interventions.
Keywords: vegetation–environment relationship, floristic composition, life-history traits, herbaceous species, Slovenia
Published in DiRROS: 15.04.2022; Views: 151; Downloads: 137
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Transition dates from earlywood to latewood and early phloem to late phloem in Norway Spruce
Jožica Gričar, Katarina Čufar, Klemen Eler, Vladimir Gryc, Hanuš Vavrčík, Martin De Luis, Peter Prislan, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Climate change will affect radial growth patterns of trees, which will result in different forest productivity, wood properties, and timber quality. While many studies have been published on xylem phenology and anatomy lately, little is known about the phenology of earlywood and latewood formation, also in relation to cambial phenology. Even less information is available for phloem. Here, we examined year-to-year variability of the transition dates from earlywood to latewood and from early phloem to late phloem in Norway spruce (Picea abies) from three temperate sites, two in Slovenia and one in the Czech Republic. Data on xylem and phloem formation were collected during 2009-2011. Sensitivity analysis was performed to determine the specific contribution of growth rate and duration on wood and phloem production, separately for early and late formed parts. We found significant differences in the transition date from earlywood to latewood between the selected sites, but not between growth seasons in trees from the same site. It occurred in the first week of July at PAN and MEN and more than two weeks later at RAJ. The duration of earlywood formation was longer than that of latewood formation; from 31.4 days at PAN to 61.3 days at RAJ. In phloem, we found differences in transition date from early phloem to late phloem also between the analysed growth seasons; from 2.5 weeks at PAN to 4 weeks at RAJ Compared to the transition from earlywood to latewood the transition from early phloem to late phloem occurred 25-64 days earlier. There was no significant relationship between the onset of cambial cell production and the transition dates. The findings are important to better understand the inter-annual variability of these phenological events in spruce from three contrasting temperate sites, and how it is reflected in xylem and phloem anatomy.
Keywords: Picea abies, xylem formation, phloem formation, cambium, tracheid, sieve cell, conifer, temperate environment
Published in DiRROS: 22.03.2021; Views: 576; Downloads: 426
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Evaluating short-term impacts of forest management and microsite conditions on understory vegetation in temperate fir-beech forests : floristic, ecological, and trait-based perspective
Janez Kermavnar, Aleksander Marinšek, Klemen Eler, Lado Kutnar, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: Forest understory vegetation is largely influenced by disturbances and given local abiotic conditions. Our research focuses on the early response of understory vegetation to various forest management intensities in Dinaric fir-beech forests in Slovenia: (i) control, (ii) 50% cut of stand growing stock, and (iii) 100% cut of stand growing stock. Apart from identifying overstory removal effects, we were interested in fine-scale variation of understory vegetation and environmental determinants of its species composition. Vegetation was sampled within 27 karst sinkholes, which represent a dominant landform in studied forests. Within each sinkhole, five sampling plots, varying in slope aspect (centre, north, east, south, west), were established (135 in total), where pre-treatment (in 2012) and post-treatment (in 2014) floristic surveys were conducted. The sampled understory species were characterized in terms of Ellenberg's indicator values (EIVs) and plant functional traits (plant height, seed mass, specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content). Diversity metrics (species richness, total cover, Shannon index) increased in plots where the silvicultural measures were applied. Tree species richness also increased in 100% cutting. A redundancy analysis revealed that species composition was related to environmental variables, which are directly influenced by management interventions (overstory canopy cover, microclimate maximum daily temperature, soil properties thickness of organic soil layer) as well as by topographic factors (slope inclination and surface rockiness). EIVs for light were significantly affected by treatment intensity, whereas soil-related EIVs (moisture, reaction, nutrients) depended more on the within-sinkhole position. Canopy gaps, compared with uncut control plots, hosted a higher number of colonizing species with a higher plant height and smaller seeds, while leaf traits did not show a clear response. We found a negative correlation between pre-treatment species (functional) richness and post-treatment shifts in floristic (functional) composition. Plots with higher richness exhibited smaller changes compared with species-poor communities. Incorporating different perspectives, the results of this study offer valuable insights into patterns of understory vegetation response to forest management in fir-beech forests.
Keywords: canopy gap, microsite environment, Ellenberg indicator values, plant functional traits, compositional resistance, karst topography, fir-beech forest
Published in DiRROS: 06.12.2019; Views: 1918; Downloads: 1055
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Annual cambial rhythm in Pinus halepensis and Pinus sylvestris as indicator for climate adaptation
Peter Prislan, Jožica Gričar, Martin De Luis, Klemen Novak, Edurne Martinez Del Castillo, Uwe Schmitt, Gerald Koch, Jasna Štrus, Polona Mrak, Magda Tušek-Žnidarič, Katarina Čufar, 2016, original scientific article

Abstract: To understand better the adaptation strategies of intra-annual radial growth in Pinus halepensis and Pinus sylvestris to local environmental conditions, we examined the seasonal rhythm of cambial activity and cell differentiation at tissue and cellular levels. Two contrasting sites differing in temperature and amount of precipitation were selected for each species, one typical for their growth and the other represented border climatic conditions, where the two species coexisted. Mature P. halepensis trees from Mediterranean (Spain) and sub-Mediterranean (Slovenia) sites, and P. sylvestris from sub-Mediterranean (Slovenia) and temperate (Slovenia) sites were selected. Repeated sampling was performed throughout the year and samples were prepared for examination with light and transmission electron microscopes. We hypothesized that cambial rhythm in trees growing at the sub-Mediterranean site where the two species co-exist will be similar as at typical sites for their growth. Cambium in P. halepensis at the Mediterranean site was active throughout the year and was never truly dormant, whereas at the sub-Mediterranean site it appeared to be dormant during the winter months. In contrast, cambium in P. sylvestris was clearly dormant at both sub-Mediterranean and temperate sites, although the dormant period seemed to be significantly longer at the temperate site. Thus, the hypothesis was only partly confirmed. Different cambial and cell differentiation rhythms of the two species at the site where both species co-exist and typical sites for their growth indicate their high but different adaptation strategies in terms of adjustment of radial growth to environmental heterogeneity, crucial for long-term tree performance and survival.
Keywords: Aleppo pine, Pinus halepensis, Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, cambium, light microscopy, Mediterranean environment, temporate environment, transmission electron microscopy, xylem
Published in DiRROS: 12.07.2017; Views: 2543; Downloads: 1049
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Microbes and bioplastic
Valentina Turk, Tinkara Tinta, unpublished conference contribution

Keywords: microbes, bioplastics, marine environment, sea, oceans
Published in DiRROS: 10.02.2017; Views: 3849; Downloads: 567
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