Now showing items 1-20 of 398

    • First Report of Shot Hole Disease on Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Caused by Micrococcus aloeverae in Ireland

      Smith, L.; Gibriel, H. A. Y.; Brennan, C.; del Pino de Elias, M.; Twamley, A.; Doohan, F.; Grogan, H.; Feechan, A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/S/759 (American Phytopathological Society, 2020-08-13)
      First Report of Shot Hole disease on Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Caused by Micrococcus aloeverae in Ireland
    • Exposure of Agaricus bisporus to Trichoderma aggressivum f. europaeum leads to growth inhibition and induction of an oxidative stress response

      Kosanovic, Dejana; Grogan, Helen; Kavanagh, Kevin; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Research Council; 12/RI/2346.; GOIPD/2018/115 (Elsevier, 2020-07-23)
      Green mould disease of mushroom, Agaricus bisporus,is caused by Trichodermaspecies and can result in substantial crop losses.Label free proteomic analysis of changes in the abundance of A. bisporusproteins following exposure to T. aggressivumsupernatantin vitroindicated increased abundance of proteins associated with an oxidative stress response (zinc ion binding (+6.6 fold); peroxidase activity (5.3-fold); carboxylic ester hydrolase (+2.4 fold); dipeptidase (+3.2 fold); [2Fe-2S] cluster assembly (+3.3 fold)). Proteins that decreased in relative abundance were associated with growth: structural constituent of ribosome, translation (-12 fold), deadenylation-dependent decapping of nuclear-transcribed mRNA (-3.4 fold), and small GTPase mediated signal transduction (-2.6 fold). In vivoanalysis revealed that 10-4 T. aggressivuminoculum decreased the mushroom yield by 29% to 56% and 10-3 T. aggressivuminoculum decreased the mushroom yield by 68% to 100%. Proteins that increased in abundance in A. bisporusin vivofollowing exposure to T. aggressivumindicated an oxidative stress response and included proteins with pyruvate kinase activity (+2.6 fold) and hydrolase activity (+2.1 fold)). The results indicate that exposure of A. bisporusmycelium to T. aggressivum in vitroand in vivoresulted in an oxidative stress response and reduction in growth.
    • An investigation of anticoccidial veterinary drugs as emerging organic contaminants in groundwater

      Mooney, D.; Richards, Karl G.; Danaher, Martin; Grant, Jim; Gill, L.; Mellander, Per‐Erik; Coxon, C.E.; Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 13/RC/2092,; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-07-26)
      Intensification of the food production system to meet increased global demand for food has led to veterinary pharmaceuticals becoming a critical component in animal husbandry. Anticoccidials are a group of veterinary products used to control coccidiosis in food-producing animals, with primary prophylactic use in poultry production. Excretion in manure and subsequent land-spreading provides a potential pathway to groundwater. Information on the fate and occurrence of these compounds in groundwater is scant, therefore these substances are potential emerging organic contaminants of concern. A study was carried out to investigate the occurrence of anticoccidial compounds in groundwater throughout the Republic of Ireland. Twenty-six anticoccidials (6 ionophores and 20 synthetic anticoccidials) were analysed at 109 sites (63 boreholes and 46 springs) during November and December 2018. Sites were categorised and selected based on the following source and pathway factors: (a) the presence/absence of poultry activity (b) predominant aquifer category and (c) predominant groundwater vulnerability, within the zone of contribution (ZOC) for each site. Seven anticoccidials, including four ionophores (lasalocid, monensin, narasin and salinomycin) and three synthetic anticoccidials (amprolium, diclazuril and nicarbazin), were detected at 24% of sites at concentrations ranging from 1 to 386 ng L−1. Monensin and amprolium were the two most frequently detected compounds, detected at 15% and 7% of sites, respectively. Multivariate statistical analysis has shown that source factors are the most significant drivers of the occurrence of anticoccidials, with no definitive relationships between occurrence and pathway factors. The study found that the detection of anticoccidial compounds is 6.5 times more likely when poultry activity is present within the ZOC of a sampling point, compared to the absence of poultry activity. This work presents the first detections of these contaminants in Irish groundwater and it contributes to broadening our understanding of the environmental occurrence and fate of anticoccidial veterinary products.
    • Is urban growing of fruit and vegetables associated with better diet quality and what mediates this relationship? Evidence from a cross-sectional survey

      Mead, Bethan R.; Christiansen, Paul; Davies, Jessica A.C.; Falagán, Natalia; Kourmpetli, Sofia; Liu, Lingxuan; Walsh, Lael; Hardman, Charlotte A.; Global Food Security; Biotechnology and Biological Services Research Council; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-03-18)
      Urban agriculture (UA), the growing of fruits and vegetables in urban and peri-urban areas, may improve food security and access, public health and dietary quality on both a broad and personal scale. However, there is little research on the relationship between UA and diet, and potential mediating factors are also unclear. This study aimed to investigate if proximity to and engagement with UA is associated with better diet quality, and what accounts for this relationship. UK-based adults (N = 583, 69% Female) completed measures of proximity to and engagement with UA, perceived access to fruits and vegetables, health and ethical food choice motivations, connection with nature, psychological distress and dietary quality in an online survey. Participants were recruited from UA-related groups and the general public. Proposed relationships were analysed using a structural equation model. Greater proximity to and engagement with UA was associated with greater perceived access to fruits and vegetables, more health-related food choice motivations, more ethical-related food choice, feeling more connected with nature, and, surprisingly greater psychological distress. Furthermore, proximity to and engagement with UA was indirectly associated with better diet quality via health-, and ethical-related, food choice motivations. While the direct pathway between proximity to and engagement with UA and diet quality was not significant, UA is associated with better diet quality, partly via healthier and ethical food choice motivations. Upscaling UA may have benefits for dietary quality via these factors, and more research is needed to test causal relationships and understand these complex interactions.
    • A review of the pesticide MCPA in the land‐water environment and emerging research needs

      Morton, Phoebe A.; Fennell, Chris; Cassidy, Rachel; Doody, Donnacha; Fenton, Owen; Mellander, Per‐Erik; Jordan, Phil; European Union; 727450; IVA5018 (Wiley, 2019-12-03)
      Due to its high solubility and poor adsorption to the soil matrix, the postemergence herbicide 2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid (MCPA) is susceptible to transport into surface and groundwater bodies, where it can result in compromised water quality and breaches of legislative standards. However, there is still poor understanding of catchment scale dynamics and transport, particularly across heterogeneous hydrogeological settings. While it is known that MCPA degrades under aerobic conditions, negligible breakdown can occur in anaerobic environments, potentially creating a legacy in saturated soils. Fast runoff pathways post application are likely transport routes, but the relative contribution from the mobilization of legacy MCPA from anaerobic zones has yet to be quantified, making the delineation of MCPA sources encountered during monitoring programs challenging. While ecotoxicological effects have been examined, little is known about the interaction of MCPA (and its degradation products) with other pesticides, with nutrients or with colloids, and how this combines with environmental conditions to contribute to multiple stressor effects. We examine the state of MCPA knowledge, using case study examples from Ireland, and consider the implications of its widespread detection in waterbodies and drinking water supplies. Research themes required to ensure the sustainable and safe use of MCPA in an evolving agricultural, social and political landscape are identified here. These include the need to identify mitigation measures and/or alternative treatments, to gain insights into the conditions governing mobilization and attenuation, to map pathways of migration and to identify direct, synergistic and antagonistic ecotoxicological effects.
    • Ranking connectivity risk for phosphorus loss along agricultural drainage ditches

      Moloney, Thomas; Fenton, Owen; Daly, Karen; Irish Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 2017-W-LS-15 (Elsevier BV, 2020-02)
      Agricultural drainage systems comprising both in-field pipe drains and surface ditches are typically installed to remove excess water from agricultural land. These drainage networks can provide connectivity between phosphorus (P) sources and surface waters thereby increasing the risk of P loss to rivers and streams. The objective of this study was to derive a farm-scale drainage ranking that categorises drainage ditches in terms of P loss risk based on connectivity and physic-chemical characteristics. Ten pilot farms were selected to characterise drainage networks through ground survey and, sediment and water sampling. Five drainage ditch categories were derived based on landscape setting and connectivity. Each category recorded soluble and reactive P concentrations above environmental water quality standards. To assess the risk of surface ditches as a connectivity vector between agricultural P and surface waters ditches were ranked in order of P loss risk by integrating landscape position and sediment P chemistry. Elevated sediment P with high equilibrium P concentration (EPCo) were associated with ditches connected to farm yards, and in sediment sampled at ditch outlets, suggesting P deposition over time indicative of a legacy P source. The greatest risk of P loss was attributed to ditches connecting farm yards to streams, and ditches that connected the drainage network to surface waters, or Outlets. These results rank connectivity risk for P loss along agricultural drainage ditches for farm level risk assessment to target P loss mitigation measures to the appropriate locations.
    • Using a multi-dimensional approach for catchment scale herbicide pollution assessments

      Khan, Majid Ali; Costa, Fabiola Barros; Fenton, Owen; Jordan, Phil; Fennell, Chris; Mellander, Per-Erik; European Union; 727450 (Elsevier BV, 2020-12)
      Worldwide herbicide use in agriculture, whilst safeguarding yields also presents water quality issues. Controlling factors in agricultural catchments include both static and dynamic parameters. The present study investigated the occurrence of herbicides in streams and groundwater in two meso-scale catchments with contrasting flow controls and agricultural landuse (grassland and arable land). Using a multi-dimensional approach, streams were monitored from November 2018 to November 2019 using Chemcatcher® passive sampling devices and groundwater was sampled in 95 private drinking water wells. The concentrations of herbicides were larger in the stream of the Grassland catchment (8.9–472.6 ng L−1) dominated by poorly drained soils than in the Arable catchment (0.9–169.1 ng L−1) dominated by well-drained soils. Incidental losses of herbicides during time of application and low flows in summer caused concentrations of MCPA, Fluroxypyr, Trichlorpyr, Clopyralid and Mecoprop to exceeded the European Union (EU) drinking water standard due to a lack of dilution. Herbicides were present in the stream throughout the year and the total mass load was higher in winter flows, suggesting a persistence of primary chemical residues in soil and sub-surface environments and restricted degradation. Losses of herbicides to the streams were source limited and influenced by hydrological conditions. Herbicides were detected in 38% of surveyed drinking water wells. While most areas had concentrations below the EU drinking water standard some areas with well-drained soils in the Grassland catchment, had concentrations exceeding recommendations. Individual wells had concentrations of Clopyralid (619 ng L−1) and Trichlorpyr (650 ng L−1). Despite the study areas not usually associated with herbicide pollution, and annual mass loads being comparatively low, many herbicides were present in both surface and groundwater, sometimes above the recommendations for drinking water. This whole catchment assessment provides a basis to develop collaborative measures to mitigate pollution of water by herbicides.
    • The challenge of sustainability for Irish Agriculture

      Richards, Karl; Hanrahan, Kevin; Shalloo, Laurence; Ryan, Mary; Finnan, John; Murphy, Pat; Lanigan, Gary (2021-08-04)
      Presentation Overview • Introduction to Johnstown Castle • Ireland’s GHG/NH3 challenge • Scenarios for future emissions (without mitigation) • Mitigation pathways • GHG • NH3 • Water quality challenge • ACP highlights • New Ag. Sustainability Support & Advisory Prog.
    • Exposure of Agaricus bisporus to Trichoderma aggressivum f. europaeum leads to growth inhibition and induction of an oxidative stress response

      Kosanovic, Dejana; Grogan, Helen; Kavanagh, Kevin; Irish Research Council; Science Foundation Ireland; GOIPD/2018/115; 12/RI/2346 (Elsevier BV, 2020-09)
      Green mould disease of mushroom, Agaricus bisporus,is caused by Trichodermaspecies and can result in substantial crop losses.Label free proteomic analysis of changes in the abundance of A. bisporusproteins following exposure to T. aggressivumsupernatantin vitroindicated increased abundance of proteins associated with an oxidative stress response (zinc ion binding (+6.6 fold); peroxidase activity (5.3-fold); carboxylic ester hydrolase (+2.4 fold); dipeptidase (+3.2 fold); [2Fe-2S] cluster assembly (+3.3 fold)). Proteins that decreased in relative abundance were associated with growth: structural constituent of ribosome, translation (-12 fold), deadenylation-dependent decapping of nuclear-transcribed mRNA (-3.4 fold), and small GTPase mediated signal transduction (-2.6 fold). In vivoanalysis revealed that 10-4 T. aggressivuminoculum decreased the mushroom yield by 29% to 56% and 10-3 T. aggressivuminoculum decreased the mushroom yield by 68% to 100%. Proteins that increased in abundance in A. bisporusin vivofollowing exposure to T. aggressivumindicated an oxidative stress response and included proteins with pyruvate kinase activity (+2.6 fold) and hydrolase activity (+2.1 fold)). The results indicate that exposure of A. bisporusmycelium to T. aggressivum in vitroand in vivoresulted in an oxidative stress response and reduction in growth.
    • What does Life-Cycle Assessment of agricultural products need for more meaningful inclusion of biodiversity?

      Teillard, Félix; Maia de Souza, Danielle; Thoma, Greg; Gerber, Pierre J.; Finn, John A. (Wiley, 2016-06-05)
      Decision‐makers increasingly use life‐cycle assessment (LCA) as a tool to measure the environmental sustainability of products. LCA is of particular importance in globalized agricultural supply chains, which have environmental effects in multiple and spatially dispersed locations. Incorporation of impacts on biodiversity that arise from agricultural production systems into environmental assessment methods is an emerging area of work in LCA, and current approaches have limitations, including the need for (i) improved assessment of impacts to biodiversity associated with agricultural production, (ii) inclusion of new biodiversity indicators (e.g. conservation value, functional diversity, ecosystem services) and (iii) inclusion of previously unaccounted modelling variables that go beyond land‐use impacts (e.g. climate change, water and soil quality). Synthesis and applications. Ecological models and understanding can contribute to address the limitations of current life‐cycle assessment (LCA) methods in agricultural production systems and to make them more ecologically relevant. This will be necessary to ensure that biodiversity is not neglected in decision‐making that relies on LCA.
    • The Potential for Decision Support Tools to Improve the Management of Root-Feeding Fly Pests of Vegetables in Western Europe

      Collier, Rosemary; Mazzi, Dominique; Folkedal Schjøll, Annette; Schorpp, Quentin; Thöming, Gunda; Johansen, Tor J.; Meadow, Richard; Meyling, Nicolai V.; Cortesero, Anne-Marie; Vogler, Ute; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-06-13)
      Several important vegetable crops grown outdoors in temperate climates in Europe can be damaged by the root-feeding larvae of Diptera (Delia radicum, Delia floralis, Chamaepsila rosae, Delia platura, Delia florilega, Delia antiqua). Knowledge of pest insect phenology is a key component of any Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy, and this review considers the methods used to monitor and forecast the occurrence of root-feeding flies as a basis for decision-making by growers and the ways that such information can be applied. It has highlighted some current management approaches where such information is very useful for decision support, for example, the management of C. rosae with insecticidal sprays and the management of all of these pests using crop covers. There are other approaches, particularly those that need to be applied at sowing or transplanting, where knowledge of pest phenology and abundance is less necessary. Going forward, it is likely that the number of insecticidal control options available to European vegetable growers will diminish and they will need to move from a strategy which often involves using a single ‘silver bullet’ to a combination of approaches/tools with partial effects (applied within an IPM framework). For the less-effective, combined methods, accurate information about pest phenology and abundance and reliable decision support are likely to be extremely important.
    • Impact of P inputs on source-sink P dynamics of sediment along an agricultural ditch network

      Ezzati, G.; Fenton, Owen; Healy, M.G.; Christianson, L.; Feyereisen, G.W.; Thornton, S.; Chen, Q.; Fan, B.; Ding, J.; Daly, Karen; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
      Phosphorus (P) loss from intensive dairy farms is a pressure on water quality in agricultural catchments. At farm scale, P sources can enter in-field drains and open ditches, resulting in transfer along ditch networks and delivery into nearby streams. Open ditches could be a potential location for P mitigation if the right location was identified, depending on P sources entering the ditch and the source-sink dynamics at the sediment-water interface. The objective of this study was to identify the right location along a ditch to mitigate P losses on an intensive dairy farm. High spatial resolution grab samples for water quality, along with sediment and bankside samples, were collected along an open ditch network to characterise the P dynamics within the ditch. Phosphorus inputs to the ditch adversely affected water quality, and a step change in P concentrations (increase in mean dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) from 0.054 to 0.228 mg L−1) midway along the section of the ditch sampled, signalled the influence of a point source entering the ditch. Phosphorus inputs altered sediment P sorption properties as P accumulated along the length of the ditch. Accumulation of bankside and sediment labile extractable P, Mehlich 3 P (M3P) (from 13 to 97 mg kg−1) resulted in a decrease in P binding energies (k) to < 1 L mg−1 at downstream points and raised the equilibrium P concentrations (EPC0) from 0.07 to 4.61 mg L−1 along the ditch. The increase in EPC0 was in line with increasing dissolved and total P in water, demonstrating the role of sediment downstream in this ditch as a secondary source of P to water. Implementation of intervention measures are needed to both mitigate P loss and remediate sediment to restore the sink properties. In-ditch measures need to account for a physicochemical lag time before improvements in water quality will be observed.
    • Temporal and spatial field evaluations highlight the importance of the presymptomatic phase in supporting strong partial resistance in Triticum aestivum against Zymoseptoria tritici

      Hehir, J. G.; Connolly, C.; O'Driscoll, A.; Lynch, J. P.; Spink, John; Brown, J. K. M.; Doohan, F.; Mullins, Ewen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 11S121; et al. (Wiley, 2017-11-24)
      Zymoseptoria tritici, the causal agent of septoria tritici blotch (STB), remains a significant threat to European wheat production with the continuous emergence of fungicide resistance in Z. tritici strains eroding the economic sustainability of wheat production systems. The life cycle of Z. tritici is characterized by a presymptomatic phase (latent period, LP) after which the pathogen switches to an aggressive necrotrophic stage, when lesions bearing pycnidia quickly manifest on the leaf. As minimal knowledge of the possible role of the LP in supporting STB resistance/susceptibility exists, the goal of this study was to investigate the spatial and temporal association between the LP and disease progression across three locations (Ireland – Waterford, Carlow; UK – Norwich) that represent commercially high, medium and low STB pressure environments. Completed over two seasons (2013–2015) with commercially grown cultivars, the potential of the LP in stalling STB epidemics was significant as identified with cv. Stigg, whose high level of partial resistance was characterized by a lengthened LP (c. 36 days) under the high disease pressure environment of Waterford. However, once the LP concluded it was followed by a rate of disease progression in cv. Stigg that was comparable to that observed in the more susceptible commercial varieties. Complementary analysis, via logistic modelling of intensive disease assessments made at Carlow and Waterford in 2015, further highlighted the value of a lengthened LP in supporting strong partial resistance against STB disease of wheat.
    • First Report of Shot Hole Disease on Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Caused by Micrococcus aloeverae in Ireland

      Smith, L.; Gibriel, H. A. Y.; Brennan, C.; del Pino de Elias, M.; Twamley, A.; Doohan, F.; Grogan, H.; Feechan, A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/S/759 (Scientific Societies, 2020-08-13)
      First Report of Shot Hole Disease on Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Caused by Micrococcus aloeverae in Ireland
    • Is urban growing of fruit and vegetables associated with better diet quality and what mediates this relationship? Evidence from a cross-sectional survey.

      Mead, Bethan; Christiansen, Paul; Davies, Jessica; Falagán, Natalia; Kourmpetli, Sofia; Liu, Lingxuan; Walsh, Lael; Hardman, Charlotte; Global Food Security's ‘Resilience of the UK Food System Programme’; BBSRC; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-03-18)
      Urban agriculture (UA), the growing of fruits and vegetables in urban and peri-urban areas, may improve food security and access, public health and dietary quality on both a broad and personal scale. However, there is little research on the relationship between UA and diet, and potential mediating factors are also unclear. This study aimed to investigate if proximity to and engagement with UA is associated with better diet quality, and what accounts for this relationship. UK-based adults (N = 583, 69% Female) completed measures of proximity to and engagement with UA, perceived access to fruits and vegetables, health and ethical food choice motivations, connection with nature, psychological distress and dietary quality in an online survey. Participants were recruited from UA-related groups and the general public. Proposed relationships were analysed using a structural equation model. Greater proximity to and engagement with UA was associated with greater perceived access to fruits and vegetables, more health-related food choice motivations, more ethical-related food choice, feeling more connected with nature, and, surprisingly greater psychological distress. Furthermore, proximity to and engagement with UA was indirectly associated with better diet quality via health-, and ethical-related, food choice motivations. While the direct pathway between proximity to and engagement with UA and diet quality was not significant, UA is associated with better diet quality, partly via healthier and ethical food choice motivations. Upscaling UA may have benefits for dietary quality via these factors, and more research is needed to test causal relationships and understand these complex interactions.
    • Gene Expression Pattern in Olive Tree Organs (Olea europaea L.)

      Ramírez-Tejero, Jorge A.; Jiménez-Ruiz, Jaime; Leyva-Pérez, María de la O; Barroso, Juan Bautista; Luque, Francisco; Regional Government of Andalusia; Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness; Spanish State Research Agency; European Union; AGR-6038; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-05-12)
      The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) was one of the first plant species in history to be domesticated. Throughout olive domestication, gene expression has undergone drastic changes that may affect tissue/organ-specific genes. This is an RNA-seq study of the transcriptomic activity of different tissues/organs from adult olive tree cv. “Picual” under field conditions. This analysis unveiled 53,456 genes with expression in at least one tissue, 32,030 of which were expressed in all organs and 19,575 were found to be potential housekeeping genes. In addition, the specific expression pattern in each plant part was studied. The flower was clearly the organ with the most exclusively expressed genes, 3529, many of which were involved in reproduction. Many of these organ-specific genes are generally involved in regulatory activities and have a nuclear protein localization, except for leaves, where there are also many genes with a plastid localization. This was also observed in stems to a lesser extent. Moreover, pathogen defense and immunity pathways were highly represented in roots. These data show a complex pattern of gene expression in different organs, and provide relevant data about housekeeping and organ-specific genes in cultivated olive.
    • Efficacy of Woodchip Biochar and Brown Coal Waste as Stable Sorbents for Abatement of Bioavailable Cadmium, Lead and Zinc in Soil

      Amoah-Antwi, C.; Kwiatkowska-Malina, J.; Szara, E.; Thornton, S.; Fenton, Owen; Malina, G.; European Union; 675120 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-10-03)
      Organic sorbents alter physicochemical soil properties and mitigate heavy metal (HM) bioavailability. However, some sorbents are labile and, therefore, introduce the risk of HM release into soil after mineralisation. Before field application, new stable organic sorbents such as woodchip biochar (BIO) and brown coal waste (BCW) need to be tested and compared with standard organic amendments like farmyard manure (FYM). An incubated pot experiment was conducted to investigate the efficacy of FYM, BIO and BCW (added to soil in pots at 5 and 10% w/w) to alter soil physicochemical properties and mitigate bioavailability of Cd, Pb and Zn spiked in treatments at different doses (in mg kg−1 ); 0 (not spiked), 1 (1 Cd, 70 Pb, 100 Zn) and 2 (3 Cd, 500 Pb, 700 Zn), and incubated for 9 weeks. At the end of the experiment, the EDTAextractable HM fractions, pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and specific surface area (SSA, to check trends) were determined in all treated soils. Results showed that FYM, BCW and BIO generally improved all soil properties (except reduced pH from BCW and apparent SSA reduction from FYM) and accounted for respective maximum abatements of Cd (50.2, 69.9 and 25.5%), Pb (34.2, 64.3 and 17.4%) and Zn (14.9, 17.7 and 11.8%) bioavailability in soil. FYM and BCW were more effective at 10% w/w especially in the low contaminated soil, whereas the highest efficacy for BIO was at 5% w/w and in the high contaminated soil. The efficacies of sorption by the organic sorbents varied for different HMs and were in the orders: BCW > FYM > BIO for Cd, FYM > BCW > BIO for Pb and BIO > BCW > FYM for Zn. Soil pH and CEC were strongly correlated with HM bioavailability in all treatments and implied that immobilisation of HMs occurred via complex formation, ion exchange and pH-dependent specific adsorption. All three sorbents were beneficial as soil amendments, and in terms of HM mitigation, BCW had the highest efficacy, followed by FYM and then BIO. Considering the documented high soil stability of BCW and BIO, these results are promising for further trialling at field scale.
    • Spatial evaluation and trade‐off analysis of soil functions through Bayesian networks

      Vrebos, Dirk; Jones, Arwyn; Lugato, Emanuele; O’Sullivan, Lillian; Schulte, Rogier; Staes, Jan; Meire, Patrick; European Union; 635201 (Wiley, 2020-08-23)
      There is increasing recognition that soils fulfil many functions for society. Each soil can deliver a range of functions, but some soils are more effective at some functions than others due to their intrinsic properties. In this study we mapped four different soil functions on agricultural lands across the European Union. For each soil function, indicators were developed to evaluate their performance. To calculate the indicators and assess the interdependencies between the soil functions, data from continental long‐term simulation with the DayCent model were used to build crop‐specific Bayesian networks. These Bayesian Networks were then used to calculate the soil functions' performance and trade‐offs between the soil functions under current conditions. For each soil function the maximum potential was estimated across the European Union and changes in trade‐offs were assessed. By deriving current and potential soil function delivery from Bayesian networks a better understanding is gained of how different soil functions and their interdependencies can differ depending on soil, climate and management. Highlights When increasing a soil function, how do trade‐offs affect the other functions under different conditions? Bayesian networks evaluate trade‐offs between soil functions and estimate their maximal delivery. Maximizing a soil function has varied effects on other functions depending on soil, climate and management. Differences in trade‐offs make some locations more suitable for increasing a soil function then others.
    • Biodiversity and ecosystem function: making sense of numerous species interactions in multi-species communities

      Brophy, Caroline; Dooley, Áine; Kirwan, Laura; Finn, John A.; McDonnell, Jack; Bell, Thomas; Cadotte, Marc W.; Connolly, John; Science Foundation Ireland; 09/RFP/EOB2546 (Wiley, 2017-06-30)
      Understanding the biodiversity and ecosystem function relationship can be challenging in species‐rich ecosystems. Traditionally, species richness has been relied on heavily to explain changes in ecosystem function across diversity gradients. Diversity–Interactions models can test how ecosystem function is affected by species identity, species interactions, and evenness, in addition to richness. However, in a species‐rich system, there may be too many species interactions to allow estimation of each coefficient, and if all interaction coefficients are estimable, they may be devoid of any sensible biological meaning. Parsimonious descriptions using constraints among interaction coefficients have been developed but important variability may still remain unexplained. Here, we extend Diversity–Interactions models to describe the effects of diversity on ecosystem function using a combination of fixed coefficients and random effects. Our approach provides improved standard errors for testing fixed coefficients and incorporates lack‐of‐fit tests for diversity effects. We illustrate our methods using data from a grassland and a microbial experiment. Our framework considerably reduces the complexities associated with understanding how species interactions contribute to ecosystem function in species‐rich ecosystems.
    • Comparative assessment of ecosystem C exchange in Miscanthusand reed canary grass during early establishment

      Ní Choncubhair, Órlaith; Osborne, Bruce; Finnan, John; Lanigan, Gary; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 07527 (Wiley, 2016-05-12)
      Land‐use change to bioenergy crop production can contribute towards addressing the dual challenges of greenhouse gas mitigation and energy security. Realisation of the mitigation potential of bioenergy crops is, however, dependent on suitable crop selection and full assessment of the carbon (C) emissions associated with land conversion. Using eddy covariance‐based estimates, ecosystem C exchange was studied during the early‐establishment phase of two perennial crops, C3 reed canary grass (RCG) and C4 Miscanthus, planted on former grassland in Ireland. Crop development was the main determinant of net carbon exchange in the Miscanthus crop, restricting significant net C uptake during the first 2 years of establishment. The Miscanthus ecosystem switched from being a net C source in the conversion year to a strong net C sink (−411 ± 63 g C m−2) in the third year, driven by significant above‐ground growth and leaf expansion. For RCG, early establishment and rapid canopy development facilitated a net C sink in the first 2 years of growth (−319 ± 57 (post‐planting) and −397 ± 114 g C m−2, respectively). Peak seasonal C uptake occurred three months earlier in RCG (May) than Miscanthus (August), however Miscanthus sustained net C uptake longer into the autumn and was close to C‐neutral in winter. Leaf longevity is therefore a key advantage of C4 Miscanthus in temperate climates. Further increases in productivity are projected as Miscanthus reaches maturity and are likely to further enhance the C sink potential of Miscanthus relative to RCG.