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Concept: Mediterranean climate


Climate change is expected to impact ecosystems directly, such as through shifting climatic controls on species ranges, and indirectly, for example through changes in human land use that may result in habitat loss. Shifting patterns of agricultural production in response to climate change have received little attention as a potential impact pathway for ecosystems. Wine grape production provides a good test case for measuring indirect impacts mediated by changes in agriculture, because viticulture is sensitive to climate and is concentrated in Mediterranean climate regions that are global biodiversity hotspots. Here we demonstrate that, on a global scale, the impacts of climate change on viticultural suitability are substantial, leading to possible conservation conflicts in land use and freshwater ecosystems. Area suitable for viticulture decreases 25% to 73% in major wine producing regions by 2050 in the higher RCP 8.5 concentration pathway and 19% to 62% in the lower RCP 4.5. Climate change may cause establishment of vineyards at higher elevations that will increase impacts on upland ecosystems and may lead to conversion of natural vegetation as production shifts to higher latitudes in areas such as western North America. Attempts to maintain wine grape productivity and quality in the face of warming may be associated with increased water use for irrigation and to cool grapes through misting or sprinkling, creating potential for freshwater conservation impacts. Agricultural adaptation and conservation efforts are needed that anticipate these multiple possible indirect effects.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Climate, Vitis vinifera, Wine, Mediterranean climate, Grape, Viticulture


Neglecting tree size and stand structure dynamics might bias the interpretation of the diversity-productivity relationship in forests. Here we show evidence that complementarity is contingent on tree size across large-scale climatic gradients in Europe. We compiled growth data of the 14 most dominant tree species in 32,628 permanent plots covering boreal, temperate and Mediterranean forest biomes. Niche complementarity is expected to result in significant growth increments of trees surrounded by a larger proportion of functionally dissimilar neighbours. Functional dissimilarity at the tree level was assessed using four functional types: i.e. broad-leaved deciduous, broad-leaved evergreen, needle-leaved deciduous and needle-leaved evergreen. Using Linear Mixed Models we show that, complementarity effects depend on tree size along an energy availability gradient across Europe. Specifically: (i) complementarity effects at low and intermediate positions of the gradient (coldest-temperate areas) were stronger for small than for large trees; (ii) in contrast, at the upper end of the gradient (warmer regions), complementarity is more widespread in larger than smaller trees, which in turn showed negative growth responses to increased functional dissimilarity. Our findings suggest that the outcome of species mixing on stand productivity might critically depend on individual size distribution structure along gradients of environmental variation.

Concepts: Plant, Climate, Tree, Rainforest, Mediterranean climate, Steppe, Taiga, Tree line


Predicting wildfire under future conditions is complicated by complex interrelated drivers operating across large spatial scales. Annual area burned (AAB) is a useful index of global wildfire activity. Current and antecedent seasonal climatic conditions, and the timing of snowpack melt, have been suggested as important drivers of AAB. As climate warms, seasonal climate and snowpack co-vary in intricate ways, influencing fire at continental and sub-continental scales. We used independent records of seasonal climate and snow cover duration (last date of permanent snowpack, LDPS) and cell-based Structural Equation Models (SEM) to separate direct (climatic) and indirect (snow cover) effects on relative changes in AAB under future climatic scenarios across western and boreal North America. To isolate seasonal climate variables with the greatest effect on AAB, we ran multiple regression models of log-transformed AAB on seasonal climate variables and LDPS. We used the results of multiple regressions to project future AAB using GCM ensemble climate variables and LDPS, and validated model predictions with recent AAB trends. Direct influences of spring and winter temperatures on AAB are larger and more widespread than the indirect effect mediated by changes in LDPS in most areas. Despite significant warming trends and reductions in snow cover duration, projected responses of AAB to early-mid 21st century are heterogeneous across the continent. Changes in AAB range from strongly increasing (one order of magnitude increases in AAB) to moderately decreasing (more than halving of baseline AAB). Annual wildfire area burned in coming decades is likely to be highly geographically heterogeneous, reflecting interacting regional and seasonal climate drivers of fire occurrence and spread.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Ice, Prediction, Futurology, Precipitation, Climate, Mediterranean climate


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement of December 2015 aims to maintain the global average warming well below 2°C above the preindustrial level. In the Mediterranean basin, recent pollen-based reconstructions of climate and ecosystem variability over the past 10,000 years provide insights regarding the implications of warming thresholds for biodiversity and land-use potential. We compare scenarios of climate-driven future change in land ecosystems with reconstructed ecosystem dynamics during the past 10,000 years. Only a 1.5°C warming scenario permits ecosystems to remain within the Holocene variability. At or above 2°C of warming, climatic change will generate Mediterranean land ecosystem changes that are unmatched in the Holocene, a period characterized by recurring precipitation deficits rather than temperature anomalies.

Concepts: Climate, Weather, Ecosystem, Climate change, Sustainability, Mediterranean climate, Lebanon, Holocene


It has been suggested that climate change impacts on the electric sector will account for the majority of global economic damages by the end of the current century and beyond [Rose S, et al. (2014) Understanding the Social Cost of Carbon: A Technical Assessment]. The empirical literature has shown significant increases in climate-driven impacts on overall consumption, yet has not focused on the cost implications of the increased intensity and frequency of extreme events driving peak demand, which is the highest load observed in a period. We use comprehensive, high-frequency data at the level of load balancing authorities to parameterize the relationship between average or peak electricity demand and temperature for a major economy. Using statistical models, we analyze multiyear data from 166 load balancing authorities in the United States. We couple the estimated temperature response functions for total daily consumption and daily peak load with 18 downscaled global climate models (GCMs) to simulate climate change-driven impacts on both outcomes. We show moderate and heterogeneous changes in consumption, with an average increase of 2.8% by end of century. The results of our peak load simulations, however, suggest significant increases in the intensity and frequency of peak events throughout the United States, assuming today’s technology and electricity market fundamentals. As the electricity grid is built to endure maximum load, our findings have significant implications for the construction of costly peak generating capacity, suggesting additional peak capacity costs of up to 180 billion dollars by the end of the century under business-as-usual.

Concepts: United States, Climate, Economics, Climate change, Mediterranean climate, Climate model, Global climate model, Electricity distribution


The Mediterranean olive tree (Olea europaea subsp. europaea) was one of the first trees to be domesticated and is currently of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil. The molecular bases underlying the phenotypic differences among domesticated cultivars, or between domesticated olive trees and their wild relatives, remain poorly understood. Both wild and cultivated olive trees have 46 chromosomes (2n).

Concepts: Fruit, Olive, Mediterranean climate, Olive oil, Greece, Mediterranean Basin, Olive leaf, Oleaceae


SUMMARY Following the recent description of microfilariae of a Cercopithifilaria sp. in a dog from Sicily, Italy, (herein after referred to as Cercopithifilaria sp. I), numerous skin samples were collected from dogs in the Mediterranean region. In addition to Cercopithifilaria sp. I (185·7 ± 7·2 μm long), microfilariae of 2 other species were identified, namely Cercopithifilaria grassii (651·7 ± 23·6 μm long) and a yet undescribed microfilaria, Cercopithifilaria sp. II (264·4 ± 20·2 μm long, with evident lateral alae). The morphological differentiation among the 3 species of dermal microfilariae was confirmed by differences in cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 and ribosomal 12S sequences examined (mean level of interspecific pairwise distance of 11·4%, and 17·7%, respectively). Phylogenetic analyses were concordant in clustering these with other sequences of Cercopithifilaria spp. to the exclusion of Dirofilaria spp., Onchocerca spp. and Acanthocheilonema spp. Dermal microfilariae collected (n = 132) were morphologically identified as Cercopithifilaria sp. I (n = 108, 81·8%), Cercopithifilaria sp. II (n = 17, 12·9%), whereas only 7 (5·3%) were identified as C. grassii. Mixed infestations were detected in all sites examined. The great diversity of these neglected filarioids in dogs is of biological interest, considering the complex interactions occurring among hosts, ticks and Cercopithifilaria spp. in different environments.

Concepts: Species, Mediterranean Sea, Turkey, Dog, Mediterranean climate, Cytochrome c, Mediterranean Basin, History of the Mediterranean region


Lack of information and difficulty in predicting wild edible sporocarp yields is blocking its integration in forest management. In the Mediterranean area, this nontimber forest product has increased its market value, consumption demand, and interest over the last decade. In this work, sampling year and stand age effects are analyzed in order to advance knowledge of edible fungi community structure, dynamics, and production. Weekly autumnal sporocarp monitoring was performed from 1997 to 2011 in a Pinus pinaster managed forest in central Spain. After applying a random stand age-stratified survey, 21 plots of 150 m(2) have been set with three per stand age class. The forest age classes have been defined as follows: 0-10 years, mixture of parent and regenerated trees, 11-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-90, and over 90 years. A total of 153 species belonging to 56 genera were recorded, 55 of which are edible. The production of edible sporocarps was 19.8 kg ha(-1), representing 31 % of total production. Sporocarp production presents a sharp interannual variability with autumns 62 times more productive than others. The most abundant edible species in terms of fresh weight per hectare has been Lactarius deliciosus with 7.0 kg ha(-1). Edible fungi yields registered a significant decline in 10 years following regenerative cutting. The presence of parent trees significantly increases production with regard to the first class. The highest production of edible species occurs in the middle age, 41-60 years, and in the following classes, a decrease is produced. L. deliciosus production registered differences with age, manifesting in a high yield in young stands (11-20 years) and significant recovery in woodlands near to the cutting.

Concepts: Species, Middle Ages, Mediterranean Sea, Taxonomic rank, Mediterranean climate, Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub, Lactarius deliciosus


The main characteristics of the heat accumulation period and the possible existence of different types of biological response to the environment in different populations of olive through the Mediterranean region have been evaluated. Chilling curves to determine the start date of the heat accumulation period were constructed and evaluated. The results allow us to conclude that the northern olive populations have the greatest heat requirements for the development of their floral buds, and they need a period of time longer than olives in others areas to completely satisfy their biothermic requirements. The olive trees located in the warmest winter areas have a faster transition from endogenous to exogenous inhibition once the peak of chilling is met, and they show more rapid floral development. The lower heat requirements are due to better adaptation to warmer regions. Both the threshold temperature and the peak of flowering date are closely related to latitude. Different types of biological responses of olives to the environment were found. The adaptive capacity shown by the olive tree should be considered as a useful tool with which to study the effects of global climatic change on agro-ecosystems.

Concepts: Climate, Climate change, Fruit, Olive, Mediterranean climate, Olive oil, Mediterranean Basin


Although a role of glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) in age-related cataract development is plausible, a few studies, all conducted in USA or Australia, provided results on this issue. The aim of the present study was to provide new original data from a Mediterranean population.

Concepts: Nutrition, Cultural studies, Carbohydrate, Glycemic index, Diabetic diet, Mediterranean climate, Glycemic load, Insulin index