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Herbivory is discussed as a key agent in maintaining dynamics and stability of tropical forested ecosystems. Accordingly increasing attention has been paid to the factors that structure tropical herbivore communities. The aim of this study was (1) to describe diversity, density, distribution and host range of the phasmid community (Phasmatodea) of a moist neotropical forest in Panamá, and (2) to experimentally assess bottom-up and top-down factors that may regulate populations of the phasmid Metriophasma diocles. The phasmid community of Barro Colorado Island was poor in species and low in density. Phasmids mainly occurred along forest edges and restricted host ranges of phasmid species reflected the successional status of their host plants. Only M. diocles that fed on early and late successional plants occurred regularly in the forest understory. A long generation time with a comparably low fecundity converted into a low biotic potential of M. diocles. However, modeled potential population density increased exponentially and exceeded the realized densities of this species already after one generation indicating that control factors continuously affect M. diocles natural populations. Egg hatching failure decreased potential population growth by 10 % but was of no marked effect at larger temporal scale. Interspecific differences in defensive physical and chemical leaf traits of M. diocles host plants, amongst them leaf toughness the supposedly most effective anti-herbivore defense, seemed not to affect adult female preference and nymph performance. Alternatively to these defenses, I suggest that the pattern of differential preference and performance may be based on interspecific differences in qualitative toxic compounds or in nutritive quality of leaves. The significant rejection of leaf tissue with a low artificial increase of natural phenol contents by nymphs indicated a qualitative defensive pathway in Piper evolution. In M. diocles, oviposition may not be linked to nymph performance, because the evolutionary prediction of a relation between female adult preference and nymph performance was missing. Consequently, the recruitment of nymphs into the reproductive adult phase may be crucially affected by differential performance of nymphs. Neonate M. diocles nymphs suffered strong predation pressure when exposed to natural levels of predation. Concluding from significantly increased predation-related mortality at night, I argue that arthropods may be the main predators of this nocturnal herbivore. Migratory behavior of nymphs seemed not to reflect predation avoidance. Instead, I provided first evidence that host plant quality may trigger off-plant migration. In conclusion, I suggest that predation pressure with its direct effects on nymph survival may be a stronger factor regulating M. diocles populations, compared to direct and indirect effects of host plant quality, particularly because slow growth and off-host migration both may feed back into an increase of predation related mortality.

Der `aryl hydrocarbon´-Rezeptor (AhR) ist ein Ligand aktivierter Transkriptionsfaktor, der durch Bindung an spezifische DNA-Elemente (`xenobiotic responsive elements´ (XREs)) Einfluss auf die Expression einer Vielzahl von Genen u.a. Cytochrom P450 (CYP) 1A hat. Liganden des AhR sind unter anderem aromatische halogenierte Kohlenwasserstoffe (z.B: 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlordibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)), polyzyklische aromatische Kohlenwasserstoffe und Pharmazeutika. Natürliche Liganden wie Indolderivate sind ebenfalls bekannte AhR-Liganden. In dieser Arbeit sollte im ersten Teil geklärt werden, inwieweit die in pflanzlichen Lebensmitteln vorkommende Furocumarine Angelicin, Bergamottin, Isopimpinellin und 8-Methoxypsoralen (8-MOP) den AhR-Signaltransduktionsweg und das CYP1A Enzym in Abhänigkeit von den Lichtverhältnissen beeinflussen. Hierbei zeigen alle untersuchten Furocumarine einen Licht- und konzentrationsabhängigen inhibitorischen Effekt auf die CYP1A-vermittelte EROD-Aktivität sowohl in mit TCDD koinkubierten Rattenhepatozyten in Primarkultur als auch in Mikrosomen aus mit TCDD inkubierten primären Rattenhepatozyten, die mit dem Furocumarin präinkubiert wurden. Bergamottin ist der potenteste Inhibitor mit einem IC50-Wert von 0,01 µM in Mikrosomen bei Licht. Angelicin, Isopimpinellin und 8-MOP sind unter Lichtausschluss im XRE-gesteuerten Reportergen-Assay in der Lage, den AhR zu aktivieren. Western Blot Analysen zeigen eine Induktion der CYP1A1 Proteinexpression unter den gleichen Bedingungen. Bergamottin ist in keinem untersuchten System in der Lage, den AhR zu aktivieren, steigert aber die CYP1A1 Proteinexpression, was für einen unterschiedlichen mechanistischen Verlauf im Vergleich mit den anderen untersuchten Furocumarinen spricht. Die CYP1A1 mRNA korreliert nur teilweise mit diesen Daten, was unter anderem mit der Zeitabhängigkeit der durchgeführten Untersuchungen begründet werden kann. Die hier verwendeten Substanzen sind somit unter Lichtausschluss `Suizid´Inaktivatoren des CYP1A1, indem sie ihren eigenen Metabolimus durch Aktivierung des AhR-Signalweges katalysieren. Im zweiten Teil dieser Arbeit wurden Tryptophan-Metabolite durch Fermentation von Rattenfeces mit Tryptophan generiert und die Methodik zur Anreicherung und Charakterisierung optimiert. Trotz der Optimierung der einzelnen Verfahrensschritte konnte aufgrund der geringen zur Verfügung stehenden Menge und der starken Matrix-bedingten Verunreinigungen der EROD-aktiven Substanzen keine Charakterisierung vorgenommen werden. Die optimierte HPLC-Analyse ermöglicht die Abtrennung anteilsmäßig großer Verunreinigungen. Außerdem kann durch die hier entwickelte Selektion von Bakterienkulturen aus Rattenfeces auf den Einsatz frischer Feces verzichtet werden. Des Weiteren lässt sich die Ausbeute an dem gewünschten Produkten erhöhen, indem Kulturen eingesetzt werden, die zu einer Steigerung an gebildeten EROD-aktiven Verbindungen führte, was eine Charakterisierung vereinfachen könnte.

Nowadays one of the major objectives in geosciences is the determination of the gravitational field of our planet, the Earth. A precise knowledge of this quantity is not just interesting on its own but it is indeed a key point for a vast number of applications. The important question is how to obtain a good model for the gravitational field on a global scale. The only applicable solution - both in costs and data coverage - is the usage of satellite data. We concentrate on highly precise measurements which will be obtained by GOCE (Gravity Field and Steady State Ocean Circulation Explorer, launch expected 2006). This satellite has a gradiometer onboard which returns the second derivatives of the gravitational potential. Mathematically seen we have to deal with several obstacles. The first one is that the noise in the different components of these second derivatives differs over several orders of magnitude, i.e. a straightforward solution of this outer boundary value problem will not work properly. Furthermore we are not interested in the data at satellite height but we want to know the field at the Earth's surface, thus we need a regularization (downward-continuation) of the data. These two problems are tackled in the thesis and are now described briefly. Split Operators: We have to solve an outer boundary value problem at the height of the satellite track. Classically one can handle first order side conditions which are not tangential to the surface and second derivatives pointing in the radial direction employing integral and pseudo differential equation methods. We present a different approach: We classify all first and purely second order operators which fulfill that a harmonic function stays harmonic under their application. This task is done by using modern algebraic methods for solving systems of partial differential equations symbolically. Now we can look at the problem with oblique side conditions as if we had ordinary i.e. non-derived side conditions. The only additional work which has to be done is an inversion of the differential operator, i.e. integration. In particular we are capable to deal with derivatives which are tangential to the boundary. Auto-Regularization: The second obstacle is finding a proper regularization procedure. This is complicated by the fact that we are facing stochastic rather than deterministic noise. The main question is how to find an optimal regularization parameter which is impossible without any additional knowledge. However we could show that with a very limited number of additional information, which are obtainable also in practice, we can regularize in an asymptotically optimal way. In particular we showed that the knowledge of two input data sets allows an order optimal regularization procedure even under the hard conditions of Gaussian white noise and an exponentially ill-posed problem. A last but rather simple task is combining data from different derivatives which can be done by a weighted least squares approach using the information we obtained out of the regularization procedure. A practical application to the downward-continuation problem for simulated gravitational data is shown.

Compared to our current knowledge of neuronal excitation, little is known about the development and maturation of inhibitory circuits. Recent studies show that inhibitory circuits develop and mature in a similar way like excitatory circuit. One such similarity is the development through excitation, irrespective of its inhibitory nature. Here in this current study, I used the inhibitory projection between the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) and the lateral superior olive (LSO) as a model system to unravel some aspects of the development of inhibitory synapses. In LSO neurons of the rat auditory brainstem, glycine receptor-mediated responses change from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing during the first two postnatal weeks (Kandler and Friauf 1995, J. Neurosci. 15:6890-6904). The depolarizing effect of glycine is due to a high intracellular chloride concentration ([Cl-]i), which induces a reversal potential of glycine (EGly) more positive than the resting membrane potential (Vrest). In older LSO neurons, the hyperpolarizing effect is due to a low [Cl-]i (Ehrlich et al., 1999, J. Physiol. 520:121-137). Aim of the present study was to elucidate the molecular mechanism behind Clhomeostasis in LSO neurons which determines polarity of glycine response. To do so, the role and developmental expression of Cl-cotransporters, such as NKCC1 and KCC2 were investigated. Molecular biological and gramicidin perforated patchclamp experiments revealed, the role of KCC2 as an outward Cl-cotransporter in mature LSO neurons (Balakrishnan et al., 2003, J Neurosci. 23:4134-4145). But, NKCC1 does not appear to be involved in accumulating chloride in immature LSO neurons. Further experiments, indicated the role of GABA and glycine transporters (GAT1 and GLYT2) in accumulating Cl- in immature LSO neurons. Finally, the experiments with hypothyroid animals suggest the possible role of thyroid hormone in the maturation of inhibitory synapse. Altogether, this thesis addressed the molecular mechanism underlying the Cl- regulation in LSO neurons and deciphered it to some extent.

The polydispersive nature of the turbulent droplet swarm in agitated liquid-liquid contacting equipment makes its mathematical modelling and the solution methodologies a rather sophisticated process. This polydispersion could be modelled as a population of droplets randomly distributed with respect to some internal properties at a specific location in space using the population balance equation as a mathematical tool. However, the analytical solution of such a mathematical model is hardly to obtain except for particular idealized cases, and hence numerical solutions are resorted to in general. This is due to the inherent nonlinearities in the convective and diffusive terms as well as the appearance of many integrals in the source term. In this work two conservative discretization methodologies for both internal (droplet state) and external (spatial) coordinates are extended and efficiently implemented to solve the population balance equation (PBE) describing the hydrodynamics of liquid-liquid contacting equipment. The internal coordinate conservative discretization techniques of Kumar and Ramkrishna (1996a, b) originally developed for the solution of PBE in simple batch systems are extended to continuous flow systems and validated against analytical solutions as well as published experimental droplet interaction functions and hydrodynamic data. In addition to these methodologies, we presented a conservative discretization approach for droplet breakage in batch and continuous flow systems, where it is found to have identical convergence characteristics when compared to the method of Kumar and Ramkrishna (1996a). Apart from the specific discretization schemes, the numerical solution of droplet population balance equations by discretization is known to suffer from inherent finite domain errors (FDE). Two approaches that minimize the total FDE during the solution of the discrete PBEs using an approximate optimal moving (for batch) and fixed (for continuous systems) grids are introduced (Attarakih, Bart & Faqir, 2003a). As a result, significant improvements are achieved in predicting the number densities, zero and first moments of the population. For spatially distributed populations (such as extraction columns) the resulting system of partial differential equations is spatially discretized in conservative form using a simplified first order upwind scheme as well as first and second order nonoscillatory central differencing schemes (Kurganov & Tadmor, 2000). This spatial discretization avoids the characteristic decomposition of the convective flux based on the approximate Riemann Solvers and the operator splitting technique required by classical upwind schemes (Karlsen et al., 2001). The time variable is discretized using an implicit strongly stable approach that is formulated by careful lagging of the nonlinear parts of the convective and source terms. The present algorithms are tested against analytical solutions of the simplified PBE through many case studies. In all these case studies the discrete models converges successfully to the available analytical solutions and to solutions on relatively fine grids when the analytical solution is not available. This is accomplished by deriving five analytical solutions of the PBE in continuous stirred tank and liquid-liquid extraction column for especial cases of breakage and coalescence functions. As an especial case, these algorithms are implemented via a windows computer code called LLECMOD (Liquid-Liquid Extraction Column Module) to simulate the hydrodynamics of general liquid-liquid extraction columns (LLEC). The user input dialog makes the LLECMOD a user-friendly program that enables the user to select grids, column dimensions, flow rates, velocity models, simulation parameters, dispersed and continuous phases chemical components, and droplet phase space-time solvers. The graphical output within the windows environment adds to the program a distinctive feature and makes it very easy to examine and interpret the results very quickly. Moreover, the dynamic model of the dispersed phase is carefully treated to correctly predict the oscillatory behavior of the LLEC hold up. In this context, a continuous velocity model corresponding to the manipulation of the inlet continuous flow rate through the control of the dispersed phase level is derived to get rid of this behavior.