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Diversity, Volume 1, Issue 2 (December 2009), Pages 89-198

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Intraspecific Variation in Commiphora wightii Populations Based on Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) Sequences of rDNA
Diversity 2009, 1(2), 89-101; doi:10.3390/d1020089
Received: 15 September 2009 / Accepted: 19 October 2009 / Published: 26 October 2009
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (855 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Commiphora wightii is an endangered, endemic species found in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India and adjoining areas of Pakistan. The populations of this plant are rapidly dwindling due to overexploitation for their medicinally important resin. Analysis of nucleotide sequences of the [...] Read more.
Commiphora wightii is an endangered, endemic species found in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India and adjoining areas of Pakistan. The populations of this plant are rapidly dwindling due to overexploitation for their medicinally important resin. Analysis of nucleotide sequences of the internal transcribed spacer of rDNAs revealed low genetic diversity (π = 0.03905; θw = 0.05418) and high population structure (ϕST = 0.206). Parsimony based assessment and Bayesian analyses were conducted on the dataset. Mantel’s test showed a statistically significant positive correlation between genetic and geographic distance (r2 = 0.3647; p = 0.023). Anthropogenic overexploitation of C. wightii for its natural resources has resulted in population fragmentation. Initiatives should be taken immediately to preserve the diversity of this important plant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment of Plant Genetic Diversity)
Open AccessArticle Can a Single Amphibian Species Be a Good Biodiversity Indicator?
Diversity 2009, 1(2), 102-117; doi:10.3390/d1020102
Received: 27 September 2009 / Accepted: 11 November 2009 / Published: 13 November 2009
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (206 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although amphibians have been widely promoted as indicators of biodiversity and environmental change, rigorous tests are lacking. Here key indicator criteria are distilled from published papers, and a species that has been promoted as a bioindicator, the great crested newt, is tested [...] Read more.
Although amphibians have been widely promoted as indicators of biodiversity and environmental change, rigorous tests are lacking. Here key indicator criteria are distilled from published papers, and a species that has been promoted as a bioindicator, the great crested newt, is tested against them. Although a link was established between the presence of great crested newts and aquatic plant diversity, this was not repeated with the diversity of macroinvertebrates. Equally, amphibians do not meet many of the published criteria of bioindicators. Our research suggests that a suite of indicators, rather than a single species, will usually be required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amphibian Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Mine Spoil Prairies Expand Critical Habitat for Endangered and Threatened Amphibian and Reptile Species
Diversity 2009, 1(2), 118-132; doi:10.3390/d1020118
Received: 27 October 2009 / Accepted: 13 November 2009 / Published: 17 November 2009
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (808 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Coal extraction has been occurring in the Midwestern United States for over a century. Despite the pre-mining history of the landscape as woodlands, spent surface coalfields are often reclaimed to grasslands. We assessed amphibian and reptile species on a large tract of [...] Read more.
Coal extraction has been occurring in the Midwestern United States for over a century. Despite the pre-mining history of the landscape as woodlands, spent surface coalfields are often reclaimed to grasslands. We assessed amphibian and reptile species on a large tract of coal spoil prairie and found 13 species of amphibians (nine frog and four salamander species) and 19 species of reptiles (one lizard, five turtle, and 13 snake species). Two state-endangered and three state species of special concern were documented. The amphibian diversity at our study site was comparable to the diversity found at a large restored prairie situated 175 km north, within the historic prairie peninsula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amphibian Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Adventive Vertebrates and Historical Ecology in the Pre-Columbian Neotropics
Diversity 2009, 1(2), 151-165; doi:10.3390/d1020151
Received: 14 October 2009 / Accepted: 4 December 2009 / Published: 8 December 2009
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (312 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The arrival of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere (ca. AD 1500) is generally used as a convenient reference point for signaling the early appearance of invasive faunas. Although use of this date embraces an implicit belief in benign landscape management by pre-Columbian [...] Read more.
The arrival of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere (ca. AD 1500) is generally used as a convenient reference point for signaling the early appearance of invasive faunas. Although use of this date embraces an implicit belief in benign landscape management by pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas, substantial evidence for the anthropogenic movement of domesticated, wild, and synanthropic vertebrates throughout the Neotropics suggests that it may be an exaggerated and erroneous reference point for the aims of ecological restoration and biological conservation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluating Amphibian Declines with Site Revisits and Occupancy Models: Status of Montane Anurans in the Pacific Northwest USA
Diversity 2009, 1(2), 166-181; doi:10.3390/d1020166
Received: 9 November 2009 / Accepted: 7 December 2009 / Published: 11 December 2009
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (449 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Amphibian declines have been reported in mountainous areas around the western USA. Few data quantify the extent of population losses in the Pacific Northwest, a region in which amphibian declines have received much attention. From 2001–2004, we resurveyed historical breeding sites of [...] Read more.
Amphibian declines have been reported in mountainous areas around the western USA. Few data quantify the extent of population losses in the Pacific Northwest, a region in which amphibian declines have received much attention. From 2001–2004, we resurveyed historical breeding sites of two species of conservation concern, the Western Toad (Bufo [=Anaxyrus] boreas) and Cascades Frog (Rana cascadae). We detected B. boreas breeding at 75.9% and R. cascadae breeding at 66.6% of historical sites. When we analyzed the data using occupancy models that accounted for detection probability, we estimated the current use of historically occupied sites in our study area was 84.9% (SE = 4.9) for B. boreas and 72.4% (SE = 6.6) for R. cascadae. Our ability to detect B. boreas at sites where they were present was lower in the first year of surveys (a low snowpack year) and higher at sites with introduced fish. Our ability to detect R. cascadae was lower at sites with fish. The probability that B. boreas still uses a historical site for breeding was related to the easting of the site (+) and the age of record (-). None of the variables we analyzed was strongly related to R. cascadae occupancy. Both species had increased odds of occupancy with higher latitude, but model support for this variable was modest. Our analysis suggests that while local losses are possible, these two amphibians have not experienced recent, broad population losses in the Oregon Cascades. Historical site revisitation studies such as ours cannot distinguish between population losses and site switching, and do not account for colonization of new habitats, so our analysis may overestimate declines in occupancy within our study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amphibian Conservation)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Forecasting Extinctions: Uncertainties and Limitations
Diversity 2009, 1(2), 133-150; doi:10.3390/d1020133
Received: 13 October 2009 / Accepted: 14 November 2009 / Published: 26 November 2009
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (272 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Extinction forecasting is one of the most important and challenging areas of conservation biology. Overestimates of extinction rates or the extinction risk of a particular species instigate accusations of hype and overblown conservation rhetoric. Conversely, underestimates may result in limited resources being [...] Read more.
Extinction forecasting is one of the most important and challenging areas of conservation biology. Overestimates of extinction rates or the extinction risk of a particular species instigate accusations of hype and overblown conservation rhetoric. Conversely, underestimates may result in limited resources being allocated to other species/habitats perceived as being at greater risk. In this paper I review extinction models and identify the key sources of uncertainty for each. All reviewed methods which claim to estimate extinction probabilities have severe limitations, independent of if they are based on ecological theory or on rather subjective expert judgments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Feature Papers)
Open AccessReview The Brazilian Pampa: A Fragile Biome
Diversity 2009, 1(2), 182-198; doi:10.3390/d1020182
Received: 17 November 2009 / Accepted: 9 December 2009 / Published: 21 December 2009
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biodiversity is one of the most fundamental properties of Nature. It underpins the stability of ecosystems, provides vast bioresources for economic use, and has important cultural significance for many people. The Pampa biome, located in the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande [...] Read more.
Biodiversity is one of the most fundamental properties of Nature. It underpins the stability of ecosystems, provides vast bioresources for economic use, and has important cultural significance for many people. The Pampa biome, located in the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, illustrates the direct and indirect interdependence of humans and biodiversity. The Brazilian Pampa lies within the South Temperate Zone where grasslands scattered with shrubs and trees are the dominant vegetation. The soil, originating from sedimentary rocks, often has an extremely sandy texture that makes them fragile—highly prone to water and wind erosion. Human activities have converted or degraded many areas of this biome. In this review we discuss our state-of-the-art knowledge of the diversity and the major biological features of this regions and the cultural factors that have shaped it. Our aim is to contribute toward a better understanding of the current status of this special biome and to describe how the interaction between human activities and environment affects the region, highlighting the fragility of the Brazilian Pampa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Feature Papers)
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