Diversity2014, 6(4), 633-651; doi:10.3390/d6040633 - published 29 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The Salix alba L. (white willow)—Salix fragilis L. (crack willow) complex includes closely related polyploid species, mainly tetraploid (2n= 4x= 76), which are dioecious and hence obligate allogamous. Because little is known about the genome constitution and chromosome behavior of these pure willow trees, genetic analysis of their naturally occurring interspecific polyploid hybrids is still very difficult. A two-way pseudo-testcross strategy was exploited using single-dose AFLP markers in order to assess the main inheritance patterns of tetraploid biotypes (disomy vs. tetrasomy) in segregating populations stemmed from S. alba × S. fragilis crosses and reciprocals. In addition, a genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) technology was implemented in willow to shed some light on the genome structure of S. alba and S. fragilis species, and their hybrids (allopolyploidy vs. autopolyploidy). The frequency of S. alba-specific molecular markers was almost double compared to that of S. fragilis-specific ones, suggesting the phylogenetic hypothesis of S. fragilis as derivative species from S. alba-like progenitors. Cytogenetic observations at pro-metaphase revealed about half of the chromosome complements being less contracted than the remaining ones, supporting an allopolyploid origin of both S. alba and S. fragilis. Both genetic segregation and genomic hybridization data are consistent with an allotetraploid nature of the Salix species. In particular, the vast majority of the AFLP markers were inherited according to disomic patterns in S. alba × S. fragilis populations and reciprocals. Moreover, in all S. alba against S. fragilis hybridizations and reciprocals, GISH signals were observed only on the contracted chromosomes whereas the non-contracted chromosomes were never hybridized. In conclusion, half of the chromosomes of the pure species S. alba and S. fragilis are closely related and they could share a common diploid ancestor, while the rest of chromosomes are morphologically differentiated in either S. alba or S. fragilis and they should derive from distinct diploid ancestors.
Diversity2014, 6(3), 597-632; doi:10.3390/d6030597 - published 18 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Extreme environments are characterised by the presence of physicochemical stressors and provide unique study systems to address problems in evolutionary ecology research. Sulphide springs provide an example of extreme freshwater environments; because hydrogen sulphide’s adverse physiological effects induce mortality in metazoans even at micromolar concentrations. Sulphide springs occur worldwide, but while microbial communities in sulphide springs have received broad attention, little is known about macroinvertebrates and fish inhabiting these toxic environments. We reviewed qualitative occurrence records of sulphide spring faunas on a global scale and present a quantitative case study comparing diversity patterns in sulphidic and adjacent non-sulphidic habitats across replicated river drainages in Southern Mexico. While detailed studies in most regions of the world remain scarce, available data suggests that sulphide spring faunas are characterised by low species richness. Dipterans (among macroinvertebrates) and cyprinodontiforms (among fishes) appear to dominate the communities in these habitats. At least in fish, there is evidence for the presence of highly endemic species and populations exclusively inhabiting sulphide springs. We provide a detailed discussion of traits that might predispose certain taxonomic groups to colonize sulphide springs, how colonizers subsequently adapt to cope with sulphide toxicity, and how adaptation may be linked to speciation processes.
Diversity2014, 6(3), 579-596; doi:10.3390/d6030579 - published 5 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Media constantly refer of unscrupulous producers that adulterate, alter or replace premium products in food chains with the goal to maximize illegally profits. Food traceability is a central issue for the identification of improper labeling of processed food and feed and there are rules aimed to protect consumers and producers against fraudulent substitution of quality products in food chain, but the tools available are not always appropriate. DNA-based markers proved very effective for fresh and processed food molecular authentication. In this review, we illustrate potential and limits of different DNA markers focusing on low, medium and high-throughput markers, in order to monitor the genetic identity of food components in meat, fish and plants net-chains.
Diversity2014, 6(3), 567-578; doi:10.3390/d6030567 - published 29 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: TheWestern Ghats is a global biodiversity hotspot and home to diverse and unique assemblages of amphibians. Several rivers originate from these mountains and hydropower is being tapped from them. The impacts of hydrological regulation of riparian ecosystems to wildlife and its habitat are poorly documented, and in particular the fate of frog populations is unknown. We examined the effects of dams on riparian frog communities in the Thamirabarani catchment in southern Western Ghats. We used nocturnal visual encounter surveys constrained for time, to document the species richness of frogs below and above the dam, and also at control sites in the same catchment. While we did not find differences in species richness below and above the dams, the frog community composition was significantly altered as a likely consequence of altered flow regime. The frog species compositions in control sites were similar to above-dam sites. Below-dam sites had a distinctly different species composition. Select endemic frog species appeared to be adversely impacted due to the dams. Below-dam sites had a greater proportion of generalist and widely distributed species. Dams in the Western Ghats appeared to adversely impact population of endemic species, particularly those belonging to the genus Nyctibatrachus that shows specialization for intact streams.
Diversity2014, 6(3), 551-566; doi:10.3390/d6030551 - published 7 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Jatropha curcas L. (jatropha) is an undomesticated plant that has recently received great attention for its utilization in biofuel production, rehabilitation of wasteland, and rural development. Knowledge of genetic diversity and marker-trait associations is urgently needed for the design of breeding strategies. The main goal of this study was to assess the genetic structure and diversity in jatropha germplasm with co-dominant markers (Simple Sequence Repeats (SSR) and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) in a diverse, worldwide, germplasm panel of 70 accessions. We found a high level of homozygosis in the germplasm that does not correspond to the purely outcrossing mating system assumed to be present in jatropha. We hypothesize that the prevalent mating system of jatropha comprise a high level of self-fertilization and that the outcrossing rate is low. Genetic diversity in accessions from Central America and Mexico was higher than in accession from Africa, Asia, and South America. We identified makers associated with the presence of phorbol esters. We think that the utilization of molecular markers in breeding of jatropha will significantly accelerate the development of improved cultivars.
Diversity2014, 6(3), 524-550; doi:10.3390/d6030524 - published 17 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We carried out an intensive sampling survey in ancient Lake Ohrid (Macedonia/Albania), covering all seasons, to determine total species number, relative species abundances and spatial distribution of Ostracoda. We identified 32 living species that belong to seven families (Candonidae, Ilyocyprididae, Cyprididae, Leptocytheridae, Limnocytheridae, Cytherideidae, and Darwinulidae) and 15 genera (Candona, Fabaeformiscandona, Candonopsis, Cypria, Cyclocypris, Ilyocypris, Eucypris, Prionocypris, Bradleystrandesia, Herpetocypris, Dolerocypris, Amnicythere, Paralimnocythere, Cytherissa, and Darwinula). Six additional species were identified from empty carapaces and valves. Dominant families in Lake Ohrid were Candonidae and Limnocytheridae, representing 53% and 16% of all species, respectively. Prevalence of species flocks in these two families confirms the “young” ancient status of the lake. Amnicythere displays a preference for oligo-haline to meso-haline waters, but some species are found in saline environments, which suggests Lake Ohrid has a marine history. Recent studies, however, indicate fluvial/glaciofluvial deposition at the onset of Lake Ohrid sedimentation. Candona is the most diverse genus in Lake Ohrid, represented by 12 living species. Paralimnocythere is represented by five living species and all other genera are represented by one or two species. Reports of Candonabimucronata, Ilyocypris bradyi, Eucypris virens, Eucypris sp., Prionocypris zenkeri, Bradleystrandesia reticulate, Herpetocypris sp. 2, and Dolerocypris sinensis are firsts for this lake. Living ostracodes were collected at the maximum water depth (280 m) in the lake (Candona hadzistei, C. marginatoides, C. media, C. ovalis, C. vidua, Fabaeformiscandona krstici, Cypria lacustris, C. obliqua and Amnicythere karamani). Cyprialacustris was overall the most abundant species and Cypriaobliqua displayed the highest abundance at 280 m water depth. Principal environmental variables that influence ostracode distributions in Lake Ohrid are water depth and conductivity. In general, species richness, diversity and evenness were greater in waters <60 m deep, with highest values often found in the littoral zone, at depths <30 m. Candonids, however, displayed highest diversity in the sublittoral (30–50 m) and profundal (50–280 m) zones. The most frequent species encountered are taxa endemic to the lake (14 living species), which have a wide depth range (≤280 m), and display higher abundance with greater water depth. Non-endemic species were rare, limited to water depths <50 m, and were found mainly in the north part of the lake where anthropogenic pressure is high. Several cosmopolitan species were encountered for the first time, which suggests that these widespread species are new arrivals that may replace endemics as human impacts increase.