Diversity2014, 6(1), 158-175; doi:10.3390/d6010158 - published online 4 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Pollinators, especially bees, are essential to terrestrial ecosystems. They ensure the maintenance of certain ecological processes, like superior plants’ reproduction. In the past decades, agricultural intensification has caused extensive environmental changes, with major impacts on biodiversity, especially on the pollinators, which reflects the loss of fruits and seeds sets. Here, we review studies that elucidate the causes of decline of pollinators, consequences of landscape changes to agriculture and possibilities to bees’ conservation. Many studies have related the loss of pollinators to changes in the landscape, such as the conversion of native forests into cultivated areas, which causes loss of important elements for bees (e.g., sources of pollen, nectar and oil, as well as varied nesting sites). Studies involving landscape ecology allow us to assess the effects of different farming practices over the richness and abundance of pollinators. Among the landscape elements performing positive influence on bees, the presence of remaining forests nearby cultivated areas proved to be a very important factor. Nevertheless, studies that evaluate all ground cover with a more integrated approach are still required to assess the effects of landscape context on the diversity and on the abundance of bees related to productivity of crops. Researches like these could provide specific data that strengthen the need for the conservation of different plants and animals, and could offer subsidies to propose necessary information for the execution of public and private policies, aimed at the conservation of the biodiversity.
Diversity2014, 6(1), 133-157; doi:10.3390/d6010133 - published online 3 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Climate change is expected to alter temperature, precipitation, and seasonality with potentially acute impacts on Canada’s boreal. In this research we predicted future spatial distributions of biodiversity in Canada’s boreal for 2020, 2050, and 2080 using indirect indicators derived from remote sensing and based on vegetation productivity. Vegetation productivity indices, representing annual amounts and variability of greenness, have been shown to relate to tree and wildlife richness in Canada’s boreal. Relationships between historical satellite-derived productivity and climate data were applied to modelled scenarios of future climate to predict and map potential future vegetation productivity for 592 regions across Canada. Results indicated that the pattern of vegetation productivity will become more homogenous, particularly west of Hudson Bay. We expect climate change to impact biodiversity along north/south gradients and by 2080 vegetation distributions will be dominated by processes of seasonality in the north and a combination of cumulative greenness and minimum cover in the south. The Hudson Plains, which host the world’s largest and most contiguous wetland, are predicted to experience less seasonality and more greenness. The spatial distribution of predicted trends in vegetation productivity was emphasized over absolute values, in order to support regional biodiversity assessments and conservation planning.
Diversity2014, 6(1), 102-132; doi:10.3390/d6010102 - published online 10 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Urmia Lake, with a surface area between 4000 to 6000 km2, is a hypersaline lake located in northwest Iran. It is the saltiest large lake in the world that supports life. Urmia Lake National Park is the home of an almost endemic crustacean species known as the brine shrimp, Artemia urmiana. Other forms of life include several species of algae, bacteria, microfungi, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. As a consequence of this unique biodiversity, this lake has been selected as one of the 59 biosphere reserves by UNESCO. This paper provides a comprehensive species checklist that needs to be updated by additional research in the future.
Diversity2014, 6(1), 88-101; doi:10.3390/d6010088 - published online 24 January 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Detection of genetic diversity is important for characterisation of crop plant collections in order to detect the presence of valuable trait variation for use in breeding programs. A collection of faba bean (Vicia faba L.) genotypes was evaluated for intra- and inter-population diversity using a set of 768 genome-wide distributed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, of which 657 obtained successful amplification and detected polymorphisms. Gene diversity and polymorphism information content (PIC) values varied between 0.022–0.500 and 0.023–1.00, with averages of 0.363 and 0.287, respectively. The genetic structure of the germplasm collection was analysed and a neighbour-joining (NJ) dendrogram was constructed. The faba bean accessions grouped into two major groups, with several additional smaller sub-groups, predominantly on the basis of geographical origin. These results were further supported by principal co-ordinate analysis (PCoA), deriving two major groupings which were differentiated on the basis of site of origin and pedigree relationships. In general, high levels of heterozygosity were observed, presumably due to the partially allogamous nature of the species. The results will facilitate targeted crossing strategies in future faba bean breeding programs in order to achieve genetic gain.
Diversity2014, 6(1), 72-87; doi:10.3390/d6010072 - published online 20 January 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this study, a collection of 24,840 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) generated from five mango (Mangifera indica L.) cDNA libraries was mined for EST-based simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Over 1,000 ESTs with SSR motifs were detected from more than 24,000 EST sequences with di- and tri-nucleotide repeat motifs the most abundant. Of these, 25 EST-SSRs in genes involved in plant development, stress response, and fruit color and flavor development pathways were selected, developed into PCR markers and characterized in a population of 32 mango selections including M. indica varieties, and related Mangifera species. Twenty-four of the 25 EST-SSR markers exhibited polymorphisms, identifying a total of 86 alleles with an average of 5.38 alleles per locus, and distinguished between all Mangifera selections. Private alleles were identified for Mangifera species. These newly developed EST-SSR markers enhance the current 11 SSR mango genetic identity panel utilized by the Australian Mango Breeding Program. The current panel has been used to identify progeny and parents for selection and the application of this extended panel will further improve and help to design mango hybridization strategies for increased breeding efficiency.