Diversity2016, 8(2), 14; doi:10.3390/d8020014 - published 20 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This work reveals new, important insights about the influence of broad spatial variations on the phylogenetic relationship and chemical characteristics of Ghanaian Hypnea musciformis—a carrageenan-containing red seaweed. DNA barcoding techniques alleviate the difficulty for accurate morphological identification. COI barcode sequences of the Ghanaian H. musciformis showed <0.7% intraspecies divergence, indicating no distinct phylogenetic variation, suggesting that they actually belong to the same species. Thus, the spatial distribution of the sampling sites along the coast of Ghana did not influence the phylogenetic characteristics of H. musciformis in the region. The data also showed that the Ghanaian Hypnea sp. examined in this work should be regarded as the same species as the H. musciformis collected in Brazilian Sao Paulo (KP725276) with only 0.8%–1.3% intraspecies divergence. However, the comparison of COI sequences of Ghanaian H. musciformis with the available COI sequence of H. musciformis from other countries showed intraspecies divergences of 0%–6.9% indicating that the COI sequences for H. musciformis in the GenBank may include different subspecies. Although samples did not differ phylogenetically, the chemical characteristics of the H. musciformis differed significantly between different sampling locations in Ghana. The levels of the monosaccharides, notably galactose (20%–30% dw) and glucose (10%–18% dw), as well as the seawater inorganic salt concentration (21–32 mg/L) and ash content (19%–33% dw), varied between H. musciformis collected at different coastal locations in Ghana. The current work demonstrated that DNA-based identification allowed a detailed understanding of H. musciformis phylogenetic characteristics and revealed that chemical compositional differences of H. musciformis occur along the Ghanaian coast which are not coupled with genetic variations among those samples.
Diversity2016, 8(2), 13; doi:10.3390/d8020013 - published 19 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study aimed to evaluate the influence of soybean cultivation on the fungal community structure in a tropical floodplain area. Soil samples were collected from two different soybean cropland sites and a control area under native vegetation. The soil samples were collected at a depth of 0–10 cm soil during the off-season in July 2013. The genetic structure of the soil fungal microbial community was analyzed using the automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) technique. Among the 26 phylotypes with abundance levels higher than 1% detected in the control area, five were also detected in the area cultivated for five years, and none of them was shared between the control area and the area cultivated for eight years. Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) revealed differences in fungal community structure between the control area and the soybean cropland sites, and also between the soybean cropland sites. ANOSIM results were confirmed by multivariate statistics, which additionally revealed a nutrient-dependent relation for the fungal community structure in agricultural soil managed for eight consecutive years. The results indicated that land use affects soil chemical properties and richness and structure of the soil fungal microbial community in a tropical floodplain agricultural area, and the effects became more evident to the extent that soil was cultivated for soybean for more time.
Diversity2016, 8(2), 12; doi:10.3390/d8020012 - published 18 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the persistence of coral reefs. Sustained and ongoing increases in ocean temperatures and acidification are altering the structure and function of reefs globally. Here, we summarise recent advances in our understanding of the effects of climate change on scleractinian corals and reef fish. Although there is considerable among-species variability in responses to increasing temperature and seawater chemistry, changing temperature regimes are likely to have the greatest influence on the structure of coral and fish assemblages, at least over short–medium timeframes. Recent evidence of increases in coral bleaching thresholds, local genetic adaptation and inheritance of heat tolerance suggest that coral populations may have some capacity to respond to warming, although the extent to which these changes can keep pace with changing environmental conditions is unknown. For coral reef fishes, current evidence indicates increasing seawater temperature will be a major determinant of future assemblages, through both habitat degradation and direct effects on physiology and behaviour. The effects of climate change are, however, being compounded by a range of anthropogenic disturbances, which may undermine the capacity of coral reef organisms to acclimate and/or adapt to specific changes in environmental conditions.
Diversity2016, 8(2), 11; doi:10.3390/d8020011 - published 28 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Black band disease (BBD) is the oldest recognised disease associated with scleractinian corals. However, despite this, few BBD surveys have been conducted in the Indonesian archipelago, one of the world’s hot spots for coral diversity. In this study, we show that BBD was recorded in the reefs of Kepulauan Seribu, Indonesia, at the time of surveying. The disease was found to mainly infect corals of the genus Montipora. In some instances, upwards of 177 colonies (31.64%) were found to be infected at specific sites. Prevalence of the disease ranged from 0.31% to 31.64% of Montipora sp. colonies throughout the archipelago. Although BBD was found at all sites, lower frequencies were associated with sites closest to the mainland (17.99 km), as well as those that were furthest away (63.65 km). Despite there being no linear relationship between distance from major population centers and BBD incidence, high incidences of this disease were associated with sites characterized by higher levels of light intensity. Furthermore, surveys revealed that outbreaks peaked during the transitional period between the dry and rainy seasons. Therefore, we suggest that future surveys for disease prevalence in this region of Indonesia should focus on these transitory periods.
Diversity2016, 8(2), 10; doi:10.3390/d8020010 - published 13 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The apple fruit moth (Argyresthia conjugella (A. conjugella)) in Norway was first identified as a pest in apple production in 1899. We here report the first genetic analysis of A. conjugella using molecular markers. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was applied to 95 individuals from six different locations in the two most important apple-growing regions of Norway. Five AFLP primer combinations gave 410 clear polymorphic bands that distinguished all the individuals. Further genetic analysis using the Dice coefficient, Principal Coordinate analysis (PCO) and Bayesian analyses suggested clustering of the individuals into two main groups showing substantial genetic distance. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed greater variation among populations (77.94%) than within populations (22.06%) and significant and high FST values were determined between the two major regions (Distance = 230 km, FST = 0.780). AFLP analysis revealed low to moderate genetic diversity in our population sample from Norway (Average: 0.31 expected heterozygosity). The positive significant correlation between the geographic and the molecular data (r2 = 0.6700) indicate that genetic differences between the two major regions may be due to geographical barriers such as high mountain plateaus (Hardangervidda) in addition to isolation by distance (IBD).
Diversity2016, 8(2), 9; doi:10.3390/d8020009 - published 31 March 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns sea star (Acanthaster planci) are likely to be strongly associated with drastic changes in larval survival influenced by food availability. However, no quantitative or qualitative data are available on the distribution of A. planci larvae in the field nor on the environmental factors that influence their survivorship. Here we use a DNA barcoding approach to describe the distribution of A. planci larvae in Sekisei Lagoon, Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan after conducting three days of high-intensity sampling. High densities (53.3 individuals/m3) of A. planci larvae were found outside of Yonara Channel, which is the largest reef channel in this lagoon. Surprisingly, most (94%) of the aggregated larvae were advanced-stage brachiolaria. Considering that it takes several days to develop to this stage, this result demonstrates that A. planci larvae were floating for some time and maintaining a high-density population. However, this dense larval cloud disappeared immediately after a typhoon. No spatial correlation was found between larval density and either nutrient or chlorophyll a concentrations, suggesting that A. planci larvae do not necessarily aggregate in nutrient-rich water. These data suggest that some high-density populations of late developmental stage A. planci larvae were produced under a low phytoplankton concentration and could potentially trigger an adult outbreak. Consequently, our data suggest that adult outbreaks may not necessarily be triggered by food availability alone.