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.
Diversity2014, 6(3), 500-523; doi:10.3390/d6030500 - published 15 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to review theoretical and empirical findings in economics with respect to the challenging question of how to manage invasive species. The review revealed a relatively large body of literature on the assessment of damage costs of invasive species; single species and groups of species at different geographical scales. However, the estimated damage costs show large variation, from less than 1 million USD to costs corresponding to 12% of gross domestic product, depending on the methods employed, geographical scale, and scope with respect to inclusion of different species. Decisions regarding optimal management strategies, when to act in the invasion chain and which policy to choose, have received much less attention in earlier years, but have been subject to increasing research during the last decade. More difficult, but also more relevant policy issues have been raised, which concern the targeting in time and space of strategies under conditions of uncertainty. In particular, the weighting of costs and benefits from early detection and mitigation against the uncertain avoidance of damage with later control, when the precision in targeting species is typically greater is identified as a key challenge. The role of improved monitoring for detecting species and their spread and damage has been emphasized, but questions remain on how to achieve this in practice. This is in contrast to the relatively large body of literature on policies for mitigating dispersal by trade, which is regarded as one of the most important vectors for the spread of invasive species. On the other hand, the literature on how to mitigate established species, by control or adaptation, is much more scant. Studies evaluating causes for success or failure of policies against invasive in practice are in principal non-existing.