Special Issue "Feature Papers for Celebrating the tenth Founding Year of Diversity"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Michael Wink

Institute of Pharmacy & Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +49 6221 544884
Interests: molecular systematics and phylogeny of birds; reptiles; fish; insects and plants (genetic diversity); plant secondary metabolites (phytochemistry, biochemistry and molecular pharmacology); diversity of natural products

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is designed to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the open access journal Diversity. The Special Issue covers all topics related to organismic and molecular diversity. Research fields of interest include but are not limited to organismic diversity and diversity preservation, molecular evolution, phylogeny and phylogeography, phytochemical diversity and ecology. Manuscripts for this important Special Issue of Diversity will be accepted by the editorial office, the Editor-in-Chief and editorial board members by invitation only.

Prof. Dr. Michael Wink
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Bird Functional Traits Respond to Forest Structure in Riparian Areas Undergoing Active Restoration
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030090
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
Monitoring wildlife responses is essential to assess restoration projects. Birds are widely used as bioindicators of ecosystem restoration, but most studies use only taxonomic descriptors to compare categories of reference and restoring sites. Here, we used forest structure as a continuous predictor variable
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Monitoring wildlife responses is essential to assess restoration projects. Birds are widely used as bioindicators of ecosystem restoration, but most studies use only taxonomic descriptors to compare categories of reference and restoring sites. Here, we used forest structure as a continuous predictor variable to evaluate avifaunal taxonomic and functional indicators in riparian forest reference and restoration sites on southeastern Brazil. Reference sites were riparian forest remnants, and restoration sites were pasture before seedling reintroduction. Forest structure variables (mean tree height, canopy depth, mean diameter at breast height, basal area, tree layering, tree density, and grass cover) were reduced into two axes using a Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Forest Axis 1 (tree biomass vs. grass cover) and Forest Axis 2 (canopy depth vs. tree density). Bird species were classified in relation to five functional categories (i.e., diet, foraging stratum, nest height, cavity dependence for nesting, and forest dependence). Forest Axis 1 influenced the functional diversity of bird assemblages and the relative abundance within levels of each functional category (except for nest height). The relative abundance of all functional categories combined was also affected by Forest Axis 2. Therefore, forest structure affected the predominant functional traits of bird species in riparian sites under restoration. Sites with higher tree biomass were the richest, with canopy birds that were insectivores and frugivores of high forest dependence, whereas more open sites were associated with birds of low forest dependence and ground-foraging insectivores. Forest structures of similar-aged sites were strongly variable, due to natural and anthropic disturbances, so restoration age was a poor indicator of forest development. These unpredictable disturbances can change the development of sites under restoration, so that forest structure can be a better descriptor of the trajectory of these ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Celebrating the tenth Founding Year of Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle Divergence Time Estimation of Aloes and Allies (Xanthorrhoeaceae) Based on Three Marker Genes
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030060
Received: 2 January 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 29 June 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
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Abstract
Aloes and allies are prominent members of African succulent vegetation and especially of the highly diverse Cape Flora. The main goal of this study was to obtain age estimates for alooids by calibrating a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis based on two chloroplast markers (the
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Aloes and allies are prominent members of African succulent vegetation and especially of the highly diverse Cape Flora. The main goal of this study was to obtain age estimates for alooids by calibrating a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis based on two chloroplast markers (the trnL-trnF spacer region and rbcL gene) and one gene marker (ITS) using a relaxed molecular clock. Seventy four species from all succulent genera of alooids were analysed with MrBayes to infer species relationships. We discuss the age estimates to address the question whether vicariance or dispersal could account for the diversification of Madagascan alooids. In the combined maximum clade credibility tree obtained from BEAST the succulent alooids have split from asphodeloids around 51.8 Mya in Early Miocene. Divergence time age estimation for succulent drought resistant alooids (late Oligocene to early Miocene) correspond well with dates identified for several other plant lineages in southern Africa and does match with the start of dry period in Miocene which triggered speciation and evolutionary radiation of these genera and families. All climbing aloes and some tree aloes which were recently split into new genera are amongst the early diverged group in alooids and the crown node of this group diverged around 16.82 (15.5–22.4) Mya. The oldest node age estimation for aloes from Madagascar (5.1 Mya) is in early Pliocene and our findings support the hypothesis that the Africa-Madagascan divergence is best explained by oceanic long-distance dispersal rather than vicariance. This study is one of the first to give age estimates for clades of alooids in Xanthorrhoeaceae as a starting point for future studies on the historical biogeography of this family of succulent plants which are important for ethnomedicine, and as ornamental and horticultural plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Celebrating the tenth Founding Year of Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle Genetic Diversity of Northern Wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus ssp. lanceolatus) as Revealed by Genotyping-by-Sequencing
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020023
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
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Abstract
Recent advances in next generation sequencing technologies make genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) more feasible for the molecular characterization of plant germplasm with complex and unsequenced genomes. This study represents the first preliminary effort using GBS to discover genome-wide genetic variants of northern wheatgrass (Elymus
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Recent advances in next generation sequencing technologies make genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) more feasible for the molecular characterization of plant germplasm with complex and unsequenced genomes. This study represents the first preliminary effort using GBS to discover genome-wide genetic variants of northern wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus ssp. lanceolatus (Scribn. and J. G. Sm.) Gould) plants and to assess the genetic diversity present in four cultivated and six wild accessions. The effort generated the first novel set of genomic resources and 5659 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for this tetraploid grass. The diversity analysis revealed 8.8% of SNP variation residing among the 10 accessions and 1.9% SNP variation present between cultivated and wild accessions. The Bayesian analysis identified three major clusters of the assayed samples, and the principal coordinates analysis revealed the genetic distinctness of the two accessions collected from Nevada and Wyoming. The flow cytometry analysis confirmed the tetraploid nature of some of the assayed samples and estimated the average genome size to be 9.3–9.4 Gb for this species. These findings are useful for the genetic improvement of this native grass species for forage production and rangeland reclamation. The findings are also encouraging for the broad application of genotyping-by-sequencing in the characterization of genome-wide genetic variability in non-model polyploid plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Celebrating the tenth Founding Year of Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle Bee Diversity and Solanum didymum (Solanaceae) Flower–Visitor Network in an Atlantic Forest Fragment in Southern Brazil
Diversity 2018, 10(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10010003
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
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Abstract
Brazil’s Atlantic Forest biome is currently undergoing forest loss due to repeated episodes of devastation. In this biome, bees perform the most frequent pollination system. Over the last decade, network analysis has been extensively applied to the study of plant–pollinator interactions, as it
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Brazil’s Atlantic Forest biome is currently undergoing forest loss due to repeated episodes of devastation. In this biome, bees perform the most frequent pollination system. Over the last decade, network analysis has been extensively applied to the study of plant–pollinator interactions, as it provides a consistent view of the structure of plant–pollinator interactions. The aim of this study was to use palynological studies to obtain an understanding of the relationship between floral visitor bees and the pioneer plant S. didymum in a fragment of the Atlantic Forest, and also learn about the other plants that interact to form this network. Five hundred bees were collected from 32 species distributed into five families: Andrenidae, Apidae, Colletidae, Megachilidae, and Halictidae. The interaction network consisted of 21 bee species and 35 pollen types. The Solanum-type bee species with the highest number of interactions were Anthrenoides sp. 1, Augochlora sp. 2, and Augochloropsis notophos, representing 71.78% of their interactions. Augochloropsis notophos and Augochlora sp. 2 were the only common species in the flowers of S. didymum. Given the results of our study, we conclude that Solanum is an important source of pollen grains for several native bee species, mainly for the solitary species that are more diverse in the south of Brazil. Moreover, our results indicate that bees from the families Halictidae (A. notophos, Augochlora) and Andrenidae (Anthrenoides) are the pollinators of S. didymum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Celebrating the tenth Founding Year of Diversity)
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Open AccessCommunication An Update on the Invasion of Weakfish Cynoscion regalis (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) (Actinopterygii: Sciaenidae) into Europe
Diversity 2017, 9(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/d9040047
Received: 21 September 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
New information on weakfish introduction vectors, its invasive status, distribution, and use as a fishing resource arose after the publication of “The transatlantic introduction of weakfish Cynoscion regalis (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) (Sciaenidae, Pisces) into Europe” by Morais and Teodósio (2016). Currently, the
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New information on weakfish introduction vectors, its invasive status, distribution, and use as a fishing resource arose after the publication of “The transatlantic introduction of weakfish Cynoscion regalis (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) (Sciaenidae, Pisces) into Europe” by Morais and Teodósio (2016). Currently, the first known report of weakfish in Europe dates back to September 2009, with a specimen captured in the Schelde estuary (Belgium/The Netherlands). This fact suggests that weakfish could have been introduced into Europe via multiple and independent ballast water introduction events, and not through a point-source introduction event with subsequent dispersion as previously hypothesized. It is also unlikely that Schelde weakfish migrated southwards to colonize Iberian aquatic ecosystems. Weakfish have established a population in the Gulf of Cádiz region and have already reached an invasive status in the Sado estuary (Portugal). Weakfish were also captured in several other locations along the Portuguese coast, including the Tagus and Mira estuaries at least since 2013 or 2014, and the Ria Formosa lagoon in 2017. Tagus anglers caught weakfish specimens of ~1 kg and ~40 cm in November 2016, which corresponds to fish of 3+ years of age in the native range. The presence of weakfish in the Tagus estuary is still fairly unknown to local anglers. Sado weakfish has already been sold in local fish markets in southern Portugal for 3 to 10 € kg−1. However, we consider that the weakfish sale price is underrated in comparison with other wild species (e.g., meagre, seabass, gilthead seabream). Increasing sale price will convince fishers to use weakfish as a new fishing resource; however, it is necessary to promote the species among consumers and evaluate consumers’ preference in respect to other species. A putative biological threat might turn into a new valuable fishing resource by implementing adequate management solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Celebrating the tenth Founding Year of Diversity)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Functional Impact of Transposable Elements on the Diversity of Plant Genomes
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020018
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Transposable elements (TEs) are self-mobilized DNA sequences that constitute a large portion of plant genomes. Being selfish DNA, they utilize different mobilization mechanisms to persist and proliferate in host genomes. It is important that new TE insertions generate de novo variability, most of
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Transposable elements (TEs) are self-mobilized DNA sequences that constitute a large portion of plant genomes. Being selfish DNA, they utilize different mobilization mechanisms to persist and proliferate in host genomes. It is important that new TE insertions generate de novo variability, most of which is likely to be deleterious, but some can be advantageous. Also, a growing body of evidence shows that TEs were continually recruited by their hosts to provide additional functionality. Here, we review potential ways in which transposable elements can provide novel functions to host genomes, from simple gene knock-outs to complex rewiring of gene expression networks. We discuss possible implications of TE presence and activity in crop genomes for agricultural production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Celebrating the tenth Founding Year of Diversity)
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