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Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 5 (May 2020) – 43 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) We tested for congruence in mechanisms of microevolution and macroevolution by comparing patterns [...] Read more.
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Open AccessEditorial
Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050209 - 25 May 2020
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Abstract
Worldwide, caves and groundwater habitats harbor thousands of species modified and limited to subterranean habitats in karst. Data are concentrated in Europe and USA, where a number of detailed analyses have been performed. Much less is known with respect to global patterns due [...] Read more.
Worldwide, caves and groundwater habitats harbor thousands of species modified and limited to subterranean habitats in karst. Data are concentrated in Europe and USA, where a number of detailed analyses have been performed. Much less is known with respect to global patterns due to a lack of data. This special issue will focus on and discuss the global patterns of individual hotspot caves and groundwater habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
Open AccessReview
A Review of Galaxias (Galaxiidae) Fossils from the Southern Hemisphere
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050208 - 25 May 2020
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Abstract
The Galaxiidae is a Southern Hemisphere family of freshwater fish, considered to be of Gondwanan origin based on the current distribution of species in New Zealand, Australia (including Tasmania), New Caledonia, Africa, South America, and on some associated and subantarctic islands. The fossil [...] Read more.
The Galaxiidae is a Southern Hemisphere family of freshwater fish, considered to be of Gondwanan origin based on the current distribution of species in New Zealand, Australia (including Tasmania), New Caledonia, Africa, South America, and on some associated and subantarctic islands. The fossil record of galaxiids is extremely sparse and geographically restricted. The only galaxiid fossils currently known come from several Miocene lakes in southern New Zealand. They include more than 100 articulated fishes, some remarkably preserving soft parts such as eyes and skin, skulls and jaw components, and more than 200 isolated otoliths. Common coprolites and in situ preserved gut content at one site (Foulden Maar) indicate the different diets of larvae and adult fish. These discoveries reveal a diverse Galaxias fauna, the presence of lake-locked populations, ontogenetic diet shifts, and representatives of several non-migratory Galaxias lineages associated with inland streams and lakes. There are at least six Galaxias species based on macrofossils and six separate otolith-based species from varied volcanic and regional lacustrine environments. This diversity points to southern New Zealand as a centre of biodiversity and speciation in Galaxiidae in the early to late Miocene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics and Biogeography of Galaxiid Fishes)
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Open AccessArticle
Differences in the Olfactory Sensitivity of Ceratitis capitata to Headspace of Some Host Plants in Relation to Sex, Mating Condition and Population
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050207 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 237
Abstract
The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata Wied., is among the most serious pests in horticulture worldwide, due to its high reproductive potential, difficulty of control and broad polyphagy. The aim of this study was to measure—by means of the electroantennogram recordings— the antennal [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata Wied., is among the most serious pests in horticulture worldwide, due to its high reproductive potential, difficulty of control and broad polyphagy. The aim of this study was to measure—by means of the electroantennogram recordings— the antennal olfactory sensitivity of virgin, mated, male, female, lab-reared and wild C. capitata following stimulation with fruit and leaf headspace of some host-plants: clementine, orange, prickly pear, lemon and apple. The results show that: (a) lab-reared mated males are more sensitive to host-plant fruit and leaf headspace than females, while the opposite was true for wild insects; (b) antennae of wild virgin males were more sensitive than the mated ones, while no difference was observed among lab-reared medflies; (c) lab-reared virgin females were more sensitive than mated ones, while few differences were found within wild medflies; (d) in mated insects, lab-reared males were more sensitive to both host-plant fruits and leaves than the wild ones, while the opposite was found for females. Taken together, these results show that the olfactory sensitivity to host-plant odors differs between virgin and mated and lab-reared and wild flies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessReview
Diversity of Rhizobia and Importance of Their Interactions with Legume Trees for Feasibility and Sustainability of the Tropical Agrosystems
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050206 - 24 May 2020
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Abstract
Symbiotic biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is a complex process that involves rhizobia, a diverse group of α and β-proteobacteria bacteria, and legume species. Benefits provided by BNF associated with legume trees in tropical environments include improvements to efficiency of nitrogen (N) use, increase [...] Read more.
Symbiotic biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is a complex process that involves rhizobia, a diverse group of α and β-proteobacteria bacteria, and legume species. Benefits provided by BNF associated with legume trees in tropical environments include improvements to efficiency of nitrogen (N) use, increase of soil carbon sequestration, stabilization of soil organic matter, decrease of soil penetration resistance, and improvement of soil fertility. All these benefits make BNF a crucial ecosystem service to the sustainability of tropical agriculture. Due to the importance of this ecological process and the high diversity of rhizobia, these bacteria have been extensively characterized worldwide. Currently, over 400 species of rhizobia are known, distributed into seven families. In the humid tropics, Leucaena leucocephala, Acacia mangium, Gliricidia sepium, and Clitoria fairchildiana are four of the most common species used by family farmers to create sustainable agricultural systems. These four legumes perform symbiosis with different groups of rhizobia. Exploring BNF could help to enable sustainable intensification of agriculture in the humid tropics, mainly because it can increase N use efficiency in an environment where N is a limiting factor to plant growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity of Soil Bacterial Communities)
Open AccessArticle
Diversity of Seagrass-Associated Decapod Crustaceans in a Tropical Reef Lagoon Prior to Large Environmental Changes: A Baseline Study
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050205 - 23 May 2020
Viewed by 341
Abstract
The community composition of decapods associated with subtidal tropical seagrass meadows was analyzed in a pristine reef lagoon on the Mexican Caribbean coast in the summer of 1995 and winter of 1998. The macrophyte community was dominated by Thalassia testudinum followed by Syringodium [...] Read more.
The community composition of decapods associated with subtidal tropical seagrass meadows was analyzed in a pristine reef lagoon on the Mexican Caribbean coast in the summer of 1995 and winter of 1998. The macrophyte community was dominated by Thalassia testudinum followed by Syringodium filiforme, with interspersed rhyzophytic macroalgae and large patches of drift algae. In each season, 10 one-min trawls were made with an epibenthic sled (mesh aperture 1 mm) during the day and 10 during the night on each of five sites. In all, 53,211 decapods belonging to 119 species were collected. The most diverse taxa were Brachyura and Caridea, but the most abundant were Caridea and Anomura. Dominance was high, with three species (Latreutes fucorum, Cuapetes americanus, and Thor manningi) accounting for almost 50% of individuals, and 10 species accounting for nearly 90% of individuals. There was great similarity in community composition and ecological indices between seasons, but significantly more individuals and species in night versus day samples. In the 20+ years elapsed since the samples were taken, the reef lagoon has undergone substantial environmental changes due to extensive coastal development and, more recently, the decay of massive beachings of floating Sargassum macroalgae. This study constitutes a valuable baseline for future studies investigating the potential impact of these stressors on tropical seagrass-associated communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity in Seagrass Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Biological Control of Salvinia molesta (D.S. Mitchell) Drives Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050204 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Salvinia molesta D.S. Mitchell (Salviniaceae) is a damaging free-floating invasive alien macrophyte native to South America. The biological control programme against S. molesta by the weevil Cyrtobagous salviniae Calder and Sands (Erirhinidae) has been successful in controlling S. molesta infestations in the introduced [...] Read more.
Salvinia molesta D.S. Mitchell (Salviniaceae) is a damaging free-floating invasive alien macrophyte native to South America. The biological control programme against S. molesta by the weevil Cyrtobagous salviniae Calder and Sands (Erirhinidae) has been successful in controlling S. molesta infestations in the introduced range, however, there is some debate as to how biological control success is measured. This study measured the response of epilithic algae and aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in a S. molesta-dominated state and subsequently where the weed had been cleared by biological control, as a proxy for ecosystem recovery in a before–after control–impact mesocosm experiment. The restored treatment (S. molesta and C. salviniae) demonstrated epilithic algae and aquatic macroinvertebrate recovery during the “after” biological control phase, defined as similar to the control treatment. Comparatively, the impacted treatment (100% S. molesta) showed a drastic decline in biodiversity and shifts in community assemblages. We conclude that the biological control effort by C. salviniae facilitated biodiversity recovery of the impacted treatment. Furthermore, epilithic algae and aquatic macroinvertebrate communities were reliable biological indicators for measuring ecological impacts of invasion and ecosystem recovery following biological control, and thus represent potential tools for evaluating biological control success and ecological restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Invasive Aquatic Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Meiofauna Life on Loggerhead Sea Turtles-Diversely Structured Abundance and Biodiversity Hotspots That Challenge the Meiofauna Paradox
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050203 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 630
Abstract
Sea turtles migrate thousands of miles annually between foraging and breeding areas, carrying dozens of epibiont species with them on their journeys. Most sea turtle epibiont studies have focused on large-sized organisms, those visible to the naked eye. Here, we report previously undocumented [...] Read more.
Sea turtles migrate thousands of miles annually between foraging and breeding areas, carrying dozens of epibiont species with them on their journeys. Most sea turtle epibiont studies have focused on large-sized organisms, those visible to the naked eye. Here, we report previously undocumented levels of epibiont abundance and biodiversity for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), by focusing on the microscopic meiofauna. During the peak of the 2018 loggerhead nesting season at St. George Island, Florida, USA, we sampled all epibionts from 24 carapaces. From the subsamples, we identified 38,874 meiofauna individuals belonging to 20 higher taxa. This means 810,753 individuals were recovered in our survey, with an average of 33,781 individuals per carapace. Of 6992 identified nematodes, 111 different genera were observed. To our knowledge, such levels of sea turtle epibiont abundance and diversity have never been recorded. Loggerhead carapaces are without doubt hotspots of meiofaunal and nematode diversity, especially compared to other non-sedimentary substrates. The posterior carapace sections harbored higher diversity and evenness compared to the anterior and middle sections, suggesting increased colonization and potentially facilitation favoring posterior carapace epibiosis, or increased disturbance on the anterior and middle carapace sections. Our findings also shed new light on the meiofauna paradox: “How do small, benthic meiofauna organisms become cosmopolitan over large geographic ranges?” Considering high loggerhead epibiont colonization, the large distances loggerheads migrate for reproduction and feeding, and the evolutionary age and sheer numbers of sea turtles worldwide, potentially large-scale exchange and dispersal for meiofauna through phoresis is implied. We distinguished different groups of loggerhead carapaces based on divergent epibiont communities, suggesting distinct epibiont colonization processes. These epibiont observations hold potential for investigating loggerhead movements and, hence, their conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna Biodiversity and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle
A Midsummer Night’s Diet: Snapshot on Trophic Strategy of the Alpine Salamander, Salamandra atra
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050202 - 17 May 2020
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Abstract
Information on the trophic ecology of the Alpine salamander, Salamandra atra, is scattered and anecdotal. We studied for the first time the trophic niche and prey availability of a population from an area located in Italian Dolomites during the first half of August. [...] Read more.
Information on the trophic ecology of the Alpine salamander, Salamandra atra, is scattered and anecdotal. We studied for the first time the trophic niche and prey availability of a population from an area located in Italian Dolomites during the first half of August. Considering that S. atra is a typical nocturnal species, we collected food availability separately for diurnal and nocturnal hours. Our aims were: (i) to obtain information on the realized trophic niche; (ii) to provide a direct comparison between trophic strategy considering only nocturnal preys or considering all preys; (iii) to study trophic strategy of this species at the individual level. In two samplings nights we obtained prey from 50 individuals using stomach flushing technique. Trophic strategy was determined using the graphical Costello method and selectivity using the relativized electivity index. During the short timeframe of our sample, this salamander showed a generalized trophic strategy. The total trophic availability differed significantly from nocturnal availability. Interindividual diet variation is discussed in the light of the optimal diet theory. Finally, we highlighted that considering or not the activity time of the studied taxon and its preys may lead to a conflicting interpretation of the trophic strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
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Open AccessArticle
Interpreting Pattern in Plant-Soil Feedback Experiments with Co-occurring Invasive Species: A Graphical Framework and Case Study
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050201 - 16 May 2020
Viewed by 233
Abstract
Despite the ubiquity of multiple plant invasions, the underlying mechanisms of invasive-invasive interactions remain relatively unknown. Given the importance of plant–soil feedback (PSF) in contributing to single species invasions, it may be an important factor influencing invasive–invasive species interactions as well. PSF between [...] Read more.
Despite the ubiquity of multiple plant invasions, the underlying mechanisms of invasive-invasive interactions remain relatively unknown. Given the importance of plant–soil feedback (PSF) in contributing to single species invasions, it may be an important factor influencing invasive–invasive species interactions as well. PSF between multiple invaders has rarely been examined, but could inform the nature of invasive–invasive interactions and advance understanding of how multiple invaders impact plant communities. Alternative mechanisms of plant invasions include novel weapons and enemy escape. We develop graphical PSF predictions based on these mechanisms and other possible invasive–invasive dynamics. Comparing these predictions to observed results is a first step in interpreting PSF among co-occurring invasive species. We illustrate this with a case study of net pairwise PSF among three common invaders of tallgrass prairie: Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil), Phalaris arundinacea (reed canarygrass), and Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle). We found that feedback among all pairwise combinations of these invasive species was neutral. Neutral feedback can arise from a mutual lack of soil borne pathogens, consistent with the enemy escape hypothesis, although we cannot rule out shared benefit from generalist mutualists. While both facilitative and competitive interactions among these three species have previously been shown, our data suggest that such interactions are unlikely to operate through a legacy effect of PSF. Our results inform follow-up PSF experiments that would help to confirm the existence and nature of PSF interactions among these species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Assembly and Biological Invasions)
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Open AccessArticle
Micractinium tetrahymenae (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta), a New Endosymbiont Isolated from Ciliates
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050200 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 243
Abstract
Endosymbiosis between coccoid green algae and ciliates are widely distributed and occur in various phylogenetic lineages among the Ciliophora. Most mixotrophic ciliates live in symbiosis with different species and genera of the so-called Chlorella clade (Trebouxiophyceae). The mixotrophic ciliates can be differentiated into [...] Read more.
Endosymbiosis between coccoid green algae and ciliates are widely distributed and occur in various phylogenetic lineages among the Ciliophora. Most mixotrophic ciliates live in symbiosis with different species and genera of the so-called Chlorella clade (Trebouxiophyceae). The mixotrophic ciliates can be differentiated into two groups: (i) obligate, which always live in symbiosis with such green algae and are rarely algae-free and (ii) facultative, which formed under certain circumstances such as in anoxic environments an association with algae. A case of the facultative endosymbiosis is found in the recently described species of Tetrahymena, T. utriculariae, which lives in the bladder traps of the carnivorous aquatic plant Utricularia reflexa. The green endosymbiont of this ciliate belonged to the genus Micractinium. We characterized the isolated algal strain using an integrative approach and compared it to all described species of this genus. The phylogenetic analyses using complex evolutionary secondary structure-based models revealed that this endosymbiont represents a new species of Micractinium, M. tetrahymenae sp. nov., which was further confirmed by the ITS2/CBC approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Ciliates and their Symbionts)
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Open AccessArticle
Sporolithon franciscanum sp. nov. (Sporolithales, Rhodophyta), a New Rhodolith-Forming Species from Northeast Brazil
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050199 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 195
Abstract
This paper describes Sporolithon franciscanum, a new rhodolith-forming species of non-geniculate coralline algae found at depths between 47–52 m near the São Francisco river mouth, the second largest and the most extensive drainage basin in Brazil, and also at the Abrolhos Bank, [...] Read more.
This paper describes Sporolithon franciscanum, a new rhodolith-forming species of non-geniculate coralline algae found at depths between 47–52 m near the São Francisco river mouth, the second largest and the most extensive drainage basin in Brazil, and also at the Abrolhos Bank, in the world´s largest rhodolith beds. DNA sequences from plastidial psbA and rbcL markers indicate that the species is unique compared to all other Sporolithon species that have thus far been sequenced. Since morpho-anatomical features of the new species are shared with some other Sporolithon species, its identification was only confirmed by DNA sequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds)
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Open AccessArticle
New Intranuclear Symbiotic Bacteria from Macronucleus of Paramecium putrinum—“Candidatus Gortzia Yakutica”
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050198 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 183
Abstract
Holospora-like bacteria (HLB) are obligate intracellular Alphaproteobacteria, inhabiting nuclei of Paramecium and other ciliates such as “Candidatus Hafkinia” is in Frontonia. The HLB clade is comprised of four genera, Holospora, Preeria, “Candidatus Gortzia”, and “Candidatus [...] Read more.
Holospora-like bacteria (HLB) are obligate intracellular Alphaproteobacteria, inhabiting nuclei of Paramecium and other ciliates such as “Candidatus Hafkinia” is in Frontonia. The HLB clade is comprised of four genera, Holospora, Preeria, “Candidatus Gortzia”, and “Candidatus Hafkinia”. These bacteria have a peculiar life cycle with two morphological forms and some degree of specificity to the host species and the type of nucleus they inhabit. Here we describe a novel species of HLB—“Candidatus Gortzia yakutica” sp. nov.—a symbiont from the macronucleus of Paramecium putrinum, the first described HLB for this Paramecium species. The new endosymbiont shows morphological similarities with other HLB. The phylogenetic analysis of the SSU rRNA gene places it into the “Candidatus Gortzia” clade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Ciliates and their Symbionts)
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Open AccessArticle
Paramecium Diversity and a New Member of the Paramecium aurelia Species Complex Described from Mexico
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050197 - 15 May 2020
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Abstract
Paramecium (Ciliophora) is an ideal model organism to study the biogeography of protists. However, many regions of the world, such as Central America, are still neglected in understanding Paramecium diversity. We combined morphological and molecular approaches to identify paramecia isolated from more than [...] Read more.
Paramecium (Ciliophora) is an ideal model organism to study the biogeography of protists. However, many regions of the world, such as Central America, are still neglected in understanding Paramecium diversity. We combined morphological and molecular approaches to identify paramecia isolated from more than 130 samples collected from different waterbodies in several states of Mexico. We found representatives of six Paramecium morphospecies, including the rare species Paramecium jenningsi, and Paramecium putrinum, which is the first report of this species in tropical regions. We also retrieved five species of the Paramecium aurelia complex, and describe one new member of the complex, Paramecium quindecaurelia n. sp., which appears to be a sister species of Paramecium biaurelia. We discuss criteria currently applied for differentiating between sibling species in Paramecium. Additionally, we detected diverse bacterial symbionts in some of the collected ciliates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Ciliates and their Symbionts)
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Open AccessArticle
Highlighting the Crude Oil Bioremediation Potential of Marine Fungi Isolated from the Port of Oran (Algeria)
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050196 - 15 May 2020
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Abstract
While over hundreds of terrestrial fungal genera have been shown to play important roles in the biodegradation of hydrocarbons, few studies have so far focused on the fungal bioremediation potential of petroleum in the marine environment. In this study, the culturable fungal communities [...] Read more.
While over hundreds of terrestrial fungal genera have been shown to play important roles in the biodegradation of hydrocarbons, few studies have so far focused on the fungal bioremediation potential of petroleum in the marine environment. In this study, the culturable fungal communities occurring in the port of Oran in Algeria, considered here as a chronically-contaminated site, have been mainly analyzed in terms of species richness. A collection of 84 filamentous fungi has been established from seawater samples and then the fungi were screened for their ability to utilize and degrade crude oil. A total of 12 isolates were able to utilize crude oil as a unique carbon source, from which 4 were defined as the most promising biodegrading isolates based on a screening test using 2,6-dichlorophenol indophenol as a proxy to highlight their ability to metabolize crude oil. The biosurfactant production capability was also tested and, interestingly, the oil spreading and drop-collapse tests highlighted that the 4 most promising isolates were also those able to produce the highest quantity of biosurfactants. The results generated in this study demonstrate that the most promising fungal isolates, namely Penicillium polonicum AMF16, P. chrysogenum AMF47 and 2 isolates (AMF40 and AMF74) affiliated to P. cyclopium, appear to be interesting candidates for bioremediation of crude oil pollution in the marine environment within the frame of bioaugmentation or biostimulation processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections)
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Open AccessArticle
Patterns of Co-occurrence of Rare and Threatened Species in Winter Arable Plant Communities of Italy
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050195 - 15 May 2020
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Abstract
Detecting patterns of species co-occurrence is among the main tasks of plant community ecology. Arable plant communities are important elements of agroecosystems, because they support plant and animal biodiversity and provide ecosystem services. These plant communities are shaped by both agricultural and environmental [...] Read more.
Detecting patterns of species co-occurrence is among the main tasks of plant community ecology. Arable plant communities are important elements of agroecosystems, because they support plant and animal biodiversity and provide ecosystem services. These plant communities are shaped by both agricultural and environmental drivers. The pressure of intensive agriculture worldwide has caused the decline of many characteristic arable species and communities. Italy is the European country where arable plant biodiversity is the best preserved. In this study, we assessed the patterns of co-occurrence of rare and threatened arable plants in 106 plots of winter arable vegetation located from Piedmont to Calabria, in the mainland part of the country. For this purpose, we based our investigation on the analysis of a recently acquired dataset and on the European list of rare and threatened arable plants. We highlight how different species of conservation interest tend to occur in the same community. On the other hand, generalist and more competitive taxa show similar patterns of co-occurrence. We suggest that single species of conservation value could be suitable indicators of a well-preserved community. On the other hand, to be effective, conservation strategies should target the whole community, rather than single species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Community Ecology: From Theory to Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
Longitude, Forest Fragmentation, and Plant Size Influence Cycas micronesica Mortality Following Island Insect Invasions
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050194 - 14 May 2020
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Abstract
Island invasions may cause severe changes in biodiversity, but the factors that influence these changes are not well understood. We established 120 plots in Cycas micronesica habitats throughout Guam in 2005 following the invasion of the armored scale Aulacaspis yasumatsui, then observed [...] Read more.
Island invasions may cause severe changes in biodiversity, but the factors that influence these changes are not well understood. We established 120 plots in Cycas micronesica habitats throughout Guam in 2005 following the invasion of the armored scale Aulacaspis yasumatsui, then observed plant mortality through 2020. We used transects in Yap as benchmarks, as the Yap C. micronesica population is not threatened. The initial Guam plots contained about 1600 seedlings, 1160 juveniles, and 1240 mature plants per ha. Seedling mortality was 100% by 2006, juvenile mortality was 100% by 2014, and the 2020 census revealed 96% mortality of the plant population. Localities in western Guam and isolated forest fragments exhibited the greatest mortality, with 100% extirpation from two fragmented western localities. The juvenile and mature trees in Yap were unchanged from 2010 to 2018, but the seedling count was heterogeneous among the years. Constrained recruitment from seedlings to juveniles explained these dynamics. Yap transects contained about 6120 seedlings, 3400 juveniles, and 1250 mature plants per ha. Biological control of the invasive insects remains the acute conservation action needed for the Guam population. Lessons learned may be useful in other regions where invasions of non-native pests threaten biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
Plant Community Assembly in Invaded Recipient Californian Grasslands and Putative Donor Grasslands in Spain
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050193 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 259
Abstract
The introduction of exotic species to new regions offers opportunities to test fundamental questions in ecology, such as the context-dependency of community structure and assembly. Annual grasslands provide a model system of a major unidirectional introduction of plant species from Europe to North [...] Read more.
The introduction of exotic species to new regions offers opportunities to test fundamental questions in ecology, such as the context-dependency of community structure and assembly. Annual grasslands provide a model system of a major unidirectional introduction of plant species from Europe to North America. We compared the community structure of grasslands in two Mediterranean regions by surveying plots in Spain and in California with similar environmental and management conditions. All species found in Spanish grasslands were native to Spain, and over half of them (74 of 139 species) are known to have colonized California. In contrast, in California, over half of the species (52 of 95 species) were exotic species, all of them native to Spain. Nineteen species were found in multiple plots in both regions (i.e., shared species). The abundance of shared species in California was either similar to (13 species) or greater than (6 species) in Spain. In California, plants considered pests were more likely than non-pest species to have higher abundance. Co-occurring shared species tended to maintain their relative abundance in native and introduced communities, which indicates that pools of exotic species might assemble similarly at home and away. These findings provide interesting insights into community assembly in novel ecosystems. They also highlight an example of startling global and local floristic homogenization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Assembly and Biological Invasions)
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Open AccessCommunication
High Prevalence of Novel Beak and Feather Disease Virus in Sympatric Invasive Parakeets Introduced to Spain From Asia and South America
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050192 - 13 May 2020
Viewed by 478
Abstract
The psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a globally widespread infectious bird disease that mainly affects species within the Order Psittaciformes (parrots and allies). The disease is caused by an avian circovirus (the beak and feather disease virus, BFDV), which is highly [...] Read more.
The psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a globally widespread infectious bird disease that mainly affects species within the Order Psittaciformes (parrots and allies). The disease is caused by an avian circovirus (the beak and feather disease virus, BFDV), which is highly infectious and can lead to severe consequences in wild and captive populations during an outbreak. Both legal and illegal trading have spread the BFDV around the world, although little is known about its prevalence in invasive parrot populations. Here, we analyze the BFDV prevalence in sympatric invasive populations of rose-ringed (Psittacula krameri) and monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) in Southern Spain. We PCR-screened 110 blood samples (55 individuals from each species) for BFDV and characterized the genotypes of five positives from each species. About 33% of rose-ringed parakeets and 37% of monk parakeets sampled were positive for BFDV, while neither species showed disease symptoms. The circovirus identified is a novel BFDV genotype common to both species, similar to the BFDV genotypes detected in several parrot species kept in captivity in Saudi Arabia, South Africa and China. Our data evidences the importance of an accurate evaluation of avian diseases in wild populations, since invasive parrots may be bringing BFDV without showing any visually detectable clinical sign. Further research on the BFDV prevalence and transmission (individual–individual, captive–wild and wild–captive) in different bird orders and countries is crucial to understand the dynamics of the viral infection and minimize its impact in captive and wild populations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Common Patterns and Diverging Trajectories in Primary Succession of Plants in Eastern Alpine Glacier Forelands
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050191 - 12 May 2020
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Abstract
This paper deals with the vegetation development in four glacier forelands, aligned along a distance of 250 km from West to East in the siliceous Eastern Central Alps. The study employs a chronosequence approach, which assumes a temporal sequence in vegetation development by [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the vegetation development in four glacier forelands, aligned along a distance of 250 km from West to East in the siliceous Eastern Central Alps. The study employs a chronosequence approach, which assumes a temporal sequence in vegetation development by spatially different sites regarding time since deglaciation. The chronosequences cover the area between Little Ice Age (LIA) maximum glacier extent around 1850, and the current glacier terminus. Despite some shortcomings, chronosequences allow the identification of general patterns of primary succession of plants as a function of site age and local environmental conditions, e.g., changes in species richness, ground cover, plant functional traits, and community structure. While there is no shortage of chronosequence studies in glacier forelands of the Alps, a straightforward comparison aimed at the deduction of general successional trajectories is tricky, due to different procedures of vegetation sampling and data analyses. The comparative examination by a standardized sampling and analyzing protocol of four glacier forelands in the Eastern Central Alps presented here proves the existence of several common patterns in primary succession, but also diverging successional trajectories from West to East. While the pioneer stage in all glacier forelands is similar both floristically and structurally, from the early successional stage onwards, differences increase, leading to different phases in the late successional stage, which is shrub dominated throughout in the westernmost study site, herb–grass–dwarfshrub dominated throughout in the easternmost study site, and divided into an earlier herb–grass–dwarfshrub phase and a later shrub phase in the two study sites in between. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Community Ecology: From Theory to Practice)
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Zoantharia (Cnidaria: Hexacorallia) of the Dutch Caribbean and One New Species of Parazoanthus
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050190 - 12 May 2020
Viewed by 597
Abstract
Species of the anthozoan order Zoantharia (=Zoanthidea) are common components of subtropical and tropical shallow water coral reefs. Despite a long history of research on their species diversity in the Caribbean, many regions within this sea remain underexamined. One such region is the [...] Read more.
Species of the anthozoan order Zoantharia (=Zoanthidea) are common components of subtropical and tropical shallow water coral reefs. Despite a long history of research on their species diversity in the Caribbean, many regions within this sea remain underexamined. One such region is the Dutch Caribbean, including the islands of St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Saba, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, as well as the Saba Bank, for which no definitive species list exists. Here, combining examinations of specimens housed in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center collection with new specimens and records from field expeditions, we provide a list of zoantharian species found within the Dutch Caribbean. Our results demonstrate the presence at least 16 described species, including the newly described Parazoanthus atlanticus, and the additional potential presence of up to four undescribed species. These records of new and undescribed species demonstrate that although the zoantharian research history of the Caribbean is long, further discoveries remain to be found. In light of biodiversity loss and increasing anthropogenic pressure on declining coral reefs, documenting the diversity of zoantharians and other coral reef species to provide baseline data takes on a new urgency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Coral-Associated Fauna)
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Sedimentary Organic Matter, Prokaryotes, and Meiofauna across a River-Lagoon-Sea Gradient
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050189 - 12 May 2020
Viewed by 290
Abstract
In benthic ecosystems, organic matter (OM), prokaryotes, and meiofauna represent a functional bottleneck in the energy transfer towards higher trophic levels and all respond to a variety of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The relationships between OM and the different components of benthic communities [...] Read more.
In benthic ecosystems, organic matter (OM), prokaryotes, and meiofauna represent a functional bottleneck in the energy transfer towards higher trophic levels and all respond to a variety of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The relationships between OM and the different components of benthic communities are influenced by multiple environmental variables, which can vary across different habitats. However, analyses of these relationships have mostly been conducted by considering the different habitats separately, even though freshwater, transitional, and marine ecosystems, physically linked to each other, are not worlds apart. Here, we investigated the quantity and nutritional quality of sedimentary OM, along with the prokaryotic and meiofauna abundance, biomass, and biodiversity, in two sampling periods, corresponding to high vs. low freshwater inputs to the sea, along a river-to-sea transect. The highest values of sedimentary organic loads and their nutritional quality, prokaryotic and meiofaunal abundance, and biomass were consistently observed in lagoon systems. Differences in the prokaryotic Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) and meiofaunal taxonomic composition, rather than changes in the richness of taxa, were observed among the three habitats and, in each habitat, between sampling periods. Such differences were driven by either physical or trophic variables, though with differences between seasons. Overall, our results indicate that the apparent positive relationship between sedimentary OM, prokaryote and meiofaunal abundance, and biomass across the river-lagoon-sea transect under scrutiny is more the result of a pattern of specifically adapted prokaryotic and meiofaunal communities to different habitats, rather than an actually positive ‘response’ to OM enrichment. We conclude that the synoptic analysis of prokaryotes and meiofauna can provide useful information on the relative effect of organic enrichment and environmental settings across gradients of environmental continuums, including rivers, lagoons, and marine coastal ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna Biodiversity and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle
Bat Species Richness and Community Composition along a Mega-transect in the Okavango River Basin
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050188 - 11 May 2020
Viewed by 363
Abstract
The Okavango River Basin is a hotspot of bat diversity that requires urgent and adequate protection. To advise future conservation strategies, we investigated the relative importance of a range of potential environmental drivers of bat species richness and functional community composition in the [...] Read more.
The Okavango River Basin is a hotspot of bat diversity that requires urgent and adequate protection. To advise future conservation strategies, we investigated the relative importance of a range of potential environmental drivers of bat species richness and functional community composition in the Okavango River Basin. During annual canoe transects along the major rivers, originating in the central Angolan highlands, we recorded more than 25,000 bat echolocation calls from 2015 to 2018. We corrected for possible biases in sampling design and effort. Firstly, we conducted rarefaction analyses of each survey year and sampling appeared to be complete, apart from 2016. Secondly, we used total activity as a measure of sample effort in mixed models of species richness. Species richness was highest in the Angola Miombo Woodlands and at lower elevations, with higher minimum temperatures. In total, we identified 31 individual bat species. We show that even when acoustic surveys are conducted in remote areas and over multiple years, it is possible to correct for biases and obtain representative richness estimates. Changes in habitat heterogeneity will have detrimental effects on the high richness reported here and human land-use change, specifically agriculture, must be mediated in a system such as the Angolan Miombo Woodland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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Ichthyological Differentiation and Homogenization in the Pánuco Basin, Mexico
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050187 - 11 May 2020
Viewed by 378
Abstract
Species introductions and extirpations are key aspects of aquatic ecosystem change that need to be examined at large geographic and temporal scales. The Pánuco Basin (Eastern Mexico) has high ichthyological diversity and ecological heterogeneity. However, freshwater fish (FWF) introductions and extirpations since the [...] Read more.
Species introductions and extirpations are key aspects of aquatic ecosystem change that need to be examined at large geographic and temporal scales. The Pánuco Basin (Eastern Mexico) has high ichthyological diversity and ecological heterogeneity. However, freshwater fish (FWF) introductions and extirpations since the mid-1900s have modified species range and distribution. We examine changes in FWF species composition in and among four sub-basins of the Pánuco by comparing fish collection records pre-1980 to 2018. Currently, the FWF of the Pánuco includes 95 species. Fishes in the Poeciliidae, Cyprinidae, and Cichlidae, respectively, comprised most records over time. Significant differences in species composition were found between the first (pre-1980) and last (2011–2018) study periods, but not for periods in-between. Eight independent species groups were key for explaining changes in Pánuco river ichthyofauna; one group was dominated by invasive species, and saw increases in the number of records across study periods (faunal homogenization). Another group was formed by species with conservation concern with a declining number of records over time. Thirteen (2 native and 11 non-native) species were responsible for temporal turnover. These results strongly suggest high rates of differentiation over time (via native species loss) following widespread non-native species introductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Human Disturbance on Ecological Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Diversity and Distribution Patterns of Geometrid Moths (Geometridae, Lepidoptera) in Mongolia
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050186 - 11 May 2020
Viewed by 478
Abstract
Geometrids are a species-rich group of moths that serve as reliable indicators for environmental changes. Little is known about the Mongolian moth fauna, and there is no comprehensive review of species richness, diversity, and distribution patterns of geometrid moths in the country. Our [...] Read more.
Geometrids are a species-rich group of moths that serve as reliable indicators for environmental changes. Little is known about the Mongolian moth fauna, and there is no comprehensive review of species richness, diversity, and distribution patterns of geometrid moths in the country. Our study aims to review the existing knowledge on geometrid moths in Mongolia. We compiled geometrid moth records from published scientific papers, our own research, and from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to produce a checklist of geometrid moths of Mongolia. Additionally, we analyzed spatial patterns, species richness, and diversity of geometrid moths within 14 ecoregions of Mongolia and evaluated environmental variables for their distribution. In total, we compiled 1973-point records of 388 geometrid species. The most species-rich ecoregion in Mongolia was Daurian Forest Steppe with 142 species. Annual precipitation and maximum temperature of the warmest month were the most important environmental variables that correlated with NMDS axes in an analysis of geometrid assemblages of different ecoregions in Mongolia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
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Open AccessArticle
Drivers of Foliar Fungal Endophytic Communities of Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) in the Southeast United States
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050185 - 09 May 2020
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Abstract
Fungal endophytes play important roles in plant fitness and plant–microbe interactions. Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) is a dominant, abundant, and highly aggressive invasive plant in the Southeast United States. Kudzu serves as a pathogen reservoir that impacts economically important leguminous [...] Read more.
Fungal endophytes play important roles in plant fitness and plant–microbe interactions. Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) is a dominant, abundant, and highly aggressive invasive plant in the Southeast United States. Kudzu serves as a pathogen reservoir that impacts economically important leguminous crops. We conducted the first investigations on kudzu fungal endophytes (Illumina MiSeq—ITS2) to elucidate drivers of endophytic communities across the heart of the invasive range in the Southeast United States (TN, MS, AL, GA). We tested the impacts of multiple environmental parameters (Chlorophyll, NO3, K+, soil pH, leaf area, host genotype, traffic intensity, and geographic location) on foliar endophyte communities. Endophytic communities were diverse and structured by many factors in our PerMANOVA analyses, but location, genotype, and traffic (proxy for pollution) were the strongest drivers of community composition (R2 = 0.152, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.129, p < 0.001, and R2 = 0.126, p < 0.001, respectively). Further, we examined the putative ecological interactions between endophytic fungi and plant pathogens. We identify numerous OTUs that are positively and strongly associated with pathogen occurrence, largely within the families Montagnulaceae and Tremellales incertae sedis. Taken together, these data suggest location, host genetics and local pollution play instrumental roles in structuring communities, and integrative plant management must consider these factors when developing management strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Interactions with Invasive Plant Species)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Genus of Terrestrial-Breeding Frogs (Holoadeninae, Strabomantidae, Terrarana) from Southern Peru
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050184 - 08 May 2020
Viewed by 620
Abstract
We propose to erect a new genus of terrestrial-breeding frogs of the Terrarana clade to accommodate three species from the Province La Convención, Department of Cusco, Peru previously assigned to Bryophryne: B. flammiventris, B. gymnotis, and B. mancoinca. We [...] Read more.
We propose to erect a new genus of terrestrial-breeding frogs of the Terrarana clade to accommodate three species from the Province La Convención, Department of Cusco, Peru previously assigned to Bryophryne: B. flammiventris, B. gymnotis, and B. mancoinca. We examined types and specimens of most species, reviewed morphological and bioacoustic characteristics, and performed molecular analyses on the largest phylogeny of Bryophryne species to date. We performed phylogenetic analysis of a dataset of concatenated sequences from fragments of the 16S rRNA and 12S rRNA genes, the protein-coding gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI), the nuclear protein-coding gene recombination-activating protein 1 (RAG1), and the tyrosinase precursor (Tyr). The three species are immediately distinguishable from all other species of Bryophryne by the presence of a tympanic membrane and annulus, and by males having median subgular vocal sacs and emitting advertisement calls. Our molecular phylogeny confirms that the three species belong to a new, distinct clade, which we name Qosqophryne, and that they are reciprocally monophyletic with species of Microkayla. These two genera (Qosqophryne and Microkayla) are more closely related to species of Noblella and Psychrophrynella than to species of Bryophryne. Although there are no known morphological synapomorphies for either Microkayla or Qosqophryne, the high endemism of their species, and the disjoint geographic distribution of the two genera, with a gap region of ~310 km by airline where both genera are absent, provide further support for Qosqophryne having long diverged from Microkayla. The exploration of high elevation moss and leaf litter habitats in the tropical Andes will contribute to increase knowledge of the diversity and phylogenetic relationships within Terrarana. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Conservation of Neotropical Amphibians and Reptiles)
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Open AccessArticle
Morphological Convergence and Divergence in Galaxias Fishes in Lentic and Lotic Habitats
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050183 - 08 May 2020
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Abstract
The influence of contrasting lentic and lotic hydrological environments on the morphology of members of the Galaxias vulgaris species complex was examined. Morphological variation between habitat types was investigated by comparison of populations of Galaxias brevipinnis (inferred ancestor), Galaxias gollumoides (roundhead morphotype) and [...] Read more.
The influence of contrasting lentic and lotic hydrological environments on the morphology of members of the Galaxias vulgaris species complex was examined. Morphological variation between habitat types was investigated by comparison of populations of Galaxias brevipinnis (inferred ancestor), Galaxias gollumoides (roundhead morphotype) and Galaxias vulgaris (flathead morphotype). Interspecific convergence and intraspecific divergence of morphological characters were demonstrated, representing general shifts in morphology towards a common functional form in particular hydrological environments. In all species, more lentic Galaxias had longer bodies; shorter, more stout caudal peduncles; longer, narrower pectoral fins; and longer, wider heads with larger mouths. In comparison, lotic Galaxias had relatively shorter bodies; more slender caudal peduncles; broader pectoral fins; and shorter flatter heads, with smaller mouths. This study suggests that the hydrological environment of a habitat is an important factor moulding and maintaining an individual fish’s morphology to a particular habitat type, most likely representing a phenotypic plastic response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics and Biogeography of Galaxiid Fishes)
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Species Diversity of Micromycetes Associated with Epipactis helleborine and Epipactis purpurata (Orchidaceae, Neottieae) in Southwestern Poland
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050182 - 07 May 2020
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Abstract
The Orchidaceae family is a diverse family of flowering plants that occur naturally in most parts of the world. However, fungal communities inhabiting different parts of orchids are not sufficiently described. The aim of the study was to conduct a mycological evaluation of [...] Read more.
The Orchidaceae family is a diverse family of flowering plants that occur naturally in most parts of the world. However, fungal communities inhabiting different parts of orchids are not sufficiently described. The aim of the study was to conduct a mycological evaluation of Epipactis helleborine and E. purpurata (Orchidaceae), which grow naturally in Lower Silesia (SW Poland), by identifying the species composition of the culturable micromycetes fungi on the surfaces of the plants and from the inner layers of the tissues. Fungi were identified based on a phenotypic and genotypic analysis. To our knowledge, this is the first such analysis. This study showed that more species of micromycetes were cultured from E. helleborine compared with E. purpurata. The flowering plants of E. helleborine were inhabited by the largest number of culturable fungal species (13 species), and the fewest species were isolated from the flowering plants of E. purpurata (eight species). Some of these fungal species may be pathogens of the plants. The surface tissues of the orchids were mainly inhabited by Mucor moelleri and/or Penicillium biourgeianum. The inner layers of these plants were the most colonized by Alternaria tenuissima and/or Arthrinium arundinis and/or Fusarium sporotrichioides. The relative dominance of these fungal species depended mainly on the development phase of the plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecology and Diversity of Orchids)
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Feeding Strategies of Co-occurring Newt Species across Different Conditions of Syntopy: A Test of the “Within-Population Niche Variation” Hypothesis
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050181 - 07 May 2020
Viewed by 312
Abstract
Intraspecific trait variation in generalist animals is widespread in nature, yet its effects on community ecology are not well understood. Newts are considered opportunistic feeders that may co-occur in different syntopic conditions and represent an excellent model for studying the role of individual [...] Read more.
Intraspecific trait variation in generalist animals is widespread in nature, yet its effects on community ecology are not well understood. Newts are considered opportunistic feeders that may co-occur in different syntopic conditions and represent an excellent model for studying the role of individual feeding specialization in shaping the population dietary strategy. Here, we investigated the diet of three newt species from central Italy occurring in artificial habitats in different coexistence conditions to test the predictions of the niche width (NW) variation hypotheses. Population NW did not vary among species and between presence and absence of coexisting species. An overall positive relationship between individual specialization and population NW was observed. However, this pattern was disrupted by the condition of syntopy with newt populations showing an individual NW variation invariant with population NW in presence of coexisting species, whereas it was larger in populations occurring alone. The observed pattern of newt behavior was not consistent with any of the proposed scenarios. We found a consistent pattern with the degree of individual specialization being (1) size-dependent (specialized individuals increasing within larger sized species) and (2) assemblage-complexity-dependent (specialized individuals increasing in syntopic populations in comparison to singly populations). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
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Open AccessArticle
Same Diet, Different Strategies: Variability of Individual Feeding Habits across Three Populations of Ambrosi’s Cave Salamander (Hydromantes ambrosii)
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050180 - 06 May 2020
Viewed by 278
Abstract
European cave salamanders of the genus Hydromantes are a group of eight species endemic to Italy and south-eastern France. Knowledge on the trophic niche of European Hydromantes is poor, and the few available studies only partially investigate their feeding habits. We performed an [...] Read more.
European cave salamanders of the genus Hydromantes are a group of eight species endemic to Italy and south-eastern France. Knowledge on the trophic niche of European Hydromantes is poor, and the few available studies only partially investigate their feeding habits. We performed an in-depth study on the trophic niche of the Ambrosi’s cave salamander (H. ambrosii), assessing the potential divergences among three different populations. All the populations had a similar diet composition, showing a wider trophic niche in fall compared to spring. In only one population, “true specialists” were present; however, in all three populations, generalist individuals always represented the larger proportion. Interspecific and intraspecific competition did not play an important role in determining individual dietary specialisation in H. ambrosii; contrarily, the characteristics of the surrounding environment seemed to be an important factor. The best body conditions were observed in the population located in the site where the non-arboreal vegetation cover was the highest. Besides providing new information on the trophic niche of H. ambrosii, we here showed that studies encompassing both intrinsic and extrinsic factors at the population level are needed to fully understand the trophic dynamics occurring among European cave salamanders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
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