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Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 6 (June 2020) – 51 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Glassfrogs are one of the most charismatic amphibians of the world due to their translucent skin and complex behaviors. The monographic work (285 pages) by Guayasamin et al., published in this Special Issue of Diversity, provides a systematic account for each of the 60 species known to occur in Ecuador, including updated information on their evolutionary relationships, natural history, distribution, and conservation status. The authors also describe three previously unknown species. View this paper.
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Editorial
High-Mountain Lakes, Indicators of Global Change: Ecological Characterization and Environmental Pressures
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060260 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1116
Abstract
Though mountain lakes are generally much less influenced by human activities than other habitats, global and local anthropogenic threats can alter their natural condition. The most alarming threats are climate change, water exploitation and abstraction, alien species introduction, and the medium-long range atmospheric [...] Read more.
Though mountain lakes are generally much less influenced by human activities than other habitats, global and local anthropogenic threats can alter their natural condition. The most alarming threats are climate change, water exploitation and abstraction, alien species introduction, and the medium-long range atmospheric transport of contaminates. Moreover, tourism and mountain farming are two other major sources of organic pollutants that can pose a threat to local aquatic biodiversity. Papers submitted to this Special Issue should be original contributions, with a focus on ecological and morphological characterization, environmental pressures (i.e., alien species introduction, environmental contaminates), and the use of bioindicators/tracers to inform adequate management plans. Full article
Article
Landscape-Level Effects of Forest on Pollinators and Fruit Set of Guava (Psidium guajava L.) in Orchards across Southern Thailand
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060259 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2040
Abstract
Pollination by wild pollinators is a key ecosystem service threatened by anthropogenic-induced land-use change. The proximity to natural habitat has previously been shown to positively affect pollinator communities and improve crop yield and quality but empirical evidence is limited from most parts of [...] Read more.
Pollination by wild pollinators is a key ecosystem service threatened by anthropogenic-induced land-use change. The proximity to natural habitat has previously been shown to positively affect pollinator communities and improve crop yield and quality but empirical evidence is limited from most parts of the World. Here, across six farms in Southern Thailand, we investigated the significance of landscape-level effects of natural habitat (proportion of and distance to evergreen forest) on both visitation rate and richness of pollinators as well as fruit set of guava (Psidium guajava L.), a local economically-important crop in the tropics. Overall, the most abundant pollinator was the Asian honey bee Apis cerana (39% of all visits) and different species of stingless bees (37%). We found that pollinator richness was unrelated to the proportion and distance to evergreen forest, however, the proportion of forest within a 1, 5 and 10 km radius had a significant positive impact on visitation rate of wild pollinators. Still, neither the various forest parameters nor pollinator visitation rate showed a significant impact on fruit set of guava, perhaps because guava self-pollinates. This illustrates that landscape-level degradation of natural habitat may negatively impact pollinator communities without diminishing the crop yield of the farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use and Climate Impacts on Plant-Pollinator Interactions)
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Communication
A Mediterranean Monk Seal Pup on the Apulian Coast (Southern Italy): Sign of an Ongoing Recolonisation?
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060258 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3140
Abstract
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. This species has been threatened since ancient times by human activities and currently amounts to approximately 700 individuals distributed in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. This species has been threatened since ancient times by human activities and currently amounts to approximately 700 individuals distributed in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (Aegean and Ionian Sea) and Eastern Atlantic Ocean (Cabo Blanco and Madeira). In other areas, where the species is considered “probably extinct”, an increase in sporadic sightings has been recorded during recent years. Sightings and accidental catches of Mediterranean monk seals have become more frequent in the Adriatic Sea, mainly in Croatia but also along the coasts of Montenegro, Albania and Southern Italy. A Mediterranean monk seal pup was recovered on 27 January 2020 on the beach of Torre San Gennaro in Torchiarolo (Brindisi, Apulia, Italy). DNA was extracted from a tissue sample and the hypervariable region I (HVR1) of the mitochondrial DNA control region was amplified and sequenced. The alignment performed with seven previous published haplotypes showed that the individual belongs to the haplotype MM03, common in monk seals inhabiting the Greek islands of the Ionian Sea. This result indicates the Ionian Islands as the most probable geographical origin of the pup, highlighting the need to intensify research and conservation activities on this species even in areas where it seemed to be extinct. Full article
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Perspective
Conservation Lessons from the Study of North American Boreal Birds at Their Southern Periphery
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060257 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1267
Abstract
Many North American boreal forest birds reach the southern periphery of their distribution in the montane spruce–fir forests of northeastern United States and the barren coastal forests of Maritime Canada. Because the southern periphery may be the first to be impacted by warming [...] Read more.
Many North American boreal forest birds reach the southern periphery of their distribution in the montane spruce–fir forests of northeastern United States and the barren coastal forests of Maritime Canada. Because the southern periphery may be the first to be impacted by warming climates, these populations provide a unique opportunity to examine several factors that will influence the conservation of this threatened group under climate change. We discuss recent research on boreal birds in Northeastern US and in Maritime Canada related to genetic diversity, population trends in abundance, distributional shifts in response to climate change, community composition, and threats from shifting nest predators. We discuss how results from these studies may inform the conservation of boreal birds in a warming world as well as open questions that need addressing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boreal Bird Ecology, Management and Conservation)
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Article
Functional Diversity Changes after Selective Thinning in a Tropical Mountain Forest in Southern Ecuador
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060256 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1025
Abstract
Background: The impact of selective thinning on forest diversity has been extensively studied in temperate and boreal regions. However, in the tropics, knowledge is still poor regarding the impacts of this silvicultural treatment on functional diversity, especially in tropical mountain forests, which are [...] Read more.
Background: The impact of selective thinning on forest diversity has been extensively studied in temperate and boreal regions. However, in the tropics, knowledge is still poor regarding the impacts of this silvicultural treatment on functional diversity, especially in tropical mountain forests, which are considered to be highly biodiverse ecosystems and also endangered by human activities. By evaluating the changes on functional diversity by using different indicators, hypothesizing that selective thinning significantly affects (directly or indirectly) tropical mountain forests, this work promotes sustainable ecosystem use. Methods: A total of 52 permanent plots of 2500 m2 each were installed in a primary mountain forest in the San Francisco Biological Reserve to assess the impact of this silvicultural treatment. Selective thinning can be defined as a controlled process, in which trees that compete with ecologically and/or valuable timber species are progressively removed to stimulate the development of profitable ones, called potential crop trees (PCT). In doing so, the best specimens remain in the forest stand until their final harvest. After PCT selection, 30 plots were chosen for the intervention, while 22 plots served as control plots. The thinning intensity fluctuated between 4 and 56 trees ha−1 (average 18.8 ± 12.1 stems ha−1). Functional Diversity (FD) indices, including the community weighted mean (CWM), were determined based on six traits using the FD package implemented in R software. The difference between initial and final conditions of functional richness (FRic), functional divergence (FDiv), functional evenness (FEve), functional dispersion (FDis), and Rao quadratic entropy (RaoQ) was modeled using linear mixed models (LMM). As fixed factors, we used all the predictors inherent to structural and ecological forest conditions before and after the selective thinning and as a random variable, we used the membership to nested sampling units. Results: Functional Richness (FRic) showed significant changes after selective thinning, the other indexes (FEve, FDis, FDiv, RaoQ) were only influenced by predictors related to ecological conditions and characteristics of the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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Communication
Revisiting the Evolution of Arboreal Life in Oribatid Mites
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060255 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 975
Abstract
Though mostly soil dwelling, oribatid mites are found in all kind of habitats, with several species exclusively living on trees. Using previously published DNA sequences and eco-morphological data available from the literature, we inferred the number of transitions between soil dwelling to a [...] Read more.
Though mostly soil dwelling, oribatid mites are found in all kind of habitats, with several species exclusively living on trees. Using previously published DNA sequences and eco-morphological data available from the literature, we inferred the number of transitions between soil dwelling to a truly arboreal lifestyle in oribatid mites and the shape evolution of a particular morphological structure of a sense organ (bothridial seta (= sensillus) of a trichobothrium), the shape of which was previously reported to be associated with an arboreal lifestyle. Our data suggest that a truly arboreal lifestyle evolved several times independently in oribatid mites, but much less often than previously proposed in the past. Even though all truly arboreal species indeed seem to possess a capitate sensillus, this character is not exclusive for arboreal taxa. Nonetheless, since all truly arboreal species do have a capitate sensillus, this might be considered an important (pre-)adaptation to a life on trees. We further provide guidelines on how the term “arboreal” should be applied in future mite research and emphasize the importance of exact microhabitat characterization, as this will greatly facilitate comparisons across studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Mites)
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Review
Microbial Communities in the Fynbos Region of South Africa: What Happens during Woody Alien Plant Invasions
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060254 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1346
Abstract
The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) is globally known for its plant biodiversity, and its flora is commonly referred to as fynbos. At the same time, this area is under severe pressure from urbanization, agricultural expansion and the threat of invasive alien plants. Acacia [...] Read more.
The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) is globally known for its plant biodiversity, and its flora is commonly referred to as fynbos. At the same time, this area is under severe pressure from urbanization, agricultural expansion and the threat of invasive alien plants. Acacia, Eucalyptus and Pinus are the common invasive alien plants found across the biome and considerable time, effort and resources are put into the removal of invasive alien plants and the rehabilitation of native vegetation. Several studies have shown that invasion not only affects the composition of plant species, but also has a profound effect on the soil chemistry and microbial populations. Over the last few years, a number of studies have shown that the microbial populations of the CFR are unique to the area, and harbour many endemic species. The extent of the role they play in the invasion process is, however, still unclear. This review aims to provide an insight into the current knowledge on the different microbial populations from this system, and speculate what their role might be during invasion. More importantly, it places a spotlight on the lack of information about this process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Interactions with Invasive Plant Species)
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Editorial
Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060253 - 21 Jun 2020
Viewed by 847
Abstract
The Special Issue entitled “Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area” aimed at highlighting the role of various organisms in the Mediterranean habitat. The role of fungi at the root and phyllosphere level; the biodiversity in small island territories and the sea; rare forms [...] Read more.
The Special Issue entitled “Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area” aimed at highlighting the role of various organisms in the Mediterranean habitat. The role of fungi at the root and phyllosphere level; the biodiversity in small island territories and the sea; rare forms of fungi never previously found; the commercial, food, and therapeutic value of some ascomycetes and basidiomycetes; the diversity related to fungi associated with galls on plants; and the important role of culture collection for the ex situ conservation of fungal biodiversity are the topics dealt with in this Special Issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area)
Communication
Effectiveness of Photoprotective Strategies in Three Mixotrophic Planktonic Ciliate Species
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060252 - 20 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1513
Abstract
Mixotrophic ciliate assemblages often prevail in summer in the surface layers of lakes. During this time, they are potentially exposed to damaging levels of incident solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and need efficient photoprotective mechanisms to minimize the damage. Herein, we tested the algal-bearing [...] Read more.
Mixotrophic ciliate assemblages often prevail in summer in the surface layers of lakes. During this time, they are potentially exposed to damaging levels of incident solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and need efficient photoprotective mechanisms to minimize the damage. Herein, we tested the algal-bearing species of Pelagodileptus trachelioides, Stokesia vernalis, and Vorticella chlorellata for how they handled stress under exposure to the artificial sunlight spectrum (i.e., UV treatment), just photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), or in the dark (i.e., control). In addition to measurements of their survival, changes in behavior, shape, and whether dark or photoenzymatic repair (PER) mechanisms are present, we measured the concentration of UV-absorbing compounds (i.e., mycosporine-like amino acids). In contrast to the response in the PAR and dark treatments, sublethal effects were observed in all species when exposed to UVR. A wavelength-specific test for P. trachelioides revealed that UV-B was especially lethal. These results suggest that the photoprotective mechanisms found in these ciliates are not sufficient to allow for their survival directly at the surface and that, accordingly, they need to shift their position further down in the water column. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Ciliates and their Symbionts)
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Article
Candidatus Mystax nordicus” Aggregates with Mitochondria of Its Host, the Ciliate Paramecium nephridiatum
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060251 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 942
Abstract
Extensive search for new endosymbiotic systems in ciliates occasionally reverts us to the endosymbiotic bacteria described in the pre-molecular biology era and, hence, lacking molecular characterization. A pool of these endosymbionts has been referred to as a hidden bacterial biodiversity from the past. [...] Read more.
Extensive search for new endosymbiotic systems in ciliates occasionally reverts us to the endosymbiotic bacteria described in the pre-molecular biology era and, hence, lacking molecular characterization. A pool of these endosymbionts has been referred to as a hidden bacterial biodiversity from the past. Here, we provide a description of one of such endosymbionts, retrieved from the ciliate Paramecium nephridiatum. This curve-shaped endosymbiont (CS), which shared the host cytoplasm with recently described “Candidatus Megaira venefica”, was found in the same host and in the same geographic location as one of the formerly reported endosymbiotic bacteria and demonstrated similar morphology. Based on morphological data obtained with DIC, TEM and AFM and molecular characterization by means of sequencing 16S rRNA gene, we propose a novel genus, “Candidatus Mystax”, with a single species “Ca. Mystax nordicus”. Phylogenetic analysis placed this species in Holosporales, among Holospora-like bacteria. Contrary to all Holospora species and many other Holospora-like bacteria, such as “Candidatus Gortzia”, “Candidatus Paraholospora” or “Candidatus Hafkinia”, “Ca. Mystax nordicus” was never observed inside the host nucleus. “Ca. Mystax nordicus” lacked infectivity and killer effect. The striking peculiarity of this endosymbiont was its ability to form aggregates with the host mitochondria, which distinguishes it from Holospora and Holospora-like bacteria inhabiting paramecia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Ciliates and their Symbionts)
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Article
Acacia longifolia: A Host of Many Guests Even after Fire
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060250 - 19 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1370
Abstract
Acacia longifolia is a worldwide invader that cause damage in ecosystems, expanding largely after wildfires, which promote germination of a massive seed bank. As a legume, symbiosis is determinant for adaptation. Our study aims to isolate a wider consortium of bacteria harboured in [...] Read more.
Acacia longifolia is a worldwide invader that cause damage in ecosystems, expanding largely after wildfires, which promote germination of a massive seed bank. As a legume, symbiosis is determinant for adaptation. Our study aims to isolate a wider consortium of bacteria harboured in nodules, including both nitrogen and non-nitrogen fixers. Furthermore, we aim to evaluate the effects of fire in nodulation and bacterial diversity on young acacias growing in unburnt and burnt zones, one year after the fire. For this, we used molecular approaches, M13 fingerprinting and 16S rRNA partial sequencing, to identify species/genera involved and δ15N isotopic composition in leaves and plant nodules. Nitrogen isotopic analyses in leaves suggest that in unburnt zones, nitrogen fixation contributes more to plant nitrogen content. Overall, A. longifolia seems to be promiscuous and despite Bradyrhizobium spp. dominance, Paraburkholderia spp. followed by Pseudomonas spp. was also found. Several species not previously reported as nitrogen-fixers were identified, proposing other functions besides ammonia acquisition. Our study shows that bacterial communities are different in nodules after fire. Fire seems to potentiate nodulation and drives symbiosis towards nitrogen-fixers. Taken together, a multifunctional community inside nodules is pointed out which potentiate A. longifolia invasiveness and adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Interactions with Invasive Plant Species)
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Editorial
Editorial for Special Issue “Meiofauna Biodiversity and Ecology”
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060249 - 19 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
Meiofauna are a component of aquatic environments from polar to tropical regions. They may colonize all types of habitats and include very enigmatic and exclusive taxa. The biodiversity of this component in marine ecosystems is far from being accurately estimated, but this would [...] Read more.
Meiofauna are a component of aquatic environments from polar to tropical regions. They may colonize all types of habitats and include very enigmatic and exclusive taxa. The biodiversity of this component in marine ecosystems is far from being accurately estimated, but this would be a new challenge given the importance that meiofaunal components may play in marine ecosystem functioning and processes. This Special Issue collects many interesting topics in research on meiofauna contributing to plugging a gap on several key issues in their biodiversity, distribution, and ecology, from numerous regions that include the USA, Brazil, French Guiana, Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, Italy, Kuwait, Vietnam, Madagascar, the Maldives, and South Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna Biodiversity and Ecology)
Article
Plant Functional Traits on Tropical Ultramafic Habitats Affected by Fire and Mining: Insights for Reclamation
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060248 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Biodiversity-rich tropical ultramafic areas are currently being impacted by land clearing and particularly by mine activities. The reclamation of ultramafic degraded areas requires a knowledge of pioneer plant species. The objective of this study is to highlight the functional traits of plants that [...] Read more.
Biodiversity-rich tropical ultramafic areas are currently being impacted by land clearing and particularly by mine activities. The reclamation of ultramafic degraded areas requires a knowledge of pioneer plant species. The objective of this study is to highlight the functional traits of plants that colonize ultramafic areas after disturbance by fire or mining activities. This information will allow trait-assisted selection of candidate species for reclamation. Fifteen plots were established on ultramafic soils in Sabah (Borneo, Malaysia) disturbed by recurrent fires (FIRE plots) or by soil excavation and quarrying (MINE plots). In each plot, soil samples were collected and plant cover as well as species abundances were estimated. Fifteen functional traits related to revegetation, nutrient improvement, or Ni phytomining were measured in sampled plants. Vegetation of both FIRE and MINE plots was dominated by perennials with lateral spreading capacity (mainly by rhizomes). Plant communities displayed a conservative growth strategy, which is an adaptation to low nutrient availability on ultramafic soils. Plant height was higher in FIRE than in MINE plots, whereas the number of stems per plant was higher in MINE plots. Perennial plants with lateral spreading capacity and a conservative growth strategy would be the first choice for the reclamation of ultramafic degraded areas. Additional notes for increasing nutrient cycling, managing competition, and implementing of Ni-phytomining are also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions)
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Editorial
Biodiversity of Marine Microbes
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060247 - 16 Jun 2020
Viewed by 721
Abstract
The Special Issue entitled “Biodiversity of Marine Microbes” aimed at highlighting the significance of marine microbes as primary producers, their participation in complex processes and interactions with both the biotic and the abiotic environment, and their important roles in biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem [...] Read more.
The Special Issue entitled “Biodiversity of Marine Microbes” aimed at highlighting the significance of marine microbes as primary producers, their participation in complex processes and interactions with both the biotic and the abiotic environment, and their important roles in biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem functioning. The issue includes five research papers, covering the diversity and composition of marine microbial communities representing all three domains of life in various marine environments, including coastal eutrophic areas, ice waters, and lagoons. One paper examined the diversity and succession of bacterial and archaeal communities from coastal waters in mesocosm experiments. The combination of classical tools with novel technological advances offers the opportunity to answer fundamental questions and shed light on the complex and diverse life of marine microbes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Marine Microbes)
Article
Crustacea Decapoda from the Rhodes Island Area (Eastern Mediterranean): New Records and an Updated Checklist
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060246 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 942
Abstract
Decapod crustaceans are ecologically and commercially important members of marine communities. Faunal surveys constitute essential tools for the understanding of local diversity, especially in areas subjected to significant alterations of community composition due to climate changes, anthropogenic impacts, and biological invasions. Following a [...] Read more.
Decapod crustaceans are ecologically and commercially important members of marine communities. Faunal surveys constitute essential tools for the understanding of local diversity, especially in areas subjected to significant alterations of community composition due to climate changes, anthropogenic impacts, and biological invasions. Following a literature review and the study of new samples, we hereby update on the Crustacea Decapoda from the Rhodes Island area (Greece), situated in a key position in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Published data yielded records of 120 species, whereas 28 taxa are recorded here for the first time from the study area. Among them, the collection of Liocarcinus bolivari widens its distribution to the eastern Mediterranean. Details on material examined and distributional/faunal remarks are provided for the species newly recorded and for some other native and alien species rarely reported from Rhodes. The present paper raises the local decapod biodiversity to 148 species, accounting for ~50% of the Hellenic Aegean decapod fauna and provides a useful baseline for analysing the long-term changes in the local fauna and the westward spreading of Lessepsian species. Despite present advances, the lack of records of many common Mediterranean species may be still due to limited fieldwork in some habitats rather than a true absence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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Article
Nourished, Exposed Beaches Exhibit Altered Sediment Structure and Meiofaunal Communities
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060245 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1201
Abstract
To retain recreational uses and shoreline protection, a large proportion of ocean beaches have been, and continue to be, nourished. Adding sand from subtidal and terrestrial sources to nourish beaches rarely re-creates the original sediment structure of the beach. Numerous studies have demonstrated [...] Read more.
To retain recreational uses and shoreline protection, a large proportion of ocean beaches have been, and continue to be, nourished. Adding sand from subtidal and terrestrial sources to nourish beaches rarely re-creates the original sediment structure of the beach. Numerous studies have demonstrated that meiofaunal communities are altered by changes in sediment composition in low-energy substrates, therefore, we have explored whether beach nourishment has affected exposed, ocean beach meiofaunal communities. Since the early 2000s, we have conducted a series of sampling and experimental studies on meiofauna and sediments on nourished beaches in coastal North Carolina USA that had been sampled previously in the early 1970s, prior to any beach nourishment. Most of our studies consider meiofauna at the level of major taxa only. However, a few studies examine free-living flatworm (turbellarian) species in detail because of the existence of historical studies examining this group. Comparison of contemporary results to historical data and of heavily nourished versus lightly nourished beaches reveals extensive changes to beach sediment structure and meiofaunal community composition, indicating that the beaches are a more heterogeneous habitat than in the past. The effects of these substantial physical and biological changes to the production of beach ecosystem services are unlikely to be inconsequential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Environmental Change on Meiofauna)
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Article
Changes in the Abundance of Danish Orchids over the Past 30 Years
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060244 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 949
Abstract
Orchid abundance data collected over the past 30 years (1987–2016) from 440 sites within the National Orchid Monitoring Program were analyzed to quantify the population trends of orchids in Denmark, and the underlying reasons for the observed population trends were analyzed and discussed. [...] Read more.
Orchid abundance data collected over the past 30 years (1987–2016) from 440 sites within the National Orchid Monitoring Program were analyzed to quantify the population trends of orchids in Denmark, and the underlying reasons for the observed population trends were analyzed and discussed. Of the 45 monitored Danish orchids, 20 showed a significant decrease in abundance over the past 30 years (16, if only orchids with at least 50 observations each were selected), thus corroborating the previous observations of declining orchid abundances at the European scale. Generally, there was a significant negative effect of overgrowing with tall-growing herbs and shrubs on the abundance of Danish orchids, mainly caused by change of farming practices, as extensive management, such as grazing or mowing of light-open grassland areas, has decreased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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Editorial
Ecosystem Engineers in the World Coasts: Case Studies and Conceptual Linkages
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060243 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 806
Abstract
Research on physical ecosystem engineering—i.e., the structural modification of environments by organisms—has flourished during the last two decades. At present, the importance of physical ecosystem engineers for the biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems is well recognized by scientists. This Special Issue contains [...] Read more.
Research on physical ecosystem engineering—i.e., the structural modification of environments by organisms—has flourished during the last two decades. At present, the importance of physical ecosystem engineers for the biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems is well recognized by scientists. This Special Issue contains fifteen papers that illustrate the diversity of physical ecosystem engineering processes that occur in the world coastal habitats—from coastal dunes to the shallow subtidal zone. It includes 2 reviews comparing ecosystem engineering attributes and impacts across taxa and 13 case studies that inform our general understanding of the variation in engineering impacts, compound engineering effects, novel engineering interactions, and engineered structural legacies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Ecosystem Engineers in the World Coasts and Oceans)
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Article
Cereal Straw Mulching in Strawberry—A Facilitator of Plant Visits by Edaphic Predatory Mites at Night?
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060242 - 13 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1390
Abstract
In Norway, strawberry producers use cereal straw mulching to prevent berries from contacting the soil and to control weeds. We hypothesized that organic matter such as straw mulch also favors the maintenance of predatory mites which visit strawberry plants at nighttime. We compared [...] Read more.
In Norway, strawberry producers use cereal straw mulching to prevent berries from contacting the soil and to control weeds. We hypothesized that organic matter such as straw mulch also favors the maintenance of predatory mites which visit strawberry plants at nighttime. We compared mite diversity in cereal straw exposed for different periods in strawberry fields and evaluated their possible migration to plants in two experiments with potted plants in 2019. An ‘Early season’ experiment compared no mulching (T1), oat straw mulch exposed in field since 2018 (T2), or 2017 (T3), while a ‘Mid-season’ experiment compared no mulching (T1), barley straw mulch from 2018 (T2), or a mix from 2017 and 2018 (T3). To provide edaphic predatory mites with a potential source of food, all plants were infested with two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch). Results suggested that straw mulch facilitates the prevalence of predatory mites in strawberry fields. Most predatory mite visits were at night, confirming our initial hypothesis. Predominant nocturnal mites on leaves belonged to Melicharidae (Proctolaelaps sp.) (‘Early season’, T2), Blattisociidae (Lasioseius sp.) (‘Early and Mid-season’, T3) and Phytoseiidae (‘Mid-season’, T2). Parasitus consanguineus Oudemans & Voigts was the predominant species (‘Early season’, T3) at the base of plants. Anystidae were diurnal visitors only (‘Mid-season’, T2). Future studies should evaluate the predation potential of Proctolaelaps sp. and Lasioseius sp. on two-spotted spider mite and other strawberry pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Mites)
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Perspective
How Does the Sexual Reproduction of Marine Life Respond to Ocean Acidification?
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060241 - 13 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
Recent research indicates that synchronicity of sexual reproduction in coral spawning events is breaking down, leading to aging populations and decreased recruitment success. In this perspective, we develop a hypothesis that this phenomenon could be caused by ongoing ocean acidification (OA). We hypothesize, [...] Read more.
Recent research indicates that synchronicity of sexual reproduction in coral spawning events is breaking down, leading to aging populations and decreased recruitment success. In this perspective, we develop a hypothesis that this phenomenon could be caused by ongoing ocean acidification (OA). We hypothesize, that the underlying physiological machinery could be the carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM). The endosymbiotic zooxanthellae of corals could use this mechanism to sense calm water motion states in a comparable way to that known from macroalgae. In macroalgae, it is well-established that dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) acts as the trigger for signaling low water motion. Hence, evolutionarily developed signals of low water motion, suited for gamete-release, may be misleading in the future, potentially favoring opportunistic species in a broad range of marine organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
Article
Endosymbiotic Green Algae in Paramecium bursaria: A New Isolation Method and a Simple Diagnostic PCR Approach for the Identification
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060240 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1609
Abstract
Paramecium bursaria is a single-celled model organism for studying endosymbiosis among ciliates and green algae. Most strains of P. bursaria bear either Chlorella variabilis or Micractinium conductrix as endosymbionts. Both algal genera are unicellular green algae characterized by cup-shaped chloroplasts containing a single [...] Read more.
Paramecium bursaria is a single-celled model organism for studying endosymbiosis among ciliates and green algae. Most strains of P. bursaria bear either Chlorella variabilis or Micractinium conductrix as endosymbionts. Both algal genera are unicellular green algae characterized by cup-shaped chloroplasts containing a single pyrenoid and reproduction by autospores. Due to their size and only few morphological characteristics, these green algae are very difficult to discriminate by microscopy only. Their cultivation is laborious and often unsuccessful, but we developed a three-step isolation method, which provided axenic cultures of endosymbionts. In addition to the time-consuming isolation, we developed a simple diagnostic PCR identification method using specific primers for C. variabilis and M. conductrix that provided reliable results. One advantage of this approach was that the algae do not have to be isolated from their host. For a comparative study, we investigated 19 strains of P. bursaria from all over the world (new isolates and available laboratory strains) belonging to the five known syngens (R1–R5). Six European ciliate strains belonging to syngens R1 and R2 bore M. conductrix as endosymbiont whereas C. variabilis was discovered in syngens R1–R5 having worldwide origins. Our results reveal the first evidence of C. variabilis as endosymbiont in P. bursaria in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Ciliates and their Symbionts)
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Article
Patterns of Distribution of Phoretic Deutonymphs of Uropodina on Longhorn Beetles in Białowieża Primeval Forest, Central Europe
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060239 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 898
Abstract
We studied the distributional patterns of phoretic deutonymphs of the genera Oodinychus and Trichouropoda (Uropodina) on the longhorn beetles Monochamus sartor urussovii, Plagionotus detritus, Tetropium castaneum, and Te. fuscum, based on large samples of specimens (992 beetles and 25,587 [...] Read more.
We studied the distributional patterns of phoretic deutonymphs of the genera Oodinychus and Trichouropoda (Uropodina) on the longhorn beetles Monochamus sartor urussovii, Plagionotus detritus, Tetropium castaneum, and Te. fuscum, based on large samples of specimens (992 beetles and 25,587 mites) collected in the Białowieża Primeval Forest in Central Europe in the years 2008 and 2012–2016. All the studied phoretic phoront-host associations are characterized by different patterns of the attachment sites of mites on beetle’s body. In the case of O. ovalis and M. sartor urussovii association, the deutonymphs were found mostly on the pronotum and dorsal surface of the elytra. This is the only instance in which phoronts were absent on the legs. Deutonymphs of T. sociata on P. detritus preferred the abdomnen (both tergites and ventrites) and the hindlegs. Only in this case the phoronts were attached inside the subelytral space. The highest number of deutonymphs of T. shcherbakae on both Tetropium species occured on the legs. In the case of Te. castaneum, similar proportions of mites were recorded on all pairs of legs, while the preferred location of mites phoretic on Te. fuscum were the forelegs. Both the preferences of phoretic deutonymphs for specific parts of the host’s body and the participation of carriers transporting deutonymphs on particular parts of their bodies were very consistent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Mites)
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Article
Dimensions of Phyllostomid Bat Diversity and Assemblage Composition in a Tropical Forest-Agricultural Landscape
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060238 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1929
Abstract
Tropical rainforests are suffering rapid habitat loss with large extensions of land transformed into agriculture. We wanted to know whether the type of agricultural activity in forest-agricultural landscapes affects how species composition as well as taxonomic and functional dimensions of diversity respond. We [...] Read more.
Tropical rainforests are suffering rapid habitat loss with large extensions of land transformed into agriculture. We wanted to know whether the type of agricultural activity in forest-agricultural landscapes affects how species composition as well as taxonomic and functional dimensions of diversity respond. We worked in the Amazon forests of southeast Peru and used bats as model organisms. We sampled mosaics characterized by forest adjacent to papaya plantations or cattle pastures. At each sampling site we established a transect in each of the three different vegetation types: forest interior, forest edge and agricultural land. We found that vegetation type was a better predictor of species composition than the type of agricultural land present. Vegetation structure characteristics explained differences in bat species composition between forest interior and edge. Agricultural land type chosen was not irrelevant as we found higher estimated species richness in papaya than in pasture sites. Agricultural land type present in a site and vegetation type affected functional diversity, with both agricultural land types showing a lower number of functionally distinct species than forests. We found papaya plantation sites showed species more evenly dispersed in trait space, suggesting they do better at conserving functional diversity when compared to cattle pasture sites. We demonstrate that sites that harbor agricultural activities can maintain a considerable proportion of the expected bat diversity. We note that this region still has large tracts of intact forest adjacent to agricultural lands, which may explain their ability to maintain relatively high levels bat diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use Change Impacts on Tropical Vertebrates)
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Article
Phylogenomic Study of Monechma Reveals Two Divergent Plant Lineages of Ecological Importance in the African Savanna and Succulent Biomes
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060237 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1197
Abstract
Monechma Hochst. s.l. (Acanthaceae) is a diverse and ecologically important plant group in sub-Saharan Africa, well represented in the fire-prone savanna biome and with a striking radiation into the non-fire-prone succulent biome in the Namib Desert. We used RADseq to reconstruct evolutionary relationships [...] Read more.
Monechma Hochst. s.l. (Acanthaceae) is a diverse and ecologically important plant group in sub-Saharan Africa, well represented in the fire-prone savanna biome and with a striking radiation into the non-fire-prone succulent biome in the Namib Desert. We used RADseq to reconstruct evolutionary relationships within Monechma s.l. and found it to be non-monophyletic and composed of two distinct clades: Group I comprises eight species resolved within the Harnieria clade, whilst Group II comprises 35 species related to the Diclipterinae clade. Our analyses suggest the common ancestors of both clades of Monechma occupied savannas, but both of these radiations (~13 mya crown ages) pre-date the currently accepted origin of the savanna biome in Africa, 5–10 mya. Diversification in the succulent biome of the Namib Desert is dated as beginning only ~1.9 mya. Inflorescence and seed morphology are found to distinguish Groups I and II and related taxa in the Justicioid lineage. Monechma Group II is morphologically diverse, with variation in some traits related to ecological diversification including plant habit. The present work enables future research on these important lineages and provides evidence towards understanding the biogeographical history of continental Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Vegetation and Flora in Tropical Africa)
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Article
Genetic Approaches Are Necessary to Accurately Understand Bat-Wind Turbine Impacts
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060236 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1576
Abstract
Bats are killed at wind energy facilities worldwide and we must improve our understanding of why this is happening and implement effective strategies to minimize impacts. To this end, we need accurate assessments of which individuals from which bat species are being killed [...] Read more.
Bats are killed at wind energy facilities worldwide and we must improve our understanding of why this is happening and implement effective strategies to minimize impacts. To this end, we need accurate assessments of which individuals from which bat species are being killed at individual wind projects and at regional and range-wide scales. Traditional fatality searches have relied on physical characteristics to ascertain species and sex of bat carcasses collected at wind turbines; however, the resulting data can be incomplete and inaccurate. In contrast, the use of readily available and low-cost molecular methods improves both the quality and quantity of available data. We applied such methods to a bat fatality dataset (n = 439 bats) from far-south Texas, USA. Using DNA barcoding, we increased accurate species identification from 83% to 97%, and discovered the presence of 2 bat species outside of their known geographic ranges. Using a PCR-based approach to determine sex, the number of carcasses with correct sex assignment increased from 35% to 94%, and we documented a female-biased sex ratio for all species combined and for Dasypterus ega. We recommend that molecular methods be used during future survey efforts to accurately assess the impacts of wind energy on bats. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Oribatid Fauna of the East European Tundra with First Reported Data of Subpolar Urals
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060235 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 775
Abstract
This study presents data on the oribatid mite fauna of the Subpolar Urals for the first time. Observations were made in the Lembekoyu River valley and 35 species of oribatid mites from 24 genera and 21 families were found. The analysis of taxonomic [...] Read more.
This study presents data on the oribatid mite fauna of the Subpolar Urals for the first time. Observations were made in the Lembekoyu River valley and 35 species of oribatid mites from 24 genera and 21 families were found. The analysis of taxonomic diversity and distribution of East European tundra oribatid mite species is presented based on available literature and the author’s own research findings. The taxonomic list includes 163 species from 81 genera and 45 families. Ceratozetidae (15 species), Crotoniidae (14 species), Oppiidae (12 species), Suctobelbidae (12 species), Damaeidae (9 species), Brachychthoniidae (8 species), Phthiracaridae (5 species), Humerobatidae (5 species), Achipteriidae (5 species), Punctoribatidae (5 species), and Galumnidae (5 species) are the leading families, comprising more than 58% of all species. The zoogeographical structure of the fauna is dominated by widely distributed Holarctic, cosmopolitan, and semi-cosmopolitan species. The share of Palaearctic species is 23%. The specificity of the fauna of East European tundra manifests itself in the small group of Arctic species, both in the mainland tundra and on the Arctic islands. A complex of arctic-boreal species, widely distributed in the Eurasian sector of the Arctic, is distinguished. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Mites)
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Article
Does Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Determine Soil Microbial Functionality in Nutrient-Limited Mediterranean Arid Ecosystems?
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060234 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 880
Abstract
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are determinant for the performance of plant communities and for the functionality of terrestrial ecosystems. In natural ecosystems, grazing can have a major impact on mycorrhizal fungi and consequently on plant growth. The objective of this study was to [...] Read more.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are determinant for the performance of plant communities and for the functionality of terrestrial ecosystems. In natural ecosystems, grazing can have a major impact on mycorrhizal fungi and consequently on plant growth. The objective of this study was to evaluate the statements referred above in Mediterranean arid areas in Tunisia. Root samples and rhizosphere soils of five dominant herbaceous plants were studied at six distinct arid sites differing on soil proprieties and grazing intensity. At each site, chemical and dynamic properties of the soil were characterized as well as the AMF colonization intensity and the soil functionality. Results showed that the mycorrhizal frequency and intensity and spore density, varied between plants in the same site and, for each plant, between sites and evidenced a positive effect of mycorrhized plants on soil microbial activity. Grazing and soil properties strongly affected AMF composition and the soil microbial and biochemical dynamics, which presented the lowest values at the sites with the highest grazing intensities. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that AMF improve soil biological properties, supporting the hypothesis that mycorrhiza and grazing compete for plant photosynthates, and highlight the importance of mycorrhizal symbiosis towards soil functionality under arid conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area)
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Article
Biodiversity and Community Structure of Mesozooplankton in the Marine and Coastal National Park Areas of Korea
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060233 - 10 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Zooplankton communities are useful bioindicators that can provide information on the changes occurring in marine ecosystems. Therefore, investigation of zooplankton communities in marine and coastal national parks is essential. However, the surveys of zooplankton communities using morphological identification require considerable time and labor. [...] Read more.
Zooplankton communities are useful bioindicators that can provide information on the changes occurring in marine ecosystems. Therefore, investigation of zooplankton communities in marine and coastal national parks is essential. However, the surveys of zooplankton communities using morphological identification require considerable time and labor. Metabarcoding is a practical alternative that can detect various taxa simultaneously. In this study, metabarcoding was newly applied along with the traditional morphological identification to establish a method for zooplankton community survey in the Marine and Coastal National Park areas of Korea. By comparing the results of these two identification methods, the strengths and limitations of metabarcoding were verified with the zooplankton communities appearing in these areas. The sensitive detection capability of metabarcoding enabled the identification of potential bioindicator taxa associated with external factors (e.g., water temperature, salinity, topography, and chlorophyll a concentration) in these national parks. We propose the use of metabarcoding for efficient surveys of mesozooplankton communities in the Marine and Coastal National Parks to establish monitoring of bioindicator taxa. It is also necessary to continuously search for taxa with high research value in these national parks using metabarcoding. Establishing an ongoing monitoring system that employs this approach can provide an effective tool for managing marine ecosystems in the Marine and Coastal National Parks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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Article
Basidiomycetes Associated with Alnus glutinosa Habitats in Andros Island (Cyclades, Greece)
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060232 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1137
Abstract
Alluvial forests dominated by black alder (Alnus glutinosa) are widespread in Europe along river banks and watercourses forming a habitat of renowned ecological/conservation importance. Despite the considerable interest this habitat has attracted in terms of the associated fungal diversity, very few [...] Read more.
Alluvial forests dominated by black alder (Alnus glutinosa) are widespread in Europe along river banks and watercourses forming a habitat of renowned ecological/conservation importance. Despite the considerable interest this habitat has attracted in terms of the associated fungal diversity, very few pertinent data are available from the eastern Mediterranean. Andros island (Aegean Sea, Greece) hosts the southernmost population of A. glutinosa in the Balkan Peninsula; such stands have been systematically inventoried for several years in respect to macrofungi. In total, 187 specimens were collected and studied by examining morphoanatomic features and by evaluating (when necessary) the outcome of sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) to elucidate their identity and obtain an insight into phylogenetic relationships. As a result, 106 species were recorded, 92 are saprotrophic and 14 form ectomycorrhizae (ECM) with alders. Twenty-one species are first national records, while 68 other species are reported for the first time from this habitat in Greece. Several findings of particular interest due to their rarity, ecological preferences and/or taxonomic status are presented in detail and discussed, e.g., six Alnicola taxa, Cortinarius americanus, Lactarius obscuratus, Paxillus olivellus and Russula pumila (among the ECMs), and the saprotrophs Entoloma uranochroum, Gymnopilus arenophilus, Hyphoderma nemorale, Lepiota ochraceofulva, Phanerochaete livescens and Psathyrella hellebosensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area)
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Article
Lepidoptera are Relevant Bioindicators of Passive Regeneration in Tropical Dry Forests
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060231 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1133
Abstract
Most evaluations of passive regeneration/natural succession or restoration have dealt with tropical rain forest or temperate ecosystems. Very few studies have examined the regeneration of tropical dry forests (TDF), one of the most damaged ecosystem types in the world. Owing to their species [...] Read more.
Most evaluations of passive regeneration/natural succession or restoration have dealt with tropical rain forest or temperate ecosystems. Very few studies have examined the regeneration of tropical dry forests (TDF), one of the most damaged ecosystem types in the world. Owing to their species diversity and abundance, insects have been widely used as bioindicators of restoration. Butterflies were among the most abundant and useful groups. We sampled four sites with different levels of anthropogenic disturbance in a Mexican TDF (Morelos State) and compared butterfly communities. A first goal was to examine whether adult butterflies were significant bioindicators owing to their specificity to restricted habitats. A second aim was to determine if differences exist in butterfly communities between some fields abandoned from 4–8, 8–15 and 15–30 years and a reference zone considered as primary forest. We found 40% to 50% of the species of butterflies were specifically related to a habitat and/or a level of anthropogenic disturbance. The time it takes for passive regeneration and recovery of the Mexican tropical dry forest is much higher than 25 years (our older zone), considering that almost none of the butterflies found in our conserved reference zone were present in our 25 year aged study zone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worldwide Tropical Lepidopteras)
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