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Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 7 (July 2020) – 25 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Climate change poses a great challenge for biodiversity conservation and alters biodiversity [...] Read more.
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Two New Benthic Diatoms of the Genus Achnanthidium (Bacillariophyceae) from the Hangang River, Korea
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070285 - 21 Jul 2020
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Two new benthic freshwater species belonging to the genus Achnanthidium were found in Korea. Achnanthidium ovale sp. nov. and A. cavitatum sp. nov. are described as new species based on light and scanning electron microscopy observations and molecular analyses. Both species are compared [...] Read more.
Two new benthic freshwater species belonging to the genus Achnanthidium were found in Korea. Achnanthidium ovale sp. nov. and A. cavitatum sp. nov. are described as new species based on light and scanning electron microscopy observations and molecular analyses. Both species are compared with the type material of morphologically similar taxa. Achnanthidium ovale differs from other species belonging to the A. pyrenaicum complex in outline, striation pattern, raphe central endings, and freestanding areolae at the apices. Achnanthidium cavitatum differs from other species in the A. minutissimum complex in outline, broad axial central area in the raphel ess valve, and slit-like areolae near the axial central area. We assessed their molecular characteristics by analyzing nuclear small subunit (SSU) rRNA and chloroplast-encoded rbcL gene sequences. Both the morphological comparison and the SSU and rbcL sequence analyses provide strong evidence to support the recognition of A. ovale and A. cavitatum as new species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taxonomy, Ecology and Biogeography of Diatoms)
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Open AccessArticle
Coexistence of Two Closely Related Cyprinid Fishes (Hemiculter bleekeri and Hemiculter leucisculus) in the Upper Yangtze River, China
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070284 - 19 Jul 2020
Viewed by 376
Abstract
Species coexistence is one of the most important concepts in ecology for understanding how biodiversity is shaped and changed. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which two small cyprinid fishes (H. leucisculus and H. bleekeri) coexist by analyzing their [...] Read more.
Species coexistence is one of the most important concepts in ecology for understanding how biodiversity is shaped and changed. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which two small cyprinid fishes (H. leucisculus and H. bleekeri) coexist by analyzing their niche segregation and morphological differences in the upper Yangtze River. Morphological analysis indicated that H. leucisculus has posteriorly located dorsal fins, whereas H. bleekeri has a more slender body, bigger eyes, longer anal fin base, and a higher head. Niche segregation analysis showed spatial and trophic niche segregation between these two species: on the spatial scale, H. leucisculus was more widely distributed than H. bleekeri, indicating that H. leucisculus is more of a generalist in the spatial dimension; on the trophic scale, H. bleekeri had a wider niche than H. leucisculus. Therefore, these two species adopt different adaptation mechanisms to coexist Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Endemism of Uropodina Mites: Spurious or Real?
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070283 - 18 Jul 2020
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Analyzing the data from the existing literature about geographic distribution of mites from the suborder Uropodina (Acari: Mesostigmata), one can get the impression that this group of mites is characterized by an unusual extent of endemism on a global scale. This observation encouraged [...] Read more.
Analyzing the data from the existing literature about geographic distribution of mites from the suborder Uropodina (Acari: Mesostigmata), one can get the impression that this group of mites is characterized by an unusual extent of endemism on a global scale. This observation encouraged the authors of this study to ascertain whether endemism in Uropodina mites is a real feature of this group or whether it stems from the current state of affairs in this field of research. The study is based on evidence from the literature on the topic and data obtained from long-term research conducted on extensive materials from all over the globe (over 40,000 samples). The discussion presented in the article is supported by many examples, showing that both hypotheses can in fact be proved right. The major point of reference in this study is the fairly well-known fauna of Uropodina in Europe, whereas South America is the testing area for the two hypotheses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Mites)
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Open AccessEditorial
Conserving the Genetic Diversity of Domesticated Livestock
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070282 - 17 Jul 2020
Viewed by 319
Abstract
Domesticated animals live and produce in an environment influenced by both natural and human factors. These agricultural environments are important to maintain for human survival and also for their interactions with natural environments. Effective conservation of domesticated biodiversity can help to assure sustainable [...] Read more.
Domesticated animals live and produce in an environment influenced by both natural and human factors. These agricultural environments are important to maintain for human survival and also for their interactions with natural environments. Effective conservation of domesticated biodiversity can help to assure sustainable agricultural systems that minimize negative influences on natural environments. In addition, livestock biodiversity is a component of total biodiversity and for several species is the only remaining source of diversity because the wild ancestors are now extinct. Conservation of livestock biodiversity depends on cultural and biological approaches. Each of these has differential importance depending on the specific location of the genetic resource as well as the human culture in which it resides. Effective global conservation blends these in different measures to assure positive outcomes that succeed in securing the genetic resource as well as its contribution to human survival and well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation of Rare Breeds of Livestock)
Open AccessArticle
A Comparative Phylogeographic Approach to Facilitate Recovery of an Imperiled Freshwater Mussel (Bivalvia: Unionida: Potamilus inflatus)
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070281 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 381
Abstract
North American freshwaters are among the world’s most threatened ecosystems, and freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled inhabiting these systems. A critical aspect of conservation biology is delineating patterns of genetic diversity, which can be difficult when a taxon has been extirpated [...] Read more.
North American freshwaters are among the world’s most threatened ecosystems, and freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled inhabiting these systems. A critical aspect of conservation biology is delineating patterns of genetic diversity, which can be difficult when a taxon has been extirpated from a significant portion of its historical range. In such cases, evaluating conservation and recovery options may benefit by using surrogate species as proxies when assessing overall patterns of genetic diversity. Here, we integrate the premise of surrogate species into a comparative phylogeographic framework to hypothesize genetic relationships between extant and extirpated populations of Potamilus inflatus by characterizing genetic structure in co-distributed congeners with similar life histories and dispersal capabilities. Our mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data exhibited variable patterns of genetic divergence between Potamilus spp. native to the Mobile and Pascagoula + Pearl + Pontchartrain (PPP) provinces. However, hierarchical Approximate Bayesian Computation indicated that the diversification between Mobile and PPP clades was synchronous and represents a genetic signature of a common history of vicariance. Recent fluctuations in sea-level appear to have caused Potamilus spp. in the PPP to form a single genetic cluster, providing justification for using individuals from the Amite River as a source of brood stock to re-establish extirpated populations of P. inflatus. Future studies utilizing eDNA and genome-wide molecular data are essential to better understand the distribution of P. inflatus and establish robust recovery plans. Given the imperilment status of freshwater mussels globally, our study represents a useful methodology for predicting relationships among extant and extirpated populations of imperiled species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Mollusk Conservation)
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Open AccessReview
Significance of Apoidea as Main Pollinators. Ecological and Economic Impact and Implications for Human Nutrition
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070280 - 15 Jul 2020
Viewed by 497
Abstract
Wild and managed bees provide pollination services to crops and wild plants, as well as a variety of other services beneficial to humans. Honey bees are the most economically valuable pollinator worldwide. It has been calculated that 9.5% of the total economic value [...] Read more.
Wild and managed bees provide pollination services to crops and wild plants, as well as a variety of other services beneficial to humans. Honey bees are the most economically valuable pollinator worldwide. It has been calculated that 9.5% of the total economic value of agricultural production comes from insect pollination, thus amounting to just under USD 200 billion globally. More than 100 important crops depend on pollination by honey bees. The latter pollinate not only a wide number of commercial crops but also many wild plants, some of which are threatened by extinction and constitute a valuable genetic resource. Moreover, as pollinators, honey bees play a significant role in every aspect of the ecosystem by facilitating the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants that serve as food and shelter for many large and small creatures. In this paper, we describe how the reduction in honey bee populations affects various economic sectors, as well as human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Insect)
Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Variation in Deep-Sea Meiofauna at the LTER Observatory HAUSGARTEN in the Fram Strait (Arctic Ocean)
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070279 - 13 Jul 2020
Viewed by 411
Abstract
Time-series studies at the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) observatory HAUSGARTEN have yielded the world’s longest time-series on deep-sea meiofauna and thus provide a decent basis to investigate the variability in deep-sea meiobenthic communities at different spatial and temporal scales. The main objective of [...] Read more.
Time-series studies at the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) observatory HAUSGARTEN have yielded the world’s longest time-series on deep-sea meiofauna and thus provide a decent basis to investigate the variability in deep-sea meiobenthic communities at different spatial and temporal scales. The main objective of the present study was to investigate whether the sediment-dwelling meiofauna (size range: 32–1000 µm) is controlled by small-scale local environmental conditions, rather than large-scale differences between water depths. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses, including distance-based linear models (DistLM) and redundancy analysis (dbRDA), revealed that due to their small size, meiofauna tend to mainly respond to micro-scale (centimeter) variations in environmental conditions in surface and subsurface sediment layers. Inter-annual temporal patterns among metazoan meiofauna at higher taxon levels revealed only a weak effect of time, and merely on the rare meiofauna taxa (<2% of the total meiofauna community) at HAUSGARTEN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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Open AccessCommunication
Oral Microbiome Metabarcoding in Two Invasive Small Mammals from New Zealand
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070278 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 500
Abstract
All multicellular organisms host a wide diversity of microorganisms in and on their bodies, which are collectively known as their microbiome. Characterising microbial communities that inhabit different body niches in wild animals is critical to better understand the dynamics of microbiome diversityand its [...] Read more.
All multicellular organisms host a wide diversity of microorganisms in and on their bodies, which are collectively known as their microbiome. Characterising microbial communities that inhabit different body niches in wild animals is critical to better understand the dynamics of microbiome diversityand its functional significance. The current study is the first to apply massively parallel sequencing of 16S rRNA to characterise the microbial diversity and functional content of oral microbiota in two of New Zealand’s most important invasive mammals, the omnivorous common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and the carnivorous stoat (Mustela erminea). In total, strains of bacteria belonging to 19 different phyla, 27 classes, 52 orders, 103 families, 163 genera and 51 known species were identified from the oral cavities of the study species. Strains of the phyla Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Fusobacteria, and Actinobacteria dominated the core oral microbial diversity in both species, while other taxa were comparatively less abundant. Despite invasive populations typically demonstrating limited genetic variation, intraspecific variation of the core bacterial taxa in the oral microbiota was considerable. This suggests that a complex interaction between genetic, physiological, and environmental factors determines the diversity of the study species’oral microbiome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Seasonal and Agricultural Response of Acidobacteria Present in Two Fynbos Rhizosphere Soils
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070277 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 331
Abstract
The Acidobacteria is one of the most abundant phyla in most soil types. Fynbos plants are endemic to South Africa, and these soils provide the ideal habitat for Acidobacteria, because of its low pH and oligotrophic properties. However, little is known about their [...] Read more.
The Acidobacteria is one of the most abundant phyla in most soil types. Fynbos plants are endemic to South Africa, and these soils provide the ideal habitat for Acidobacteria, because of its low pH and oligotrophic properties. However, little is known about their distribution in the fynbos biome and the impact of cultivation of plants on Acidobacterial diversity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of seasonal changes and cultivation on the relative abundance and diversity of Acidobacteria associated with Aspalathus linearis (rooibos) and Cyclopia spp. (honeybush). This study was based on rhizosphere soil. A total of 32 and 31 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified for honeybush and rooibos, respectively. The majority of these were classified as representatives of subdivisions 1, 2, 3, and 10. Significant differences in community compositions were observed between seasons for both honeybush and rooibos, as well as between the cultivated and uncultivated honeybush. Acidobacteria had a significantly positive correlation with pH, C, Ca2+, and P. In this study, we have shown the effect of seasonal changes, in summer and winter, and cultivation farming on the relative abundance and diversity of Acidobacteria present in the soil of rooibos and honeybush. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Microplastics in Freshwater: What Is the News from the World?
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070276 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 420
Abstract
Plastic has become a “hot topic” for aquatic ecosystems’ conservation together with other issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Indeed, plastics may detrimentally affect habitats and biota. Small plastics, called microplastics, are more easily taken up by freshwater organisms, causing negative [...] Read more.
Plastic has become a “hot topic” for aquatic ecosystems’ conservation together with other issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Indeed, plastics may detrimentally affect habitats and biota. Small plastics, called microplastics, are more easily taken up by freshwater organisms, causing negative effects on growth, reproduction, predatory performance, etc. Since available information on microplastics in freshwater are fragmentary, the aim of this review is twofold: (i) to show, analyse, and discuss data on the microplastics concentration in freshwater and (ii) to provide the main polymers contaminating freshwater for management planning. A bibliographic search collected 158 studies since 2012, providing the scientific community with one of the largest data sets on microplastics in freshwater. Contamination is reported in all continents except Antarctica, but a lack of information is still present. Lentic waters are generally more contaminated than lotic waters, and waters are less contaminated than sediments, suggested to be sinks. The main contaminating polymers are polypropylene and polyethylene for sediment and water, while polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate are mainly found in biota. Future research is encouraged (1) to achieve a standardised protocol for monitoring, (2) to identify sources and transport routes (including primary or secondary origin), and (3) to investigate trophic transfer, especially from benthic invertebrates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trait-Specific Responses of Carabid Beetle Diversity and Composition in Pinus densiflora Forests Compared to Broad-Leaved Deciduous Forests in a Temperate Region
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070275 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 458
Abstract
Since successful reforestation after the 1970s, Korean red pine (Pinus densiflora) forests have become the most important coniferous forests in Korea. However, the scarcity of evidence for biodiversity responses hinders understanding of the conservation value of Korean red pine forests. This [...] Read more.
Since successful reforestation after the 1970s, Korean red pine (Pinus densiflora) forests have become the most important coniferous forests in Korea. However, the scarcity of evidence for biodiversity responses hinders understanding of the conservation value of Korean red pine forests. This study was conducted to explore the patterns of carabid beetle diversity and assemblage structures between broad-leaved deciduous forests and P. densiflora forests in the temperate region of central Korea. Carabid beetles were sampled by pitfall trapping from 2013 to 2014. A total of 66 species were identified from 9541 carabid beetles. Species richness in broad-leaved deciduous forests was significantly higher than that in pine forests. In addition, the species composition of carabid beetles in broad-leaved deciduous forests differed from that of P. densiflora forests. More endemic, brachypterous, forest specialists, and carnivorous species were distributed in broad-leaved deciduous forests than in P. densiflora forests. Consequently, carabid beetle assemblages in central Korea are distinctively divided by forest type based on ecological and biological traits (e.g., endemisim, habitat types, wing forms, and feeding guilds). However, possible variation of the response of beetle communities to the growth of P. densiflora forests needs to be considered for forest management based on biodiversity conservation in temperate regions, because conifer plantations in this study are still young, i.e., approximately 30–40-years old. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faunistical and Ecological Studies on Carabid Beetles)
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Open AccessArticle
A Case Study of Nematode Communities’ Dynamics along Successional Paths in the Reclaimed Landfill
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070274 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 294
Abstract
We assessed the abundance and composition of nematode communities in soil under herbaceous vegetation in reclaimed landfill sites at different ages after closure (3, 10 and 14 years) compared to those in neighboring semi-natural grazed grasslands (reference sites). We further applied network analysis [...] Read more.
We assessed the abundance and composition of nematode communities in soil under herbaceous vegetation in reclaimed landfill sites at different ages after closure (3, 10 and 14 years) compared to those in neighboring semi-natural grazed grasslands (reference sites). We further applied network analysis based on the co-occurrence patterns of nematodes. Nematode abundance decreased between 3 and10 years of regeneration, but significantly increased from 10 to 14 years of regeneration. The number and identity of genera were comparable along the succession; however, there were dissimilarities in community composition during early- and mid-succession. The diversity, community composition and abundance at the sites after 14 years of regeneration converged with those at the reference sites. Moreover, changes during succession were not accompanied by the maturation of the soil food web, as demonstrated by Enrichment and Channel indices. In all the networks, centrality and modularity metrics differed significantly from those for random networks, whereas cohesion metrics showed no difference. All the networks exhibited Small-worldness indices higher than one, demonstrating that the networks of the interactions among genera at all the sites shared features that matched both random and non-random networks. The succession trajectory in reclaimed landfills was represented by a sequence of changes that differed in relation to the variable under consideration; network parameters tended to converge with those of a relatively resistant reference community, while the Enrichment and Channel indices did not. Additionally, the succession trajectory was not linear or steady; only the Channel index and Worldness index showed linear responses to succession time. However, across all the successional stages, the resource status remained basal or degraded while the nematode communities had an enhanced ability to cope with sudden changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Nematodes Research)
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Open AccessCommunication
Genetic Diversity of Local Greek and Bulgarian Grapevine (Vitis Vinifera L.) Varieties
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070273 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 393
Abstract
The aim of this study was to estimate the genetic diversity of Greek and Bulgarian grapevine varieties with the use of microsatellite markers. The studied samples were collected from various productive vineyards, consisting of eight Greek and nine Bulgarian native varieties. In order [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to estimate the genetic diversity of Greek and Bulgarian grapevine varieties with the use of microsatellite markers. The studied samples were collected from various productive vineyards, consisting of eight Greek and nine Bulgarian native varieties. In order to create a genetic profile for each sample, a multiplex PCR reaction method was used amplifying simultaneously seven microsatellite loci. Statistical analysis of data showed that there was a high degree of genetic heterogeneity among most of the varieties studied, highlighting the discriminative power of the chosen set of markers. Moreover, the synonymy of (I) Greek Pamid and Bulgarian Pamid and (II) Greek Zoumiatiko and Bulgarian Dimyat was suggested, as each variety pair had identical allele profiles in all loci examined. Regarding the Greek Mavrud and Bulgarian Mavrud varieties, there was a close genetic relationship between them, however, they did not share common alleles in all microsatellite loci and, therefore, should not be characterized as synonyms. On the other hand, Greek and Bulgarian Keratsouda, which were supposed to be common varieties, were found to be genetically different, supporting that these two varieties should be considered as homonyms. Despite the genotypic assay performed herein, we believe that additional molecular work is needed for the efficient management of Greek and Bulgarian grapevine genepools, as well as to safely suggest any synonym or homonym annotation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Puerto Morelos Coral Reefs, Their Current State and Classification by a Scoring System
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070272 - 08 Jul 2020
Viewed by 356
Abstract
Marine protected areas have been established as essential components for managing and protecting coral reefs to mitigate natural and anthropogenic stressors. One noteworthy example within the Mexican Caribbean is the Arrecife de Puerto Morelos National Park (APMNP), where several studies on the coral [...] Read more.
Marine protected areas have been established as essential components for managing and protecting coral reefs to mitigate natural and anthropogenic stressors. One noteworthy example within the Mexican Caribbean is the Arrecife de Puerto Morelos National Park (APMNP), where several studies on the coral communities have been carried out since 2006. In June 2019, we conducted a study in eight sites of the APMNP applying a coral reef assessment method based on biological indicators of both the benthos and the fish communities. In this paper, we present the quantitative results of our study and provide a qualitative criterion assessing seven condition indexes through a scoring system. We also present a statistical comparison with a previous study carried out in 2016. The general status of coral reefs was classified as regular due to the low values of coral recruitment rate and biomass of key commercial fish species. However, living coral cover average was above 20%, with a slight dominance of framework building coral species and the presence of low values of fleshy algae cover, these being positive indicators. Our study found a higher proportion of reef promoter elements and a lower proportion of detractors, compared to a previous study carried out in 2016. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Tardigrades from Iztaccíhuatl Volcano (Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt), with the Description of Minibiotus citlalium sp. nov. (Eutardigrada: Macrobiotidae)
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070271 - 08 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1544
Abstract
The study of tardigrade diversity in Mexico is at early stage of development, to date, 56 extant species have been reported. To identify the tardigrade fauna associated with mosses in the Iztaccíhuatl volcano, we performed a systematic sampling along an altitudinal and multi-habitat [...] Read more.
The study of tardigrade diversity in Mexico is at early stage of development, to date, 56 extant species have been reported. To identify the tardigrade fauna associated with mosses in the Iztaccíhuatl volcano, we performed a systematic sampling along an altitudinal and multi-habitat gradient. A total of 57 moss samples were collected, 233 adults, 20 exuviae, and 40 free-laid tardigrade eggs were extracted from them. Five species were identified, and three putative species were determined. Diphascon mitrense and Minibiotus sidereus represents new records for Mexico and North America, while Adropion scoticum is a new record for Mexico. Additionally, one new species, Minibiotus citlalium sp. nov. was discovered; it resembles to Min. constellatus, Min. sidereus and Min. pentannulatus by the presence of a similar distribution pattern of star-shaped pores in the dorsal cuticle arranged in 11 transverse rows, which become double in the segments of the legs I–III, and by a very large star-shaped pore (5–6 tips) on each leg of the fourth pair. Minibiotus citlalium sp. nov. differs from other Minibiotus species mainly by macroplacoid length sequence, presence of both small and large star-shaped pores on the external surface on all legs, and by egg processes with inconspicuous ornamentation. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Plant Diversity Patterns and Conservation Implications under Climate-Change Scenarios in the Mediterranean: The Case of Crete (Aegean, Greece)
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070270 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1180
Abstract
Climate change poses a great challenge for biodiversity conservation. Several studies exist regarding climate change’s impacts on European plants, yet none has investigated how climate change will affect the extinction risk of the entire endemic flora of an island biodiversity hotspot, with intense [...] Read more.
Climate change poses a great challenge for biodiversity conservation. Several studies exist regarding climate change’s impacts on European plants, yet none has investigated how climate change will affect the extinction risk of the entire endemic flora of an island biodiversity hotspot, with intense human disturbance. Our aim is to assess climate change’s impacts on the biodiversity patterns of the endemic plants of Crete (S Aegean) and provide a case-study upon which a climate-smart conservation planning strategy might be set. We employed a variety of macroecological analyses and estimated the current and future biodiversity, conservation and extinction hotspots in Crete. We evaluated the effectiveness of climatic refugia and the Natura 2000 network of protected areas (PAs) for protecting the most vulnerable species and identified the taxa of conservation priority based on the Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) index. The results revealed that high altitude areas of Cretan mountains constitute biodiversity hotspots and areas of high conservation and evolutionary value. Due to the “escalator to extinction” phenomenon, these areas are projected to become diversity “death-zones” and should thus be prioritised. Conservation efforts should be targeted at areas with overlaps among PAs and climatic refugia, characterised by high diversity and EDGE scores. This conservation-prioritisation planning will allow the preservation of evolutionary heritage, trait diversity and future ecosystem services for human well-being and acts as a pilot for similar regions worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation and Management of Island Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Abiotic Community Constraints in Extreme Environments: Epikarst Copepods as a Model System
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070269 - 07 Jul 2020
Viewed by 377
Abstract
The general hypothesis that the overall presence or absence of one or more species in an extreme habitat is determined by physico-chemical factors was investigated using epikarst copepod communities as a model system, an example of an extreme environment with specialized, often rare [...] Read more.
The general hypothesis that the overall presence or absence of one or more species in an extreme habitat is determined by physico-chemical factors was investigated using epikarst copepod communities as a model system, an example of an extreme environment with specialized, often rare species. The relationship between the presence or absence of epikarst copepods from drips in six Slovenian caves and 12 physico-chemical factors (temperature, conductivity, pH, Ca2+, Na+, K+, Mg2+, NH4+, and Cl, NO2, NO3, and SO42−) was explored. Statistical analyses included principal components analysis, logistic mixed models, stepwise logistic multivariate regression, classification trees, and random forests. Parametric statistical analyses demonstrated the overall importance of two variables—temperature and conductivity. The more flexible statistical approaches, namely categorical trees and random forests, indicate that temperature and concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ were important. This may be because they are essential nutrients or, at least in the case of Ca2+, its importance in molting. The correlation of Cl and NO3 with copepod abundance may be due to unmeasured variables that vary at the scale of individual cave, but in any case, the values have an anthropogenic component. This contrasts with factors important in individual species’ niche separation, which overlap with the community parameters only for NO3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cave Communities: From the Surface Border to the Deep Darkness)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Segregation between Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes), European Wildcats (Felis silvestris) and Domestic Cats (Felis catus) in Pastures in a Livestock Area of Northern Spain
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070268 - 06 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1304
Abstract
Red foxes, European wildcats and domestic cats share cattle pastures for hunting in La Pernía Valley, northern Spain. To understand the mechanisms that allow the coexistence of these mesopredators in a habitat characterized by its anthropogenic modifications, we recorded sightings of these species [...] Read more.
Red foxes, European wildcats and domestic cats share cattle pastures for hunting in La Pernía Valley, northern Spain. To understand the mechanisms that allow the coexistence of these mesopredators in a habitat characterized by its anthropogenic modifications, we recorded sightings of these species in pastures in the summers of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. We tested if the species preferred specific areas of pastures and if they exhibited any spatial segregation in the use of pastures. Red foxes did not show consistent preferences for any area of the pastures. European wildcats preferred pasture areas closer to streams and forest edges, whereas domestic cats preferred areas closer to buildings and paved roads whilst avoiding forest edges. All species pairs showed strong spatial segregation with less than 7% overlap. We hypothesize that spatial segregation is the mechanism used by European wildcats and domestic cats to avoid dangerous interactions with other predators and which characterizes their preference of specific areas on pastures, using areas near places that may protect them from other predators. Ultimately, the influence of fox presence (and probably that of other larger potential predators) on the use of pastures by European wildcats and domestic cats is decreasing the number of interactions between them and may help to prevent hybridization in this area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Do Habitats Show a Different Invasibility Pattern by Alien Plant Species? A Test on a Wetland Protected Area
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070267 - 05 Jul 2020
Viewed by 394
Abstract
Biological invasions are deemed to be the second most important global driver of biodiversity loss, right behind habitat destruction and fragmentation. In this study, we aimed at testing if community invasibility, defined as the vulnerability to invasion of a community, could be associated [...] Read more.
Biological invasions are deemed to be the second most important global driver of biodiversity loss, right behind habitat destruction and fragmentation. In this study, we aimed at testing if community invasibility, defined as the vulnerability to invasion of a community, could be associated with the characteristics of a given habitat, as described by the composition and structure of its native species. Based on a probabilistic sampling of the alien flora occurring in the temperate wetland Lake Doberdò (Friuli Venezia Giulia region, NE Italy) and using a null-model-based approach, the observed occurrence of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) within sampling units was randomized within habitats. While testing the degree of invasibility for each habitat within the wetland, our null hypothesis postulated that habitats are equally invaded by IAS, as IAS can spread homogeneously in the environment thanks to their plasticity in functional traits that makes them able to cope with different ecological conditions. The obtained results comparing observed IAS frequencies, abundance and richness to those obtained by the null model randomizations show that, for all habitats, invasion was selective. Specifically, a marked preference for habitats with an intermediate disturbance level, a high nutrients level and a medium-high light availability was observed, while an avoidance was detected for habitats characterized by lower levels of nutrients and light availability or extreme conditions caused by prolonged submersion. This method allows us to provide useful information using a simple-to-run simulation for the management of the IAS threat within protected areas. Moreover, the method allows us to infer important ecological characteristics leading to habitat invasion without sampling the environmental characteristic of the habitats, which is an expensive operation in terms of time and money. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Mating System in a Native Norway Spruce (Picea abies [L.] KARST.) Stand-Relatedness and Effective Pollen Population Size Show an Association with the Germination Percentage of Single Tree Progenies
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070266 - 03 Jul 2020
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Abstract
Norway spruce differs little in neutral genetic markers among populations and provenances often reported, but in terms of putative adaptive traits and their candidate genes, some clear differences have been observed. This has previously been shown for crown morphotypes. Stands with mostly narrow [...] Read more.
Norway spruce differs little in neutral genetic markers among populations and provenances often reported, but in terms of putative adaptive traits and their candidate genes, some clear differences have been observed. This has previously been shown for crown morphotypes. Stands with mostly narrow crown shapes are adapted to high elevation conditions, but these stands are scattered, and the forest area is often occupied by planted stands with predominantly broad crowned morphotypes. This raises questions on whether this differentiation can remain despite gene flow, and on the level of gene flow between natural and planted stands growing in close neighbourhood. The locally adapted stands are a valuable seed source, the progeny of which is expected to have high genetic quality and germination ability. The presented case study is useful for spruce plantation by demonstrating evaluation of these expectations. Immigrant pollen and seeds from planted trees could be maladaptive and may alter the genetic composition of the progeny. This motivated us to study single tree progenies in a locally adapted stand with narrow crowned trees in a partial mast year at nuclear genomic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Spruce is a typical open-pollinated conifer tree species with very low selfing rates, which were also observed in our study (s = 0.3–2.1%) and could be explained by efficient cross-pollination and postzygotic early embryo abortion, common in conifers. The estimated high amount of immigrant pollen found in the pooled seed lot (70.2–91.5%) is likely to influence the genetic composition of the seedlings. Notably, for individual mother trees located in the centre of the stand, up to 50% of the pollen was characterised as local. Seeds from these trees are therefore considered to retain most of the adaptive variance of the stand. Germination percentage varied greatly between half-sib families (3.6–61.9%) and was negatively correlated with relatedness and positively with effective pollen population size of the respective families. As pollen mostly originated from outside the stand and no family structures in the stand itself were found, germination differences can likely be explained by diversity differences in the individual pollen cloud. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Diversity of Nematode Parasites in Afrotropical Reed Frogs (Hyperolius spp.)
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070265 - 02 Jul 2020
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Abstract
The diversity of nematodes infecting amphibians is understudied in tropical Africa and unknown in Rwanda. Diversity assessment is hampered by the fact that species descriptions refer mostly to morphological features that are unlinked to DNA sequences of marker genes available in public databases. [...] Read more.
The diversity of nematodes infecting amphibians is understudied in tropical Africa and unknown in Rwanda. Diversity assessment is hampered by the fact that species descriptions refer mostly to morphological features that are unlinked to DNA sequences of marker genes available in public databases. In this paper, we explore the abundance and diversity of parasitic nematodes in reed frogs Hyperolius kivuensis (n = 115), H. parallelus (n = 45) and H. viridiflavus (n = 100) collected in Rwanda. Five nematode species were identified morphologically as Orneoascaris chrysanthemoides, O. schoutedeni, Gendria leberrei, Aplectana chamaeleonis and Rhabdias collaris. Corresponding DNA sequences of 18S and COI genes were determined and subsequently deposited in GenBank. Aplectana chamaeleonis showed the highest prevalence (8.7%), but O. chrysanthemoides the highest mean intensity of infection (6.0) and largest number (24) of individuals in H. kivuensis. To the best of our knowledge, all amphibian hosts are new records for these nematode species, which are known to infect a wide range of amphibian and reptile species. Our findings suggest that nematode diversity is probably lower than previously assumed due to low host specificity. As morphological species identification is often challenging, our data facilitate molecular identification of adult and specifically larval nematodes found in amphibians of Sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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Open AccessEditorial
Culture Collections as Hidden Sources of Microbial Biomolecules and Biodiversity
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070264 - 01 Jul 2020
Viewed by 365
Abstract
The application of modern advanced techniques in molecular biology is revealing unexpectedly high levels of microbial diversity and complexity. However, the invisible loss of microbial diversity in the environment deriving, for example, from global changes and anthropogenic activities, is not really perceived. In [...] Read more.
The application of modern advanced techniques in molecular biology is revealing unexpectedly high levels of microbial diversity and complexity. However, the invisible loss of microbial diversity in the environment deriving, for example, from global changes and anthropogenic activities, is not really perceived. In this context, culture collections worldwide have become a valuable resource for the sustainable use of microbial diversity and its conservation. They provide pure cultures and genetic materials that are required for a number of research and teaching purposes, as well as for bioprospecting aims and their subsequent exploitation in biotechnological fields. This Special Issue has been launched with the aim of showcasing the diversity and biotechnological potential of microorganisms (e.g., Bacteria, Archaea, cyanobacteria, microalgae, fungi, yeasts, and protozoa) belonging to culture collections kept worldwide. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Importance of Genomics for Deciphering the Invasion Success of the Seagrass Halophila stipulacea in the Changing Mediterranean Sea
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070263 - 30 Jun 2020
Viewed by 447
Abstract
The Mediterranean Sea is subject to pressures from biological invasion due to coastal anthropic activities and global warming, which potentially modify its biogeography. The Red Sea tropical seagrass Halophila stipulacea entered the Eastern Mediterranean over a century ago, and its occurrence is expanding [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Sea is subject to pressures from biological invasion due to coastal anthropic activities and global warming, which potentially modify its biogeography. The Red Sea tropical seagrass Halophila stipulacea entered the Eastern Mediterranean over a century ago, and its occurrence is expanding towards the northwest. Here, we highlight the importance of genomics for deciphering the evolutionary and ecological procedures taking place during the invasion process of H. stipulacea and review the relatively sparse genetic information available for the species to date. We report the first draft whole-genome sequencing of a H. stipulacea individual from Greece, based on Illumina Sequencing technology. A comparison of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions revealed a high divergence of the herein sequenced individual compared to Mediterranean populations sequenced two decades ago, rendering further questions on the evolutionary processes taking place during H. stipulacea adaptation in the invaded Mediterranean Sea. Our work sets the baseline for a future analysis of the invasion genomic of the focal species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Is the Distribution of Two Rare Orchis Sister Species Limited by Their Main Mycobiont?
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070262 - 30 Jun 2020
Viewed by 478
Abstract
As orchids rely on their mycorrhizal fungi for nutrient supply, their spatial range is dependent on the distribution of orchid mycorrhizal (OM) fungi. We addressed possible correlations between mycorrhizal specificity and the geographic distribution of orchids and OM fungi in three populations of [...] Read more.
As orchids rely on their mycorrhizal fungi for nutrient supply, their spatial range is dependent on the distribution of orchid mycorrhizal (OM) fungi. We addressed possible correlations between mycorrhizal specificity and the geographic distribution of orchids and OM fungi in three populations of the rare sister species Orchis patens and O. canariensis. Metabarcoding of the fungal ITS2 region indicated that, although adult plants of either species were colonized by several ceratobasidioid, tulasnelloid, sebacinoid and serendipitoid fungi, the mycobiont spectra were dominated by Tulasnella helicospora (which occurred in 100% of examined plants with high read numbers), which is a globally distributed fungus. In vitro assays with a T. helicospora isolate obtained from O. patens indicated the effectiveness of this OM fungus at germinating seeds of its native host. At a local scale, higher read numbers for T. helicospora were found in soil samples collected underneath O. patens roots than at locations unoccupied by the orchid. Although these findings suggest that the geographical pattern of the main fungal symbiont does not limit the distribution of O. patens and O. canariensis at this scale, the actual causal link between orchid and OM fungal occurrence/abundance still needs to be better understood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecology and Diversity of Orchids)
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Open AccessArticle
The Biodiversity of Demodecid Mites (Acariformes: Prostigmata), Specific Parasites of Mammals with a Global Checklist and a New Finding for Demodex sciurinus
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070261 - 30 Jun 2020
Viewed by 441
Abstract
Demodecidae are the most specialized parasitic mites of mammals; they typically inhabit the skin, but they have been found in other tissues and organs. They can cause demodecosis (a disease which is hazardous and difficult to cure) in humans, domestic animals and livestock. [...] Read more.
Demodecidae are the most specialized parasitic mites of mammals; they typically inhabit the skin, but they have been found in other tissues and organs. They can cause demodecosis (a disease which is hazardous and difficult to cure) in humans, domestic animals and livestock. They are parasites with high host and topical specificity. They have been found for most orders of mammals, and they are common in the populations of numerous host species. Therefore, they not only constitute an important subject of veterinary and medical study, but also comprise an excellent model for faunistic and parasitological analyses concerning different aspects of functioning and evolution of the host–parasite relationship. The current level or knowledge of demodecid mites is irregular and fragmentary, and numerous questions require elaboration and ordering, from the taxonomic diversity to geographic distribution and relations with hosts. Such data may be of use i.a. for the development of more efficient and reliable diagnostic methods, as well as understanding the etiology and pathogenesis mechanisms of demodecosis, currently a contentious issue. The present paper lists all formally-described valid species of demodecid mites, together with other functioning specific names, verified and with comments on their status. This is significant for correct species identification and demodecosis diagnostics. The list has been drawn up on the basis of data acquired in the period 1842−2020. It contains 122 valid species of parasite, including their hosts and geographic distribution, data on parasitism, as well as only the second record of Demodex sciurinus in Eurasian red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris in over 100 years since its initial discovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Mites)
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