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Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 9 (September 2020) – 48 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Species with similar ecological niches must segregate along one or more niche axes in order to coexist. We examined segregation along the main niche axes, i.e., space, time, and trophic resources, to explore coexistence mechanisms between pumas (Puma concolor) and culpeo foxes (Lycalopex culpaeus) in the Andes of Central Chile. We found high spatial and temporal overlap between the carnivores lending little support for segregation along these axes. In contrast, we found low dietary overlap, indicating trophic niche segregation: puma diet was dominated by hares, while foxes appeared to shift away from hares to rabbits, small mammals, and seeds. View this paper.
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Article
Phragmites australis Associates with Belowground Fungal Communities Characterized by High Diversity and Pathogen Abundance
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090363 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1502
Abstract
Microbial symbionts are gaining attention as crucial drivers of invasive species spread and dominance. To date, much research has quantified the net effects of plant–microbe interactions on the relative success of native and invasive species. However, little is known about how the structure [...] Read more.
Microbial symbionts are gaining attention as crucial drivers of invasive species spread and dominance. To date, much research has quantified the net effects of plant–microbe interactions on the relative success of native and invasive species. However, little is known about how the structure (composition and diversity) of microbial symbionts can differ among native and invasive species, or vary across the invasive landscape. Here, we explore the structure of endosphere and soil fungal communities associated with a monoculture-forming widespread invader, Phragmites australis, and co-occurring native species. Using field survey data from marshes in coastal Louisiana, we tested three hypotheses: (1) Phragmites australis root and soil fungal communities differ from that of co-occurring natives, (2) Phragmites australis monocultures harbor distinct fungal communities at the expanding edge compared to the monodominant center, and (3) proximity to the P. australis invading front alters native root endosphere and soil fungal community structure. We found that P. australis cultivates root and soil fungal communities with higher richness, diversity, and pathogen abundances compared to native species. While P. australis was found to have higher endosphere pathogen abundances at its expanding edge compared to the monodominant center, we found no evidence of compositional changes or pathogen spillover in native species in close proximity to the invasion front. This work suggests that field measurements of fungal endosphere communities in native and invasive plants are useful to help understand (or rule out) mechanisms of invasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity)
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Article
Frustulia tunariensis sp. nov. (Bacillariophyceae) from the Andes of Bolivia, South America
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090362 - 22 Sep 2020
Viewed by 893
Abstract
Frustulia tunariensis sp. nov. is originated from a high-altitude peatland in the Tunari Cordillera, a branch of the Andean range in Bolivia. The new taxon is distinguished by the thick longitudinal ribs, the globose polar nodule with faint helictoglossa that does not produce [...] Read more.
Frustulia tunariensis sp. nov. is originated from a high-altitude peatland in the Tunari Cordillera, a branch of the Andean range in Bolivia. The new taxon is distinguished by the thick longitudinal ribs, the globose polar nodule with faint helictoglossa that does not produce an apical extension, and by the high areola and stria density, not found in any of the morphologically closely related taxa. Features of the folded valvocopula, such as the presence of a siliceous membrane as pars interior, and poroids present in the tube-like portion opening as slits to the valve interior and as a single row of poroids to the exterior, are also unique characters in the new taxon. Based on a literature review, a comparison of the newly proposed species with morphologically similar taxa was made. Also, published information shows the potential of girdle bands to distinguish groups of species and species themselves within Frustulia. Likewise, remarks on the ecological and distribution aspects of Frustulia in the Bolivian Altiplano are included, focusing on taxonomic quality, geographic coverage and sampling, and potential to represent the genus in the high Bolivian Andean plateau. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taxonomy, Ecology and Biogeography of Diatoms)
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Article
A New Species of Andean Gymnophthalmid Lizard (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) from the Peruvian Andes, and Resolution of Some Taxonomic Problems
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090361 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1354
Abstract
The family Gymnophthalmidae is one of the most speciose lineages of lizards in the Neotropical region. Despite recent phylogenetic studies, the species diversity of this family is unknown and thus, its phylogenetic relationships remain unclear and its taxonomy unstable. We analyzed four mitochondrial [...] Read more.
The family Gymnophthalmidae is one of the most speciose lineages of lizards in the Neotropical region. Despite recent phylogenetic studies, the species diversity of this family is unknown and thus, its phylogenetic relationships remain unclear and its taxonomy unstable. We analyzed four mitochondrial (12S, 16S, Cytb, ND4) and one nuclear (c-mos) DNA sequences of Pholidobolus anomalus, Cercosaura manicata boliviana and Cercosaura sp., using the maximum likelihood method to give insights into the phylogenetic relationships of these taxa within Cercosaurinae. Our results suggest that Pholidolus anomalus is nested within the clade of Cercosaura spp., that material we collected near Oxapampa belongs to a new species of Cercosaura, and that lizards identified as Cercosaura manicata boliviana belong to a separate lineage, possibly a new genus. We assign Pholidobolus anomalus to Cercosaura, redescribe the species, and designate a neotype to replace the lost holotype. In addition, we describe the new species of Cercosaura, and comment about the taxonomic status of “Cercosaura manicata boliviana”incertae sedis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Conservation of Neotropical Amphibians and Reptiles)
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Article
Recent and Rapid Radiation of the Highly Endangered Harlequin Frogs (Atelopus) into Central America Inferred from Mitochondrial DNA Sequences
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090360 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3088
Abstract
Populations of amphibians are experiencing severe declines worldwide. One group with the most catastrophic declines is the Neotropical genus Atelopus (Anura: Bufonidae). Many species of Atelopus have not been seen for decades and all eight Central American species are considered “Critically Endangered”, three [...] Read more.
Populations of amphibians are experiencing severe declines worldwide. One group with the most catastrophic declines is the Neotropical genus Atelopus (Anura: Bufonidae). Many species of Atelopus have not been seen for decades and all eight Central American species are considered “Critically Endangered”, three of them very likely extinct. Nonetheless, the taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeographic history of Central American Atelopus are still poorly known. In this study, the phylogenetic relationships among seven of the eight described species in Central America were inferred based on mitochondrial DNA sequences from 103 individuals, including decades-old museum samples and two likely extinct species, plus ten South American species. Among Central American samples, we discovered two candidate species that should be incorporated into conservation programs. Phylogenetic inference revealed a ladderized topology, placing species geographically furthest from South America more nested in the tree. Model-based ancestral area estimation supported either one or two colonization events from South America. Relaxed-clock analysis of divergence times indicated that Atelopus colonized Central America prior to 4 million years ago (Ma), supporting a slightly older than traditional date for the closure of the Isthmus. This study highlights the invaluable role of museum collections in documenting past biodiversity, and these results could guide future conservation efforts. An abstract in Spanish (Resumen) is available as supplementary material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Conservation of Neotropical Amphibians and Reptiles)
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Article
Intraguild Predation by the Eagle Owl Determines the Space Use of a Mesopredator Carnivore
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090359 - 18 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1155
Abstract
Top predators shape the communities of sympatric predators by killing and displacing smaller predators. Predation risk pushes smaller predators to select enemy-free spaces irrespective of food availability, which results in changes in their behaviour, space use, distribution, and abundance. Although the landscape of [...] Read more.
Top predators shape the communities of sympatric predators by killing and displacing smaller predators. Predation risk pushes smaller predators to select enemy-free spaces irrespective of food availability, which results in changes in their behaviour, space use, distribution, and abundance. Although the landscape of fear dynamics are known for top predators such as the eagle owl and its impact on smaller raptors, the effect of the presence and abundance of the eagle owl on the space use of mesopredator carnivores remains poorly understood. Here, we studied this effect on the space use of the stone marten in a Mediterranean ecosystem where it shares rabbits as main prey with the eagle owl. We also accounted for the presence of another sympatric carnivore, the red fox. Using a multi-model inference, we found stone martens avoided areas with a higher abundance of eagle owls and rabbits, which suggested a hyperpredation process and a cognitive association by stone martens between rabbit hotspots and owl presence. We found a positive relationship between the space use of the red fox and the stone marten, which suggested foxes behaved as competitors and not predators of martens. Understanding intraguild predation can assist the conservation and management of predators and their prey. Full article
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Article
A Hot Spot of Olive Biodiversity in the Tunisian Oasis of Degache
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090358 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 795
Abstract
Tunisia is one of the world’s largest producers of olive oil, and it preserves pools of olive genetic diversity that are still unexplored. A recent prospection and collection program of the National Gene Bank of Tunisia (NGBT) focused on the vast oasis of [...] Read more.
Tunisia is one of the world’s largest producers of olive oil, and it preserves pools of olive genetic diversity that are still unexplored. A recent prospection and collection program of the National Gene Bank of Tunisia (NGBT) focused on the vast oasis of Degache, in the south west part of Tunisia, where 47 samples were collected and genetically characterized through simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Identification and authentication of genotypes were obtained through comparison with reference cultivars belonging to the Olive National Collection of Tunisia (IOC) and with cultivars from Algeria, Italia, Syria and Lebanon. Degache olive genotypes showed large genetic variability, a significant diversity from the reference germplasm, and a clear differentiation from modern varieties. The population structure analysis identified four gene pools characterizing genotypes from different area of origin. Two gene pools appear to be more represented in germplasm from southern Tunisia, where environmental conditions at critical plant development phases, are harsher. This suggests that this germplasm might present traits of adaptation useful for breeding to improve resilience to abiotic stresses. Our results will support ex situ and in situ conservation activities of Tunisian olive germplasm pursued by the National Gene Bank of Tunisia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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Editorial
The Extraordinary Importance of Coral-Associated Fauna
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090357 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 881
Abstract
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse marine ecosystems on Earth and one of the richest in terms of species interactions. Scleractinian corals are usually the most likely to provide numerous different habitats and to support many symbiotic relationships. However, many other [...] Read more.
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse marine ecosystems on Earth and one of the richest in terms of species interactions. Scleractinian corals are usually the most likely to provide numerous different habitats and to support many symbiotic relationships. However, many other invertebrate groups, such as sponges, bryozoans, and other cnidarians, establish strict symbiotic relationships with other marine organisms. Despite the nature of these relationships—as well as the factors that drive their establishment—being unclear in most cases, a few studies have already shown that some associations may increase the resistance of their hosts to external disturbances. Thus, the potential ability of each member of these diverse symbiotic assemblages to influence the fitness and long-term survival of their hosts bring the coral-associated fauna to the top of the list of coral reef studies. Unfortunately, the widespread degradation of coral reef ecosystems may threaten the existence of the intimate relationships that may go unrecognized complicating our understanding of the intricate networks connecting the fates of reef species. Therefore, this unprecedented loss of biodiversity calls for synergic conservation and monitoring actions aimed at significantly increasing our efforts to search for and describe as much of the diversity of coral-associated organisms as possible, shedding new light on the complex, elusive mechanisms controlling coral reef functioning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Coral-Associated Fauna)
Article
Individual Variation in Predatory Behavior, Scavenging and Seasonal Prey Availability as Potential Drivers of Coexistence between Wolves and Bears
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090356 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1611
Abstract
Several large carnivore populations are recovering former ranges, and it is important to understand interspecific interactions between overlapping species. In Scandinavia, recent research has reported that brown bear presence influences gray wolf habitat selection and kill rates. Here, we characterized the temporal use [...] Read more.
Several large carnivore populations are recovering former ranges, and it is important to understand interspecific interactions between overlapping species. In Scandinavia, recent research has reported that brown bear presence influences gray wolf habitat selection and kill rates. Here, we characterized the temporal use of a common prey resource by sympatric wolves and bears and described individual and seasonal variation in their direct and/or indirect interactions. Most bear–wolf interactions were indirect, via bear scavenging of wolf kills. Bears used >50% of wolf kills, whereas we did not record any wolf visit at bear kills. Adult and subadult bears visited wolf kills, but female bears with cubs of the year, the most vulnerable age class to conspecifics and other predators, did not. Wolf and bear kill rates peaked in early summer, when both targeted neonate moose calves, which coincided with a reduction in bear scavenging rate. Some bears were highly predatory and some did not kill any calf. Individual and age-class variation (in bear predation and scavenging patterns) and seasonality (in bear scavenging patterns and main prey availability of both wolves and bears) could mediate coexistence of these apex predators. Similar processes likely occur in other ecosystems with varying carnivore assemblages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Predation and Scavenging and the Interface)
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Article
Class Conflict: Diffuse Competition between Mammalian and Reptilian Predators
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090355 - 15 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1124
Abstract
(1) Diffuse competition affects per capita rates of population increase among species that exploit similar resources, and thus can be an important structuring force in ecological communities. Diffuse competition has traditionally been studied within taxonomically similar groups, although distantly related intraguild species are [...] Read more.
(1) Diffuse competition affects per capita rates of population increase among species that exploit similar resources, and thus can be an important structuring force in ecological communities. Diffuse competition has traditionally been studied within taxonomically similar groups, although distantly related intraguild species are likely also to compete to some degree. (2) We assessed diffuse competition between mammalian and reptilian predators at sites in central Australia over 24 years. Specifically, we investigated the effect of dasyurid marsupial abundance on the diet breadth of three groups of lizards (nocturnal dietary generalists, diurnal dietary generalists and dietary specialists). (3) Nocturnal generalist lizards had progressively narrower diets as dasyurid abundance increased. The diet breadth of diurnal generalist lizards was unaffected by overall dasyurid abundance, but was restricted by that of the largest dasyurid species (Dasycercus blythi). Ant- and termite-specialist lizards were unaffected by dasyurid abundance. (4) Diffuse competition, mediated by interference, between dasyurids and nocturnal generalist lizards appears to have strong effects on these lizards, and is the first such between-class interaction to be described. Diffuse interactions may be widespread in natural communities, and merit further investigation among other disparate taxon groups that occur in the same ecological guilds. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Diversity of the Form of Age-Specific Changes in Adult Mortality from Captive Mammalian Populations
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090354 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
Actuarial senescence (i.e., the age-specific increase in mortality rate) is pervasive across mammalian species, but our current understanding of the diversity of forms that actuarial senescence displays across species remains limited. Although several mathematical models have been proposed to model actuarial senescence, there [...] Read more.
Actuarial senescence (i.e., the age-specific increase in mortality rate) is pervasive across mammalian species, but our current understanding of the diversity of forms that actuarial senescence displays across species remains limited. Although several mathematical models have been proposed to model actuarial senescence, there is still no consensus on which model to use, especially when comparing mortality patterns among species. To fill this knowledge gap, we fitted and compared different forms of increase using models commonly used in senescence studies (i.e., Gompertz, Weibull, and logistic) across 61 species of mammalian captive populations using the Bayesian Survival Trajectory Analysis (BaSTA) approach. For as much as 79% of the species, a Gompertz increase of mortality with age was the most parsimonious model that satisfactorily described the shape of age-specific mortality changes in adults. This highlights that the form of the increase in mortality is mostly consistent across mammalian species and follows the Gompertz rule with some rare exceptions. The implications of that result are twofold. First, the Gompertz rate of mortality increase should be used in cross-species comparative analyses of mammals, as already done in some studies. Second, although the Gompertz model accurately describes actuarial senescence in most mammals, there are notable exceptions, and the factors causing this deviation from an exponential mortality increase during the adult stage warrant further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bayesian Survival Trajectory Analysis in Wildlife)
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Communication
Pug-Headedness Anomaly in a Wild and Isolated Population of Native Mediterranean Trout Salmo trutta L., 1758 Complex (Osteichthyes: Salmonidae)
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090353 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 836
Abstract
Skeletal anomalies are commonplace among farmed fish. The pug-headedness anomaly is an osteological condition that results in the deformation of the maxilla, pre-maxilla, and infraorbital bones. Here, we report the first record of pug-headedness in an isolated population of the critically endangered native [...] Read more.
Skeletal anomalies are commonplace among farmed fish. The pug-headedness anomaly is an osteological condition that results in the deformation of the maxilla, pre-maxilla, and infraorbital bones. Here, we report the first record of pug-headedness in an isolated population of the critically endangered native Mediterranean trout Salmo trutta L., 1758 complex from Sardinia, Italy. Fin clips were collected for the molecular analyses (D-loop, LDH-C1* locus. and 11 microsatellites). A jaw index (JI) was used to classify jaw deformities. Ratios between the values of morphometric measurements of the head and body length were calculated and plotted against values of body length to identify the ratios that best discriminated between malformed and normal trout. Haplotypes belonging to the AD lineage and the genotype LDH-C1*100/100 were observed in all samples, suggesting high genetic integrity of the population. The analysis of 11 microsatellites revealed that observed heterozygosity was similar to the expected one, suggesting the absence of inbreeding or outbreeding depression. The frequency of occurrence of pug-headedness was 12.5% (two out of 16). One specimen had a strongly blunted forehead and an abnormally short upper jaw, while another had a slightly anomaly asymmetrical jaw. Although sample size was limited, variation in environmental factors during larval development seemed to be the most likely factors to trigger the deformities. Full article
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Article
Lack of Cascading Effects of Eurasian Lynx Predation on Roe Deer to Soil and Plant Nutrients
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090352 - 14 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1002
Abstract
This study examines the extent to which above-ground trophic processes such as large carnivore predation on wild ungulates can cause cascading effects through the provision of carrion resources to below-ground ecosystem processes in the boreal forest of southeastern Norway. We measured the levels [...] Read more.
This study examines the extent to which above-ground trophic processes such as large carnivore predation on wild ungulates can cause cascading effects through the provision of carrion resources to below-ground ecosystem processes in the boreal forest of southeastern Norway. We measured the levels of 10 parameters in soil samples and 7 parameters in vegetation (wavy hair-grass, Avenella flexuosa, and bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus) at 0, 0.5 and 2 m distance from 18 roe deer (Capreolus caprelous) carcasses killed by Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). We then compared these values to two control sites 20 m away from each carcass. Sampling was conducted 20–29 months after death. Neither soil nor vegetation samples showed a clear gradient in parameters (CN, NH4+, NO3, P, PO4, Ca, K, Mg and Na) from the center of a carcass towards the periphery. Similarly, there was no difference in the effect on soil and vegetation between winter- and summer-killed carcasses. Our results contrast with that of other studies that simulate the effect of predation with whole carcasses and which often exclude scavengers through fencing. The lack of detectable effects after about two years is likely due to the small size of roe deer carcasses and the fact that most tissues are consumed by the predator and scavengers before decomposition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Predation and Scavenging and the Interface)
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Article
Dark Septate Endophytic Fungi Associated with Sugarcane Plants Cultivated in São Paulo, Brazil
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090351 - 14 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 934
Abstract
Dark septate endophytes (DSEs) constitute a polyphyletic group within the Ascomycota, with global distribution and a wide range of host plant species. The present study evaluated the diversity of DSE in sugarcane roots of the varieties RB867515, RB966928, and RB92579, and four varieties [...] Read more.
Dark septate endophytes (DSEs) constitute a polyphyletic group within the Ascomycota, with global distribution and a wide range of host plant species. The present study evaluated the diversity of DSE in sugarcane roots of the varieties RB867515, RB966928, and RB92579, and four varieties of not commercialized energy cane. A total of 16 DSE strains were isolated, mostly from the varieties RB966928 and RB867515, with six and five isolates, respectively. Just one of the four energy cane varieties had fungi with DSE appearance. The analyses of the DNA sequences from the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and the large subunit (LSU), in association with the micromorphology of the isolates, allowed the differentiation of the 16 isolates in at least five species, within the families Periconiaceae, Pleosporaceae, Lentitheciaceae, Vibrisseaceae, and Apiosporaceae and the orders Pleosporales, Helotiales, and Xylariales. The order Pleosporales represented 80% of the isolates, and the species Periconia macrospinosa, with six isolates, accounted for the highest isolation frequency. The results confirm the natural occurrence of the DSE symbiosis in sugarcane varieties and the generalist character of these fungi as some of the detected species have already been reported associated with other host plants, ecosystems, and regions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity)
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Article
Caching Behavior of Large Prey by Eurasian Lynx: Quantifying the Anti-Scavenging Benefits
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090350 - 13 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1419
Abstract
Large solitary felids often kill large prey items that can provide multiple meals. However, being able to utilize these multiple meals requires that they can cache the meat in a manner that delays its discovery by vertebrate and invertebrate scavengers. Covering the kill [...] Read more.
Large solitary felids often kill large prey items that can provide multiple meals. However, being able to utilize these multiple meals requires that they can cache the meat in a manner that delays its discovery by vertebrate and invertebrate scavengers. Covering the kill with vegetation and snow is a commonly observed strategy among felids. This study investigates the utility of this strategy using observational data from Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)-killed roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) carcasses, and a set of two experiments focused on vertebrate and invertebrate scavengers, respectively. Lynx-killed roe deer that were covered by snow or vegetation were less likely to have been visited by scavengers. Experimentally-deployed video-monitored roe deer carcasses had significantly longer time prior to discovery by avian scavengers when covered with vegetation. Carcass parts placed in cages that excluded vertebrate scavengers had delayed invertebrate activity when covered with vegetation. All three datasets indicated that covering a kill was a successful caching/anti-scavenger strategy. These results can help explain why lynx functional responses reach plateaus at relatively low kill rates. The success of this anti-scavenging behavior therefore has clear effects on the dynamics of a predator–prey system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Predation and Scavenging and the Interface)
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Article
Tuber mesentericum and Tuber aestivum Truffles: New Insights Based on Morphological and Phylogenetic Analyses
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090349 - 10 Sep 2020
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Tuber aestivum, one of the most sought out and marketed truffle species in the world, is morphologically similar to Tuber mesentericum, which is only locally appreciated in south Italy and north-east France. Because T. aestivum and T. mesentericum have very similar [...] Read more.
Tuber aestivum, one of the most sought out and marketed truffle species in the world, is morphologically similar to Tuber mesentericum, which is only locally appreciated in south Italy and north-east France. Because T. aestivum and T. mesentericum have very similar ascocarp features, and collection may occur in similar environments and periods, these two species are frequently mistaken for one another. In this study, 43 T. aestivum and T. mesentericum ascocarps were collected in Italy for morphological and molecular characterization. The morphological and aromatic characteristics of the fresh ascocarps were compared with their spore morphology. Afterwards, we amplified and sequenced the elongation factor 1-α (EF1α) locus and built maximum likelihood trees to assess phylogenetic similarities between the two species. Tuber aestivum and T. mesentericum sequences cluster into different clades, with T. mesentericum sequences divided into three different sub-clades. According to their morphological features, three samples (T7, T8 and T12) were classified as T. mesentericum. However, when fresh, these ascocarps lacked the typical phenolic aromatic note. These specimens fall into the sub-clade III of the T. mesentericum phylogeny, which has the lowest genetic distance from the T. aestivum clade. Full article
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Article
Conservation Biogeography of Tenebrionid Beetles: Insights from Italian Reserves
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090348 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 674
Abstract
The species-area relationship (SAR), the latitudinal gradient, the peninsula effect, and the elevational gradient are widespread biogeographical patterns. Using data from Italian reserves, these patterns were tested for tenebrionids and used as a framework to calculate expected extinction rates following area loss. Area [...] Read more.
The species-area relationship (SAR), the latitudinal gradient, the peninsula effect, and the elevational gradient are widespread biogeographical patterns. Using data from Italian reserves, these patterns were tested for tenebrionids and used as a framework to calculate expected extinction rates following area loss. Area was an important determinant of overall tenebrionid species richness, but not for xylophilous and endemic species. Thus, focusing on reserve areas is not the best approach for conserving insects with specialised ecology and restricted distribution. In general, species richness declined northwards, which contrasts with the peninsula effect, but conforms to the European latitudinal pattern observed in most taxa because of current and past biogeographical factors. Minimum elevation had an overall negative influence, as most tenebrionids are thermophilic. However, xylophilous tenebrionids, which are mainly associated with mesophilic forests, did not decline northwards, and were positively influenced by higher elevational ranges that allow more forms of vegetation. SAR-based extinction rates reflect species dispersal capabilities, being highest for geophilous species (which are mainly flightless), and lower for the xylophilous species. Extinction rates based on multiple models indicate that the use of area alone may overestimate extinction rates, when other factors exert an important role in determining species richness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biogeography and Macroecology)
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Article
Acclimatization Drives Differences in Reef-Building Coral Calcification Rates
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090347 - 08 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1372
Abstract
Coral reefs are susceptible to climate change, anthropogenic influence, and environmental stressors. However, corals in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi have repeatedly shown resilience and acclimatization to anthropogenically-induced rising temperatures and increased frequencies of bleaching events. Variations in coral and algae cover at two sites—just [...] Read more.
Coral reefs are susceptible to climate change, anthropogenic influence, and environmental stressors. However, corals in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi have repeatedly shown resilience and acclimatization to anthropogenically-induced rising temperatures and increased frequencies of bleaching events. Variations in coral and algae cover at two sites—just 600 m apart—at Malaukaʻa fringing reef suggest genetic or environmental differences in coral resilience between sites. A reciprocal transplant experiment was conducted to determine if calcification (linear extension and dry skeletal weight) for dominant reef-building species, Montipora capitata and Porites compressa, varied between the two sites and whether or not parent colony or environmental factors were responsible for the differences. Despite the two sites representing distinct environmental conditions with significant differences between temperature, salinity, and aragonite saturation, M. capitata growth rates remained the same between sites and treatments. However, dry skeletal weight increases in P. compressa were significantly different between sites, but not across treatments, with linear mixed effects model results suggesting heterogeneity driven by environmental differences between sites and the parent colonies. These results provide evidence of resilience and acclimatization for M. capitata and P. compressa. Variability of resilience may be driven by local adaptations at a small, reef-level scale for P. compressa in Kāneʻohe Bay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coral Reef Ecology and Biodiversity)
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Article
Climate Change and Alpine Screes: No Future for Glacial Relict Papaver occidentale (Papaveraceae) in Western Prealps
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090346 - 07 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 989
Abstract
Glacial relicts, especially those with very narrow habitat requirements, are particularly affected by global warming. We considered Papaver occidentale, a glacial relict endemic to the Western Prealps, belonging to the alpine poppy complex (P. alpinum aggr.), as a model taxon to [...] Read more.
Glacial relicts, especially those with very narrow habitat requirements, are particularly affected by global warming. We considered Papaver occidentale, a glacial relict endemic to the Western Prealps, belonging to the alpine poppy complex (P. alpinum aggr.), as a model taxon to study the actual status and potential future distribution of species restricted to particular microrefugia. For this study, all known localities were visited, each population was georeferenced and the number of individuals was estimated. Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) was used to evaluate the present and future potential distribution range and habitat suitability, taking into account the specificity of its habitat (calcareous screes). According to our study, there are globally 19 natural populations of P. occidentale, and a total of about 30,000 individuals. The taxon is a highly specialized alpine plant growing in the majority of natural sites between 1900 and 2100 m a.s.l. on north-facing screes. Predictions for the end of the 21st century indicate that a suitable area will significantly decrease (0–30% remaining). Under the most severe climatic scenarios (RCP 8.5), the species risks complete extinction. The long-term in situ conservation of P. occidentale, and all other taxa of the P. alpinum complex, is unlikely to be achieved without slowing global climate change. More generally, our fine-scale study shows that local environmental buffering of large-scale climate change in high-mountain flora may be very limited in specialised taxa of patchy environments such as screes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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Article
Floristic Diversity and Phytogeography of JABAL Fayfa: A Subtropical Dry Zone, South-West Saudi Arabia
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090345 - 07 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 907
Abstract
The present study surveyed the flora of the Jebel Fayfa region, South-West Saudi Arabia to analyze four elements of the vegetation: floristic diversity, life form, lifespan, and phytogeographical affinities. A total of 341 species of vascular plants were recorded belonging to 240 genera [...] Read more.
The present study surveyed the flora of the Jebel Fayfa region, South-West Saudi Arabia to analyze four elements of the vegetation: floristic diversity, life form, lifespan, and phytogeographical affinities. A total of 341 species of vascular plants were recorded belonging to 240 genera in 70 families, of which 101 species distributed among 40 families were considered as new additions to the flora of Jabal Fayfa. Six species are considered endemic to the study area while 27 are endangered. The most represented families were Fabaceae, Asteraceae, and Poaceae. The flora of Jabal Fayfa exhibited a high degree of monotypism. A total of 20 families (28.57%) were represented by a single species, and 180 genera (75.00%) were monotypic. The recorded flora consists of 70.09% perennials and 29.91% annuals. Phanerophytes and therophytes were the most frequent lifeforms. Phytogeographical analysis revealed that the biregional elements of the Saharo-Arabian/Sudano-Zambezian chorotype are the most dominant chorotypes (35.48%), forming two-thirds of the floristic structure in Jabal Fayfa. The new additions to the local flora of the region indicate that the Jabal Fayfa region and the country need further thorough botanical exploration and documentation which would help in adding several species to the flora of Saudi Arabia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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Article
Insect Communities Associated with Siam Weed: Evaluation after Three Decades of Cecidochares connexa Release as Biocontrol Agent
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090344 - 07 Sep 2020
Viewed by 781
Abstract
Chromolaena odorata is well known as an invasive weed, and its existence in agricultural habitats causes an undesirable effect on crop plants. The invasion of C. odorata alters local biodiversity and shapes the new trophic interaction with local herbivores and other insects. This [...] Read more.
Chromolaena odorata is well known as an invasive weed, and its existence in agricultural habitats causes an undesirable effect on crop plants. The invasion of C. odorata alters local biodiversity and shapes the new trophic interaction with local herbivores and other insects. This research was conducted to study the insect communities associated with C. odorata and evaluate the success of the release of Cecidochares connexa, the natural enemy of C. odorata. Field research was conducted in two different geographical regions in Bogor Regency (Java) and South Lampung Regency (Sumatera), Indonesia. In each region, we selected five villages that have two land-use types (oil palm plantations and open area) and contain a high population of C. odorata. Observation of insects and natural enemies of C. odorata was conducted in each land-use type using two methods: suction sampling and gall collection, which were performed in 30 plants as sampling units. In total, we found 255 species of insects associated with C. odorata. The difference of region affected the abundance of insects but not their species richness. The species composition of insects showed difference between regions as well as between land-use types. There was a positive correlation between elevation and species richness of insects. In addition, the population of C. connexa (gall numbers) was significantly affected by regions and was found to be higher in Bogor and Lampung. The same pattern also was shown for its parasitoids (based on parasitized galls). We found a negative relationship between the number as well as parasitize galls and elevation. In conclusion, the presence of C. odorata, as well as its natural enemies, shape the new trophic interaction with local insects, and as consequence, its introduced natural enemies may not be effective to control the population of C. odorata. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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Article
Stand out from the Crowd: Small-Scale Genetic Structuring in the Endemic Sicilian Pond Turtle
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090343 - 07 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 852
Abstract
The geographical pattern of genetic diversity was investigated in the endemic Sicilian pond turtle Emys trinacris across its entire distribution range, using 16 microsatellite loci. Overall, 245 specimens of E. trinacris were studied, showing high polymorphic microsatellite loci, with allele numbers ranging from [...] Read more.
The geographical pattern of genetic diversity was investigated in the endemic Sicilian pond turtle Emys trinacris across its entire distribution range, using 16 microsatellite loci. Overall, 245 specimens of E. trinacris were studied, showing high polymorphic microsatellite loci, with allele numbers ranging from 7 to 30. STRUCTURE and GENELAND analyses showed a noteworthy, geographically based structuring of the studied populations in five well-characterized clusters, supported by a moderate degree of genetic diversity (FST values between 0.075 and 0.160). Possible explanations for the genetic fragmentation observed are provided, where both natural and human-mediated habitat fragmentation of the Sicilian wetlands played a major role in this process. Finally, some conservation and management suggestions aimed at preventing the loss of genetic variability of the species are briefly reported, stressing the importance of considering the five detected clusters as independent Management Units. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogeography of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises)
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Article
Using Peoples’ Perceptions to Improve Conservation Programs: The Yellow-Shouldered Amazon in Venezuela
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090342 - 05 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1444
Abstract
The perceptions and attitudes of local communities help understand the social drivers of unsustainable wildlife use and the social acceptability of conservation programs. We evaluated the social context influencing illegal harvesting of the threatened yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis) and the effectiveness [...] Read more.
The perceptions and attitudes of local communities help understand the social drivers of unsustainable wildlife use and the social acceptability of conservation programs. We evaluated the social context influencing illegal harvesting of the threatened yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis) and the effectiveness of a longstanding conservation program in the Macanao Peninsula, Margarita Island, Venezuela. We interviewed 496 people from three communities and documented their perceptions about (1) status and the impact of threats to parrot populations, (2) acceptability of the conservation program, and (3) social processes influencing unsustainable parrot use. Approval of the program was high, but it failed to engage communities despite their high conservation awareness and positive attitudes towards the species. People identified unsustainable use as the main threat to parrots, but negative perceptions were limited to selling, not harvesting or keeping. Harvesters with different motivations (keepers, sellers) may occur in Macanao, and social acceptability of both actors may differ. Future efforts will require a stakeholder engagement strategy to manage conflicts and incentives to participation. A better understanding of different categories of harvesters, as well as their motives and role in the illegal trade network would provide insights to the design of a behavior change campaign. Full article
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Article
Raccoon Vigilance and Activity Patterns When Sympatric with Coyotes
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090341 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1580
Abstract
Nonconsumptive effects of predators potentially have negative fitness consequences on prey species through changes in prey behavior. Coyotes (Canis latrans) recently expanded into the eastern United States, and raccoons (Procyon lotor) are a common mesocarnivore that potentially serve as [...] Read more.
Nonconsumptive effects of predators potentially have negative fitness consequences on prey species through changes in prey behavior. Coyotes (Canis latrans) recently expanded into the eastern United States, and raccoons (Procyon lotor) are a common mesocarnivore that potentially serve as competitors and food for coyotes. We used camera traps at baited sites to quantify vigilance behavior of feeding raccoons and used binomial logistic regression to analyze the effects of social and environmental factors. Additionally, we created raccoon and coyote activity patterns from the camera trap data by fitting density functions based on circular statistics and calculating the coefficient of overlap (Δ). Overall, raccoons were vigilant 46% of the time while foraging at baited sites. Raccoons were more vigilant during full moon and diurnal hours but less vigilant as group size increased and when other species were present. Raccoons and coyotes demonstrated nocturnal activity patterns, with coyotes more likely to be active during daylight hours. Overall, raccoons did not appear to exhibit high levels of vigilance. Activity pattern results provided further evidence that raccoons do not appear to fear coyotes, as both species were active at the same time and showed a high degree of overlap (Δ = 0.75) with little evidence of temporal segregation in activity. Thus, our study indicates that nonconsumptive effects of coyotes on raccoons are unlikely, which calls into question the ability of coyotes to initiate strong trophic cascades through some mesocarnivores. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Rusty Blackbird Habitat Occupancy in the Long Range Mountains of Newfoundland, Canada Using Forest Inventory Data
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090340 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 991
Abstract
Rusty blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus), once common across their boreal breeding distribution, have undergone steep, range-wide population declines. Newfoundland is home to what has been described as one of just two known subspecies (E. c. nigrans) and hosts some of [...] Read more.
Rusty blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus), once common across their boreal breeding distribution, have undergone steep, range-wide population declines. Newfoundland is home to what has been described as one of just two known subspecies (E. c. nigrans) and hosts some of the highest known densities of the species across its extensive breeding range. To contribute to a growing body of literature examining rusty blackbird breeding ecology, we studied habitat occupancy in Western Newfoundland. We conducted 1960 point counts across a systematic survey grid during the 2016 and 2017 breeding seasons, and modeled blackbird occupancy using forest resource inventory data. We also assessed the relationship between the presence of introduced red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), an avian nest predator, and blackbird occupancy. We evaluated 31 a priori models of blackbird probability of occurrence. Consistent with existing literature, the best predictors of blackbird occupancy were lakes and ponds, streams, rivers, and bogs. Red squirrels did not appear to have a strong influence on blackbird habitat occupancy. We are among the first to model rusty blackbird habitat occupancy using remotely-sensed landcover data; given the widespread availability of forest resource inventory data, this approach may be useful in conservation efforts for this and other rare but widespread boreal species. Given that Newfoundland may be a geographic stronghold for rusty blackbirds, future research should focus on this distinct population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boreal Bird Ecology, Management and Conservation)
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Article
Species Composition and New Records of Diatom Taxa on Phyllodictyon pulcherrimum (Chlorophyceae) from the Gulf of California
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090339 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
A taxonomic analysis of diatoms found on Phyllodictyon pulcherrimum yielded a total of 244 diatom taxa (all illustrated) within 27 orders, 45 families, and 86 genera. The Taxa were briefly documented in a list including identification references and morphometric data. Thirty-eight of the [...] Read more.
A taxonomic analysis of diatoms found on Phyllodictyon pulcherrimum yielded a total of 244 diatom taxa (all illustrated) within 27 orders, 45 families, and 86 genera. The Taxa were briefly documented in a list including identification references and morphometric data. Thirty-eight of the taxa identified at the species and infraspecific levels represent new records for the coasts of Mexico. Seven were recorded for the first time on the American continent: Auricula flabelliformis, A. pulchra, Campylodiscus scalaris, Coscinodiscus mesoleius, Dimeregramma fulvum, Navicula palpebralis var. angulosa, and Seminavis barbarae, and one, Nitzschia fusiformis, for the Pacific Ocean. This is the second record of the chlorophyte P. pulcherrimum in the north Pacific and the third for Mexican waters. The results confirm that surveying rare macroalgae species as hosts for epiphytic diatoms provides opportunities to seek new records of diatom taxa, or even new taxa, in regions around the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taxonomy, Ecology and Biogeography of Diatoms)
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Article
Coral Reef Recovery in the Mexican Caribbean after 2005 Mass Coral Mortality—Potential Drivers
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090338 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1181
Abstract
In 2005, an extreme heatwave hit the Wider Caribbean, followed by 13 hurricanes (including hurricanes Emily and Wilma) that caused significant loss in hard coral cover. However, the drivers of the potential recovery are yet to be fully understood. Based on recent findings [...] Read more.
In 2005, an extreme heatwave hit the Wider Caribbean, followed by 13 hurricanes (including hurricanes Emily and Wilma) that caused significant loss in hard coral cover. However, the drivers of the potential recovery are yet to be fully understood. Based on recent findings in the literature of coral cover recovery in the Mexican Caribbean after the mass bleaching event and associated hurricanes in 2005, this study analyzed, through random-effects meta-analysis, the hard coral and macroalgae benthic development and potential drivers of change between 2005 and 2016 in the Mexican Caribbean. Therefore, we tested the relative effect of sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll-a water concentration, coastal human population development, reef distance to shore, and geographical location on both hard coral and macroalgae cover over time. Findings revealed increases of both hard coral (by 6%) and algae cover (by ca. 14%, i.e., almost three times the increase of corals) over 12 years. Although our findings confirm the partial coral recovery after the 2005 Caribbean mass coral mortality event, they also indicate rapid colonization of algae across the region. Surprisingly, only SST correlated negatively with changes in coral cover. Contrary to expectations, there was a significantly greater algae cover increase in the Central section of the Mexican Caribbean, which is characterized by a low population density. However, a constant discharge of nutrient-rich freshwater may have facilitated algae growth there. This study reports partial regional reef recovery, but it also indicates that local factors, particularly eutrophication, facilitate algae growth at a speed that is much faster than coral recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coral Reef Ecology and Biodiversity)
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Article
Morphometric Analyses Distinguish Wabash Pigtoe (Fusconaia flava) and Round Pigtoe (Pleurobema sintoxia) Mussels
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090337 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1351
Abstract
Wabash Pigtoe, Fusconaia flava, and the related Round Pigtoe, Pleurobema sintoxia, are freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae: Pleurobemini) native to the Great Lakes region of North America. Fusconaia flava is considered widespread and relatively common while P. sintoxia is considered an imperiled [...] Read more.
Wabash Pigtoe, Fusconaia flava, and the related Round Pigtoe, Pleurobema sintoxia, are freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae: Pleurobemini) native to the Great Lakes region of North America. Fusconaia flava is considered widespread and relatively common while P. sintoxia is considered an imperiled species. These species are similar in shell shape and coloration and have confounded many freshwater malacologists, resulting in frequent misidentifications. We sought to determine if morphometric analyses could be used to reliably distinguish between these species. Two hundred and forty-six specimens were collected from rivers in Michigan and Ontario. For each specimen, a preliminary identification was made, shell measurements and foot color (orange or white) were documented, and photos of the left shell valve were taken. A genetic sample was taken from 133 specimens for cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) barcoding. COI sequences were used for species identification by comparing to sequences on GenBank. Twenty-one digitized landmarks along the outline of the left valve were analyzed and compared to the results of the DNA barcoding. Landmark data correctly assigned 99.2% of specimens to their DNA-confirmed species identity, compared to 82.0% accuracy of field identifications and 77.0% accuracy for foot color. The creation of a DNA-confirmed morphometric database will aid freshwater malacologists across the Great Lakes region in differentiating between these species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Mollusk Conservation)
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Article
Recommendations for IUCN Red List Conservation Status of the “Dryophytes immaculatus Group” in North East Asia
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090336 - 01 Sep 2020
Viewed by 815
Abstract
Threat assessment is important to prioritize species conservation projects and planning. The taxonomic resolution regarding the status of the “Dryophytes immaculatus group” and the description of a new species in the Republic of Korea resulted in a shift in ranges and population [...] Read more.
Threat assessment is important to prioritize species conservation projects and planning. The taxonomic resolution regarding the status of the “Dryophytes immaculatus group” and the description of a new species in the Republic of Korea resulted in a shift in ranges and population sizes. Thus, reviewing the IUCN Red List status of the three species from the group: D. immaculatus, D. suweonensis and D. flaviventris and recommending an update is needed. While the three species have similar ecological requirements and are distributed around the Yellow Sea, they are under contrasting anthropological pressure and threats. Here, based on the literature available, I have applied all IUCN Red List criterion and tested the fit of each species in each criteria to recommend listing under the appropriate threat level. This resulted in the recommendation of the following categories: Near Threatened for D. immaculatus, Endangered following the criteria C2a(i)b for D. suweonensis and Critically Endangered following the criteria E for D. flaviventris. All three species are declining, mostly because of landscape changes as a result of human activities, but the differences in range, population dynamics and already extirpated subpopulations result in different threat levels for each species. Dryophytes flaviventris is under the highest threat category mostly because of its limited range segregated into two subpopulations; and several known extirpated subpopulations. Immediate actions for the conservation of this species are required. Dryophytes suweonensis is present in both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) and is under lower ecological pressure in DPR Korea. Dryophytes immaculatus is present in the People’s Republic of China, over a very large range despite a marked decline. I recommend joint efforts for the conservation of these species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation of Tree Frogs)
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Article
Genomic Phylogeography of Gymnocarpos przewalskii (Caryophyllaceae): Insights into Habitat Fragmentation in Arid Northwestern China
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090335 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
Extensive range of deserts and gobis (rocks) had promoted habitat fragmentation of species in arid northwestern China. Distribution of endangered Gymnocarpos przewalskii Maxim. covers most of gobis (rocks) and desert terrain across arid regions of northwestern China. In the present study, we had [...] Read more.
Extensive range of deserts and gobis (rocks) had promoted habitat fragmentation of species in arid northwestern China. Distribution of endangered Gymnocarpos przewalskii Maxim. covers most of gobis (rocks) and desert terrain across arid regions of northwestern China. In the present study, we had employed genomic phylogeographical analysis to investigate population structure of G. przewalskii and test the effect of environmental conditions on spatial pattern of genetic diversity. Results showed four groups were identified from east to west: Edge of the Alxa Desert, Hexi Corridor, Hami Basin, and North edge of the Tarim Basin. Genetic diversity was at an equal level among four groups. General linear model (GLM) analysis showed spatial pattern of genetic diversity was significant correlated with three habitat variables including habitat suitability at present (Npre) and last glacial maximum (LGM) (NLGM) periods, and locality habitat stability (NStab). It concluded that habitat fragmentation had triggered lineage divergences of G. przewalskii in response to long-term aridification. Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) could increase the ability of clarifying population structures in comparison with traditional molecular markers. Spatial pattern of genetic diversity was determined by fragmented habitats with high habitat suitability (Npre and NLGM) and stability (NStab). At last, we propose to establish four conservation units which are in consistent with the population grouping to maintain the genetic integrity of this endangered species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation of Native Plants)
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Article
Taxonomic Implication of Integrated Chemical, Morphological, and Anatomical Attributes of Leaves of Eight Apocynaceae Taxa
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090334 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 979
Abstract
Up to now, the taxonomic conflict of the Apocynaceae family has attracted the attention of scientists and researchers worldwide. Recently, this family was divided into five subfamilies. The present study aims to investigate the implication of interlacing macro-, micro-morphological, anatomical, and chemical characteristics [...] Read more.
Up to now, the taxonomic conflict of the Apocynaceae family has attracted the attention of scientists and researchers worldwide. Recently, this family was divided into five subfamilies. The present study aims to investigate the implication of interlacing macro-, micro-morphological, anatomical, and chemical characteristics of the leaves of eight Apocynaceae plants (Adenium obesum, Dipladenia boliviensis, Carissacarandas, Nerium oleander, Asclepias curassavica, Calotropisprocera, Acokanthera oblongifolia, and Thevetia neriifolia), and to provide valuable taxonomic differentiation of these species. The macro-morphological investigation includes shape, apex, base, and venation of leaves, while the micro-morphological study includes leaf epidermal cells, stomata, and trichomes. The anatomical features of the leaf blade were studied by scanning electron microscope (SEM). Additionally, the chemical composition of the silylated methanolic extract was analyzed by Gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). Sixty-three compounds were characterized from the silylated extracts of the eight plants, where quinic acid, sucrose, D-pinitol, and D-(−)-fructopyranose were determined as major compounds. The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based on the chemical composition revealed a significant chemical correlation among all species with the presence of sugars and amino acids, as well as phenolic acids and iridoid glycosides. The cluster analysis, based on all merged characters, showed that the eight species can be categorized into three clusters. The first cluster comprises A.obesum, A. curassavica, and T. neriifolia, while the second cluster contains D. boliviensis, N. oleander, A. oblongifolia, and C. carandas, and the third cluster consists of C. procera alone. This cluster revealed some similarities to the recent classification of Apocynaceae, while it showed inconsistency regarding A.obesum, C. procera, and N. oleander. Due to the obtained inconsistent data and observed variation among the studied species, further study is recommended for more characterization of these species, based on additional parameters, including molecular characteristics, particularly A.obesum, C. procera, and N. oleander. Full article
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