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Diversity, Volume 13, Issue 3 (March 2021) – 38 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The extent of cetacean strandings in Italy, with a particular focus on Sicily Island in the central Mediterranean Sea, was examined for the first time. Such a study described a pattern that contemplates the regular and rare cetacean species passage. Along the Italian coast, nearly five thousand stranding events were counted in the period 1990–2019. In Sicily Island, more than seven hundred stranded cetaceans were recorded, resulting in approximately twenty carcasses every year. The role of Sicily Island as a sentinel territory of the cetacean distribution for the Mediterranean Sea and as a region receiving a marine resource suitable for the scientific research and cetological museum collections was highlighted. View this paper
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16 pages, 1565 KiB  
Article
Photoprotective Strategies in Mediterranean High-Mountain Grasslands
by Rosina Magaña Ugarte, María Pilar Gómez-Serranillos, Adrián Escudero and Rosario G. Gavilán
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030137 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2008
Abstract
Albeit the remarkably high Ultraviolet B loads, high temperatures, and drought stress substantiate the need for efficient photoprotective strategies in Mediterranean high-mountain plants, these remain understudied. Considering the sensitivity of photosystems to extreme conditions, we evaluated an environmental gradient’s weight on the photoprotection [...] Read more.
Albeit the remarkably high Ultraviolet B loads, high temperatures, and drought stress substantiate the need for efficient photoprotective strategies in Mediterranean high-mountain plants, these remain understudied. Considering the sensitivity of photosystems to extreme conditions, we evaluated an environmental gradient’s weight on the photoprotection of five high-mountain specialists from Central Spain. Diurnal and seasonal variations in chlorophyll, chlorophyll fluorescence, carotenoids, and xanthophylls in consecutive and climatically contrasting years were taken to evaluate the effect of the impending climate coarsening at the photosystem level. Our results revealed significant differences among species in the xanthophyll cycle functioning, acting either as a continuous photoprotective strategy enhancing photochemistry-steadiness; or prompted only to counteract the cumulative effects of atypically adverse conditions. The lutein cycle’s involvement is inferred from the high lutein content found in all species and elevations, acting as a sustained photoprotective strategy. These findings added to high de-epoxidation state (DEPS) and minor seasonal changes in the chlorophyll a/b ratio, infer the xanthophyll and Lutein cycles are crucial for upkeeping the photosystems’ optimal functioning in these plants heightening their photoprotective capacity during periods of more unfavorable conditions. Nevertheless, an atypically dry growing season’s detrimental effect infers the feasible surpassing of stress-thresholds and the precariousness of the communities’ functional diversity under climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity, Ecology and Conservation of Alpine Plants)
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19 pages, 2370 KiB  
Review
Eciton Army Ants—Umbrella Species for Conservation in Neotropical Forests
by Sílvia Pérez-Espona
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030136 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 6391
Abstract
Identification of priority areas for conservation is crucial for the maintenance and protection of biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where biodiversity continues to be lost at alarming rates. Surveys and research on umbrella species can provide efficient and effective approaches to identify potential [...] Read more.
Identification of priority areas for conservation is crucial for the maintenance and protection of biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where biodiversity continues to be lost at alarming rates. Surveys and research on umbrella species can provide efficient and effective approaches to identify potential areas for conservation at small geographical scales. Army ants of the genus Eciton are keystone species in neotropical forests due to their major role as top predators and due to the numerous vertebrate- and invertebrate associated species that depend upon their colonies for survival. These associates range from the iconic army ant-following birds to a wide range of arthropod groups, some of which have evolved intricate morphological, behavioural and/or chemical strategies to conceal their presence and integrate into the colony life. Furthermore, Eciton colonies require large forested areas that support a diverse leaf litter prey community and several field-based and genetic studies have demonstrated the negative consequences of forest fragmentation for the long-term maintenance of these colonies. Therefore, Eciton species will not only act as umbrella for their associates but also for many other species in neotropical forests, in particular for those that require a large extent of forest. This review summarises past and recent accounts of the main taxonomic groups found associated with Eciton colonies, as well research assessing the impact of forest fragmentation on this army ant, to encourage the adoption of Eciton army ants as umbrella species for the identification of priority areas for conservation and assessments of the effect of disturbance in neotropical forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity, Biogeography and Community Ecology of Ants)
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12 pages, 612 KiB  
Article
Exploring Genetic Variability among and within Hail Tomato Landraces Based on Sequence-Related Amplified Polymorphism Markers
by Reem H. Alzahib, Hussein M. Migdadi, Abdullah A. Al Ghamdi, Mona S. Alwahibi, Muhammad Afzal, Ehab H. Elharty and Salem S. Alghamdi
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030135 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2517
Abstract
Landraces are valuable sources of genetic characteristics, which are of plant breeders’ interest to include in breeding programs for crop improvement. We assess the inter- and intra-genetic variability among 96 accessions representing three Hail tomato landrace using DNA-based marker sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP). [...] Read more.
Landraces are valuable sources of genetic characteristics, which are of plant breeders’ interest to include in breeding programs for crop improvement. We assess the inter- and intra-genetic variability among 96 accessions representing three Hail tomato landrace using DNA-based marker sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP). Seven SRAP primer combinations generated 55 alleles with a polymorphism of 100%, and an average of 7.86 polymorphic alleles per pair of primers. All primers showed an average of 0.68 polymorphic information content (PIC) value and discrimination power (DP) of 14.29. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) confirmed the clustering produced via the UPGMA similarity dendrogram allowed for the grouping of the 96 accessions according to its gene bank accession numbers and showed relatively good separation between landraces. A similarity value ranged from 0.04 to 1.0 among accessions of Hail 747, 0.05 to 1.0 in Hail 1072, and from 0.16 to 0.92 in Hail 548. These results showed the landraces harbor a wide range of genetic diversity at both inter and intra-variation levels. AMOVA showed that most of the genetic variation was because of differences within populations (87%). Tomato Hail landraces have well-differentiated genetic populations and admixtures, where Hail 747 formed their separate group, and both Hail 548 and Hail 1072 were admixed, and some accessions showed more diversity pattern. We have to take the SRAP technique’s effectiveness in the study of genetic variability among and within landraces into consideration in the tomato-breeding programs through marker-assessed selection. Full article
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11 pages, 1277 KiB  
Article
Common Vole as a Focal Small Mammal Species in Orchards of the Northern Zone
by Vitalijus Stirkė, Linas Balčiauskas and Laima Balčiauskienė
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030134 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2512
Abstract
In 2018–2020, we performed a country-wide study of small mammals in commercial orchards and berry plantations with the aim of determining whether the common vole (Microtus arvalis) is a more suitable focal species than the field vole (M. agrestis) [...] Read more.
In 2018–2020, we performed a country-wide study of small mammals in commercial orchards and berry plantations with the aim of determining whether the common vole (Microtus arvalis) is a more suitable focal species than the field vole (M. agrestis) in the risk assessment of plant protection products in Lithuania (country of the Northern Zone). Common vole was present in 75% of orchards and in 80% of control habitats, accounting for 30% of all trapped individuals. The proportion of this species was stable between years and seasons. The pattern was in agreement with the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, i.e., highest in medium-aged crops, while lowest in habitats with high intensities of agricultural practices. The average relative abundance of common vole in autumn, 2.65 ± 0.52 individuals per 100 trap days, was three times higher than that in summer, with no differences recorded between crops and control habitats. Field vole was present in 30% of locations, only accounting for 2.1% of all trapped individuals. In central and eastern European countries, common vole is more widespread and abundant than field vole. In Lithuania, common vole dominates in orchards and natural habitats and is, therefore, the most relevant small mammal species for higher tier risk assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Diversity and Conservation of Terrestrial Small Mammals)
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11 pages, 933 KiB  
Article
Animal Forest Mortality: Following the Consequences of a Gorgonian Coral Loss on a Mediterranean Coralligenous Assemblage
by Luigi Piazzi, Fabrizio Atzori, Nicoletta Cadoni, Maria Francesca Cinti, Francesca Frau, Arianna Pansini, Federico Pinna, Patrizia Stipcich and Giulia Ceccherelli
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030133 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2917
Abstract
In this work, the consequences of a local gorgonian coral mortality on the whole coralligenous assemblage were studied. A Before/After-Control/Impact sampling design was used: the structure of the coralligenous assemblage was compared before and after the gorgonian mortality event at the mortality site [...] Read more.
In this work, the consequences of a local gorgonian coral mortality on the whole coralligenous assemblage were studied. A Before/After-Control/Impact sampling design was used: the structure of the coralligenous assemblage was compared before and after the gorgonian mortality event at the mortality site and two control sites. At the mortality site, a relevant decrease in alpha and beta diversity occurred, with a shift from a stratified assemblage characterized by gorgonians and other invertebrates to an assemblage dominated by algal turfs; conversely, neither significant variations of the structure nor decrease in biodiversity were observed at the control sites. The assemblage shift involved the main taxa in different times: in autumn 2018, a large proportion of the plexaurid coral Paramuricea clavata died, but no significant changes were observed in the structure of the remaining assemblage. Then, in autumn 2019, algal turfs increased significantly and, one year later, the abundance of the gorgonian Eunicella cavolini and bryozoans collapsed. Although the mechanisms of the assemblage shift following gorgonian loss will remain uncertain and a cause-effect relationship cannot be derived, results suggest the need for detecting signs of gorgonian forests stress in monitoring programs, which should be considered early indicators of their condition. in the coralligenous monitoring programs for detecting any sign of gorgonian forests stress which should be considered an early indicator of the assemblage condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Mediterranean Sea)
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47 pages, 5842 KiB  
Review
Still Digging: Advances and Perspectives in the Study of the Diversity of Several Sedentarian Annelid Families
by Maël Grosse, Anna Zhadan, Joachim Langeneck, Dieter Fiege and Alejandro Martínez
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030132 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4362
Abstract
Sedentarian annelids are a diverse and heterogeneous group of marine worms representing more than 8600 species gathered in ca. 43 families. The attention brought to these organisms is unevenly distributed among these families, and the knowledge about them sometimes scarce. We review here [...] Read more.
Sedentarian annelids are a diverse and heterogeneous group of marine worms representing more than 8600 species gathered in ca. 43 families. The attention brought to these organisms is unevenly distributed among these families, and the knowledge about them sometimes scarce. We review here the current knowledge about the families Acrocirridae, Cirratulidae (including Ctenodrilidae), Cossuridae, Longosomatidae, Paraonidae, and Sternaspidae in terms of biodiversity as well as the evolution of the taxonomy and systematics of each group. We present the challenges faced when studying these organisms and compare methodologies across groups and perspectives in future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Diversity of Annelids)
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65 pages, 14488 KiB  
Review
On the Diversity of Phyllodocida (Annelida: Errantia), with a Focus on Glyceridae, Goniadidae, Nephtyidae, Polynoidae, Sphaerodoridae, Syllidae, and the Holoplanktonic Families
by Daniel Martin, Maria Teresa Aguado, María-Ana Fernández Álamo, Temir Alanovich Britayev, Markus Böggemann, María Capa, Sarah Faulwetter, Marcelo Veronesi Fukuda, Conrad Helm, Monica Angelica Varella Petti, Ascensão Ravara and Marcos A. L. Teixeira
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030131 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 13988
Abstract
Phyllodocida is a clade of errantiate annelids characterized by having ventral sensory palps, anterior enlarged cirri, axial muscular proboscis, compound chaetae (if present) with a single ligament, and of lacking dorsolateral folds. Members of most families date back to the Carboniferous, although the [...] Read more.
Phyllodocida is a clade of errantiate annelids characterized by having ventral sensory palps, anterior enlarged cirri, axial muscular proboscis, compound chaetae (if present) with a single ligament, and of lacking dorsolateral folds. Members of most families date back to the Carboniferous, although the earliest fossil was dated from the Devonian. Phyllodocida holds 27 well-established and morphologically homogenous clades ranked as families, gathering more than 4600 currently accepted nominal species. Among them, Syllidae and Polynoidae are the most specious polychaete groups. Species of Phyllodocida are mainly found in the marine benthos, although a few inhabit freshwater, terrestrial and planktonic environments, and occur from intertidal to deep waters in all oceans. In this review, we (1) explore the current knowledge on species diversity trends (based on traditional species concept and molecular data), phylogeny, ecology, and geographic distribution for the whole group, (2) try to identify the main knowledge gaps, and (3) focus on selected families: Alciopidae, Goniadidae, Glyceridae, Iospilidae, Lopadorrhynchidae, Polynoidae, Pontodoridae, Nephtyidae, Sphaerodoridae, Syllidae, Tomopteridae, Typhloscolecidae, and Yndolaciidae. The highest species richness is concentrated in European, North American, and Australian continental shelves (reflecting a strong sampling bias). While most data come from shallow coastal and surface environments most world oceans are clearly under-studied. The overall trends indicate that new descriptions are constantly added through time and that less than 10% of the known species have molecular barcode information available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Diversity of Annelids)
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73 pages, 8291 KiB  
Review
Fanworms: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
by María Capa, Elena Kupriyanova, João Miguel de Matos Nogueira, Andreas Bick and María Ana Tovar-Hernández
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030130 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 8716
Abstract
Sabellida Levinsen, 1883 is a large morphologically uniform group of sedentary annelids commonly known as fanworms. These annelids live in tubes made either of calcareous carbonate or mucus with agglutinated sediment. They share the presence of an anterior crown consisting of radioles and [...] Read more.
Sabellida Levinsen, 1883 is a large morphologically uniform group of sedentary annelids commonly known as fanworms. These annelids live in tubes made either of calcareous carbonate or mucus with agglutinated sediment. They share the presence of an anterior crown consisting of radioles and the division of the body into thorax and abdomen marked by a chaetal and fecal groove inversion. This study synthesises the current state of knowledge about the diversity of fanworms in the broad sense (morphological, ecological, species richness), the species occurrences in the different biogeographic regions, highlights latest surveys, provides guidelines for identification of members of each group, and describe novel methodologies for species delimitation. As some members of this group are well-known introduced pests, we address information about these species and their current invasive status. In addition, an overview of the current evolutionary hypothesis and history of the classification of members of Sabellida is presented. The main aim of this review is to highlight the knowledge gaps to stimulate research in those directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Diversity of Annelids)
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14 pages, 2569 KiB  
Review
Annelid Diversity: Historical Overview and Future Perspectives
by María Capa and Pat Hutchings
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030129 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 17511
Abstract
Annelida is a ubiquitous, common and diverse group of organisms, found in terrestrial, fresh waters and marine environments. Despite the large efforts put into resolving the evolutionary relationships of these and other Lophotrochozoa, and the delineation of the basal nodes within the group, [...] Read more.
Annelida is a ubiquitous, common and diverse group of organisms, found in terrestrial, fresh waters and marine environments. Despite the large efforts put into resolving the evolutionary relationships of these and other Lophotrochozoa, and the delineation of the basal nodes within the group, these are still unanswered. Annelida holds an enormous diversity of forms and biological strategies alongside a large number of species, following Arthropoda, Mollusca, Vertebrata and perhaps Platyhelminthes, among the species most rich in phyla within Metazoa. The number of currently accepted annelid species changes rapidly when taxonomic groups are revised due to synonymies and descriptions of a new species. The group is also experiencing a recent increase in species numbers as a consequence of the use of molecular taxonomy methods, which allows the delineation of the entities within species complexes. This review aims at succinctly reviewing the state-of-the-art of annelid diversity and summarizing the main systematic revisions carried out in the group. Moreover, it should be considered as the introduction to the papers that form this Special Issue on Systematics and Biodiversity of Annelids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Diversity of Annelids)
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12 pages, 1576 KiB  
Article
The Chemoautotrophically Based Movile Cave Groundwater Ecosystem, a Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity
by Traian Brad, Sanda Iepure and Serban M. Sarbu
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030128 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 12600 | Correction
Abstract
Movile Cave hosts one of the world’s most diverse subsurface invertebrate communities. In the absence of matter and energy input from the surface, this ecosystem relies entirely on in situ primary productivity by chemoautotrophic microorganisms. The energy source for these microorganisms is the [...] Read more.
Movile Cave hosts one of the world’s most diverse subsurface invertebrate communities. In the absence of matter and energy input from the surface, this ecosystem relies entirely on in situ primary productivity by chemoautotrophic microorganisms. The energy source for these microorganisms is the oxidation of hydrogen sulfide provided continuously from the deep thermomineral aquifer, alongside methane, and ammonium. The microbial biofilms that cover the water surface, the cave walls, and the sediments, along with the free-swimming microorganisms, represent the food that protists, rotifers, nematodes, gastropods, and crustacean rely on. Voracious water-scorpions, leeches, and planarians form the peak of the aquatic food web in Movile Cave. The terrestrial community is even more diverse. It is composed of various species of worms, isopods, pseudoscorpions, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, springtails, diplurans, and beetles. An updated list of invertebrate species thriving in Movile Cave is provided herein. With 52 invertebrate species (21 aquatic and 31 terrestrial), of which 37 are endemic for this unusual, but fascinating environment, Movile Cave is the first known chemosynthesis-based groundwater ecosystem. Therefore, Movile Cave deserves stringent attention and protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
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24 pages, 2881 KiB  
Article
Effects of Pure and Mixed Pine and Oak Forest Stands on Carabid Beetles
by Alexandra Wehnert, Sven Wagner and Franka Huth
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030127 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4096
Abstract
The multiple-use approach to forestry applied in Germany aims to combine timber production and habitat management by preserving specific stand structures. We selected four forest stand types comprising (i) pure oak, (ii) equal oak–pine mixtures, (iii) single tree admixtures of oak in pine [...] Read more.
The multiple-use approach to forestry applied in Germany aims to combine timber production and habitat management by preserving specific stand structures. We selected four forest stand types comprising (i) pure oak, (ii) equal oak–pine mixtures, (iii) single tree admixtures of oak in pine forest and (iv) pure pine. We analysed the effects of stand composition parameters on species representative of the larger carabid beetles (Carabus arvensis, C. coriaceus, C. hortensis, C. violaceus, Calosoma inquisitor). The main statistical methods used were correlation analyses and generalised linear mixed models. Cal. inquisitor was observed in pure oak forests exclusively. C. coriaceus and C. hortensis were absent from pure pine stands. High activity densities of C. arvensis and C. violaceus were observed in all four forest types. When assessed at the smaller scales of species crown cover proportions and spatial tree species effect zones, C. hortensis was found to be positively related to oak trees with a regular spatial distribution, whereas C. coriaceus preferred lower and more aggregated oak tree proportions. C. violaceus showed strong sex-specific tree species affinities. Information about preferences of carabid beetles is necessary for management activities targeting the adaptation of forest structures to habitat requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faunistical and Ecological Studies on Carabid Beetles)
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12 pages, 1820 KiB  
Article
Genetic Consequences of Fence Confinement in a Population of White-Tailed Deer
by Emily K. Latch, Kenneth L. Gee, Stephen L. Webb, Rodney L. Honeycutt, Randy W. DeYoung, Robert A. Gonzales, Stephen Demarais and Ryan Toby
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030126 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3476
Abstract
Fencing wildlife populations can aid wildlife management goals, but potential benefits may not always outweigh costs of confinement. Population isolation can erode genetic diversity and lead to the accumulation of inbreeding, reducing viability and limiting adaptive potential. We used microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA [...] Read more.
Fencing wildlife populations can aid wildlife management goals, but potential benefits may not always outweigh costs of confinement. Population isolation can erode genetic diversity and lead to the accumulation of inbreeding, reducing viability and limiting adaptive potential. We used microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA data collected from 640 white-tailed deer confined within a 1184 ha fence to quantify changes in genetic diversity and inbreeding over the first 12 years of confinement. Genetic diversity was sustained over the course of the study, remaining comparable to unconfined white-tailed deer populations. Uneroded genetic diversity suggests that genetic drift is mitigated by a low level of gene flow, which supports field observations that the fence is not completely impermeable. In year 9 of the study, we observed an unexpected influx of mtDNA diversity and drop in inbreeding as measured by FIS. A male harvest restriction imposed that year increased male survival, and more diverse mating may have contributed to the inbreeding reduction and temporary genetic diversity boost we observed. These data add to our understanding of the long-term impacts of fences on wildlife, but also highlight the importance of continued monitoring of confined populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics of Wildlife)
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19 pages, 1487 KiB  
Article
Rice Plant–Soil Microbiome Interactions Driven by Root and Shoot Biomass
by Cristina P. Fernández-Baca, Adam R. Rivers, Jude E. Maul, Woojae Kim, Ravin Poudel, Anna M. McClung, Daniel P. Roberts, Vangimalla R. Reddy and Jinyoung Y. Barnaby
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030125 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3539
Abstract
Plant–soil microbe interactions are complex and affected by many factors including soil type, edaphic conditions, plant genotype and phenotype, and developmental stage. The rice rhizosphere microbial community composition of nine recombinant inbred lines (RILs) and their parents, Francis and Rondo, segregating for root [...] Read more.
Plant–soil microbe interactions are complex and affected by many factors including soil type, edaphic conditions, plant genotype and phenotype, and developmental stage. The rice rhizosphere microbial community composition of nine recombinant inbred lines (RILs) and their parents, Francis and Rondo, segregating for root and shoot biomass, was determined using metagenomic sequencing as a means to examine how biomass phenotype influences the rhizosphere community. Two plant developmental stages were studied, heading and physiological maturity, based on root and shoot biomass growth patterns across the selected genotypes. We used partial least squares (PLS) regression analysis to examine plant trait-driven microbial populations and identify microbial species, functions, and genes corresponding to root and shoot biomass as well as developmental stage patterns. Species identified correlated with increases in either root or shoot biomass were widely present in soil and included species involved in nitrogen cycling (Anaeromyxobacter spp.) and methane production (Methanocellaavoryzae), as well as known endophytes (Bradyrhizobium spp.). Additionally, PLS analysis allowed us to explore the relationship of developmental stage with species, microbial functions, and genes. Many of the community functions and genes observed during the heading stage were representative of cell growth (e.g., carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism), while functions correlated with physiological maturity were indicative of cell decay. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that microbial communities exist whose metabolic and gene functions correspond to plant biomass traits. Full article
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38 pages, 5245 KiB  
Article
Endocranial Anatomy of the Giant Extinct Australian Mihirung Birds (Aves, Dromornithidae)
by Warren D. Handley and Trevor H. Worthy
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030124 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 11718
Abstract
Dromornithids are an extinct group of large flightless birds from the Cenozoic of Australia. Their record extends from the Eocene to the late Pleistocene. Four genera and eight species are currently recognised, with diversity highest in the Miocene. Dromornithids were once considered ratites, [...] Read more.
Dromornithids are an extinct group of large flightless birds from the Cenozoic of Australia. Their record extends from the Eocene to the late Pleistocene. Four genera and eight species are currently recognised, with diversity highest in the Miocene. Dromornithids were once considered ratites, but since the discovery of cranial elements, phylogenetic analyses have placed them near the base of the anseriforms or, most recently, resolved them as stem galliforms. In this study, we use morphometric methods to comprehensively describe dromornithid endocranial morphology for the first time, comparing Ilbandornis woodburnei and three species of Dromornis to one another and to four species of extant basal galloanseres. We reveal that major endocranial reconfiguration was associated with cranial foreshortening in a temporal series along the Dromornis lineage. Five key differences are evident between the brain morphology of Ilbandornis and Dromornis, relating to the medial wulst, the ventral eminence of the caudoventral telencephalon, and morphology of the metencephalon (cerebellum + pons). Additionally, dromornithid brains display distinctive dorsal (rostral position of the wulst), and ventral morphology (form of the maxillomandibular [V2+V3], glossopharyngeal [IX], and vagus [X] cranial nerves), supporting hypotheses that dromornithids are more closely related to basal galliforms than anseriforms. Functional interpretations suggest that dromornithids were specialised herbivores that likely possessed well-developed stereoscopic depth perception, were diurnal and targeted a soft browse trophic niche. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution and Palaeobiology of Flightless Birds)
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18 pages, 2135 KiB  
Article
The Rabbitfish Siganus virgatus as Key Macroalgae Browser in Coral Reefs of the Gulf of Thailand
by Malika Müller, Constanze F. K. Staab, Laura D. Puk, Eike M. Schoenig, Sebastian C. A. Ferse and Christian Wild
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030123 - 13 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3975
Abstract
Coral reef resilience is greatly influenced by herbivory. There is a need to identify key fish species fulfilling this critical function in biogeographically distinct regions. This experimental in situ study investigated fish herbivory in coral reefs of the lower Gulf of Thailand characterized [...] Read more.
Coral reef resilience is greatly influenced by herbivory. There is a need to identify key fish species fulfilling this critical function in biogeographically distinct regions. This experimental in situ study investigated fish herbivory in coral reefs of the lower Gulf of Thailand characterized by a considerably low herbivorous fish biomass and diversity, but high live coral and low macroalgal cover. This provided an intriguing situation for macroalgal browsing research. Visual census techniques assessed the abundance of local herbivorous fish species, and filmed single-choice assays using the macroalga Turbinaria evaluated mass-standardized bites (ms-bites) and biomass removal. Multiple-choice assays offering four locally abundant macroalgae identified specific biomass removal and ms-bites to uncover selection and avoidance patterns of observed fish species. The rabbitfish Siganusvirgatus constituted only 39% of herbivore biomass but accounted for 90% of ms-bites. In multiple-choice assays, fishes took most (61%) bites on Sargassum, followed by Padina (28%) and Turbinaria (11%), while Lobophora was avoided. S. virgatus exhibited the most generalized browsing pattern of all species observed. Coinciding with recent studies, our findings suggest that S. virgatus plays a key functional role in reefs characterized by low diversity of herbivores and low functional redundancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coral Reef Ecology and Biodiversity)
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16 pages, 1239 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Monitoring Reveals Differential Responses of Mussel and Host Fish Communities in a Biodiversity Hotspot
by Irene Sanchez Gonzalez, Garrett W. Hopper, Jamie Bucholz and Carla L. Atkinson
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030122 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3417
Abstract
Biodiversity hotspots can serve as protected areas that aid in species conservation. Long-term monitoring of multiple taxonomic groups within biodiversity hotspots can offer insight into factors influencing their dynamics. Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) and fish are highly diverse and imperiled groups of organisms with [...] Read more.
Biodiversity hotspots can serve as protected areas that aid in species conservation. Long-term monitoring of multiple taxonomic groups within biodiversity hotspots can offer insight into factors influencing their dynamics. Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) and fish are highly diverse and imperiled groups of organisms with contrasting life histories that should influence their response to ecological factors associated with local and global change. Here we use historical and contemporary fish and mussel survey data to assess fish and mussel community changes over a 33 year period (1986–2019) and relationships between mussel abundance and their host fish abundance in Bogue Chitto Creek, a tributary of the Alabama River and a biodiversity hotspot. Mussel abundance declined by ~80% and community composition shifted, with eight species previously recorded not found in 2019, and a single individual of the endangered Pleurobema decisum. Fish abundances increased and life history strategies in the community appeared stable and there was no apparent relationship between mussel declines and abundance of host fish. Temporal variation in the proportion of life history traits composing mussel assemblages was also indicative of the disturbances specifically affecting the mussel community. However, changes and declines in mussel assemblages in Bogue Chitto Creek cannot be firmly attributed to any specific factor or events because of gaps in historical environmental and biological data. We believe that mobility differences contributed to differential responses of fish and mussel communities to stressors including habitat degradation, recent droughts and invasive species. Overall, our work indicates that monitoring biodiversity hotspots using hydrological measurements, standardized survey methods and monitoring invasive species abundance would better identify the effects of multiple and interactive stressors that impact disparate taxonomic groups in freshwater ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Mollusk Conservation)
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24 pages, 2284 KiB  
Article
Increasing Survival of Wild Macaw Chicks Using Foster Parents and Supplemental Feeding
by Gabriela Vigo-Trauco, Rony Garcia-Anleu and Donald J. Brightsmith
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030121 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 7336
Abstract
The use of foster parents has great potential to help the recovery of highly endangered bird species. However, few studies have shown how to successfully use these techniques in wild populations. Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao macao) in Perú hatch 2–4 chicks [...] Read more.
The use of foster parents has great potential to help the recovery of highly endangered bird species. However, few studies have shown how to successfully use these techniques in wild populations. Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao macao) in Perú hatch 2–4 chicks per nest but about 24% of all chicks die of starvation and on average just 1.4 of them fledge per successful nest. In this study we develop and test new techniques to increase survival of wild Scarlet Macaw chicks by reducing chick starvation. We hypothesized that using foster parents would increase the survival of chicks at risk of starvation and increase overall reproductive success. Our results show that all relocated macaw chicks were successfully accepted by their foster parents (n = 28 chicks over 3 consecutive breeding seasons) and 89% of the relocated chicks fledged. Overall, we increased fledging success per available nest from 17% (2000 to 2016 average) to 25% (2017 to 2019) and decreased chick death by starvation from 19% to 4%. These findings show that the macaw foster parents technique and post relocation supplemental feeding provide a promising management tool to aid wild parrot population recovery in areas with low reproductive success. Full article
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11 pages, 759 KiB  
Article
Diversity of Dominant Soil Bacteria Increases with Warming Velocity at the Global Scale
by Yoshiaki Kanzaki and Kazuhiro Takemoto
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030120 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3623
Abstract
Understanding global soil bacterial diversity is important because of its role in maintaining a healthy global ecosystem. Given the effects of environmental changes (e.g., warming and human impact) on the diversity of animals and plants, effects on soil bacterial diversity are expected; however, [...] Read more.
Understanding global soil bacterial diversity is important because of its role in maintaining a healthy global ecosystem. Given the effects of environmental changes (e.g., warming and human impact) on the diversity of animals and plants, effects on soil bacterial diversity are expected; however, they have been poorly evaluated at the global scale to date. Thus, in this study, we focused on the dominant soil bacteria, which are likely critical drivers of key soil processes worldwide, and investigated the effects of warming velocity and human activities on their diversity. Using a global dataset of bacteria, we performed spatial analysis to evaluate the effects of warming velocity and human activities, while statistically controlling for the potentially confounding effects of current climate and geographic parameters with global climate and geographic data. We demonstrated that the diversity of the dominant soil bacteria was influenced globally, not only by the aridity index (dryness) and pH but also by warming velocity from the Last Glacial Maximum (21,000 years ago) to the present, showing significant increases. The increase in bacterial diversity with warming velocity was particularly significant in forests and grasslands. An effect of human activity was also observed, but it was secondary to warming velocity. These findings provide robust evidence and advance our understanding of the effects of environmental changes (particularly global warming) on soil bacterial diversity at the global scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections)
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21 pages, 2436 KiB  
Article
Variation in Assemblages of Freshwater Mussels Downstream of Dams and Dam Removals in the Lake Michigan Basin, Michigan, USA
by Shaughn E. Barnett and Daelyn A. Woolnough
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030119 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3054
Abstract
Impacts of barriers, including dam removals, on aquatic diversity are poorly understood. We assessed freshwater mussel assemblages and microhabitat downstream of uncontrolled and controlled low-head dams and low-head dam removals in Michigan, USA. The objectives of this study were to quantify whether downstream [...] Read more.
Impacts of barriers, including dam removals, on aquatic diversity are poorly understood. We assessed freshwater mussel assemblages and microhabitat downstream of uncontrolled and controlled low-head dams and low-head dam removals in Michigan, USA. The objectives of this study were to quantify whether downstream mussel assemblages and microhabitat parameters differ by anthropogenic barrier and along a downstream gradient, and to determine parameters that were predictors of mussel diversity and density. Sampling consisted of standardized timed-searches and quadrat excavations. Results suggest that areas downstream of dams had higher mussel diversity than dam removals, and mussel assemblages differed along a downstream gradient for uncontrolled and controlled dams. Indicator Species Analyses determined mussel species representative of downstream river reaches from uncontrolled low-head dams and removals. Predictor variables for mussel assemblages included substrate classes and total suspended solids. Controlled dams contained the least fine substrates (%) and highest coarse substrates (%) in downstream reaches. This study suggests that rivers with uncontrolled low-head dams and removals provide downstream habitat that support viable mussel assemblages. Results from this study also suggest that evidence of mussel assemblage recovery following dam removal may take many years. Quantification of barrier-related impacts, as shown in this study, are imperative to guide conservation of aquatic fauna. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Mollusk Conservation)
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16 pages, 1276 KiB  
Article
Detection of Target-Site Herbicide Resistance in the Common Ragweed: Nucleotide Polymorphism Genotyping by Targeted Amplicon Sequencing
by Barbara Kutasy, Zoltán Farkas, Balázs Kolics, Kincső Decsi, Géza Hegedűs, Judit Kovács, János Taller, Zoltán Tóth, Nikoletta Kálmán, Gabriella Kazinczi and Eszter Virág
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030118 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2696
Abstract
Background: The spread of herbicide-resistance Ambrosia artemisiifolia threatens not only the production of agricultural crops, but also the composition of weed communities. The reduction of their spread would positively affect the biodiversity and beneficial weed communities in the arable habitats. Detection of resistant [...] Read more.
Background: The spread of herbicide-resistance Ambrosia artemisiifolia threatens not only the production of agricultural crops, but also the composition of weed communities. The reduction of their spread would positively affect the biodiversity and beneficial weed communities in the arable habitats. Detection of resistant populations would help to reduce herbicide exposure which may contribute to the development of sustainable agroecosystems. Methods: This study focuses on the application of target-site resistance (TSR) diagnostic of A. artemisiifolia caused by different herbicides. We used targeted amplicon sequencing (TAS) on Illumina Miseq platform to detect amino acid changes in herbicide target enzymes of resistant and wild-type plants. Results: 16 mutation points of four enzymes targeted by four herbicide groups, such as Photosystem II (PSII), Acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS), 5-enolpyruvylshikimate 3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) and protoporphyrinogen IX oxidase (PPO) inhibitors have been identified in common ragweed populations, so far. All the 16 mutation points were analyzed and identified. Out of these, two mutations were detected in resistant biotypes. Conclusions: The applied next-generation sequencing-targeted amplicon sequencing (NGS-TAS) method on A. artemisiifolia resistant and wild-type populations enable TSR detection of large sample numbers in a single reaction. The NGS-TAS provides information about the evolved herbicide resistance that supports the integrated weed control through the reduction of herbicide exposure which may preserve ecological properties in agroecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Diversity)
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20 pages, 1816 KiB  
Article
Landscape and Species Traits Co-Drive Roadkills of Bats in a Subtropical Island
by Joe Chun-Chia Huang, Wan-Jyun Chen and Te-En Lin
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030117 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3133
Abstract
The expansion of roads has threatened wildlife populations by driving casualties due to vehicle collisions. However, the ecological drivers of wildlife roadkills are not yet fully explored. We investigated the strength of landscape features and ecomorphological traits in determining spatial patterns of bat [...] Read more.
The expansion of roads has threatened wildlife populations by driving casualties due to vehicle collisions. However, the ecological drivers of wildlife roadkills are not yet fully explored. We investigated the strength of landscape features and ecomorphological traits in determining spatial patterns of bat roadkills in Taiwan. In total, 661 roadkills that belonged to 20 bat species were acquired by citizen scientists between 2011 and 2019. The number and species richness of victim bats declined with increasing elevations with varying species compositions. Elevation and artificial light had significantly negative effects on the occurrence of roadkill, whereas protected area and its interaction with elevation had positive effects. Ordination analyses showed that roadkills were driven by different ecomorphological traits and landscape features. At low elevations, road casualties were associated with an aerial hawking hunting strategy. At higher elevations, roadkills were associated with higher elevational distribution. Roadkills of non-cave bats were associated with brighter environments, suggesting that bats might be exposed to higher risk when hunting insects near artificial light. Our findings suggest that management agencies shall consider both species traits and landscape features when planning impact assessments and mitigation practices of roadkills for bats and probably other wildlife, particularly when long environmental gradients are covered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Aspects in Bats: Genetics, Morphology, Community Structure)
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18 pages, 2016 KiB  
Article
Testing a Local Inbreeding Hypothesis as a Cause of Observed Antler Characteristics in Managed Populations of White-Tailed Deer
by Stephen L. Webb, Randy W. DeYoung, Stephen Demarais, Bronson K. Strickland and Kenneth L. Gee
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030116 - 9 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3331
Abstract
The increased use of antler restrictions by state game agencies has led to a focus on antlers by the hunting public, particularly the potential for an association between genetics and antler characteristics. We analyzed microsatellite data from 1231 male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus [...] Read more.
The increased use of antler restrictions by state game agencies has led to a focus on antlers by the hunting public, particularly the potential for an association between genetics and antler characteristics. We analyzed microsatellite data from 1231 male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from three states (Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Texas) within USA to determine if genetic relatedness, internal relatedness (IR), homozygosity weighted by locus (HL), or correlations among uniting gametes (Fis) influenced total antler points, antler score, non-typical points or antler malformations. Within each location, deer in the lower and upper quartile intervals for number of antler points and score were unrelated (95% CI included 0 or was <0) and relatively heterozygous for four measures of inbreeding. Antler score and points were positively influenced by age but negatively influenced by IR and HL, except for antler score in Mississippi. Relatedness, HL, IR and Fis did not differ between groups of deer with and without antler malformations. Perceived differences in antler quality do not appear to be affected by heterozygosity or a result of close inbreeding because we found deer were unrelated and measures of inbreeding and genome-wide heterozygosity were not correlated with antler characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics of Wildlife)
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11 pages, 922 KiB  
Article
Trees Increase Ant Species Richness and Change Community Composition in Iberian Oak Savannahs
by Álvaro Gaytán, José L. Bautista, Raúl Bonal, Gerardo Moreno and Guillermo González-Bornay
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030115 - 7 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2471
Abstract
Iberian man-made oak savannahs (so called dehesas) are traditional silvopastoral systems with a high natural value. Scattered trees provide shelter and additional food to livestock (cattle in our study sites), which also makes possible for animals depending on trees in a grass-dominated [...] Read more.
Iberian man-made oak savannahs (so called dehesas) are traditional silvopastoral systems with a high natural value. Scattered trees provide shelter and additional food to livestock (cattle in our study sites), which also makes possible for animals depending on trees in a grass-dominated landscape to be present. We compared dehesas with nearby treeless grasslands to assess the effects of oaks on ant communities. Formica subrufa, a species associated with decayed wood, was by far the most abundant species, especially in savannahs. Taxa specialized in warm habitats were the most common both in dehesas and grasslands, as expected in areas with a Mediterranean climate. Within dehesas, the number of species was higher below oak canopies than outside tree cover. Compared to treeless grasslands, the presence of oaks resulted in a higher species richness of aphid-herding and predator ants, probably because trees offer shelter and resources to predators. The presence of oaks changed also the species composition, which differed between grasslands and dehesas. In self-standing scattered oaks, ant communities did not differ between the trunks and soil below canopies. These results stress the conservation value of trees in dehesas; within grasslands, they offer an additional microhabitat for species that would otherwise be scarce or absent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Oaks and Insects)
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14 pages, 4104 KiB  
Article
Assessing Assemblage Composition of Reproductively Mature Resource Fishes at a Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA)
by Rebecca M. Weible, Ku‘ulei S. Rodgers, Alan M. Friedlander and Cynthia L. Hunter
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030114 - 7 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2407
Abstract
Nearshore fisheries in Hawai‘i have been steadily decreasing for over a century. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been utilized as a method to both conserve biodiversity and enhance fisheries. The composition of resource fishes within and directly outside of the recently established Hā‘ena [...] Read more.
Nearshore fisheries in Hawai‘i have been steadily decreasing for over a century. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been utilized as a method to both conserve biodiversity and enhance fisheries. The composition of resource fishes within and directly outside of the recently established Hā‘ena Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) on the island of Kaua‘i were assessed to determine temporal and spatial patterns in assemblage structure. In situ visual surveys of fishes, invertebrates, and benthos were conducted using a stratified random sampling design to evaluate the efficacy of the MPA between 2016 and 2020. L50 values—defined as the size at which half of the individuals in a population have reached reproductive maturity—were used as proxies for identifying reproductively mature resource fishes both inside and outside the CBSFA. Surveys between 2016 and 2020 did not indicate strong temporal or spatial changes in overall resource fish assemblage structure; however, some species-specific changes were evident. Although overall resource species diversity and richness were significantly higher by 2020 inside the MPA boundaries, there is currently no strong evidence for a reserve effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coral Reef Ecology and Biodiversity)
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13 pages, 1766 KiB  
Article
Effect of Protection of Mountainous Vegetation against Over-Grazing and Over-Cutting in South Sinai, Egypt
by Kamal H. Shaltout, Ebrahem M. Eid, Yassin M. Al-Sodany, Selim Z. Heneidy, Salma K. Shaltout and Safaa A. El-Masry
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030113 - 6 Mar 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2616
Abstract
In this study, we evaluated the species diversity, density, cover, and size index of plant species within and outside 37 enclosures in the South Sinai mountainous region (Egypt), which had been protected for six years (March 2012–March 2018) against over-grazing and over-cutting for [...] Read more.
In this study, we evaluated the species diversity, density, cover, and size index of plant species within and outside 37 enclosures in the South Sinai mountainous region (Egypt), which had been protected for six years (March 2012–March 2018) against over-grazing and over-cutting for medicinal and fuel purposes. Within and outside the enclosures, the plant species were recorded, and their density (individuals per 100 m2) and cover (cm per 100 cm) were estimated using the line-intercept method. The biovolume of each individual of each species was calculated as the average of its height and diameter. The species richness was calculated as the average number of species per enclosure, and the species turnover was calculated as the ratio between the total number of species and the species richness. The relative evenness was calculated using the Shannon–Weaver index, whereas the relative concentration of dominance was calculated using the Simpson index. Detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) was applied to ordinate the vegetation inside and outside the enclosures depending on the species cover. The unpaired t-test was applied to assess the statistically significant differences in the species density, cover, and biovolume inside and outside the enclosures. By the end of the six-year period, the vegetation pattern inside the enclosures became more or less stable, presumably because of the stopping of grazing and cutting, which also led to an increase in the plant diversity, density, and cover. In general, the protection of vegetation in South Sinai improved its diversity, density, and cover. In addition, the topographic and physiographic heterogeneity in this region results in microclimatic variations, which play a major role in governing its natural vegetation. Full article
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9 pages, 462 KiB  
Review
An Overview of DNA-Based Applications for the Assessment of Benthic Macroinvertebrates Biodiversity in Mediterranean Aquatic Ecosystems
by Eftychia Tzafesta, Francesco Zangaro, Valeria Specchia and Maurizio Pinna
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030112 - 5 Mar 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4339
Abstract
The loss of aquatic biodiversity is increasing at a rapid rate globally. There is a worldwide effort to protect, preserve and restore aquatic ecosystems. For efficient biodiversity monitoring and reliable management tools, comprehensive biodiversity data are required. The abundance and species diversity of [...] Read more.
The loss of aquatic biodiversity is increasing at a rapid rate globally. There is a worldwide effort to protect, preserve and restore aquatic ecosystems. For efficient biodiversity monitoring and reliable management tools, comprehensive biodiversity data are required. The abundance and species diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates are commonly used as indicators of the aquatic ecosystem condition. Currently, macroinvertebrate species biodiversity assessment is based on morpho-taxonomy, which could be enhanced by recent advances in DNA-based tools for species identification. In particular, DNA metabarcoding has the potential to identify simultaneously many different taxa in a pool of species and to improve aquatic biomonitoring significantly, especially for indicator species. This review is focused on the current state of DNA-based aquatic biomonitoring using benthic macroinvertebrates in the Mediterranean region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Restoration Ecology and Monitoring)
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19 pages, 4525 KiB  
Article
Prevalence and Diversity of Avian Haemosporidians May Vary with Anthropogenic Disturbance in Tropical Habitats in Myanmar
by Jaime Muriel, Alfonso Marzal, Sergio Magallanes, Luz García-Longoria, Marcela Suarez-Rubio, Paul J. J. Bates, Htet Htet Lin, Aye Nyein Soe, Khin Swe Oo, Aung Aung Aye, Naw Dolly Wilbur, Ni Ni Win, Yupa Tin Soe, Khaing Khin Linn and Swen C. Renner
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030111 - 5 Mar 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3613
Abstract
Avian malaria and related haemosporidians (genera Haemoproteus, Plasmodium and Leucocytozoon) infect most clades of bird. Although these parasites are present in almost all continents, they have been irregularly studied across different geographical regions. Despite the high bird diversity in Asia, the [...] Read more.
Avian malaria and related haemosporidians (genera Haemoproteus, Plasmodium and Leucocytozoon) infect most clades of bird. Although these parasites are present in almost all continents, they have been irregularly studied across different geographical regions. Despite the high bird diversity in Asia, the diversity of avian haemosporidians in this region is largely unknown. Moreover, anthropogenic changes to habitats in tropical regions may have a profound impact on the overall composition of haemosporidian communities. Here we analyzed the diversity and host association of bird haemosporidians from areas with different degrees of anthropogenic disturbance in Myanmar, revealing an unexplored diversity of these parasites (27% of newly-discovered haemosporidian lineages, and 64% of new records of host–parasite assemblages) in these tropical environments. This newly discovered diversity will be valuable for detecting host range and transmission areas of haemosporidian parasites. We also found slightly higher haemosporidian prevalence and diversity in birds from paddy fields than in individuals from urban areas and hills, thus implying that human alteration of natural environments may affect the dynamics of vector-borne diseases. These outcomes provide valuable insights for biodiversity conservation management in threatened tropical ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bird Parasites)
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14 pages, 3083 KiB  
Article
Effects of Longer Droughts on Holm Oak Quercus ilex L. Acorn Pests: Consequences for Infestation Rates, Seed Biomass and Embryo Survival
by Tara Canelo, Álvaro Gaytán, Carlos Pérez-Izquierdo and Raúl Bonal
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030110 - 5 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2555
Abstract
The effects of climate change on oaks Quercus spp. constitute a main environmental concern for the conservation of temperate forests. In this context, we assessed the consequences of longer droughts on the interactions between the holm oak Quercus ilex L. and its main [...] Read more.
The effects of climate change on oaks Quercus spp. constitute a main environmental concern for the conservation of temperate forests. In this context, we assessed the consequences of longer droughts on the interactions between the holm oak Quercus ilex L. and its main acorn pests. Infested acorns were prematurely abscised before reaching their potential size. The volume of the acorns attacked by Cydia fagiglandana (Lepidoptera) was smaller than those attacked by Curculio elephas (Coleoptera); however, their weight did not differ because Curculio larvae consumed more cotyledon. For the same reason, embryo survival likelihood was not lower in Cydia acorns despite their smaller size. Delays of late summer rain reduced infestation by Curculio, as soil hardness hampers adult emergence from their underground cells. By contrast, late and scarce precipitations benefited Cydia; rainfall might hamper adult flight and eggs/L1 larvae survival. There was not a “zero-sum” effect, because the decrease of Curculio infestation rates was not fully compensated by an increase of Cydia. Under the longer droughts projected for the Mediterranean Basin, our results predict lower infestation rates and higher acorn survival likelihood. However, further studies including other environmental factors are needed to better forecast the net consequences for holm oak fitness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Oaks and Insects)
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13 pages, 2479 KiB  
Article
Invasive Cuban Treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) Have More Robust Locomotor Performance Than Two Native Treefrogs (Hyla spp.) in Florida, USA, in Response to Temperature and Parasitic Infections
by Elizabeth A. Roznik, Natalia Cano, Kerri L. Surbaugh, Chloe T. Ramsay and Jason R. Rohr
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030109 - 5 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3093
Abstract
Introduced species pose a threat to biodiversity, and ecological and physiological factors are important in determining whether an introduced species becomes successfully established in a new region. Locomotor performance is one such factor that can influence the abundance and distribution of an introduced [...] Read more.
Introduced species pose a threat to biodiversity, and ecological and physiological factors are important in determining whether an introduced species becomes successfully established in a new region. Locomotor performance is one such factor that can influence the abundance and distribution of an introduced species. We investigated the effects of temperature and parasitism by the intestinal nematode Aplectana hamatospicula on the maximum jump distance and endurance in one invasive and two native treefrogs in Florida, USA. We collected frogs from the wild, estimated their parasite loads, and tested their locomotor performance at three temperatures. Contrary to expectations, invasive Cuban treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis), which are adapted to a warmer climate in the Caribbean, outperformed pinewoods treefrogs (Hyla femoralis) and squirrel treefrogs (H. squirella) at each temperature, even when controlling for body size differences. In all three species, maximum jump distance was positively related to temperature, and this relationship was stronger for larger frogs. Parasites influenced both the maximum jump distance and endurance of frogs. In all three species, larger frogs jumped farther maximum distances than smaller frogs, but this relationship was stronger when frogs had lower, rather than higher, parasite loads. Parasitism had little effect on endurance in invasive frogs, but it tended to decrease the endurance of native frogs at high temperatures. Furthermore, at low temperatures, the lengths of consecutive jumps of infected native frogs tended to increase, suggesting that parasites limited the distances of initial jumps. Effects of temperature and parasites on the locomotor performance of frogs could influence their abilities to forage, escape predators, and disperse. The tremendous locomotor performance of O. septentrionalis, which is maintained across temperatures and parasite loads, likely contributes to the invasion success of this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation of Tree Frogs)
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8 pages, 1982 KiB  
Article
Masdevallia × urbanae (Orchidaceae)—A New, Natural Hybrid between M. floribunda and M. tuerckheimii from Guatemala
by Fredy L. Archila Morales, Monika M. Lipińska and Dariusz L. Szlachetko
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030108 - 2 Mar 2021
Viewed by 2293
Abstract
Masdevallia Ruiz. & Pav. in the broad concept comprises about 350 species distributed from southern Mexico to southern Brazil with the highest diversity in the Andes of Ecuador and Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. Until now, only six species have been found in Guatemala. [...] Read more.
Masdevallia Ruiz. & Pav. in the broad concept comprises about 350 species distributed from southern Mexico to southern Brazil with the highest diversity in the Andes of Ecuador and Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. Until now, only six species have been found in Guatemala. While studying the diversity of the orchid flora in this megadiverse country, we came across plants that in terms of morphological characteristics, were intermediate between M. floribunda Lindl. and M. tuerckheimii Ames. All three taxa are pollinated by two so far undescribed species of Zygothrica fruit flies. In the presented work, we describe the new entity as a new natural hybrid. This is the first record of the hybridization within the genus Masdevallia from Guatemala. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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