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Diversity, Volume 13, Issue 6 (June 2021) – 60 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Subterranean habitats around the world contain a highly endemic, morphologically and evolutionarily unique fauna. Patterns of biodiversity in subterranean habitats have been a major subject of investigation within the field of subterranean biology but remain incompletely understood because of low detection probability and habitat inaccessibility. The San Marcos Artesian Well in Texas, USA, sampled using a modified drift net, is the most biodiverse site in the Edwards Aquifer Groundwater Ecosystem, which includes over 100 groundwater-obligate species, including (from left to right, top to bottom): Hobbsinella edwardensis, Tethysbaena texana, Stygobromus russelli, Erpobdella sp., Mexistenasellus coahuila, Phreatoceras taylori, Balconorbis uvaldensis, Eurycea rathbuni, and Haideoporus texanus. View this paper
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Article
Phenetic and Genetic Variability of Continental and Island Populations of the Freshwater Copepod Mastigodiaptomus ha Cervantes, 2020 (Copepoda): A Case of Dispersal?
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060279 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 353
Abstract
The diversity of freshwater zooplankton is still little known in Mexico, particularly in reference to insular zooplankton communities. Diaptomid copepods (Crustacea: Copepoda: Calanoida) are a widespread group worldwide, and Mexico harbours high diaptomid diversity. Based on a recent sampling of freshwater zooplankton on [...] Read more.
The diversity of freshwater zooplankton is still little known in Mexico, particularly in reference to insular zooplankton communities. Diaptomid copepods (Crustacea: Copepoda: Calanoida) are a widespread group worldwide, and Mexico harbours high diaptomid diversity. Based on a recent sampling of freshwater zooplankton on a Caribbean Island of Mexico, we present the first record of a diaptomid copepod from an island freshwater ecosystem. It shows the well-known tendency of Neotropical diaptomids to have restricted distributional patterns and high levels of endemism. The species recorded, Mastigodiaptomus ha (Cervantes-Martínez, 2020) appears to have a restricted distribution in the Yucatan Peninsula (YP), and the island as well. In order to explore potential differences between the island and continental populations of this species, its phenetic and genetic diversity was analysed by performing morphological comparisons and also by exploring differences of the habitat conditions and genetic sequences (CO1 gene). Our analysis revealed a low (average = 0.33%) genetic divergence between both populations; likewise, both the morphology and habitat conditions closely resemble each other in these two populations. The low genetic divergence between the continental and island populations of M. ha suggests an early common origin of the species in the geological history of the YP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Organisms Research with DNA Barcodes)
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Article
Diversity of Macrophytes and Environmental Assessment of the Ljubljanica River (Slovenia)
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060278 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 258
Abstract
The present research aimed to determine the diversity of macrophyte taxa in the Ljubljanica River and its relationship with environmental parameters. In each of the 19 river sections, the presence and abundance of plant taxa were recorded, and basic physical and chemical parameters [...] Read more.
The present research aimed to determine the diversity of macrophyte taxa in the Ljubljanica River and its relationship with environmental parameters. In each of the 19 river sections, the presence and abundance of plant taxa were recorded, and basic physical and chemical parameters were measured. Additionally, selected environmental parameters were assessed using a modified version of the Riparian, Channel and Environmental (RCE) method. We compared the obtained data set with survey data from the year 2004. In 2019, a total of 34 macrophyte taxa were recorded. The dominant taxa with the highest abundance were Sparganium emersum, Callitriche sp., and the invasive alien species Elodea canadensis. The species richness and diversity of macrophytes decreased with distance from the source, an increase in pH, and alterations of the riverbed structure due to interference in the riverine ecosystem in the lower part of the Ljubljanica River and its catchment. The comparison of 2004 and 2019 surveys revealed a decrease in the overall presence and abundance of P. natans and in the frequency of occurrence of the species Myriophyllum spicatum and an increase in the presence and abundance of the invasive alien species Elodea canadensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation of Vascular Flora)
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Article
Target Species and Other Residents—An Experiment with Nest Boxes for Red Squirrels in Central Poland
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060277 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
The red squirrel typically nests in dreys and tree hollows, but also (when given an opportunity) in large nest boxes. We assessed the occupancy rate of nest boxes by red squirrel and non-target species (120 boxes in the continuous forest, habitat mosaic and [...] Read more.
The red squirrel typically nests in dreys and tree hollows, but also (when given an opportunity) in large nest boxes. We assessed the occupancy rate of nest boxes by red squirrel and non-target species (120 boxes in the continuous forest, habitat mosaic and urban park, checked annually for eight years). Habitat type explained the variability in the occupancy of nest boxes by different species/taxa. Red squirrels used nest boxes in all habitats but occupancy rates were highest in the urban park (>50% of the boxes at maximum) and lowest in the forest. This could be explained by high population density, competition for shelters and willingness to explore alternative sheltering opportunities by urban squirrels. The yellow-necked mouse inhabited nest boxes infrequently and mostly in habitat mosaic. Tits mostly occurred in the forest and least often in the park, which suggests limited availability of natural cavities in managed forest. Nest box occupancy by starlings increased with an anthropopression level, which reflects high densities of urban and rural populations of the species. Hymenoptera (mainly wasps) were present only in rural areas, which may be due to their persecution by humans or use of anti-mosquito pesticides in urban parks. Additionally, 24 insect species were found to inhabit squirrel dreys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Genetic Diversity of Ancient Camellia sinensis (L.) O.Kuntze in Sandu County of Guizhou Province in China
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060276 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 385
Abstract
The ancient tea plant germplasm is an important resource for breeding new tea plant varieties and has great economic value. However, due to man-made and natural disturbances, it has become endangered. In order to have a better management of the conserved tea plant [...] Read more.
The ancient tea plant germplasm is an important resource for breeding new tea plant varieties and has great economic value. However, due to man-made and natural disturbances, it has become endangered. In order to have a better management of the conserved tea plant germplasm, it is a requirement to understand the genetic and phenotypic diversity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genetic and phenotypic diversity of 145 ancient tea plant germplasm resources from five populations in Sandu County of Guizhou province in China. To explore the population genetics of tea plant, we successfully identified 15 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, which were highly polymorphic. Additionally, we applied traditional phenotypic methods to evaluate the tea plant diversity. The results suggested that the genetic and phenotypic diversity were relatively high. A total of 96 alleles were identified, and the mean polymorphic information content (PIC) value was found to be 0.66. The analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that genetic variation within the populations was greater than among the populations. Overall, our results are the valuable baseline data in developing more efficient management and breeding plans for one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverage crops, the tea plant species. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Climate and Human Pressures on Functional Diversity and Species Richness Patterns of Amphibians, Reptiles and Mammals in Europe
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060275 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 357
Abstract
The ongoing biodiversity crisis reinforces the urgent need to unravel diversity patterns and the underlying processes shaping them. Although taxonomic diversity has been extensively studied and is considered the common currency, simultaneously conserving other facets of diversity (e.g., functional diversity) is critical to [...] Read more.
The ongoing biodiversity crisis reinforces the urgent need to unravel diversity patterns and the underlying processes shaping them. Although taxonomic diversity has been extensively studied and is considered the common currency, simultaneously conserving other facets of diversity (e.g., functional diversity) is critical to ensure ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services. Here, we explored the effect of key climatic factors (temperature, precipitation, temperature seasonality, and precipitation seasonality) and factors reflecting human pressures (agricultural land, urban land, land-cover diversity, and human population density) on the functional diversity (functional richness and Rao’s quadratic entropy) and species richness of amphibians (68 species), reptiles (107 species), and mammals (176 species) in Europe. We explored the relationship between different predictors and diversity metrics using generalized additive mixed model analysis, to capture non-linear relationships and to account for spatial autocorrelation. We found that at this broad continental spatial scale, climatic variables exerted a significant effect on the functional diversity and species richness of all taxa. On the other hand, variables reflecting human pressures contributed significantly in the models even though their explanatory power was lower compared to climatic variables. In most cases, functional richness and Rao’s quadratic entropy responded similarly to climate and human pressures. In conclusion, climate is the most influential factor in shaping both the functional diversity and species richness patterns of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals in Europe. However, incorporating factors reflecting human pressures complementary to climate could be conducive to us understanding the drivers of functional diversity and richness patterns. Full article
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Article
Unfolding Jellyfish Bloom Dynamics along the Mediterranean Basin by Transnational Citizen Science Initiatives
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060274 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Science is addressing global societal challenges, and due to limitations in research financing, scientists are turning to the public at large to jointly tackle specific environmental issues. Citizens are therefore increasingly involved in monitoring programs, appointed as citizen scientists with potential to delivering [...] Read more.
Science is addressing global societal challenges, and due to limitations in research financing, scientists are turning to the public at large to jointly tackle specific environmental issues. Citizens are therefore increasingly involved in monitoring programs, appointed as citizen scientists with potential to delivering key data at near to no cost to address environmental challenges, therein fostering scientific knowledge and advising policy- and decision-makers. One of the first and most successful examples of marine citizen science in the Mediterranean is represented by the integrative and collaborative implementation of several jellyfish-spotting campaigns in Italy, Spain, Malta, and Tunisia starting in 2009. Altogether, in terms of time coverage, geographic extent, and number of citizen records, these represent the most effective marine citizen science campaigns thus far implemented in the Mediterranean Sea. Here, we analyzed a collective database merging records over the above four countries, featuring more than 100,000 records containing almost 25,000 observations of jellyfish specimens collected over a period of 3 to 7 years (from 2009 to 2015) by citizen scientists participating in any of the national citizen science programs included in this analysis. Such a wide citizen science exercise demonstrates a valuable and cost-effective tool to understanding ecological drivers of jellyfish proliferation over the Western and Central Mediterranean basins, as well as a powerful contribution to developing tailored adaptation and management strategies; mitigating jellyfish impacts on human activities in coastal zones; and supporting implementation of marine spatial planning, Blue Growth, and conservation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Patterns and Ecology of Jellyfish in Marine Environment)
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Article
Genetic, but Not Behavioral, Evidence Supports the Distinctiveness of the Mealy Amazon Parrot in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060273 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 403
Abstract
The presence of unidentified cryptic species within a species complex can obscure demographic trends of vulnerable species, impacting potential species conservation and management decisions. Previous work identified a taxonomic split between Central and South American populations of the mealy amazon (Amazona farinosa [...] Read more.
The presence of unidentified cryptic species within a species complex can obscure demographic trends of vulnerable species, impacting potential species conservation and management decisions. Previous work identified a taxonomic split between Central and South American populations of the mealy amazon (Amazona farinosa) that subsequently resulted in the elevation of these two populations to full species status (Amazona guatemalae and A. farinosa, respectively). In that study, however, a third, geographically disjunct population from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest was insufficiently sampled, limiting the ability of researchers to fully evaluate its genetic distinctiveness. Given that significant levels of biodiversity and endemism are found in this region, we aimed to use genetic and behavioral data to determine if the Atlantic Forest population of A. f. farinosa represents a third cryptic species within the complex. We sequenced 6 genes (4 mitochondrial and 2 nuclear introns) from the Atlantic Forest population of A. f. farinosa to measure the genetic relationships between this population and all other recognized species and subspecies of the mealy amazon. In addition, we use spectrographic cross-correlation and an analysis of 29 acoustic parameters to determine whether the taxa diverge in their learned contact call structure and if the degree of vocal differentiation correlates to genetic structure. We found that the Atlantic Forest population of A. f. farinosa was genetically distinct from that of the greater Amazon basin, but the degree of differentiation was less than that separating the Central and South American taxa. Acoustic analysis revealed substantial variation in contact call structure within each clade. This variation created substantial overlap in acoustic space between the clades. In all, the degree of call divergence between clades did not correspond to the degree of genetic divergence between the same clades. The results suggest that in taxa with substantial geographic variation in learned calls, such as the mealy amazon, vocalizations may not be a useful tool in the identification of cryptic species that are lifelong vocal learners. While these results do not support the elevation of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest population of the mealy amazon to full species status, given current trends of habitat loss in the Atlantic Forest as well as the imperiled status of large parrot species globally, we argue that this population nonetheless warrants special conservation and management consideration as a pool of unique genetic diversity within the southern mealy amazon species. Full article
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Communication
Molecular Survey of Pathogens in Wild Amazon Parrot Nestlings: Implications for Conservation
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060272 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 306
Abstract
South America presents the greatest Psittacidae diversity in the world, but also has the highest numbers of threatened parrot species. Recently, exotic viruses have been detected in captive native psittacine birds in Brazil, however, their impacts on the health of wild parrots are [...] Read more.
South America presents the greatest Psittacidae diversity in the world, but also has the highest numbers of threatened parrot species. Recently, exotic viruses have been detected in captive native psittacine birds in Brazil, however, their impacts on the health of wild parrots are still unknown. We evaluated the presence of Chlamydia psittaci, Psittacid alphaherpesvirus 1 (PsHV-1), avipoxvirus and beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) in wild Amazona aestiva, A. brasiliensis and A. pretrei nestlings and in wild caught A. aestiva nestlings seized from illegal trade. Samples were collected from 205 wild nestlings and 90 nestlings from illegal trade and pathogen-specific PCR was performed for each sample. Chlamydia DNA prevalence was 4.7% in A. aestiva and 2.5% in A. brasiliensis sampled from the wild. Sequencing revealed that the C. psittaci sample belonged to the genotype A. PsHV-1, avipoxvirus and BFDV DNA was not detected. These results have conservation implications since they suggest that wild parrot populations have a low prevalence of the selected pathogens and, apparently, they were not reached by the exotic BFDV. Stricter health protocols should be established as condition to reintroduction of birds to the wild to guarantee the protection of Neotropical parrots. Full article
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Article
Postojna-Planina Cave System in Slovenia, a Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity and a Cradle of Speleobiology
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060271 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 393
Abstract
The Postojna-Planina Cave System (PPCS) in central Slovenia is a globally exceptional site of subterranean biodiversity, comprised of many interconnected caves with cumulative passage length exceeding 34 km. Two rivers sink into the caves of the PPCS, called the Pivka and Rak, and [...] Read more.
The Postojna-Planina Cave System (PPCS) in central Slovenia is a globally exceptional site of subterranean biodiversity, comprised of many interconnected caves with cumulative passage length exceeding 34 km. Two rivers sink into the caves of the PPCS, called the Pivka and Rak, and join underground into Unica River, which emerges to the surface. The studies of fauna of PPCS began in the 19th century with the first scientific descriptions of specialized cave animals in the world, making it “the cradle of speleobiology”. Currently, the species list of PPCS contains 116 troglobiotic animal species belonging to eight phyla, confirming its status as the richest in the world. Of these, 47 species have been scientifically described from the PPCS, and more than 10 await formal taxonomic descriptions. We expect that further sampling, detailed analyses of less studied taxa, and the use of molecular methods may reveal more species. To keep the cave animals’ checklist in PPCS up-to-date, we have supplemented the printed checklist with an online interface. As the revised checklist is a necessary first step for further activities, we discuss the importance of PPCS in terms of future research and conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
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Article
A Preliminary Survey on the Planktonic Biota in a Hypersaline Pond of Messolonghi Saltworks (W. Greece)
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060270 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 361
Abstract
During a survey in 2015, an impressive assemblage of organisms was found in a hypersaline pond of the Messolonghi saltworks. The salinity ranged between 50 and 180 ppt, and the organisms that were found fell into the categories of Cyanobacteria (17 species), Chlorophytes [...] Read more.
During a survey in 2015, an impressive assemblage of organisms was found in a hypersaline pond of the Messolonghi saltworks. The salinity ranged between 50 and 180 ppt, and the organisms that were found fell into the categories of Cyanobacteria (17 species), Chlorophytes (4 species), Diatoms (23 species), Dinoflagellates (1 species), Protozoa (40 species), Rotifers (8 species), Copepods (1 species), Artemia sp., one nematode and Alternaria sp. (Fungi). Fabrea salina was the most prominent protist among all samples and salinities. This ciliate has the potential to be a live food candidate for marine fish larvae. Asteromonas gracilis proved to be a sturdy microalga, performing well in a broad spectrum of culture salinities. Most of the specimens were identified to the genus level only. Based on their morphology, as there are no relevant records in Greece, there is a possibility for some to be either new species or strikingly different strains of certain species recorded elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Diversity of Testate Amoebae as an Indicator of the Conservation Status of Peatlands in Southwest Europe
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060269 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 404
Abstract
Testate amoebae are one of the most studied groups of microorganisms in Sphagnum peatland ecosystems and, therefore, one of the most reliable bioindicators of their ecological status. Peatland ecosystems are supported by a delicate biogeochemical balance that leads to the formation of peat, [...] Read more.
Testate amoebae are one of the most studied groups of microorganisms in Sphagnum peatland ecosystems and, therefore, one of the most reliable bioindicators of their ecological status. Peatland ecosystems are supported by a delicate biogeochemical balance that leads to the formation of peat, one of the main sinks of C, as a result of soil–atmosphere interaction, but currently they are one of the most threatened wetland types at their southern distribution limit. In the European continent, where climatic conditions limit peat formation, they have endured significant anthropic pressure for centuries, and the risk of loss of biodiversity linked to these ecosystems is critical. In addition, peatlands are poorly known ecosystems in the Iberian Peninsula compared with other wetlands; therefore, we have studied the chemical parameters of water and the diversity patterns of testate amoebae in the western Iberian Peninsula to better understand the current status of these ecosystems. The analysis of testate amoeba communities showed an inverse relationship between the diversity and conservation status of these peatlands, both in relation to chemical parameters (i.e., pH, electrical conductivity, phosphates) and to the proportion of anthropized area, with a marked geographical pattern in the degree of anthropogenic disturbance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Biogeography and Evolutionary Biology of Peatlands)
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Article
Assessment of Water Quality, Eutrophication, and Zooplankton Community in Lake Burullus, Egypt
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060268 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 482
Abstract
Burullus Lake is Egypt’s second most important coastal lagoon. The present study aimed to shed light on the different types of polluted waters entering the lake from various drains, as well as to evaluate the zooplankton community, determine the physical and chemical characteristics [...] Read more.
Burullus Lake is Egypt’s second most important coastal lagoon. The present study aimed to shed light on the different types of polluted waters entering the lake from various drains, as well as to evaluate the zooplankton community, determine the physical and chemical characteristics of the waters, and study the eutrophication state based on three years of seasonal monitoring from 2017 to 2019 at 12 stations. The results revealed that Rotifera, Copepoda, Protozoa, and Cladocera dominated the zooplankton population across the three-year study period, with a total of 98 taxa from 59 genera and 10 groups detected in the whole-body lake in 2018 and 2019, compared to 93 species from 52 genera in 2017. Twelve representative surface water samples were collected from the lake to determine physicochemical parameters, i.e., temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, ammonia-N, nitrate–N, nitrate-N, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, dissolved reactive phosphorus, and chlorophyll-a, as well as Fe, Cu, Zn, Cr, Ni, Cd, and Pb ions. Based on the calculations of the water quality index (WQI), the lake was classified as having good water quality. However, the trophic state is ranked as hyper-eutrophic and high trophic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Biodiversity: Evolution, Taxonomy and Conservation)
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Article
Diversity of Useful Mexican Legumes: Analyses of Herbarium Specimen Records
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060267 - 13 Jun 2021
Viewed by 464
Abstract
Herbarium specimens of wild Mexican Leguminosae with ethnobotanical information are an important resource for understanding human–legume interactions. The 525 useful legume species registered in Mexico’s National Herbarium (MEXU) were analyzed using a hierarchical method and represented in dendrograms. Of these, 244 species noted [...] Read more.
Herbarium specimens of wild Mexican Leguminosae with ethnobotanical information are an important resource for understanding human–legume interactions. The 525 useful legume species registered in Mexico’s National Herbarium (MEXU) were analyzed using a hierarchical method and represented in dendrograms. Of these, 244 species noted a single use, while 281 species reported two or more uses. Plants applied for medicinal purposes registered the greatest number of species (351 spp.), followed by those employed as animal food (205 spp.), material sources (197 spp.), environmental modifiers (139 spp.), and food and food additives (119 spp.). This study also suggests that a greater number of uses is concentrated in closely related species-rich taxa rather than in less diverse groups, and that certain uses are clustered in phylogenetically related groups. Of particular interest are multipurpose shrubs and trees managed as living fences that satisfy a variety of needs in rural areas. This diversity of legume resources used by Mexican people may be advantageous in the planning and management of conservation areas, since the diversity, ubiquity, and economic importance of some of species have promoted overuse and destruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legume Evolution and Diversity)
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Article
Potential Distribution of Colonizing Nine-Banded Armadillos at Their Northern Range Edge
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060266 - 13 Jun 2021
Viewed by 478
Abstract
The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) has become a recent addition to the local fauna of Illinois as a response to habitat alteration and climate change. This range expansion has resulted in the presence of armadillos in areas not predicted by earlier [...] Read more.
The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) has become a recent addition to the local fauna of Illinois as a response to habitat alteration and climate change. This range expansion has resulted in the presence of armadillos in areas not predicted by earlier models. Although these models have been revised, armadillos continue to move north and have reached areas of heavy agricultural use. We identified conditions that favor the presence of armadillos and potential corridors for dispersal. Identifying the distribution of the armadillo in Illinois is a vital step in anticipating their arrival in areas containing potentially sensitive wildlife populations and habitats. Armadillo locations (n = 37) collected during 2016–2020 were used to develop a map of the potential distribution of armadillos in southern Illinois. Environmental data layers included in the model were land cover type, distance to water, distance to forest edge, human modification, and climactic variables. Land cover type was the most important contributing variable to the model. Our results are consistent with the tenet that armadillo activity and dispersal corridors are centered around riparian areas, and that forested cover may provide corridors an agricultural mosaic. Full article
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Article
Mediterranean Red Macro Algae Mats as Habitat for High Abundances of Serpulid Polychaetes
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060265 - 11 Jun 2021
Viewed by 494
Abstract
The Mediterranean Sea harbors more than 17,000 eukaryotic marine species, with several ecosystems recognized as biodiversity hotspots, such as Posidonia oceanica meadows. Recent research indicates that benthic mats formed by the fleshy red alga Phyllophora crispa are also associated with high species richness. [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Sea harbors more than 17,000 eukaryotic marine species, with several ecosystems recognized as biodiversity hotspots, such as Posidonia oceanica meadows. Recent research indicates that benthic mats formed by the fleshy red alga Phyllophora crispa are also associated with high species richness. Among key groups found in these mats are sessile polychaetes, which live as epiphytes on the red algae thalli. Knowledge of abundance, species richness, and spatial variation of polychaetes associated with these habitats is still scarce. We carried out a comparative assessment focusing on serpulid polychaetes within samples from P. crispa mats and neighboring P. oceanica meadows at six different sampling sites around Giglio Island (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy). A total of 17 serpulid taxa were identified. The abundance of serpulids (5665 individuals m−2 of P. crispa mat) were similar to neighboring P. oceanica meadows (2304 individuals m−2 leaves and 5890 individuals m−2 shoots). The number of serpulid taxa was significantly higher in P. crispa mats (average 6.63 ± 1.32 taxa) compared to P. oceanica beds (average 1.56 ± 0.63 and 1.84 ± 1.04 taxa in leaves and shoots, respectively). Within habitat type, there were no significant differences in species richness between sites. The most abundant species found was Josephella marenzelleri (61% of individuals), while Vermiliopsis spp. and Bathyvermilia sp. were exclusively found in P. crispa samples. Our results highlight that P. crispa mats host an exceptional diversity and that these habitats should be included in conservation strategies. Further research should focus on the significance of other important taxonomic groups within these mats and evaluate the distribution of P. crispa in different regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation in Mediterranean Sea)
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Article
Risk of Invasive Lupinus polyphyllus Seed Survival in Biomass Treatment Processes
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060264 - 11 Jun 2021
Viewed by 491
Abstract
Invasive plant species threaten native species and habitats causing ecologic, economic and social burden. When creating climate friendly solutions by utilizing plant biomasses in biogas and fertilizer production, safety should be ensured concerning the use of residues. This study concentrates on the treatment [...] Read more.
Invasive plant species threaten native species and habitats causing ecologic, economic and social burden. When creating climate friendly solutions by utilizing plant biomasses in biogas and fertilizer production, safety should be ensured concerning the use of residues. This study concentrates on the treatment of biomasses containing invasive plant material by tunnel and windrow composting, and by farm-scale and laboratory-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) in mesophilic conditions. Germination of the nationally settled and harmful invasive species Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl. was investigated after these processes. In addition, the role of the conditions found in the processes that destroyed seeds were studied, such as the time of exposure, temperature and static pressure. Dormant seeds are well protected against harsh conditions and can survive through various stress factors, but also become vulnerable as more factors are combined and time of exposure is extended. Our results suggest that the risks involved for the utilization of harmful invasive species increase with mesophilic temperatures and single treatments if the processing conditions are not stabile. One-month treatment with windrow composting showed a high risk for dormant seeds of L. polyphyllus seeds to survive, whereby extending the processing time reduced it substantially. Hard coated seeds can thus be broken with a combination of thermophilic temperatures, moisture and static pressure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Invasions: Selected Papers from NEOBIOTA 2020)
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Article
Molecular and Chemical Markers to Illustrate the Complex Diversity of the Genus Lupinus (Fabaceae)
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060263 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
The potential of secondary metabolites as systematic markers to get new insights in an intricate phylogeny of a recent evolutionary radiation is explored. A chemosystematic study of the genus Lupinus (Fabaceae) was performed, using quinolizidine (QA) and piperidine alkaloids (ammodendrine) as diagnostic characters. [...] Read more.
The potential of secondary metabolites as systematic markers to get new insights in an intricate phylogeny of a recent evolutionary radiation is explored. A chemosystematic study of the genus Lupinus (Fabaceae) was performed, using quinolizidine (QA) and piperidine alkaloids (ammodendrine) as diagnostic characters. Seven major QA and the piperidine alkaloid ammodendrine were found to be the most frequent compounds. Two groups were supported according to their geographic origin: an Old World/Atlantic American group and a West New World group and this pattern is concordant with molecular data (here, based on an original barcode approach using the nuclear marker ITS). However, QA profiles are less informative at the species level. Despite a lack of resolution within the two groups, the alkaloid profiles agree with well supported clades based on DNA molecular characters. The combined use of chemical and barcode genetic markers represents a viable alternative for separating recent evolutionary lineages to a first approximation without having to resort to an expensive and sophisticated molecular arsenal such as next generation sequencing. Full article
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Review
Does Chytridiomycosis Affect Tree Frog Attachment?
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060262 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 630
Abstract
The pandemic disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a major threat to amphibian biodiversity. For most species, the exact mechanisms of chytridiomycosis that lead to negative population dynamics remain uncertain, though mounting evidence suggests that sublethal effects [...] Read more.
The pandemic disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a major threat to amphibian biodiversity. For most species, the exact mechanisms of chytridiomycosis that lead to negative population dynamics remain uncertain, though mounting evidence suggests that sublethal effects could be an important driver. In this review, we propose that tree frog attachment is a promising case to study the sublethal effects of a Bd infection on amphibians. A synthesis of the current knowledge on the functional morphology of the adhesive toe pads of tree frogs, on the underlying mechanisms of tree frog attachment, and on the epidermal pathology of chytridiomycosis substantiates the hypothesis that Bd-induced epidermal alterations have the potential to disrupt tree frog attachment. We highlight a series of (biomechanical) experiments to test this hypothesis and to shed some light on the sublethal disease mechanisms of chytridiomycosis. The knowledge generated from such an approach could contribute to future research on Bd epidemiology and ultimately to the conservation of the biodiversity of arboreal anurans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation of Tree Frogs)
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Article
Biogeographic Distribution of Cedrela spp. Genus in Peru Using MaxEnt Modeling: A Conservation and Restoration Approach
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060261 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 763
Abstract
The increasing demand for tropical timber from natural forests has reduced the population sizes of native species such as Cedrela spp. because of their high economic value. To prevent the decline of population sizes of the species, all Cedrela species have been incorporated [...] Read more.
The increasing demand for tropical timber from natural forests has reduced the population sizes of native species such as Cedrela spp. because of their high economic value. To prevent the decline of population sizes of the species, all Cedrela species have been incorporated into Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The study presents information about the modeled distribution of the genus Cedrela in Peru that aims to identify potential habitat distribution of the genus, its availability in areas protected by national service of protected areas, and highlighted some areas because of their conservation relevance and the potential need for restoration. We modeled the distribution of the genus Cedrela in Peru using 947 occurrence records that included 10 species (C. odorata, C. montana, C. fissilis, C. longipetiolulata, C. angustifolia, C. nebulosa, C. kuelapensis, C. saltensis, C. weberbaueri, and C. molinensis). We aim to identify areas environmentally suitable for the occurrence of Cedrela that are legally protected by the National Service of Protected Areas (PAs) and those that are ideal for research and restoration projects. We used various environmental variables (19 bioclimatic variables, 3 topographic factors, 9 edaphic factors, solar radiation, and relative humidity) and the maximum entropy model (MaxEnt) to predict the probability of occurrence. We observed that 6.7% (86,916.2 km2) of Peru presents a high distribution probability of occurrence of Cedrela, distributed in 17 departments, with 4.4% (10,171.03 km2) of the area protected by PAs mainly under the category of protection forests. Another 11.65% (21,345.16 km2) of distribution covers areas highly prone to degradation, distributed mainly in the departments Ucayali, Loreto, and Madre de Dios, and needs immediate attention for its protection and restoration. We believe that the study will contribute significantly to conserve Cedrela and other endangered species, as well as to promote the sustainable use and management of timber species as a whole. Full article
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Article
Spatial Dynamics of Two Host-Parasite Relationships on Intertidal Oyster Reefs
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060260 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 378
Abstract
Intertidal reefs comprised of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) have long experienced habitat loss, altering habitat patch characteristics of size and distance from edge to interior, potentially influencing spatial dynamics of host-parasite relationships. Using two parasitic relationships, one between eastern oyster [...] Read more.
Intertidal reefs comprised of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) have long experienced habitat loss, altering habitat patch characteristics of size and distance from edge to interior, potentially influencing spatial dynamics of host-parasite relationships. Using two parasitic relationships, one between eastern oyster host and parasitic oyster pea crab (Zaops ostreum) and the other between a xanthid crab (Eurypanopeus depressus) and a parasitic rhizocephalan barnacle (Loxothylacus panopaei), we examined how host-parasite population characteristics varied on intertidal reefs by season, reef size, and distance from edge to interior. Pea crab prevalence was more related to habitat characteristics rather than host density, as pea crab prevalence was the highest on large reefs and along edges, areas of comparatively lower oyster densities. Reef size did not influence densities of parasitized or non-parasitized xanthid crabs, but densities varied from edge to interior. Non-parasitized xanthids had significantly lower densities along the reef edge compared to more interior reef locations, while parasitized xanthid crabs had no significant edge to interior pattern. Organismal size had a varied relationship based upon habitat characteristics, as pea crab carapace width (CW) varied interactively with season and reef size, whereas CW of parasitized/non-parasitized xanthid crabs varied significantly between edge and interior locations. These results demonstrated that influential habitat characteristics, such as patch size and edge versus interior, are both highly species and host-parasite specific. Therefore, continued habitat alteration and fragmentation of critical marine habitats may further impact spatial dynamics of host-parasite relationships. Full article
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Article
Dynamic Response of Soil Enzymes and Microbial Diversity to Continuous Application of Atrazine in Black Soil of a Cornfield without Rotation in Northeast China
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060259 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Atrazine has been extensively used in China’s agricultural production for a long time and the potential risks to the environment have received widespread attention. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the continuous application of atrazine on soil herbicide [...] Read more.
Atrazine has been extensively used in China’s agricultural production for a long time and the potential risks to the environment have received widespread attention. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the continuous application of atrazine on soil herbicide residues, soil enzyme activity, and microbial community structure, as well as to provide a theoretical reference for the appropriate application of atrazine and the improvement of soil. Previous studies have focused on the effects of atrazine on soil microorganisms, but the experiments used higher doses than recommended. To reveal the actual effects of atrazine on soil microorganisms, the recommended dose of atrazine was used for 0, 1, and 2 years. We studied atrazine residues and enzyme activity in the soil, and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) were measured to study the structure of the soil microbiome. The results show that the rate of atrazine degradation occurred rapidly after the initial administration, and with the increase in continuous administration, its half-life decreased from 24.6 d in the first year to 14.1 d in the second year. The application of atrazine significantly affected soil urease activity and cellulase activity, but it had no significant effect on saccharase activity. The continuous application of atrazine had a significant effect on the biomass of cultured bacteria in soil, but not on the biomass of culturable fungi and actinomycetes in the soil. Furthermore, the results of PLFA analysis show that the application of atrazine had a significant effect on the microbial structure of the soil. These results indicate that the significant increase in the degradation rate of atrazine during continuous application is related to the high adaptability of the soil microbiome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections)
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Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Characterization of Cysteine-Rich Receptor-Like Protein Kinase Genes in Tomato and Their Expression Profile in Response to Heat Stress
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060258 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 414
Abstract
During plant growth, development and stress adaption, receptor-like protein kinases (RLKs) are essential components in perceiving and integrating extracellular stimuli and transmitting the signals to activate the downstream signaling pathways. Cysteine-rich receptor-like protein kinases (CRKs) are a large subfamily of RLKs and their [...] Read more.
During plant growth, development and stress adaption, receptor-like protein kinases (RLKs) are essential components in perceiving and integrating extracellular stimuli and transmitting the signals to activate the downstream signaling pathways. Cysteine-rich receptor-like protein kinases (CRKs) are a large subfamily of RLKs and their roles in modulating plant disease resistance are well elucidated. However, the roles of CRKs in plant abiotic stress responses, especially heat stress, are largely unknown. In this study, 35 SlCRK genes were identified in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) based on the multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic relationships. SlCRK genes are tandemly distributed on seven chromosomes and have similar exon–intron organization and common conserved motifs. Various phytohormone responsive, stress responsive cis-regulatory elements and heat shock elements are predicted in the promoter regions of SlCRK genes. Transcriptome analysis of tomato fruits under heat stress revealed that most SlCRK genes were downregulated upon heat treatment. GO enrichment analyses of genes that were co-expressed with SlCRK members have identified various stress responses related and proteasomal protein catabolic process related genes, which may be involved in heat stress signaling. Overall, our results provide valuable information for further research on the roles of SlCRKs in response to abiotic stress, especially heat stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogenetics of Stress Regulators in Plants)
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Article
Temporal Variation in the Genetic Composition of an Endangered Marsupial Reflects Reintroduction History
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060257 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
The loss of genetic variation and genetic divergence from source populations are common problems for reintroductions that use captive animals or a small number of founders to establish a new population. This study evaluated the genetic changes occurring in a captive and a [...] Read more.
The loss of genetic variation and genetic divergence from source populations are common problems for reintroductions that use captive animals or a small number of founders to establish a new population. This study evaluated the genetic changes occurring in a captive and a reintroduced population of the dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis) that were established from multiple source populations over a twelve-year period, using 21 microsatellite loci. While the levels of genetic variation within the captive and reintroduced populations were relatively stable, and did not differ significantly from the source populations, their effective population size reduced 10–16-fold over the duration of this study. Evidence of some loss of genetic variation in the reintroduced population coincided with genetic bottlenecks that occurred after the population had become established. Detectable changes in the genetic composition of both captive and reintroduced populations were associated with the origins of the individuals introduced to the population. We show that interbreeding between individuals from different source populations lowered the genetic relatedness among the offspring, but this was short-lived. Our study highlights the importance of sourcing founders from multiple locations in conservation breeding programs to avoid inbreeding and maximize allelic diversity. The manipulation of genetic composition in a captive or reintroduced population is possible with careful management of the origins and timings of founder releases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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Article
Diversity of Algae and Cyanobacteria and Bioindication Characteristics of the Alpine Lake Nesamovyte (Eastern Carpathians, Ukraine) from 100 Years Ago to the Present
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060256 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
The species diversity and changes in the structural dynamics of the algal flora from the alpine lake Nesamovyte has been studied for 100 years. During the period of investigations, 234 species (245 infraspecific taxa) were revealed to cover more than 70% of the [...] Read more.
The species diversity and changes in the structural dynamics of the algal flora from the alpine lake Nesamovyte has been studied for 100 years. During the period of investigations, 234 species (245 infraspecific taxa) were revealed to cover more than 70% of the modern species composition of the studied lake. The modern biodiversity of algae is characterized by an increase in the number of widespread forms, a change from the baseline “montane” complex in comparison to the beginning of the 20th century. Nevertheless, the Nesamovyte Lake still has a unique algae composition that is typical for high-mountainous European lakes. The presence of a different complex of conventionally arctic species of algae, in particular, diatoms is discussed. Structural changes in the taxonomic composition of the algal flora of the lake as well as in the complex of the leading genera, species and their diversity are revealed. An ecological analysis of the algal species composition of the lake showed vulnerability and degradation to the ecosystem of the lake. On this basis, the issue regarding the question of protection and preservation of the algae significance and uniqueness of the flora of algae in the Nesamovyte Lake are discussed. Full article
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Article
Citizen Science Contributions to Address Biodiversity Loss and Conservation Planning in a Rapidly Developing Region
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060255 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 550
Abstract
Biodiversity data support conservation research and inform conservation decisions addressing the wicked problem of biodiversity loss. However, these data often need processing and compilation before use, which exceed the time availability of professional scientists. Nevertheless, scientists can recruit, train, and support a network [...] Read more.
Biodiversity data support conservation research and inform conservation decisions addressing the wicked problem of biodiversity loss. However, these data often need processing and compilation before use, which exceed the time availability of professional scientists. Nevertheless, scientists can recruit, train, and support a network of citizen scientists to prepare these data using online platforms. Here, we describe three citizen science projects sponsored by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission to transcribe and georeference historic herbarium specimens and document current biodiversity through iNaturalist for two highly biodiverse and rapidly developing counties in Northwest Arkansas, USA. Citizen science-generated data will be used in a county natural heritage inventory (CNHI) report, including a comprehensive list of taxa tied to voucher specimens and records for rare plant populations. Since the CNHI project started in 2018, citizen scientists have transcribed 8855 and georeferenced 2636 specimen records. From iNaturalist observations, 125 rare plant populations of 39 taxa have been documented. This CNHI report will determine the most critical taxa, habitats, and sites for conservation action in the region and will inform conservation stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels as they engage in land acquisition, ecological restoration, natural resource management, planning of growth and development, and environmental review/regulation. Full article
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Article
Parrot Free-Flight as a Conservation Tool
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060254 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1244
Abstract
The release of captive-raised parrots to create or supplement wild populations has been critiqued due to variable survival rates and unreliable flocking behavior. Private bird owners free-fly their parrots in outdoor environments and utilize techniques that could address the needs of conservation breed [...] Read more.
The release of captive-raised parrots to create or supplement wild populations has been critiqued due to variable survival rates and unreliable flocking behavior. Private bird owners free-fly their parrots in outdoor environments and utilize techniques that could address the needs of conservation breed and release projects. We present methods and results of a free-flight training technique used for 3 parrot flocks: A large-bodied (8 macaws of 3 species and 2 hybrids), small-bodied (25 individuals of 4 species), and a Sun Parakeet flock (4 individuals of 1 species). Obtained as chicks, the birds were hand-reared in an enriched environment. As juveniles, the birds were systematically exposed to increasingly complex wildland environments, mirroring the learning process of wild birds developing skills. The criteria we evaluated for each flock were predation rates, antipredator behavior, landscape navigation, and foraging. No parrots were lost to predation or disorientation during over 500 months of free-flight time, and all birds demonstrated effective flocking, desirable landscape navigation, and wild food usage. The authors conclude that this free-flight method may be directly applicable for conservation releases, similar to the use of falconry methods for raptor conservation. Full article
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Article
A Participatory Agrobiodiversity Conservation Approach in the Oases: Community Actions for the Promotion of Sustainable Development in Fragile Areas
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060253 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 612
Abstract
Rural development policies today include significant directions towards ecological transition and sustainability. Biodiversity plays a fundamental role, especially in fragile environments. The North African oases, for example, are socio-ecological structures with delicate balances in terms of natural resources, where the activation of participatory [...] Read more.
Rural development policies today include significant directions towards ecological transition and sustainability. Biodiversity plays a fundamental role, especially in fragile environments. The North African oases, for example, are socio-ecological structures with delicate balances in terms of natural resources, where the activation of participatory conservation approaches appears today to be very useful, aiming at long-lasting results. This type of approach was applied in the oasis of El Hamma, in Tunisia. The socio-ecological analysis was carried out through semi-structured interviews with different stakeholders of the oasis. The results were used to activate focus groups and to identify, in a participatory way, a conservation strategy for the species and the varieties at risk of erosion or disappearing. From this research, a wide spread of non-traditional date palm and vegetables emerged in a very diverse social context. These products were recognized as highly significant in terms of traditional knowledge by all stakeholders. Therefore, a Maison des semences and a public conservation center for perennial species were created, representing the first step of a participatory conservation model. Seeds of 11 traditional annual species, 10 date palm varieties and, in perspective, many other fruit species and vegetable varieties have been introduced into conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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Article
Responses and Indicators of Composition, Diversity, and Productivity of Plant Communities at Different Levels of Disturbance in a Wetland Ecosystem
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060252 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Grassland tourism is a very popular leisure activity in many parts of the world. However, the presence of people in these areas causes disturbance to the local environment and grassland resources. This study analyzes the composition, diversity, and productivity under different levels of [...] Read more.
Grassland tourism is a very popular leisure activity in many parts of the world. However, the presence of people in these areas causes disturbance to the local environment and grassland resources. This study analyzes the composition, diversity, and productivity under different levels of disturbance of the plant communities in the Kangxi Grassland Tourist Area and the Yeyahu Wetland Nature Reserve of Beijing, China. It aims to identify indicators of plant communities and their responses to different levels of disturbance. Our analysis shows that the plant community density and coverage have a certain compensatory increase under disturbed conditions. With the increase in disturbances, more drought-tolerant species have appeared (increased by 5.7%), some of which have become the grazing-tolerance indicator species in the trampled grazed area (TGA). For plant community productivity, biomass and height are good indicators for distinguishing different disturbances (p < 0.05). In addition, several diversity indices reveal the change of plant communities from different perspectives (three of the four indices were significant at the p < 0.05 level). For soil parameters, soil water content and organic matter concentration help to indicate different disturbance levels (the former has a 64% change). Moreover, the standard deviation of the plant community and soil parameters is also a good indicator of their spatial variability and disturbance levels, especially for the TGA. Our analysis confirms that the indicators of productivity, diversity, and soil parameters can indicate the disturbance level in each subarea from different perspectives. However, under disturbed conditions, a comprehensive analysis of these indicators is needed before we can accurately understand the state of health of the plant community. Full article
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Review
Turbid Coral Reefs: Past, Present and Future—A Review
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060251 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1116
Abstract
Increasing evidence suggests that coral reefs exposed to elevated turbidity may be more resilient to climate change impacts and serve as an important conservation hotspot. However, logistical difficulties in studying turbid environments have led to poor representation of these reef types within the [...] Read more.
Increasing evidence suggests that coral reefs exposed to elevated turbidity may be more resilient to climate change impacts and serve as an important conservation hotspot. However, logistical difficulties in studying turbid environments have led to poor representation of these reef types within the scientific literature, with studies using different methods and definitions to characterize turbid reefs. Here we review the geological origins and growth histories of turbid reefs from the Holocene (past), their current ecological and environmental states (present), and their potential responses and resilience to increasing local and global pressures (future). We classify turbid reefs using new descriptors based on their turbidity regime (persistent, fluctuating, transitional) and sources of sediment input (natural versus anthropogenic). Further, by comparing the composition, function and resilience of two of the most studied turbid reefs, Paluma Shoals Reef Complex, Australia (natural turbidity) and Singapore reefs (anthropogenic turbidity), we found them to be two distinct types of turbid reefs with different conservation status. As the geographic range of turbid reefs is expected to increase due to local and global stressors, improving our understanding of their responses to environmental change will be central to global coral reef conservation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marginal Reef Systems: Resilience in A Rapidly Changing World)
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Article
Allele Surfing and Holocene Expansion of an Australian Fig (Ficus—Moraceae)
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060250 - 07 Jun 2021
Viewed by 471
Abstract
The creek sandpaper fig of southeastern Australia, Ficus coronata Spin, is culturally significant to Australian traditional owners who made use of the leaves to smooth timber and ate the fruit. The species is thought to have a long history on the continent, with [...] Read more.
The creek sandpaper fig of southeastern Australia, Ficus coronata Spin, is culturally significant to Australian traditional owners who made use of the leaves to smooth timber and ate the fruit. The species is thought to have a long history on the continent, with some suggesting a Gondwanan origin. However, distributional patterns and overall ecology suggest a recent expansion across suitable habitats. We used landscape genomic techniques and environmental niche modelling to reconstruct its history and explore whether the species underwent a recent and rapid expansion along the east coast of New South Wales. Genomic analysis of 178 specimens collected from 32 populations throughout the species’ New South Wales distribution revealed a lack of genetic diversity and population structure. Some populations at the species’ southern and western range limits displayed unexpected diversity, which appears to be the result of allele surfing. Field work and genetic evidence suggest a Holocene expansion which may have increased since European colonisation. We also present a novel method for detecting allele surfing—MAHF (minor allele at highest frequency). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation of Native Plants)
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