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Diversity, Volume 13, Issue 8 (August 2021) – 63 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In this study, we documented the ant diversity of Macao (China), one of the most densely populated regions on Earth, and produced a species checklist. We compared our results with 112 studies on urban ants to illustrate the dual roles of cities in sustaining ant diversity and supporting the spread of exotic species. Our study provides the first assessment on the vertical distribution of urban ant communities, allowing the detection of 55 new records in Macao, for a total of 155 ant species (11.5% being exotic)—one of the highest counts reported for a city. Our results contrast with the dominant paradigm that urban landscapes have limited conservation value but supports the hypothesis that cities are gateways for exotic species. View this paper
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Review
Retinoic Acid Signaling in Vertebrate Hindbrain Segmentation: Evolution and Diversification
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080398 - 23 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1513
Abstract
In metazoans, Hox genes are key drivers of morphogenesis. In chordates, they play important roles in patterning the antero-posterior (A-P) axis. A crucial aspect of their role in axial patterning is their collinear expression, a process thought to be linked to their response [...] Read more.
In metazoans, Hox genes are key drivers of morphogenesis. In chordates, they play important roles in patterning the antero-posterior (A-P) axis. A crucial aspect of their role in axial patterning is their collinear expression, a process thought to be linked to their response to major signaling pathways such as retinoic acid (RA) signaling. The amplification of Hox genes following major events of genome evolution can contribute to morphological diversity. In vertebrates, RA acts as a key regulator of the gene regulatory network (GRN) underlying hindbrain segmentation, which includes Hox genes. This review investigates how the RA signaling machinery has evolved and diversified and discusses its connection to the hindbrain GRN in relation to diversity. Using non-chordate and chordate deuterostome models, we explore aspects of ancient programs of axial patterning in an attempt to retrace the evolution of the vertebrate hindbrain GRN. In addition, we investigate how the RA signaling machinery has evolved in vertebrates and highlight key examples of regulatory diversification that may have influenced the GRN for hindbrain segmentation. Finally, we describe the value of using lamprey as a model for the early-diverged jawless vertebrate group, to investigate the elaboration of A-P patterning mechanisms in the vertebrate lineage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution, Development, and Diversification of Vertebrates)
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Article
Spatial Genetic Structure of Prunus mongolica in Arid Northwestern China Based on RAD Sequencing Data
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080397 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 753
Abstract
The extensive range of sand deserts, gravel deserts, and recent human activities have shaped habitat fragmentation of relict and endangered plants in arid northwestern China. Prunus mongolica is a relict and endangered shrub that is mainly distributed in the study area. In the [...] Read more.
The extensive range of sand deserts, gravel deserts, and recent human activities have shaped habitat fragmentation of relict and endangered plants in arid northwestern China. Prunus mongolica is a relict and endangered shrub that is mainly distributed in the study area. In the present study, population genomics was integrated with a species distribution model (SDM) to investigate the spatial genetic diversity and structure of P. mongolica populations in response to habitat fragmentation and create a proposal for the conservation of this endangered species. The results showed that the northern marginal populations were the first isolated from other populations. The SDM suggested that these marginal populations had low levels of habitat suitability during the glacial period. They could not obtain migration corridors, and thus possessed low levels of gene flow connection with other populations. Additionally, several populations underwent secondarily geographical isolation from other central populations, which preserved particular genetic lineages. Genetic diversity was higher in southern populations than in northern ones. It was concluded that long-term geographical isolation after historical habitat fragmentation promoted the divergence of marginal populations and refugial populations along mountains from other populations. The southern populations could have persisted in their distribution ranges and harbored higher levels of genetic diversity than the northern populations, whose distribution ranges fluctuated in response to paleoclimatic changes. We propose that the marginal populations of P. mongolica should be well considered in conservation management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics and Biogeography of Seed Plant Species)
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Review
Review of Harmful Algal Blooms in the Coastal Mediterranean Sea, with a Focus on Greek Waters
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080396 - 22 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1511
Abstract
Anthropogenic marine eutrophication has been recognized as one of the major threats to aquatic ecosystem health. In recent years, eutrophication phenomena, prompted by global warming and population increase, have stimulated the proliferation of potentially harmful algal taxa resulting in the prevalence of frequent [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic marine eutrophication has been recognized as one of the major threats to aquatic ecosystem health. In recent years, eutrophication phenomena, prompted by global warming and population increase, have stimulated the proliferation of potentially harmful algal taxa resulting in the prevalence of frequent and intense harmful algal blooms (HABs) in coastal areas. Numerous coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea (MS) are under environmental pressures arising from human activities that are driving ecosystem degradation and resulting in the increase of the supply of nutrient inputs. In this review, we aim to present the recent situation regarding the appearance of HABs in Mediterranean coastal areas linked to anthropogenic eutrophication, to highlight the features and particularities of the MS, and to summarize the harmful phytoplankton outbreaks along the length of coastal areas of many localities. Furthermore, we focus on HABs documented in Greek coastal areas according to the causative algal species, the period of occurrence, and the induced damage in human and ecosystem health. The occurrence of eutrophication-induced HAB incidents during the past two decades is emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Marine Microbes II)
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Article
Using Paleoecological Data to Inform the Conservation Strategy for Floristic Diversity and Isoetes taiwanensis in Northern Taiwan
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080395 - 22 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 780
Abstract
Paleoecological data can be used to inform nature conservation practice. Dream Lake (DL) is the best-preserved peat bog in the Tatun Volcanic Group of northern Taiwan. We analyzed continuous pollen and charcoal data from a well-dated sediment core from DL to reconstruct the [...] Read more.
Paleoecological data can be used to inform nature conservation practice. Dream Lake (DL) is the best-preserved peat bog in the Tatun Volcanic Group of northern Taiwan. We analyzed continuous pollen and charcoal data from a well-dated sediment core from DL to reconstruct the changes in climate, lacustrine condition, and floristic diversity during the last 4500 cal BP. An absence of volcanic ash from all sediments indicates weak volcanic activity. Significant changes in lithology and pollen composition show that DL changed from a deep lake to a shallow peat bog from 3000 cal BP onwards. The palynological diversity index was negatively correlated with fire frequency. A substantial decline in Isoetes (quillwort) spores suggests increased vulnerability during the peat bog period. Natural terrestrialization will lower the mean water depth of DL below the minimum required for Isoetes taiwanensis survival within 300 years. Our findings indicate that winter precipitation driven by intense East Asian winter monsoons is the critical force determining the long-term variation in floristic diversity and abundance of I. taiwanensis. This long-term ecological history of DL, derived using paleoecological techniques, will be used to inform conservation practice in the Tatun Volcanic Group. Full article
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Article
Integrative Descriptions of Two New Tardigrade Species along with the New Record of Mesobiotus skorackii Kaczmarek et al., 2018 from Canada
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 394; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080394 - 22 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
Two new tardigrade species from a moss sample collected in Canada, one representing Macrobiotus hufelandi complex and the second one belonging to the genus Bryodelphax, are described. Integrative analysis was undertaken based on morphological and morphometric data (using both light and scanning [...] Read more.
Two new tardigrade species from a moss sample collected in Canada, one representing Macrobiotus hufelandi complex and the second one belonging to the genus Bryodelphax, are described. Integrative analysis was undertaken based on morphological and morphometric data (using both light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM)) combined with multilocus molecular analysis (nuclear sequences, i.e., 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA and ITS-2 as well as mitochondrial COI barcode sequences). Based on COI sequences, Macrobiotus birendrai sp. nov. is most similar to Mac. canaricus (p-distance 17%), whereas Bryodelphax mareki sp. nov. is most similar to Bry. parvulus (p-distance 16%). Both species differ also from their congeners in some morphological and morphometric characters of adults and/or details of egg chorion. Additionally, a large population of Mesobiotus skorackii was found in the sample and this is the first report of this species outside its terra typica in Kirghizia. The original description of this species was prepared based solely on the morphology and morphometry, therefore, here we provide updated data for this species enclosing morphometric and molecular data for the Canadian population. Full article
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Review
Evolution, Homology, and Development of Tetrapod Limb Muscles
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080393 - 21 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1520
Abstract
Since the early 1900s, researchers have attempted to unravel the origin and evolution of tetrapod limb muscles using a combination of comparative anatomy, phylogeny, and development. The methods for reconstructing soft tissues in extinct animals have been refined over time as our ability [...] Read more.
Since the early 1900s, researchers have attempted to unravel the origin and evolution of tetrapod limb muscles using a combination of comparative anatomy, phylogeny, and development. The methods for reconstructing soft tissues in extinct animals have been refined over time as our ability to determine muscle homology and phylogenetic relationships between tetrapods has improved. Since many muscles do not leave osteological correlates, muscle reconstruction in extinct animals is largely based on anatomy and development in extant animals. While muscle anatomy in extant tetrapods is quite conservative, the homologies of certain muscles between taxonomic groups are still uncertain. Comparative developmental studies can help to resolve these controversies, as well as revealing general patterns of muscle morphogenesis across tetrapod groups. We review the methods, results, and controversies in the muscle reconstructions of early members of the amniote, mammalian, and lissamphibian lineages, including recent attempts to reconstruct limb muscles in members of the tetrapod stem group. We also review the contribution of recent comparative developmental studies toward understanding the evolution of tetrapod limb muscles, including morphogenic gradients, the origin of paired fins, and the evolution of morphological complexity. Finally, we discuss the role of broad, comparative myological studies as part of an integrative research program on vertebrate evolutionary biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution, Development, and Diversification of Vertebrates)
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Article
The Towakkalak System, A Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080392 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 805
Abstract
The Towakkalak System located in the Maros karst of South Sulawesi is currently the richest of Southeast Asia in obligate subterranean species. It comprises several caves and shafts that give access to the subterranean Towakkalak river as well as many unconnected fossil caves, [...] Read more.
The Towakkalak System located in the Maros karst of South Sulawesi is currently the richest of Southeast Asia in obligate subterranean species. It comprises several caves and shafts that give access to the subterranean Towakkalak river as well as many unconnected fossil caves, stream sinks, and springs located within its footprint. The total length of the caves linked to the active system is 24,319 m and comprises two of the longest caves of Indonesia, Gua Salukkan Kallang and Gua Tanette. Studies of its fauna began in 1985. There are 10 stygobionts and 26 troglobionts that are known from the system. The smaller adjacent system of Saripa has 6 stygobionts and 18 troglobionts, of which 1 and 3, respectively, are absent from Towakkalak. Like all tropical cave inventories, our dataset has limits due to identification uncertainties, gaps in habitat (waters, guano) and taxonomic coverage (micro-crustaceans, mites), sampling methods (pitfall trapping, Karaman–Chappuis), and problems of ecological assignment. A number of additional species are therefore expected to be found in the future. The Towakkalak and Saripa cave systems are included in the Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park and are under efficient protection, but parts of the Maros karst outside the park are under serious threat, mainly from quarrying. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
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Review
Understanding Diversity and Systematics in Australian Fabaceae Tribe Mirbelieae
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080391 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
Australia has a very diverse pea-flowered legume flora with 1715 native and naturalised species currently recognised. Tribe Mirbelieae s.l. includes 44% of Australia’s peas in 24 genera with 756 recognised species. However, several genera within the Pultenaea alliance in tribe Mirbelieae are considered [...] Read more.
Australia has a very diverse pea-flowered legume flora with 1715 native and naturalised species currently recognised. Tribe Mirbelieae s.l. includes 44% of Australia’s peas in 24 genera with 756 recognised species. However, several genera within the Pultenaea alliance in tribe Mirbelieae are considered to be non-monophyletic and two main options have been proposed: option one is to merge ca. 18 genera containing ca. 540 species (the largest genus, Pultenaea has nomenclatural priority); and option two is to re-circumscribe some genera and describe new genera as required to form monophyletic groups. At the species level, option one would require 76% of names to be changed; whereas based on available data, option two is likely to require, at most, 8.3% of names to change. Option two therefore provides the least nomenclatural disruption but cannot be implemented without a robust phylogenetic framework to define new generic limits. Here we present novel analyses of available plastid DNA data (trnL-F) which suggest that option two would be feasible once sufficient data are generated to resolve relationships. However, the reticulate evolutionary histories or past rapid speciation suggested for this group may prevent the resolution of all nodes. We propose targeted use of Next-Generation Sequencing technology as the best way to resolve relationships between the key clades in the tribe and present a framework for such a study. An overview of current taxonomy in the tribe is presented, along with the state of taxonomic knowledge and availability of published descriptions for electronic flora treatments. Several new combinations and typifications are published in an appendix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legume Evolution and Diversity)
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Article
Application of COI Primers 30F/885R in Rotifers to Regional Species Diversity in (Sub)Tropical China
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080390 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
Rotifers are the most diverse group in freshwater zooplankton and play an important role in food webs and ecosystems. DNA barcoding has become a useful approach to investigate species diversity at local and regional scales, but its application is still limited by efficient [...] Read more.
Rotifers are the most diverse group in freshwater zooplankton and play an important role in food webs and ecosystems. DNA barcoding has become a useful approach to investigate species diversity at local and regional scales, but its application is still limited by efficient primers for the group. To test a pair of primers 30F/885R recently designed for rotifers, we applied them to investigating regional species diversity in the freshwater of South China. We sequenced the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene of rotifers collected from the investigated 23 reservoirs in a large river basin and obtained 145 COI sequences from 33 species in 14 genera. The mean PCR success rate for all tested species was 50%. The 145 sequenced mtCOI in this study covered 33 of 64 identified morphological taxa, including most of the common species in the basin. The intraspecific genetic distance was calculated with a K2P model for 24 rotifer species occurring in the quantitative samples, in which 15 rotifers, such as Keratella cochlearis and Brachionus calyciflorus, had a genetic distance higher than 5%. The high intraspecific genetic differentiation indicates that cryptic species are probably common in (sub)tropical China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Organisms Research with DNA Barcodes)
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Article
Environmental Factors Affecting the Spatiotemporal Distribution of Copepods in a Small Mesotidal Inlet and Estuary
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 389; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080389 - 18 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 840
Abstract
To understand the environmental factors affecting the spatiotemporal distribution of copepods, sampling was conducted seasonally in a small mesotidal inlet and estuary located in Doam Bay of southwestern Korea. The study area was divided seasonally into two or three station groups (estuarine, mixed, [...] Read more.
To understand the environmental factors affecting the spatiotemporal distribution of copepods, sampling was conducted seasonally in a small mesotidal inlet and estuary located in Doam Bay of southwestern Korea. The study area was divided seasonally into two or three station groups (estuarine, mixed, and coastal) by a cluster analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling based on copepod abundance. Acartia forticrusa, A. hudsonica, A. ohtsukai, Paracalanus parvus s. l., Pseudodiaptomus marinus, Tortanus derjugini, T. dextrilobatus, T. forcipatus, Oithona spp., and harpacticoids were important species for grouping the stations. The spatiotemporal distribution of the first two species was restricted to the estuarine area in summer and significantly correlated with temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll-a concentration. The distribution of other brackish species, such as T. derjugini and T. dextrilobatus, significantly correlated with temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll-a concentration. In contrast, A. hudsonica significantly correlated with dinoflagellate density and turbidity in winter, in addition to the abovementioned environmental factors. Acartia hudsonica also maintained a large population in the estuarine area in fall and winter, and its distribution extended across the entire bay in spring. Other coastal species occurred in all areas and did not significantly correlate with environmental factors. Therefore, brackish species in the study area may have developed seasonally different behaviors to sustain their populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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Communication
Decline of the Commercially Attractive White Morph in Goliath Beetle Polymorphic Populations
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080388 - 18 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
The Goliath beetle (Goliathus goliatus) is one of the largest and most commercially valuable (for collection exports) beetle species worldwide, and occurs in West and Central Africa, with polymorphic populations being found in Benin, Eastern Nigeria, and Western Cameroun. The white [...] Read more.
The Goliath beetle (Goliathus goliatus) is one of the largest and most commercially valuable (for collection exports) beetle species worldwide, and occurs in West and Central Africa, with polymorphic populations being found in Benin, Eastern Nigeria, and Western Cameroun. The white morph is the most commercially valuable, and therefore is actively searched for by hunters and dealers. In a long-term, opportunistically conducted study in south-eastern Nigeria, we documented a substantial decline of the white morph compared to the normally coloured brown morph, although an overall decline in the number of observed beetles was evident for both colour morphs. Although a combination of reasons may have caused the white form decline, it is likely that overcollecting was the primary threat behind the observed pattern. Therefore, we urge the competent authorities to better protect the polymorphic populations of these giant beetles and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to make a quick assessment for eventual inclusion of the species among the threatened taxa Red List. Full article
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Article
Mammal Species Richness at a Catena and Nearby Waterholes during a Drought, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 387; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080387 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 898
Abstract
Catenas are undulating hillslopes on a granite geology characterised by different soil types that create an environmental gradient from crest to bottom. The main aim was to determine mammal species (>mongoose) present on one catenal slope and its waterholes and group them by [...] Read more.
Catenas are undulating hillslopes on a granite geology characterised by different soil types that create an environmental gradient from crest to bottom. The main aim was to determine mammal species (>mongoose) present on one catenal slope and its waterholes and group them by feeding guild and body size. Species richness was highest at waterholes (21 species), followed by midslope (19) and sodic patch (16) on the catena. Small differences observed in species presence between zones and waterholes and between survey periods were not significant (p = 0.5267 and p = 0.9139). In total, 33 species were observed with camera traps: 18 herbivore species, 10 carnivores, two insectivores and three omnivores. Eight small mammal species, two dwarf antelopes, 11 medium, six large and six mega-sized mammals were observed. Some species might not have been recorded because of drought, seasonal movement or because they travelled outside the view of cameras. Mammal presence is determined by food availability and accessibility, space, competition, distance to water, habitat preferences, predators, body size, social behaviour, bound to territories, etc. The variety in body size and feeding guilds possibly indicates a functioning catenal ecosystem. This knowledge can be beneficial in monitoring and conservation of species in the park. Full article
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Article
Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Two Endangered Neotropical Parrots Inform In Situ and Ex Situ Conservation Strategies
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080386 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1260
Abstract
A key aspect in the conservation of endangered populations is understanding patterns of genetic variation and structure, which can provide managers with critical information to support evidence-based status assessments and management strategies. This is especially important for species with small wild and larger [...] Read more.
A key aspect in the conservation of endangered populations is understanding patterns of genetic variation and structure, which can provide managers with critical information to support evidence-based status assessments and management strategies. This is especially important for species with small wild and larger captive populations, as found in many endangered parrots. We used genotypic data to assess genetic variation and structure in wild and captive populations of two endangered parrots, the blue-throated macaw, Ara glaucogularis, of Bolivia, and the thick-billed parrot, Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha, of Mexico. In the blue-throated macaw, we found evidence of weak genetic differentiation between wild northern and southern subpopulations, and between wild and captive populations. In the thick-billed parrot we found no signal of differentiation between the Madera and Tutuaca breeding colonies or between wild and captive populations. Similar levels of genetic diversity were detected in the wild and captive populations of both species, with private alleles detected in captivity in both, and in the wild in the thick-billed parrot. We found genetic signatures of a bottleneck in the northern blue-throated macaw subpopulation, but no such signal was identified in any other subpopulation of either species. Our results suggest both species could potentially benefit from reintroduction of genetic variation found in captivity, and emphasize the need for genetic management of captive populations. Full article
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Article
A GIS Modeling Study of the Distribution of Viviparous Invasive Alien Fish Species in Eastern Europe in Terms of Global Climate Change, as Exemplified by Poecilia reticulata Peters, 1859 and Gambusia holbrooki Girarg, 1859
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080385 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 878
Abstract
The potential distribution of tropical fish species in Eastern Europe—Gambusia holbrooki (introduced for biological control) and Poecilia reticulata (aquarium species, found in waste waters of big cities)—tend to be of particular interest in terms of global climate change. After GIS modeling of [...] Read more.
The potential distribution of tropical fish species in Eastern Europe—Gambusia holbrooki (introduced for biological control) and Poecilia reticulata (aquarium species, found in waste waters of big cities)—tend to be of particular interest in terms of global climate change. After GIS modeling of our own data and findings listed in the GBIF databases (2278 points for G. holbrooki and 1410 points for P. reticulata) using the Maxent package and ‘ntbox’ package in R, 18 uncorrelated variables of 35 Bioclim climatic parameters from CliMond dataset, it was found out that by 2090 guppies will appear in the south of Ukraine (Danube river’s estuary, as well as in several places in the Caucasus and Turkey with habitat suitability > 0.3–0.5). G. holbrooki will also slightly expand its range in Europe. Limiting factors for G. holbrooki distribution are: bio1 (Annual mean temperature, optimum +12–+24 °C) and bio19 (Precipitation of coldest quarter (mm). Limiting factors for P. reticulata are: bio1 (optimum +14–+28 °C), bio4 (Temperature seasonality), bio3 (Isothermality). Unlike G. holbrooki, guppies prefer warmer waters. Such thermophilic fish species do not compete with the native ichthyofauna, but they can occupy niches in anthropogenically transformed habitats, playing an important role as agents of biological control. Full article
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Review
Conserved Mechanisms, Novel Anatomies: The Developmental Basis of Fin Evolution and the Origin of Limbs
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080384 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1321
Abstract
The transformation of paired fins into tetrapod limbs is one of the most intensively scrutinized events in animal evolution. Early anatomical and embryological datasets identified distinctive morphological regions within the appendage and posed hypotheses about how the loss, gain, and transformation of these [...] Read more.
The transformation of paired fins into tetrapod limbs is one of the most intensively scrutinized events in animal evolution. Early anatomical and embryological datasets identified distinctive morphological regions within the appendage and posed hypotheses about how the loss, gain, and transformation of these regions could explain the observed patterns of both extant and fossil appendage diversity. These hypotheses have been put to the test by our growing understanding of patterning mechanisms that regulate formation of the appendage axes, comparisons of gene expression data from an array of phylogenetically informative taxa, and increasingly sophisticated and elegant experiments leveraging the latest molecular approaches. Together, these data demonstrate the remarkable conservation of developmental mechanisms, even across phylogenetically and morphologically disparate taxa, as well as raising new questions about the way we view homology, evolutionary novelty, and the often non-linear connection between morphology and gene expression. In this review, we present historical hypotheses regarding paired fin evolution and limb origins, summarize key aspects of central appendage patterning mechanisms in model and non-model species, address how modern comparative developmental data interface with our understanding of appendage anatomy, and highlight new approaches that promise to provide new insight into these well-traveled questions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution, Development, and Diversification of Vertebrates)
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Review
Why Is the Alpine Flora Comparatively Robust against Climatic Warming?
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080383 - 16 Aug 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1843
Abstract
The alpine belt hosts the treeless vegetation above the high elevation climatic treeline. The way alpine plants manage to thrive in a climate that prevents tree growth is through small stature, apt seasonal development, and ‘managing’ the microclimate near the ground surface. Nested [...] Read more.
The alpine belt hosts the treeless vegetation above the high elevation climatic treeline. The way alpine plants manage to thrive in a climate that prevents tree growth is through small stature, apt seasonal development, and ‘managing’ the microclimate near the ground surface. Nested in a mosaic of micro-environmental conditions, these plants are in a unique position by a close-by neighborhood of strongly diverging microhabitats. The range of adjacent thermal niches that the alpine environment provides is exceeding the worst climate warming scenarios. The provided mountains are high and large enough, these are conditions that cause alpine plant species diversity to be robust against climatic change. However, the areal extent of certain habitat types will shrink as isotherms move upslope, with the potential areal loss by the advance of the treeline by far outranging the gain in new land by glacier retreat globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity, Ecology and Conservation of Alpine Plants)
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Article
Applying Population Viability Analysis to Inform Genetic Rescue That Preserves Locally Unique Genetic Variation in a Critically Endangered Mammal
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080382 - 16 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
Genetic rescue can reduce the extinction risk of inbred populations, but it has the poorly understood risk of ‘genetic swamping’—the replacement of the distinctive variation of the target population. We applied population viability analysis (PVA) to identify translocation rates into the inbred lowland [...] Read more.
Genetic rescue can reduce the extinction risk of inbred populations, but it has the poorly understood risk of ‘genetic swamping’—the replacement of the distinctive variation of the target population. We applied population viability analysis (PVA) to identify translocation rates into the inbred lowland population of Leadbeater’s possum from an outbred highland population that would alleviate inbreeding depression and rapidly reach a target population size (N) while maximising the retention of locally unique neutral genetic variation. Using genomic kinship coefficients to model inbreeding in Vortex, we simulated genetic rescue scenarios that included gene pool mixing with genetically diverse highland possums and increased the N from 35 to 110 within ten years. The PVA predicted that the last remaining population of lowland Leadbeater’s possum will be extinct within 23 years without genetic rescue, and that the carrying capacity at its current range is insufficient to enable recovery, even with genetic rescue. Supplementation rates that rapidly increased population size resulted in higher retention (as opposed to complete loss) of local alleles through alleviation of genetic drift but reduced the frequency of locally unique alleles. Ongoing gene flow and a higher N will facilitate natural selection. Accordingly, we recommend founding a new population of lowland possums in a high-quality habitat, where population growth and natural gene exchange with highland populations are possible. We also recommend ensuring gene flow into the population through natural dispersal and/or frequent translocations of highland individuals. Genetic rescue should be implemented within an adaptive management framework, with post-translocation monitoring data incorporated into the models to make updated predictions. Full article
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Article
Mires in Europe—Regional Diversity, Condition and Protection
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080381 - 16 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2097
Abstract
In spite of the worldwide largest proportional loss of mires, Europe is a continent with important mire diversity. This article analyses the condition and protection status of European mire ecosystems. The overview is based on the system of European mire regions, representing regional [...] Read more.
In spite of the worldwide largest proportional loss of mires, Europe is a continent with important mire diversity. This article analyses the condition and protection status of European mire ecosystems. The overview is based on the system of European mire regions, representing regional variety and ecosystem biodiversity. We combined peatland distribution data with land cover maps of the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service as well as with the World Database on Protected Areas to assess the extent of degraded peatlands and the proportion of peatlands located in protected areas in each European mire region. The total proportion of degraded peatlands in Europe is 25%; within the EU it is 50% (120,000 km2). The proportion of degradation clearly increases from north to south, as does the proportion of peatlands located within protected areas. In more than half of Europe’s mire regions, the target of at least 17% of the area located in protected areas is not met with respect to peatlands. Data quality is discussed and the lessons learned from Europe for peatland conservation are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Biogeography and Evolutionary Biology of Peatlands)
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Review
Dittrichia viscosa: Native-Non Native Invader
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080380 - 15 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1061
Abstract
Dittrichia viscosa (L.) Greuter is a shrub native to the Mediterranean, however, declared as a very invasive species in Australia and North America. Environmental (climatic) and socio-economic (land abandonment) changes can trigger different adaptive mechanisms and cause changes in species behavior, influencing invasion [...] Read more.
Dittrichia viscosa (L.) Greuter is a shrub native to the Mediterranean, however, declared as a very invasive species in Australia and North America. Environmental (climatic) and socio-economic (land abandonment) changes can trigger different adaptive mechanisms and cause changes in species behavior, influencing invasion dynamics. Motivated by the recently noticed change of D. viscosa behavior in its native Mediterranean habitat, we discuss the invasion properties, its behavior in the native habitat and new areas, and its management options. We review the species’ adverse effects and its positive ecosystem services in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework. In this review, we provide information on the phytochemical properties of D. viscosa and highlight its potential use in ecological agriculture, phytopharmacy, and medicine. The presented data is useful for developing effective management of this contentious species, with emphasis on mitigating environmental and economic damages, especially in agriculture. The final aim is to achieve a balanced ecosystem, providing a high level of possible services (provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Effect of Saline Water for Drip Irrigation on Microbial Diversity and on Fertility of Aeolian Sandy Soils
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080379 - 15 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
Saline water is widely distributed in the arid environment and sometimes represents the only source of irrigation water to restore and reconstruct vegetation. However, the effects of saline water on the bacterial diversity and fertility level of aeolian sandy soil are not well [...] Read more.
Saline water is widely distributed in the arid environment and sometimes represents the only source of irrigation water to restore and reconstruct vegetation. However, the effects of saline water on the bacterial diversity and fertility level of aeolian sandy soil are not well understood. In this study, we investigated a vegetation belt along the Tarim Desert Highway that has been constructed as a windbreak and consists of desert shrubs and was irrigated with saline water at six levels of salinity along the Tarim Desert Highway. The bacterial diversity was studied using Biolog Eco, a phospholipid fatty acid analysis, and a polymerase chain reaction–denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, and the soil fertility was calculated and expressed as the integrated fertility index. The soil bacterial diversity (in terms of carbon metabolism, genes, and fatty acid species) was significantly affected by the level of salinity, and the microbial activity was low under high salinity. Fertility was also markedly affected by the degree of salinity and by the depth of soil, being lower at higher salinity levels and in the top layer (0–5 cm), and was also correlated to both the metabolic diversity index of soil microorganisms and the diversity index of fatty acids of soil microorganisms. The genetic diversity index of soil microorganisms shared a polynomial relation with fertility and contributed to it positively and significantly. Therefore, using less saline water for drip irrigation could avoid salt accumulation in soil and arrest its compaction, promote the formation of soil aggregates and the build-up of nutrients, and increase microbial activity, thus playing a crucial role in promoting the circulation, conversion, and utilization of nutrients in aeolian sandy soils and improving the soil quality. The judicious use of saline water, therefore, deserves serious consideration in irrigation practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections)
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Article
The Placenta of Physcomitrium patens: Transfer Cell Wall Polymers Compared across the Three Bryophyte Groups
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080378 - 15 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 775
Abstract
Following similar studies of cell wall constituents in the placenta of Phaeoceros and Marchantia, we conducted immunogold labeling TEM studies of Physcomitrium patens to determine the composition of cell wall polymers in transfer cells on both sides of the placenta. Sixteen monoclonal [...] Read more.
Following similar studies of cell wall constituents in the placenta of Phaeoceros and Marchantia, we conducted immunogold labeling TEM studies of Physcomitrium patens to determine the composition of cell wall polymers in transfer cells on both sides of the placenta. Sixteen monoclonal antibodies were used to localize cell wall epitopes in the basal walls and wall ingrowths in this moss. In general, placental transfer cell walls of P. patens contained fewer pectins and far fewer arabinogalactan proteins AGPs than those of the hornwort and liverwort. P. patens also lacked the differential labeling that is pronounced between generations in the other bryophytes. In contrast, transfer cell walls on either side of the placenta of P. patens were relatively similar in composition, with slight variation in homogalacturonan HG pectins. Compositional similarities between wall ingrowths and primary cell walls in P. patens suggest that wall ingrowths may simply be extensions of the primary cell wall. Considerable variability in occurrence, abundance, and types of polymers among the three bryophytes and between the two generations suggested that similarity in function and morphology of cell walls does not require a common cell wall composition. We propose that the specific developmental and life history traits of these plants may provide even more important clues in understanding the basis for these differences. This study significantly builds on our knowledge of cell wall composition in bryophytes in general and in transfer cells across plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taxonomy, Diversity and Evolution of Bryophytes)
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Article
Diversity Patterns and Community Structure of the Ground-Associated Macrofauna along the Beach-Inland Transition Zone of Small Tropical Islands
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080377 - 14 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 935
Abstract
Biodiversity follows distinct and observable patterns. Where two systems meet, biodiversity is often increased, due to overlapping occurrence ranges and the presence of specialized species that can tolerate the dynamic conditions of the transition zone. One of the most pronounced transition zones occurs [...] Read more.
Biodiversity follows distinct and observable patterns. Where two systems meet, biodiversity is often increased, due to overlapping occurrence ranges and the presence of specialized species that can tolerate the dynamic conditions of the transition zone. One of the most pronounced transition zones occurs at shores, where oceans and terrestrial habitat collide, forming the shore–inland transition zone. The relevance of this transition zone in shaping a system’s community structure is particularly pronounced on small islands due to their high shore-to-inland-area ratio. However, the community structure of insular faunas along this transition zone is unknown. Here, we investigated the diversity patterns along the beach–inland transition zone of small islands and tested the hypothesis that species diversity increases toward the transition zone where beach and interior habitat meet. By measuring environmental parameters, resource availability, and ground-associated macrofauna diversity along transects running across the beach–inland transition zone, we show that a gradual change in species composition from beach to the inland exists, but neither taxa richness, diversity, nor overall abundance changed significantly. These findings offer important insights into insular community structure at the transition zone from sea to land that are relevant to better understand the dynamic and unique characteristics of insular ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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Article
Bat Diversity in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve, Northeastern Vietnam: A Review with New Records from Mangrove Ecosystem
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080376 - 14 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1903
Abstract
The Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve is internationally renowned for its spectacular karst landscape. It covers a large area with hundreds of limestone islands and various ecosystems including caves, tropical forests, and mangroves. However, previous surveys were only conducted in terrestrial ecosystems on Cat [...] Read more.
The Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve is internationally renowned for its spectacular karst landscape. It covers a large area with hundreds of limestone islands and various ecosystems including caves, tropical forests, and mangroves. However, previous surveys were only conducted in terrestrial ecosystems on Cat Ba Island. Therefore, bats inhabiting mangroves and the remaining islands did not receive attention from scientists up to 2014. To initially fill in the gaps, we conducted ten bat surveys between 2015 and 2020 with an emphasis on mangroves and previously unsurveyed islands. Bats were captured using mist nets and harp traps. Twenty-three species belonging to 13 genera of six families were recorded during the surveys. Of these, four species (Macroglossus minimus, Myotis hasselti, Phoniscus jagorii, Tylonycteris fulvida) are new to the reserve. Remarkably, 15 species belonging to seven genera of five families were captured in mangrove, which is the highest species diversity for bats reported from any mangrove area in mainland Southeast Asia. Based on results from the surveys and literature review, we here provide the most updated bat diversity of the reserve with confirmed records of 32 bat species belonging to 16 genera of six families. Historical records of each species in the literature were reviewed. Two species, Scotophilus heathi and Scotophilus kuhlii, are unconfirmed because of unclear evidence in previous publications. Results of this study indicated that the mangrove ecosystem is important for bats but still poorly studied in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve and Vietnam as a whole. In addition, morphological measurements, echolocation data, distributional records, and conservation status of each species are also given in this paper for potential research and conservation campaigns in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Aspects in Bats: Genetics, Morphology, Community Structure)
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Article
Unraveling the Biosynthesis of Quinolizidine Alkaloids Using the Genetic and Chemical Diversity of Mexican Lupins
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080375 - 14 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1036
Abstract
Quinolizidine alkaloids (QAs) are synthesized by the genus Lupinus as a defense against herbivores. Synthesis of QAs in lupins is species- and organ-specific. Knowledge about their biosynthesis and their corresponding pathways are still fragmentary, in part because lupins of commercial importance were mainly [...] Read more.
Quinolizidine alkaloids (QAs) are synthesized by the genus Lupinus as a defense against herbivores. Synthesis of QAs in lupins is species- and organ-specific. Knowledge about their biosynthesis and their corresponding pathways are still fragmentary, in part because lupins of commercial importance were mainly investigated, representing a small sample of the chemodiversity of the genus. Here, we explore the use of three Mexican lupins: Lupinus aschenbornii, Lupinus montanus, and Lupinus bilineatus as a model to study the physiology of QA biosynthesis. The corresponding QA patterns cover widely and narrowly distributed tetracyclic QAs. Quinolizidine alkaloid patterns of seeds and plantlets at different developmental stages were determined by GLC–MS and compared to identify the onset of de novo QA synthesis and to gain insight into specific and common biosynthesis trends. Onset of de novo QA biosynthesis occurred after the metabolization of seed QA during germination and was species-specific, as expected. A common QA pattern, from which the diversity of QA observed in these species is generated, was not found; however, lupanine and 3β-lupanine were found in the three specieswhile sparteine was not found in Lupinus bilineatus, suggesting that this simplest tetracyclic QA is not the precursor of more complex QAs. Similar patterns of metabolization and biosynthesis of structurally related QAs were observed, suggesting a common regulation. Full article
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Review
Sunscreens’ UV Filters Risk for Coastal Marine Environment Biodiversity: A Review
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080374 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1442
Abstract
Considering the rapid growth of tourism in recent years and the acknowledgement that exposure to solar UV radiation may cause skin cancer, sunscreens have been widely used by beachgoers in recent decades. UV filters contained in sunscreens, however, were recently identified as emerging [...] Read more.
Considering the rapid growth of tourism in recent years and the acknowledgement that exposure to solar UV radiation may cause skin cancer, sunscreens have been widely used by beachgoers in recent decades. UV filters contained in sunscreens, however, were recently identified as emerging pollutants in coastal waters since they accumulate in the marine environment with different adverse effects. In fact, exposure to these components was proven to be toxic to most invertebrate and vertebrate marine species. Some UV filters are linked to the production of significant amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as hydrogen peroxide, and the release of inorganic micronutrients that may alter the status of coastal habitats. Bioaccumulation and biomagnification have not yet been fully addressed. This review highlights recent progress in research and provides a comprehensive overview of the toxicological and ecotoxicological effects of the most used UV filters both on the abiotic and biotic compartments in different types of coastal areas, to gain a better understanding of the impacts on coastal biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
Article
Mammoth Cave: A Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity in the United States
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080373 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1198
Abstract
The Mammoth Cave System in the Interior Low Plateau karst region in central Kentucky, USA is a global hotspot of cave-limited biodiversity, particularly terrestrial species. We searched the literature, museum accessions, and database records to compile an updated list of troglobiotic and stygobiotic [...] Read more.
The Mammoth Cave System in the Interior Low Plateau karst region in central Kentucky, USA is a global hotspot of cave-limited biodiversity, particularly terrestrial species. We searched the literature, museum accessions, and database records to compile an updated list of troglobiotic and stygobiotic species for the Mammoth Cave System and compare our list with previously published checklists. Our list of cave-limited fauna totals 49 species, with 32 troglobionts and 17 stygobionts. Seven species are endemic to the Mammoth Cave System and other small caves in Mammoth Cave National Park. The Mammoth Cave System is the type locality for 33 cave-limited species. The exceptional diversity at Mammoth Cave is likely related to several factors, such as the high dispersal potential of cave fauna associated with expansive karst exposures, high surface productivity, and a long history of exploration and study. Nearly 80% of the cave-limited fauna is of conservation concern, many of which are at an elevated risk of extinction because of small ranges, few occurrences, and several potential threats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity)
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Article
Interface of Human/Wildlife Interactions: An Example of a Bold Coyote (Canis latrans) in Atlanta, GA, USA
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080372 - 11 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2288
Abstract
There is arguably no other North American species that better illustrates the complexities of the human-wildlife interface than the coyote. In this study, a melanistic coyote in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia was exhibiting unusually bold behaviors that included encounters with humans, domestic dogs, and [...] Read more.
There is arguably no other North American species that better illustrates the complexities of the human-wildlife interface than the coyote. In this study, a melanistic coyote in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia was exhibiting unusually bold behaviors that included encounters with humans, domestic dogs, and attempts to enter homes. After tracking this coyote (nicknamed Carmine) across a highly urbanized landscape with participatory science, including at least 80 publicly reported sightings, he was captured and relocated to a wildlife sanctuary. Genome-wide analyses revealed 92.8% coyote ancestry, 1.7% gray wolf ancestry, and 5.5% domestic dog ancestry. The dog alleles in Carmine’s genome were estimated to have been acquired by his ancestors 14–29 years ago. Despite his bold behavior, Carmine did not carry any mutations known to shape hypersociability in canines. He did, however, carry a single copy of the dominant mutation responsible for his melanistic coat color. This detailed study of Carmine dispels common assumptions about the reticent coyote personality and the origins of behavior. His unusual bold behavior created a higher level of human-coyote interaction. He now serves as a public ambassador for human-wildlife coexistence, urging the global community to reconsider mythologies about wildlife and promote coexistence with them in landscapes significantly altered by human activity in our rapidly changing world. Full article
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Article
Genetic Diversity and Differentiation of Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur L.) Populations at the Southern Margin of Its Distribution Range—Implications for Conservation
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080371 - 11 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1030
Abstract
Understanding intraspecific genetic variation is one of the principal requirements for the evaluation of tree species capacity to cope with intensive climatic changes, as well as designing long-term conservation programs. Herein, we evaluated the genetic diversity and genetic structure of seven pedunculate oak [...] Read more.
Understanding intraspecific genetic variation is one of the principal requirements for the evaluation of tree species capacity to cope with intensive climatic changes, as well as designing long-term conservation programs. Herein, we evaluated the genetic diversity and genetic structure of seven pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) populations, located at the southern margin of its distribution range on the Balkan Peninsula (Serbia). The objective of the study was to propose future in situ conservation measures aimed at protection of pedunculate oak adaptive and neutral genetic diversity at the species rear-edge. Genetic diversity and structure were estimated using twelve highly polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The mean expected heterozygosity (He) was 0.769, allelic richness (AR) 9.63, and private allelic richness (pAR) 0.79, indicating high genetic diversity in the studied populations. Genetic differentiation among the populations was low (Fst = 0.032). Structure analysis, the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) showed the existence of two gene pools unrelated to the populations’ area of occurrence. Taking into consideration the results of the current study and previous conservation activities on the pedunculate oak in Serbia, as well as the importance of rear-edge populations in the long-term conservation of the species genetic diversity, we suggested establishing three additional gene conservation units for securing long-term sustainability of the species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Plant Diversity)
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Review
Ancient Faunal History Revealed by Interdisciplinary Biomolecular Approaches
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080370 - 10 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2010
Abstract
Starting four decades ago, studies have examined the ecology and evolutionary dynamics of populations and species using short mitochondrial DNA fragments and stable isotopes. Through technological and analytical advances, the methods and biomolecules at our disposal have increased significantly to now include lipids, [...] Read more.
Starting four decades ago, studies have examined the ecology and evolutionary dynamics of populations and species using short mitochondrial DNA fragments and stable isotopes. Through technological and analytical advances, the methods and biomolecules at our disposal have increased significantly to now include lipids, whole genomes, proteomes, and even epigenomes. At an unprecedented resolution, the study of ancient biomolecules has made it possible for us to disentangle the complex processes that shaped the ancient faunal diversity across millennia, with the potential to aid in implicating probable causes of species extinction and how humans impacted the genetics and ecology of wild and domestic species. However, even now, few studies explore interdisciplinary biomolecular approaches to reveal ancient faunal diversity dynamics in relation to environmental and anthropogenic impact. This review will approach how biomolecules have been implemented in a broad variety of topics and species, from the extinct Pleistocene megafauna to ancient wild and domestic stocks, as well as how their future use has the potential to offer an enhanced understanding of drivers of past faunal diversity on Earth. Full article
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Article
Large-Scale Patterns of Soil Nematodes across Grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau: Relationships with Climate, Soil and Plants
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080369 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 923
Abstract
Soil nematodes are important contributors to soil biodiversity. Nonetheless, the distribution patterns and environmental drivers of soil nematode communities are poorly understood, especially at the large scale, where multiple environmental variables covary. We collected 520 soil samples from 104 sites representing alpine meadow [...] Read more.
Soil nematodes are important contributors to soil biodiversity. Nonetheless, the distribution patterns and environmental drivers of soil nematode communities are poorly understood, especially at the large scale, where multiple environmental variables covary. We collected 520 soil samples from 104 sites representing alpine meadow and steppe ecosystems. First, we explored the soil nematode community characteristics and compared community patterns between the ecosystems. Then, we examined the contributions of aboveground and belowground factors on these patterns. The genus richness and abundance of nematodes on the Tibetan Plateau are lower than other alpine ecosystems, but are comparable to desert or polar ecosystems. Alpine meadows supported a higher nematode abundance and genus richness than alpine steppes; bacterial-based energy channels were pre-dominant in both the ecosystems. Soil factors explained the most variation in the soil nematode community composition in the alpine meadows, while plant factors were as essential as soil factors in the alpine steppes. Unexpectedly, the climate variables barely impacted the nematode communities. This is the first study to explore the spatial patterns of soil nematode compositions on the Tibetan Plateau, and we found that the contributions of climate, plants, and soil properties on soil nematodes community were essentially different from the previous knowledge for well-studied plant and animal communities. Full article
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