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Diversity, Volume 16, Issue 7 (July 2024) – 68 articles

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15 pages, 8361 KiB  
Article
Morphological and Molecular Identification of Porpita porpita (Hydrozoa: Porpitidae) Larval and Colonial Phases
by Jeimy Denisse Santiago-Valentín, Eric Bautista-Guerrero, Alma Paola Rodríguez-Troncoso, María del Carmen Franco-Gordo, Mauricio Alejandro Razo-López and Enrique Godínez-Domínguez
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070425 (registering DOI) - 19 Jul 2024
Viewed by 109
Abstract
Porpita porpita is a colonial polymorphic hydrozoan distributed in temperate and tropical zones. This species, like most hydrozoans, possesses a metagenetic life cycle with alternating life forms: medusa stage, polypoid colony, and planula larva. However, a characterization of its early stages of development [...] Read more.
Porpita porpita is a colonial polymorphic hydrozoan distributed in temperate and tropical zones. This species, like most hydrozoans, possesses a metagenetic life cycle with alternating life forms: medusa stage, polypoid colony, and planula larva. However, a characterization of its early stages of development is still lacking. For this study, an integrative description of the larval stages and the hydroid colony was performed using molecular and histologic tools. The results show that P. porpita develops through three larval stages: preplanula, planula, and premetamorphic planula. The preplanula is distinguished by an absence of polarity, the planula by differentiation of the oral–aboral poles, and the premetamorphic stage by cellular differentiation. Furthermore, two morphologies of young hydroids with different developmental patterns of gonozooids and dactylozooids were observed; notably, it was not possible to observe the gastrozooid in either. Taxonomic identification was confirmed using mitochondrial (COI) and ribosomal (18S and 28S) markers. Our analysis indicates that the COI gene exhibits higher intraspecific variability compared to the 18s and 28s rDNA ribosomal genes. The presented results support the future identification of P. porpita based on morphological characteristics, regardless of the stage of development. Specifically, they shed light on the diversity of mesozooplankton in reef communities. Full article
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9 pages, 3859 KiB  
Article
First Record of the Invasive Alien Species Rugulopteryx okamurae (Phaeophyceae, Dictyotales) along the Eastern Coast of Sicily (Italy, Mediterranean Sea): Is It Ready to Expand into the Ionian Sea?
by Giuliana Marletta, Andrea Lombardo and Donatella Serio
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070424 (registering DOI) - 19 Jul 2024
Viewed by 130
Abstract
The Mediterranean Sea is a hotspot for the introduction of non-indigenous species. Among them, invasive alien species can seriously affect the areas they colonize, not only by altering the marine food webs and community structure, but also by harming certain economic activities, such [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Sea is a hotspot for the introduction of non-indigenous species. Among them, invasive alien species can seriously affect the areas they colonize, not only by altering the marine food webs and community structure, but also by harming certain economic activities, such as fishing, tourism, aquaculture and marine infrastructure. Rugulopteryx okamurae is a brown macroalga considered the fourth most harmful species among the 10 most invasive species reported in the Mediterranean; in fact, it has recently been included in the list of invasive alien species of Union concern due to its serious impact on biodiversity and socioeconomic implications. This species was reported for the first time in the Mediterranean in 2002 in Thau Lagoon (France), introduced by the aquaculture of the Japanese oyster Magallana gigas. Since then, this species has spread in both the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean with a strong invasive behavior, particularly along the Strait of Gibraltar. Rugulopteryx okamurae was also recently reported for the first time in Italian waters, in the Gulf of Palermo (Sicily). In this study, we report a record of this species further to the east, in the Ionian Sea, where it has not previously been recorded, and provide possible explanations of the spreading and arrival routes in this area. The rapid expansion of R. okamurae is raising concerns; thus, in order to safeguard native communities, it is crucial to keep monitoring this invasive species so that it is possible to regularly update its distribution and follow up on its spread dynamics in the Mediterranean basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity in Italy: Past and Future Perspectives)
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27 pages, 1930 KiB  
Review
Mangrove Biodiversity and Conservation: Setting Key Functional Groups and Risks of Climate-Induced Functional Disruption
by Alexander C. Ferreira, Elizabeth C. Ashton, Raymond D. Ward, Ian Hendy and Luiz D. Lacerda
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070423 - 19 Jul 2024
Viewed by 107
Abstract
Climate change (CC) represents an increasing threat to mangroves worldwide and can amplify impacts caused by local anthropogenic activities. The direct effects of CC on mangrove forests have been extensively discussed, but indirect impacts such as the alteration of ecological processes driven by [...] Read more.
Climate change (CC) represents an increasing threat to mangroves worldwide and can amplify impacts caused by local anthropogenic activities. The direct effects of CC on mangrove forests have been extensively discussed, but indirect impacts such as the alteration of ecological processes driven by specific functional groups of the biota are poorly investigated. Ecological roles of key functional groups (FGs) in mangroves from the Atlantic–Caribbean–East Pacific (ACEP) and Indo-West Pacific (IWP) regions are reviewed, and impacts from CC mediated by these FGs are explored. Disruption by CC of ecological processes, driven by key FGs, can reinforce direct effects and amplify the loss of ecological functionality and further degradation of mangrove forests. Biogeochemistry mediator microbiotas of the soil, bioturbators, especially semiterrestrial crabs (Ocypodoids and Grapsoids) and herbivores (crustaceans and Insects), would be the most affected FG in both regions. Effects of climate change can vary regionally in the function of the combination of direct and indirect drivers, further eroding biodiversity and mangrove resilience, and impairing the predictability of ecosystem behaviour. This means that public policies to manage and conserve mangroves, as well as rehabilitation/restoration programs, should take into consideration the pressures of CC in specific regions and the response of key FGs to these pressures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation of Mangroves)
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13 pages, 6802 KiB  
Article
The Natural Infection of Freshwater Snails with the Avian Air Sac Fluke, Cyclocoelum mutabile (Trematoda: Cyclocoelidae), in Brazil
by Jordana Costa Alves de Assis and Hudson Alves Pinto
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070422 - 19 Jul 2024
Viewed by 123
Abstract
Trematodes of the family Cyclocoelidae are parasites mainly of the respiratory system of birds and present a cosmopolitan distribution. Although infection with these flukes can result in pathological changes and even bird death, information on their life cycles is scarce and almost entirely [...] Read more.
Trematodes of the family Cyclocoelidae are parasites mainly of the respiratory system of birds and present a cosmopolitan distribution. Although infection with these flukes can result in pathological changes and even bird death, information on their life cycles is scarce and almost entirely based on experimental infection data. Thus, the generation of knowledge on the mollusks that act as natural intermediate hosts of cyclocoelids is necessary and can aid control measures against these air sac trematodes. In the present study, gastropod mollusks collected in an urban stream from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, were subjected to the compression technique for the detection of non-emerging larval trematodes. Tailless cercariae with confluent ceca were found in 8/30 (26.7%) specimens of Biomphalaria glabrata and 3/33 (9.1%) specimen of Physella acuta. Samples of the cercariae were subjected to morphological characterization and genetic study (28S, Cox-1, and Nad-1). For comparative purposes, adult trematodes previously collected in the air sac of a common gallinule (Gallinula galeata) found dead in another waterbody from the same region were also characterized. The molecular sequences obtained revealed a high degree of similarity (100% in 28S, 99.2% in Cox-1, and 99.5% in Nad-1) between larval stages found in mollusks and adult parasites found in G. galeata and morphologically identified as Cyclocoelum mutabile. The conspecificity with this widely distributed cyclocoelid was also corroborated by phylogenetic analysis and comparison with isolates of this species previously characterized in Peru and the Czech Republic (99.4–100% and 96.7–97.0% of similarity in Nad-1, respectively). Thus, the integrative analysis carried out in the present work enabled us to identify C. mutabile in mollusks in South America for the first time. The finding of B. glabrata and P. acuta as new intermediate hosts corroborates the importance of freshwater gastropods in the transmission of C. mutabile, as well as the low specificity to the mollusk group, as previously characterized through experimental studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Wildlife Pathogens)
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8 pages, 2043 KiB  
Article
Estimating the Population Size of Masked Palm Civets Using Hair-Snaring in Southwest China
by Di Wang, Dan Zhang, Hongliang Bu, John B. Hopkins III, Mengyin Xiong, Dajun Wang, Meng Yao, Sheng Li and Rongjiang Wang
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070421 - 19 Jul 2024
Viewed by 160
Abstract
Mesocarnivores are major components of carnivore assemblages, and they play important roles in structuring communities and regulating community dynamics. In Southwest China, many apex predators have been extirpated, and this has potentially resulted in the ecological release of mesocarnivores. Estimating the sizes of [...] Read more.
Mesocarnivores are major components of carnivore assemblages, and they play important roles in structuring communities and regulating community dynamics. In Southwest China, many apex predators have been extirpated, and this has potentially resulted in the ecological release of mesocarnivores. Estimating the sizes of mesocarnivore populations is challenging. We used DNA derived from hairs and spatial capture–mark–recapture techniques to estimate the population size of masked palm civets (Paguma larvata) in Laohegou Nature Reserve in the Minshan Mountains of Sichuan Province, China. In the fall of 2014 and the spring of 2015, we collected 144 and 230 hair samples, respectively, at 30 baited stations. We used 16S rRNA fragments, microsatellite genotyping, and sexing to determine that 191 samples were derived from 44 masked palm civet individuals (24 males and 20 females). Using spatially explicit capture–recapture analysis, we estimated that there were 82 ± 13 masked palm civets in the study area, with a density of 1.7 individuals/km2. This is the first study to estimate the population size of masked palm civets in the wild. Our data provide important new information on the density of masked palm civets. Full article
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25 pages, 1047 KiB  
Review
The Role of Crop, Livestock, and Farmed Aquatic Intraspecific Diversity in Maintaining Ecosystem Services
by Agnès Bernis-Fonteneau, Devra I. Jarvis, Beate Scherf, Lukas Schütz, Yanxin Zhang, Fabio Attorre and Linda Collette
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070420 - 18 Jul 2024
Viewed by 301
Abstract
Most of the attention given to intraspecific crop, livestock, and aquaculture diversity in agricultural production systems has been targeted at their roles in providing provisioning services, such as food and fibre or their cultural services, providing non-material benefits, such as places for recreation [...] Read more.
Most of the attention given to intraspecific crop, livestock, and aquaculture diversity in agricultural production systems has been targeted at their roles in providing provisioning services, such as food and fibre or their cultural services, providing non-material benefits, such as places for recreation and inspiration. The additional role that intraspecific crop, livestock, and aquaculture diversity has in providing regulating and supporting ecosystem services for agricultural productivity and ecosystem resilience has been largely neglected. A literature review was carried out across sectors (crop, livestock, aquaculture), both on the counterfactual, i.e., the lack of intraspecific diversity in the production system and on the direct and indirect roles that intraspecific diversity plays in maintaining seven of the regulating and supporting ecosystem services: (i) regulating pest and diseases; (ii) maintaining and regulating water and soil quality; (iii) regulating and improving the flow of reproductive diversity; (iv) buffering excess or lack of water; (v) regulating soil erosion; (vi) nutrient cycling in water and soil; and (vii) supporting habitat maintenance. Benefits from the use of intraspecific diversity, diversity per se, and adaptive traits include a limited use of chemical inputs and unsustainable practices and their negative impact on livelihoods, ecosystem functioning, and productivity. All sectors (crop, livestock, and aquaculture) should be examined in the agricultural production system to understand the provision of the different ecosystem services by intraspecific diversity. Differences in structure, functioning, and temporal and spatial scales of these sectors should also be considered. Supporting and regulating ecosystem services often have relatively longer-term processes than food provisioning and rely not only on the current diversity but also on its presence over time. The presented regulating and supporting ecosystem services rely on the presence of the diversity from the farm to the landscape and to agroecological zone. Neglecting the additional role that intraspecific crop, livestock, and aquaculture diversity has in providing regulating and supporting ecosystem services is shown in this review to be detrimental to agricultural productivity and landscape resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function)
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11 pages, 6831 KiB  
Article
An Integrative Analysis of the Specific Distinctness of Valvata (Cincinna) ambigua Westerlund, 1873 and Valvata (Cincinna) piscinalis (Müller, 1774) (Gastropoda: Valvatidae)
by Maibritt Schäffer and Bernhard Hausdorf
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070419 - 18 Jul 2024
Viewed by 148
Abstract
Valvata (Cincinna) piscinalis (Müller, 1774) is a widespread and variable Palaearctic freshwater snail species. Some authors have separated more depressed forms with a wider umbilicus as a distinct species, Valvata (Cincinna) ambigua Westerlund, 1873. The latter species was described [...] Read more.
Valvata (Cincinna) piscinalis (Müller, 1774) is a widespread and variable Palaearctic freshwater snail species. Some authors have separated more depressed forms with a wider umbilicus as a distinct species, Valvata (Cincinna) ambigua Westerlund, 1873. The latter species was described from Scandinavia and has also been reported from Siberia and Kazakhstan and more recently from Central Europe. We conducted an integrative study of the delimitation and relationships of V. ambigua and V. piscinalis using both morphometric and molecular genetic analyses. Analyses of the morphometric data did not reveal differentiation into distinct clusters. Rather, the shell characteristics used to distinguish V. ambigua and V. piscinalis showed continuous variation. There is little variability in mitochondrial DNA sequences in the V. piscinalis complex. A median-joining network based on cytochrome oxidase sequences showed that the morphological character states supposedly characteristic of V. ambigua and V. piscinalis did not correlate with the genetic relationships of the individuals studied. We therefore consider V. ambigua to be synonymous with V. piscinalis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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22 pages, 4309 KiB  
Article
Description of the Northern Green Anaconda (Eunectes akayima sp. nov. Serpentes; Boidae): What Is in a Name?
by Jesús A. Rivas, Juliana S. Terra, Marijn Roosen, Patrick S. Champagne, Renata Leite-Pitman, Paola De La Quintana, Marco Mancuso, Luis F. Pacheco, Gordon M. Burghardt, Freek J. Vonk, Juán Elías García-Pérez, Bryan G. Fry and Sarah Corey-Rivas
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070418 - 18 Jul 2024
Viewed by 349
Abstract
While elucidating the evolutionary trajectory of green anacondas, we previously documented the existence of two distinct species, Eunectes akayima sp. nov. and Eunectes murinus (Linnaeus, 1758), that separated approximately 10 million years ago. Our research integrates a novel molecular clock approach, focuses on tectonic plate [...] Read more.
While elucidating the evolutionary trajectory of green anacondas, we previously documented the existence of two distinct species, Eunectes akayima sp. nov. and Eunectes murinus (Linnaeus, 1758), that separated approximately 10 million years ago. Our research integrates a novel molecular clock approach, focuses on tectonic plate movements with fossil records as minimal chronological markers, and offers a refined understanding of speciation events in relation to major biogeographical occurrences in South America. Mitochondrial DNA analysis demonstrates a significant genetic divergence between the species, which is supported by a notable difference in sexual size dimorphism (SSD) intensity between the two species, along with other morphological differences. This paper also rectifies earlier oversights in the description of the new species and clarifies taxonomic ambiguities in compliance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (henceforth ICZN). In addition, we designate a neotype for E. murinus to stabilize the group. In an effort to honor Indigenous nations, E. akayima sp. nov. derives its name from the Carib language, advocating for the inclusion of traditional names in scientific discourse. Our paper not only contributes to the taxonomic stability of anacondas but also advocates for the usage of Indigenous names in zoological nomenclature by adopting a more inclusive and flexible approach to the ICZN and eliminating unintended exclusionary practices that we have inherited in science as in other disciplines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Barcoding for Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration)
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45 pages, 11670 KiB  
Article
An Updated Checklist of the Fishes from the Upper Malagarazi (Lake Tanganyika Basin) in Burundi: Implications for an under Implementation Malagarazi Nature Reserve
by Anatole Bigirimana, Tchalondawa Kisekelwa, Luis M. da Costa, Donatien R. Muzumani, Christian Mukweze Mulelenu, Emmanuel Abwe, Gaspard Banyankimbona and Emmanuel Vreven
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070417 - 18 Jul 2024
Viewed by 464
Abstract
The upper Malagarazi (uM) Basin is situated in Southeastern Burundi and Northwestern Tanzania, and partially covered by the Malagarazi Nature Reserve (MNR). A checklist of fishes from the uM, in Burundi, is presented based on a literature review, a re-examination of historical collections, [...] Read more.
The upper Malagarazi (uM) Basin is situated in Southeastern Burundi and Northwestern Tanzania, and partially covered by the Malagarazi Nature Reserve (MNR). A checklist of fishes from the uM, in Burundi, is presented based on a literature review, a re-examination of historical collections, and a study of new collections (2013–2022). A total of 74 native species, including 14 endemics and two introduced Oreochromis, distributed over 38 genera and 16 families, are reported. Of the aforementioned species, 60 native (81%) and one introduced are present in the MNR. The most important families in the uM and the MNR are the Cyprinidae (21 versus 17 species, respectively) and Cichlidae (12 versus 11). Other families are represented by less than 10 species in both the uM and the MNR. Furthermore, of the 14 species endemic to the uM (19%), only eight (57%) are reported from the MNR; the others are confined to some non-included affluent rivers. Moreover, eight taxa still await formal description. Finally, as some endemic and native species are not included within the current borders of the MNR, adjustments are proposed and the need for a new protected area is considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Biogeography of Freshwater Fish)
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16 pages, 1574 KiB  
Article
Linking Perceived Biodiversity and Restorative Benefits in Urban Parks through Place Attachment—A Case Study in Fuzhou, China
by Jingru Chen, Binsheng Wu, Kunli Dai and Jiao Yu
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070416 - 18 Jul 2024
Viewed by 132
Abstract
Enhanced understanding of environmental restoration can be achieved by examining how urban park visitors’ perceptions of biodiversity contribute to their sense of environmental rejuvenation. In this study, a questionnaire survey was conducted among 554 visitors from five representative urban parks in Fuzhou, China, [...] Read more.
Enhanced understanding of environmental restoration can be achieved by examining how urban park visitors’ perceptions of biodiversity contribute to their sense of environmental rejuvenation. In this study, a questionnaire survey was conducted among 554 visitors from five representative urban parks in Fuzhou, China, and a structural equation model was used to explore the interactions among perceived biodiversity, place attachment, and self-rated repair. The main findings were as follows: (1) Perceived biodiversity had significant positive and direct effects on place dependence and self-rated restoration, but not on place identity. It is worth noting that place dependence has a deep and direct impact on place identity. (2) Self-rated restoration could be directly influenced by perceived biodiversity and place dependence. The direct impact of perceived biodiversity showed more intensity than place dependence. (3) Place dependence can be the only intermediary or link in the chain between perceived biodiversity and self-rated restoration. Conversely, place identity may not act as an independent intermediary but can play a key role in the chain of intermediaries. The study not only advances our understanding of the complex relationship between perceived biodiversity, place attachment, and self-assessed restoration; it also provides practical implications for urban green eco-design initiatives, thereby contributing to the field of urban landscape planning and formulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2024)
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9 pages, 2201 KiB  
Article
Age Determination of Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussels (Gonidea angulata) in the Okanagan Basin, Canada
by Paul Grant, Joy Wade, Todd R. Lewis, Rowshyra A. Castañeda, Emma Branquinho, Sean MacConnachie, Stephen Wischniowski and Barbara Campbell
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070415 - 18 Jul 2024
Viewed by 181
Abstract
Freshwater ecosystems and the biodiversity they support are facing unprecedented threats, exemplified by broad declines of freshwater mussels within a global biodiversity hotspot. The Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel (Gonidea angulata) is an at-risk species in Canada, with limited information on population [...] Read more.
Freshwater ecosystems and the biodiversity they support are facing unprecedented threats, exemplified by broad declines of freshwater mussels within a global biodiversity hotspot. The Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel (Gonidea angulata) is an at-risk species in Canada, with limited information on population age structure. Maximum age of the species was found to be 50 years, by counting winter annuli and validated by isotopic oxygen analysis. Employing a Bayesian Generalized Linear Mixed Model (GLMM), results showed mussels from river habitat were predicted to have faster growth rates than mussels from lake habitats, highlighting the impact of local environmental conditions, including temperature variations, primary productivity, and water quality, on mussel growth dynamics. Of concern was the limited evidence of juvenile recruitment, with the majority of specimens potentially representing an ageing population. This pattern potentially signals an early warning of impending population decline. Our results underscore the necessity of monitoring age structure as a vital component of assessing population health of freshwater mussels and the importance of understanding local environmental conditions when determining age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Ecology and Protection of Freshwater Mussels)
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26 pages, 17651 KiB  
Article
A New Intriguing Teleost from the Albian Muhi Quarry, Central Mexico, and Early Euteleostean Diversification
by Gloria Arratia and Katia A. González-Rodríguez
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070414 - 17 Jul 2024
Viewed by 227
Abstract
The Albian Muhi Quarry of Central Mexico has produced a variety of fishes, among which the teleosts are the most diversified, including representatives of stem groups together with a variety of crown groups. A new genus and species, †Xeneichthys yanesi, is described [...] Read more.
The Albian Muhi Quarry of Central Mexico has produced a variety of fishes, among which the teleosts are the most diversified, including representatives of stem groups together with a variety of crown groups. A new genus and species, †Xeneichthys yanesi, is described based on a unique combination of characters, such as a dorsoventral elongation and narrowing of infraorbitals 2 and 3, preopercle, opercle, and cleithrum; absence of some bones, such as the infraorbital 5, interopercle, and pelvic plate and fin; presence of an elongated urostyle and a membranous outgrowth or stegural on the first uroneural; and cycloid and ctenoid scales on the flanks. Due to its combination of characters, †Xeneichthys yanesi is interpreted as belonging to a new extinct family, †Xeneichthyidae, which is considered as an Euteleostei or Euteleosteomorpha incertae sedis. The fish faunas of another Albian quarry, Tlayúa of Tepexi de Rodriguez, Puebla, and Muhi Quarry are compared, and although both contain taxa that can be assigned to stem teleosts (e.g., †ichthyodectiforms and †crossognathiforms), both also contain crown teleosts (e.g., elopomorphs, clupeomorphs, and euteleosts)—all of which are endemic to their respective quarries and make them important centers of diversification of fish faunas during the Early Cretaceous. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity, Biogeography and Evolution of Actinopterygians)
10 pages, 402 KiB  
Article
Genetic Diversity of the Common Black Carp Strain (Cyprinus carpio var. baisenensis)
by Sahr Lamin Sumana, Yu Liao, Chengfeng Zhang, Xiaojun Jing, Jian Zhu, Yongkai Tang, Wenting Liu and Shengyan Su
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070413 - 17 Jul 2024
Viewed by 174
Abstract
The Common Black Carp Strain (Cyprinus carpio var. baisenensis), known for its black skin, is commonly cultured in the integrated rice-agriculture (IRA) system in Guangxi province, China. This study aimed to compare the genetic diversity of three common carp strains/populations (Common [...] Read more.
The Common Black Carp Strain (Cyprinus carpio var. baisenensis), known for its black skin, is commonly cultured in the integrated rice-agriculture (IRA) system in Guangxi province, China. This study aimed to compare the genetic diversity of three common carp strains/populations (Common Black Carp Strain, Huanghe, and Songpu) using resequencing data. The genome-based method reveals a significant difference (p < 0.05) in identified loci and SNP frequency (p < 1 × 10−6) between the Songpu (Sp) or mirror carp and Huanghe (Hh) new strain. Additionally, the Common Black Carp Strain (Bk) exhibits a higher number of Tajima’s D values, possibly due to its population size and mutations within its entire genome. The average value of population nucleotide diversity (π) for the Bk is 1.706 × 10−4 while the mean number for the Hh and Sp strains is 1.691 × 10−4 Heterozygosity analysis results indicate that the Bk has the highest F coefficient compared to the Sp and Hh hybrids. This suggests that the isolated population of the Bk may have experienced a decrease in population size as a result of environmental disturbances in the IRA system. PCA results further reveal that all individuals of the Bk, except for one, are clustered together, while individuals of the Hh form a separate group. On the other hand, Sp displays a distinct distribution pattern. The comparative study of the genetic diversity of the Bk provides baseline data on its genome makeup. Assessing genetic diversity and genetic structure is critical for fisheries management and the conservation of critically endangered fish species. Full article
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19 pages, 5793 KiB  
Article
Habitat Suitability Analysis and Future Distribution Prediction of Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in the Qinling Mountains, China
by Qi Ma, Huihui Zhang, Jiechao Liu, Yiman Guo and Kang Liu
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070412 - 16 Jul 2024
Viewed by 260
Abstract
Climate change has triggered a series of global problems, posing a huge threat to the distribution of many plants and animals, especially endangered species such as the giant panda. Therefore, predicting the distribution of habitat quality under climate change conditions is of great [...] Read more.
Climate change has triggered a series of global problems, posing a huge threat to the distribution of many plants and animals, especially endangered species such as the giant panda. Therefore, predicting the distribution of habitat quality under climate change conditions is of great significance for protecting these species. In this study, we examined the correlation between suitable habitat index and ecosystem services using 260 occurrence records and 13 environmental factors with giant pandas as the model species. The species distribution models can also be employed to predict and compare the potential geographical distribution of giant pandas at present and in the 2050s and 2090s in the Qinling Mountains of Shaanxi Province. The results show the following: (1) The relationship between suitable habitat index and ecosystem services of giant panda is not uniform. (2) From 2040 to 2100, the existing habitats may decrease by 47.8% to 98.5%. (3) The main direction of change in the center of the distribution of the giant panda’s habitat is to migrate first eastward and then northwestward. Our results regarding the potential distribution pattern of giant pandas in the Qinling Mountains and their response to climate change can provide important references for optimizing the conservation and habitat management of wild giant pandas in the Qinling Mountains. Full article
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12 pages, 1956 KiB  
Article
The Genetic Characterization of the Canarian Endemic Palm (Phoenix canariensis) by Simple Sequence Repeats and Chloroplast Markers: A Tool for the Molecular Traceability of Phoenix Hybridization
by Isabel Saro, Priscila Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Diego Rivera, Concepción Obón, Fredérique Aberlenc, Antonio Díaz-Pérez, Salwa Zehdi-Azouzi, Leticia Curbelo and Pedro A. Sosa
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070411 - 16 Jul 2024
Viewed by 226
Abstract
The endemic palm from the Canary Islands, Phoenix canariensis, is one of the most distinctive elements of the Canarian vegetation landscape, contributing to cultural, economic and environmental aspects. One of the main conservation problems facing this iconic palm is anthropogenic hybridization with [...] Read more.
The endemic palm from the Canary Islands, Phoenix canariensis, is one of the most distinctive elements of the Canarian vegetation landscape, contributing to cultural, economic and environmental aspects. One of the main conservation problems facing this iconic palm is anthropogenic hybridization with other Phoenix species, particularly Phoenix dactylifera, which has been introduced extensively throughout its geographical range. Therefore, it is important to obtain a genetic tool that addresses different issues that may have an impact on the protection of P. canariensis, including ornamental applications and wild population conservation purposes. Our main goals were to detect a molecular tracer that could reliably distinguish between Phoenix canariensis and P. dactylifera in the Canary archipelago and to characterize the presence and extent of genetic hybridization events between the two species. We used 19 nuclear microsatellites and 1 chloroplast minisatellite set and analysed a large sample size (N = 433) of plants using both Bayesian methods and ordination techniques. Our data showed that a set of 13 nuclear markers revealed diagnostic alleles for P. canariensis, which were defined as the Canarian nuclear genotype (CNG). Moreover, P. canariensis exhibited an exclusive chlorotype of 266 bp that together with the GNC serve as an indicator of genetic purity in the Canarian palm. These markers are sufficient to detect any hybrid, even if it is not related to morphological differences. The occurrence of a considerable number of specimens with different degrees of hybridization is discussed in terms of the existence of different generations of hybrids and different types of crosses. Thus, the genetic tracers represent an invaluable tool to address any proposal for the genetic conservation of Phoenix canariensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Diversity Hotspots in the 2020s)
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17 pages, 3168 KiB  
Article
Root-Zone Bacterial Diversity in Field-Grown Individual Plants from Alfalfa Lines with Wild Relatives in Their Genetic Backgrounds
by Michalis Omirou, Urania Michaelidou, Dionysia A. Fasoula, Alan Humphries, Benjamin Kilian and Ioannis M. Ioannides
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070410 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 339
Abstract
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is a vitally important perennial fodder legume worldwide. Given their particular traits, alfalfa crop wild relatives (CWRs) could be used to develop cultivars that can tolerate extreme environmental and climatic conditions. Until now, researchers have overlooked the composition [...] Read more.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is a vitally important perennial fodder legume worldwide. Given their particular traits, alfalfa crop wild relatives (CWRs) could be used to develop cultivars that can tolerate extreme environmental and climatic conditions. Until now, researchers have overlooked the composition and structure of bacterial communities in the root zone of alfalfa and its relevant CWRs and their influence on forage performance under actual field conditions. In this study, high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA analysis was performed to investigate the diversity and assemblies of bacterial communities in the bulk soil and in the root zone of individual field-grown Medicago plants arranged in a honeycomb selection design. The plants used in this study were M. sativa × M. arborea hybrids (Genotypes 6 and 8), the closely-related M. sativa nothosubsp. varia (Martyn) Arcang. (Genotype 13), and M. sativa ssp. sativa (Genotype 20). The bacterial communities in the root-zone samples and the assemblies in the bulk soil differed significantly. Genotype 13 was found to have distinct bacterial assemblies from the other genotypes while exhibiting the lowest forage productivity. These findings suggest that plant productivity may influence the composition of bacterial communities in the root zone. Biomarker analysis conducted using linear discriminant analysis (LDA) revealed that only members of the Rhizobiales order were enriched in the M. sativa nothosubsp. varia root zone whereas taxa belonging to Sphingomonas and various Bacteriodota were enriched in the other genotypes. Of the shared taxa identified in the root zone of the Medicago lines, the abundance of specific taxa, namely, Flavisolibacter, Stenotrophomonas, and Sphingomonas, were positively associated with forage yield. This pioneering study, in which the root zones of individual Medicago plants under actual field conditions were examined, offers evidence of differences in the bacterial composition of alfalfa genotypes with varying genetic backgrounds. Its findings indicate that particular bacterial taxa may favorably influence plant performance. This study covered the first six months of crop establishment and paves the way for further investigations to advance understanding of how shifts in bacterial assemblies in alfalfa roots affect plant performance over time. Full article
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16 pages, 1997 KiB  
Article
Effects of Seasonality on the Large and Medium-Sized Mammal Community in Mountain Dry Forests
by Carmen Julia Quiroga-Pacheco, Ximena Velez-Liendo and Andreas Zedrosser
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070409 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 419
Abstract
Seasonality drives natural processes, impacting environmental factors like temperature and resource availability, leading to shifts in wildlife communities. The Andean dry forests exhibit a marked seasonality, with a dry and cold season (May–September) and a warm, wet season (October–April). In a year-long remote [...] Read more.
Seasonality drives natural processes, impacting environmental factors like temperature and resource availability, leading to shifts in wildlife communities. The Andean dry forests exhibit a marked seasonality, with a dry and cold season (May–September) and a warm, wet season (October–April). In a year-long remote camera survey in Southern Bolivia, we identified 29 medium to large mammal species, 18 outside their known distribution ranges. While overall species richness remained stable, photographic records varied between seasons. Capture rates, reflecting species richness and abundance, were more influenced by season and habitat. Wet season rates were lower, but higher in all other habitats compared to the mountain bush and grasslands. Rates increased with altitude and distance to hiking trails, but decreased with increasing distance from main roads. Medium to large mammals were more active during the dry season, indicating adjustments in response to seasonal changes. Our results suggest a cumulative impact of various factors beyond mere seasonality, and call for adjustments in global species distributions. Moreover, emphasize the need for biodiversity monitoring in dry forest habitats, particularly regarding responses to environmental shifts and human-induced alterations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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23 pages, 8420 KiB  
Article
Temporal Variation in and Influence of Environmental Variables on a Lepidopteran Community in a Mediterranean Mid-Mountain Area
by Pedro M. Bernabé-Ruiz, Francisco J. Jiménez-Nieva and Juan C. Pérez-Quintero
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070408 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 411
Abstract
The temporal variation in a community of nocturnal and diurnal Lepidoptera was studied in a Mediterranean mid-mountain area of the SW Iberian Peninsula between 2017 and 2019. Monthly samplings that allowed for the identification of 3528 specimens, belonging to 373 species from 40 [...] Read more.
The temporal variation in a community of nocturnal and diurnal Lepidoptera was studied in a Mediterranean mid-mountain area of the SW Iberian Peninsula between 2017 and 2019. Monthly samplings that allowed for the identification of 3528 specimens, belonging to 373 species from 40 different families, also provided data on the temporal and seasonal variation in richness and the abundance (dominated by Geometridae and Noctuidae), diet type (mainly oligophagous), voltinism (mostly univoltine) and biogeography of the community, primarily Mediterranean in scope. Richness, abundance and diversity were also found to be highly positively correlated with temperature and solar radiation, and less negatively correlated with precipitation and humidity. Canonical correspondence analyses (CCAs) also indicate that temperature and radiation are the climatic variables with the greatest influence on species occurrence over the different months of the year. The CCAs gave a cumulative variance value of 84.79% when using the monthly mean values of temperature, solar radiation and minimum relative humidity, and 86.4% if only monovoltine species were considered. Guidelines to maintain diversity in the environment of the study area are provided. It is possible that the area may function as a refuge area for Lepidoptera in the face of climate change and deforestation that are occurring in the geographical environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogeography and Diversity of Butterflies and Moths)
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21 pages, 5790 KiB  
Article
Deep-Sea Ophiuroids (Echinodermata; Ophiuroidea) from the Avilés Canyon System: Seven New Records for the Spanish North Atlantic Marine Subdivision
by Aurora Macías-Ramírez, Laura M. García-Guillén and M. Eugenia Manjón-Cabeza
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070407 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 489
Abstract
The Avilés Canyon System (ACS) is located in the southern Bay of Biscay (northern Spain, Cantabrian Sea). It has been declared a Site of Community Importance (SCI: C ESZZ12003) within the Natura 2000 Network and recognized as a Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem (VME). This [...] Read more.
The Avilés Canyon System (ACS) is located in the southern Bay of Biscay (northern Spain, Cantabrian Sea). It has been declared a Site of Community Importance (SCI: C ESZZ12003) within the Natura 2000 Network and recognized as a Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem (VME). This area is included in the North Atlantic Marine Subdivision (NAMD). The present study reviews ophiuroid fauna collected during the INDEMARES–ACS project and compares the new findings with previous studies using the Official Spanish Checklist (“Inventario Español de Especies Marinas”) to update our knowledge on the diversity and distribution of these species. During the surveys carried out within the LIFE + INDEMARES–Avilés Canyon System project (2010–2012), a total of 7413 specimens belonging to 45 ophiuroid species were collected from 50 stations in a depth range between 266 and 2291 m. The most frequent species was Ophiactis abyssicola (M. Sars, 1861). Comparing the identified species with public datasets, seven species should be considered as new records for NAMD: Ophiocten centobi Paterson, Tyler & Gage, 1982, Amphiura borealis (G.O. Sars, 1872), Amphiura fragilis Verrill, 1885, Ophiochondrus armatus (Koehler, 1907), Ophiosabine parcita (Koehler, 1906), Ophiophrixus spinosus (Storm, 1881), Ophiotreta valenciennesi (Lyman, 1879). Furthermore, one species has expanded its bathymetric range: Ophiosabine parcita (Koehler, 1906). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep-Sea Echinoderms of the European Seas)
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11 pages, 1660 KiB  
Article
Phylogeographic Relationships Reveal the Origin of an Introduced Population of the Dalmatian Algyroides (Reptilia: Lacertidae) into Southern Italy
by Elisavet-Aspasia Toli, Dimitra Sergiadou, Piero Carlino, Anastasios Bounas, Miguel A. Carretero, Riccardo Castiglia, D. James Harris, Chrysoula Papadaki, Olivier S. G. Pauwels, Lidija Leković and Konstantinos Sotiropoulos
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070406 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 296
Abstract
The genetic structure and dispersal dynamics of reptile populations are profoundly influenced by natural processes and human activities. While natural dispersal is shaped by species’ characteristics and paleogeographical features, human-mediated translocations have become increasingly prevalent, posing ecological challenges. Mitochondrial genetic markers have been [...] Read more.
The genetic structure and dispersal dynamics of reptile populations are profoundly influenced by natural processes and human activities. While natural dispersal is shaped by species’ characteristics and paleogeographical features, human-mediated translocations have become increasingly prevalent, posing ecological challenges. Mitochondrial genetic markers have been pivotal in untangling invasion pathways for various species. Our study focuses on the Dalmatian Algyroides, Algyroides nigropunctatus (Duméril & Bibron, 1839), a lizard species endemic to the Balkan Peninsula, where recent observations in the Apulian region of Italy suggest an introduced population. Genetic analyses employing two mtDNA markers (16S and ND4 genes) elucidate the phylogenetic relationships of the Dalmatian Algyroides and trace the geographic origin of the introduced population. Our findings reveal areas in western Greece and southwestern Albania as the most probable areas of the source population, while we identify two previously undetected geographical lineages in the native range, highlighting the complex evolutionary history of the species in the region. Additionally, indications of potential glacial refugia and post-glacial dispersal patterns shed more light on the species’ demographic dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Phylogeny and Evolution)
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19 pages, 1900 KiB  
Article
Floristic Diversity and Natural Regeneration of Miombo Woodlands in the Rural Area of Lubumbashi, D.R. Congo
by Dieu-donné N’tambwe Nghonda, Héritier Khoji Muteya, Waselin Salomon, Fidèle Cuma Mushagalusa, François Malaisse, Quentin Ponette, Yannick Useni Sikuzani, Wilfried Masengo Kalenga and Jan Bogaert
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070405 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 602
Abstract
Increased anthropogenic pressure on forest resources leads to deforestation and forest degradation, significantly limiting the regeneration capacity of native woody species and consequently the restoration of miombo woodlands in anthropized habitats within the rural area of Lubumbashi. This study assessed miombo species’ diversity [...] Read more.
Increased anthropogenic pressure on forest resources leads to deforestation and forest degradation, significantly limiting the regeneration capacity of native woody species and consequently the restoration of miombo woodlands in anthropized habitats within the rural area of Lubumbashi. This study assessed miombo species’ diversity and natural regeneration capacity through floristic inventories in three different habitats (unexploited forests, degraded forests, and post-cultivation fallows). The results reveal that for the adult stratum, unexploited and degraded forests exhibit higher dendrometric (density, mean square diameter, basal area) and floristic parameter (taxa, genera, families) values compared to post-cultivation fallows. Furthermore, the regeneration of miombo woody species is higher in degraded forests (21 taxa; 105 juveniles/plot). However, regarding the sapling’s stratum (1 cm ≤ dbh < 10 cm), the three habitats display similar situations. Additionally, the floristic composition and diversity of unexploited and degraded forests show a significantly higher similarity (76.50%) among them compared to these habitats and the post-cultivation fallows (56.00%). These findings indicate that miombo woodlands have the potential to regenerate and maintain floristic diversity even in anthropized habitats, particularly in degraded forests. To sustain this natural regeneration capacity of miombo woody species and promote the restoration of forest cover and its floristic diversity, it is imperative to determine the rotation period after habitat exploitation and regulate anthropogenic activities and late bush fires, particularly in anthropized habitats at the village level. Full article
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18 pages, 2337 KiB  
Article
Hemolymph Parameters Are a Useful Tool for Assessing Bivalve Health and Water Quality
by Andrei Grinchenko, Yulia Sokolnikova, Ayna Tumas, Mariia Mokrina, Elizaveta Tsoy, Ivan Buriak, Vadim Kumeiko and Mariia Onishchenko
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070404 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 297
Abstract
Bivalves play a key role in aquatic ecosystems and are a valuable commercial resource. The prosperity of these aquatic organisms depends mainly on the effectiveness of their immune defense, in which the hemolymph plays a central role. Hemolymph may be used as an [...] Read more.
Bivalves play a key role in aquatic ecosystems and are a valuable commercial resource. The prosperity of these aquatic organisms depends mainly on the effectiveness of their immune defense, in which the hemolymph plays a central role. Hemolymph may be used as an effective non-lethal criterion of health. However, the predictive value of hemolymph analysis depends on the comparison between the obtained results and reference data from healthy individuals living in natural aquatic environments. We collected hemolymph from 15 commercially important species from wild populations at stations located in non-impacted and impacted water areas of the Sea of Japan. Of the 11 hemolymph parameters we analyzed, the total hemocyte count, percentage of hemocyte types, phagocytic activity, presence of reactive oxygen species, and protein concentration differed significantly between populations from non-impacted and impacted water areas. The most responsive species to pollution were Magallana gigas, Crenomytilus grayanus, Mizuhopecten yessoensis, and Mactra chinensis. This work is the first to examine a large number of commercially important species simultaneously. The results of this study are the basis for establishing the health status criteria of commercial bivalves for veterinary control in aquaculture and biomonitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity as Tools to Assess Impacts on Coastal Ecosystems)
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17 pages, 2607 KiB  
Article
Archaeological Areas as Habitat Islands: Plant Diversity of Epidaurus UNESCO World Heritage Site (Greece)
by Maria Panitsa, Maria Tsakiri, Dimitra Kampiti and Maria Skotadi
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070403 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 729
Abstract
The Epidaurus UNESCO World Heritage site (EPD) is a famous archaeological area that is located in a small valley in the Peloponnese and receives more than 250,000 visitors annually. The study of the plant diversity of the site is in the framework of [...] Read more.
The Epidaurus UNESCO World Heritage site (EPD) is a famous archaeological area that is located in a small valley in the Peloponnese and receives more than 250,000 visitors annually. The study of the plant diversity of the site is in the framework of a continuous research project concerning archaeological areas of the Peloponnese and in the context of a project by the Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs of Greece that started during 2023 to study the biodiversity of the archaeological areas of Greece. The main aim of this study is the exploration and analysis of the plant species composition and diversity of the Epidaurus archaeological area, with an emphasis on endemic plants, on ruderal and alien taxa as well as on environmental and disturbance indicators and the cultural ecosystem services they provide. This study revealed a high species richness consisting of 446 plant taxa. Most of them are Mediterranean and widespread, ruderals and medium disturbance indicators, but there are also 12 Greek endemic taxa. The richest in the taxa families are Asteraceae, Fabaceae and Poaceae. Therophytes predominate in the total flora registered and hemicryptophytes predominate in the endemics. Comparisons of the EPD’s plant diversity with other archaeological areas of Greece and the Mediterranean revealed its richness and unique character. Management and protection in archaeological areas such as the Epidaurus must focus on the sustainable conservation of their relationship with their natural environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2024 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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29 pages, 12378 KiB  
Article
Untangling the “Renicola somateria” (Digenea, Renicolidae) Muddle: Actual Number of Species and Their Distribution and Transmission in the Holarctic
by Kirill V. Galaktionov, Anna I. Solovyeva, Aleksei A. Miroliubov, Anna E. Romanovich and Karl Skírnisson
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070402 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 498
Abstract
Renicolids are parasites of aquatic birds. Their species identification based on morphological characters is problematic. Here, we revised the composition of Renicola spp. parasitising anatids in nearshore areas of northern seas using integrated morphological and molecular data. We redescribed Renicola somateria and verified [...] Read more.
Renicolids are parasites of aquatic birds. Their species identification based on morphological characters is problematic. Here, we revised the composition of Renicola spp. parasitising anatids in nearshore areas of northern seas using integrated morphological and molecular data. We redescribed Renicola somateria and verified the diagnosis of R. mediovitellata. We established that the first intermediate host (FIH) of R. somateria is the mollusc Buccinum undatum, while the FIHs of R. mediovitellata are Nucella spp. molluscs. We described the intramolluscan stages of both species. Renicola somateria and R. mediovitellata formed a separate clade in the molecular trees of the Renicolidae. This finding confirms the existence of three main phylogenetic branches of renicolids, differing in the structure of adults, type of cercariae, and host range. Molecular data demonstrated an amphiboreal distribution of both R. somateria and R. mediovitellata. The former is represented by a single population in Europe and the North Pacific, while the latter forms separate populations in these regions. This may be because R. somateria actually uses not only B. undatum but also some other buccinid species with similar circum-Arctic ranges as the FIH. We discuss the roles played in the formation of digenean ranges by the vagility of the definitive host, the lifespan of the adults, and the distribution of the FIH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Trematoda)
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21 pages, 3288 KiB  
Article
Relic Vergilius Oak (Quercus virgiliana Ten.) Trees Could Preserve Microhabitats of Pannonian Forest–Steppe Vegetation
by Sándor Bordács, Beáta Pintér, Csaba Horváth, Lajos Benedek and Márta Ladányi
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070401 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 391
Abstract
In the framework of an ongoing gene conservation programme in the Tolna Hills Region, Hungary, a total of 41 site plots were selected on agricultural land that had recently been used as grassland, meadow or vineyard. Aims of our study were (i) to [...] Read more.
In the framework of an ongoing gene conservation programme in the Tolna Hills Region, Hungary, a total of 41 site plots were selected on agricultural land that had recently been used as grassland, meadow or vineyard. Aims of our study were (i) to test the taxonomic status of relic oak trees growing out of forested lands; (ii) to verify the origin of relic trees whether they regenerated by sprouts and suckers or by seeds in order to estimate their age and origin (nativeness); (iii) to test their microhabitats to see if forest-specific plant and fungal species were presented; (iv) and to test species to see if their presence linked to any forest vegetation in the past. Furthermore, the land-use type did not show a significant effect on the abundance of woody, dicot herbaceous, or monocot herbaceous plants recorded on sites based on maps from 1941 or earlier. The follow-up univariate ANOVA revealed a significant direct effect of recent land-use type (of 2022) on monocot herbaceous plants (F(3,33) = 5.21, p < 0.01). Additionally, a significant but weaker effect was observed on woody plants (F(3,33) = 3.22, p < 0.05). The overall past effect of land-use type showed a significantly high positive correlation between the abundance of woody plants and the number of times the maps showed forest or forest boundary land-use types (R = 0.46, p < 0.01). The plots have likely preserved and sustained the microhabitats of the native forest vegetation that was once distributed in the region. The site plots of relic oak trees, considered as flagstone habitats, create opportunities for gene flow, not only for the species with dispersal or discontinuous distribution, but also for the Vergilius oak populations. Therefore, relic trees and their microhabitats might have an important role in the mating system of various species and might also be valuable resources for genetic conservation programmes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Phylogeny and Evolution)
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14 pages, 6553 KiB  
Article
Invasion of Sicyos angulatus in Riparian Habitats in the Jiu and Danube Area (Romania)
by Mariana Niculescu, Paula Iancu and Ovidiu Florin Păniță
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070400 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 247
Abstract
Sicyos angulatus (Cucurbitaceae) is an invasive species because of its rapid growth rate, intensive dispersal and ability to adapt to a wide range of environments. It has become an invasive species in the Ostroveni area, an area at the confluence of the Jiu [...] Read more.
Sicyos angulatus (Cucurbitaceae) is an invasive species because of its rapid growth rate, intensive dispersal and ability to adapt to a wide range of environments. It has become an invasive species in the Ostroveni area, an area at the confluence of the Jiu River and the Danube River in the Oltenia region of Romania. This species spreads, climbs and takes over everything in its path. It can also outcompete native plants very quickly as it is a prolific breeder. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the invasive potential of S. angulatus in the forests of the Jiu and Danube confluence area by calculating several indicator values. The results showed that the number of plants varies depending on factors such as location, water availability and shade. They also showed that S. angulatus is a plant that occupies its niche in the ecosystem and has a negative impact on the local flora. Population control should therefore start with early detection, so that control and eradication are less costly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Evolution of Invasive Plant Species)
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23 pages, 11490 KiB  
Article
Intertidal Species of Gelidium from the Temperate Coast of Argentina
by María Emilia Croce and D. Wilson Freshwater
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070399 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 328
Abstract
The Gelidiales comprises economically valuable species of marine red algae that are found globally, in cold, temperate, and warm waters. Although there is much known about the species diversity and distribution of this order, it remains underexplored on the temperate coast of the [...] Read more.
The Gelidiales comprises economically valuable species of marine red algae that are found globally, in cold, temperate, and warm waters. Although there is much known about the species diversity and distribution of this order, it remains underexplored on the temperate coast of the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean. This study aimed to update current knowledge about the intertidal Gelidiaceae found on the temperate coast of Argentina using a combination of rbcL data and morpho-anatomical studies and to evaluate the morphological variability among species related to habitat characteristics. Three morphotypes were found at the six localities surveyed; two were identified as different morphologies of Gelidium crinale and one was identified as Gelidium carolinianum. Populations of both species were widespread and coexisted extensively from 37° S to 40° S along the Argentinean coast. G. carolinianum is newly reported in the Southern Hemisphere, indicating it has a disjunct distribution that includes the North Atlantic and Mediterranean as well. Molecular data confirmed previous reports of G. crinale in Argentina, a species that exhibited broad morphological variability among sites. The development of both spermatangia and carpogonia on the same fertile gametophyte thalli in G. crinale and G. carolinianum was described for the first time and demonstrated that they are monoecious. These findings shed light on the diversity and biogeography of Gelidiales from temperate South America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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21 pages, 18738 KiB  
Article
Diversity and Conservation of Rodents in Saudi Arabia
by Khaled Ahmad Al Malki, Abdul Rahman Al Ghamdi, Faisal Shuraim, Farah Neyaz, Ahmad Al Boug, Sharif Al Jbour, Francesco M. Angelici and Zuhair S. Amr
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070398 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 386
Abstract
The rodents of Saudi Arabia consist of twenty species and twelve genera within four families (Gliridae, Dipodidae, Muridae, and Hystricidae). Details on the past and present distribution of the rodents were included, along with available data on their habitat preference and biology. The [...] Read more.
The rodents of Saudi Arabia consist of twenty species and twelve genera within four families (Gliridae, Dipodidae, Muridae, and Hystricidae). Details on the past and present distribution of the rodents were included, along with available data on their habitat preference and biology. The eastern central part of Saudi Arabia, covering the Tuwiq mountains plateau, including the vicinity of Riyadh, hosts the highest number of rodent species. An analysis of the rodent fauna of Saudi Arabia revealed that they have four major zoogeographical affinities: Palaearctic–Oriental (one species), Afrotropical–Palaearctic (six species), Palaearctic (four species), endemic to Saudi Arabia and Yemen (three species), Afrotropical–Palaearctic–Oriental (three species), and three cosmopolitan species. According to the National Red List, the Euphrates Jerboa, Scarturus euphraticus, is listed as endangered, the Indian Crested Porcupine, Hystrix indica, as near threatened, three further species as data-deficient, while the rest are considered least concern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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24 pages, 26619 KiB  
Article
An Updated Taxonomic Appraisal of Narcissus (Amaryllidaceae) in the Maltese Islands
by Stephen Mifsud and Sandro Lanfranco
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070397 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 313
Abstract
A previous study of Narcissus species on the Maltese Islands had suggested the existence of a natural hybridogenous species. A fresh study on Narcissus in Malta was conducted in 2021 and 2023 with the primary aim of studying the previously reported populations of [...] Read more.
A previous study of Narcissus species on the Maltese Islands had suggested the existence of a natural hybridogenous species. A fresh study on Narcissus in Malta was conducted in 2021 and 2023 with the primary aim of studying the previously reported populations of intermediate forms and to update the taxonomy of Narcissus in Malta. Four main taxa of native species were identified: N. deficiens, two distinct morphotypes of N. tazetta, and a new hybrid species. The species identified as N. deficiens replaces records of N. serotinus and N. obsoletus. One of the two morphotypes (“autumn-flowering”) is now combined as subsp. aequilimbus (previously described from Maltese material as Hermione aequilimba) and the other one (“spring-flowering”) corresponds to subsp. tazetta. The new hybrid is derived from N. deficiens and N. tazetta and is named N × briffae. This hybrid was previously incorrectly reported as N. elegans. Detailed morphometric analysis and ecological data justify these new taxonomic appraisals. A dichotomous identification key for eight Narcissus taxa (including non-native ones) is provided to facilitate the identification of the occurring and doubtful species recorded on the Maltese Islands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Diversity on Islands)
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5 pages, 3946 KiB  
Interesting Images
Recovery of Intertidal Mussel Stands Three Years after the Severe 2021 Heatwave in British Columbia, Canada
by Ricardo A. Scrosati
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070396 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 414
Abstract
In the early summer of 2021, an intense heatwave killed millions of intertidal mussels in British Columbia, Canada. Using photographs taken three years later (June 2024), this article provides visual evidence of active recovery of intertidal mussel stands in the Vancouver region, revealing [...] Read more.
In the early summer of 2021, an intense heatwave killed millions of intertidal mussels in British Columbia, Canada. Using photographs taken three years later (June 2024), this article provides visual evidence of active recovery of intertidal mussel stands in the Vancouver region, revealing the resilience of these intertidal systems. Future monitoring should evaluate their ability for long-term persistence in light of the ongoing climate change, which is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of heatwaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Interesting Images from the Sea)
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