Editor’s Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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17 pages, 1850 KiB  
Article
Orthoptera Community Dynamics and Conservation in a Natura 2000 Site (Greece): The Role of Beta Diversity
by Apostolis Stefanidis, Konstantina Zografou, Olga Tzortzakaki and Vassiliki Kati
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010011 - 23 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1360
Abstract
Greece is a European hotspot for Orthoptera (378 species), yet it has been scarcely explored. We investigated the diversity patterns of Orthoptera and the ecological mechanisms shaping them by sampling 15 sites (30 plots of 1ha) across five habitats in Mount Mitsikeli, a [...] Read more.
Greece is a European hotspot for Orthoptera (378 species), yet it has been scarcely explored. We investigated the diversity patterns of Orthoptera and the ecological mechanisms shaping them by sampling 15 sites (30 plots of 1ha) across five habitats in Mount Mitsikeli, a Natura 2000 site. The mountain is deemed rich (0.4 species/km2), hosting 34 species, including a species of European interest (Paracaloptenus caloptenoides). The grassy openings in the beech–fir forest and rural mosaics were found to be important habitats for Orthoptera, while the mountain grasslands were poorer but hosted a greater abundance of grasshoppers. The three main environmental factors shaping diversity patterns (with an explained variance of 51.34%) were grass height, the cover of woody vegetation and the cover of bare ground. Beta diversity was high (with a Bray–Curtis of index 0.45 among habitats). Species turnover prevailed among all sites and within agricultural land, beech–fir forest and Mediterranean scrub, while nested patterns prevailed within mountain grasslands and mixed thermophilous forest. Conservation actions should target sites in ecosystems driven by species turnover, but primarily the most species-rich sites are driven by nestedness. Such actions should include the implementation of biodiversity-inclusive grazing schemes to hamper forest encroachment and the restoration of mountain grassland quality from cattle overgrazing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2024 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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25 pages, 19292 KiB  
Article
Integrative Taxonomy of Turcinoemacheilus Bănărescu & Nalbant, 1964 in West Asia with the Description of Three New Species (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae)
by Arash Jouladeh-Roudbar, Saber Vatandoust, Ignacio Doadrio and Hamid Reza Ghanavi
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1222; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121222 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1732
Abstract
Nemacheilid fishes in the genus Turcinoemacheilus are physically small members of the ichthyofauna communities of high-altitude and mountainous freshwater ecosystems. They are all distributed in Western Asia apart from a single species, described in the Himalayas. They are usually very similar in appearance, [...] Read more.
Nemacheilid fishes in the genus Turcinoemacheilus are physically small members of the ichthyofauna communities of high-altitude and mountainous freshwater ecosystems. They are all distributed in Western Asia apart from a single species, described in the Himalayas. They are usually very similar in appearance, which complicates their proper identification and/or description. This is why it is important to use multidisciplinary and integrative taxonomical approaches in order to study their true diversity. In this study, three new species of Turcinoemacheilus are described from Iran, raising the total number of valid species to nine. Turcinoemacheilus ansari new species, is distinguished by the anus being situated behind the midpoint of the pelvic-fin and anal-fin origins and the short anal-fin base length. Turcinoemacheilus christofferi new species, differs by the anus being situated behind the midpoint of the pelvic-fin and anal-fin origins, with a complete lateral line reaching to the anterior part of the caudal fin. Turcinoemacheilus moghbeli new species, is distinguished by the anus being situated at or in front of the midpoint of the pelvic-fin and anal-fin origins, with a great pre-pelvic distance and a caudal peduncle length 1.5–2.3 times its length. In Western Asia, all Turcinoemacheilus species are well separated by molecular characters, showing between 3.6 and 14.1% uncorrected p genetic distances in the COI barcode region. This work shows the importance of studying the hidden diversity of under-sampled and understudied groups of organisms to have a clear image of true biodiversity in order to effectively conserve and protect it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biodiversity of Freshwater Fishes)
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48 pages, 18111 KiB  
Article
The Diversity of Larvae with Multi-Toothed Stylets from About 100 Million Years Ago Illuminates the Early Diversification of Antlion-like Lacewings
by Florian Braig, Timo Popp, Ana Zippel, Gideon T. Haug, Simon Linhart, Patrick Müller, Thomas Weiterschan, Joachim T. Haug and Carolin Haug
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1219; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121219 - 15 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1883
Abstract
Neuroptera, the group of lacewings, is well known to have been more diverse in the past, offering to study patterns of biodiversity loss over time. This loss of diversity has been quantitatively established by the morphological diversity of lacewing larvae. Here, we explore [...] Read more.
Neuroptera, the group of lacewings, is well known to have been more diverse in the past, offering to study patterns of biodiversity loss over time. This loss of diversity has been quantitatively established by the morphological diversity of lacewing larvae. Here, we explore in more detail the diversity of lacewing larvae with tooth-bearing mouthparts. All these larvae are representatives of Myrmeleontiformia, the group of antlion-like lacewings. Today, larvae of several major ingroups bear teeth on their mouthparts: (1) owllions (formerly Ascalaphidae and Myrmeleontidae; taxonomic status is currently unclear); (2) Nymphidae; (3) Crocinae (mostly in younger larvae); and (4) Nemopterinae (only micro teeth). In addition, there are several now extinct larval types with teeth known from Cretaceous ambers (about 100 million years old). These larvae also possess several plesiomorphic characters, indicating that they were part of the early diversification of Myrmeleontiformia. We report numerous new specimens of these now extinct forms and provide a quantitative morphological comparison of head and mouthpart shapes, demonstrating that some of these Cretaceous larvae possessed morphologies not represented in the extant fauna. The resulting pattern is complex, indicating that at least some extinct morphologies have been later replaced by modern-day antlions due to convergent evolution. Full article
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75 pages, 27568 KiB  
Article
The Indo-Pacific Stingray Genus Brevitrygon (Myliobatiformes: Dasyatidae): Clarification of Historical Names and Description of a New Species, B. manjajiae sp. nov., from the Western Indian Ocean
by Peter R. Last, Simon Weigmann and Gavin J. P. Naylor
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1213; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121213 - 12 Dec 2023
Viewed by 4268
Abstract
Members of the genus Brevitrygon are small, locally abundant tropical stingrays (family Dasyatidae) occurring in soft sedimentary habitats of inner continental shelves of the Indo-West Pacific from the Red Sea to Indonesia. Formerly members of the genus Himantura, whose members lack dorsal [...] Read more.
Members of the genus Brevitrygon are small, locally abundant tropical stingrays (family Dasyatidae) occurring in soft sedimentary habitats of inner continental shelves of the Indo-West Pacific from the Red Sea to Indonesia. Formerly members of the genus Himantura, whose members lack dorsal and ventral skin folds on the tail (typical of most dasyatid genera), folds are present or rudimentary in some Brevitrygon. Important to artisanal fisheries and known to consist of at least five species, these fishes are possibly the most frequently misidentified of all stingrays. Most were inadequately described in the 19th century, and they are often taxonomically confused due to morphological similarity, ontogenetic variability, and sexual dimorphism. Their nomenclatural history is complex with four of the known species represented within the type series of one species, B. walga (Müller & Henle). Also, the type of the species with which B. walga is most often confused, B. imbricata (Bloch & Schneider) from off southern India and Sri Lanka, is in very poor condition. A lectotype has been designated for B. walga (confined to the Bay of Bengal). The genus also contains B. heterura (Bleeker) from the Indo-Malay Archipelago, B. javaensis (Last & White) from off southern Indonesia, and a new species, B. manjajiae sp. nov., from the western Indian Ocean. The former species are redescribed and redefined based largely on a combination of morphometrics, tail morphology, squamation, and molecular data. Molecular divergences were detected within lineages of B. heterura, B. walga and B. manjajiae sp. nov., requiring further investigation. Full article
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21 pages, 15625 KiB  
Article
Xyloplax princealberti (Asteroidea, Echinodermata): A New Species That Is Not Always Associated with Wood Falls
by Cheyenne Y. Payne, Ekin Tilic, Rachel E. Boschen-Rose, Amanda Gannon, Josefin Stiller, Avery S. Hiley, Benjamin M. Grupe, Christopher L. Mah and Greg W. Rouse
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121212 - 12 Dec 2023
Viewed by 2458
Abstract
Xyloplax is a genus of three species of sea stars previously found only on sunken wood in the deep ocean. Their circular and petaloid bodies, which lend them their common name “sea daisy”, and their presumed exclusive diet of wood make them an [...] Read more.
Xyloplax is a genus of three species of sea stars previously found only on sunken wood in the deep ocean. Their circular and petaloid bodies, which lend them their common name “sea daisy”, and their presumed exclusive diet of wood make them an unusual and rare element of deep-sea ecosystems. We describe here the fourth species of Xyloplax from the eastern Pacific Ocean, Xyloplax princealberti n. sp., which ranges from offshore Canada to the Gulf of California (Mexico) and Costa Rica. Though sampled geographically close to another described species of Xyloplax from the northeastern Pacific, X. janetae, this new species is unique morphologically and according to available DNA data. The short abactinal spines are the most obvious feature that distinguishes X. princealberti n. sp. from other Xyloplax. The minimum distance for mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I from Xyloplax princealberti n. sp. to the only other available Xyloplax, X. janetae, was 13.5%. We also describe Ridgeia vestimentiferan tubeworm bushes from active hydrothermal vents as a new Xyloplax habitat, the first record of a non-wood substrate, and a new reproductive strategy, simultaneous hermaphroditism, for this genus. We generated the first mitochondrial genome for a member of Xyloplax and analyzed it with other available asteroid data using nucleotide-coding or amino acid (for protein-coding genes) plus nucleotide coding (for rRNA genes). The nucleotide-coding results place Xylopax as part of the clade Velatida, consistent with a previous phylogenomic analysis that included Xyloplax princealberti n. sp. (as Xyloplax sp.), though the placement of Velatida within Asteroidea differed. The amino acid plus nucleotide coding recovered Velatida to be a grade with X. princealberti n. sp. as sister group to all other Asteroidea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Biogeography of Sea Stars (Echinodermata, Asteroidea))
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10 pages, 742 KiB  
Article
Population Size, Non-Breeding Fraction, and Productivity in a Large Urban Population of Burrowing Parrots (Cyanoliseus patagonus)
by Daiana N. Lera, Natalia Cozzani, José L. Tella and Sergio Zalba
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1207; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121207 - 8 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1512
Abstract
Psittaciformes are one of the bird orders with the highest number of threatened species and the most marked declining population trends. At present, the lack of information on the population size, reproductive fraction, and productivity of most parrot populations makes it difficult to [...] Read more.
Psittaciformes are one of the bird orders with the highest number of threatened species and the most marked declining population trends. At present, the lack of information on the population size, reproductive fraction, and productivity of most parrot populations makes it difficult to design effective conservation actions. In this study, we monitored a population of Burrowing Parrots (Cyanoliseus patagonus) breeding in urbanized habitats in the southwest of Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Every December and February from 2018 to 2023, we counted the individuals arriving at a single communal roost, located in the main park of Bahía Blanca city, which gathers all the parrots breeding in 18–22 colonies within a radius of 20 km. Censuses were conducted before (December) and immediately after the incorporation of juveniles into the flocks (February). Breeding pairs were also counted annually in the colonies, and the average annual productivity and the proportion of juveniles were estimated from surveys in pre-roosting and feeding areas in February. The non-breeding fraction approached half of the population with no statistically significant differences among years (range: 37–53%), and the breeding population showed little annual variation, with a minimum of 1363 and a maximum of 1612 breeding pairs. The proportion of juveniles in the flocks and the estimated productivity showed larger variations among breeding seasons. Our results add insight to the scarce information available on the breeding-to-non-breeding-population ratios in parrots, and birds in general, and show key breeding parameters for a species that is thriving well in urban habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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11 pages, 2837 KiB  
Article
The Use of R and R Packages in Biodiversity Conservation Research
by Jiangshan Lai, Dongfang Cui, Weijie Zhu and Lingfeng Mao
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1202; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121202 - 7 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1623
Abstract
R is one of the most powerful programming languages for conducting data analysis, modeling, and visualization. Although it is widely utilized in biodiversity conservation research, the comprehensive trends in R and R package usage and patterns in the field still remain unexplored. We [...] Read more.
R is one of the most powerful programming languages for conducting data analysis, modeling, and visualization. Although it is widely utilized in biodiversity conservation research, the comprehensive trends in R and R package usage and patterns in the field still remain unexplored. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of R and R package usage frequencies spanning fifteen years, from 2008 to 2022, encompassing over 24,100 research articles published in eight top biodiversity conservation journals. Within this extensive dataset, 10,220 articles (42.3% of the total) explicitly utilized R for data analysis. The use ratio of R demonstrated a consistent linear growth, escalating from 11.1% in 2008 to an impressive 70.6% in 2022. The ten top utilized R packages were vegan, lme4, MuMIn, nlme, mgcv, raster, MASS, ggplot2, car, and dismo. The frequency of R package utilization varied among journals, underscoring the distinct emphases each journal places on specific focuses of biodiversity conservation research. This analysis highlights the pivotal role of R, with its powerful statistical and data visualization capabilities, in empowering researchers to conduct in-depth analyses and gain comprehensive insights into various dimensions of biodiversity conservation science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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18 pages, 1946 KiB  
Article
Phytoplankton Diversity and Blooms in Ephemeral Saline Lakes of Cyprus
by Polina Polykarpou, Matina Katsiapi, Savvas Genitsaris, Natassa Stefanidou, Gerald Dörflinger, Maria Moustaka-Gouni, Athena Economou-Amilli and Dionysios E. Raitsos
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121204 - 7 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1649
Abstract
The ephemeral saline lakes of Cyprus in the Mediterranean, situated in close proximity to each other, demonstrate pronounced seasonal and interannual fluctuations in their environmental conditions. Despite their extreme saline conditions, these lakes support phytoplankton diversity and bloom-forming species. Anthropogenic activities, particularly urban [...] Read more.
The ephemeral saline lakes of Cyprus in the Mediterranean, situated in close proximity to each other, demonstrate pronounced seasonal and interannual fluctuations in their environmental conditions. Despite their extreme saline conditions, these lakes support phytoplankton diversity and bloom-forming species. Anthropogenic activities, particularly urban and artificial land uses within their catchments, contribute to eutrophication, warranting conservation attention within the context of European legislation. Over two years (2018–2019), we examined phytoplankton abundance and diversity alongside salinity in six lakes, with samples collected every three weeks. Chlorophytes were the dominant and most diverse group, followed by cyanobacteria and diatoms. Increasing salinity correlated with reduced compositional diversity and species richness. The proximity of lakes to each other suggested airborne microbe colonization from one lake to another as a significant factor in shaping these communities, while similar land use within each lake’s catchment impacted bloom formation. The highly halotolerant chlorophyte Dunaliella frequently dominated phytoplankton blooms, occasionally coexisting with other taxa in less saline lakes. Our findings provide insight into the phytoplankton community dynamics in temporal saline lakes, essential for developing effective conservation strategies and sustainable management practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Freshwater Biodiversity)
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14 pages, 2382 KiB  
Article
Is the Existence of Two Lineages for Hamadryas glauconome (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) True? Molecular and Ecological Evidence
by Blanca R. Prado-Cuellar, Luis A. Lara-Pérez, Marysol Trujano-Ortega, Salima Machkour-M’Rabet and Carmen Pozo
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1196; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121196 - 6 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1765
Abstract
The genus Hamadryas has a neotropical distribution. In 1983, the subspecies H. glauconome grisea from Mexico was recognized with subtle and subjective differences in color, size and distribution and limited to the northwest. Since then, there has been a debate about whether it [...] Read more.
The genus Hamadryas has a neotropical distribution. In 1983, the subspecies H. glauconome grisea from Mexico was recognized with subtle and subjective differences in color, size and distribution and limited to the northwest. Since then, there has been a debate about whether it is a different lineage from H. glauconome because adult-stage morphology studies have not found significant differences. This study aims to delimitate H. g. glauconome and H. g. grisea lineages with two sources of evidence: ecological and molecular—the former through ecological niche modeling using the accessible area for the species and estimating the minimum volume ellipsoid overlapping as a fundamental niche using occurrences databases. The molecular evidence is found through the methods of phylogenetic inference and the generalized mixed yule coalescent approach, using sequences of cytochrome oxidase I. Ecological and molecular evidence suggest that H. g. grisea is a different lineage from H. glauconome. Also, molecular evidence of a third lineage from the south of Texas needs further study. This study suggests that different evidence should be provided when morphology is not enough for delimiting species, especially in recently diverged species. Furthermore, the H. g. grisea cytochrome oxidase I sequence (658 bp) is published for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogeography and Diversity of Butterflies and Moths)
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15 pages, 11998 KiB  
Article
Coccolithophore Distribution in the Western Black Sea in the Summer of 2016
by Margarita D. Dimiza, Maria V. Triantaphyllou, Alexandra Ravani, Elisa Malinverno, Boris T. Karatsolis, Stella Psarra and Aristomenis P. Karageorgis
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1194; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121194 - 5 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1904
Abstract
Coccolithophores are an important component of phytoplankton abundance and biomass in the brackish environments of the Black Sea. Here, the abundance, composition, and distribution of coccolithophores were investigated in water samples taken from the first 50 m at 18 stations in the western [...] Read more.
Coccolithophores are an important component of phytoplankton abundance and biomass in the brackish environments of the Black Sea. Here, the abundance, composition, and distribution of coccolithophores were investigated in water samples taken from the first 50 m at 18 stations in the western Black Sea during a coccolithophore bloom, in June 2016. The total cell abundances ranged from 2 to 763 × 104 coccospheres L−1; Emiliania huxleyi was the most dominant species, but also Syracosphaera spp. (S. dilatata and S. molischii), Acanthoica (A. acanthifera and A. quattrospina), and Algirosphaera robusta displayed remarkably high concentrations. The formation of the seasonal thermocline significantly affects the vertical distribution of coccolithophores. Emiliania huxleyi, Syracosphaera spp., and Acanthoica spp. were restricted to the upper part of the water column, whereas high abundances of Algirosphaera robusta occurred below the thermocline. Overall, our results show significant differences in the vertical (ANOSIM R = 0.50, p = 0.0001) and spatial (ANOSIM R = 0.18, p = 0.0006) distribution of coccolithophores. Higher abundances of E. huxleyi and Syracosphaera spp. were recorded in the northwestern inner shelf region when compared to the open-sea samples. The observed coccolithophore spatial distribution is suggested to be mostly associated with the influx of less saline river water with high nutrient concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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12 pages, 4919 KiB  
Article
Assessing Genetic Diversity and Population Differentiation in Wild Hop (Humulus lupulus) from the Region of Central Greece via SNP-NGS Genotyping
by Konstantinos Tegopoulos, Dimitrios V. Fountas, Elisavet-Maria Andronidou, Pantelis G. Bagos, Petros Kolovos, George Skavdis, Panagiotis Pergantas, Georgia G. Braliou, Aristotelis C. Papageorgiou and Maria E. Grigoriou
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121171 - 24 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1825
Abstract
A growing need for the development of novel hop (Humulus lupulus) varieties has emerged as a result of the increasing demand for beers with distinct organoleptic characteristics and the expected impact of climate change on hop cultivars. As the genetic variation [...] Read more.
A growing need for the development of novel hop (Humulus lupulus) varieties has emerged as a result of the increasing demand for beers with distinct organoleptic characteristics and the expected impact of climate change on hop cultivars. As the genetic variation in the existing hop cultivars is low, wild hop germplasm can be used as a source for the development of novel cultivars. In this work, we analyzed, for the first time, the genetic diversity of H. lupulus var. lupulus wild germplasm in Greece. A SNP-NGS genotyping approach using a set of nine specific genetic markers, was employed in order to determine individual genotypes and to perform population structure analyses of wild hops from a region with complex topography, namely the Region of Central Greece. Our results revealed low differentiation among populations, with the spatial genetic patterns observed relating mainly to topographical elements rather than geographic distance. Interestingly, within wild hop populations, high genetic diversity was observed, showing that in the region of Central Greece, wild H. lupulus germplasm has significant potential that can be exploited in breeding programs towards the development of local, well adapted and potentially superior hop varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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164 pages, 259734 KiB  
Article
New Skeletons of the Ancient Dolphin Xenorophus sloanii and Xenorophus simplicidens sp. nov. (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Oligocene of South Carolina and the Ontogeny, Functional Anatomy, Asymmetry, Pathology, and Evolution of the Earliest Odontoceti
by Robert W. Boessenecker and Jonathan H. Geisler
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111154 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 6004
Abstract
The early diverging, dolphin-sized, cetacean clade Xenorophidae are a short-lived radiation of toothed whales (Odontoceti) that independently evolved two features long thought to be odontocete synapomorphies: the craniofacial and cochlear morphology underlying echolocation and retrograde cranial telescoping (i.e., posterior migration of the viscerocranium). [...] Read more.
The early diverging, dolphin-sized, cetacean clade Xenorophidae are a short-lived radiation of toothed whales (Odontoceti) that independently evolved two features long thought to be odontocete synapomorphies: the craniofacial and cochlear morphology underlying echolocation and retrograde cranial telescoping (i.e., posterior migration of the viscerocranium). This family was based on Xenorophus sloanii, which, for the past century, has been known only by a partial skull lacking a braincase and tympanoperiotics, collected around 1900 from the Ashley Formation (28–29 Ma, Rupelian) near Ladson, South Carolina. A large collection of new skulls and skeletons (ChM PV 5022, 7677; CCNHM 104, 168, 1077, 5995) from the Ashley Formation considerably expands the hypodigm for this species, now the best known of any stem odontocete and permitting evaluation of intraspecific variation and ontogenetic changes. This collection reveals that the holotype (USNM 11049) is a juvenile. Xenorophus sloanii is a relatively large odontocete (70–74 cm CBL; BZW = 29–31 cm; estimated body length 2.6–3 m) with a moderately long rostrum (RPI = 2.5), marked heterodonty, limited polydonty (13–14 teeth), prominent sagittal crest and intertemporal constriction, and drastically larger brain size than basilosaurid archaeocetes (EQ = 2.9). Dental morphology, thickened cementum, a dorsoventrally robust rostrum, and thick rugose enamel suggest raptorial feeding; oral pathology indicates traumatic tooth loss associated with mechanically risky predation attempts. Ontogenetic changes include increased palatal vomer exposure; fusion of the nasofrontal, occipito-parietal, and median frontal sutures; anterior lengthening of the nasals; elaboration of the nuchal crests; and blunting and thickening of the antorbital process. The consistent deviation of the rostrum 2–5° to the left and asymmetry of the palate, dentition, neurocranium, mandibles, and vertebrae in multiple specimens of Xenorophus sloanii suggest novel adaptations for directional hearing driven by the asymmetrically oriented pan bones of the mandibles. A second collection consisting of a skeleton and several skulls from the overlying Chandler Bridge Formation (24–23 Ma, Chattian) represents a new species, Xenorophus simplicidens n. sp., differing from Xenorophus sloanii in possessing shorter nasals, anteroposteriorly shorter supraorbital processes of the frontal, and teeth with fewer accessory cusps and less rugose enamel. Phylogenetic analysis supports monophyly of Xenorophus, with specimens of Xenorophus simplicidens nested within paraphyletic X. sloanii; in concert with stratigraphic data, these results support the interpretation of these species as part of an anagenetic lineage. New clade names are provided for the sister taxon to Xenorophidae (Ambyloccipita), and the odontocete clade excluding Xenorophidae, Ashleycetus, Mirocetus, and Simocetidae (Stegoceti). Analyses of tooth size, body size, temporal fossa length, orbit morphology, and the rostral proportion index, prompted by well-preserved remains of Xenorophus, provide insight into the early evolution of Odontoceti. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of Crown Cetacea)
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36 pages, 3251 KiB  
Article
Diversity and Phylogeny of Gyrodactylus spp. (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae) across the Strait of Gibraltar: Parasite Speciation and Historical Biogeography of West Mediterranean Cyprinid Hosts
by Chahrazed Rahmouni, Mária Seifertová, Michal Benovics and Andrea Šimková
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111152 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1954
Abstract
Knowledge on the diversity of parasitic flatworms of Western Mediterranean cyprinids is extremely scarce. In the present study, we parasitologically investigated 12 cyprinid species across the Strait of Gibraltar inhabiting watersheds in northwest Africa (Morocco) and Iberia (Portugal and Spain). Taxonomically relevant features [...] Read more.
Knowledge on the diversity of parasitic flatworms of Western Mediterranean cyprinids is extremely scarce. In the present study, we parasitologically investigated 12 cyprinid species across the Strait of Gibraltar inhabiting watersheds in northwest Africa (Morocco) and Iberia (Portugal and Spain). Taxonomically relevant features of the attachment organ and sequences of the 18S rDNA and ITS regions were used for species delineation and to investigate their phylogenetic relatedness. Among the Gyrodactylus collected from Morocco and Spain, we identified specimens with an unusual T-shaped dorsal bar observed herein for the first time. In contrast, the membranous patch-like structure surrounding the twisted inner roots of hamuli and the median ridge of the ventral bar have been generally observed in Eurasian relatives. Our analyses suggest vicariant speciation of Gyrodactylus across the Strait of Gibraltar. We describe herein G. gibraltarensis sp. nov. from Iberian Luciobarbus graellsii; G. moroccensis sp. nov. from northwest African cyprinids, i.e., L. maghrebensis, L. rabatensis, L. rifensis, L. yahyaouii, and L. zayanensis; and finally, G. pseudomoroccensis sp. nov. from Moroccan L. ksibi, all possessing a new haptoral configuration. The genetic divergence and conservative morphologies in populations of G. moroccensis sp. nov. from five cyprinid species support its ongoing speciation in Northwest Africa. The West Mediterranean lineage was revealed to be monophyletic, with Eurasian species forming a sister group. Morphologically, West Mediterranean Gyrodactylus also appeared to be of Middle Eastern origin. Gyrodactylus spp. possessing an unusual T-shaped dorsal bar have most likely speciated, allowing for the appearance of a haptoral morphology that is restricted to the region across the Strait of Gibraltar. To conclude, viviparous Gyrodactylus reflect parasite speciation across the Strait of Gibraltar and the historical biogeography of cyprinids in the West Mediterranean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Phylogenetics of Parasites in Aquatic Animals)
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30 pages, 10026 KiB  
Article
Gamete Recognition Gene Divergence Yields a Robust Eutherian Phylogeny across Taxonomic Levels
by Emma K. Roberts, Emily A. Wright, Asha E. Worsham, Daniel M. Hardy and Robert D. Bradley
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111145 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2847
Abstract
The extraordinary morphological diversity among extant mammals poses a challenge for studies of speciation, adaptation, molecular evolution, and reproductive isolation. Despite the recent wealth of molecular studies on mammalian phylogenetics, uncertainties remain surrounding both ancestral and more recent divergence events that have proven [...] Read more.
The extraordinary morphological diversity among extant mammals poses a challenge for studies of speciation, adaptation, molecular evolution, and reproductive isolation. Despite the recent wealth of molecular studies on mammalian phylogenetics, uncertainties remain surrounding both ancestral and more recent divergence events that have proven difficult to resolve. Multi-gene datasets, especially including genes that are highly divergent, often provide increased support for higher-level affinities within Mammalia; however, such analyses require vast amounts of genomic sequence data and at times, intensive, high-performance computational effort. Furthermore, despite the large-scale efforts dedicated to comprehensive, multi-gene phylogenetic analyses using a combination of mitochondrial, nuclear, and other sequences (e.g., tRNA, ultra-conserved elements, and transposable elements), many relationships across Mammalia remain highly controversial. To offer another approach and provide a phylogenetic solution to this longstanding issue, here we present a phylogenetic tool based on a single reproductive molecular marker, zonadhesin (gene: Zan), one of two known mammalian speciation genes, which encodes the rapidly evolving sperm protein zonadhesin that mediates species-specific adhesion to the egg and thereby promotes reproductive isolation among placental mammals (Eutheria). Topological comparison of Zan Maximum Likelihood phylogenies to a nearly complete mammalian supertree confirmed Zan’s striking phylogenetic utility and resolution at both deeper and more terminal nodes in the placental mammalian phylogeny. This single gene marker yielded an equivalent and/or superiorly supported topology in comparison to a supertree generated using DNA sequences from a supermatrix of 31 genes from 5911 species (extinct and extant). Resolution achieved with this new phylogenetic approach provides unique insights into the divergence of both early and recent mammalian radiations. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the utility of zonadhesin as a singular molecular marker was especially useful in clades where sufficient taxon sampling is impossible to achieve, and where only a subset of members of the mammalian species tree is available. The eutherian relationships presented here provide a foundation for future studies in the reconstruction of mammalian classifications, including reproductive isolation, hybridization, and biodiversification of species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Phylogeny and Evolution)
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14 pages, 1953 KiB  
Article
Changes in Avian Top-Predator Diet in the 21st Century in Northeast (NE) Poland
by Dorota Zawadzka and Grzegorz Zawadzki
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111144 - 16 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1290
Abstract
The White-Tailed Eagle (WTE) Haliaeetus albicilla is a top avian predator that has rapidly increased in numbers and range in large parts of Europe in recent decades. In Poland, over the past 30 years, it has recolonized previously abandoned areas. In 1991, the [...] Read more.
The White-Tailed Eagle (WTE) Haliaeetus albicilla is a top avian predator that has rapidly increased in numbers and range in large parts of Europe in recent decades. In Poland, over the past 30 years, it has recolonized previously abandoned areas. In 1991, the first breeding pair in a large forest complex, the Augustów Forest (Northeast (NE) Poland), was recorded. In 2022, there were 13 breeding pairs. We analyzed changes in the diet composition of WTE in 2000–2023, divided into three periods: 2000–2005, 2009–2017, and 2018–2023. Throughout the 24 years of study, birds were the most frequently recorded food item, accounting for an average of 58% of food items, followed by fish (34%) and mammals (7%). During the study period, the most numerous food items were the Northern Pike Esox lucius, Coot Fulica atra, Common Bream Abramis brama, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, and storks Ciconia sp. These species together accounted for 52% of food items. We recorded a long-term increasing share of Northern Pike, storks, and Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus. Opposite changes, with declining frequency, were found for Coots and ducks. The share of the Coot, ducks, and Great Crested Grebe, as well as the total share of food connected with lakes in the WTE’s diet, increased along the growing area of lakes in the territory of the WTE. The proportion of fish in the food did not show a relationship with the increase in the area of lakes, while the most frequently eaten fish species changed. Observed changes in food composition appear related to the settlement of the habitat-diverse areas by individual breeding pairs and changes the availability of main food categories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Conservation of the White-Tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle)
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13 pages, 5388 KiB  
Article
Teeth Enamel Ultrastructural Analysis of Selected Equidae Taxa
by Vitalii Demeshkant, Michał Biegalski and Leonid Rekovets
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111141 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1850
Abstract
This paper presents historical and evolutionary insights into the “tarpan” group of small horses by examining molar tooth enamel ultrastructure. Mathematical methodologies were applied to enhance the analysis. Tooth enamel from species such as Equus gmelini (tarpan), E. latipes, and E. hydruntinus [...] Read more.
This paper presents historical and evolutionary insights into the “tarpan” group of small horses by examining molar tooth enamel ultrastructure. Mathematical methodologies were applied to enhance the analysis. Tooth enamel from species such as Equus gmelini (tarpan), E. latipes, and E. hydruntinus from Pleistocene Ukrainian localities, E. przewalskii from the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine, and E. caballus form sylvaticus (Polish konik) from Roztocze National Park, Poland, underwent scanning microscope examination. Measurements of enamel structures, including prisms (PE) and interprismatic matrix (IPM), were conducted, with the K-index used as their ratio, categorized by enamel type (I, II, III). The findings confirmed that the crystal structures of enamel in these horse groups vary based on genus evolution, diet, and environmental conditions, shaping the enamel’s morphological features. Through analysis, clusters were identified, allowing for potential reconstructions of relationships among study groups. The results revealed distinct differences between species, enabling their classification within an established phenogram. Two primary clusters emerged: one consisting of extinct small horse forms from diverse localities and another grouping modern forms. Notably, the Late Pleistocene European species E. latipes showed close affinities to the latter cluster. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Evolution of Mammals)
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24 pages, 12589 KiB  
Article
The Greater Midlands—A Mid-Elevation Centre of Floristic Endemism in Summer-Rainfall Eastern South Africa
by Clinton Carbutt
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111137 - 9 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1589
Abstract
The Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province in South Africa was hitherto a putative centre of floristic endemism (CFE) based on conjecture. The aim of this study was to empirically explore this concept by delineating unambiguous boundaries for this CFE and documenting the [...] Read more.
The Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province in South Africa was hitherto a putative centre of floristic endemism (CFE) based on conjecture. The aim of this study was to empirically explore this concept by delineating unambiguous boundaries for this CFE and documenting the endemic spermatophytes within a conservation framework. The Greater Midlands Centre of Floristic Endemism (GMCFE), a more expanded study area than the parochial Midlands region of KZN, is formally described as southern Africa’s 20th CFE. It is a mid-elevation region occupying the greater Midlands of KZN, with extensions of contiguous grasslands extending northwards into southern Mpumalanga and southwards into north-eastern Eastern Cape. This “foothills” CFE covers ca. 77,000 km2 of predominantly mesic C4 grassland, ranging in elevation from ca. 700–2200 m a.s.l. It is congruent with the “sub-escarpment ecoregion,” essentially a composite of the Sub-escarpment Grassland and Savanna Bioregions and the sub-escarpment grasslands of southern Mpumalanga and northern KZN. The GMCFE hosts at least 220 endemic spermatophytes, of which almost a fifth belong to the family Apocynaceae. Families Asteraceae, Asphodelaceae, Fabaceae, and Iridaceae also contribute significantly. Genera Ceropegia, Aloe, Dierama, Kniphofia, Helichrysum, and Streptocarpus contribute the most endemics. More than half are forbs, and almost three-quarters are confined to the Grassland Biome. Endemic radiations are attributed to geodiversity and geological complexity (especially the strong lithological influence of dolerite); physiographic heterogeneity (particularly elevation gradients and variable terrain units); strategic proximity to hyper-diverse temperate and subtropical “border floras”; and localized pollinator-driven adaptive radiations. Of alarming concern is the high number of threatened plant taxa, with ca. 60% of the endemic flora Red Listed in threat categories (CE, E, and VU) or considered “rare”. Extremely low levels of formal protection and poor ecological connectivity, coupled with high levels of land transformation and intensive utilization, render the GMCFE one of the most imperilled CFE in South Africa. Urgent conservation action is required to safeguard this unique and highly threatened “rangeland flora” and stem the biodiversity crisis gripping the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herbaria: A Key Resource for Plant Diversity Exploration)
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17 pages, 2288 KiB  
Article
Preliminary Assessment of Sea Star (Echinodermata, Asteroidea) Diversity in the Coastal Magellanic Region (South Chile) and Their Geographical Distribution
by Luka Vantomme, Quentin Jossart, Karin Gérard, Bruno Danis and Camille Moreau
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111129 - 2 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1951
Abstract
Sea stars are a diverse and important component of the Southern Ocean benthos. However, scarce information is available regarding their diversity, distribution, evolution, and taxonomic uncertainties persist for multiple taxa. The Magellanic Region (south of Chile) remains under-sampled despite its pivotal location for [...] Read more.
Sea stars are a diverse and important component of the Southern Ocean benthos. However, scarce information is available regarding their diversity, distribution, evolution, and taxonomic uncertainties persist for multiple taxa. The Magellanic Region (south of Chile) remains under-sampled despite its pivotal location for species distribution and diversity, being located at the crossroad of three ocean basins. In this study, we assessed the biodiversity of coastal Magellanic sea stars and their affinities with other oceanic bioregions. An integrative approach combining morphological identification with DNA barcoding was implemented to highlight taxonomic discrepancies such as suspected synonymy and unrecognised diversity. Firstly, we identified a total of 15 species from the coastal Magellanic Region and reported the occurrence of Cycethra frigida Koehler, 1917 for the first time in this region. The distribution of these 15 species ranged from only in South America to circumpolar, bipolar, or possibly cosmopolitan. Secondly, we highlighted possible synonymy in two species pairs within the genera Anasterias and Odontaster. This preliminary biodiversity assessment forms an important baseline for monitoring and conservation purposes, especially in the face of distribution shifts as a response to climate change and the increased presence of invasive species. Developmental mode has previously been suggested to be important in shaping biogeographical patterns. However, developmental mode was insufficient to explain the observed patterns, and other factors (e.g., physiological constraints, competition, bathymetrical range, and the possibility of passively rafting on kelp) are suggested to be at least equally important. Finally, an increase in barcoding effort is needed to better capture phylogeographic patterns for each species, both by increasing the number of specimens investigated and by covering a broader geographical range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Biogeography of Sea Stars (Echinodermata, Asteroidea))
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27 pages, 950 KiB  
Review
Limno-Terrestrial Tardigrada of Sub-Antarctic Islands—An Annotated Review
by Peter Degma and Nina Gábrišová
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1109; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111109 - 25 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1967
Abstract
Research on the limno-terrestrial Tardigrada fauna of the Sub-Antarctic zone began almost 120 years ago. Here we present an overview of the literature data on the presence of tardigrades on sub-Antarctic islands, including the substrates on which they have been found. From 32 [...] Read more.
Research on the limno-terrestrial Tardigrada fauna of the Sub-Antarctic zone began almost 120 years ago. Here we present an overview of the literature data on the presence of tardigrades on sub-Antarctic islands, including the substrates on which they have been found. From 32 published sources, we found original data on the occurrence of 49 currently valid species on six sub-Antarctic islands/island groups. Of these, 9 species (18%) were originally described from this zone, another 13 species (26%) were described from Continental or Maritime Antarctica, almost half of these species (22 species—45%) were originally described from European localities, and the remaining 5 species (10%) were originally described from South America, Africa, or Australia. The validity of the records of individual species is discussed. We consider the presence of 29 species in the Sub-Antarctic to be doubtful. We ascertained a total of 90 combinations of species and islands or island groups. More than half (64%) of these will require confirmation in the future because we currently consider them doubtful. We can conclude that the tardigrade fauna of the sub-Antarctic islands is only very superficially known, and the occurrence of most species in this zone must be verified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Investigating the Biodiversity of the Tardigrada)
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13 pages, 1529 KiB  
Article
Bats of the Tunisian Desert: Preliminary Data Using Acoustic Identification and First Record of Taphozous nudiventris in the Country
by Ridha Dalhoumi, Ridha El Mokni, Ridha Ouni, Hamouda Beyrem and Stéphane Aulagnier
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1108; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111108 - 25 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1509
Abstract
Increasing aridity usually results in decreasing bat abundance and species richness, and the Saharan desert is an example of such impoverishment. Moreover, the harsh climatic and field conditions in this area restrict the feasibility of surveys. Therefore, the bat fauna of the Tunisian [...] Read more.
Increasing aridity usually results in decreasing bat abundance and species richness, and the Saharan desert is an example of such impoverishment. Moreover, the harsh climatic and field conditions in this area restrict the feasibility of surveys. Therefore, the bat fauna of the Tunisian Sahara was unstudied until an expedition was conducted in May 2021. A total of seven species were recorded using passive bat detectors set mainly at water bodies, which concentrate bat activity. Echolocation calls of these species did not depart from published records for the Mediterranean area. Our data failed to identify the two ecomorphotypes of Pipistrellus kuhlii but confirmed the adaptability of this species to local conditions. For the first time in Tunisia, we recorded echolocation calls of Taphozous nudiventris, a species that has been rarely reported in North Africa. The highest species richness was identified at the largest wetlands of Oued Daghsen (Oued Dkouk Nature Reserve) and at Bordj el Khadra (only six and four species, respectively). Most Mediterranean species were recorded in the northern locality, while desert species were more active in the most southern one. The importance of water bodies for bats was confirmed once more. No sign of competition among species was detected, as the Mediterranean and desert-dwelling bat species were active at the same time. Additional surveys should be planned in order to enlarge the list of seven species recorded in only one week. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Key Aspects in the Ecology and Diversity of Desert-Dwelling Bats)
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54 pages, 60377 KiB  
Article
The Denticle Multiverse: Morphological Diversity of Placoid Scales across Ontogeny in the Portuguese Dogfish, Centroscymnus coelolepis, and Its Systematic Implications
by Diego F. B. Vaz, Tess M. Avery, Molly K. Gabler-Smith and George V. Lauder
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1105; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111105 - 24 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2650
Abstract
Centroscymnus coelolepis is a deep-water sleeper shark and, like most sharks, it is covered in placoid scales, or dermal denticles. The morphological diversity of the dermal denticles in this species, however, has not been described in detail, and ontogenetic changes in denticle morphology [...] Read more.
Centroscymnus coelolepis is a deep-water sleeper shark and, like most sharks, it is covered in placoid scales, or dermal denticles. The morphological diversity of the dermal denticles in this species, however, has not been described in detail, and ontogenetic changes in denticle morphology are poorly understood in sharks. Combining scanning-electron microscopy and micro-CT imaging, we demonstrate the presence of eleven dermal-denticle morphotypes across the ontogeny and different regions of the body of Centroscymnus coelolepis. The snout, interspiracular, and trunk/tail regions have similar changes in denticle morphotype during development. For example, on the trunks and tails of juveniles (~350 mm TL), denticle crowns have two to three longitudinal ridges and three posterior cusps that are gradually replaced by ridgeless and cuspless crowns in adults (>800 mm TL). Sixteen measurements were obtained from the 3D models generated. A principal component analysis demonstrated that the eleven distinct dermal-denticle morphotypes observed were located in different regions of the morphospace. The denticle volume and surface area showed negative allometry with respect to body length throughout the ontogeny. The results reflect the considerable diversity within the denticle multiverse (ontogenetic and intraspecific variations), and much of this diversity remains to be explored to fully understand the role of dermal denticles in shark taxonomy, ecology, and biomechanics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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16 pages, 2138 KiB  
Article
A New Miniature Species of Arthroleptis (Anura: Arthroleptidae) from Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda
by J. Maximilian Dehling
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101104 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1984
Abstract
A new, very small-sized species of Arthroleptis is described from western Rwanda. The new species occurs locally endemic in Nyungwe Forest and Cyamudongo Forest, where it inhabits the leaf litter of montane forests between 1800 and 2200 m a.s.l. It differs from all [...] Read more.
A new, very small-sized species of Arthroleptis is described from western Rwanda. The new species occurs locally endemic in Nyungwe Forest and Cyamudongo Forest, where it inhabits the leaf litter of montane forests between 1800 and 2200 m a.s.l. It differs from all other members of the genus by a unique combination of morphological characters, including size (SVL of adult males 16.0–16.5 mm), skin texture, length of hindlimbs, and ventral colour pattern; by characteristics of its advertisement call that consists of a single note lasting 17.4 ± 6.4 [11–32] ms and has a dominant frequency of 5861 ± 188 [5531–6029] Hz; and also in the sequence of the 16S rRNA gene that differs from available homologous sequences of other species of the genus by an uncorrected p-distance of at least 4.6%. Details of the natural history as well as two additional call types are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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14 pages, 1532 KiB  
Article
Non-Native Marine Macroalgae of the Azores: An Updated Inventory
by Daniela Gabriel, Ana Isabel Ferreira, Joana Micael and Suzanne Fredericq
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101089 - 17 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1720
Abstract
Non-native species (NNS) represent a threat to biodiversity, and their occurrence and distribution should be periodically updated and made easily available to researchers and policymakers. An updated inventory of macroalgal NNS currently present in the Azores was produced based on published reports. Data [...] Read more.
Non-native species (NNS) represent a threat to biodiversity, and their occurrence and distribution should be periodically updated and made easily available to researchers and policymakers. An updated inventory of macroalgal NNS currently present in the Azores was produced based on published reports. Data concerning the first report and the distribution in the archipelago are provided for each species, as well as their respective native ranges and possible vectors of introduction. The resulting list comprises 42 taxa, i.e., 8.05% of the marine flora presently reported in the Azores, with 16 new NNS recorded over the last decade. The most isolated islands of the Western Group presented lower numbers of NNS (4.25% and 6.25%). In contrast, the two islands with the most used marina for transatlantic recreational sailing presented higher numbers (12.90% and 16.87%). Shipping is the main introduction vector (68%), whereas most macroalgal NNS are originally from the Pacific Ocean (31%) and the Indo-Pacific (31%). The presence of 13 species is restricted to single islands, and no species is reported exclusively in the Western group. Asparagopsis armata is the only algal NNS reported from all islands of the Azores. Future work is proposed to support policymaking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biodiversity in the Azores: A Whole Biota Assessment)
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22 pages, 3099 KiB  
Article
Fusarium and Sarocladium Species Associated with Rice Sheath Rot Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa
by Oluwatoyin Oluwakemi Afolabi, Vincent de Paul Bigirimana, Gia Khuong Hoang Hua, Feyisara Eyiwumi Oni, Lien Bertier, John Onwughalu, Olumoye Ezekiel Oyetunji, Ayoni Ogunbayo, Mario Van De Velde, Obedi I. Nyamangyoku, Sarah De Saeger and Monica Höfte
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1090; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101090 - 17 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1782
Abstract
Sarocladium and Fusarium species are commonly identified as causal agents of rice sheath rot disease worldwide. However, limited knowledge exists about their genetic, pathogenic, and toxigenic diversity in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, where an increasing incidence of this disease has been observed. In [...] Read more.
Sarocladium and Fusarium species are commonly identified as causal agents of rice sheath rot disease worldwide. However, limited knowledge exists about their genetic, pathogenic, and toxigenic diversity in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, where an increasing incidence of this disease has been observed. In this study, seventy fungal isolates were obtained from rice plants displaying disease symptoms in rice research programs and farmer fields in Mali, Nigeria, and Rwanda. Thus, an extensive comparative analysis was conducted to assess their genetic, pathogenic, and toxigenic diversity. The Fusarium spp. were characterized using the translation elongation factor (EF-1α) region, while a concatenation of Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) and Actin-encoding regions were used to resolve Sarocladium species. Phylogenetic analysis revealed four Fusarium species complexes. The dominant complex in Nigeria was the Fusarium incarnatum-equiseti species complex (FIESC), comprising F. hainanense, F. sulawesiense, F. pernambucatum, and F. tanahbumbuense, while F. incarnatum was found in Rwanda. The Fusarium fujikuroi species complex (FFSC) was predominant in Rwanda and Mali, with species such as F. andiyazi, F. madaense, and F. casha in Rwanda and F. annulatum and F. nygamai in Mali. F. marum was found in Nigeria. Furthermore, Fusarium oxysporum species complex (FOSC) members, F. callistephi and F. triseptatum, were found in Rwanda and Mali, respectively. Two isolates of F. acasiae-mearnsii, belonging to the Fusarium sambucinum species complex (FSAMSC), were obtained in Rwanda. Isolates of Sarocladium, which were previously classified into three phylogenetic groups, were resolved into three species, which are attenuatum, oryzae, and sparsum. S. attenuatum was dominant in Rwanda, while S. oryzae and S. sparsum were found in Nigeria. Also, the susceptibility of FARO44, a rice cultivar released by Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice), was tested against isolates from the four Fusarium species complexes and the three Sarocladium species. All isolates evaluated could induce typical sheath rot symptoms, albeit with varying disease development levels. In addition, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was used to determine variation in the in vitro mycotoxins of the Fusarium species. Regional differences were observed in the in vitro mycotoxins profiling. Out of the forty-six isolates tested, nineteen were able to produce one to four mycotoxins. Notably, very high zearalenone (ZEN) production was specific to the two F. hainanense isolates from Ibadan, Nigeria, while Fusarium nygamai isolates from Mali produced high amounts of fumonisins. To the best of our knowledge, it seems that this study is the first to elucidate the genetic, pathogenic, and toxigenic diversity of Fusarium species associated with the rice sheath rot disease complex in selected countries in SSA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections)
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21 pages, 1690 KiB  
Article
Changing Trends in Cetacean Strandings in the East China Sea: Identifying Relevant Variables and Implications for Conservation and Management
by Shaobo Yang, Shengfa Li, Yan Jin and Zunlei Liu
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1082; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101082 - 13 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1545
Abstract
The frequency of cetacean strandings is increasing, with multiple causes identified. We examined temporal and spatial trends in stranding numbers along the coastal areas of the East China Sea from 1990 to 2021. Using structural equation models, we analyzed the relationships between strandings [...] Read more.
The frequency of cetacean strandings is increasing, with multiple causes identified. We examined temporal and spatial trends in stranding numbers along the coastal areas of the East China Sea from 1990 to 2021. Using structural equation models, we analyzed the relationships between strandings and climate, oceanic properties, and human activities. Our findings revealed time-dependent interannual variability in strandings but no linear trend, indicating relative stability in cetacean strandings. Seasonal patterns were observed only in narrow-ridged finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis), with significant spring increases (March to May). Clustering of strandings occurred in central Fujian and northern/southern Taiwan, according to spatial analysis. The impact of variables on cetacean strandings varied across time periods. Storm surges, coastal fishing, and the Pacific decadal oscillation were associated with stranding events from 1990 to 2006. However, from 2006 to 2021, the influence of storm surges weakened, while the climate index only indirectly affected strandings through sea surface temperature and salinity, with an increased intensity in the effects of winter sea surface temperature and salinity. Structural equation models unveiled the cascading effects of environmental changes on strandings. This study reports changing trends in cetacean strandings and identifies relevant variables. Although not exhaustive, understanding the reasons behind strandings enhances our comprehension of cetacean responses to environmental changes, supporting targeted conservation and management efforts. Full article
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25 pages, 10520 KiB  
Article
Combining Spatial–Temporal Remote Sensing and Human Footprint Indices to Identify Biodiversity Conservation Hotspots
by Yuting Lu, Hong Wang, Yao Zhang, Jiahao Liu, Tengfei Qu, Xili Zhao, Haozhe Tian, Jingru Su, Dingsheng Luo and Yalei Yang
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101064 - 7 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1738
Abstract
Considering Inner Mongolia as the study area, the ecological theory of climate change, and human activities affecting a wide range of biodiversity patterns, MODIS multi-timeseries remote sensing image data were used and the interannual variation index was obtained by the method of fitting [...] Read more.
Considering Inner Mongolia as the study area, the ecological theory of climate change, and human activities affecting a wide range of biodiversity patterns, MODIS multi-timeseries remote sensing image data were used and the interannual variation index was obtained by the method of fitting the curve to obtain the annual phenological and seasonal indicators. At the same time, the Landsat 8 standard deviation image was calculated to obtain the spatial variation index and generate spatial–temporal remote sensing indices to quantify the threat of climate change to biodiversity. In addition, the impact of human activities on biodiversity was quantified by generating a map of the human footprint in Inner Mongolia. The spatial–temporal remote sensing index and the human footprint index were integrated to identify areas protected from climate change and human activities, respectively. Eventually, the hotspot areas of biodiversity conservation in Inner Mongolia were obtained and priority protected area planning was based on the hotspot identification results. In this study, remote sensing technology was used to identify biodiversity conservation hotspots, which can overcome the limitations of insufficient species data from the past, improve the reliability of large-scale biodiversity conservation analyses, and be used for targeted management actions that have practical significance for biodiversity conservation planning. Full article
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9 pages, 2429 KiB  
Interesting Images
Aggregations of a Sessile Ctenophore, Coeloplana sp., on Indo-West Pacific Gorgonians
by Kaveh Samimi-Namin, Michel R. Claereboudt, Bert W. Hoeksema, Catherine S. McFadden, Nicholas Bezio and Gustav Paulay
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101060 - 3 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
We document the benthic ctenophores Coeloplana sp. and Vallicula multiformis from Oman, extending their geographic range. A new Coeloplana species was found forming aggregations on gorgonians of two octocoral host genera, Melithaea and Euplexaura, representing associations previously unknown to occur in the [...] Read more.
We document the benthic ctenophores Coeloplana sp. and Vallicula multiformis from Oman, extending their geographic range. A new Coeloplana species was found forming aggregations on gorgonians of two octocoral host genera, Melithaea and Euplexaura, representing associations previously unknown to occur in the Indo-West Pacific region. Our findings also illustrate the concurrent presence of the ectocommensal ophiuroid Ophiothela mirabilis, which adversely affects other Coeloplana species in the tropical West Atlantic, where it is considered invasive. This exploration contributes to our understanding of the biogeography, species distribution, and ectosymbiotic associations of these genera, setting the stage for a comprehensive species description and in-depth analysis of host relationships in future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cnidaria: Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution)
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15 pages, 24412 KiB  
Article
Molecular Cartography of a Hawaiian Coral Assemblage
by Joseph W. P. Nakoa III, John H. R. Burns, Kanoelani Steward, Lauren M. Kapono and Clifford A. Kapono
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101061 - 3 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1312
Abstract
Coral reefs are declining due to multiple factors including overfishing, anthropogenic pollution, and ocean acidification. Diseases affecting corals have increased in recent decades, yet the etiology of nearly all diseases remains poorly understood. Here, we investigated three-dimensionally mapped molecules and microbes from healthy [...] Read more.
Coral reefs are declining due to multiple factors including overfishing, anthropogenic pollution, and ocean acidification. Diseases affecting corals have increased in recent decades, yet the etiology of nearly all diseases remains poorly understood. Here, we investigated three-dimensionally mapped molecules and microbes from healthy and diseased coral tissue sampled across the landscape of a coral assemblage at the Wai‘ōpae tide pools, Southeast Hawai‘i Island. A 3D molecular cartographic platform was used in combination with molecular networking tools to characterize healthy coral tissue and tissue affected by the disease growth anomaly (GA). Tissues of healthy Montipora flabellata and Montipora capitata exhibited higher microbial diversity compared to Porites lobata and GA-affected M. capitata corals. Increases in relative abundance of Ulvophyceae and sterols were observed in GA lesions, while chlorophyll decreased. Conversely, healthy coral tissues were characterized by the presence of cyanobacteria in the order of Stramenopiles, in addition to higher relative chlorophyll levels. Leveraging innovative molecular cartography provides new insight into molecular characteristics of coral colonies, and helps to better understand how diseases affect the molecular landscape of corals. Full article
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35 pages, 6266 KiB  
Article
A Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity on the Brink: Mo So Cave and the Hon Chong Karst of Vietnam
by Louis Deharveng, Cong Kiet Le, Anne Bedos, Mark L. I. Judson, Cong Man Le, Marko Lukić, Hong Truong Luu, Ngoc Sam Ly, Tran Quoc Trung Nguyen, Quang Tam Truong and Jaap Vermeulen
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101058 - 2 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1707
Abstract
The southern part of the Mekong Delta Limestones of Vietnam (MDL-HC or Hon Chong karst) comprises numerous small limestone hills. It is a hotspot of biodiversity for soil and cave invertebrates. Here, we synthesize the results of biological surveys carried out in Hang [...] Read more.
The southern part of the Mekong Delta Limestones of Vietnam (MDL-HC or Hon Chong karst) comprises numerous small limestone hills. It is a hotspot of biodiversity for soil and cave invertebrates. Here, we synthesize the results of biological surveys carried out in Hang Mo So, the richest MDL-HC cave for troglobionts, and in surrounding karsts. Methodologies for the ecological characterization of species are discussed, with emphasis on parallel sampling (external soil plus cave). Hang Mo So has 27 troglobionts, including many still undescribed. An additional 40 cave-obligate species are known from other caves of MDL-HC. Among them, several are expected to be found in Hang Mo So. Most troglobionts of MDL-HC are endemic. Several relictual taxa without close relatives in Southeast Asia occur in Hang Mo So and in MDL-HC, reflecting an ancient origin of the fauna. The reasons for this richness are uncertain, but the cause of its current destruction—quarrying—is all too evident. Most of the original 4 km2 of the MDL-HC karst has been destroyed or soon will be, ultimately leaving only 1.6 km2 unquarried. Endemic species linked to karst habitats are, therefore, under clear threat of extinction. The Hon Chong karst (MDL-HC) was listed among the ten most endangered karsts on the planet 25 years ago. Today it would probably top the list. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity—2nd Volume)
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17 pages, 361 KiB  
Perspective
The Silent Extinction of Species and Taxonomists—An Appeal to Science Policymakers and Legislators
by Ivan Löbl, Bernhard Klausnitzer, Matthias Hartmann and Frank-Thorsten Krell
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101053 - 30 Sep 2023
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 13023
Abstract
The science of taxonomy, albeit being fundamental for all organismic research, has been underfunded and undervalued for about two generations. We analyze how this could happen, particularly in times of a biodiversity crisis, when we have increased awareness amongst the population and decision [...] Read more.
The science of taxonomy, albeit being fundamental for all organismic research, has been underfunded and undervalued for about two generations. We analyze how this could happen, particularly in times of a biodiversity crisis, when we have increased awareness amongst the population and decision makers that knowledge about species we share the planet with is indispensable for finding solutions. We identify five major issues: the habit of holding taxonomy in low esteem; the focus on inappropriate publication metrics in evaluating scientific output; the excessive focus on innovative technology in evaluating scientific relevance; shifting priorities in natural history museums away from their traditional strengths; and changing attitudes towards specimen collecting and increasing legislation regulating collecting and international exchange of specimens. To transform taxonomy into a thriving science again, we urgently suggest significantly increasing baseline funding for permanent positions in taxonomy, particularly in natural history museums; reviving taxonomic research and teaching in universities at the tenured professor level; strongly increasing soft money for integrative taxonomy projects; refraining using journal-based metrics for evaluating individual researchers and scientific output and instead focusing on quality; installing governmental support for open access publishing; focusing digitizing efforts to the most useful parts of collections, freeing resources for improving data quality by improving identifications; requiring natural history museums to focus on collection-based research; and ending the trend of prohibitive legislation towards scientific collecting and international exchange of taxonomic specimens, and instead building legal frameworks supportive of biodiversity research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
20 pages, 4306 KiB  
Article
Dispersal Capabilities Do Not Parallel Ecology and Cryptic Speciation in European Cheliferidae Pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpiones: Cheliferidae)
by Pavel Just, František Šťáhlavský, Petr Bogusch, Alena Astapenková and Vera Opatova
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1040; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101040 - 27 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1928
Abstract
The ability to disperse has continually shaped both the distribution and diversification of biota, and it affects the survival of the species with respect to wide-ranging habitat loss. As a response, organisms unable to spread by their own means often developed surrogate dispersal [...] Read more.
The ability to disperse has continually shaped both the distribution and diversification of biota, and it affects the survival of the species with respect to wide-ranging habitat loss. As a response, organisms unable to spread by their own means often developed surrogate dispersal strategies. Pseudoscorpions possess small body sizes and cannot actively disperse over large distances and geographic barriers; therefore, they have adopted other ecological strategies. They are either sedentary and remain confined to stable environments or passively disperse via phoresy and are capable of inhabiting a wide variety of habitats, including temporary ones. In this paper, we use barcoding data to investigate the genetic diversity of four widely distributed and relatively morphologically uniform Cheliferidae genera Chelifer, Dactylochelifer, Rhacochelifer and Hysterochelifer. We aim to (i) test whether the genera harbor cryptic diversity and (ii) evaluate whether the genetic structure of the species parallels their dispersal capabilities and habitat preferences (i.e., ecological strategies). In general, we uncovered independent lineages within all analyzed genera, which indicates their need for a thorough and integrative taxonomic revision. More specifically, we detected a varying degree of genetic structuring among the lineages. Known phoretic species, as well as some species and delimited lineages that are not known to use this manner of dispersal, showed a complete lack of geographical structure and shared haplotypes over large distances, while other taxa had restricted distributions. We argue that genetic structure can be used as a proxy to evaluate species’ dispersal manner and efficacy. Our results also suggest that taxa inhabiting stable environments might use phoresy for their dispersal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Patterns and Diversity of Arachnida)
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39 pages, 5798 KiB  
Article
Measured Effects of Anthropogenic Development on Vertebrate Wildlife Diversity
by K. Shawn Smallwood and Noriko L. Smallwood
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1037; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101037 - 27 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1721
Abstract
A major driver of the declining biodiversity is landcover change leading to loss of habitat. Many studies have estimated large-scale declines in biodiversity, but loss of biodiversity at a local scale due to the immediate effects of development has been poorly studied. California, [...] Read more.
A major driver of the declining biodiversity is landcover change leading to loss of habitat. Many studies have estimated large-scale declines in biodiversity, but loss of biodiversity at a local scale due to the immediate effects of development has been poorly studied. California, in particular, is a biodiversity hotspot and has rapidly developed; thus, it is important to understand the effects of development on wildlife in the State. Here, we conducted reconnaissance surveys—a type of survey often used by consulting biologists in support of environmental review of proposed projects—to measure changes in the relative abundance and richness of vertebrate species in response to urban development. We completed 2 reconnaissance surveys at each of 52 control sites that remained undeveloped at the times of both surveys, and at each of 26 impact sites that had been developed by the time of the second survey. We completed the surveys as part of a before–after, control–impact (BACI) experimental design. Our main interest was the interaction effect between the before–after phases and the control–impact treatment levels, or the impact of development. After controlling for survey duration, we also tested for the effects of the number of years intervening the surveys in the before and after phases, project area size, latitude, degree of connectedness to adjacent open space, and whether the site was a redevelopment site, infill, or not infill. After development, the average number of vertebrate wildlife species we detected declined by 48% within the project area, and by 66% within the bounds of the project sites. Further, the average number of vertebrate animals we counted declined by 90% within the project area, and 89% within the bounds of the project sites. Development impacts measured by the mean number of species detected per survey were greatest for amphibians (−100%), followed by mammals (−86%), grassland birds (−75%), raptors (−53%), special-status species (−49%), all birds as a group (−48%), non-native birds (−44%), and synanthropic birds (−28%). Our results indicated that urban development substantially reduced vertebrate species richness and numerical abundance, even after richness and abundance had likely already been depleted by the cumulative effects of loss, fragmentation, and degradation of habitat in the urbanizing environment. Monitoring is needed in and around urbanizing areas to measure the cumulative effects of urbanization, and so are conservation measures to mitigate the effects of urbanization. Full article
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39 pages, 3555 KiB  
Review
Naturally Occurring Simple Oxygenated Benzophenones: Structural Diversity, Distribution, and Biological Properties
by Teodor Marinov, Zlatina Kokanova-Nedialkova and Paraskev T. Nedialkov
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1030; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101030 - 22 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1810
Abstract
Naturally occurring benzophenones represent a relatively small group of plant metabolites with narrow distribution, mainly in members of Clusiaceae, Gentianaceae, Hypericaceae, Polygalaceae, Myrtaceae, etc.; however, there were reports of several compounds derived from microorganisms belonging to the Aspergillaceae and Valsaceae families and propolis. [...] Read more.
Naturally occurring benzophenones represent a relatively small group of plant metabolites with narrow distribution, mainly in members of Clusiaceae, Gentianaceae, Hypericaceae, Polygalaceae, Myrtaceae, etc.; however, there were reports of several compounds derived from microorganisms belonging to the Aspergillaceae and Valsaceae families and propolis. Benzophenones exhibit many biological activities, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, antimicrobial, etc. Few reviews on benzophenones that have appeared in the literature were focused on their prenylated derivatives. Summarized information on structural diversity, distribution, and biological activities of simple oxygenated naturally occurring benzophenones and their glycosides has not been found in the literature. Until 2000, only benzophenone C-glycosides were known to occur in nature. Since then, many O-glycosides have been isolated, structurally, and biologically characterized. This review covers the years from 1850 to 2023 and was compiled using databases such as Chemical Abstracts, Scopus, Google Scholar, PubMed, and ResearchGate. Based on their degree of oxidation, 210 chemical structures of benzophenone derivatives and glycosides were grouped into six categories. In addition, in one group of 40 miscellaneous benzophenones, where one or several protons are replaced by a methyl, alcohol, carboxyl, or acyl group, glycosidic forms with such an aglycone and dimeric compounds with xanthone was included. Simple oxygenated benzophenones and their glycosides were found in 77 plant genera belonging to 44 families. The allergy-associated bezophenone-1, benzophenone-2 and benzophenone-3 have limited distribution across natural sources. A wide range of biological activities (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, antitumor, cytoprotective, antimicrobial, MAO-A, antiarthritic, anticholinesterase, anti-atherosclerotic, laxative, etc.) of simple oxygenated benzophenones and their glycosides that appeared in the literature were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemistry and Biology of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants)
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14 pages, 7408 KiB  
Article
Active Coral Restoration to Preserve the Biodiversity of a Highly Impacted Reef in the Maldives
by Irene Pancrazi, Kayla Feairheller, Hassan Ahmed, Carolina di Napoli and Monica Montefalcone
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15091022 - 19 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2411
Abstract
Maldivian coral reefs have been experiencing significant degradation due to a combination of global climate change and local anthropogenic pressures. To enforce the conservation of coral reefs worldwide, coral restoration is becoming a popular tool to restore ecosystems actively. In the Maldives, restoration [...] Read more.
Maldivian coral reefs have been experiencing significant degradation due to a combination of global climate change and local anthropogenic pressures. To enforce the conservation of coral reefs worldwide, coral restoration is becoming a popular tool to restore ecosystems actively. In the Maldives, restoration interventions are performed only around touristic islands, where there are economic resources available to support these projects. Unfortunately, on local islands, coral restoration does not benefit from the same support and is rarely boosted. A challenging coral restoration experiment has been performed, for the first time, on a local island of the Maldives affected by intense human pressures that caused the degradation of its reefs. A total of 242 coral fragments were collected from impacted colonies and transferred to the coral nursery of the island. Survival and growth rates of the fragments were monitored for 12 months. After one year, a survival rate of 70% was recorded. Although this rate might appear lower when compared to other restoration experiences, it is very promising considering the origin of the fragments and the poor quality of the environment where they have been transplanted. Some potential threats to the success of this restoration have also been identified, i.e., water temperature anomaly, diseases, and parasites, the latter being the leading causes of coral mortality. The procedure presented here is less expensive compared to the typical relocation of entire coral colonies from donor-healthy reefs to degraded reefs, thus providing an opportunity and a viable option for local islands to restore their reefs and preserve local biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Ecosystem Restoration: Challenges and Opportunities)
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14 pages, 2718 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Lacinutrix neustonica sp. nov., Isolated from the Sea Surface Microlayer of Brackish Lake Shihwa, South Korea
by Jy Young Choi, Soo Yoon Kim, Yeon Woo Hong, Bok Jin Kim, Dong Young Shin, Jin Kyeong Kang, Byung Cheol Cho and Chung Yeon Hwang
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 1004; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15091004 - 9 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1420
Abstract
A Gram-negative, strictly aerobic, non-motile, slightly curved rod-shaped bacterial strain, designated as HL-RS19T, was isolated from a sea surface microlayer (SML) sample of the brackish Lake Shihwa. Here, we characterized the new strain HL-RS19T using a polyphasic approach to determine [...] Read more.
A Gram-negative, strictly aerobic, non-motile, slightly curved rod-shaped bacterial strain, designated as HL-RS19T, was isolated from a sea surface microlayer (SML) sample of the brackish Lake Shihwa. Here, we characterized the new strain HL-RS19T using a polyphasic approach to determine its taxonomic position. A phylogenetic analysis of its 16S rRNA gene sequence revealed that strain HL-RS19T belonged to the genus Lacinutrix and was closely related to L. mariniflava AKS432T (97.9%), L. algicola AKS293T (97.8%), and other Lacinutrix species (<97.3%). The complete genome sequence of strain HL-RS19T comprised a circular chromosome of 3.9 Mbp with a DNA G+C content of 35.2%. Genomic comparisons based on the average nucleotide identity and digital DNA-DNA hybridization showed that strain HL-RS19T was consistently discriminated from its closely related taxa in the genus Lacinutrix. Strain HL-RS19T showed optimal growth at 20–25 °C, pH 6.5–7.0, and 3.0–3.5% (w/v) sea salts. The major fatty acids (>5%) of strain HL-RS19T were identified as iso-C15:1 G (16.5%), iso-C16:0 3-OH (12.9%), anteiso-C15:1 A (9.9%), anteiso-C15:0 (9.7%), iso-C15:0 (9.0%), and iso-C15:0 3-OH (8.3%). The polar lipids consisted of phosphatidylethanolamine, three unidentified aminolipids, an unidentified phospholipid, and two unidentified lipids. The major respiratory quinone was MK-6. Based on phylogenetic, genomic, phenotypic, and chemotaxonomic data, strain HL-RS19T represents a novel species belonging to the genus Lacinutrix, for which the name Lacinutrix neustonica sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is HL-RS19T (=KCCM 90497T = JCM 35710T). The genome sequence analysis of strain HL-RS19T suggests that it may be well adapted to a harsh SML environment and is likely involved in arsenic cycling, potentially contributing to the bioremediation of anthropogenic arsenic pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Extreme Environments: Microbial and Biochemical Diversity)
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21 pages, 1953 KiB  
Review
A Review on the Genus Paramacrobiotus (Tardigrada) with a New Diagnostic Key
by Pushpalata Kayastha, Monika Mioduchowska, Jędrzej Warguła and Łukasz Kaczmarek
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15090977 - 29 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2543
Abstract
Paramacrobiotus species have been described in almost every corner of the world. To date, 45 species have been reported from this genus. Among which, 13 belong to the areolatus group (without a microplacoid) and 32 belong to the richtersi group (with a microplacoid). [...] Read more.
Paramacrobiotus species have been described in almost every corner of the world. To date, 45 species have been reported from this genus. Among which, 13 belong to the areolatus group (without a microplacoid) and 32 belong to the richtersi group (with a microplacoid). The species’ presence in different climatic conditions and habitats provides evidence of their adaptation to various harsh environments. The species of the genus are both bisexual (diploid) and parthenogenetic (triploid). The bisexual species have external fertilization. And they are omnivorous whose diet consists of certain cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, rotifers, nematodes and juvenile tardigrades. The life history of species from this genus varies from species to species. Because the species has a strong predilection for cryptobiosis, numerous investigations involving anhydrobiosis have been conducted utilizing specimens from varied Paramacrobiotus species to date. In this review, we provide a concise summary of changes observed due to various cryptobiotic conditions in many species of this genus, the geographical distribution of all the species, feeding behaviour, life history, microbiome community, Wolbachia endosymbiont identification, reproduction, phylogeny and general taxonomy of the species from the genus Paramacrobiotus. Furthermore, we provide a new diagnostic key to the genus Paramacrobiotus based on the morphological and morphometric characters of adults and eggs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Biodiversity Research in Poland)
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14 pages, 2462 KiB  
Article
Abundance, Distribution, and Habitat Preference of Syngnathid Species in Sabaudia Lake (Tyrrhenian Sea)
by Tamara Lazic, Cataldo Pierri, Giuseppe Corriero, Maria Flavia Gravina, Michele Gristina, Miriam Ravisato and Armando Macali
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 972; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15090972 - 28 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3665
Abstract
Syngnathids are considered flagship species of estuarine and coastal environments. However, most of the Mediterranean species are still classified as data-deficient (DD) at a global level according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In central Italy, several areas host potentially suitable [...] Read more.
Syngnathids are considered flagship species of estuarine and coastal environments. However, most of the Mediterranean species are still classified as data-deficient (DD) at a global level according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In central Italy, several areas host potentially suitable habitats for syngnathids but have not been previously reported in the literature; the estimation of population parameters and habitat partitioning at these sites may help to assess their conservation status. In this study, we investigated the abundance, distribution, and habitat preferences of sympatric populations of Hippocampus hippocampus, H. guttulatus, Syngnathus abaster, and Nerophis ophidion in Sabaudia Lake (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy). While confirming the primary importance of a healthy coastal habitat, we retrieved hints about species ecology and habitat use. The species distribution in the study area highlights the role of habitat complexity in supporting local populations of these sensitive species. Full article
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29 pages, 8314 KiB  
Article
Hot Is Rich—An Enormous Diversity of Simple Trichal Cyanobacteria from Yellowstone Hot Springs
by Jan Kaštovský, Jeffrey R. Johansen, Radka Hauerová and Mildred U. Akagha
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 975; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15090975 - 28 Aug 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1535
Abstract
In 2019, cyanobacterial samples were collected from thermal sites in Yellowstone National Park. In this paper, we discuss the considerable richness of representatives of simple filamentous cyanobacteria. Using a polyphasic approach, one new genus, Copelandiella, with two species (C. yellowstonensis and [...] Read more.
In 2019, cyanobacterial samples were collected from thermal sites in Yellowstone National Park. In this paper, we discuss the considerable richness of representatives of simple filamentous cyanobacteria. Using a polyphasic approach, one new genus, Copelandiella, with two species (C. yellowstonensis and C. thermalis) and eight additional new species Albertania prattii, K. anagnostidisii, Kovacikia brockii, Leptolyngbya tildenae, L. vaporiphila, Nodosilinea calida, N. igneolacustris, and Oculatella castenholzii were described. At the same time, by analyzing our new molecular data, we concluded that other genera of trichal cyanobacteria can be merged with existing genera: species within the genus Plectolyngbya are herein transferred to Leptolyngbya, and if some nomenclatural issues are resolved, species within the genus Leptothermofonsia will be subsequently transferred to the genus Kovacikia, an earlier synonym. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Phylogenetic Diversity of Cyanobacteria and Algae)
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35 pages, 6059 KiB  
Article
The Upemba National Park (Upper Congo Basin, DR Congo): An Updated Checklist Confirming Its Status as an African Fish Biodiversity Hotspot
by Bauchet Katemo Manda, Jos Snoeks, Auguste Chocha Manda, Emmanuel Abwe, Christian Mukweze Mulelenu, Micheline Kasongo Ilunga Kayaba, Pacifique Kiwele Mutambala, Lewis Ngoy Kalumba and Emmanuel J. W. M. N. Vreven
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 966; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15090966 - 26 Aug 2023
Viewed by 4049
Abstract
An annotated checklist of the ichthyofauna of the Upemba National Park, draining part of the Upper Lualaba basin and situated in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is presented, based on a literature review, a re-examination of museum collections, [...] Read more.
An annotated checklist of the ichthyofauna of the Upemba National Park, draining part of the Upper Lualaba basin and situated in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is presented, based on a literature review, a re-examination of museum collections, and a study of recent collections (2012–2020). In total, 247 native and 1 introduced species, Heterotis niloticus, are reported. The native species belong to 78 genera, 26 families, and 15 orders. Of these, 45 species (18%) are endemic to the park, 35 species (14%) await formal description, and 5 taxa (2%) need further study to clarify their status. With 51 species, the Cyprinidae is by far the most species-rich family, followed by the Mormyridae (26), Mochokidae (26), Alestidae (18), Distichodontidae (18), Amphiliidae (17), and Cichlidae (16). The remaining families are represented by less than 15 species. Comments about the species distribution and the fish fauna shared with adjacent ecoregions are provided. Although the park provides some protection for the fish species living within its borders by limiting human access to the core zone, the annex and buffer zones are both subject to strong anthropogenic pressure. These observations underscore the need for the implementation and further elaboration of fish-related preservation guidelines and plans to enable better protection/conservation of the park’s ichthyofauna. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Biogeography of Freshwater Fish)
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15 pages, 2113 KiB  
Article
Relationships between Environmental Factors and Functional Traits of Macrophyte Assemblages in Running Waters of Greece
by Konstantinos Stefanidis, Anthi Oikonomou, Georgios Dimitrellos, Dionysios Tsoukalas and Eva Papastergiadou
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 949; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15090949 - 23 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1309
Abstract
The analysis of plant trait composition has raised significant interest among freshwater ecologists as a complementary approach for assessing the effects of environmental change on ecosystem functions. In this study, we investigated patterns of functional traits of the aquatic macrophyte assemblages of 74 [...] Read more.
The analysis of plant trait composition has raised significant interest among freshwater ecologists as a complementary approach for assessing the effects of environmental change on ecosystem functions. In this study, we investigated patterns of functional traits of the aquatic macrophyte assemblages of 74 lotic ecosystems of Greece, and we identified associations between species traits and environmental variables (hydromorphological and physicochemical parameters) through testing the hypothesis that the environmental features determine the spatial structure of traits. We allocated 12 traits to a total of 39 hydrophyte species, and we conducted RLQ and fourth corner analysis to explore relationships between species, trait composition, and environmental gradients. Based on the results of the RLQ, a hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to identify groups of plants that share common trait characteristics. Plants were discriminated into five discrete groups based mostly on their life form (e.g., free-floating, rooted submerged etc.) and their ecological preference for nitrogen levels. Hydromorphological parameters had a higher contribution than physicochemical variables in explaining the total variance of the trait data, with water abstraction, channel substrate, and hydrologic alteration being the most important. Our analysis did not reveal significant bivariate relationships between single traits and environmental parameters, although the five groups of macrophyte assemblages appeared to associate with certain environmental gradients. Free-floating and emergent plants were related to higher concentrations of nutrients, whereas rooted submerged plants were related to higher oxygen concentration and increased pH. In addition, free-floating plants were highly associated with metrics of hydromorphological change. Our findings showed clear discrimination of macrophytes based on their functional composition and association of traits with environmental gradients. Thus, further research could explore whether macrophyte functional groups can serve as indicators of environmental change and the overall ecosystem health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Plant Diversity, Conservation, and Restoration)
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27 pages, 12644 KiB  
Article
High Megabenthic Complexity and Vulnerability of a Mesophotic Rocky Shoal Support Its Inclusion in a Mediterranean MPA
by Francesco Enrichetti, Giorgio Bavestrello, Valentina Cappanera, Mauro Mariotti, Francesco Massa, Lorenzo Merotto, Paolo Povero, Ilaria Rigo, Margherita Toma, Leonardo Tunesi, Paolo Vassallo, Sara Venturini and Marzia Bo
Diversity 2023, 15(8), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15080933 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1047
Abstract
The deep shoal of Punta del Faro (Ligurian Sea, Mediterranean Sea) is a mesophotic rocky elevation hosting complex animal forests threatened by fishing activities. To identify appropriate conservation measures and set a reference example for similar cases, we present a detailed characterization of [...] Read more.
The deep shoal of Punta del Faro (Ligurian Sea, Mediterranean Sea) is a mesophotic rocky elevation hosting complex animal forests threatened by fishing activities. To identify appropriate conservation measures and set a reference example for similar cases, we present a detailed characterization of its megabenthic communities and a quantification of the fishing pressure. The results highlight the high natural value of the area, presenting high biodiversity (111 megabenthic and demersal species) and diverse types of animal forest, predominantly dominated by cnidarians. The tridimensional seascape is among the most complex in the eastern Ligurian Sea, but the long-term evaluation of its environmental status suggested consistent affects due to the high abundance of lost fishing gear (0.65 items m−2) directly entangled with structuring cnidarians. The artisanal and recreational fishing pressure are currently moderate. However, the use of bottom-contact fishing gear causes significant modifications to the seafloor’s integrity. This study emphasizes the high conservation value and vulnerability of the shoal, highlighting the importance of its protection through its inclusion in the Portofino MPA, whose external perimeter is 200 m from the study area. A critical discussion of the advantages and disadvantages is provided with a map of the possible extension of the MPA boundaries. Full article
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24 pages, 5556 KiB  
Article
Responses of GPS-Tagged Territorial Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos to Wind Turbines in Scotland
by Alan H. Fielding, David Anderson, Stuart Benn, John Taylor, Ruth Tingay, Ewan D. Weston and D. Philip Whitfield
Diversity 2023, 15(8), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15080917 - 8 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1577
Abstract
Research on potentially adverse effects of wind farms is an expanding field of study and often focuses on large raptors, such as golden eagles, largely because of their life history traits and extensive habitat requirements. These features render them sensitive to either fatality [...] Read more.
Research on potentially adverse effects of wind farms is an expanding field of study and often focuses on large raptors, such as golden eagles, largely because of their life history traits and extensive habitat requirements. These features render them sensitive to either fatality (collision with turbine blades) or functional habitat loss (avoidance through wariness of turbines). Simplistically, avoidance is antagonistic to collision; although, the two processes are not necessarily mutually exclusive in risk. A bird that does not enter a wind farm or avoids flying close to turbines cannot collide with a blade and be killed. In the USA, collision fatality is implicated as the typical adverse effect. In Scotland, avoidance of functional habitat loss appears more likely, but this depends in part on the habitat suitability of turbine locations. Previous Scottish studies have largely concentrated on the responses of GPS-tagged non-territorial golden eagles during dispersal. Several arguments predict that territorial eagles may have lower avoidance (be less wary) of turbines than non-territorial birds. Hence, we contrasted the responses of GPS-tagged non-territorial (intruding) and territorial eagles to the same turbines at 11 operational Scottish wind farms. We show that territorial eagles rarely approached turbines, but, as in previous Scottish studies of non-territorial birds, the spatial extent of avoidance depended on the habitat suitability of both turbine locations and their wider surroundings. Unexpectedly, we found that territorial eagles were apparently as wary as intruding non-territorial conspecifics of the same turbines. Our results show that regardless of age or territorial status, Scottish golden eagles largely avoided wind turbine locations, but this avoidance was conditional, in part, on where those turbines were located. Responses to turbines were also strongly dependent on birds’ identities and different wind farms. We speculate on how widespread our findings of avoidance of turbines by golden eagles are elsewhere in Europe, where there appear to be no published studies showing the level of collision fatalities documented in the USA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Wildlife Conflicts)
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17 pages, 3209 KiB  
Article
Population Structure and Genetic Diversity of the Spotted Sleeper Odontobutis interrupta (Odontobutidae), a Fish Endemic to Korea
by Kang-Rae Kim, Hee-kyu Choi, Taek Won Lee, Hyuk Je Lee and Jeong-Nam Yu
Diversity 2023, 15(8), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15080913 - 7 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1523
Abstract
The spotted sleeper, Odontobutis interrupta, is a fish species endemic to Korea and shows potential as an aquaculture species. Nevertheless, the population size of this species has declined significantly in recent years. To characterize the population structure and genetic diversity of O. [...] Read more.
The spotted sleeper, Odontobutis interrupta, is a fish species endemic to Korea and shows potential as an aquaculture species. Nevertheless, the population size of this species has declined significantly in recent years. To characterize the population structure and genetic diversity of O. interrupta in Korea, we analyzed four microsatellite loci in twelve populations from four major river systems. The provenance of the population was investigated to discern the origin of the translocated populations. The genetic diversity of the microsatellite ranged from 0.440 to 0.756, showing a high level of diversity similar to that of other freshwater fishes. However, mitochondrial DNA analysis exhibited low genetic diversity (Hd: 0.000–0.674, π: 0.00000–0.00159). The FST values of microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA ranged from 0.096 to 0.498 and −0.046 to 0.951, suggesting genetic admixture among populations. All populations exhibited an effective population size of <100; therefore, preservation efforts to prevent inbreeding depression would be required. The genetic structure could be divided into unique genotypes from the Seomjingang and Geumgang Rivers. However, genetic admixture was observed in all populations, rendering it impossible to distinguish them. Our findings provide fundamental but significant genetic insights pursuant to devising conservation strategies for O. interrupta. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Genetics of Animals and Plants)
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20 pages, 3196 KiB  
Article
The Subterranean Species of the Vjetrenica Cave System in Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Teo Delić, Tanja Pipan, Roman Ozimec, David C. Culver and Maja Zagmajster
Diversity 2023, 15(8), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15080912 - 6 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1754
Abstract
The Western Balkan’s Vjetrenica Cave in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina is renowned for high richness of subterranean species. However, the data on its fauna have been published only in monographs printed in a small number of copies, making them hardly accessible to the [...] Read more.
The Western Balkan’s Vjetrenica Cave in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina is renowned for high richness of subterranean species. However, the data on its fauna have been published only in monographs printed in a small number of copies, making them hardly accessible to the wider scientific community. To overcome this issue, we compiled the data from published monographs with the data from our own recent field surveys. Further, as they are connected via water channels or small crevices in bedrock, we defined the Vjetrenica Cave System as a system comprising Vjetrenica and Bjelušica Caves and Lukavac Spring. Altogether, 93 troglobiotic, i.e., obligate subterranean aquatic (48) and terrestrial (45), taxa were reported for the system, verifying the Vjetrenica Cave System as the second richest locality in subterranean biodiversity in the world. The global uniqueness of the system is also reflected in the fact that as many as 40 troglobiotic species were described from the system. Finally, we reviewed the factors endangering this unique subterranean community and questioned whether it will withstand human-induced changes and pressures due to infrastructural development in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Subterranean Biodiversity—2nd Volume)
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15 pages, 1874 KiB  
Article
Notes on the Summer Life History Traits of the Non-Native Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) (Linnaeus, 1758) in a High-Altitude Artificial Lake
by Alexandra S. Douligeri, Athina Ziou, Athanasios Korakis, Nikolaos Kiriazis, Nikolaos Petsis, George Katselis and Dimitrios K. Moutopoulos
Diversity 2023, 15(8), 910; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15080910 - 2 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1064
Abstract
In the present study, the biology of the pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus in the artificial lake of Aoos, located in northwestern Greece, was investigated. The samplings of the pumpkinseed were conducted from the shore using a portable electrofishing device over a 4-month period (July [...] Read more.
In the present study, the biology of the pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus in the artificial lake of Aoos, located in northwestern Greece, was investigated. The samplings of the pumpkinseed were conducted from the shore using a portable electrofishing device over a 4-month period (July 2021–October 2021). A total of 581 specimens were caught, with an average length of 62 mm. The sex ratio of female to male was estimated to be 1.0:1.7, and the percentage of mature specimens was estimated for all of the months to be above 52%, matching the highest percentage in July (57.4%). The b value of the length–weight relationship ranged from 3.16 in September to 3.31 in July. The value of the L∞ and K was estimated to be equal to 119 mm and 0.36 years−1, respectively, and the value of φ′ was equal to 3.707. The total mortality was estimated to be equal to 1.63 ± 0.48 y−1 (R2 = 0.96), and the natural and fishing mortalities were 0.83 and 0.80, respectively. The maximum age was 6 years, and the theoretical maximum age was 8 years. In the current study, the value of the L∞ was estimated to be near the European average but significantly lower than the North American one, whereas the value of the K was slightly higher than the European average. The small size of the specimens obtained in Aoos Springs was most likely owed to the combined impact of the investigated lake’s high altitude and low food availability, resulting in a limited factor for species expansion. Full article
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15 pages, 5760 KiB  
Article
Spatial Patterns in the Distribution and Diversity of Diploneis Genus-Level Diatoms in the Podlasie Springs (North-Eastern Poland)
by Magdalena Grabowska, Agata Z. Wojtal, Elżbieta Jekatierynczuk-Rudczyk and Olha Kryvosheia-Zakharova
Diversity 2023, 15(8), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15080897 - 29 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1301
Abstract
This research is focused on the presence of the genus Diploneis (Bacillariopyta) in small lowland springs of north-eastern Poland. This study presents a biogeographic overview of the genus from 2 urban and 12 forest springs in the Podlasie area. Seven species were identified, [...] Read more.
This research is focused on the presence of the genus Diploneis (Bacillariopyta) in small lowland springs of north-eastern Poland. This study presents a biogeographic overview of the genus from 2 urban and 12 forest springs in the Podlasie area. Seven species were identified, some of which have been described recently and whose distribution is not well-known (D. burgitensis, D. fontium). The presence of D. burgitensis and D. parapetersenii, both rare taxa, are the first recorded for Poland. Their presence was confirmed using both LM and SEM micrographs. The presence of much more frequently noted European species (D. elliptica, D. fontanella, D. krammeri, and D. separanda) was also found. Greater knowledge of the Diploneis genus opens the way towards better and more comprehensive approaches to uncovering biological diversity and biogeographical patterns on the European continent and among the springs. The distribution of all recorded Diploneis species and their habitat preferences are briefly given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Biodiversity Research in Poland)
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22 pages, 1969 KiB  
Review
Revisiting Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning through the Lens of Complex Adaptive Systems
by Alexandra M. Correia and Luís F. Lopes
Diversity 2023, 15(8), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15080895 - 28 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4984
Abstract
Understanding the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) is essential to comprehend the impacts of biodiversity changes on ecosystem functioning. This knowledge helps to detect and anticipate significant trends in global biodiversity loss and the homogenization of biota worldwide to prevent them. [...] Read more.
Understanding the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) is essential to comprehend the impacts of biodiversity changes on ecosystem functioning. This knowledge helps to detect and anticipate significant trends in global biodiversity loss and the homogenization of biota worldwide to prevent them. Species act together with climate, resource availability, and disturbance regimes to modulate ecological processes defining ecosystems’ complexity and their dynamic adaptation to variability. In this article, we revisit the BEF paradigm by addressing current knowledge of how biodiversity connects to ecosystem functioning across scales in the context of complex adaptive systems (CAS). We focus on ecosystem processes that lead to the emergence of the BEF relationship, considering ecosystem functioning as a macroscopic emergent property. Specifically, this work integrates the knowledge of the processes that connect biodiversity to ecosystem functioning. It addresses how biodiversity supports ecosystem multifunctionality across scales, resulting in the persistence of CAS in a rapidly changing world. We present a framework for ecological management considering the BEF relationship within the scope of CAS. The CAS standpoint brings new insights into the BEF field and its relevance for future ecological conservation of the Earth’s life support. Full article
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13 pages, 23563 KiB  
Article
Paleoclimatic Reconstruction Based on the Late Pleistocene San Josecito Cave Stratum 720 Fauna Using Fossil Mammals, Reptiles, and Birds
by J. Alberto Cruz, Julián A. Velasco, Joaquín Arroyo-Cabrales and Eileen Johnson
Diversity 2023, 15(7), 881; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15070881 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2549
Abstract
Advances in technology have equipped paleobiologists with new analytical tools to assess the fossil record. The functional traits of vertebrates have been used to infer paleoenvironmental conditions. In Quaternary deposits, birds are the second-most-studied group after mammals. They are considered a poor paleoambiental [...] Read more.
Advances in technology have equipped paleobiologists with new analytical tools to assess the fossil record. The functional traits of vertebrates have been used to infer paleoenvironmental conditions. In Quaternary deposits, birds are the second-most-studied group after mammals. They are considered a poor paleoambiental proxy because their high vagility and phenotypic plasticity allow them to respond more effectively to climate change. Investigating multiple groups is important, but it is not often attempted. Biogeographical and climatic niche information concerning small mammals, reptiles, and birds have been used to infer the paleoclimatic conditions present during the Late Pleistocene at San Josecito Cave (~28,000 14C years BP), Mexico. Warmer and dryer conditions are inferred with respect to the present. The use of all of the groups of small vertebrates is recommended because they represent an assemblage of species that have gone through a series of environmental filters in the past. Individually, different vertebrate groups provide different paleoclimatic information. Birds are a good proxy for inferring paleoprecipitation but not paleotemperature. Together, reptiles and small mammals are a good proxy for inferring paleoprecipitation and paleotemperature, but reptiles alone are a bad proxy, and mammals alone are a good proxy for inferring paleotemperature and precipitation. The current paleoclimatic results coupled with those of a previous vegetation structure analysis indicate the presence of non-analog paleoenvironmental conditions during the Late Pleistocene in the San Josecito Cave area. This situation would explain the presence of a disharmonious fauna and the extinction of several taxa when these conditions later disappeared and do not reappear again. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity in Subterranean Habitats)
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16 pages, 1855 KiB  
Article
Presence of Endangered Red-Crowned Parrots (Amazona viridigenalis) Depends on Urban Landscapes
by Simon Kiacz, Hsiao-Hsuan Wang and Donald J. Brightsmith
Diversity 2023, 15(7), 878; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15070878 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 13317
Abstract
Many species of plants and animals thrive in urban habitats and stand to gain from the global trend in increased urbanization. One such species, the Red-crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis), is endangered within its native range but seems to thrive in urban [...] Read more.
Many species of plants and animals thrive in urban habitats and stand to gain from the global trend in increased urbanization. One such species, the Red-crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis), is endangered within its native range but seems to thrive in urban landscapes. While populations of endangered synanthropic species may be uncommon, they can act as genetic reservoirs and present us with unique conservation and research opportunities. We sought to determine the red-crowned parrot’s level of dependency on urban areas, as well as the climatic and anthropogenic drivers of their distribution throughout the United States. We built national level species distribution models for the USA using Maxent and correlated presence points derived from field work and citizen science databases to environmental variables for three Red-crowned Parrot populations: two naturalized (California and Florida) and one native (Texas). We found current occupancy to be 18,965 km2 throughout the three states. These three states also contained 39,429 km2 of high- and medium-quality habitats, which, if occupied, would represent a substantial increase in the species range. Suitable habitat showed a strong positive correlation with urbanization in areas where average monthly temperatures were at least 5 °C. The current and predicted distributions of Red-crowned Parrots were closely aligned with urban boundaries. We expected populations of Red-crowned Parrots and other synanthropic species to grow due to a combination of factors, namely, continued urbanization and the effects of climate change, which increase the size and connectivity of a suitable habitat. For some imperiled species, urban habitats could prove to be important bastions for their conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biogeography and Macroecology)
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15 pages, 1633 KiB  
Review
Selected Case Studies on Fastidious Eukaryotic Microorganisms: Issues and Investigation Strategies
by Benedetta Turchetti, Annamaria Bevivino, Patrizia Casella, Claudia Coleine, Giovanna E. Felis, Carolina Elena Girometta, Antonio Molino, Iolanda Perugini, Antonino Pollio, Valeria Prigione, Laura Selbmann, Giovanna Cristina Varese and Pietro Buzzini
Diversity 2023, 15(7), 862; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15070862 - 16 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1920
Abstract
The concept of fastidious microorganisms currently found in scientific literature is mainly related to the difficulty of isolating/culturing/preserving bacteria. Eukaryotes are investigated much less in this respect, although they represent a fundamental part of the microbial world. Furthermore, not only isolation, but also [...] Read more.
The concept of fastidious microorganisms currently found in scientific literature is mainly related to the difficulty of isolating/culturing/preserving bacteria. Eukaryotes are investigated much less in this respect, although they represent a fundamental part of the microbial world. Furthermore, not only isolation, but also identification and culturing (in the perspective of long-term preservation) should be considered key aspects often impacting on the study of fastidious microorganisms, especially in terms of preservation in culture collections and biotechnological exploitation. The present review aimed to investigate the current state of the art on fastidious eukaryotes, with special emphasis on the efforts to improve their isolation, identification, culturing and long-term preservation in culture collections practices. A few case studies focused on some fastidious eukaryotic microorganisms (including possible customized solutions to overcome specific issues) are also presented: isolation and preservation of slow-growing fungi, culturing of Haematococcus lacustris, isolation of unialgal strains of Cyanidiophytina (Rhodophyta), identification of Metschnikowia pulcherrima clade yeasts, isolation and preservation of Pyricularia species, preservation of Halophytophtora spp. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections)
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