Special Issue "Alpine Biodiversity"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2023 | Viewed by 150
Interests: alpine ecosystems in the high mountains; ecotoxicology in high mountain ecosystems; alpine fauna and its adaptation to the mountains; water quality in the mountains
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Interests: vegetation; alpine plant; botany; ecosystems; alpine communities; ecological conditions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
High mountain ecosystems are currently gaining more attention from scientists and nature conservationists. Although the global area of alpine areas covers only 3% of the Earth's surface, the mountain environment stands out for its diversity of habitats in its relatively small area. The rugged topography has given rise to many zonal and azonal microhabitats, which, despite their proximity, can differ diametrically in their abiotic factors. The orientation of the slope determines the shading and the amount of solar radiation, and the slope gradient determines the thickness and qualitative characteristics of the soil cover due to gravitational erosion. Mountain peaks and ridges extending high into the troposphere influence the atmospheric circulation and precipitation regime of the area. Relief and solar radiation also determine the irregular distribution of snow cover. This is just an introduction to a long list of factors that create habitats for 4% of the Earth's flora, a large number of which are endemic, occurring nowhere else in the world. Alpine flora and fauna have evolved adaptations that allow them to survive in certain conditions. However, species that are specialised to a narrow range of ecological requirements are the most vulnerable when these conditions are disrupted. Damage or loss of a unique and isolated habitat can result in the complete disappearance of the species from the area.
In these times of climate change, the high mountain fauna is affected by three major types of pollution. The first is the immediate impact of human activities such as mining, livestock husbandry, energy production, and tourism, including hiking or climbing. They cause synanthropy and stress in animals, and can lead to local extinction among many other effects. The second group of is related to atmospheric pollution. Trace element pollution resulting from anthropogenic emissions is evident throughout most of the atmosphere and has the potential to create environmental and health risks. Many trace elements are transported over a long range and deposited in remote alpine regions. Mainly plastic nanoparticles, organic compounds, and heavy metals play a special role in the atmospheric contamination of alpine habitats. Their distributions can change among different environmental compartments, accumulating in alpine invertebrates and vertebrates through biomagnification effects in the food chain. A third aspect of high mountain pollution is related to the current melting of glaciers. The ice cover, frozen soil, and glacier lakes have been found to serve as reservoirs for contaminants. Today, under global warming, contaminants stored in such reservoirs can be re-released into freshwater ecosystems and water fluxes, affecting life not only high up in the mountains, but also in forests and agricultural landscapes. Thus, the release of pollutants from the melting cryosphere should be of great concern. As the level of contamination of alpine fauna varies from region to region, this Special Issue focuses on different aspects of contamination of alpine animals. We welcome contributions on the following topics in the field of biodiversity and ecotoxicology of alpine fauna: habitat specialization of species and adaptation, changes in phytocenosis and zoocenosis as a result of climate change, food chains and accumulation of heavy metals, mercury biomagnification, effects of atmosphere-deposited anthropogenic pollutants and glacier-released pollutants, persistent organic pollutants, and effects of local pollutants, e.g., waste, garbage. If you are interested in publishing in this Special Issue of Diversity, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Prof. Dr. Marián Janiga
Prof. Dr. Vladimir Onipchenko
Manuscript Submission Information
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