Diversity in 2023

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 74434

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 329, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Interests: phytochemistry; molecular pharmacology of medicinal and toxic plants; alkaloids; evolution; chemical ecology; ornithology; phylogeny and evolution
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Guest Editor
Centre de Recherche sur la Biodiversité et l’Environnement, CRBE, UMR 5300 (CNRS-UPS-INPT), Université Paul Sabatier, Batiment IVR1-Room 359, 118, Route de Narbonne, F-31062 Toulouse CEDEX 9, France
Interests: molecular evolution; dynamic of communities and populations; plant–insect interactions, ecology; tools: mitochondrial DNA; ISSR; cuticular hydrocarbons; field ecology; model organisms: lepidoptera; diptera; spiders
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Guest Editor
1. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UAR 2029, Station d'Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale, 09200 Moulis, France
2. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Institut Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité (ISYEB), UMR 7205, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, EPHE, Université des Antilles, 75241 Paris, France
Interests: genotype-phenotype interactions; phenotypic diversity; sexual selection; metapopulation biology; dispersal; migration; adaptive radiation; coevolution
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue reflects on the achievements, scientific progress, and “hot topics” of the year in the journal Diversity. We hope to include reviews to summarise the progress of research and developments in the field, as well as articles that report the latest cutting-edge research in the journal field. Submissions of articles whose lead authors are our Editorial Board Members are highly encouraged. However, we welcome high-quality articles from all authors.

Prof. Dr. Michael Wink
Prof. Dr. Luc Legal
Prof. Dr. Michel Baguette
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (28 papers)

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17 pages, 2210 KiB  
Article
Molecular and Morphological Phylogenies of Spirorbinae (Serpulidae, Polychaeta, Annelida) and the Evolution of Brooding Modes
by Greg W. Rouse, Tara A. Macdonald and Elena K. Kupriyanova
Diversity 2024, 16(4), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16040237 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1056
Abstract
Spirorbinae, a ubiquitous group of marine calcareous tubeworms with a small body size as adults, have a fascinating diversity of brooding modes that form the basis for their taxonomic division into six tribes (traditionally subfamilies): in-tube incubation, with varying degrees of attachment to [...] Read more.
Spirorbinae, a ubiquitous group of marine calcareous tubeworms with a small body size as adults, have a fascinating diversity of brooding modes that form the basis for their taxonomic division into six tribes (traditionally subfamilies): in-tube incubation, with varying degrees of attachment to adult structures (four tribes), and external incubation in a modified radiole (opercular brood chambers; two tribes). We investigated the evolutionary transitions among these brooding modes. Phylogenetic reconstruction with molecular (28s and 18s rDNA) and morphological data (83 characters) among 36 taxa (32 ingroup spirorbins; 4 filogranin outgroups) of the combined data set, using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analyses, inferred Spirorbinae to be monophyletic, with strong support for the monophyly for five tribes (Circeini, Januini, Romanchellini, Paralaeospirini and Spirorbini), but non-monophyly for Pileolariini. However, deeper relationships among some tribes remain unresolved. Neomicrorbis was found to be the sistergroup to all other Spirorbinae. Alternative coding strategies for assessing the ancestral state reconstruction for the reproductive mode allowed for a range of conclusions as to the evolution of tube and opercular brooding in Spirorbinae. Two of the transformations suggest that opercular brooding may be ancestral for Spirorbinae, and the tube-incubating tribes may have been derived independently from opercular-brooding ancestors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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20 pages, 19492 KiB  
Article
Morphological Variation and New Description of the Subcutaneous Gland of Sepiella inermis (Van Hasselt, 1835) in Thai Waters
by Sonthaya Phuynoi, Charuay Sukhsangchan, Ran Xu and Xiaodong Zheng
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030138 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1073
Abstract
The external morphology and morphological variations of Sepiella inermis vary across regions, necessitating investigation. However, the histological information on the subcutaneous gland has been insufficient to describe it. In this study, specimens were systematically collected and characterized from the Gulf of Thailand. Regarding [...] Read more.
The external morphology and morphological variations of Sepiella inermis vary across regions, necessitating investigation. However, the histological information on the subcutaneous gland has been insufficient to describe it. In this study, specimens were systematically collected and characterized from the Gulf of Thailand. Regarding external morphology, female cuttlebones exhibit greater width and more pronounced curves compared to males, while males feature 17–19 white dots along the fin margins. The presence of the subcutaneous gland was discerned during the embryonic stage at stage 19. A histological study of the subcutaneous gland illustrated the structure and development of the gland in both embryonic and adult stages, with four layers of membranes covering the gland. In the adult stage, trabeculae are dispersed throughout the gland, whereas in the embryonic stage, they form four distinct lines. The morphometric analysis revealed significant differences between males and females (p < 0.05) and the morphological variations within both sexes across the seven study areas exhibit significant differences (p < 0.05). According to the discriminant analysis results, there were significant differences (p < 0.05) between the groups in Surat Thani Province. Examining the length–weight relationship between dorsal mantle length and body weight showed significant differences between the sexes, indicating an allometric growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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50 pages, 37446 KiB  
Article
A Mitogenome-Based Phylogeny of Pilargidae (Phyllodocida, Polychaeta, Annelida) and Evaluation of the Position of Antonbruunia
by Sonja Huč, Avery S. Hiley, Marina F. McCowin and Greg W. Rouse
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030134 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2553
Abstract
Pilargidae is a family of free-living and burrowing marine annelids. A lack of available molecular data for most of these species has precluded a molecular assessment of their phylogenetic relationships and has left uncertain the placement of Antonbruunia, which is hypothesized to [...] Read more.
Pilargidae is a family of free-living and burrowing marine annelids. A lack of available molecular data for most of these species has precluded a molecular assessment of their phylogenetic relationships and has left uncertain the placement of Antonbruunia, which is hypothesized to be either a member of Pilargidae or its sister clade, the monotypic family Antonbruunidae. In this study, we describe the new species Antonbruunia milenae sp. nov., found at 845 m of depth off the coast of San Diego, California, USA, and we address the phylogeny of these organisms using 15 novel mitogenomes and multiple Sanger-sequenced loci. Our results show that Antonbruunia falls within Pilargidae, making Antonbruunidae a junior synonym of Pilargidae. Glyphohesione was transferred from Pilarginae to Synelminae, the previously unassigned genera Otopsis and Antonbruunia were shown to belong within Synelminae, and Hermundura was assigned to Phyllodocida incertae sedis. Sigambra was found to be non-monophyletic. Four different mitogenome gene orders were found among Pilargidae. Changes between the gene orders and the ancestral state gene order of the family were inferred. Two species have introns within the COI gene. These efforts represent a significant expansion of the available molecular resources for pilargids, as well as the basis for a more stable taxonomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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18 pages, 10868 KiB  
Article
The Role of Vegetation in Elevational Diversity Patterns of Tenebrionid Beetles in Central Italy
by Simone Fattorini
Diversity 2024, 16(2), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16020110 - 8 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1222
Abstract
Vegetation tends to vary in a systematic fashion along elevational gradients, leading to the possibility of recognizing distinct vegetational belts, which are frequently used to describe and interpret elevational variations in biodiversity. However, anthropogenic changes can create landscapes dominated by secondary grasslands in [...] Read more.
Vegetation tends to vary in a systematic fashion along elevational gradients, leading to the possibility of recognizing distinct vegetational belts, which are frequently used to describe and interpret elevational variations in biodiversity. However, anthropogenic changes can create landscapes dominated by secondary grasslands in areas formerly occupied by forests, thus altering the natural sequence of vegetation types. The present research illustrates how the distribution of tenebrionid beetles in central Italy is influenced by secondary vegetation. Classical schemes of vegetational belts were modified into a scheme of main vegetation types that include secondary vegetations. Tenebrionid species presence/absence in each vegetation type was then assessed. Species richness tended to decrease with elevation in both natural and secondary vegetations. Geophilous (ground-dwelling) species (which include many endemics) prevailed in natural and secondary grasslands, while xylophilous species (associated with trees) prevailed in the natural forests. Similarities in tenebrionid composition indicated the presence of two main groups: one associated with forests and the other with natural and secondary grasslands. Geophilous species prevailed among tenebrionids with Mediterranean distributions, whereas xylophilous species prevailed among species distributed mainly in Europe and the Palearctic. High values of richness, biogeographical complexity and proportion of endemics make secondary vegetations of high conservation concern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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25 pages, 2520 KiB  
Article
Seeking a Hideout: Caves as Refuges for Various Functional Groups of Bryophytes from Terceira Island (Azores, Portugal)
by Ruymán David Cedrés-Perdomo, Clara Polaíno-Martín, Laura Jennings and Rosalina Gabriel
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010058 - 16 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Caves represent sites of great geological and biological interest. For most taxonomic groups, caves represent one of the most challenging ecosystems due to their extreme conditions. However, these places are rich in biodiversity, and some groups, such as bryophytes, can take advantage of [...] Read more.
Caves represent sites of great geological and biological interest. For most taxonomic groups, caves represent one of the most challenging ecosystems due to their extreme conditions. However, these places are rich in biodiversity, and some groups, such as bryophytes, can take advantage of these conditions. Bryophytes from twelve caves on Terceira Island (Azores archipelago) were sampled and compared in terms of species richness, abundance, and composition. The results revealed a high species richness of bryophytes, with one-fifth of the species being threatened and one-third endemic. Moreover, the dominance of bryophyte species, as determined by different functional groups, varies depending on the sampled cave and, consequently, the environmental variables. This is evident from the high β-diversity values obtained, demonstrating significant dissimilarities in species composition among the surveyed caves. Both macro- and microclimatic variables significantly influenced the richness and abundance of bryophyte species in different ways, depending on the functional group studied. Highlighting bryophyte diversity in cave environments, this study points to the need for effective management strategies to preserve and protect these unique and ecologically significant communities. These places can serve as refuges for some species, even for bryophytes, a taxonomic group with a long-distance dispersal strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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22 pages, 19447 KiB  
Article
Strengths and Challenges of Using iNaturalist in Plant Research with Focus on Data Quality
by Eduard López-Guillén, Ileana Herrera, Badis Bensid, Carlos Gómez-Bellver, Neus Ibáñez, Pedro Jiménez-Mejías, Mario Mairal, Laura Mena-García, Neus Nualart, Mònica Utjés-Mascó and Jordi López-Pujol
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010042 - 9 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3116
Abstract
iNaturalist defines itself as an “online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature” and it is likely one of the largest citizen science web portals in the world, as every year millions of observations across thousands [...] Read more.
iNaturalist defines itself as an “online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature” and it is likely one of the largest citizen science web portals in the world, as every year millions of observations across thousands of species are gathered and collectively compiled by an engaged community of nearly 3 million users (November 2023). The strengths and potentialities that explain the success of the platform are reviewed and include, among others, its usability and low technical requirements, immediacy, open-access, the possibility of interacting with other users, artificial-intelligence-aided identification, versatility and automatic incorporation of the validated records to GBIF. iNaturalist has, however, features that scientists need to carefully consider when using it for their research, making sure that the quality of observations does not limit or hinder its usefulness in plant research. While these are identified (e.g., the lack of representative photographs for many observations or the relatively frequent identification errors), we provide some suggestions to overcome them and, by doing so, improve the use and add value to iNaturalist for plant research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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28 pages, 8510 KiB  
Article
The Avian Acetabulum: Small Structure, but Rich with Illumination and Questions
by Alan Feduccia
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010020 - 27 Dec 2023
Viewed by 3639
Abstract
The idea that birds are maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs is now considered an evolutionary consensus. An “open” (i.e., completely or substantially perforate) acetabulum is considered an important synapomorphy verifying the bird–dinosaur nexus. Here, I present anatomical evidence from the acetabulum and its important appurtenances, [...] Read more.
The idea that birds are maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs is now considered an evolutionary consensus. An “open” (i.e., completely or substantially perforate) acetabulum is considered an important synapomorphy verifying the bird–dinosaur nexus. Here, I present anatomical evidence from the acetabulum and its important appurtenances, the supracetabular crest and the antitrochanter, that hip anatomy differs substantially between dinosaurs and birds. Given the thin bone of the acetabular walls and the varied tissue, both hard and soft, in the acetabular region and especially the lower part of the basin, it is apparent that many avian skeletons exhibit some anatomical loss of soft tissue and thin bone, some perhaps related to changes in gait, but also in part related to the dramatic trend in bone reduction associated with flight, especially in more advanced crown taxa. Many basal birds and early diverging neornithines tend to have a nearly closed or partially closed acetabula, thus rendering the current terms “open” or “closed” acetabula inaccurate; they should be modified or replaced. Given new evidence presented here, the relationship of “dinosaurs” and birds must be re-evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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11 pages, 1372 KiB  
Article
The Velamen Radicum Is Common in the Genus Anthurium, Both in the Epiphytic and Terrestrial Species
by Julia C. Werner, Dirk C. Albach, Levent Can and Gerhard Zotz
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010018 - 26 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1267
Abstract
The velamen radicum, a rhizodermis that consists of dead cells at maturity, is often described as typical for epiphytic aroids. Such claims are surprising on two grounds: (1) there are hardly any data on this trait for aroids and (2) the link between [...] Read more.
The velamen radicum, a rhizodermis that consists of dead cells at maturity, is often described as typical for epiphytic aroids. Such claims are surprising on two grounds: (1) there are hardly any data on this trait for aroids and (2) the link between a velamen and epiphytic growth has recently been challenged in general. We performed an anatomical and histological study with 82 Anthurium species and analyzed the occurrence of a velamen in regard to habit (epiphytic vs. terrestrial) and phylogenetic relatedness. Almost 90% of both epiphytic and terrestrial species had a velamen. The number of cell layers comprising this tissue were also very similar in both groups. The most likely interpretation of the phylogenetic tree suggests that a velamen is not ancestral in Anthurium. It was gained once and has been lost several times during diversification of the genus. Our results are an important contribution to the current discussion on the possible function of the velamen. While there is some experimental evidence for its importance for epiphytic plants, its role in terrestrial plants is completely unresolved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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23 pages, 4354 KiB  
Article
Status of the Italian Freshwater Gastrotricha Biodiversity, with the Creation of an Interactive GIS-Based Web Map
by Francesco Saponi and M. Antonio Todaro
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010017 - 25 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1336
Abstract
Gastrotricha are microscopic benthic animals found in almost all water bodies. To date, over 890 species distributed in 71 genera, 18 families, and two orders are known. There are 376 freshwater species, and several are also found in Italy; however, a compendium of [...] Read more.
Gastrotricha are microscopic benthic animals found in almost all water bodies. To date, over 890 species distributed in 71 genera, 18 families, and two orders are known. There are 376 freshwater species, and several are also found in Italy; however, a compendium of the studies carried out so far, and a georeferenced distribution of the species, still need to be provided. This project summarizes information about the diversity and geographic distribution of Italian gastrotrichs. Diversity data, acquired over 239 years, were reviewed and corrected based on taxonomic and nomenclatural updates and, in addition to distribution information, were organized into a data matrix valuable for statistical analysis. The data were fed into geographic information system software to understand the overall figures more easily. The results indicated that Italy is one of the best-known countries regarding freshwater gastrotrichs. With 92 species in 17 genera and three families from 61 investigated localities, Italy counts 17 type localities and 19 endemic species. Despite this high biodiversity, many Italian regions still need to be investigated, and should, therefore, be the focus of future research. The implementation of a web-mapping plugin enabled the creation of interactive maps for an easy and modern method for sharing the work done, and the information acquired. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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10 pages, 4328 KiB  
Communication
A Turiasaurian (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) Tooth from the Pliensbachian Hasle Formation of Bornholm, Denmark, Shows an Early Jurassic Origin of the Turiasauria
by Jesper Milàn and Octávio Mateus
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010012 - 23 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4104
Abstract
Turiasauria is a clade of basal sauropod dinosaurs hitherto only known from the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) to the Lower Cretaceous (Valanginian). A new find of a shed tooth crown from the Lower Jurassic (Pliensbachian), Halse Formation of Bornholm, Denmark, is spoon-like, asymmetrical, and [...] Read more.
Turiasauria is a clade of basal sauropod dinosaurs hitherto only known from the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) to the Lower Cretaceous (Valanginian). A new find of a shed tooth crown from the Lower Jurassic (Pliensbachian), Halse Formation of Bornholm, Denmark, is spoon-like, asymmetrical, and heart-shaped, which identifies the tooth as turiasaurian, pushing the origin of the Turiasauria some 17 My back into the Lower Jurassic. This suggests a North Pangean/Laurasian origin of the turiasaurian clade, which then, during the Middle to Late Jurassic, dispersed through Europe, India, and Africa, with their latest representatives found in the Early Cretaceous of England and North America. Furthermore, this is the first record of a sauropod from the Pliensbachian in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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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 1649
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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15 pages, 2513 KiB  
Article
Bacterial Community Composition and Presence of Plasmids in the Endosphere- and Rhizosphere-Associated Microbiota of Sea Fig (Carpobrotus aequilaterus)
by Angela M. Sánchez-Salazar, Jacquelinne J. Acuña, Michael J. Sadowsky and Milko A. Jorquera
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111156 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1062
Abstract
The plant microbiome is one of the most important environments for ecological interactions between bacteria that impact the plant and the ecosystem. However, studies on the diversity of mobile genetic elements (such as plasmids) associated with the plant microbiome are very scarce. Here, [...] Read more.
The plant microbiome is one of the most important environments for ecological interactions between bacteria that impact the plant and the ecosystem. However, studies on the diversity of mobile genetic elements (such as plasmids) associated with the plant microbiome are very scarce. Here, we determined the bacterial community composition and the occurrence of plasmids in the microbiota associated with sea fig, Carpobrotus aequilaterus (N.E. Br.), a succulent species widely used as an ornamental plant in Chile. The abundance and composition of the endophytic and rhizospheric bacterial communities were determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and DNA metabarcoding analysis. Plasmid diversity in the plant microbiome was determined by plasmid DNA extraction and screened by endpoint PCR of backbone genes for four different incompatibility groups (Inc). The results showed about 106 copies of the 16S rRNA gene in the endosphere and rhizosphere, showing significant differences according to the diversity index. Proteobacteria (Pseudomonadota; 43.4%), Actinobacteria (Actinomycetota; 25.7%), and Bacteroidetes (Bacteroidota; 17.4%) were the most dominant taxa in both plant compartments, and chemoheterotrophy (30%) was the main predicted function assigned to the microbiota. Plasmid diversity analysis showed the presence of transferable plasmids in the endosphere and rhizosphere of C. aequilaterus, particularly among environmental plasmids belonging to the IncP and IncN incompatibility groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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33 pages, 3461 KiB  
Article
Diving into Diversity: Copepod Crustaceans in Octocoral Associations
by Oksana A. Korzhavina, Darya Y. Grishina, Xingru Chen, Diego Fontaneto and Viatcheslav N. Ivanenko
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1140; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111140 - 14 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1920
Abstract
This research provides an extensive analysis of the biodiversity and distribution patterns of copepod crustaceans associated with octocoral species. A comprehensive dataset comprising 966 records pertaining to 233 copepod species, encompassing 54 genera, 18 families, and 3 orders, was compiled from 92 scientific [...] Read more.
This research provides an extensive analysis of the biodiversity and distribution patterns of copepod crustaceans associated with octocoral species. A comprehensive dataset comprising 966 records pertaining to 233 copepod species, encompassing 54 genera, 18 families, and 3 orders, was compiled from 92 scientific papers published between 1858 and 2023, and updated as open data to GBIF. These copepods were found to be closely associated with 183 octocoral species, representing 72 genera and 28 families. The analysis revealed a total of 393 distinct interspecific associations between copepods, classified under the orders Cyclopoida, Harpacticoida, and Siphonostomatoida, and diverse octocorals. Approximately 60% of these associations were reported only once in the literature, which poses challenges to assessing the level of host specificity among the majority of copepod species linked with octocorals. Notably, over 91% of the recorded copepod species were found at depths not exceeding 30 m, with only four copepod species reported at greater depths surpassing 500 m. The presence of these symbiotic copepods was documented across 215 sampling sites situated within 8 of the 12 defined marine ecoregions, with particular attention to the Western Indo-Pacific, Central Indo-Pacific, and Temperate Northern regions. Despite the comprehensive examination of available data, this study highlights substantial gaps in our comprehension of copepod crustacean diversity and distribution in association with octocorals. Moreover, crucial information concerning symbiotic copepods is conspicuously absent for approximately 94% of potential octocoral host species. These disparities emphasize the imperative need for further scientific inquiry to unveil the intricacies of symbiotic relationships and to contribute to a more holistic understanding of copepod–octocoral associations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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16 pages, 2976 KiB  
Article
Exploring Genetic and Morphological Integrity across Ocean Basins: A Case Study of the Mesopelagic Shrimp Systellaspis debilis (Decapoda: Oplophoridae)
by Anna Shapkina, Dmitry Kulagin, Vadim Khaitov, Anastasiia Lunina and Alexander Vereshchaka
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 1008; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15091008 - 10 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1003
Abstract
Plankton communities often consist of cosmopolitan species with an extensive gene flow between populations. Nevertheless, populations of some plankton species are genetically structured, owing to various barriers such as ocean currents, hydrological fronts, and continents. Drivers that could explain the genetic structures of [...] Read more.
Plankton communities often consist of cosmopolitan species with an extensive gene flow between populations. Nevertheless, populations of some plankton species are genetically structured, owing to various barriers such as ocean currents, hydrological fronts, and continents. Drivers that could explain the genetic structures of most mesopelagic species remain unknown on an ocean-basin scale, and our study aims to analyze the genetic and morphological differences between populations of a cosmopolitan mesopelagic shrimp, Systellaspis debilis, from the Southern and Northern Atlantic Ocean, and the Southwest Indian Ocean. We analyzed the ITS-1 and COI markers of 75 specimens and assessed the genetic integrity and within-species variability of these genes. We also coded 32 morphological characteristics in 73 specimens, analyzed their variability, and assessed the correlation between morphological and genetic characteristics using a Redundancy analysis and Mantel test. Systellaspis debilis was genetically cohesive across the whole Atlantic and Southwest Indian Oceans, which is possibly a result of an intensive gene flow through ecological barriers, the resistance of species to hydrological gradients, a purifying selection of mitochondrial genes, etc. In contrast, we found significant morphological differences between populations from different regions, which mirrors morphological diversification and calls for further genomic approaches in order to understand the basis of these variations and uncover potential local adaptations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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16 pages, 5581 KiB  
Article
Updates on Scleroderma: Four New Species of Section Scleroderma from Southwestern China
by Rui Wu, Lvrong Zhou, Hua Qu and Zai-Wei Ge
Diversity 2023, 15(6), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15060775 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1704
Abstract
The genus Scleroderma contains gasteroid basidiomycetes, which form globose spores with echinulate to reticulate ornamentation on the surface. Based on the morphological observations in combination with molecular data, four new species, S. erubescens, S. separatum, S. squamulosum, and S. vinaceum [...] Read more.
The genus Scleroderma contains gasteroid basidiomycetes, which form globose spores with echinulate to reticulate ornamentation on the surface. Based on the morphological observations in combination with molecular data, four new species, S. erubescens, S. separatum, S. squamulosum, and S. vinaceum, were described from Yunnan, southwestern China. Images of fresh basidiomata and scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of basidiospores are provided. Phylogenetic analyses based on ITS sequences show that these four new taxa belong to the Scleroderma section Scleroderma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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14 pages, 1854 KiB  
Article
A Theoretical Thermal Tolerance Function for Ectothermic Animals and Its Implications for Identifying Thermal Vulnerability across Large Geographic Scales
by Agustín Camacho, Michael J. Angilletta, Jr. and Ofir Levy
Diversity 2023, 15(5), 680; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15050680 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1593
Abstract
The time-to-thermal-death curve, or thermal death curve, seeks to represent all the combinations of exposure time and temperature that kill individuals of a species. We present a new theoretical function to describe that time in lizards based on traditional measures of thermal tolerance [...] Read more.
The time-to-thermal-death curve, or thermal death curve, seeks to represent all the combinations of exposure time and temperature that kill individuals of a species. We present a new theoretical function to describe that time in lizards based on traditional measures of thermal tolerance (i.e., preferred body temperatures, voluntary thermal maximum, and the critical thermal maximum). We evaluated the utility of this function in two ways. Firstly, we compared thermal death curves among four species of lizards for which enough data are available. Secondly, we compared the geography of predicted thermal vulnerability based on the thermal death curve. We found that the time to loss of function or death may evolve independently from the critical thermal limits. Moreover, the traditional parameters predicted fewer deleterious sites, systematically situated at lower latitudes and closer to large water bodies (lakes or the coast). Our results highlight the urgency of accurately characterizing thermal tolerance across species to reach a less biased perception of the geography of climatic vulnerability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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16 pages, 2458 KiB  
Article
Identification of Pseudo-nitzschia Cryptic Species Collected in the Gulf of Naples Using Whole-Cell Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization: From Cultured Sample to Field Test
by Michele Ferrari, Lucia Barra, Luisa Ruffolo, Antonella Muto, Christian Galasso, Isabella Percopo, Silvestro Greco and Radiana Cozza
Diversity 2023, 15(4), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15040521 - 4 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1707
Abstract
The planktonic diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia contains several genetically closely related species that can produce domoic acid, a potent neurotoxin known to cause amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). An early identification and an adequate monitoring of the potential toxic Pseudo-nitzschia spp. are necessary. However, effective [...] Read more.
The planktonic diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia contains several genetically closely related species that can produce domoic acid, a potent neurotoxin known to cause amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). An early identification and an adequate monitoring of the potential toxic Pseudo-nitzschia spp. are necessary. However, effective monitoring programs are time consuming due, in some cases, to the cell morphology similarities among species, determined with light microscopy, that can result in insufficient data to give a definitive species and toxins attribution. In this paper, Whole-Cell Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (WC-FISH) has been evaluated as a powerful tool to detect and enumerate harmful cryptic and/or pseudo-cryptic Pseudo-nitzschia spp. collected in the Gulf of Naples. Fluorescently labelled probes directed against the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) of the 28S large subunit (LSU) were used. In particular, five probes detecting four cryptic species of Pseudo-nitzschia delicatissima complex and one specific for Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata gave good results for the molecular identification of potentially toxic target species in natural samples. Finally, we can state that the WC-FISH method, to identify Pseudo-nitzschia species, is faster and more cost-effective if compared with other rDNA-based methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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28 pages, 4351 KiB  
Article
Similar Ones Are Not Related and Vice Versa—New Dendronotus Taxa (Nudibranchia: Dendronotidae) from the North Atlantic Ocean Provide a Platform for Discussion of Global Marine Biodiversity Patterns
by Tatiana Korshunova, Viktor V. Grøtan, Kjetil B. Johnson, Torkild Bakken, Bernard E. Picton and Alexander Martynov
Diversity 2023, 15(4), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15040504 - 1 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3283
Abstract
One new species of the genus Dendronotus (Nudibranchia: Dendronotidae) is described from Norway and Northern Ireland, as well as from the adjacent North Sea, and one new subspecies of Dendronotus arcticus is described from Norway by applying a combination of fine-scale morphological and [...] Read more.
One new species of the genus Dendronotus (Nudibranchia: Dendronotidae) is described from Norway and Northern Ireland, as well as from the adjacent North Sea, and one new subspecies of Dendronotus arcticus is described from Norway by applying a combination of fine-scale morphological and molecular phylogenetic data. The present case demonstrates multilevel morphological and molecular similarities and differences considering on the one hand a grouping of three similar looking sympatric taxa (D. yrjargul, D. arcticus gartensis n. subsp. and D. keatleyae n. sp.), and on the other hand two different looking apparently allopatric subspecies (D. arcticus arcticus and D. arcticus gartensis n. subsp.). The type species of the genus, D. frondosus, which is the commonest dendronotid in Norway and the United Kingdom, consistently demonstrates substantial molecular and fine-scale morphological differences from D. keatleyae n. sp. The present study, apart from providing purely taxonomic information, also provides new data for a broad discussion of global biodiversity patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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15 pages, 2750 KiB  
Article
Assessing Biodiversity Conditions in Cocoa Agroforests with a Rapid Assessment Method: Outcomes from a Large-Scale Application in Ghana
by Sandra Oliveira, Jessica E. Raneri and Stephan F. Weise
Diversity 2023, 15(4), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15040503 - 1 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1657
Abstract
Cocoa fields in West Africa traditionally kept other tree species to provide shade for cocoa trees and obtain food and other products. Measuring other trees is paramount to monitoring environmental conditions in cocoa agroforests, but it has been difficult to apply at a [...] Read more.
Cocoa fields in West Africa traditionally kept other tree species to provide shade for cocoa trees and obtain food and other products. Measuring other trees is paramount to monitoring environmental conditions in cocoa agroforests, but it has been difficult to apply at a large scale. This study presents the results of a rapid assessment method applied in Ghana, developed to measure non-cocoa tree characteristics based on easily observed parameters using sample surveys and mapping tools. We collected data from over 8700 cocoa farms and evaluated their biodiversity performance based on 6 indicators classified according to recommended thresholds to benefit biodiversity conditions. Our results show that species richness, shade cover, and potential for tree succession have the lowest proportions of fields with the recommended levels, with variations among regions and districts. The methodological procedure allowed us to identify priority areas and indicators falling behind desirable thresholds, which can inform training and management approaches regarding biodiversity-friendly practices in cocoa fields tailored to the needs of the farmers. The analysis procedure was developed with open-access automated routines, allowing for easy updates and replication to other areas, as well as for other commodities, enabling comparisons at different spatial scales and contributing to monitoring biodiversity over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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15 pages, 666 KiB  
Article
Economic Valuation of Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog Conservation
by Vasileios J. Kontsiotis, Despina Chrysopoulou, Parthena Chrysopoulou and Vasilios Liordos
Diversity 2023, 15(4), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15040490 - 27 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1585
Abstract
The northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus) is a charismatic insectivore mammal threatened by habitat loss, the use of biocides, and collisions with vehicles. We aimed at valorizing hedgehog conservation through the contingent valuation method for estimating the proportion and the amount [...] Read more.
The northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus) is a charismatic insectivore mammal threatened by habitat loss, the use of biocides, and collisions with vehicles. We aimed at valorizing hedgehog conservation through the contingent valuation method for estimating the proportion and the amount of willingness to pay (WTP) and the effects of cognitions and sociodemographic characteristics on WTP. We collected data through interviews with 704 residents of four administrative regions of northern Greece. Binary logistic regression and Welsh–Poe interval regression were used for estimating the effects of predictors on the proportion and mean WTP, respectively. Most participants (58.2%) were WTP a mean of EUR 31.7 for hedgehog conservation, totaling EUR 21.9 million annually when projected to the population. Positive attitudes, mutualism wildlife orientations, intention to participate in hedgehog conservation actions, and participation in consumptive and non-consumptive wildlife-related recreational activities increased WTP. Highly educated females, with high income and a pet were more WTP than less educated males, with low income and without a pet. Findings provided necessary information to managers about the value of hedgehog conservation, the potential for raising required funds and the differences in WTP among and within public groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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9 pages, 2039 KiB  
Communication
Haplosporidium pinnae Detection from the Faeces of Pinna nobilis: A Quick and Noninvasive Tool to Monitor the Presence of Pathogen in Early-Stage or during Fan Mussel Mass Mortalities
by Chiara Manfrin, Saul Ciriaco, Marco Segarich, Andrea Aiello, Fiorella Florian, Massimo Avian, Antonio Terlizzi, Piero G. Giulianini, Maurizio Spoto and Alberto Pallavicini
Diversity 2023, 15(4), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15040477 - 24 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1937
Abstract
Due to the increasing mass mortality of Pinna nobilis, mainly caused by the protozoan Haplosporidium pinnae along the Mediterranean Sea, it is necessary to develop rapid and effective methods to detect the pathogen. The present study describes the development and validation of [...] Read more.
Due to the increasing mass mortality of Pinna nobilis, mainly caused by the protozoan Haplosporidium pinnae along the Mediterranean Sea, it is necessary to develop rapid and effective methods to detect the pathogen. The present study describes the development and validation of a species-specific assay based on hydrolysis probe chemistry to detect H. pinnae DNA from faeces and pseudofaeces of P. nobilis. During a study campaign in the Gulf of Trieste (Italy) in the spring and summer of 2022, 18 samples (10 faeces and 8 pseudofaeces) were collected. DNA was isolated from all samples and the presence of H. pinnae was tested by amplifying a small portion of 18S rDNA using qPCR. The newly developed assay detected positive H. pinnae in the faeces of the fan mussel in the spring, while no evidence of an outbreak of H. pinnae was found in the summer. In addition, the method proved to be noninvasive and can be used to monitor suspected H. pinnae infections in the early stages when bivalves are still vital. Furthermore, fecal analysis allows the monitoring of P. nobilis without dissecting tissues. The presented assay can also be used to routinely monitor the progress of mass mortalities caused by H. pinnae and to screen for the pathogen in live fan mussels and other environmental matrices, such as water, sediment, and faeces from other species that can host the protozoan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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63 pages, 23492 KiB  
Article
Revealing the Stygobiotic and Crenobiotic Molluscan Diversity in the Caucasus: Part IV—Crenobiotic Belgrandiellinae Radoman, 1983 (Mollusca, Hydrobiidae) from Georgia
by Elizaveta Chertoprud, Jozef Grego, Levan Mumladze, Sebastian Hofman, Dmitry Palatov, Artur Osikowski, Aleksandra Jaszczyńska and Andrzej Falniowski
Diversity 2023, 15(3), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15030450 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2247
Abstract
Since 2020, the south-western Caucasus has been recognized as a hotspot of stygobiotic Mollusca diversity after revealing a large number of new, range-restricted species within the spring snail family Hydrobiidae, subfamily Sadlerianinae sensu Szarowska. Meantime, based on extensive material collected in the south-western [...] Read more.
Since 2020, the south-western Caucasus has been recognized as a hotspot of stygobiotic Mollusca diversity after revealing a large number of new, range-restricted species within the spring snail family Hydrobiidae, subfamily Sadlerianinae sensu Szarowska. Meantime, based on extensive material collected in the south-western Caucasus during the last decades, we studied members of another spring snail subfamily Belgrandiellinae Radoman, 1983. Modern integrative taxonomic work revealed hitherto unknown diversity within this subfamily in the region and further proved the importance of the south-western Caucasus as a hotspot of stygobiotic life. In particular, the subterranean environment and springs of Georgia were known to be inhabited by the genus Tschernomorica Vinarski and Palatov, 2019 with four nominal species. Our research, based on a morpho-anatomical study and genetic investigation of COI/H3 mitochondrial/nuclear markers, revealed additionally seven species and three genera new to science—Colchiella lugella gen. et sp. nov., C. nazodelavo gen. et sp. nov., C. shiksa gen. et sp. nov., C. dadiani gen. et sp. nov., Sataplia cavernicola gen. et sp. nov., Aetis starobogatovi gen. et sp. nov., and Tschernomorica kopidophora sp. nov. —to inhabit the Georgian part of south-western Caucasus. The full taxonomic description of each new taxa, along with the review of habitat characteristics and conservation status, is provided. Molecular genetics suggests that the ancestors of Caucasian Belgrandiellinae have migrated from south-western Europe, probably more than once during the late Messinian and early Pliocene periods. Later, Plio-Pleistocene climate oscillations, particularly the repeated rise and fall of the Black Sea water level, resulted in the isolation and radiation of various lineages within the Caucasus and Crimea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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70 pages, 16879 KiB  
Article
A Synoptic Review of the Cartilaginous Fishes (Chondrichthyes: Holocephali, Elasmobranchii) from the Upper Jurassic Konservat-Lagerstätten of Southern Germany: Taxonomy, Diversity, and Faunal Relationships
by Eduardo Villalobos-Segura, Sebastian Stumpf, Julia Türtscher, Patrick L. Jambura, Arnaud Begat, Faviel A. López-Romero, Jan Fischer and Jürgen Kriwet
Diversity 2023, 15(3), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15030386 - 8 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 6170
Abstract
The Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous (164–100 Ma) represents one of the main transitional periods in life history. Recent studies unveiled a complex scenario in which abiotic and biotic factors and drivers on regional and global scales due to the fragmentation of Pangaea resulted in [...] Read more.
The Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous (164–100 Ma) represents one of the main transitional periods in life history. Recent studies unveiled a complex scenario in which abiotic and biotic factors and drivers on regional and global scales due to the fragmentation of Pangaea resulted in dramatic faunal and ecological turnovers in terrestrial and marine environments. However, chondrichthyan faunas from this interval have received surprisingly little recognition. The presence of numerous entire skeletons of chondrichthyans preserved in several localities in southern Germany, often referred to as Konservat-Lagerstätten (e.g., Nusplingen and the Solnhofen Archipelago), provides a unique opportunity of to study the taxonomic composition of these assemblages, their ecological distributions and adaptations, and evolutionary histories in detail. However, even after 160 years of study, the current knowledge of southern Germany’s Late Jurassic chondrichthyan diversity remains incomplete. Over the last 20 years, the systematic study and bulk sampling of southern Germany’s Late Jurassic deposits significantly increased the number of known fossil chondrichthyan genera from the region (32 in the present study). In the present work, the fossil record, and the taxonomic composition of Late Jurassic chondrichthyans from southern Germany are reviewed and compared with several contemporaneous assemblages from other sites in Europe. Our results suggest, inter alia, that the Late Jurassic chondrichthyans displayed extended distributions within Europe. However, it nevertheless also is evident that the taxonomy of Late Jurassic chondrichthyans is in urgent need of revision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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23 pages, 43688 KiB  
Article
Biodiversity and Environmental Factors Structuring Diatom Assemblages of Mineral Saline Springs in the French Massif Central
by Aude Beauger, Olivier Voldoire, Elisabeth Allain, Pierre Gosseaume, Christelle Blavignac, Lory-Anne Baker and Carlos E. Wetzel
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020283 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1774
Abstract
Springs are abundant and present worldwide and are among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the biodiversity of seventy-nine (79) mineral saline springs situated in the French Massif Central, focusing on the species richness [...] Read more.
Springs are abundant and present worldwide and are among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the biodiversity of seventy-nine (79) mineral saline springs situated in the French Massif Central, focusing on the species richness and the estimated richness and also on the diatom community composition. The influence of physical and chemical factors on both richness and communities was analyzed in order to have a better knowledge of the diatom ecological preferences and identify species typical of saline springs. Since December 2014, an on-going inventory of mineral springs has been in progress. For each spring, physical and chemical characteristics were measured, and benthic diatoms were sampled. The richness was the lowest in the springs presenting a man-made construction around the emergence. In the other springs, the highest richness was associated with the lowest lithium, sodium, total dissolved solid concentrations, and conductivity. Mineralization and some ions (bromine, calcium, chloride, fluoride, lithium, potassium, and sodium) were found to be the most critical drivers of diatom community composition. Some diatom species were typical of specific abiotic conditions, such as Navicula sanctamargaritae, which was associated with the highest potassium concentration. These species could appear as bio-indicators of these conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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13 pages, 2129 KiB  
Article
Euendolithic Infestation of Mussel Shells Indirectly Improves the Thermal Buffering Offered by Mussel Beds to Associated Molluscs, but One Size Does Not Fit All
by Alexia M. Dievart, Christopher D. McQuaid, Gerardo I. Zardi, Katy R. Nicastro and Pierre W. Froneman
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020239 - 8 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Mussel beds form important intertidal matrices that provide thermal buffering to associated invertebrate communities, especially under stressful environmental conditions. Mussel shells are often colonized by photoautotrophic euendoliths, which have indirect conditional beneficial thermoregulatory effects on both solitary and aggregated mussels by increasing the [...] Read more.
Mussel beds form important intertidal matrices that provide thermal buffering to associated invertebrate communities, especially under stressful environmental conditions. Mussel shells are often colonized by photoautotrophic euendoliths, which have indirect conditional beneficial thermoregulatory effects on both solitary and aggregated mussels by increasing the albedo of the shell. We investigated whether euendolithic infestation of artificial mussel beds (Perna perna) influences the body temperatures of four associated mollusc species during simulated periods of emersion, using shell temperature obtained via non-invasive infrared thermography as a proxy. Shell temperatures of the limpet Scutellastra granularis and the chiton Acanthochitona garnoti were higher in non-infested than infested mussel beds during simulated low tides under high solar irradiance and low wind speeds. However, this was not the case for the limpet Helcion pectunculus or the top shell Oxystele antoni. Morphological differences in mollusc shape and colour could, in part, explain this contrast between species. Our results indicated that endolith-induced improvements in humidity and temperature in mussel beds could benefit associated molluscs. The beneficial thermal buffering offered by euendolithic infestation of the mussel beds was effective only if the organism was under heat stress. With global climate change, the indirect beneficial effect of euendolithic infestation for invertebrate communities associated with mussel beds may mitigate intertidal local extinction events triggered by marine heatwaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

24 pages, 1095 KiB  
Review
Cosmetopoeia of African Plants in Hair Treatment and Care: Topical Nutrition and the Antidiabetic Connection?
by Abdulwakeel Ayokun-nun Ajao and Nicholas John Sadgrove
Diversity 2024, 16(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16020096 - 1 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2959
Abstract
To make the distinction against pharmaceuticals, natural product medicines are more accurately denoted as nutritional therapies. In the context of topical therapies targeting dermatological conditions, nutritional therapy may explain the mechanism of ethnocosmetic plants used in hair treatment and care. Inspired by emerging [...] Read more.
To make the distinction against pharmaceuticals, natural product medicines are more accurately denoted as nutritional therapies. In the context of topical therapies targeting dermatological conditions, nutritional therapy may explain the mechanism of ethnocosmetic plants used in hair treatment and care. Inspired by emerging theories of a connection between dysregulated glucose metabolism and hair loss, the current review of the literature focused on African plants used to target hair conditions in general, such as alopecia or scalp dermis infections, with a cross-examination of the potential of the species to alleviate issues with glucose metabolism. We distinguish between topical nutrition and sterilization (i.e., dandruff and lice). Sixty-eight plants were identified as an African treatment for alopecia, dandruff, lice, and tinea. Fifty-eight of the species have potential as antidiabetic treatments when taken orally. The family Lamiaceae was the most represented (six spp.), followed by Fabaceae and Asteraceae (five spp. each). Most species are herbs, and the most used plant part is the leaf. Thirty of the sixty species have research associated with hair growth and general hair care, with studies focused on 5α-reductase inhibition, biomarkers such as vascular endothelial growth factor, and the rate of telogen to anagen phase transition. While studies tend to conceptualize the mechanisms of these medicinal species similarly to pharmaceuticals, the current review argues that a nutritional interpretation is more appropriate, where a general improvement to local glucose metabolism may play a role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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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 23 | Viewed by 14241
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)
17 pages, 1557 KiB  
Systematic Review
Elephants Not in the Room: Systematic Review Shows Major Geographic Publication Bias in African Elephant Ecological Research
by Rachael B. Gross and Robert Heinsohn
Diversity 2023, 15(3), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15030451 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3222
Abstract
African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) are a keystone species in African ecosystems. As a result of increasing anthropogenic pressure, elephant populations have declined significantly in the last two centuries. Research on a broad sample of these populations is necessary to inform [...] Read more.
African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) are a keystone species in African ecosystems. As a result of increasing anthropogenic pressure, elephant populations have declined significantly in the last two centuries. Research on a broad sample of these populations is necessary to inform management strategies over a range of environmental and socio-political conditions. In order to evaluate the current state of literature that is informing evidence-based management and conservation of elephants, we systematically reviewed all research published on the ecology of African elephants from the last 20 years (492 publications). We contrasted the geographic distribution of published research against the 2016 IUCN elephant census. We found several statistically significant biases in the geographic distribution of elephant research. South Africa has 4.54% of the total elephant population and accounted for 28.28% of all research publications. Kenya has 5.49% the total elephant population but accounts for 20.6% of the research. Conversely, Botswana has 31.68% of the total elephant population but accounts for only 9.29% of the research and Zimbabwe has 19.89% of the total elephant population with only 10.50% of research. We also found that 41.85% of areas with ~60,100 elephants have not had any research published on their populations in the last 20 years. This publication imbalance may encourage management strategies that are overly dependent on misrepresentative information from a small subset of the elephant population. We recommend that (1) marginalised areas with large elephant populations (e.g., Botswana and Zimbabwe) should receive higher priority for future research, (2) new research and proposals should design theoretical frameworks to account for and overcome the present biases, and (3) local community-based management approaches should be prioritised and amplified in order to overcome the barriers to conducting research in priority areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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