Special Issue "2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 52759

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Published Papers (52 papers)

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Article
Identifying Complex DNA Contamination in Pig-Footed Bandicoots Helps to Clarify an Anomalous Ecological Transition
Diversity 2022, 14(5), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14050352 - 29 Apr 2022
Viewed by 592
Abstract
Our understanding of the biology of the extinct pig-footed bandicoots (Chaeropus) has been substantially revised over the past two decades by both molecular and morphological research. Resolving the systematic and temporal contexts of Chaeropus evolution has relied heavily on sequencing DNA [...] Read more.
Our understanding of the biology of the extinct pig-footed bandicoots (Chaeropus) has been substantially revised over the past two decades by both molecular and morphological research. Resolving the systematic and temporal contexts of Chaeropus evolution has relied heavily on sequencing DNA from century-old specimens. We have used sliding window BLASTs and phylogeny reconstruction, as well as cumulative likelihood and apomorphy distributions, to identify contamination in sequences from both species of pig-footed bandicoot. The sources of non-target DNA that were identified range from other bandicoot species to a bird—emphasizing the importance of sequence authentication for historical museum specimens, as has become standard for ancient DNA studies. Upon excluding the putatively contaminated fragments, Chaeropus was resolved as the sister to all other bandicoots (Peramelidae), to the exclusion of bilbies (Macrotis). The estimated divergence time between the two Chaeropus species also decreases in better agreement with the fossil record. This study provides evolutionary context for testing hypotheses on the ecological transition of pig-footed bandicoots from semi-fossorial omnivores towards cursorial grazers, which in turn may represent the only breach of deeply conserved ecospace partitioning between modern Australo-Papuan marsupial orders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Understanding Extra-Pair Mating Behaviour: A Case Study of Socially Monogamous European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) in Western Siberia
Diversity 2022, 14(4), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14040283 - 10 Apr 2022
Viewed by 566
Abstract
Extra-pair copulation (EPC) occurred in most socially monogamous bird species. The mechanisms leading to the frequent occurrence of extra-pair offspring (EPO, EPY) in socially monogamous couples, as well as the ‘function’ of EPC, are the subjects of strong debates and [...] Read more.
Extra-pair copulation (EPC) occurred in most socially monogamous bird species. The mechanisms leading to the frequent occurrence of extra-pair offspring (EPO, EPY) in socially monogamous couples, as well as the ‘function’ of EPC, are the subjects of strong debates and raise many unanswered questions. We studied the relationship between extra-pair paternity (EPP) and the different characteristics of males and females in the European pied flycatcher in Western Siberia (Russia). The analysis was based on the genotyping of 232 males, 250 females, 1485 nestlings (250 nests). The European pied flycatchers were predominantly socially and genetically monogamous, but about 20% of birds could be involved in EPP. Loss of paternity tended to be more frequent in one-year-old males. EPCs could be multiple: one individual may have up to three extra-pair partners. The EPP rate was independent of the breeding time. The extra-pair mates of an individual were mainly its near neighbours. The EPC status of an individual was unrelated to most of its morpho-physiological traits. The occurrence of EPP was almost twice as high in females nesting in good quality territories. The fitness of within-pair offspring, EPO, paternal half-sibs of EPO and maternal half-sibs of EPO did not differ statistically significantly. Assuming very low heritability of extra-pair mating, we argued that EPCs could be incidental side effects (by-product) of selection. We believe that the evolution and maintenance of extra-pair mating are the episelective processes in the case of the European pied flycatcher. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Citizen Scientists Record Significant Range Extensions for Tropical Sea Slug Species in Subtropical Eastern Australia
Diversity 2022, 14(4), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14040244 - 27 Mar 2022
Viewed by 671
Abstract
The Sea Slug Census program in Australia engages with citizen scientists to record the diversity and distribution of sea slugs across multiple locations. The program has consistently recorded shifts in distribution patterns but a recent, nine-day census in subtropical eastern Australia recorded unprecedented [...] Read more.
The Sea Slug Census program in Australia engages with citizen scientists to record the diversity and distribution of sea slugs across multiple locations. The program has consistently recorded shifts in distribution patterns but a recent, nine-day census in subtropical eastern Australia recorded unprecedented range extensions of tropical species. Seven species (six chromodorids and one polycerid) were found further south of their previously known distribution with Hypselodoris bertschi being recorded for the first time in Australia. These observations suggested the recent transport of larvae via the East Australian Current with recruitment to coastal sites possibly promoted by a protracted period of strong onshore winds associated with the 2021/22 La Niña in the western Pacific. With the increasing frequency of poleward range extensions of marine taxa, citizen science programs such as the Sea Slug Census provide the opportunity to substantially increase monitoring efforts. Linking with iNaturalist strengthens the value of the observations through online peer review to confirm species identities as well as the incorporation of substantiated (Research Grade) records into international biodiversity databases such as GBIF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
The Impact of Different Biotopes and Management Practices on the Burden of Parasites in Artificial Nests of Osmia spp. (Megachilidae) Bees
Diversity 2022, 14(3), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14030226 - 19 Mar 2022
Viewed by 631
Abstract
The decline in pollinator insect abundance and diversity is increasing on a global scale. Major threats are the byproducts of numerous negative environmental pressures acting individually or in combination. They vary throughout different geographical areas, affecting the solitary bees differently. One of the [...] Read more.
The decline in pollinator insect abundance and diversity is increasing on a global scale. Major threats are the byproducts of numerous negative environmental pressures acting individually or in combination. They vary throughout different geographical areas, affecting the solitary bees differently. One of the most important negative pressures are the many parasites, predators and pests representing a threat to the successful reproduction of solitary bees in artificial nests. Especially vulnerable are the managed Osmia spp. bee populations reared for commercialization and trade. The primary goals of our monitoring study were: (i) to examine the presence and the prevalence of brood parasites in the various types of bees’ nesting material and in semi-field rearing conditions using the nest section analyses; (ii) to determine the presence of Nosema spp. in samples of feces and homogenized bee abdomens using a multiplex PCR method; (iii) the evaluation of the survival success level and emergence mass of healthy bees at each of the four studied bee rearing locations separately, depending on different environments and on the implementation of different managing practices. We determined the presence and prevalence of nest destructor parasites and accompanying fauna. Their presence was positively correlated with bee rearing failures. The results of this study may be used as a baseline for further solitary bee nest parasites monitoring schemes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Spatial Variability in a Symbiont-Diverse Marine Host and the Use of Observational Data to Assess Ecological Interactions
Diversity 2022, 14(3), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14030197 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 799
Abstract
Despite a rich taxonomic literature on the symbionts of ascidians, the nature of these symbioses remains poorly understood. In the Egyptian Red Sea, the solitary ascidian Phallusia nigra hosted a symbiotic amphipod and four copepod species, with densities as high as 68 mixed [...] Read more.
Despite a rich taxonomic literature on the symbionts of ascidians, the nature of these symbioses remains poorly understood. In the Egyptian Red Sea, the solitary ascidian Phallusia nigra hosted a symbiotic amphipod and four copepod species, with densities as high as 68 mixed symbionts per host. Correlation analyses suggested no competition or antagonism between symbionts. Ascidian mass, ash-free dry mass per wet mass (AFDM/WM), and both symbiont density and diversity per host, differed significantly among three reefs from El Gouna, Egypt. However, there was no correlation between amphipod, total copepod, or total symbiont densities and host mass or AFDM/WM. A host condition index based on body to tunic mass ratio was significantly related to symbiont density overall, but this positive pattern was only strong at a single site studied. Despite assumptions based on the habit of some of the symbiont groups, our analyses detected little effect of symbionts on host health, suggesting a commensal relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Small Mammal Diversity in Response to Land Transformation and Seasonal Variation in South Africa
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020138 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 825
Abstract
Anthropogenic land transformation is a consequence of human population growth and the associated agricultural, residential, and industrial needs. This study aimed to investigate the effects of anthropogenic activity and human-mediated land transformation on capture/recapture frequencies, species richness, and diversity of native small mammal [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic land transformation is a consequence of human population growth and the associated agricultural, residential, and industrial needs. This study aimed to investigate the effects of anthropogenic activity and human-mediated land transformation on capture/recapture frequencies, species richness, and diversity of native small mammal community assemblages in the Magaliesberg Biosphere, North West province, South Africa. Five anthropogenically transformed land-use types were investigated: an animal rehabilitation and ecotourism center, an agricultural farmstead, a residential farmstead, a mine-adjacent agricultural farmstead, and a protected nature conservancy. We used live traps to sample small mammals during the dry and wet seasons over three consecutive years and compared population numbers and species composition across study sites and seasons. Capture/recapture frequencies differed significantly between sites and seasons, with the highest capture frequencies recorded at the agricultural and residential farmsteads. Species richness and diversity were highest at the residential and mine-adjacent farmsteads, both of which experienced intermediate levels of anthropogenic disturbance throughout the sampling period. The study shows that while natural and protected landscapes with low levels of disturbance are preferred, transformed landscapes can also be managed effectively to benefit native small mammal populations by regulating the frequency and intensity of human-mediated activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Biological Interaction as a Possible Ultimate Driver in the Local Extinction of Cedrus atlantica in the Iberian Peninsula
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020136 - 15 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1040
Abstract
The presence of Cedrus atlantica on the European continent, including, especially, the determination of the time of its disappearance from the Iberian Peninsula, is one of the most controversial issues in recent decades regarding the successive extinction of conifers in the Western Mediterranean. [...] Read more.
The presence of Cedrus atlantica on the European continent, including, especially, the determination of the time of its disappearance from the Iberian Peninsula, is one of the most controversial issues in recent decades regarding the successive extinction of conifers in the Western Mediterranean. This work propounds the possibility that C. atlantica and Pinus nigra could have co-habited in the past, mutually excluding each other in the areas with suitable conditions for both species, where, ultimately, the one that was the most competitive would have remained. The niche overlap in the two-dimensional ecological space was analyzed. In addition, the potential distribution of both species in the Western Mediterranean today and two past periods (Last Glacial Maximum and Mid-Holocene) was modeled to identify their common geographic area of distribution. The species showed very well differentiated niches and a distribution of their habitats virtually segregated by continents since the Mid-Holocene (P. nigra in Europe and C. atlantica in Africa), which responds to differences in climatic affinities. However, the contact of the bordering areas of their distributions in the Baetic mountain range suggests that C. atlantica could have maintained its presence in the Iberian Peninsula until recent times. P. nigra would have displace it in later stages due to its greater prevalence on the continent, so it would have had greater opportunities to occupy the available space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Pronounced Seasonal Diet Diversity Expansion of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in Northern Greece during the Non-Breeding Season: The Role of Tortoises
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020135 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 849
Abstract
Golden Eagles are resident in Greece and known to feed mainly on tortoises when breeding. However, information on alternative prey is scarce, especially during the tortoise brumation, that roughly coincides with the eagles’ non-breeding season. We analyzed 827 prey items collected from 12 [...] Read more.
Golden Eagles are resident in Greece and known to feed mainly on tortoises when breeding. However, information on alternative prey is scarce, especially during the tortoise brumation, that roughly coincides with the eagles’ non-breeding season. We analyzed 827 prey items collected from 12 territories over five territory years and 84 records of eagles hunting or feeding behavior. Tortoises dominated the breeding season diet (71% of prey categories on average) and over half of all hunting/feeding observations. While no spatial structure was evident, habitat variables such as forest canopy cover were important associates in golden eagle diet seasonally. A significant seasonal pattern emerged in diet diversity, using a subset of six territories with at least 10 samples per season. Eagles shifted from a narrow, reptile- based breeding season diet dominated by tortoises to a broader non-breeding season diet, that included more carrion, mammals and birds. Breeding season specialization on ectothermic prey is a trait usually associated with migratory raptors in the Western Palearctic. The observed dietary diversity expansion accompanied by residency in the absence of ectothermic prey, highlights the adaptability of the golden eagle, a generalist predator. Tortoise populations in Greece are of conservation concern and land use changes as well as climate change, such as development and land abandonment may increase the prevalence of catastrophic megafires, exacerbating the threats to the golden eagle’s main prey when breeding. We discuss this and other diet related conservation implications for the species in northern Greece. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Is Diversity the Missing Link in Coastal Fisheries Management?
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020090 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 699
Abstract
Fisheries management has historically focused on the population elasticity of target fish based primarily on demographic modeling, with the key assumptions of stability in environmental conditions and static trophic relationships. The predictive capacity of this fisheries framework is poor, especially in closed systems [...] Read more.
Fisheries management has historically focused on the population elasticity of target fish based primarily on demographic modeling, with the key assumptions of stability in environmental conditions and static trophic relationships. The predictive capacity of this fisheries framework is poor, especially in closed systems where the benthic diversity and boundary effects are important and the stock levels are low. Here, we present a probabilistic model that couples key fish populations with a complex suite of trophic, environmental, and geomorphological factors. Using 41 years of observations we model the changes in eastern Baltic cod (Gadus morhua), herring (Clupea harengus), and Baltic sprat (Sprattus sprattus balticus) for the Baltic Sea within a Bayesian network. The model predictions are spatially explicit and show the changes of the central Baltic Sea from cod- to sprat-dominated ecology over the 41 years. This also highlights how the years 2004 to 2014 deviate in terms of the typical cod–environment relationship, with environmental factors such as salinity being less influential on cod population abundance than in previous periods. The role of macrozoobenthos abundance, biotopic rugosity, and flatfish biomass showed an increased influence in predicting cod biomass in the last decade of the study. Fisheries management that is able to accommodate shifting ecological and environmental conditions relevant to biotopic information will be more effective and realistic. Non-stationary modelling for all of the homogeneous biotope regions, while acknowledging that each has a specific ecology relevant to understanding the fish population dynamics, is essential for fisheries science and sustainable management of fish stocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Alien Invasive Plant Effect on Soil Fauna Is Habitat Dependent
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020061 - 18 Jan 2022
Viewed by 687
Abstract
Invasive alien plants often modify the structure of native plant communities, but their potential impact on soil communities is far less studied. In this study, we looked at the impact of invasive Asian knotweed (Reynoutria spp.) on two major soil mesofauna (Collembola) [...] Read more.
Invasive alien plants often modify the structure of native plant communities, but their potential impact on soil communities is far less studied. In this study, we looked at the impact of invasive Asian knotweed (Reynoutria spp.) on two major soil mesofauna (Collembola) and microfauna (Nematodes) communities. We expected ingress of knotweed to differentially affect faunal groups depending on their trophic position, with the lower trophic levels being more impacted than the higher trophic groups according to the closer relationship to plants for basal trophic groups. Furthermore, we expected the knotweed impact to depend on habitat type (forest vs. meadow) with more pronounced changes in abundances of soil invertebrate in invaded meadows. Plant and soil invertebrates were sampled in six sites (three forest and three meadows) in northern France in both control and invaded plots. Our results showed that the presence of knotweed strongly reduced native plant species’ diversity and abundance. Soil fauna also responded to the invasion by Asian knotweed with different responses, as hypothesized, according to trophic position or life-forms. Furthermore, abundances of several collembolan life-forms were influenced by the interaction between the factors “Habitat” and “Knotweed”. This may explain the difficulty to easily generalize and predict the consequences of plant invasion on belowground diversity, although this is of crucial importance for alleviating negative consequences and costs of biological invasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Communication
Multi-Locus Phylogenetic Analyses of the Almadablennius Clade Reveals Inconsistencies with the Present Taxonomy of Blenniid Fishes
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010053 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 873
Abstract
We used a multi-locus phylogenetic approach (i.e., combining both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA fragments) to address some long-standing taxonomic inconsistencies within the diverse fish clade of Combtooth Blennies (Blenniidae—unranked clade Almadablennius). The obtained phylogenetic trees revealed some major inconsistencies in the current taxonomy [...] Read more.
We used a multi-locus phylogenetic approach (i.e., combining both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA fragments) to address some long-standing taxonomic inconsistencies within the diverse fish clade of Combtooth Blennies (Blenniidae—unranked clade Almadablennius). The obtained phylogenetic trees revealed some major inconsistencies in the current taxonomy of Parablennini, such as the paraphyletic status of the Salaria and Parablennius genera, casting some doubt regarding their actual phylogenetic relationship. Furthermore, a scarce-to-absent genetic differentiation was observed among the three species belonging to the genus Chasmodes. This study provides an updated taxonomy and phylogeny of the former genus Salaria, ascribing some species to the new genus Salariopsis gen. nov., and emphasizes the need for a revision of the genus Parablennius. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Bill Variation of Captive and Wild Chukar Partridge Populations: Shape or Size
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010048 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 386
Abstract
Traditionally, morphological characters are widely used to distinguish between interspecies and intraspecies. In addition to the size of morphological characters, shape has also been used as an indicator in the last decades. We evaluated the geometric morphometry and morphometric of the bill of [...] Read more.
Traditionally, morphological characters are widely used to distinguish between interspecies and intraspecies. In addition to the size of morphological characters, shape has also been used as an indicator in the last decades. We evaluated the geometric morphometry and morphometric of the bill of Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar from captive and wild populations to determine the bill variation and population relationships. Although there was a size difference between the sexes, no shape difference was found. However, captive populations differed from wild populations in both size and shape. Although there was no difference in shape among wild populations, some differences were found in size. Moreover, bill sizes of captive populations were statistically longer than western, centre, and eastern wild populations. It was also shown that the western populations had the most significant variation among the wild populations. The results revealed that using the size and shape together was more effective in comparing populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Unrecognized Ant Megadiversity in Monsoonal Australia: Diversity and Its Distribution in the Hyperdiverse Monomorium nigrius Forel Group
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010046 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 368
Abstract
We document diversity and its distribution within the hyperdiverse Monomorium nigrius Forel group of the Australian monsoonal tropics, an unrecognized global centre of ant diversity. The group includes a single described species, but several distinct morphotypes each with multiple clearly recognizable taxa are [...] Read more.
We document diversity and its distribution within the hyperdiverse Monomorium nigrius Forel group of the Australian monsoonal tropics, an unrecognized global centre of ant diversity. The group includes a single described species, but several distinct morphotypes each with multiple clearly recognizable taxa are known. Our analysis is based on 401 CO1-sequenced specimens collected from throughout the Australian mainland but primarily in the monsoonal north and particularly from four bioregions: the Top End (northern third) of the Northern Territory (NT), the Sturt Plateau region of central NT, the Kimberley region of far northern Western Australia, and far North Queensland. Clade structure in the CO1 tree is highly congruent with the general morphotypes, although most morphotypes occur in multiple clades and are therefore shown as polyphyletic. We recognize 97 species among our sequenced specimens, and this is generally consistent (if not somewhat conservative) with PTP analyses of CO1 clustering. Species turnover is extremely high both within and among bioregions in monsoonal Australia, and the monsoonal fauna is highly distinct from that in southern Australia. We estimate that the M. nigrius group contains well over 200 species in monsoonal Australia, and 300 species overall. Our study provides further evidence that monsoonal Australia should be recognized as a global centre of ant diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Diversity of Land Snail Tribe Helicini (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora: Helicidae): Where Do We Stand after 20 Years of Sequencing Mitochondrial Markers?
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010024 - 31 Dec 2021
Viewed by 547
Abstract
Sequences of mitochondrial genes revolutionized the understanding of animal diversity and continue to be an important tool in biodiversity research. In the tribe Helicini, a prominent group of the western Palaearctic land snail fauna, mitochondrial data accumulating since the 2000s helped to newly [...] Read more.
Sequences of mitochondrial genes revolutionized the understanding of animal diversity and continue to be an important tool in biodiversity research. In the tribe Helicini, a prominent group of the western Palaearctic land snail fauna, mitochondrial data accumulating since the 2000s helped to newly delimit genera, inform species-level taxonomy and reconstruct past range dynamics. We combined the published data with own unpublished sequences and provide a detailed overview of what they revealed about the diversity of the group. The delimitation of Helix is revised by placing Helix godetiana back in the genus and new synonymies are suggested within the genera Codringtonia and Helix. The spatial distribution of intraspecific mitochondrial lineages of several species is shown for the first time. Comparisons between species reveal considerable variation in distribution patterns of intraspecific lineages, from broad postglacial distributions to regions with a fine-scale pattern of allopatric lineage replacement. To provide a baseline for further research and information for anyone re-using the data, we thoroughly discuss the gaps in the current dataset, focusing on both taxonomic and geographic coverage. Thanks to the wealth of data already amassed and the relative ease with which they can be obtained, mitochondrial sequences remain an important source of information on intraspecific diversity over large areas and taxa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Structure and Functionality of the Mesozooplankton Community in a Coastal Marine Environment: Portofino Marine Protected Area (Liguria)
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010019 - 29 Dec 2021
Viewed by 390
Abstract
This research is part of the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) project, a network of terrestrial, freshwater, transitional water and marine sites, on which ecological research is conducted on a multi-decade scale. LTER studies ecosystems, their dynamics and evolution, the relationships between biodiversity and [...] Read more.
This research is part of the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) project, a network of terrestrial, freshwater, transitional water and marine sites, on which ecological research is conducted on a multi-decade scale. LTER studies ecosystems, their dynamics and evolution, the relationships between biodiversity and ecological functionality, water quality, productivity, the role of resource availability, the effects of pollution and climate change. The research focuses on the study of the variability of zooplankton groups in the Portofino marine protected area, in Punta Faro. The samplings were carried out in the years 2018–2019, and the results were compared with the values of the years 2003–2005, interesting from a meteorological climatic and biological point of view. The plankton community of the Punta Faro system was analyzed by means of a modeling approach to obtain information on the functionality and health status of the system and to verify whether this has undergone any alterations in the last decade. The analyses carried out show a clear difference between the three-year period 2003–2005 and the two-year period 2018–2019, highlighting how environmental changes, such as the increase in temperature, have led to higher costs of system functioning in the last two years. The mesozooplankton community has changed both in terms of abundance of organisms and in terms of organization and functionality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Determining Plant Diversity within Interconnected Natural Habitat Remnants (Ecological Network) in an Agricultural Landscape: A Matter of Sampling Design?
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010012 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
In intensively used and human-modified landscapes, biodiversity is often confined to remnants of natural habitats. Thus, identifying ecological networks (ENs) necessary to connect these patches and maintain high levels of biodiversity, not only for conservation but also for the effective management of the [...] Read more.
In intensively used and human-modified landscapes, biodiversity is often confined to remnants of natural habitats. Thus, identifying ecological networks (ENs) necessary to connect these patches and maintain high levels of biodiversity, not only for conservation but also for the effective management of the landscape, is required. However, ENs are often defined without a clear a-priori evaluation of their biodiversity and are seldom even monitored after their establishment. The objective of this study was to determine the adequate number of replicates to effectively characterize biodiversity content of natural habitats within the nodes of an EN in north-eastern Italy, based on vascular plant diversity. Plant communities within habitat types of the EN’s nodes were sampled through a hierarchical sampling design, evaluating both species richness and compositional dissimilarity. We developed an integrated method, consisting of multivariate measures of precision (MultSE), rarefaction curves and diversity partitioning approaches, which was applied to estimate the minimum number of replicates needed to characterize plant communities within the EN, evaluating also how the proposed optimization in sampling size affected the estimations of the characteristics of habitat types and nodes of the EN. We observed that reducing the total sampled replicates by 85.5% resulted to sufficiently characterize plant diversity of the whole EN, and by 72.5% to exhaustively distinguish plant communities among habitat types. This integrated method helped to fill the gap regarding the data collection to monitor biodiversity content within existing ENs, considering temporal and economic resources. We therefore suggest the use of this quantitative approach, based on probabilistic sampling, to conduct pilot studies in the context of ENs design and monitoring, and in general for habitat monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Bigger Is Better, Sometimes: The Interaction between Body Size and Carcass Size Determines Fitness, Reproductive Strategies, and Senescence in Two Species of Burying Beetles
Diversity 2021, 13(12), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120662 - 11 Dec 2021
Viewed by 825
Abstract
The cost of reproduction hypothesis suggests that allocation to current reproduction constrains future reproduction. How organisms accrue reproductive costs and allocate energy across their lifetime may differ among species adapted to different resource types. We test this by comparing lifetime reproductive output, patterns [...] Read more.
The cost of reproduction hypothesis suggests that allocation to current reproduction constrains future reproduction. How organisms accrue reproductive costs and allocate energy across their lifetime may differ among species adapted to different resource types. We test this by comparing lifetime reproductive output, patterns of reproductive allocation, and senescence between two species of burying beetles, Nicrophorus marginatus and N. guttula, that differ in body size, across a range of carcass sizes. These two species of burying beetles maximized lifetime reproductive output on somewhat different–sized resources. The larger N. marginatus did better on large and medium carcasses while the smaller N. guttula did best on small and medium carcasses. For both species, reproduction is costly and reproduction on larger carcasses reduced lifespan more than reproduction on smaller carcasses. Carcass size also affected lifetime reproductive strategies. Each species’ parental investment patterns were consistent with terminal investment on carcasses on which they performed best (optimal carcass sizes). However, they exhibited reproductive restraint on carcass sizes on which they did not perform as well. Reproductive senescence occurred largely in response to carcass size. For both species, reproduction on larger carcasses resulted in more rapid senescence. These data suggest that whether organisms exhibit terminal investment or reproductive restraint may depend on type and amount of resources for reproduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Risk of Infection, Local Prevalence and Seasonal Changes in an Avian Malaria Community Associated with Game Bird Releases
Diversity 2021, 13(12), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120657 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 682
Abstract
Anthropogenic activities, such as the translocation or introduction of animals, may cause a parallel movement of exotic parasites harboured by displaced animals. Although introduction and/or relocation of animals for hunting purposes is an increasingly common management technique, the effects of gamebird release as [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic activities, such as the translocation or introduction of animals, may cause a parallel movement of exotic parasites harboured by displaced animals. Although introduction and/or relocation of animals for hunting purposes is an increasingly common management technique, the effects of gamebird release as a major vehicle for the introduction of parasites into new geographic regions have rarely been reported. We examined the prevalence and distribution of avian malaria parasites infecting resident avian hosts (red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa) at a local scale, with a particular emphasis on the effects of releasing farm-reared birds for hunting on the spatial and temporal structure of the parasite community. We collected blood samples from adult partridges from two game estates with partridge releases and two sites without releases over two periods (spring and autumn). We tested the probability of infection and differences in the parasite community in relation to the management model (releases vs. non releases) and sampling period, comparing autumn (when farm-reared birds are released) and spring (after hunting season, when mostly wild birds can be found in the population). We found a high prevalence (54%) of Plasmodium spp., and substantial differences in the spatial and temporal distribution of parasite lineages among the populations studied. Some parasite lineages occurred at high frequencies in game estates without introduction of farm-reared partridges, while other lineages were more abundant in game estates with releases than in those without releases. Overall, the prevalence of avian malaria was similar between spring and autumn at non-release sites, whereas in sites with releases, it was higher in autumn than in spring—probably due to artificial restocking with infected farm-reared birds at the onset of the hunting season. In short, humans may be an important agent driving the alteration of the spatial structure of local parasite fauna via the introduction of exotic parasites by gamebird release, which could cause avian malaria outbreaks with severe repercussions for native avifauna. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Mitogenomics and the Phylogeny of Mantis Shrimps (Crustacea: Stomatopoda)
Diversity 2021, 13(12), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120647 - 05 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1074
Abstract
Stomatopoda, commonly known as mantis shrimps, are notable for their enlarged second maxillipeds encompassing the raptorial claw. The form of the claw can be used to divide them into two basic groups: smashers and spearers. Previous phylogenetic studies of Stomatopoda have focused on [...] Read more.
Stomatopoda, commonly known as mantis shrimps, are notable for their enlarged second maxillipeds encompassing the raptorial claw. The form of the claw can be used to divide them into two basic groups: smashers and spearers. Previous phylogenetic studies of Stomatopoda have focused on morphology or a few genes, though there have been whole mitochondrial genomes published for 15 members of Stomatopoda. However, the sampling has been somewhat limited with key taxa not included. Here, nine additional stomatopod mitochondrial genomes were generated and combined with the other available mitogenomes for a phylogenetic analysis. We used the 13 protein coding genes, as well as 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA genes, and included nuclear 18S rRNA gene sequences. Different rooting options were used for the analyses: (1) single and multiple outgroups from various eumalocostracan relatives and (2) a stomatopod-only dataset, with Hemisquilla californiensis used to root the topologies, based on the current hypothesis that Hemisquilla is the sister group to the rest of Stomatopoda. The eumalocostracan-rooted analyses all showed H. californiensis nested within Stomatopoda, raising doubts as to previous hypotheses as to its placement. Allowing for the rooting difference, the H. californiensis outgroup datasets had the same tree topology as the eumalocostracan outgroup datasets with slight variation at poorly supported nodes. Of the major taxonomic groupings sampled to date, Squilloidea was generally found to be monophyletic while Gonodactyloidea was not. The position of H. californiensis was found inside its superfamily, Gonodactyloidea, and grouped in a weakly supported clade containing Odontodactylus havanensis and Lysiosquillina maculata for the eumalocostracan-rooted datasets. An ancestral state reconstruction was performed on the raptorial claw form and provides support that spearing is the ancestral state for extant Stomatopoda, with smashing evolving subsequently one or more times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Transcriptome Analyses Reveal Circadian-Related Expression Features in the Visual Systems of Two Snakes
Diversity 2021, 13(12), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120621 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 663
Abstract
The visual characteristics of animals with different circadian habits, especially colubrid snakes, exhibit highly variable photoreceptor morphology. While studies have reported on the diversity in retinal cell morphology among snakes with different circadian patterns, few studies have examined the expression of genes related [...] Read more.
The visual characteristics of animals with different circadian habits, especially colubrid snakes, exhibit highly variable photoreceptor morphology. While studies have reported on the diversity in retinal cell morphology among snakes with different circadian patterns, few studies have examined the expression of genes related to vision. To explore gene expression patterns in the eyes between diurnal and nocturnal snakes, we carried out RNA sequencing of six tissues (eye, heart, liver, lung, kidney, and muscle) in two colubrids with disparate circadian activities, i.e., diurnal Ahaetulla prasina and nocturnal Lycodon flavozonatum, followed by weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA). The genes in the two most correlated modules were primarily enriched in different functional pathways, thus suggesting different biological functions. Three opsin genes (RH1, LWS, and SWS) were differentially expressed between the two species. Moreover, in the phototransduction pathway, different genes were highly expressed in the eyes of both species, reflecting specific expression patterns in the eyes of snakes with different circadian activity. We also confirmed the dominance of cone- and rod-related genes in diurnal and nocturnal adaptation, respectively. This work provides an important foundation for genetic research on visual adaptation in snakes and provides further insight into the adaptive evolution of such species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Integrative Descriptions of Two New Mesobiotus Species (Tardigrada, Eutardigrada, Macrobiotidae) from Vietnam
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110605 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 744
Abstract
To date, 34 tardigrade taxa have been recorded from Vietnam and this includes only two macrobiotid species belonging to the genus Mesobiotus. In this paper, two additional species of this genus, one of the M. harmsworthi group and one of the M. [...] Read more.
To date, 34 tardigrade taxa have been recorded from Vietnam and this includes only two macrobiotid species belonging to the genus Mesobiotus. In this paper, two additional species of this genus, one of the M. harmsworthi group and one of the M. furciger group, are reported and described as new for science (Mesobiotus imperialis sp. nov., Mesobiotus marmoreus sp. nov.). Both descriptions have an integrative character providing detailed morphological and morphometric data collected by phase contrast and scanning electron microscopy that are linked to genetic data. The latter constitute DNA sequences of molecular markers that are commonly used in tardigrade taxonomy. The genus phylogeny is also provided, elucidating the phylogenetic position of the newly discovered taxa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Salinity Affects Freshwater Invertebrate Traits and Litter Decomposition
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 599; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110599 - 21 Nov 2021
Viewed by 662
Abstract
We evaluated the effect of seawater intrusion in coastal ecosystems on the freshwater invertebrate community and on leaf litter decomposition under realistic scenarios in six outdoor freshwater mesocosms containing fauna and flora, to which increasing volumes of seawater were added. The resulting salinity [...] Read more.
We evaluated the effect of seawater intrusion in coastal ecosystems on the freshwater invertebrate community and on leaf litter decomposition under realistic scenarios in six outdoor freshwater mesocosms containing fauna and flora, to which increasing volumes of seawater were added. The resulting salinity values were 0.28 (control, freshwater only), 2.0, 3.3, 5.5, 9.3, and 15.3 mS cm−1. The effect of salinity was assessed for 65 days after seawater intrusion, by computing the deviation of values in each treatment in relation to the control. Our results show that seawater intrusion into freshwaters will affect the invertebrate communities and organic matter decomposition, with salinities of up to 3.3–5.5 mS cm−1 having opposite effects to salinities of more than 9.3 mS cm−1. There was a net negative effect of the two highest salinities on mass loss and richness of the invertebrates associated with the decomposing leaves. Regarding the invertebrate communities of the mesocosms, there was a net negative effect of the intermediate salinity levels on abundance and richness. Invertebrate life cycle traits conferring resilience and resistance tended to increase with low and decrease with high salinity values, while avoidance traits showed an opposite trend, and these responses were more pronounced on the later stage community. These wave-like responses of the invertebrate species traits to increasing salinity suggest that the life-history and physiological adaptations most suitable to cope with osmotic stress will differ between low and high salinity levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Predation Pressure of Invasive Marsh Frogs: A Threat to Native Amphibians?
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 595; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110595 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 785
Abstract
Anurans have been introduced in many parts of the world and have often become invasive over large geographic areas. Although predation is involved in the declines of invaded amphibian populations, there is a lack of quantitative assessments evaluating the potential risk posed to [...] Read more.
Anurans have been introduced in many parts of the world and have often become invasive over large geographic areas. Although predation is involved in the declines of invaded amphibian populations, there is a lack of quantitative assessments evaluating the potential risk posed to native species. This is particularly true for Pelophylax water frogs, which have invaded large parts of western Europe, but no studies to date have examined their predation on other amphibians in their invaded range. Predation of native amphibians by marsh frogs (Pelophylax ridibundus) was assessed by stomach flushing once a month over four months in 21 ponds in southern France. Nine percent of stomachs contained amphibians. Seasonality was a major determinant of amphibian consumption. This effect was mediated by body size, with the largest invaders ingesting bigger natives, such as tree frogs. These results show that invasive marsh frogs represent a threat through their ability to forage on natives, particularly at the adult stage. The results also indicate that large numbers of native amphibians are predated. More broadly, the fact that predation was site- and time-specific highlights the need for repeated samplings across habitats and key periods for a clear understanding of the impact of invaders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Seagrass Patch Complexity Affects Macroinfaunal Community Structure in Intertidal Areas: An In Situ Experiment Using Seagrass Mimics
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110572 - 09 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 640
Abstract
Seagrasses, as key ecosystem engineers in coastal ecosystems, contribute to enhancing diversity in comparison with nearby bare areas. It has been proved mainly for epifauna, but data on infauna are still scarce. The present study addresses how seagrass structural complexity (i.e., canopy properties) [...] Read more.
Seagrasses, as key ecosystem engineers in coastal ecosystems, contribute to enhancing diversity in comparison with nearby bare areas. It has been proved mainly for epifauna, but data on infauna are still scarce. The present study addresses how seagrass structural complexity (i.e., canopy properties) affects the diversity of infaunal organisms inhabiting those meadows. Canopy attributes were achieved using seagrass mimics, which were used to construct in situ vegetation patches with two contrasting canopy properties (i.e., shoot density and morphology) resembling the two seagrass species thriving in the inner Cadiz Bay: Zostera noltei and Cymodocea nodosa. After three months, bare nearby areas, two mimicked seagrass patches (‘Zostera’ and ‘Cymodocea’), and the surrounding natural populations of Zostera noltei were sampled in a spatially explicit way. Shifts in organism diets were also determined using 15N and 13C analyses in available food sources and main infaunal organisms, mixing models, and niche metrics (standard ellipse area). Seagrass-mimicked habitats increased the species richness (two-fold), organism abundance (three to four times), and functional diversity compared with bare nearby areas. The clam Scrobicularia plana (deposit/filter feeder) and the worm Hediste diversicolor (omnivore) were dominant in all of the samples (> 85%) and showed an opposite spatial distribution in the reconstructed patches: whilst S. plana accumulated in the outer-edge parts of the meadow, H. diversicolor abounded in the center. Changes in the isotopic signature of both species depending on the treatment suggest that this faunal distribution was associated with a shift in the diet of the organisms. Based on our results, we concluded that facilitation processes (e.g., reduction in predation and in bioturbation pressures) and changes in food availability (quality and quantity) mediated by seagrass canopies were the main driving forces structuring this community in an intertidal muddy area of low diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Issi saaneq gen. et sp. nov.—A New Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Late Triassic (Norian) of Jameson Land, Central East Greenland
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 561; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110561 - 03 Nov 2021
Viewed by 7686
Abstract
The Late Triassic (Norian) outcrops of the Malmros Klint Formation, Jameson Land (Greenland) have yielded numerous specimens of non-sauropod sauropodomorphs. Relevant fossils were briefly reported in 1994 and were assigned to Plateosaurus trossingensis. However, continuous new findings of early non-sauropod sauropodomorphs around [...] Read more.
The Late Triassic (Norian) outcrops of the Malmros Klint Formation, Jameson Land (Greenland) have yielded numerous specimens of non-sauropod sauropodomorphs. Relevant fossils were briefly reported in 1994 and were assigned to Plateosaurus trossingensis. However, continuous new findings of early non-sauropod sauropodomorphs around the globe facilitate comparisons and allow us to now revise this material. Here, the non-sauropod sauropodomorph Issi saaneq gen. et sp. nov. is described based on two almost complete and articulated skulls. The two skulls represent a middle-stage juvenile and a late-stage juvenile or subadult. Issi saaneq differs from all other sauropodomorphs by several unique traits: (1) a small foramen at the medial surface of the premaxilla; (2) an anteroposteriorly elongated dorsoposterior process of the squamosal; (3) a relatively high quadrate relative to rostrum height; (4) a well-developed posterodorsal process of the articular. These features cannot be explained by taphonomy, ontogeny, or intraspecific variation. Issi saaneq shows affinities to Brazilian plateosaurids and the European Plateosaurus, being recovered as the sister clade of the latter in our phylogenetic analysis. It is the northernmost record of a Late Triassic sauropodomorph, and a new dinosaur species erected for Greenland. Issi saaneq broadens our knowledge about the evolution of plateosaurid sauropodomorphs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Establishment of a New Filamentous Cyanobacterial Genus, Microcoleusiopsis gen. nov. (Microcoleaceae, Cyanobacteria), from Benthic Mats in Open Channel, Jiangxi Province, China
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110548 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 620
Abstract
Cyanobacterial taxonomic studies performed by using the modern approaches always lead to creation of many new genera and species. During the field survey for cyanobacterial resources in China, a filamentous cyanobacterial strain was successfully isolated from a microbial mat attached to rock surfaces [...] Read more.
Cyanobacterial taxonomic studies performed by using the modern approaches always lead to creation of many new genera and species. During the field survey for cyanobacterial resources in China, a filamentous cyanobacterial strain was successfully isolated from a microbial mat attached to rock surfaces of the Ganfu Channel, Jiangxi Province, China. This strain was morphologically similar to the cyanobacterial taxa belonging to the genera Microcoleus and Phormidium. The phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that this strain formed a well-supported clade, close to the filamentous genera Microcoleus, Tychonema, and Kamptonema. The maximum similarity of 16S rRNA gene sequence of this strain with the related genera was 95.04%, less than the threshold for distinguishing bacterial genus. The ITS secondary structures also distinguish this strain from the related cyanobacterial genera. Therefore, combined with morphology, 16S rRNA gene sequence, and ITS secondary structures, a novel cyanobacterial genus here as Microcoleusiopsis was established, with the species type as Microcoleusiopsis ganfuensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
A New Shrimp Genus (Crustacea: Decapoda) from the Deep Atlantic and an Unusual Cleaning Mechanism of Pelagic Decapods
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110536 - 26 Oct 2021
Viewed by 532
Abstract
The deep sea is the largest biome on Earth and hosts the majority of as yet undescribed species; description of these may trigger a new mindset about evolution and function of characters. We describe and diagnose a new genus and species Sclerodora crosnieri [...] Read more.
The deep sea is the largest biome on Earth and hosts the majority of as yet undescribed species; description of these may trigger a new mindset about evolution and function of characters. We describe and diagnose a new genus and species Sclerodora crosnieri sp. nov. belonging to the superfamily Oplophoroidea. We examined and coded 81 characters for morphological analyses and used four gene markers for molecular analyses involving the new taxon and representatives of all other genera of Oplophoroidea. Retrieved morphological and molecular trees were similar and suggested that the new genus is a sister group to Hymenodora and both form a clade sister to the rest of Acanthephyridae. We provide an amended key to all genera of Oplophoroidea. We found an unusual chelate structure on the dactyl of the fifth pereopod, tested and confirmed a hypothesis that this structure is common for the whole family Acanthephyridae. We suggest that this derived structure is linked to an active cleaning of branchia—a function associated with chelipeds in some other carid shrimps. Convergent chelate structures are likely efficient for cleaning branchia, whichever appendage is adapted for these functions. In Oplophoridae (sister to Acanthephyridae), cleaning function is carried out by well-developed epipods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Overlooked Species Diversity and Distribution in the Antarctic Mite Genus Stereotydeus
Diversity 2021, 13(10), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13100506 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 815
Abstract
In the harsh Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems, invertebrates are currently confined to sparse and restricted ice free areas, where they have survived on multi-million-year timescales in refugia. The limited dispersal abilities of these invertebrate species, their specific habitat requirements, and the presence of geographical [...] Read more.
In the harsh Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems, invertebrates are currently confined to sparse and restricted ice free areas, where they have survived on multi-million-year timescales in refugia. The limited dispersal abilities of these invertebrate species, their specific habitat requirements, and the presence of geographical barriers can drastically reduce gene flow between populations, resulting in high genetic differentiation. On continental Antarctica, mites are one of the most diverse invertebrate groups. Recently, two new species of the free living prostigmatid mite genus Stereotydeus Berlese, 1901 were discovered, bringing the number of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic species of this genus up to 15, of which 7 occur along the coast of Victoria Land and in the Transantarctic Mountains. To examine the biodiversity of Stereotydeus spp., the present study combines phylogenetic, morphological and population genetic data of specimens collected from nine localities in Victoria Land. Genetically distinct intraspecific groups are spatially isolated in northern Victoria Land, while, for other species, the genetic haplogroups more often occur sympatrically in southern Victoria Land. We provide a new distribution map for the Stereotydeus species of Victoria Land, which will assist future decisions in matters of the protection and conservation of the unique Antarctic terrestrial fauna. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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FloCan—A Revised Checklist for the Flora of the Canary Islands
Diversity 2021, 13(10), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13100480 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1470
Abstract
The flora of the Canary Islands has been subject to botanical studies for more than 200 years. Several biodiversity databases are available for the archipelago. However, there are various drivers of change in real biodiversity and the knowledge about it constantly needs to [...] Read more.
The flora of the Canary Islands has been subject to botanical studies for more than 200 years. Several biodiversity databases are available for the archipelago. However, there are various drivers of change in real biodiversity and the knowledge about it constantly needs to be kept track of. Island floras are both: exposed to species loss and to species introductions, either through natural processes or by anthropogenic drivers. Additionally, the evolution of endemic plant species plays a substantial role. Endemic species are sensitive to population decline due to small population sizes and possible low competitiveness against incoming species. Additionally, there is continuous progress in systematics and taxonomy. Species names or their taxonomic attribution can be modified. Here, we check published plant lists for the Canary Islands and literature, and compile currently accepted taxa into an updated checklist. For this FloCan checklist, several sources were compiled, checked for completeness and quality, and their taxonomy was updated. We illustrate how far plant names are considered in regional or global databases. This work represents the current state of knowledge on Canary Island plant diversity, including introduced and recently described taxa. We provide a comprehensive and updated basis for biogeographical and macroecological studies. Particularly, the number of non-native species is being extended substantially. The adaptation to standard international nomenclature supports integration into large-scale studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Characterization and Gene Expression of Vitellogenesis-Related Transcripts in the Hepatopancreas and Ovary of the Red Swamp Crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852), during Reproductive Cycle
Diversity 2021, 13(9), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13090445 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 848
Abstract
The major component of the animal egg yolk is the lipoglycoprotein vitellin, derived from its precursor vitellogenin (VTG), which is produced species-specifically in decapod crustaceans in the hepatopancreas and/or in the ovary of reproductive females. Previous studies on Procambarus clarkii vitellogenesis report the [...] Read more.
The major component of the animal egg yolk is the lipoglycoprotein vitellin, derived from its precursor vitellogenin (VTG), which is produced species-specifically in decapod crustaceans in the hepatopancreas and/or in the ovary of reproductive females. Previous studies on Procambarus clarkii vitellogenesis report the existence of two single VTGs. Here, from a multiple tissue transcriptome including ovaries and hepatopancreas of P. clarkii, we characterized four different VTG and two VTG-like transcriptomes encoding for the discoidal lipoprotein-high density lipoprotein/β-glucan binding protein (dLp/HDL-BGBP). The relative expression of the various genes was evaluated by quantitative Real-Time PCR in both the ovary and hepatopancreas of females at different reproductive stages (from immature until fully mature oocytes). These studies revealed tissue-specificity and a reproductive stage related expression for the VTGs and a constitutive expression in the hepatopancreas of dLp/HDL-BGBP independent from the reproductive stage. This study may lead to more detailed study of the vitellogenins, their transcription regulation, and to the determination of broader patterns of expression present in the female hepatopancreas and ovary during the vitellogenesis. These findings provide a starting point useful for two different practical aims. The first is related to studies on P. clarkii reproduction, since this species is highly appreciated on the market worldwide. The second is related to the study of new potential interference in P. clarkii reproduction to delay or inhibit the worldwide spread of this aggressively invasive species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Systematics of the Arboreal Neotropical ‘thorellii’ Clade of Centruroides Bark Scorpions (Buthidae) and the Efficacy of Mini-Barcodes for Museum Specimens
Diversity 2021, 13(9), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13090441 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
Fragmented and degraded DNA is pervasive among museum specimens, hindering molecular phylogenetics and species identification. Mini-barcodes, 200–300-base-pair (bp) fragments of barcoding genes, have proven effective for species-level identification of specimens from which complete barcodes cannot be obtained in many groups, but have yet [...] Read more.
Fragmented and degraded DNA is pervasive among museum specimens, hindering molecular phylogenetics and species identification. Mini-barcodes, 200–300-base-pair (bp) fragments of barcoding genes, have proven effective for species-level identification of specimens from which complete barcodes cannot be obtained in many groups, but have yet to be tested in arachnids. The present study investigated the efficacy of mini-barcodes combined with longer sequences of the Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I (COI) gene in the systematics of the arboreal Neotropical ‘thorellii’ clade of Centruroides Marx, 1890 bark scorpions (Buthidae, C.L. Koch 1837), the species of which have proven to be difficult to identify and delimit due to their similar morphology. The phylogeny of 53 terminals, representing all nine species of the clade and representative species belonging to related clades of Centruroides, rooted on Heteroctenus junceus (Herbst, 1800) and based on up to 1078 base pairs of COI and 112 morphological characters, is presented to test the monophyly of the clade and the limits of its component species. The results support the recognition of nine species of the ‘thorellii’ clade, in accordance with a recent taxonomic revision, and highlight the efficacy of mini-barcodes for identifying morphologically similar cryptic species using specimens of variable age and preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Self-Compatibility and Reproductive Success of Oenothera drummondii subsp. drummondii: Is It Similar between Native and Non-Native Populations?
Diversity 2021, 13(9), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13090431 - 07 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 568
Abstract
The mating system of plants widely distributed can change in native range but also in non-native habitats. Oenothera drummondii, native to the coastal dunes of the Gulf of Mexico, has been introduced to Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Hand self- and cross-pollination were [...] Read more.
The mating system of plants widely distributed can change in native range but also in non-native habitats. Oenothera drummondii, native to the coastal dunes of the Gulf of Mexico, has been introduced to Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Hand self- and cross-pollination were performed to determine compatibility and to compare fruit set, fruit weight, seed set and germination characteristics from natives and non-natives populations and a comprehensive integral reproductive success index (IRSI) was built. Oenothera drummondii exhibited high self-compatibility and mixed reproductive systems in all populations. Characteristics of fruits and seeds from self- and cross-pollination varied within and between native and non-native populations and some had a positive clinal variation in the native range. The IRSI was sensitive to changes of fruit set, seed set and final germination of both self- and cross-pollination, showing differences between native populations. Differences in characteristics of fruits and seeds in the native and non-native ranges suggest the occurrence of distinct selection factors. The mixed reproductive system of O. drummondii suggests it can take advantage of local visitors in the native range, but also can provide advantages for the establishment at non-native sites giving the opportunity to interact with local flower visitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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What Makes a Hot-Spring Habitat “Hot” for the Hot-Spring Snake: Distributional Data and Niche Modelling for the Genus Thermophis (Serpentes, Colubridae)
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070325 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 848
Abstract
Knowledge about species’ distributions is central to diverse applications in ecology, biogeography, and conservation science. Hot-spring snakes of the genus Thermophis share a distribution restricted to geothermal sites at the Tibetan Plateau (T. baileyi) and in the Hengduan Mountains (T. [...] Read more.
Knowledge about species’ distributions is central to diverse applications in ecology, biogeography, and conservation science. Hot-spring snakes of the genus Thermophis share a distribution restricted to geothermal sites at the Tibetan Plateau (T. baileyi) and in the Hengduan Mountains (T. zhaoermii, T. shangrila). Although the suture zones of these regions are widely covered with hot springs, Thermophis populations are restricted to only a few of these habitats. Here, we use bioclimatic, topographic, and land cover data to model the potential distribution of the genus. Moreover, using logistic regression on field survey data of T. zhaoermii, we test whether hot-spring water parameters and landscape features correlate with the species’ presence or absence. Hot springs with temperatures between 45 and 100 °C and winter precipitation showed the most predictive power. At small scale, our data support the relevance of the hot-spring temperature on the species’ occurrence and indicate that also the along-valley distance from the hot-spring site to the major river might influence the distribution of Thermophis species. Our findings contribute to better understand factors shaping the current distribution of the genus and will aid in setting priorities in applied conservation biology for the hot-spring snakes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Characterizing the Influence of Domestic Cats on Birds with Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Data
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070322 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 894
Abstract
Depredation of birds by domestic cats is hypothesized to be one of many significant sources of mortality leading to global bird declines. Direct observations are relatively rarely documented compared with large numbers of birds hypothesized to be killed or wounded by cats. We [...] Read more.
Depredation of birds by domestic cats is hypothesized to be one of many significant sources of mortality leading to global bird declines. Direct observations are relatively rarely documented compared with large numbers of birds hypothesized to be killed or wounded by cats. We analyzed data from two wildlife rehabilitation centers located in Salem and Grants Pass, Oregon USA, to understand which species were most likely to interact with a cat, and the species traits associated with cat interactions and habitats (urban vs. rural) of rescued birds. Interaction with a cat was the second-most commonly reported cause of admission, representing 12.3% of 6345 admissions. Half to two-thirds of birds were rescued from cats in urban settings and were usually species foraging on or near the ground. Most species were admitted to rehabilitation centers in direct proportion to their regional abundance. An exception was the absence of common species weighing less than 70 g, which we conclude is an effect of sampling bias. We conclude that cats most often interact with regionally common near-ground-dwelling bird species in both urban and rural habitats. Wildlife rehabilitation centers can provide valuable sources of data for cat-bird interactions but potential sources of uncertainty and bias in their data need to be considered carefully. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Target Species and Other Residents—An Experiment with Nest Boxes for Red Squirrels in Central Poland
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060277 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 862
Abstract
The red squirrel typically nests in dreys and tree hollows, but also (when given an opportunity) in large nest boxes. We assessed the occupancy rate of nest boxes by red squirrel and non-target species (120 boxes in the continuous forest, habitat mosaic and [...] Read more.
The red squirrel typically nests in dreys and tree hollows, but also (when given an opportunity) in large nest boxes. We assessed the occupancy rate of nest boxes by red squirrel and non-target species (120 boxes in the continuous forest, habitat mosaic and urban park, checked annually for eight years). Habitat type explained the variability in the occupancy of nest boxes by different species/taxa. Red squirrels used nest boxes in all habitats but occupancy rates were highest in the urban park (>50% of the boxes at maximum) and lowest in the forest. This could be explained by high population density, competition for shelters and willingness to explore alternative sheltering opportunities by urban squirrels. The yellow-necked mouse inhabited nest boxes infrequently and mostly in habitat mosaic. Tits mostly occurred in the forest and least often in the park, which suggests limited availability of natural cavities in managed forest. Nest box occupancy by starlings increased with an anthropopression level, which reflects high densities of urban and rural populations of the species. Hymenoptera (mainly wasps) were present only in rural areas, which may be due to their persecution by humans or use of anti-mosquito pesticides in urban parks. Additionally, 24 insect species were found to inhabit squirrel dreys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
A Preliminary Survey on the Planktonic Biota in a Hypersaline Pond of Messolonghi Saltworks (W. Greece)
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060270 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
During a survey in 2015, an impressive assemblage of organisms was found in a hypersaline pond of the Messolonghi saltworks. The salinity ranged between 50 and 180 ppt, and the organisms that were found fell into the categories of Cyanobacteria (17 species), Chlorophytes [...] Read more.
During a survey in 2015, an impressive assemblage of organisms was found in a hypersaline pond of the Messolonghi saltworks. The salinity ranged between 50 and 180 ppt, and the organisms that were found fell into the categories of Cyanobacteria (17 species), Chlorophytes (4 species), Diatoms (23 species), Dinoflagellates (1 species), Protozoa (40 species), Rotifers (8 species), Copepods (1 species), Artemia sp., one nematode and Alternaria sp. (Fungi). Fabrea salina was the most prominent protist among all samples and salinities. This ciliate has the potential to be a live food candidate for marine fish larvae. Asteromonas gracilis proved to be a sturdy microalga, performing well in a broad spectrum of culture salinities. Most of the specimens were identified to the genus level only. Based on their morphology, as there are no relevant records in Greece, there is a possibility for some to be either new species or strikingly different strains of certain species recorded elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Quantifying Threats to Biodiversity and Prioritizing Responses: An Example from Papua New Guinea
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060248 - 04 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1107
Abstract
Accurately identifying threats to global biodiversity is the first step towards effectively countering or ameliorating them. However, such threats are usually only qualitatively categorized, without any comparative quantitative assessment of threat levels either within or across ecosystems. As part of recent efforts in [...] Read more.
Accurately identifying threats to global biodiversity is the first step towards effectively countering or ameliorating them. However, such threats are usually only qualitatively categorized, without any comparative quantitative assessment of threat levels either within or across ecosystems. As part of recent efforts in Papua New Guinea to develop a long-term strategic plan for reducing threats to biodiversity at the national level, we developed a novel and quantitative method for not only assessing relative effects of specific biodiversity threats across multiple ecosystems, but also identifying and prioritizing conservation actions best suited for countering identified threats. To do so, we used an abbreviated quantitative SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and multivariate cluster analysis to identify the most significant threats to biodiversity in Papua New Guinea. Of 27 specific threats identified, there were nine major threats (each >5% of total) which accounted for approximately 72% of the total quantified biodiversity threat in Papua New Guinea. We then used the information to identify underlying crosscutting threat drivers and specific conservation actions that would have the greatest probability of reducing biodiversity threats across multiple ecosystem realms. We categorized recommended actions within three strategic categories; with actions within each category targeting two different spatial scales. Our integrated quantitative approach to identifying and addressing biodiversity threats is intuitive, comprehensive, repeatable and computationally simple. Analyses of this nature can be invaluable for avoiding not only wasted resources, but also ineffective measures for conserving biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Polychaete Diversity Related to Different Mesophotic Bioconstructions along the Southeastern Italian Coast
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060239 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
In the different mesophotic bioconstructions recently found along the Southeastern Italian coast, polychaetes have been proved to show high species richness and diversity, hitherto never investigated. In the present study, the species composition and functional role of polychaete assemblages were analysed; the updated [...] Read more.
In the different mesophotic bioconstructions recently found along the Southeastern Italian coast, polychaetes have been proved to show high species richness and diversity, hitherto never investigated. In the present study, the species composition and functional role of polychaete assemblages were analysed; the updated key to identification of the Mediterranean species of genus Eunice was presented and some taxonomic issues were also discussed. On the total of 70 species Serpulidae and Eunicida were the dominant polychaetes. Facing similar levels of α-diversity, the polychaete assemblages showed a high turnover of species along the north-south gradient, clearly according to the current circulation pattern, as well as to the different bioconstructors as biological determinants. Indeed, Serpulidae were dominant on the mesophotic bioconstructions primarily formed by the deep-sea oyster Neopycnodonte cochlear, while the Eunicida prevailed on the mesophotic bioconstructions mainly built by scleractinians. Lastly, the record of Eunice dubitata was the first for the Mediterranean and Italian fauna and proved this species to be characteristic of mesophotic bioconstructions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
DNA Barcoding of Mullets (Family Mugilidae) from Pakistan Reveals Surprisingly High Number of Unknown Candidate Species
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060232 - 26 May 2021
Viewed by 972
Abstract
The mullets are a widespread group of ecologically and economically important fishes of disputed taxonomy due to their uniform external morphology. Barcoding and phylogenetic studies from various locations around the world largely highlighted the species diversity underestimation using morphological criteria used to establish [...] Read more.
The mullets are a widespread group of ecologically and economically important fishes of disputed taxonomy due to their uniform external morphology. Barcoding and phylogenetic studies from various locations around the world largely highlighted the species diversity underestimation using morphological criteria used to establish the taxonomy of the family. Here, we investigated the mullet species diversity from Pakistan, a biogeographic area where nearly no mullet species were genetically characterized. Morphological examination of 40 mullets reveals 6 known species (Planiliza macrolepis, P. klunzingeri, P. subviridis, Crenimugil seheli, Ellochelon vaigiensis, and Mugil cephalus). Using a references DNA barcode library, the DNA barcode-based species identification flagged eight molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs) belonging to five genera (Crenimugil, Ellochelon, Mugil, Osteomugil, and Planiliza). Among these MOTUs, only one was already present in Barcode of Life Data system, all other representing new Barcode Index Numbers (BIN). These results emphasize the importance of the recognition of cryptic species and the necessity to re-evaluate the overall diversity by the genetic characterization of different species of this family. DNA barcoding is an effective tool to reveal cryptic species that need to be considered in conservation and management measures of fisheries in Pakistan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Article
Ecology and Conservation of the Laotian langur Trachypithecus laotum in a Protected Area of Laos (Southeast Asia)
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060231 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 1242
Abstract
Terrestrial species from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) are under high threat due to deforestation and overhunting. Previous studies have even defined these forests as subjected to an “empty forest syndrome”, a condition in which forests that are apparently well preserved are [...] Read more.
Terrestrial species from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) are under high threat due to deforestation and overhunting. Previous studies have even defined these forests as subjected to an “empty forest syndrome”, a condition in which forests that are apparently well preserved are instead almost deprived of vertebrate faunas due to extreme exploitation by local communities. Forest specialists, including several primates, are among the most threatened species in the country. The Laotian langur (Trachypithecus laotum) is endemic to Lao PDR, is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, and it is one of the least studied species in the region. A survey on the local distribution, life history and conservation status of the Laotian langur was carried out in Phou Hin Poun National Protected Area, Khammouane Province of Lao PDR. The survey consisted of an initial phase with interviews to select key informants on the Laotian langur and the other primate species of the area. Then, a phase of field surveys along forest transects, totaling 64.1 km of 21 transects, yielded a record of 35 individuals in 9 groups. The highest encounter/detection rate of the Laotian langur was 1 group per km at one sector of the park. In contrast, it was much lower (0.18–0.34 groups/km) in the rest of the protected area. The group sizes were much lower than those observed in the same area between 1994 and 2010, thus suggesting a decline in the population size of langurs. This decline may be linked to habitat loss (timber extraction and mining). Still, also overhunting, as signs of poaching were observed during our field surveys. This was also supported by the reports of our interviewees. Laotian langurs were observed to be sympatric and interact while foraging with the Assamese macaque (Macaca assamensis). In the cases of sympatric occurrence between the two species, we observed that subtle mechanisms of niche partitioning may occur to reduce interspecific competition for food. Further research on the population and ecology of this endangered langur should be conducted to understand the species and aid its conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Review
A Review of Coastal Anthropogenic Impacts on Mytilid Mussel Beds: Effects on Mussels and Their Associated Assemblages
Diversity 2022, 14(5), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14050409 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 423
Abstract
Mussel beds are an important habitat in many coastal systems, harboring a high diversity of biota. They are threatened by anthropogenic impacts that affect mussels and their associated assemblages. Pollution, harvesting, trampling, dredging and trawling are major threats faced by these communities. Most [...] Read more.
Mussel beds are an important habitat in many coastal systems, harboring a high diversity of biota. They are threatened by anthropogenic impacts that affect mussels and their associated assemblages. Pollution, harvesting, trampling, dredging and trawling are major threats faced by these communities. Most of the studies on the effects of such impacts on the mussel beds overlook the associated fauna. Since mussels are very resilient, especially to pollution, the associated fauna can provide a better footprint of the impacts’ effects. In this review, we looked into the main remarks regarding the effects of anthropogenic impacts in mussel bed communities. Organic pollution was the best studied impact and the Atlantic region was the best studied zone. Low values of abundance, biomass, diversity, evenness and species richness were reported for all categories of impacts, with some studies describing declines in at least three of these descriptors. Among the associated fauna, some tolerant species benefited from the impacts, particularly organic enrichment, and became more abundant, but sensitive species suffered considerable declines in density, mainly in dredging and trawling impacts. Therefore, fauna associated with mussel beds is a suitable indicator of anthropogenic disturbances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review
Evolutionary Ecology of Fixed Alternative Male Mating Strategies in the Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Diversity 2022, 14(4), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14040307 - 18 Apr 2022
Viewed by 801
Abstract
A few empirical examples document fixed alternative male mating strategies in animals. Here we focus on the polymorphism of male mating strategies in the ruff (Calidris pugnax, Aves Charadriiformes). In ruffs, three fixed alternative male mating strategies coexist and are signaled [...] Read more.
A few empirical examples document fixed alternative male mating strategies in animals. Here we focus on the polymorphism of male mating strategies in the ruff (Calidris pugnax, Aves Charadriiformes). In ruffs, three fixed alternative male mating strategies coexist and are signaled by extreme plumage polymorphism. We first present relevant data on the biology of the species. Then we review the available knowledge of the behavioral ecology of ruffs during the breeding season, and we detail the characteristics of each of the three known fixed male mating strategies. We next turn to the results of exceptional quality accumulated on both the structural and functional genomics of the ruff over the past few years. We show how much these genomic data can shed new, mechanistic light on the evolution and maintenance of the three fixed alternative male mating strategies. We then look if there is sufficient indication to support frequency-dependent selection as a key mechanism in maintaining these three strategies. Specifically, we search for evidence of equal fitness among individuals using each of the three strategies. Finally, we propose three lines of research avenues that will help to understand the eco-evolutionary dynamics of phenotypic differences within natural populations of this iconic model species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review
Riparian Buffers as a Critical Landscape Feature: Insights for Riverscape Conservation and Policy Renovations
Diversity 2022, 14(3), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14030172 - 27 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 844
Abstract
Riparian zones are critical for functional integrity of riverscapes and conservation of riverscape biodiversity. The synergism of intermediate flood-induced disturbances, moist microclimates, constant nutrient influx, high productivity, and resource heterogeneity make riparian zones disproportionately rich in biodiversity. Riparian vegetation intercepts surface-runoff, filters pollutants, [...] Read more.
Riparian zones are critical for functional integrity of riverscapes and conservation of riverscape biodiversity. The synergism of intermediate flood-induced disturbances, moist microclimates, constant nutrient influx, high productivity, and resource heterogeneity make riparian zones disproportionately rich in biodiversity. Riparian vegetation intercepts surface-runoff, filters pollutants, and supplies woody debris as well as coarse particulate organic matter (e.g., leaf litter) to the stream channel. Riparian zones provide critical habitat and climatic refugia for wildlife. Numerous conservation applications have been implemented for riparian-buffer conservation. Although fixed-width buffers have been widely applied as a conservation measure, the effectiveness of these fixed buffer widths is debatable. As an alternative to fixed-width buffers, we suggest adoption of variable buffer widths, which include multiple tiers that vary in habitat structure and ecological function, with each tier subjected to variable management interventions and land-use restrictions. The riparian-buffer design we proposed can be delineated throughout the watershed, harmonizes with the riverscape concept, thus, a prudent approach to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem functions at variable spatial extents. We posit remodeling existing conservation policies to include riparian buffers into a broader conservation framework as a keystone structure of the riverscape. Watershed-scale riparian conservation is compatible with landscape-scale conservation of fluvial systems, freshwater protected-area networks, and aligns with enhancing environmental resilience to global change. Sustainable multiple-use strategies can be retrofitted into watershed-scale buffer reservations and may harmonize socio-economic goals with those of biodiversity conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review
Purely Australian Essential Oils Past and Present: Chemical Diversity, Authenticity, Bioactivity, and Commercial Value
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020124 - 09 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 778
Abstract
In this comprehensive commentary, Australian essential oils and their components are listed and discussed in the context of their value to industry and aesthetics. The historic and cultural significance of endemic essential oils is explained. Several promising candidates are identified that have commercial [...] Read more.
In this comprehensive commentary, Australian essential oils and their components are listed and discussed in the context of their value to industry and aesthetics. The historic and cultural significance of endemic essential oils is explained. Several promising candidates are identified that have commercial potential and will enter the marketplace in the not-too-distant future. This text elaborates on the current progress in research, and explains the up-to-date view of ‘bioactive,’ with reference to insect repellence, antimicrobial activity, anti-inflammatory activity, and potential toxicity. The concept of chemotypes and chemophenetics is explained in detail to justify why chemically variable species in Australia require standardisation practices to ensure reproducibility of their derived natural products: standardisation practice includes cultivar development and authentication protocols. Thereafter, some of the more significant essential oils are defined and some background information provided. This review concludes with a comprehensive table of aromatic species that were studied by Joseph Brophy over the last 30 years, thereby providing the most comprehensive overview available, on the chemistry of Australian essential oil yielding species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review
Vegetation Ecology of Debris-Covered Glaciers (DCGs)—Site Conditions, Vegetation Patterns and Implications for DCGs Serving as Quaternary Cold- and Warm-Stage Plant Refugia
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020114 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 581
Abstract
Scientific interest in debris-covered glaciers (DCGs) significantly increased during the last two decades, primarily from an abiotic perspective, but also regarding their distinctive ecology. An increasing body of evidence shows that, given a minimum of debris thickness and sufficient substrate stability, DCGs host [...] Read more.
Scientific interest in debris-covered glaciers (DCGs) significantly increased during the last two decades, primarily from an abiotic perspective, but also regarding their distinctive ecology. An increasing body of evidence shows that, given a minimum of debris thickness and sufficient substrate stability, DCGs host surprisingly diverse plant assemblages, both floristically and structurally, despite being obviously cold and in parts also highly mobile habitats. As a function of site conditions, floristic composition and vegetation structure, DCGs represent a mosaic of environments, including subnival pioneer communities, glacier foreland early- to late-successional stages, morainal locations, and locally, even forest sites. On shallow supraglacial debris layers, cryophilous alpine/subnival taxa can grow considerably below their common elevational niche due to the cooler temperatures within the root horizon caused by the underlying ice. In contrast, a greater debris thickness allows even thermophilous plant species of lower elevations to grow on glacier surfaces. Employing the principle of uniformitarianism, DCGs are assumed to have been important and previously undocumented refugia for plants during repeated Quaternary cold and warm cycles. This review and recent study summarize the current knowledge on the vegetation ecology of DCGs and evaluates their potential function as plant habitat under ongoing climate warming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review
Diversity and Distribution of Theileria Species and Their Vectors in Ruminants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020082 - 25 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1008
Abstract
Tropical theileriosis, caused by the apicomplexan hemoparasite of the genus Theileria, is a major constraint to livestock production in various parts of world, including South Asia. Several studies have been carried out over the last five decades; however, comprehensive information in this [...] Read more.
Tropical theileriosis, caused by the apicomplexan hemoparasite of the genus Theileria, is a major constraint to livestock production in various parts of world, including South Asia. Several studies have been carried out over the last five decades; however, comprehensive information in this region regarding the diversity and distribution of Theileria is lacking. Therefore, keeping in mind the economic importance of theileriosis, we have systematically reviewed the current knowledge about Theileria spp. diversity and distribution affecting cattle, water buffaloes, goats and sheep in three countries included India, Pakistan and Bangladesh of the Indian sub-continent. The data collected indicated that the microscopic method is the widely used method for evaluating Theileria species in the three countries from 1970 to 2021. This is the first study in this region to compile a comprehensive knowledge about the diversity and distribution of Theileria. Our study revealed the existence of 11 different species of Theileria, including Theileria spp. Theleria annulata, T. orientalis, T. mutans, T. velifera circulating in cattle and buffalo while T. annulata, T. lestoquardi, T. luwenshuniT. ovis, Theileria spp. and T. lestoquardi-like spp., were infecting goats and sheep from various regions of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We find that T. annulata can be found in both small and large ruminants and is widely distributed in the different regions of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In addition, our analysis revealed that the existence of possible tick vectors of the genera Hyalomma, Haemophysalis, Rhipicephalus and Amblyomma may be responsible for the diverse and wide distribution of different Theileria species. However, the competence of these tick vectors for different Theileria species still need to be explored. Therefore, further studies are needed to bridge this gap and to improve the health and production of livestock and reduce economic losses due to theileriosis in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Furthermore, we selected representative 18S rRNA sequences for T. annulata from the different regions to infer phylogenetic relationship. Phylogenetic analysis of the selected isolates clustered in different clades which might be due to the variation in a hypervariable region of 18S rRNA. The outcome of this analysis is expected to provide a coherent and integrated framework about the different Theileria species prevailing in these countries and contribute to improving the surveillance and control plans of various Theileria species in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review
Shattercane (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench Subsp. Drummondii) and Weedy Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)—Crop Wild Relatives (CWRs) as Weeds in Agriculture
Diversity 2021, 13(10), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13100463 - 25 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 937
Abstract
Shattercane (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench subsp. drummondii) and weedy sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) are two examples of crop wild relatives (CWRs) that have become troublesome weeds in agriculture. Shattercane is a race belonging to a different subspecies than domesticated sorghum [...] Read more.
Shattercane (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench subsp. drummondii) and weedy sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) are two examples of crop wild relatives (CWRs) that have become troublesome weeds in agriculture. Shattercane is a race belonging to a different subspecies than domesticated sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench subsp. bicolor). Weedy sunflower populations are natural hybrids between wild and domesticated sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). Both species have key weedy characteristics, such as early seed shattering and seed dormancy, which play an important role in their success as agricultural weeds. They are widely reported as important agricultural weeds in the United States and have invaded various agricultural areas in Europe. Shattercane is very competitive to sorghum, maize (Zea mays L.), and soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.). Weedy sunflower causes severe yield losses in sunflower, maize, soybean, pulse crops, and industrial crops. Herbicide resistance was confirmed in populations of both species. The simultaneous presence of crops and their wild relatives in the field leads to crop–wild gene flow. Hybrids are fertile and competitive. Hybridization between herbicide-tolerant crops and wild populations creates herbicide-resistant hybrid populations. Crop rotation, false seedbed, cover crops, and competitive crop genotypes can suppress shattercane and weedy sunflower. Preventative measures are essential to avoid their spread on new agricultural lands. The development of effective weed management strategies is also essential to prevent hybridization between sorghum, sunflower, and their wild relatives and to mitigate its consequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
Review
Dittrichia viscosa: Native-Non Native Invader
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080380 - 15 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1013
Abstract
Dittrichia viscosa (L.) Greuter is a shrub native to the Mediterranean, however, declared as a very invasive species in Australia and North America. Environmental (climatic) and socio-economic (land abandonment) changes can trigger different adaptive mechanisms and cause changes in species behavior, influencing invasion [...] Read more.
Dittrichia viscosa (L.) Greuter is a shrub native to the Mediterranean, however, declared as a very invasive species in Australia and North America. Environmental (climatic) and socio-economic (land abandonment) changes can trigger different adaptive mechanisms and cause changes in species behavior, influencing invasion dynamics. Motivated by the recently noticed change of D. viscosa behavior in its native Mediterranean habitat, we discuss the invasion properties, its behavior in the native habitat and new areas, and its management options. We review the species’ adverse effects and its positive ecosystem services in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework. In this review, we provide information on the phytochemical properties of D. viscosa and highlight its potential use in ecological agriculture, phytopharmacy, and medicine. The presented data is useful for developing effective management of this contentious species, with emphasis on mitigating environmental and economic damages, especially in agriculture. The final aim is to achieve a balanced ecosystem, providing a high level of possible services (provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review
Sunscreens’ UV Filters Risk for Coastal Marine Environment Biodiversity: A Review
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080374 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1331
Abstract
Considering the rapid growth of tourism in recent years and the acknowledgement that exposure to solar UV radiation may cause skin cancer, sunscreens have been widely used by beachgoers in recent decades. UV filters contained in sunscreens, however, were recently identified as emerging [...] Read more.
Considering the rapid growth of tourism in recent years and the acknowledgement that exposure to solar UV radiation may cause skin cancer, sunscreens have been widely used by beachgoers in recent decades. UV filters contained in sunscreens, however, were recently identified as emerging pollutants in coastal waters since they accumulate in the marine environment with different adverse effects. In fact, exposure to these components was proven to be toxic to most invertebrate and vertebrate marine species. Some UV filters are linked to the production of significant amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as hydrogen peroxide, and the release of inorganic micronutrients that may alter the status of coastal habitats. Bioaccumulation and biomagnification have not yet been fully addressed. This review highlights recent progress in research and provides a comprehensive overview of the toxicological and ecotoxicological effects of the most used UV filters both on the abiotic and biotic compartments in different types of coastal areas, to gain a better understanding of the impacts on coastal biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
Review
First Insights into the Microbiology of Three Antarctic Briny Systems of the Northern Victoria Land
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070323 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 740
Abstract
Different polar environments (lakes and glaciers), also in Antarctica, encapsulate brine pools characterized by a unique combination of extreme conditions, mainly in terms of high salinity and low temperature. Since 2014, we have been focusing our attention on the microbiology of brine pockets [...] Read more.
Different polar environments (lakes and glaciers), also in Antarctica, encapsulate brine pools characterized by a unique combination of extreme conditions, mainly in terms of high salinity and low temperature. Since 2014, we have been focusing our attention on the microbiology of brine pockets from three lakes in the Northern Victoria Land (NVL), lying in the Tarn Flat (TF) and Boulder Clay (BC) areas. The microbial communities have been analyzed for community structure by next generation sequencing, extracellular enzyme activities, metabolic potentials, and microbial abundances. In this study, we aim at reconsidering all available data to analyze the influence exerted by environmental parameters on the community composition and activities. Additionally, the prediction of metabolic functions was attempted by the phylogenetic investigation of communities by reconstruction of unobserved states (PICRUSt2) tool, highlighting that prokaryotic communities were presumably involved in methane metabolism, aromatic compound biodegradation, and organic compound (proteins, polysaccharides, and phosphates) decomposition. The analyzed cryoenvironments were different in terms of prokaryotic diversity, abundance, and retrieved metabolic pathways. By the analysis of DNA sequences, common operational taxonomic units ranged from 2.2% to 22.0%. The bacterial community was dominated by Bacteroidetes. In both BC and TF brines, sequences of the most thermally tolerant and methanogenic Archaea were detected, some of them related to hyperthermophiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Review
Rotifer Species Diversity in Mexico: An Updated Checklist
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070291 - 28 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 992
Abstract
A review of the Mexican rotifer species diversity is presented here. To date, 402 species of rotifers have been recorded from Mexico, besides a few infraspecific taxa such as subspecies and varieties. The rotifers from Mexico represent 27 families and 75 genera. Molecular [...] Read more.
A review of the Mexican rotifer species diversity is presented here. To date, 402 species of rotifers have been recorded from Mexico, besides a few infraspecific taxa such as subspecies and varieties. The rotifers from Mexico represent 27 families and 75 genera. Molecular analysis showed about 20 cryptic taxa from species complexes. The genera Lecane, Trichocerca, Brachionus, Lepadella, Cephalodella, Keratella, Ptygura, and Notommata accounted for more than 50% of all species recorded from the Mexican territory. The diversity of rotifers from the different states of Mexico was highly heterogeneous. Only five federal entities (the State of Mexico, Michoacán, Veracruz, Mexico City, Aguascalientes, and Quintana Roo) had more than 100 species. Extrapolation of rotifer species recorded from Mexico indicated the possible occurrence of more than 600 species in Mexican water bodies, hence more sampling effort is needed. In the current review, we also comment on the importance of seasonal sampling in enhancing the species richness and detecting exotic rotifer taxa in Mexico. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Brief Report
Hitchhiking Exotic Clam: Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771) Transported via the Ornamental Plant Trade
Diversity 2021, 13(9), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13090410 - 27 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 533
Abstract
Ornamental aquaculture is one of the main sources of non-native species worldwide. Unintentionally transported “hitchhiking” organisms have been previously recorded; although most of these species are transported from tropical regions, here we report on the first accidental transport of the zebra mussel ( [...] Read more.
Ornamental aquaculture is one of the main sources of non-native species worldwide. Unintentionally transported “hitchhiking” organisms have been previously recorded; although most of these species are transported from tropical regions, here we report on the first accidental transport of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in a shipment of ornamental Aegagropila linnaei (Chlorophyta) from Russia to the Czech Republic. This invasive mussel is listed on the national blacklist of alien species in the Czech Republic and can be easily released in outdoor garden ponds together with A. linnaei. Since the Czech Republic is known to be a gateway for aquatic ornamental species from a European perspective, re-export to other European countries is also possible. Thus, the spread of D. polymorpha via this pathway cannot be excluded. This finding should be of importance to conservationists, traders, decision-makers and other stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2021 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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