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Diversity, Volume 15, Issue 11 (November 2023) – 52 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): A poorly understood fossil dolphin skull with large teeth, named Xenorophus sloanii 100 years ago in 1923, was found in a limestone pit near Charleston, South Carolina. New specimens from the Ashley Formation (28-30 mya) and the Chandler Bridge Formation (25-23 mya) from nearby fossil sites include ten new skulls, several of which demonstrated associated jaws and postcranial skeletons. This new sample permits the naming of a new species, Xenorophus simplicidens, which likely evolved directly from Xenorophus sloanii. Xenorophus is asymmetrical, with a snout bent to the left, an asymmetrical palate, dentition, mandibles, and even asymmetry throughout the vertebral column, which is related to early directional hearing needed for echolocation. Xenorophidae are the earliest diverging toothed whales (Odontoceti). View this paper
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15 pages, 2513 KiB  
Article
Bacterial Community Composition and Presence of Plasmids in the Endosphere- and Rhizosphere-Associated Microbiota of Sea Fig (Carpobrotus aequilaterus)
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111156 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 726
Abstract
The plant microbiome is one of the most important environments for ecological interactions between bacteria that impact the plant and the ecosystem. However, studies on the diversity of mobile genetic elements (such as plasmids) associated with the plant microbiome are very scarce. Here, [...] Read more.
The plant microbiome is one of the most important environments for ecological interactions between bacteria that impact the plant and the ecosystem. However, studies on the diversity of mobile genetic elements (such as plasmids) associated with the plant microbiome are very scarce. Here, we determined the bacterial community composition and the occurrence of plasmids in the microbiota associated with sea fig, Carpobrotus aequilaterus (N.E. Br.), a succulent species widely used as an ornamental plant in Chile. The abundance and composition of the endophytic and rhizospheric bacterial communities were determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and DNA metabarcoding analysis. Plasmid diversity in the plant microbiome was determined by plasmid DNA extraction and screened by endpoint PCR of backbone genes for four different incompatibility groups (Inc). The results showed about 106 copies of the 16S rRNA gene in the endosphere and rhizosphere, showing significant differences according to the diversity index. Proteobacteria (Pseudomonadota; 43.4%), Actinobacteria (Actinomycetota; 25.7%), and Bacteroidetes (Bacteroidota; 17.4%) were the most dominant taxa in both plant compartments, and chemoheterotrophy (30%) was the main predicted function assigned to the microbiota. Plasmid diversity analysis showed the presence of transferable plasmids in the endosphere and rhizosphere of C. aequilaterus, particularly among environmental plasmids belonging to the IncP and IncN incompatibility groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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16 pages, 6523 KiB  
Article
Modeling Current and Future Distribution of Cochlodina laminata in Eastern Europe under Climate Change
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111155 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 767
Abstract
In this study, we focused on the eastern part of the Cochlodina laminata range. Although this door snail is widespread in Europe, even a widespread species may lose habitats if future climate change projections are realized. The range shift is one of the [...] Read more.
In this study, we focused on the eastern part of the Cochlodina laminata range. Although this door snail is widespread in Europe, even a widespread species may lose habitats if future climate change projections are realized. The range shift is one of the consequences of climate change. We applied SDM methods to model the current potential range of C. laminata and the range shift after 40 and after 80 years. We used climatic parameters as predictors. The annual mean temperature has the greatest impact on the modeling results (about 30–60% among models). The precipitation of the warmest quarter also had a high relative importance (about 15–40% among models). For future projections, we considered two shared socio-economic pathways (ssp245 and ssp585). We applied three algorithms: the generalized additive model (GAM), support vector machine (SVM) and multilayer perceptron (MLP) and ensemble prediction. Our projections showed a decrease in habitable area in the eastern part of the range of C. laminata in 40 and in 80 years. According to the forecast, the habitat suitable area will become more fragmented. The range shift with new suitable areas is expected toward the east direction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Loss & Dynamics)
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164 pages, 259734 KiB  
Article
New Skeletons of the Ancient Dolphin Xenorophus sloanii and Xenorophus simplicidens sp. nov. (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Oligocene of South Carolina and the Ontogeny, Functional Anatomy, Asymmetry, Pathology, and Evolution of the Earliest Odontoceti
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111154 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 5183
Abstract
The early diverging, dolphin-sized, cetacean clade Xenorophidae are a short-lived radiation of toothed whales (Odontoceti) that independently evolved two features long thought to be odontocete synapomorphies: the craniofacial and cochlear morphology underlying echolocation and retrograde cranial telescoping (i.e., posterior migration of the viscerocranium). [...] Read more.
The early diverging, dolphin-sized, cetacean clade Xenorophidae are a short-lived radiation of toothed whales (Odontoceti) that independently evolved two features long thought to be odontocete synapomorphies: the craniofacial and cochlear morphology underlying echolocation and retrograde cranial telescoping (i.e., posterior migration of the viscerocranium). This family was based on Xenorophus sloanii, which, for the past century, has been known only by a partial skull lacking a braincase and tympanoperiotics, collected around 1900 from the Ashley Formation (28–29 Ma, Rupelian) near Ladson, South Carolina. A large collection of new skulls and skeletons (ChM PV 5022, 7677; CCNHM 104, 168, 1077, 5995) from the Ashley Formation considerably expands the hypodigm for this species, now the best known of any stem odontocete and permitting evaluation of intraspecific variation and ontogenetic changes. This collection reveals that the holotype (USNM 11049) is a juvenile. Xenorophus sloanii is a relatively large odontocete (70–74 cm CBL; BZW = 29–31 cm; estimated body length 2.6–3 m) with a moderately long rostrum (RPI = 2.5), marked heterodonty, limited polydonty (13–14 teeth), prominent sagittal crest and intertemporal constriction, and drastically larger brain size than basilosaurid archaeocetes (EQ = 2.9). Dental morphology, thickened cementum, a dorsoventrally robust rostrum, and thick rugose enamel suggest raptorial feeding; oral pathology indicates traumatic tooth loss associated with mechanically risky predation attempts. Ontogenetic changes include increased palatal vomer exposure; fusion of the nasofrontal, occipito-parietal, and median frontal sutures; anterior lengthening of the nasals; elaboration of the nuchal crests; and blunting and thickening of the antorbital process. The consistent deviation of the rostrum 2–5° to the left and asymmetry of the palate, dentition, neurocranium, mandibles, and vertebrae in multiple specimens of Xenorophus sloanii suggest novel adaptations for directional hearing driven by the asymmetrically oriented pan bones of the mandibles. A second collection consisting of a skeleton and several skulls from the overlying Chandler Bridge Formation (24–23 Ma, Chattian) represents a new species, Xenorophus simplicidens n. sp., differing from Xenorophus sloanii in possessing shorter nasals, anteroposteriorly shorter supraorbital processes of the frontal, and teeth with fewer accessory cusps and less rugose enamel. Phylogenetic analysis supports monophyly of Xenorophus, with specimens of Xenorophus simplicidens nested within paraphyletic X. sloanii; in concert with stratigraphic data, these results support the interpretation of these species as part of an anagenetic lineage. New clade names are provided for the sister taxon to Xenorophidae (Ambyloccipita), and the odontocete clade excluding Xenorophidae, Ashleycetus, Mirocetus, and Simocetidae (Stegoceti). Analyses of tooth size, body size, temporal fossa length, orbit morphology, and the rostral proportion index, prompted by well-preserved remains of Xenorophus, provide insight into the early evolution of Odontoceti. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of Crown Cetacea)
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21 pages, 3780 KiB  
Review
Fleas as Useful Tools for Science
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111153 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 845
Abstract
Adult fleas are blood-feeding insects that exclusively infest mammals, acting as parasites and disease vectors. Although certain species exclusively inhabit nests, others are commonly found on the bodies of mammals. Immature stages develop in the soil, inside or near the nests of their [...] Read more.
Adult fleas are blood-feeding insects that exclusively infest mammals, acting as parasites and disease vectors. Although certain species exclusively inhabit nests, others are commonly found on the bodies of mammals. Immature stages develop in the soil, inside or near the nests of their respective hosts, making them susceptible to environmental alterations. On hosts, flea infestations are usually defined by abundance, prevalence, and diversity, varying according to host age, sex, size, behavior, habitat, and climate. However, in spite of their vast parasitological importance, fleas have only occasionally been used in applied research. This review focuses especially on the use of mammal fleas as tools or indicators in solving biological, epidemiological, ecological, and phylogenetic questions, and raises new perspectives for future studies. Full article
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36 pages, 3251 KiB  
Article
Diversity and Phylogeny of Gyrodactylus spp. (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae) across the Strait of Gibraltar: Parasite Speciation and Historical Biogeography of West Mediterranean Cyprinid Hosts
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111152 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1518
Abstract
Knowledge on the diversity of parasitic flatworms of Western Mediterranean cyprinids is extremely scarce. In the present study, we parasitologically investigated 12 cyprinid species across the Strait of Gibraltar inhabiting watersheds in northwest Africa (Morocco) and Iberia (Portugal and Spain). Taxonomically relevant features [...] Read more.
Knowledge on the diversity of parasitic flatworms of Western Mediterranean cyprinids is extremely scarce. In the present study, we parasitologically investigated 12 cyprinid species across the Strait of Gibraltar inhabiting watersheds in northwest Africa (Morocco) and Iberia (Portugal and Spain). Taxonomically relevant features of the attachment organ and sequences of the 18S rDNA and ITS regions were used for species delineation and to investigate their phylogenetic relatedness. Among the Gyrodactylus collected from Morocco and Spain, we identified specimens with an unusual T-shaped dorsal bar observed herein for the first time. In contrast, the membranous patch-like structure surrounding the twisted inner roots of hamuli and the median ridge of the ventral bar have been generally observed in Eurasian relatives. Our analyses suggest vicariant speciation of Gyrodactylus across the Strait of Gibraltar. We describe herein G. gibraltarensis sp. nov. from Iberian Luciobarbus graellsii; G. moroccensis sp. nov. from northwest African cyprinids, i.e., L. maghrebensis, L. rabatensis, L. rifensis, L. yahyaouii, and L. zayanensis; and finally, G. pseudomoroccensis sp. nov. from Moroccan L. ksibi, all possessing a new haptoral configuration. The genetic divergence and conservative morphologies in populations of G. moroccensis sp. nov. from five cyprinid species support its ongoing speciation in Northwest Africa. The West Mediterranean lineage was revealed to be monophyletic, with Eurasian species forming a sister group. Morphologically, West Mediterranean Gyrodactylus also appeared to be of Middle Eastern origin. Gyrodactylus spp. possessing an unusual T-shaped dorsal bar have most likely speciated, allowing for the appearance of a haptoral morphology that is restricted to the region across the Strait of Gibraltar. To conclude, viviparous Gyrodactylus reflect parasite speciation across the Strait of Gibraltar and the historical biogeography of cyprinids in the West Mediterranean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Phylogenetic of Parasites in Aquatic Animals)
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11 pages, 1159 KiB  
Communication
Metal Concentration in Palaemon elegans along the Coastal Areas of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands): Potential Bioindicator of Pollution
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111151 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Ocean pollution poses a significant issue in the marine ecosystem. Coastal areas are particularly impacted by this pollution, and consequently, organisms associated with these coasts bear the brunt of its effects. Therefore, the presence of robust bioindicators, such as the shrimp species Palaemon [...] Read more.
Ocean pollution poses a significant issue in the marine ecosystem. Coastal areas are particularly impacted by this pollution, and consequently, organisms associated with these coasts bear the brunt of its effects. Therefore, the presence of robust bioindicators, such as the shrimp species Palaemon elegans, is critically important. In this study, 20 P. elegans specimens were examined in each of the five areas on Gran Canaria Island. Water samples were collected to assess the potential existence of elevated concentrations. Significant discrepancies were observed in the levels of Al and Li across all zones, except those previously mentioned. The highest concentrations were recorded in Arguineguín (Southern sector), reaching 49.14 ± 4.51 mg/kg (Al) and 47.64 ± 2.86 mg/kg (Li). The authors contend that P. elegans proves to be a reliable bioindicator for tourist and port-related pollution, specifically for the metals Al, Zn, Cd, Pb, Ni, Fe, B, and Li analyzed in this research. Full article
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4 pages, 2063 KiB  
Interesting Images
Further Loss of Intertidal Mussel Stands on the Nova Scotia Coast (Canada) after the Passage of Cyclone Lee
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111150 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 898
Abstract
Intertidal mussel stands are common on temperate rocky seashores and host many small invertebrates, so they are important biodiversity reservoirs. Their integrity, however, is being increasingly affected by environmental extremes. An unusual cold snap in Nova Scotia (Canada) in February 2023 was followed [...] Read more.
Intertidal mussel stands are common on temperate rocky seashores and host many small invertebrates, so they are important biodiversity reservoirs. Their integrity, however, is being increasingly affected by environmental extremes. An unusual cold snap in Nova Scotia (Canada) in February 2023 was followed by the mass disappearance of mussel stands at mid-to-high elevations in rocky intertidal habitats. The present article presents evidence of significant losses at middle intertidal elevations following the passage of cyclone Lee in September 2023, which created severe surf conditions. The increasing occurrence of successive environmental extremes might challenge the persistence of these important biological systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Interesting Images from the Sea)
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19 pages, 4075 KiB  
Article
Vegetation Analysis of the Area Surrounding a Wild Nest of Stingless Bees Tetragonula laeviceps (Smith, 1857) in Sumedang Regency, West Java
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111149 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Indonesia is a mega biodiversity country that has a very abundant diversity of plants. Plant diversity is inseparable from the role of insects that help to pollinate them. One such insect is the stingless bee Tetragonula laeviceps, a bee that has a [...] Read more.
Indonesia is a mega biodiversity country that has a very abundant diversity of plants. Plant diversity is inseparable from the role of insects that help to pollinate them. One such insect is the stingless bee Tetragonula laeviceps, a bee that has a relatively small-to-medium body size and does not have a sting. Sumedang Regency is one of the regencies in the province of West Java; most of the Sumedang area consists of mountains and has protected forest areas with high biodiversity. The purpose of this study is to determine the biodiversity index of the vegetation around the Tetragonula laeviceps wild nests. Data collection is carried out using the method of inventory and systematic checkered lines, with a total plot of 320. The results of the study show that the vegetation is composed of 229 plant species from 75 families. The most dominant vegetation type with the highest value of KR, FR, DR, and INP in all plant categories is the Aren tree species (Arenga pinnata). The Shannon–Wiener diversity index in this tree category is 3186, the pole category is 3107, the sapling category is 3418, the seedling category is 3657, and the understory plants category is 3409, with all of the plant categories included in the high-diversity category. Full article
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19 pages, 2298 KiB  
Article
Gulls as Indicators of Environmental Changes in the North Atlantic: A Long-Term Study on Berlenga Island, Western Portugal
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111148 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1056
Abstract
In recent decades, the breeding populations of the yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis (YLG) have increased significantly, primarily due to the increase in open refuse dumps and discards from fisheries. Portugal’s largest YLG breeding colony is located on Berlenga Island, where population numbers have [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the breeding populations of the yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis (YLG) have increased significantly, primarily due to the increase in open refuse dumps and discards from fisheries. Portugal’s largest YLG breeding colony is located on Berlenga Island, where population numbers have been monitored since 1974. The population grew exponentially until 1994, prompting the implementation of population control measures, including culling adult birds and eggs. A long-term data base including number of breeding birds (since 1974), breeding parameters (since 2002), and trophic niches (using stable isotopes since 2011) of YLG breeding on Berlenga was related with oceanographic parameters, fish landings and quantity of urban waste. Trophic ecology showed strong relationships with oceanographic parameters (wNAO, Chl-a, and SST) and fisheries landings (the 10 most frequently consumed species by the YLG, traded at fish auctions in the main fishing harbour nearby). The results indicated significant relationships between reproductive performance and fisheries landings, particularly with demersal species that gulls primarily access through fisheries discards. However, population control measures played a pivotal role in stabilising and even reducing the population, despite sporadic events of poor oceanographic productivity in the past decade having a consistent impact on the reduction in breeding individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Diversity and Conservation of Seabirds)
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17 pages, 602 KiB  
Article
Input Behavior of Farmer Production Factors in the Range of Asian Elephant Distribution: Survey Data from 1264 Households in Yunnan Province, China
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111147 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 841
Abstract
This article, based on the sustainable livelihood framework and survey data from 1264 households in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Puer City, and Lincang City in Yunnan Province, China, analyzes the impact mechanism of livelihood capital on the production input behavior of farmers affected [...] Read more.
This article, based on the sustainable livelihood framework and survey data from 1264 households in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Puer City, and Lincang City in Yunnan Province, China, analyzes the impact mechanism of livelihood capital on the production input behavior of farmers affected by Asian elephant damage and the moderating effect of Asian elephant damage on this process using ordinary least squares (OLS) models. The study finds the following: (1) Asian elephant damage has a significant negative effect on farmers’ production input, meaning that as the severity of Asian elephant damage increases, farmers reduce their input into agricultural production factors. (2) Livelihood capital has a significant positive effect on farmers’ production input, and both the increment and stock of livelihood capital promote an increase in farmers’ production input. (3) Asian elephant damage strengthens the influence of livelihood capital on farmers’ inputs of agricultural production factors. Based on these findings, four recommendations are proposed: emphasizing the cultivation and enhancement of farmers’ livelihood capital, improving strategies for managing and preventing wildlife damage, optimizing the economic compensation mechanism for human–wildlife conflicts, and adhering to sustainable development and resource allocation. These recommendations aim to enhance wildlife conservation and management policies, strengthen farmers’ risk-coping capabilities, and ensure the sustainability of agricultural production and livelihoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Wildlife Conflicts)
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14 pages, 1911 KiB  
Article
A Snapshot into the Lives of Elephants: Camera Traps and Conservation in Etosha National Park, Namibia
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111146 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 834
Abstract
Knowledge of elephant movement and grouping patterns in the wild is critical for their management and conservation. Much of these data come from GPS collar data and aerial surveys, which have provided invaluable information, but data from these methods are often limited to [...] Read more.
Knowledge of elephant movement and grouping patterns in the wild is critical for their management and conservation. Much of these data come from GPS collar data and aerial surveys, which have provided invaluable information, but data from these methods are often limited to small groups or entire populations. Effective elephant management requires both generalized and localized methodologies. Here, we propose the expanded use of camera traps in research relating to elephant localized movements and grouping patterns as an additional tool for elephant conservation management. In this study, we use a battery-powered camera trap to provide daily high-resolution data of African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) grouping patterns over the course of an entire year. We present findings on the seasonal and diurnal grouping patterns of elephants at a waterhole in the northeast corner of Etosha National Park from July 2016 to June 2017. The frequency of elephant occurrences varied seasonally and diurnally across all group types (solitary male, male, family, and mixed groups), while group sizes did not vary seasonally, except for male groups. Solitary males occurred relatively equally throughout the day, while male and mixed groups occurred the most midday, and family groups occurred the most in the afternoon. Additionally, we measured the reliability of research assistants when collecting group type and group size data from the camera trap images. Intra- and inter-observer reliability was excellent among and across research assistants, highlighting the potential for non-specialist observers to have greater involvement in camera trap data collection. Our results support the use of camera trap data where GPS collars and aerial surveys are not feasible and where higher-resolution data are needed for more localized management. Finally, we discuss our experience with two different types of camera traps to highlight the pros and cons of each approach. Full article
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30 pages, 10026 KiB  
Article
Gamete Recognition Gene Divergence Yields a Robust Eutherian Phylogeny across Taxonomic Levels
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111145 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2440
Abstract
The extraordinary morphological diversity among extant mammals poses a challenge for studies of speciation, adaptation, molecular evolution, and reproductive isolation. Despite the recent wealth of molecular studies on mammalian phylogenetics, uncertainties remain surrounding both ancestral and more recent divergence events that have proven [...] Read more.
The extraordinary morphological diversity among extant mammals poses a challenge for studies of speciation, adaptation, molecular evolution, and reproductive isolation. Despite the recent wealth of molecular studies on mammalian phylogenetics, uncertainties remain surrounding both ancestral and more recent divergence events that have proven difficult to resolve. Multi-gene datasets, especially including genes that are highly divergent, often provide increased support for higher-level affinities within Mammalia; however, such analyses require vast amounts of genomic sequence data and at times, intensive, high-performance computational effort. Furthermore, despite the large-scale efforts dedicated to comprehensive, multi-gene phylogenetic analyses using a combination of mitochondrial, nuclear, and other sequences (e.g., tRNA, ultra-conserved elements, and transposable elements), many relationships across Mammalia remain highly controversial. To offer another approach and provide a phylogenetic solution to this longstanding issue, here we present a phylogenetic tool based on a single reproductive molecular marker, zonadhesin (gene: Zan), one of two known mammalian speciation genes, which encodes the rapidly evolving sperm protein zonadhesin that mediates species-specific adhesion to the egg and thereby promotes reproductive isolation among placental mammals (Eutheria). Topological comparison of Zan Maximum Likelihood phylogenies to a nearly complete mammalian supertree confirmed Zan’s striking phylogenetic utility and resolution at both deeper and more terminal nodes in the placental mammalian phylogeny. This single gene marker yielded an equivalent and/or superiorly supported topology in comparison to a supertree generated using DNA sequences from a supermatrix of 31 genes from 5911 species (extinct and extant). Resolution achieved with this new phylogenetic approach provides unique insights into the divergence of both early and recent mammalian radiations. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the utility of zonadhesin as a singular molecular marker was especially useful in clades where sufficient taxon sampling is impossible to achieve, and where only a subset of members of the mammalian species tree is available. The eutherian relationships presented here provide a foundation for future studies in the reconstruction of mammalian classifications, including reproductive isolation, hybridization, and biodiversification of species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Phylogeny and Evolution)
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14 pages, 1953 KiB  
Article
Changes in Avian Top-Predator Diet in the 21st Century in Northeast (NE) Poland
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111144 - 16 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
The White-Tailed Eagle (WTE) Haliaeetus albicilla is a top avian predator that has rapidly increased in numbers and range in large parts of Europe in recent decades. In Poland, over the past 30 years, it has recolonized previously abandoned areas. In 1991, the [...] Read more.
The White-Tailed Eagle (WTE) Haliaeetus albicilla is a top avian predator that has rapidly increased in numbers and range in large parts of Europe in recent decades. In Poland, over the past 30 years, it has recolonized previously abandoned areas. In 1991, the first breeding pair in a large forest complex, the Augustów Forest (Northeast (NE) Poland), was recorded. In 2022, there were 13 breeding pairs. We analyzed changes in the diet composition of WTE in 2000–2023, divided into three periods: 2000–2005, 2009–2017, and 2018–2023. Throughout the 24 years of study, birds were the most frequently recorded food item, accounting for an average of 58% of food items, followed by fish (34%) and mammals (7%). During the study period, the most numerous food items were the Northern Pike Esox lucius, Coot Fulica atra, Common Bream Abramis brama, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, and storks Ciconia sp. These species together accounted for 52% of food items. We recorded a long-term increasing share of Northern Pike, storks, and Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus. Opposite changes, with declining frequency, were found for Coots and ducks. The share of the Coot, ducks, and Great Crested Grebe, as well as the total share of food connected with lakes in the WTE’s diet, increased along the growing area of lakes in the territory of the WTE. The proportion of fish in the food did not show a relationship with the increase in the area of lakes, while the most frequently eaten fish species changed. Observed changes in food composition appear related to the settlement of the habitat-diverse areas by individual breeding pairs and changes the availability of main food categories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Conservation of the White-Tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle)
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22 pages, 5305 KiB  
Article
Decapods of the Southern Tip of South America and the Marine Protected Area Namuncurá–Burdwood Bank: A Nearshore–Offshore Comparison
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1143; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111143 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 805
Abstract
The Marine Protected Area (MPA) Namuncurá−Burdwood Bank was created in 2013 to protect the benthic community. After five years of multidisciplinary research, it was reorganized, and a second, contiguous MPA Namuncurá−Burdwood Bank II was created. The objectives of this study were to evaluate [...] Read more.
The Marine Protected Area (MPA) Namuncurá−Burdwood Bank was created in 2013 to protect the benthic community. After five years of multidisciplinary research, it was reorganized, and a second, contiguous MPA Namuncurá−Burdwood Bank II was created. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the decapod assemblages in both the previous and current management zones and to compare them with the neighboring areas of southern South America. The decapod fauna was studied integratively by comparing captured species onboard scientific expeditions with online records. Our study showed that the original design of the MPAN−BB had the lowest decapod species richness. However, the constitution of a larger protected area, including the slope, increased the species richness, with unique records of Campylonotus arntzianus and Lithodes couesi. The MPA could be considered ecologically representative as it shares various species with the nearby areas (the Beagle Channel and the Atlantic). Furthermore, we theorize it could act as a “hub” for decapod species as marine currents provide the Burdwood Bank with new individuals from the west and disperse them northward to the Patagonian Shelf and eastward to the Scotia Arc. This result shows the great value of protecting this area, ensuring the conservation of the decapod fauna of southern South America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Nearshore Biodiversity—2nd Edition)
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22 pages, 1154 KiB  
Review
Emerging Technologies for the Discovery of Novel Diversity in Cyanobacteria and Algae and the Elucidation of Their Valuable Metabolites
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111142 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1049
Abstract
Until recently, the study of cyanobacteria and microalgae has been hampered by the need to cultivate these organisms to gain insight into their cytomorphology, life cycle and molecular biology. However, various microbial species characterized by thick sheaths of exopolymeric substances were difficult to [...] Read more.
Until recently, the study of cyanobacteria and microalgae has been hampered by the need to cultivate these organisms to gain insight into their cytomorphology, life cycle and molecular biology. However, various microbial species characterized by thick sheaths of exopolymeric substances were difficult to isolate in culture due to their associated symbiotic bacteria. Other microbes evaded culture. Such challenges have now been overcome by the development of metagenomic techniques that allow direct DNA sequencing from environmental samples, as well as high resolution microscopy techniques that permit direct imaging of environmental samples. The sampling of understudied taxa from extreme environments and of toxic species has been facilitated by specialized robotic equipment. Single-cell sequencing has allowed for the proper characterization of microalgal species and their response to environmental changes. Various strains of cyanobacteria, microalgae and macroalgae have gained renewed interest for their high-value metabolites. This paper provides an overview of the emerging technologies and explains how they are being used to identify such strains and their products for industrial application. Advances in genetic engineering and CRISPR technology have facilitated the production of strains that are more amenable to culture, metabolite extraction, scale-up and application in biorefinery approaches. Emerging analytical techniques are discussed, with the advent of multiomics and its application in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Phylogenetic Diversity of Cyanobacteria and Algae)
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13 pages, 5388 KiB  
Article
Teeth Enamel Ultrastructural Analysis of Selected Equidae Taxa
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111141 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1581
Abstract
This paper presents historical and evolutionary insights into the “tarpan” group of small horses by examining molar tooth enamel ultrastructure. Mathematical methodologies were applied to enhance the analysis. Tooth enamel from species such as Equus gmelini (tarpan), E. latipes, and E. hydruntinus [...] Read more.
This paper presents historical and evolutionary insights into the “tarpan” group of small horses by examining molar tooth enamel ultrastructure. Mathematical methodologies were applied to enhance the analysis. Tooth enamel from species such as Equus gmelini (tarpan), E. latipes, and E. hydruntinus from Pleistocene Ukrainian localities, E. przewalskii from the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine, and E. caballus form sylvaticus (Polish konik) from Roztocze National Park, Poland, underwent scanning microscope examination. Measurements of enamel structures, including prisms (PE) and interprismatic matrix (IPM), were conducted, with the K-index used as their ratio, categorized by enamel type (I, II, III). The findings confirmed that the crystal structures of enamel in these horse groups vary based on genus evolution, diet, and environmental conditions, shaping the enamel’s morphological features. Through analysis, clusters were identified, allowing for potential reconstructions of relationships among study groups. The results revealed distinct differences between species, enabling their classification within an established phenogram. Two primary clusters emerged: one consisting of extinct small horse forms from diverse localities and another grouping modern forms. Notably, the Late Pleistocene European species E. latipes showed close affinities to the latter cluster. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Evolution of Mammals)
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33 pages, 3461 KiB  
Article
Diving into Diversity: Copepod Crustaceans in Octocoral Associations
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1140; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111140 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1445
Abstract
This research provides an extensive analysis of the biodiversity and distribution patterns of copepod crustaceans associated with octocoral species. A comprehensive dataset comprising 966 records pertaining to 233 copepod species, encompassing 54 genera, 18 families, and 3 orders, was compiled from 92 scientific [...] Read more.
This research provides an extensive analysis of the biodiversity and distribution patterns of copepod crustaceans associated with octocoral species. A comprehensive dataset comprising 966 records pertaining to 233 copepod species, encompassing 54 genera, 18 families, and 3 orders, was compiled from 92 scientific papers published between 1858 and 2023, and updated as open data to GBIF. These copepods were found to be closely associated with 183 octocoral species, representing 72 genera and 28 families. The analysis revealed a total of 393 distinct interspecific associations between copepods, classified under the orders Cyclopoida, Harpacticoida, and Siphonostomatoida, and diverse octocorals. Approximately 60% of these associations were reported only once in the literature, which poses challenges to assessing the level of host specificity among the majority of copepod species linked with octocorals. Notably, over 91% of the recorded copepod species were found at depths not exceeding 30 m, with only four copepod species reported at greater depths surpassing 500 m. The presence of these symbiotic copepods was documented across 215 sampling sites situated within 8 of the 12 defined marine ecoregions, with particular attention to the Western Indo-Pacific, Central Indo-Pacific, and Temperate Northern regions. Despite the comprehensive examination of available data, this study highlights substantial gaps in our comprehension of copepod crustacean diversity and distribution in association with octocorals. Moreover, crucial information concerning symbiotic copepods is conspicuously absent for approximately 94% of potential octocoral host species. These disparities emphasize the imperative need for further scientific inquiry to unveil the intricacies of symbiotic relationships and to contribute to a more holistic understanding of copepod–octocoral associations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2023)
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13 pages, 11995 KiB  
Article
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index as a Proxy of Urban Bird Species Presence and Distribution at Different Spatial Scales
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111139 - 12 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1029
Abstract
Birds are important features of the urban landscape, offering valuable ecosystem services, such as physiological and psychological stress reduction, aesthetic pleasure, and education. Knowing the populations of bird species in cities is important for their successful conservation. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) [...] Read more.
Birds are important features of the urban landscape, offering valuable ecosystem services, such as physiological and psychological stress reduction, aesthetic pleasure, and education. Knowing the populations of bird species in cities is important for their successful conservation. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is a remotely sensed metric used as a green cover proxy. We estimated the abundance of 15 bird species in the urban green spaces of Kavala, Greece, and calculated the NDVI at 19 survey stations with three different spatial scales: 50 m, 200 m, and 500 m circular buffers. NDVI was shown to significantly affect the abundance of 13 species. The 50 m buffer best predicted the abundance of 4 species, the 200 m buffer predicted 7 species, and the 500 m buffer predicted 4 species. Abundance decreased with NDVI for 9 species (urban dwellers) and increased for 6 species (urban utilizers). These findings suggest that NDVI is a reliable predictor of the abundance of bird species in urban areas. More importantly, bird abundance and NDVI associations can be better described if determined at various spatial scales. These findings could be used for the prediction and monitoring of urban bird species populations and incorporated into urban conservation management plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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20 pages, 9856 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Variation in the Organization of Dung Beetle Communities in the Moroccan Middle Atlas (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea)
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111138 - 11 Nov 2023
Viewed by 835
Abstract
Dung beetles feed on and bury animal droppings, and their role is crucial in reducing the accumulation of manure, which diminishes the useful surface area of pastures. The aim of this research was to characterize the seasonal organization of dung beetle communities (Coleoptera: [...] Read more.
Dung beetles feed on and bury animal droppings, and their role is crucial in reducing the accumulation of manure, which diminishes the useful surface area of pastures. The aim of this research was to characterize the seasonal organization of dung beetle communities (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea) in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco in terms of core and satellite species. The beetles were collected using standard dung-baited traps. Four sites along a gradient of elevation were surveyed for one year every 7 to 10 days, depending on the season and local weather conditions. A total of 24,397 beetles were collected, belonging to 51 species. In most dung beetle communities, two to three species were found to be predominant, representing between 70 and 95% of all the individuals active at the same time but constituting only 10 to 30% of species diversity. The rapid succession of species at the same site limits the competition between species, allowing for the efficient use of available trophic resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function)
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24 pages, 12589 KiB  
Article
The Greater Midlands—A Mid-Elevation Centre of Floristic Endemism in Summer-Rainfall Eastern South Africa
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111137 - 09 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
The Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province in South Africa was hitherto a putative centre of floristic endemism (CFE) based on conjecture. The aim of this study was to empirically explore this concept by delineating unambiguous boundaries for this CFE and documenting the [...] Read more.
The Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province in South Africa was hitherto a putative centre of floristic endemism (CFE) based on conjecture. The aim of this study was to empirically explore this concept by delineating unambiguous boundaries for this CFE and documenting the endemic spermatophytes within a conservation framework. The Greater Midlands Centre of Floristic Endemism (GMCFE), a more expanded study area than the parochial Midlands region of KZN, is formally described as southern Africa’s 20th CFE. It is a mid-elevation region occupying the greater Midlands of KZN, with extensions of contiguous grasslands extending northwards into southern Mpumalanga and southwards into north-eastern Eastern Cape. This “foothills” CFE covers ca. 77,000 km2 of predominantly mesic C4 grassland, ranging in elevation from ca. 700–2200 m a.s.l. It is congruent with the “sub-escarpment ecoregion,” essentially a composite of the Sub-escarpment Grassland and Savanna Bioregions and the sub-escarpment grasslands of southern Mpumalanga and northern KZN. The GMCFE hosts at least 220 endemic spermatophytes, of which almost a fifth belong to the family Apocynaceae. Families Asteraceae, Asphodelaceae, Fabaceae, and Iridaceae also contribute significantly. Genera Ceropegia, Aloe, Dierama, Kniphofia, Helichrysum, and Streptocarpus contribute the most endemics. More than half are forbs, and almost three-quarters are confined to the Grassland Biome. Endemic radiations are attributed to geodiversity and geological complexity (especially the strong lithological influence of dolerite); physiographic heterogeneity (particularly elevation gradients and variable terrain units); strategic proximity to hyper-diverse temperate and subtropical “border floras”; and localized pollinator-driven adaptive radiations. Of alarming concern is the high number of threatened plant taxa, with ca. 60% of the endemic flora Red Listed in threat categories (CE, E, and VU) or considered “rare”. Extremely low levels of formal protection and poor ecological connectivity, coupled with high levels of land transformation and intensive utilization, render the GMCFE one of the most imperilled CFE in South Africa. Urgent conservation action is required to safeguard this unique and highly threatened “rangeland flora” and stem the biodiversity crisis gripping the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herbaria: A Key Resource for Plant Diversity Exploration)
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9 pages, 1516 KiB  
Article
Prevalence and Genetic Characterization of Morphologically Indistinguishable Sarcocysts of Sarcocystis cruzi in Cattle and Sarcocystis poephagicanis in Yaks
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111136 - 09 Nov 2023
Viewed by 698
Abstract
Sarcocystis cruzi in cattle (Bos taurus) and Sarcocystis poephagicanis in yaks (Bos grunniens) are morphologically indistinguishable. However, the relationship between the two parasites is still unclear. Here, muscular tissues of the two species of domestic animal collected from abattoirs [...] Read more.
Sarcocystis cruzi in cattle (Bos taurus) and Sarcocystis poephagicanis in yaks (Bos grunniens) are morphologically indistinguishable. However, the relationship between the two parasites is still unclear. Here, muscular tissues of the two species of domestic animal collected from abattoirs in China were examined for sarcocysts of S. cruzi and S. poephagicanis. The sarcocysts isolated from the samples were analyzed using light microscopy (LM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and DNA analysis. Sarcocysts of S. cruzi and S. poephagicanis were found in 405 of 950 (42.6%) cattle and 304 of 320 (95.0%) yaks. LM and TEM showed that the sarcocysts of the two parasites had similar morphological characteristics. The thin-walled sarcocysts had hair-like protrusions on the surface. The ultrastructures were demonstrated to include a primary cyst wall containing irregularly folded, hirsute, or bone-like protrusions. Four genetic markers of the two parasites were sequenced and analyzed, namely, 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, mitochondrial cox1, and apicoplast rpl6. The sequences of the four loci had an interspecific similarity of 97.9–98.6%, 97.2–98.1%, 89.5–90.4%, and 96.9–97.2% identity, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis using 28S rDNA and cox1 sequences indicated that both S. cruzi and S. poephagicanis were placed into a group encompassing Sarcocystis spp. in ruminants with canid as known or putative definitive hosts. Sarcocystis cruzi and S. poephagicanis represent separate species, and cox1 and rpl6 were suitable for distinguishing between them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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24 pages, 3213 KiB  
Article
The Cell Wall-Related Gene Families of Wheat (Triticum aestivum)
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1135; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111135 - 07 Nov 2023
Viewed by 846
Abstract
Wheat crops provide 20% of calories worldwide. Cell walls function in plant growth, are part of biotic and abiotic stress resistance, and provide plant mechanical strength and adaptability. These functions factor into the productivity of wheat. The genes that produce and maintain the [...] Read more.
Wheat crops provide 20% of calories worldwide. Cell walls function in plant growth, are part of biotic and abiotic stress resistance, and provide plant mechanical strength and adaptability. These functions factor into the productivity of wheat. The genes that produce and maintain the plant cell wall are up to 10% of the genome in many varied families. Previously, curated cell wall gene families have been published for maize and rice, two other important crop grasses. Here, 81 cell wall-related wheat gene families curated via sequence similarity to maize and rice and unique family protein motif searches are presented. A total of 4086 wheat, 1118 maize, 1036 rice, and 955 Arabidopsis genes were aligned and placed into gene family trees to present homologs for all four species. Due to hexaploidy, many wheat cell wall gene families show expected triplication of genes per family over maize, rice, and Arabidopsis. However, several families contained more wheat genes than expected. The utility of this research is demonstrated with an example from a pre-harvest sprouting study to identify specific gene families rather than the less descriptive identification available with standard bioinformatic searches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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18 pages, 6795 KiB  
Article
Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity of Endemic Golden Camellias Collected from China
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1134; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111134 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 803
Abstract
Not only are the plants of the golden camellia group examples of high-quality camellia germplasm, but they are also a plant group with rich medicinal and nutritional value, and these plants are used as food, cosmetics and traditional medicine in China. There are [...] Read more.
Not only are the plants of the golden camellia group examples of high-quality camellia germplasm, but they are also a plant group with rich medicinal and nutritional value, and these plants are used as food, cosmetics and traditional medicine in China. There are approximately 50 species in this group around the world, and more than 30 species of golden camellia plants have been listed in China. The leaves and flowers of these species have similar shapes, and as such, they are often confused as the same species. Our study used simplified genome sequencing technology to construct a phylogenetic tree of plants in the Chinese golden camellia group, and we also described the evolutionary relationships. At the same time, the secondary metabolic indexes of the total phenols, total flavonoids, total anthocyanins and ellagic acid in the leaves were determined, and principal component clustering analysis was also performed. The results showed that the phylogenetic relationship and genetic distance among the plant species of Chinese golden camellia group plants were fully revealed. The cluster analysis of chemical secondary metabolism and genetic phylogenetic trees showed some of the same trends, thereby indicating that secondary metabolism golden camellia can be used as biomarkers for golden camellia. The research results provide phylogenetic information for the genotype and performance diversity of the golden camellia that is regionally distributed in China, as well as provide a theoretical basis for the research and development of potential bioactive substances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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14 pages, 3238 KiB  
Article
Herpetological Collections in the Thailand Natural History Museum as a Valuable Resource for Conservation and Education
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111133 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1002
Abstract
The history of collecting and cataloging Thailand’s diverse herpetofauna is long-standing, with many specimens housed at the Thailand Natural History Museum (THNHM). This work aimed to assess the diversity of herpetofauna within the THNHM collection, ascertain conservation status of species, and track the [...] Read more.
The history of collecting and cataloging Thailand’s diverse herpetofauna is long-standing, with many specimens housed at the Thailand Natural History Museum (THNHM). This work aimed to assess the diversity of herpetofauna within the THNHM collection, ascertain conservation status of species, and track the geographical coverage of these specimens within the country. The THNHM collection boasts an impressive inventory, numbering 173 amphibian species and 335 reptile species. This collection reflects the substantial biodiversity within these taxonomic groups, rivaling the total number of herpetofauna species ever recorded in Thailand. However, the evaluation of their conservation status, as determined by the IUCN Red List, CITES, and Thailand’s Wild Animal Preservation and Protection Act (WARPA), has unveiled disparities in the degree of concern for certain species, possibly attributable to differential uses of the assessment criteria. Notably, the museum houses a number of type specimens, including 27 holotypes, which remain understudied. Sampling efforts have grown considerably since the year 2000, encompassing nearly all regions of the country. This extensive and systematic collection of diverse herpetofauna at the THNHM serves as a valuable resource for both research and educational purposes, enriching our understanding of these species and their significance in the broader context of biodiversity conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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25 pages, 18135 KiB  
Article
Discovery of Cyanobacteria Associated with Cycads and Description of Three Novel Species in Desmonostoc (Nostocaceae)
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1132; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111132 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1090
Abstract
Heterocyte-forming cyanobacteria form symbiotic relationships with several lineages of plants. Here, twenty (20) strains of endosymbiotic cyanobacteria (cyanobionts) with Nostoc-like morphologies were isolated from the highly specialized coralloid roots of five host species in Cycadales—Cycas debaoensis, C. fairylakea, C. [...] Read more.
Heterocyte-forming cyanobacteria form symbiotic relationships with several lineages of plants. Here, twenty (20) strains of endosymbiotic cyanobacteria (cyanobionts) with Nostoc-like morphologies were isolated from the highly specialized coralloid roots of five host species in Cycadales—Cycas debaoensis, C. fairylakea, C. elongata, Ceratozamia robusta, and Macrozamia moorei. Molecular phylogeny based on the 16S rRNA gene placed these strains into seven different taxa within the Nostocaceae, specifically under the genera Desmonostoc and Dendronalium. The percent dissimilarity and unique patterns in the secondary structures of the D1-D1′, Box-B, V2, and V3 helices, which were based on the 16S–23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions, supported three distinct species in Desmonostoc. These three morphologically distinct novel species are described in this report: Desmonostoc debaoense sp. nov., Desmonostoc meilinense sp. nov., and Desmonostoc xianhuense sp. nov. Other investigated strains were phylogenetically identified as members of the recently discovered genus Dendronalium and represent the first report of association of that genus with cycads. Our findings suggest that the order Cycadales hosts diverse species of cyanobionts in their coralloid roots and that many potential unreported or novel taxa are present in cycads occurring in their natural habitat and await discovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Phylogenetic Diversity of Cyanobacteria and Algae)
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14 pages, 4057 KiB  
Article
Gastrointestinal Nematodes and Protozoa in Small and Large Ruminants from Rural Agro-Climatic Regions of Northern India
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1131; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111131 - 04 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1292
Abstract
Gastrointestinal nematode parasites and gastrointestinal protozoan parasites are considered detrimental to the livestock population and manifest production-limiting effects. Small and large ruminants (cattle, buffalo, goats, and sheep) are important components of the rural economy of northern India. However, the epidemiology of gastrointestinal parasites [...] Read more.
Gastrointestinal nematode parasites and gastrointestinal protozoan parasites are considered detrimental to the livestock population and manifest production-limiting effects. Small and large ruminants (cattle, buffalo, goats, and sheep) are important components of the rural economy of northern India. However, the epidemiology of gastrointestinal parasites in this agro-climatic region has not been studied extensively. In this study, the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites was determined in 163 animals, including cattle (n = 86), buffalo (n = 11), goats (n = 48), and sheep (n = 18) from 26 sampling sites by copro-parasitological analysis. The prevalence values of 94.47% and 66.87% were recorded for the nematodes and protozoa, respectively. The group-wise prevalence of gastrointestinal nematode parasites was 95.3%, 90.9%, 93.7%, and 94.4% in cattle, buffalo, goats, and sheep, respectively, whereas for gastrointestinal protozoan parasites, the respective values were 70.9%, 54.5%, 60.4%, and 72.2%. Copromicroscopy revealed ten genera of nematodes—Ascaris, Capillaria, Cooperia, Haemonchus, Nematodirus, Oesophagostomum, Ostertagia, Strongyloides, Trichostrongylus, Trichuris, and one protozoan genus—Eimeria. The prevalence of Trichostrongylus spp. was highest in buffaloes, whereas in cattle, Ascaris spp. were predominant. In both goats and sheep, Haemonchus contortus was found to be predominant. The highest prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites was recorded in the rainy season. These findings indicate the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in the ruminant population in this region and necessitate the implementation of preventive and control strategies for effective animal health management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Parasites in Vertebrates in the Wildlife)
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16 pages, 19717 KiB  
Article
Two New Nematode Species, Desmolaimus magnus sp. nov. (Monhysterida, Linhomoeidae) and Metadesmolaimus robustus sp. nov. (Monhysterida, Xyalidae), from the Yellow Sea, China with Phylogenetic Analyses within Linhomoeidae and Xyalidae
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1130; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111130 - 02 Nov 2023
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Two new species are described from the Rizhao coast along the Yellow Sea. Desmolaimus magnus sp. nov. is characterized by its relatively large body size, faintly striated cuticle, four long cephalic setae, a wide buccal cavity with cuticularized transverse rings, an amphidial fovea [...] Read more.
Two new species are described from the Rizhao coast along the Yellow Sea. Desmolaimus magnus sp. nov. is characterized by its relatively large body size, faintly striated cuticle, four long cephalic setae, a wide buccal cavity with cuticularized transverse rings, an amphidial fovea at the junction of the buccal cavity and pharynx, a pharynx without a bulb, curved spicules, a gubernaculum with a dorso–caudal apophysis, and an elongated conical tail. Metadesmolaimus robustus sp. nov. is characterized by its relatively large body size, coarsely striated cuticle, spacious buccal cavity with cuticularized rings, six inner labial sensilla setiform, six outer labial setae, and four long cephalic setae. The pharynx is notably muscularized, and the spicules are straight and jointed with a slightly swollen proximal end and a hooked distal end. The gubernaculum is brownish and comma–shaped, and the tail is conico–cylindrical with terminal setae. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum–likelihood and Bayesin inference, based on small subunit and D2–D3 fragment of large subunit rDNA sequences, place Desmolaimus magnus sp. nov. within the framework of the family Linhomoeidae and Metadesmolaimus robustus sp. nov. within Xyalidae. Topology trees at the family level show genera Desmolaimus and Metadesmolaimus as paraphyletic groups, the genus Terschellingia as a monophylectic group, the genus Theristus as a monophylectic group based on SSU sequence, the genus Daptonema as a monophylectic group based on LSU sequence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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17 pages, 2288 KiB  
Article
Preliminary Assessment of Sea Star (Echinodermata, Asteroidea) Diversity in the Coastal Magellanic Region (South Chile) and Their Geographical Distribution
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111129 - 02 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1525
Abstract
Sea stars are a diverse and important component of the Southern Ocean benthos. However, scarce information is available regarding their diversity, distribution, evolution, and taxonomic uncertainties persist for multiple taxa. The Magellanic Region (south of Chile) remains under-sampled despite its pivotal location for [...] Read more.
Sea stars are a diverse and important component of the Southern Ocean benthos. However, scarce information is available regarding their diversity, distribution, evolution, and taxonomic uncertainties persist for multiple taxa. The Magellanic Region (south of Chile) remains under-sampled despite its pivotal location for species distribution and diversity, being located at the crossroad of three ocean basins. In this study, we assessed the biodiversity of coastal Magellanic sea stars and their affinities with other oceanic bioregions. An integrative approach combining morphological identification with DNA barcoding was implemented to highlight taxonomic discrepancies such as suspected synonymy and unrecognised diversity. Firstly, we identified a total of 15 species from the coastal Magellanic Region and reported the occurrence of Cycethra frigida Koehler, 1917 for the first time in this region. The distribution of these 15 species ranged from only in South America to circumpolar, bipolar, or possibly cosmopolitan. Secondly, we highlighted possible synonymy in two species pairs within the genera Anasterias and Odontaster. This preliminary biodiversity assessment forms an important baseline for monitoring and conservation purposes, especially in the face of distribution shifts as a response to climate change and the increased presence of invasive species. Developmental mode has previously been suggested to be important in shaping biogeographical patterns. However, developmental mode was insufficient to explain the observed patterns, and other factors (e.g., physiological constraints, competition, bathymetrical range, and the possibility of passively rafting on kelp) are suggested to be at least equally important. Finally, an increase in barcoding effort is needed to better capture phylogeographic patterns for each species, both by increasing the number of specimens investigated and by covering a broader geographical range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Biogeography of Sea Stars (Echinodermata, Asteroidea))
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15 pages, 2399 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Daphnia cucullata Sars, 1862 in Boreal Lakes (Latvian Lakeland) Based on Microsatellites
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1128; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111128 - 31 Oct 2023
Viewed by 727
Abstract
We have used Daphnia cucullata (Crustacea: Cladocera) as a model organism for the first time in the four deepest Latvian lakes from the Boreal biogeographical region in order to find the genetic diversity of these populations. During the research, we detected the most [...] Read more.
We have used Daphnia cucullata (Crustacea: Cladocera) as a model organism for the first time in the four deepest Latvian lakes from the Boreal biogeographical region in order to find the genetic diversity of these populations. During the research, we detected the most appropriate microsatellite markers for future genetic studies of Daphnia cucullata populations of lakes Svente, Riča, Dridzis and Geraņimovas-Ilzas in the Boreal biogeographical region. Based on these microsatellite markers, we determined the genetic diversity of these populations. The loci Dgm105 and Dgm101 had the maximum number of alleles and the maximum number of private alleles. The specific locus Dgm105 had five private alleles (62% of all detected alleles), and locus Dgm101 had four private alleles (57% of all detected alleles) in these loci. We determined the observed heterozygosity (Hobs) and the expected heterozygosity (Hexp) level (via Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium), the number of polymorphic loci, the number of detected alleles in each analyzed microsatellite locus, the average number of alleles at the locus (Na), the average effective number of alleles at the locus (Ne), the FST of the population’s genetic differentiation, the genetic distance (D) (following Nei) and the significance (χ2-test) of differences between the levels of observed and expected heterozygosity. It was shown that Daphnia cucullata populations from lakes with a low number of zooplankton taxa (Riča and Geraņimovas-Ilzas) have a higher genetic diversity compared to lakes with a high number of zooplankton taxa (Dridzis and Svente). It was found that Daphnia cucullata populations from lakes Dridzis and Svente have the least genetic distance, and these populations form a single genetic group, as confirmed via clustering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Genetics of Animals and Plants)
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25 pages, 9613 KiB  
Article
Current State of Natural Populations of Paeonia anomala (Paeoniaceae) in East Kazakhstan
Diversity 2023, 15(11), 1127; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111127 - 31 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1749
Abstract
Paeonia anomala L. is a valuable and sought-after medicinal plant for treating therapeutic pathologies. The natural habitat of P. anomala in the Republic of Kazakhstan is located in the mountainous areas of the East Kazakhstan region. P. anomala is listed in the Red [...] Read more.
Paeonia anomala L. is a valuable and sought-after medicinal plant for treating therapeutic pathologies. The natural habitat of P. anomala in the Republic of Kazakhstan is located in the mountainous areas of the East Kazakhstan region. P. anomala is listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan as a rare species with limited distribution. In this regard, we studied a strategy for preserving the biological diversity of P. anomala wild population. In particular, the ecological, phytocenotic, and floristic characteristics of five P. anomala populations in East Kazakhstan were explored. The anatomical, morphological, and genetic variability of the species in various habitats was evaluated. Overall, the condition of the P. anomala population in the study region can be considered satisfactory. The floristic composition of P. anomala plant communities recorded 130 species belonging to 35 families and 101 genera. The northern slopes of mountains and shrub-grass communities with leached chernozem with high contents of N-NO3 and P2O5 appeared to be optimal for P. anomala growth. Asteraceae (13%), Rosaceae (13%), Poaceae (10%), and Ranunculaceae (9%) are the major families of P. anomala flora and plant communities. The Eurasian (54%), Asian (24%), and Holarctic (15%) groups were recognized as dominant in the chronological spectrum. Amplification with iPBS primers resulted in the generation of 505 fragments, 257 of which were polymorphic. Our research results indicate that the genetic differentiation of the Kazakhstan populations is not quite as high and may indicate their long-term existence within one large population. A separate branch is formed by the P5 population, which is located separately from other populations, confirming its genetic isolation. The analysis of genetic diversity iPBS markers suggests the existence of a large, unified P. anomala population in Kazakhstan Altai. Full article
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