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Diversity, Volume 16, Issue 3 (March 2024) – 62 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Global warming is causing poleward expansion of species ranges, under a process known as “tropicalisation”, i.e., the combination of seawater warming and establishment of southern species. The Ligurian Sea is one of the coldest sectors of the Mediterranean and has been characterized by a dearth of warm-temperate species and a comparative abundance of cold-temperate ones. This paper uses a time series of sea surface temperature (SST) and new records of thermophilic fish to reconsider the biogeography of the Ligurian Sea. SST has increased significantly since the 1980s, favouring the arrival and establishment of thermophilic species. Concurrently, heat waves and climate-related diseases have caused mass mortality of native species. Recent changes in the biogeography of the Ligurian Sea call for re-defining its chorological spectrum. View this paper
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20 pages, 10936 KiB  
Article
Water Reserves for the Environment: A Strategic and Temporal Analysis (2012–2022) for the Implementation of Environmental Flows in Mexico
by Sergio A. Salinas-Rodríguez and Anuar I. Martínez Pacheco
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030190 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
In Mexico, the evaluations of environmental flows are regulated by the Mexican Norm NMX-AA-159-SCFI-2012, and they warrant the establishment of water reserves for the environment. However, the pressure or demand for water use limits the establishment of said reserves because their implementation is [...] Read more.
In Mexico, the evaluations of environmental flows are regulated by the Mexican Norm NMX-AA-159-SCFI-2012, and they warrant the establishment of water reserves for the environment. However, the pressure or demand for water use limits the establishment of said reserves because their implementation is generally conditioned to water availability. This research aimed to evaluate the changes through time of the variables that serve as a basis for the implementation strategy by the Mexican government. A geographical information system was built with updated information on water availability, conservation values, and pressures for all basins nationwide. Their desired conservation status was analyzed, and the potential reserves were estimated based on the reference values. The results were examined according to the ranking changes in environmental water reserves enactment feasibility and desired conservation status of Mexican basins, the progress achieved to date, and the potential contribution to the conservation of protected areas and their connectivity if the gaps of reserves were implemented. The outcomes point towards an administrative implementation strategy with positive results despite the growing demand for water use, with a change rate higher than the one for the creation of new protected areas. Currently, basins with low demand and high conservation value have the potential to meet people’s and the environment’s water needs, and contribute to 86% of the goal set by the present administration without affecting water availability. Finally, reserving water in the priority basins would guarantee the legal protection of the flow regime in 48–50% of the hydrographic network (63,760–66,900 km) in a desired conservation status, 43–49% of wetlands of international importance (48,650–49,600 km2) and other protected areas (128,700–136,500 km2) in 85–89% of the global ecoregions represented in Mexico (780,500–852,200 km2). Full article
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14 pages, 1474 KiB  
Article
A Beacon in the Dark: Grey Literature Data Mining and Machine Learning Enlightening Historical Plankton Seasonality Dynamics in the Ligurian Sea
by Alice Guzzi, Stefano Schiaparelli, Maria Balan and Marco Grillo
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030189 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 755
Abstract
The Mediterranean Sea, as one of the world’s most climate-sensitive regions, faces significant environmental changes due to rising temperatures. Zooplankton communities, particularly copepods, play a vital role in marine ecosystems, yet their distribution dynamics remain poorly understood, especially in the Ligurian Sea. Leveraging [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Sea, as one of the world’s most climate-sensitive regions, faces significant environmental changes due to rising temperatures. Zooplankton communities, particularly copepods, play a vital role in marine ecosystems, yet their distribution dynamics remain poorly understood, especially in the Ligurian Sea. Leveraging open-source software and environmental data, this study adapted a methodology to model copepod distributions from 1985 to 1986 in the Portofino Promontory ecosystem using the Random Forest machine learning algorithm to produce the first abundance and distribution maps of the area. Five copepod genera were studied across different trophic guilds, revealing habitat preferences and ecological fluctuations throughout the seasons. The assessment of model accuracy through symmetric mean absolute percentage error (sMAPE) highlighted the variability in copepod dynamics influenced by environmental factors. While certain genera exhibited higher predictive accuracy during specific seasons, others posed challenges due to ecological complexities. This study underscores the importance of species-specific responses and environmental variability in predictive modeling. Moreover, this study represents the first attempt to model copepod distribution in the Ligurian Sea, shedding light on their ecological niches and historical spatial dynamics. The study adhered to FAIR principles, repurposing historical data to generate three-dimensional predictive maps, enhancing our understanding of copepod biodiversity. Future studies will focus on developing abundance distribution models using machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict copepod standing crop in the Ligurian Sea with greater precision. This integrated approach advances knowledge of copepod ecology in the Mediterranean and sets a precedent for integrating historical data with contemporary methodologies to elucidate marine ecosystem dynamics. Full article
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14 pages, 3875 KiB  
Article
Feeding Ecology of Reintroduced Golden Parakeets (Guaruba guarouba, Psittacidae) in a Protected Area in the Amazon Forest
by Marcelo Rodrigues Vilarta, Thaís Tamamoto De Moraes, Maria Fernanda Naegeli Gondim, Crisomar Lobato, Mônica Nazaré Rodrigues Furtado Da Costa, Rubens de Aquino Oliveira and Luís Fábio Silveira
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030188 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 729
Abstract
The Golden Parakeet is an endemic Brazilian flagship species that has suffered from poaching and habitat loss, leading to local extinctions in the urbanized parts of the Amazon. We reintroduced six groups of mostly captive-bred parakeets in a protected area. The birds were [...] Read more.
The Golden Parakeet is an endemic Brazilian flagship species that has suffered from poaching and habitat loss, leading to local extinctions in the urbanized parts of the Amazon. We reintroduced six groups of mostly captive-bred parakeets in a protected area. The birds were acclimatized for at least five months at the release site, where they were trained to recognize native foods and develop foraging skills. Subsequently, we conducted a soft release, followed by daily supplementation and monitoring. For three years following the release we recorded their diet, feeding behavior, and how they adapted to wild foraging. The reintroduced birds fed on 23 plant species, with 13 not being previously listed in past studies. The three most consumed species corresponded to 77% of their feeding records. Parakeets spent more time feeding in altered landscapes and secondary vegetation than in the preserved forest. Most of the feeding happened during the rainy season when most of their favorite plants are fruiting. The parakeets’ incorporation of new species in their diet and their transition from supplemental to natural feeding happened gradually, as we did not reduce food offerings. Parakeets that showed site fidelity were able to find native food rapidly following release, but individuals that dispersed immediately had more difficulty finding food. This study showed that captive-bred Golden Parakeets can transition to a wild diet following a gradual reintroduction process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Conservation of Parrots)
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11 pages, 669 KiB  
Article
Population Reinforcement of the Endangered Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera): Lessons Learned
by Louise Lavictoire and Christopher West
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030187 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1264
Abstract
Freshwater mussel populations are in sharp decline and are considered to be one of the most imperilled groups globally. Consequently, the number of captive breeding programmes has increased rapidly in recent years, coupled with subsequent reintroductions/population reinforcements to reverse these declines. The outcomes [...] Read more.
Freshwater mussel populations are in sharp decline and are considered to be one of the most imperilled groups globally. Consequently, the number of captive breeding programmes has increased rapidly in recent years, coupled with subsequent reintroductions/population reinforcements to reverse these declines. The outcomes of mussel conservation translocations are seldom reported in the primary literature, hindering opportunities for learning and for population recovery at pace. Here, we describe the methods employed to carry out a successful conservation translocation of the freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) in a declining population in northwest England. Following a small-scale pilot release in 2017, four release sites were identified for a population reinforcement of over 1300 tagged mussels in 2021. Monitoring during 2022 showed high levels of retention of juveniles at three out of the four release sites, despite the occurrence of a significant flood event during October 2021. Subsequent releases of 1100 juveniles were carried out across the three successful sites in 2023. Ongoing and regular monitoring is essential in order to provide data on the longer-term fate of propagated juveniles in the wild. This will allow for adaptive management of release activities in this river. These data will be useful to design conservation translocation strategies for other imperilled pearl mussel populations in the UK and throughout Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Ecology and Protection of Freshwater Mussels)
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10 pages, 610 KiB  
Article
Microclimatic Influences on the Abundance of Three Non-Troglobiont Species
by Luca Coppari, Raoul Manenti and Enrico Lunghi
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030186 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 660
Abstract
Subterranean environments are often characterized by a natural gradient of microclimatic conditions and trophic resources, showing a higher trophic availability and a lower microclimatic stability in the shallowest area (close to the cave entrance), while the opposite occurs in the deepest sections. The [...] Read more.
Subterranean environments are often characterized by a natural gradient of microclimatic conditions and trophic resources, showing a higher trophic availability and a lower microclimatic stability in the shallowest area (close to the cave entrance), while the opposite occurs in the deepest sections. The shallowest areas of subterranean environments (e.g., the entrance and twilight zone, Mesovoid Shallow Substratum) act as ecotones between the surface habitats and the deep areas, creating a particular habitat which can be exploited by numerous species with different degrees of adaptation to subterranean environments. Species living in these ecotones may hold a key role in sustaining the entire ecosystem, as they are likely one of the major drivers of allochthonous organic matter. Indeed, these species are usually facultative cave-dwellers, meaning that they are able to exit and forage on the surface. Once these species are back inside the cave, they provide the local community with different typologies of organic matter (e.g., feces, eggs), which represent one of the most important sources of organic carbon. Therefore, studying which ecological features may exert significant effects on the abundance of these species may be of great help in understanding the ecosystem dynamics and the functional role of each species. In this study we analyzed the data collected through a year-round monitoring program, aiming to assess the potential effects that both abiotic and biotic features may have on the abundance of three facultative cave species. We focused on seven caves located in Monte Albo (Sardinia, Italy). The cave environments were divided into 3-meter sectors, and within each cave sector, microclimatic and biological data were seasonally recorded. We focused on the following facultative cave species: the spiders Metellina merianae and Tegenaria sp. and the snail Oxychilus oppressus. Different relationships were observed between the ecological features and the abundance of the three species. The two spiders were more abundant in warmer cave sectors closer to the cave entrance, especially the M. merianae. On the other hand, the snail tended to be more abundant farther from the cave entrance and in more illuminated cave sectors, probably because sunlight promotes the abundance of some of its trophic resources (e.g., lichens, vegetation). Furthermore, O. oppressus was the only species whose abundance and cave distribution was significantly affected by seasonality. This study provides useful and novel information to understand the population dynamics of facultative cave species and their role in subterranean ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Loss & Dynamics)
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32 pages, 10022 KiB  
Article
Two New Species of Elaphoidella (Copepoda, Harpacticoida) from Subterranean Waters in Northeast Thailand, with a Record of a Gynandromorphic Specimen and an Up-to-Date Key to Elaphoidella Species from Southeast Asia
by Chaichat Boonyanusith, Anton Brancelj and Laorsri Sanoamuang
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030185 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 805
Abstract
Two new species of copepods of the genus Elaphoidella Chappuis, 1929 were discovered in a cave and a spring in northeastern Thailand. The first species, E. phuphamanensis sp. nov., belongs to species-group VII sensu Lang. It is most similar to E. turgisetosa Petkovski, [...] Read more.
Two new species of copepods of the genus Elaphoidella Chappuis, 1929 were discovered in a cave and a spring in northeastern Thailand. The first species, E. phuphamanensis sp. nov., belongs to species-group VII sensu Lang. It is most similar to E. turgisetosa Petkovski, 1980 in the armament of the male third exopod of the fourth swimming leg and the shape and armament of the fifth swimming leg in both sexes. However, it is easily distinguished from other congeners by the segmentation of the first swimming leg, the endopod of the fourth swimming leg, and the armature of the third exopod of swimming legs 2–4 in both sexes. The second species, E. propecabezasi sp. nov., is located in species-group I sensu Lang, where the male does not have a transformed seta on the third exopod of the fourth swimming leg and the female fifth swimming leg has four baseoendopodal robust setae, unequal in length. It is most similar to E. cabezasi Petkovski, 1982 and E. paraaffinis Watiroyram, Sanoamuang and Brancelj, 2017 in having the same armature formula as endopods 1–2 of female swimming legs 1–4. However, the ornamentation of the anal operculum, the shape of the caudal ramus, and the armature of the fifth swimming leg in both sexes distinguish them from each other. A rare gynandromorphic specimen of E. propecabezasi sp. nov. was recorded, and a revised key to Elaphoidella species in Southeast Asia is provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
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17 pages, 18811 KiB  
Article
Phylogeography of Dolichophis Populations in the Aegean Region (Squamata: Colubridae) with Taxonomic Remarks
by Adam Javorčík, Ilias Strachinis, Evanthia Thanou, Panagiotis Kornilios, Aziz Avcı, Nazan Üzüm, Kurtuluş Olgun, Çetin Ilgaz, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Petros Lymberakis, Zoltán T. Nagy and Daniel Jablonski
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030184 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 786
Abstract
In this study, we investigate the phylogeographic patterns of Dolichophis species in the Aegean region, aiming to elucidate their genetic diversity and putative historical colonisation routes through mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data. Our findings revealed distinct phylogeographic patterns: D. caspius exhibited a [...] Read more.
In this study, we investigate the phylogeographic patterns of Dolichophis species in the Aegean region, aiming to elucidate their genetic diversity and putative historical colonisation routes through mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data. Our findings revealed distinct phylogeographic patterns: D. caspius exhibited a higher level of haplotypes within two shallow mitochondrial lineages, contrasting with D. jugularis, which displayed lower genetic variability in the area. Additionally, we identified evidence showing possible human-mediated historical translocation of D. caspius populations to Karpathos from the Balkans mainland. The mitochondrial variability in D. jugularis remained relatively uniform across southwestern Anatolia and Dodecanese, except for Rhodes Island. The evidence from mitochondrial and nuclear data confirming the previously described morphological differentiation of the Rhodes snakes, and thus the name D. j. zinneri Cattaneo, 2012, described on the island, could be applied to this isolated population. This result addresses the first genetic view on the long-standing taxonomic uncertainties regarding the subspecies status of Rhodes D. jugularis. Our results also raise questions regarding possible historical hybridisations between D. caspius and D. jugularis in the Dodecanese islands, prompting the need for further investigation using extensive field studies and genomic approaches. Ultimately, the Aegean islands, particularly Kos and Rhodes, seem to be important sites for the evolution of these colubrid snakes and their historical dynamics. Full article
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13 pages, 221 KiB  
Article
An Assessment of the Implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Kenya
by Nicholus Kilonzo, Joel T. Heinen and Patrick Byakagaba
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030183 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 801
Abstract
International trade is hastening extinction for many species of plants and animals despite the fact that many countries have ratified CITES. The adoption of treaties is often symbolic as many countries, especially in the developing world where most biodiversity is found, experience a [...] Read more.
International trade is hastening extinction for many species of plants and animals despite the fact that many countries have ratified CITES. The adoption of treaties is often symbolic as many countries, especially in the developing world where most biodiversity is found, experience a lack of fit between international agreements and national laws and institutions. Our main objective here is to assess the extent of jurisdictional and institutional fit in the implementation of CITES in Kenya, an important issue given the amount of international trade in wild products and the importance of wildlife tourism to the country. The specific objectives are to assess the following: the capacity and level of coordination among state actors and conservation mandates in national policy and law using a mixed methods approach involving a literature review and 38 key informant surveys representing professional expertise from various stakeholder groups. We found that over 60% of respondents indicated only moderate capacity for the implementation of CITES and coordination between local and central governments. Some participants indicated that judicial officers lack adequate conservation knowledge, thus hampering enforcement via low prosecution rates. A moderate (at best) structural fit involving inefficiencies such as conflicting processes, unequal enforcement, and suboptimal coordination implies a degree of failure in developing the implementation capacity of CITES within Kenya. Our results also show a mismatch between agency staffing and workload at several levels of government, and we make suggestions for improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation Planning and Assessment)
5 pages, 182 KiB  
Editorial
Ecology, Diversity, Conservation and Management of Ungulates
by Friedrich Reimoser and Ursula Nopp-Mayr
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030182 - 17 Mar 2024
Viewed by 945
Abstract
Wild ungulates are important drivers of the dynamics of many terrestrial ecosystems and impact biodiversity at different system levels [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Diversity, Conservation and Management of Ungulates)
18 pages, 10965 KiB  
Article
Global Warming Drives Transitions in Suitable Habitats and Ecological Services of Rare Tinospora Miers Species in China
by Huayong Zhang, Zhe Li, Hengchao Zou, Zhongyu Wang, Xinyu Zhu, Yihe Zhang and Zhao Liu
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030181 - 17 Mar 2024
Viewed by 921
Abstract
Tinospora Miers is considered a valuable medicinal herb that is suffering from severe habitat degradation due to climate change and human activities, but the variations in its suitable habitats and ecological service values remain unclear, especially in the context of accelerating global warming. [...] Read more.
Tinospora Miers is considered a valuable medicinal herb that is suffering from severe habitat degradation due to climate change and human activities, but the variations in its suitable habitats and ecological service values remain unclear, especially in the context of accelerating global warming. In this study, we employed the MaxEnt model to estimate the suitable habitat changes and ecological service values of three rare Tinospora (T. craveniana, T. yunnanensis, and T. sinensis) species in China under four climate change scenarios (SSP126, SSP245, SSP370, and SSP585) from 2041 to 2100. The results show that the suitable habitats of T. craveniana, T. yunnanensis, and T. sinensis are mainly distributed in Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guangxi, respectively. Under the future climate scenarios, the suitable habitat of T. craveniana and T. sinensis is projected to expand toward the northeast and north, while that of T. yunnanensis will contract toward the northeast. The mean diurnal temperature range is the main environmental factor affecting T. craveniana and T. yunnanensis, while the annual mean temperature is a more important factor affecting T. sinensis. In the SSP245 scenario, T. craveniana and T. yunnanensis are expected to have the highest ecological service values from 2081 to 2100, while they will be relatively consistent in other climate scenarios and chronologies. The case of water protection accounts for the highest proportion of the total ecosystem service values, except for the economic value. This study provides a scientific reference for the diversity conservation of these rare species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Diversity)
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17 pages, 3202 KiB  
Article
Effects of Freshwater Inflow during the Rainy Season on the Benthic Polychaete Community in the Geum River Estuary, South Korea
by Sang Lyeol Kim, Kyung-Hee Oh, Kongtae Ra and Ok Hwan Yu
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030180 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 636
Abstract
In the estuaries of Korea, the freshwater inflow increases rapidly due to the Changma (Korean summer rainy season). To elucidate the effect of this massive freshwater inflow on the benthic polychaete community, a survey was conducted before, during, and after the rainy season. [...] Read more.
In the estuaries of Korea, the freshwater inflow increases rapidly due to the Changma (Korean summer rainy season). To elucidate the effect of this massive freshwater inflow on the benthic polychaete community, a survey was conducted before, during, and after the rainy season. Comparing the environmental characteristics before and after the rainy season, the salinity and dissolved oxygen decreased, the sand content of sediment was significantly reduced, and silt increased. The number of species decreased sharply, and this change was more considerable at sites closer to the estuary. Loimia sp. and Pseudopotamilla sp., the dominant species before the rainy season, were not found after the rainy season. The massive freshwater inflow during the rainy season has been a tremendous stress on the benthic environment and significantly alters the species composition and distribution of benthic polychaetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Marine Communities)
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16 pages, 4923 KiB  
Article
Two New and One First Recorded Species of Xylaria Isolated from Fallen Leaves in Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park in China
by Xiaoyan Pan, Zongzhu Chen, Jinrui Lei, Xiaohua Chen, Tingtian Wu, Yuanling Li and Yiqing Chen
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030179 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 788
Abstract
Xylaria is a widely distributed genus in the Ascomycota phylum that can decompose wood. It is an essential decomposer in ecosystems and a source of bioactive secondary metabolites. Based on morphological characteristics and molecular evidence, this article thoroughly describes two new species discovered [...] Read more.
Xylaria is a widely distributed genus in the Ascomycota phylum that can decompose wood. It is an essential decomposer in ecosystems and a source of bioactive secondary metabolites. Based on morphological characteristics and molecular evidence, this article thoroughly describes two new species discovered on the fallen leaves in Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park, along with illustrations and comparisons with similar species. Xylaria diaoluoshanensis is characterized by filamentous stromata with long infertile apexes, ascospores sometimes with non-cellular appendages. Xylaria fulvotomentosa differentiates itself from other Xylaria species that grow on fallen leaves by its stroma surface, being yellow tomentose. These two new species of the genus Xylaria were found by phylogenetic analysis using the ITS-β-tubulin-RPB2 sequence dataset. Furthermore, a species first discovered in China, X. petchii, is described. Finally, a search table for 44 species related to fallen leaves and petioles in the world is established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiota Diversity in Plants and Forest)
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17 pages, 3383 KiB  
Article
Geography, Climate, and Habitat Shape the Microbiome of the Endangered Rock Gnome Lichen (Cetradonia linearis)
by Julianna Paulsen, Jessica L. Allen, Nathan Morris, Jenna Dorey, Jenifer B. Walke and S. Elizabeth Alter
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030178 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 786
Abstract
Bacterial symbionts are essential components of healthy biological systems. They are increasingly recognized as important factors in the study and management of threatened species and ecosystems. Despite management shifts at the ecosystem level, microbial communities are often neglected in discussions of holobiont conservation [...] Read more.
Bacterial symbionts are essential components of healthy biological systems. They are increasingly recognized as important factors in the study and management of threatened species and ecosystems. Despite management shifts at the ecosystem level, microbial communities are often neglected in discussions of holobiont conservation in favor of the primary members of a symbiosis. In this study, we addressed the bacterial community knowledge gap for one of two federally endangered lichen species in the United States, Cetradonia linearis (Cladoniaceae). We collected 28 samples of the endangered rock gnome lichen (Cetradonia linearis) from 13 sites and characterized bacterial communities in thalli using 16S rRNA metabarcoding to investigate the factors influencing the microbiome composition and diversity within the thallus. We found that Proteobacteria (37.8% ± 10.3) and Acidobacteria (25.9% ± 6.0) were the most abundant phyla recovered. Cyanobacteria were a major component of the microbiome in some individuals, despite this species associating with a green algal symbiont. Habitat, climate, and geography were all found to have significant influences on bacterial community composition. An analysis of the core microbiome at a 90% threshold revealed shared amplicon sequence variants in the microbiomes of other lichens in the family Cladoniaceae. We concluded that the bacterial microbiome of Cetradonia linearis is influenced by environmental factors and that some bacterial taxa may be core to this group. Further exploration into the microbiomes of rare lichen species is needed to understand the importance of bacterial symbionts to lichen diversity and distributions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
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17 pages, 1181 KiB  
Systematic Review
A Systematic Review of Population Monitoring Studies of Sea Turtles and Its Application to Conservation
by Haley Hendrix and Sílvia Pérez-Espona
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030177 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1159
Abstract
Sea turtles are keystone species in marine environments due to their essential role as seagrass grazers and population regulation of jellyfish and sponges in coral reefs. However, due to their predominant presence in coastal areas, sea turtle populations face significant threats due to [...] Read more.
Sea turtles are keystone species in marine environments due to their essential role as seagrass grazers and population regulation of jellyfish and sponges in coral reefs. However, due to their predominant presence in coastal areas, sea turtle populations face significant threats due to the impact of human activities. In this systematic review, 655 peer-reviewed publications were analyzed to assess the extent of population monitoring for all seven sea turtle species. The analyses revealed that, although population monitoring studies have increased for sea turtles in the past four decades, these have been biased towards certain species and oceanic regions. Furthermore, sea turtle population monitoring has been undertaken primarily using field-based methods, with satellite tracking and nest surveys being the most commonly used methods; however, the implementation of genetic methods for population monitoring has increased since the 2000s. Direct conservation recommendations from this study include the urgent need to establish population monitoring studies in the Critically Endangered Kemp’s ridley and hawksbill and the Data Deficient flatback. Furthermore, population monitoring programs should be implemented in Southeast Asia and Northern and Central Africa, where knowledge on sea turtle populations is still limited. Finally, due to the long-distance movements of sea turtles, we also advocate for international cooperation and collaboration of local communities to protect these ecologically important and iconic marine species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity, Ecology and Conservation of Endangered Species)
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12 pages, 5011 KiB  
Article
Effects of Invasive Smooth Cordgrass Degradation on Avian Species Diversity in the Dafeng Milu National Nature Reserve, a Ramsar Wetland on the Eastern Coast of China
by Taiyu Chen, Pan Chen, Bing Liu, Dawei Wu and Changhu Lu
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030176 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 762
Abstract
Invasive smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) has been expanding rapidly through the coastal wetlands of eastern China and these changes negatively affect local birds. In the Dafeng Milu National Nature Reserve (henceforth referred to as DMNNR), rapid degradation of spartina occurs after [...] Read more.
Invasive smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) has been expanding rapidly through the coastal wetlands of eastern China and these changes negatively affect local birds. In the Dafeng Milu National Nature Reserve (henceforth referred to as DMNNR), rapid degradation of spartina occurs after an increase in milu (Elaphures davidianus; hereafter elk) numbers and ecological hydrological engineering. We evaluated the impact of such degradation on the abundance and species diversity of birds in the DMNNR during 2017–2021. We found that the area covered by S. alterniflora decreased significantly in the study area at a rate of 310 ha per year and by 62% during 2017–2021 (p < 0.01). With this decrease in the S. alterniflora area, the species richness and abundance of birds first increased and then decreased. Songbird density clearly decreased but species richness did not significantly do so. This research demonstrated that during the initial stages of vegetation degradation, there was a positive effect on bird diversity. With the increasing vegetation degradation increases, both songbirds and waterbirds experience negative impacts. The DMNNR is an important stopover site for waterbirds in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, and additional measures are needed to control vegetation degradation and to restore the native habitats for birds. Full article
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13 pages, 3228 KiB  
Article
Structure from Motion Photogrammetry as an Effective Nondestructive Technique to Monitor Morphological Plasticity in Benthic Organisms: The Case Study of Sarcotragus foetidus Schmidt, 1862 (Porifera, Demospongiae) in the Portofino MPA
by Torcuato Pulido Mantas, Camilla Roveta, Barbara Calcinai, Fabio Benelli, Martina Coppari, Cristina Gioia Di Camillo, Ubaldo Pantaleo, Stefania Puce and Carlo Cerrano
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030175 - 08 Mar 2024
Viewed by 906
Abstract
Porifera are essential components of marine ecosystems, providing valuable ecological functions. Traditional approaches to estimating sponge growth and biomass are destructive and often not suitable for certain morphologies. The implementation of new innovative techniques and nondestructive methodologies have allowed for a more sustainable [...] Read more.
Porifera are essential components of marine ecosystems, providing valuable ecological functions. Traditional approaches to estimating sponge growth and biomass are destructive and often not suitable for certain morphologies. The implementation of new innovative techniques and nondestructive methodologies have allowed for a more sustainable approach. In this study, a population of Sarcotragus foetidus Schmidt, 1982 (Demospongiae, Dictyoceratida, Irciinidae), thriving inside the Portofino Marine Protected Area, was monitored using Structure from Motion photogrammetry over a period of 6 years, from September 2017 to October 2023. Of the 20 initial individuals, only 12 were still in place during the last monitoring, indicating 40% mortality. Through photogrammetry, the overall volume change and biomass production were estimated to be 9.24 ± 5.47% year−1 and 29.52 ± 27.93 g DW year−1, respectively, indicating a general decreasing trend between 2021 and 2023. Signs of necrosis were observed in some individuals, potentially related to the high temperature occurring during summer 2022 and 2023. Considering the current climate crisis, long-term monitoring efforts must be made to better understand the dynamics of this species, and photogrammetry has the potential to be a versatile monitoring tool that will contribute to the standardization of methodologies for sponge growth studies. Full article
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11 pages, 8151 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution Pattern of the Mesozooplankton Community in Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area (RSR MPA) during Summer
by Sung Hoon Kim, Wuju Son, Jeong-Hoon Kim and Hyoung Sul La
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030174 - 08 Mar 2024
Viewed by 700
Abstract
The Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area (RSR MPA) is one of the most productive regions in the Southern Ocean. Mesozooplankton intermediates the primary product to the higher predators, such as penguins and seals, in this ecosystem. In this study, the mesozooplankton community [...] Read more.
The Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area (RSR MPA) is one of the most productive regions in the Southern Ocean. Mesozooplankton intermediates the primary product to the higher predators, such as penguins and seals, in this ecosystem. In this study, the mesozooplankton community structure and spatial pattern in the RSR MPA in January were investigated by using 505 μm-mesh-size bongo net samples. As a result, 37 mesozooplankton taxa with a total mean abundance of 35.26 ind./m3, ranging from 2.94 to 139.17 ind./m3, were confirmed. Of the 37 taxa, 7 occupied almost 84% of the total abundance, with copepods being the main dominant taxa. As shown by our hierarchical analysis, the mesozooplankton community was divided into four groups, each associated with a specific geographical distribution. Group A was composed of stations around Terra Nova Bay and showed relatively low abundance. Group B included stations around the continental slope region. Group D was composed of the Ross Sea continental shelf stations, while group C consisted of stations geographically located between those of groups B and D. These four groups were influenced by various environmental factors, such as water temperature, salinity, and nutrients. In summary, the mesozooplankton community can be separated according to geographical pattern. This pattern is related to several environmental factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Marine Communities)
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14 pages, 4320 KiB  
Review
Nanopore Sequencing Technology as an Emerging Tool for Diversity Studies of Plant Organellar Genomes
by Jakub Sawicki, Katarzyna Krawczyk, Łukasz Paukszto, Mateusz Maździarz, Mateusz Kurzyński, Joanna Szablińska-Piernik and Monika Szczecińska
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030173 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
In this comprehensive review, we explore the significant role that nanopore sequencing technology plays in the study of plant organellar genomes, particularly mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA. To date, the application of nanopore sequencing has led to the successful sequencing of over 100 plant [...] Read more.
In this comprehensive review, we explore the significant role that nanopore sequencing technology plays in the study of plant organellar genomes, particularly mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA. To date, the application of nanopore sequencing has led to the successful sequencing of over 100 plant mitochondrial genomes and around 80 chloroplast genomes. These figures not only demonstrate the technology’s robustness but also mark a substantial advancement in the field, highlighting its efficacy in decoding the complex and dynamic nature of these genomes. Nanopore sequencing, known for its long-read capabilities, significantly surpasses traditional sequencing techniques, especially in addressing challenges like structural complexity and sequence repetitiveness in organellar DNA. This review delves into the nuances of nanopore sequencing, elaborating on its benefits compared to conventional methods and the groundbreaking applications it has fostered in plant organellar genomics. While its transformative impact is clear, the technology’s limitations, including error rates and computational requirements, are discussed, alongside potential solutions and prospects for technological refinement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2024 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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18 pages, 1747 KiB  
Article
Low Resource Competition, Availability of Nutrients and Water Level Fluctuations Facilitate Invasions of Australian Swamp Stonecrop (Crassula helmsii)
by Hein H. van Kleef, Janneke M. M. van der Loop and Laura S. van Veenhuisen
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030172 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 745
Abstract
Australian swamp stonecrop (Crassula helmsii (Kirk) Cockayne) is invasive in Western Europe. Its small size and high potential for regeneration make it difficult to eliminate. Short-term experiments have demonstrated that the growth of C. helmsii depends on nutrient availability and resource competition. [...] Read more.
Australian swamp stonecrop (Crassula helmsii (Kirk) Cockayne) is invasive in Western Europe. Its small size and high potential for regeneration make it difficult to eliminate. Short-term experiments have demonstrated that the growth of C. helmsii depends on nutrient availability and resource competition. In order to confirm those mechanisms in the field, we studied the abundance of C. helmsii in Northern Europe over a longer period of time in relation to nutrient availability and co-occurring plant communities and plant species. C. helmsii impacted native species mainly by limiting their abundance. The native plant species present indicated that previous or periodic elevated nutrient availability were likely responsible for the proliferation of C. helmsii. When growing in submerged conditions, the dominance of C. helmsii depended on a high availability of CO2. A series of exceptionally dry summers allowed C. helmsii to increase in cover due to weakened biotic resistance and a loss of carbon limitation. Only Littorella uniflora (L.) Asch. and Juncus effusus L. were able to remain dominant and continue to provide biotic resistance. Based on our findings, minimizing nutrient (C and N) availability and optimizing hydrology provides native species with stable growth conditions. This optimizes resource competition and may prevent the proliferation of C. helmsii. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Alien Species and Their Invasion Processes)
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16 pages, 1614 KiB  
Review
A Comprehensive Review of Disease-Causing Agents in Freshwater Turtles: Implications for Conservation and Public Health
by João Rato, Raquel Xavier, D. James Harris, Filipe Banha and Pedro Anastácio
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030171 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1165
Abstract
Freshwater turtles comprise 81% of all chelonian species despite freshwater systems only occupying 1% of the earth’s surface, and they are commonly exploited as pets and food resources. This contact between humans and turtles may put both sides at risk of disease transmission. [...] Read more.
Freshwater turtles comprise 81% of all chelonian species despite freshwater systems only occupying 1% of the earth’s surface, and they are commonly exploited as pets and food resources. This contact between humans and turtles may put both sides at risk of disease transmission. Additionally, human impact on ecosystems can cause disease outbreaks in turtle populations. In this review, we focused on disease agents affecting freshwater turtles, intending to contribute to conservation and public health efforts. We analysed 423 articles and noted a post-SARS-COVID-19 peak, with most research originating from Asia, North America, and Europe. Emydidae was the most frequently studied family, and there was also a bias towards adults, live specimens, and native species. Since most of the studied turtles were wild-caught, we recommend that captive turtles should also be thoroughly studied since they can transmit diseases to other turtles and humans. We registered 2104 potential disease-causing agents, with Platyhelminthes dominating within Animalia, while Proteobacteria dominated bacterial agents. Viruses’ representation was low, highlighting gaps in reptile virology. Fungi, Chromista, and Protozoa were also underrepresented, but this is changing with the development of molecular tools. This synthesis serves as a foundation for targeted health assessments, conservation strategies, and future research, essential to mitigate ecosystem and public health threats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2024 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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52 pages, 3850 KiB  
Article
Checklist of Basidiomycota and New Records from the Azores Archipelago
by Martin Souto, Pedro Miguel Raposeiro, Ana Balibrea and Vítor Gonçalves
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030170 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1694
Abstract
This paper presents an annotated checklist of the Basidiomycota taxa (including lichenicolous fungi and the subdivision Pucciniomycotina) from the Azores archipelago and reviews the published records to account for their taxonomic status. The number of Basidiomycota species recorded in the Azores has increased [...] Read more.
This paper presents an annotated checklist of the Basidiomycota taxa (including lichenicolous fungi and the subdivision Pucciniomycotina) from the Azores archipelago and reviews the published records to account for their taxonomic status. The number of Basidiomycota species recorded in the Azores has increased considerably during the 20th century and now stands at 544 species. This study provides distribution data and includes changes in the nomenclature of the listed taxa. Sampling campaigns contributed to 116 new records of Basidiomycota for the Azores archipelago. In addition, there were new records for eight islands: 162 species found for the first time on São Miguel Island, 55 species new to Santa Maria Island, 33 species new to Flores Island, 15 species new to Terceira Island, 9 species new to Pico Island, 17 species new to São Jorge Island, 4 species new to Graciosa Island, and 2 species new to Corvo Island. The transformation of vegetation cover in the archipelago has been very drastic, and this is reflected in the presence of many foreign fungal species on the islands. From these data, we conclude that within Macaronesia, the diversity of Basidiomycota in the Azores is more similar to that in Madeira than in the Canary Islands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections)
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13 pages, 3442 KiB  
Article
Application of Univariate Diversity Metrics to the Study of the Population Ecology of the Lizard Lacerta bilineata in an Ecotonal Habitat
by Roger Meek and Luca Luiselli
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030169 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 760
Abstract
The expansion of human activities across natural environments is now well known. This includes agricultural activities that effectively render many former natural environments sterile habitats for animals. Very often, what remains of the natural habitat are hedgerows that serve as habitat or pathways [...] Read more.
The expansion of human activities across natural environments is now well known. This includes agricultural activities that effectively render many former natural environments sterile habitats for animals. Very often, what remains of the natural habitat are hedgerows that serve as habitat or pathways for movement between habitats for many species, including reptiles. In this study, we describe population changes in the western green lizard, Lacerta bilineata, in a hedgerow system in western France. The results are derived from a univariate diversity analysis of photographic data to identify individual lizards over a 4-year study period. Lizards were sighted from March April to October early November but there was a midsummer gap in sightings during July–August. The annual presence of individual lizards was low, both between and within years, but based on the diversity analysis, the overall stability of the population was high. Female numbers varied and were highest in 2020, but juveniles were highest in 2023; the numbers of males present each year were approximately the same. Individual lizards that were present before the midsummer gap were mostly absent after the midsummer gap and were replaced by new individuals. Incidences of autotomy were low in males and juveniles and were not recorded in females. In general, the results suggest that the lizards move through hedgerow systems but remain in a specific section for reproduction from March to July. Through this study, we also highlight the importance of univariate diversity formulas to obtain robust results in investigations of the demographic aspects of animal populations that are easy to monitor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herpetofauna of Eurasia)
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15 pages, 4750 KiB  
Article
The Potential of Foraging Chacma Baboons (Papio ursinus) to Disperse Seeds of Alien and Invasive Plant Species in the Amathole Forest in Hogsback in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
by Lwandiso Pamla, Loyd R. Vukeya and Thabiso M. Mokotjomela
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030168 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1250
Abstract
The invasion of alien and invasive plants into the threatened Amathole Forest in Hogsback, Eastern Cape Province (South Africa) is an emerging priority conservation issue. The objective of this pilot study was to document and compare the foraging visits of two chacma baboon [...] Read more.
The invasion of alien and invasive plants into the threatened Amathole Forest in Hogsback, Eastern Cape Province (South Africa) is an emerging priority conservation issue. The objective of this pilot study was to document and compare the foraging visits of two chacma baboon (Papio ursinus) troops in their natural and human habitats and their foraging behavioural activities to understand their potential to disperse ingested alien seeds in Hogsback. We also estimated the number of seeds per faecal sample collected from the foraging trails of the two troops of baboons, and determined potential dispersal distances using allometric equations. Since the focal troops used preferred sleeping and foraging sites, we predicted that these sites would have a high concentration of propagules. We applied the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) to discern possible vegetation cover changes. Overall, the two chacma baboon troops showed a similar number of daily foraging visits, although they preferred to forage more in human-modified than natural habitats. Their feeding and moving activities were significantly greater than other activities recorded during the study. There were significant differences in the numbers of seeds of six different fruiting plant species: 82.2 ± 13.3% (n = 284) for Acacia mearnsii; 78.9 ± 12.1% (n = 231) for Pinus patula, and 64.0 ± 20.0% (n = 108) for Solanum mauritianum. The two baboon troops could transport about 445 536 seeds from the six focal fruiting plant species considered in this study. Baboons’ seed dispersal distances were long at > 5 km per daily foraging activity. The NVDI vegetation cover analysis (i.e., 1978–2023) shows that the dense vegetation cover expanded by 80.9 ha, while the moderate and sparse vegetation cover collectively decreased by 10.3 ha. Although the seed dispersal pattern was neither clumped nor displayed any recognisable pattern, against our prediction, the number of faecal samples containing alien seeds and the observed foraging movement patterns suggest that chacma baboons disperse alien plant seeds that may establish and facilitate the deterioration of the natural forest. Further quantitative studies investigating the diversity of the plant species dispersed, their germination rates after ingestion by baboons, and their seasonal patterns are required to understand the baboon seed dispersal systems in the Amathole forests of Hogsback. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Alien Species and Their Invasion Processes)
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13 pages, 3691 KiB  
Article
Ascaridoid Nematodes Infection in Anadromous Fish Coilia nasus from Yangtze River
by Qingjie Zhou, Lijun Wang, Bingwen Xi, Congping Ying and Kai Liu
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030167 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 886
Abstract
The longjaw tapertail anchovy Coilia nasus, which migrates from ocean to freshwater for spawning in spring, is an important anadromous fish with ecological and cultural significance. To determine parasite infection in anadromous C. nasus, a total of 103 fish from the [...] Read more.
The longjaw tapertail anchovy Coilia nasus, which migrates from ocean to freshwater for spawning in spring, is an important anadromous fish with ecological and cultural significance. To determine parasite infection in anadromous C. nasus, a total of 103 fish from the Yangtze River were collected and examined in 2021 and 2022. The overall infection prevalence of nematodes in C. nasus was 100%, with a mean intensity of 13.81 ± 16.45. The mean intensity of nematode infections in 2022 was significantly higher than that observed in 2021 across all sampling sites (p < 0.05). Nematodes were widely detected in the mesentery, pyloric cecum, stomach, and liver, among which the mesentery accounted for the highest proportion, reaching up to 53.52%. A total of eight ascaridoid nematodes belonging to the family Anisakidae and Raphidascarididae were identified by using morphological characters and molecular biological techniques, including two species of Anisakis, five species of Hysterothylacium, and one species of Raphidascaris. A. pegreffii was found as the predominant species, accounting for 48.65% of all identified parasitic nematodes in liver, while Raphidascaris sp. was the most common nematode in the mesentery, pyloric cecum, and stomach, reaching up to 39.81%, 36.21%, and 74.36%, respectively. The present study systematically investigated the parasitic status and community structure of the nematode in C. nasus during its migration in the Yangtze River. This research provides a foundation for studying the impact of nematode parasitism on the reproductive migration and population recruitment of C. nasus, and offers valuable insights for biomarker screening and nematode identification in C. nasus. Full article
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30 pages, 7683 KiB  
Article
A Contribution to the Knowledge of Hydnum (Hydnaceae, Cantharellales) in China, Introducing a New Taxon and Amending Descriptions of Five Known Species
by Hua-Zhi Qin, Yu-Ting Liao, Yu-Zhuo Zhang, Wen-Fei Lin, Xin-Quan Yang and Nian-Kai Zeng
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030166 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1527
Abstract
Hydnum (Hydnaceae, Cantharellales), one of the edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms, is of considerable ecological and economic importance. Although previous studies have focused on the genus in China, the diversity still remains incompletely understood. In the present study, in addition to the known species from [...] Read more.
Hydnum (Hydnaceae, Cantharellales), one of the edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms, is of considerable ecological and economic importance. Although previous studies have focused on the genus in China, the diversity still remains incompletely understood. In the present study, in addition to the known species from China being reviewed, six phylogenetic species from the country were described/redescribed, which included a new species: H. erectum, and five known taxa: H. cremeoalbum, H. minus, H. orientalbidum, H. tenuistipitum, and H. treui; H. treui is new to China. Detailed descriptions, color photographs of fresh basidiomata, and line drawings of microstructures of them are presented. A key to the accepted species of Hydnum in China is also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections)
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14 pages, 11888 KiB  
Article
Effective Field Collection of Pezizales Ascospores for Procuring Diverse Fungal Isolates
by Alassane Sow, Judson Van Wyk, Benjamin Lemmond, Rosanne Healy, Matthew E. Smith and Gregory Bonito
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030165 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Pezizales are a diverse and economically important order of fungi. They are common in the environment, having epigeous form, such as morels and hypogeous, forms called truffles. The mature ascospores of most epigeous Pezizales are forcibly discharged through an opening at the ascus [...] Read more.
Pezizales are a diverse and economically important order of fungi. They are common in the environment, having epigeous form, such as morels and hypogeous, forms called truffles. The mature ascospores of most epigeous Pezizales are forcibly discharged through an opening at the ascus apex created with the lifting of the operculum, a lid-like structure specific to Pezizales. The axenic cultures of Pezizales fungi isolated from single ascospores are important for understanding the life cycle, development, ecology, and evolution of these fungi. However, obtaining single-spore isolates can be challenging, particularly for collections obtained in locations where sterile work environments are not available. In this paper, we introduce an accessible method for harvesting ascospores from fresh ascomata in the field and laboratory for obtaining single-spore isolates. Ascospores are harvested on the inside cover of Petri plate lids in the field, air dried, and stored. At a later date, single-spore isolates are axenically cultured through serial dilution and plating on antibiotic media. With this approach, we were able to harvest ascospores and obtain single-spore isolates from 12 saprotrophic and 2 ectomycorrhizal species belonging to six Pezizales families: Discinaceae, Morchellaceae, Pezizaceae, Pyronemataceae, Sarcosomataceae, and Sarcoscyphaceae. This method worked well for saprotrophic taxa (12 out of 19 species, 63%) and was even effective for a few ectomycorrhizal taxa (2 out of 13 species, 15%). This process was used to study the initial stages of spore germination and colony development in species across several Pezizales families. We found germination often commenced with the swelling of the spore, followed by the emergence of 1–8 germ tubes. This method is sufficiently straightforward that, provided with sterile Petri dishes, citizen scientists from distant locations could use this approach to capture spores and subsequently mail them with voucher specimens to a research laboratory for further study. The generated single-spore Pezizales isolates obtained through this method were used to generate high-quality genomic data. Isolates generated in this fashion can be used in manipulative experiments to better understand the biology, evolution, and ecogenomics of Pezizales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2024)
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11 pages, 4515 KiB  
Article
Diversity of Fish and Decapod Fry in the Coastal Zone of Amvrakikos Gulf
by George Katselis, Nikolaos Vlahos, Constandin Koutsikopoulos and Dimitrios K. Moutopoulos
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030164 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1303
Abstract
Amvrakikos Gulf and its surrounding coastal lagoons are of primary importance for the local biodiversity and fishing activities. Fish species inhabited the coastal lagoons based on the seasonal ongoing migration movements of fry and adult fish individuals from the sea towards the lagoons. [...] Read more.
Amvrakikos Gulf and its surrounding coastal lagoons are of primary importance for the local biodiversity and fishing activities. Fish species inhabited the coastal lagoons based on the seasonal ongoing migration movements of fry and adult fish individuals from the sea towards the lagoons. Information on the early stages of fish and decapod species in the Amvrakikos Gulf is limited only to the planktonic ontogenetic stages and reproduction biology, respectively. The aim of this study was to describe the spatial distribution of fry from commercially important fish and decapod species in the coastal zone of Amvrakikos Gulf. The seasonal appearance of the early stage of the most commercially important fish species caught in the coastal zone of the gulf ranged from one to four seasons, depending on the species. Individuals of all ontogenetic stages (fry, juveniles, and adults) were reported for several species (A. boyeri, A. fasciatus, S. abaster, S. tyfle, and B. ocellaris), indicating that these species may be regarded as residents in the coastal zone, providing habitats for their entire life cycle. The average relative abundance of the species/genera exhibited no differences compared to other Greek brackish waters. The species composition in the Amvrakikos Gulf at 10 cm and above was in agreement with the transitional nature of the area, with permanent and occasional species present. The present study emphasizes the importance of the coastal zone as a nursery habitat for commercially important species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity in 2024)
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20 pages, 1536 KiB  
Review
Sturgeon Parasites: A Review of Their Diversity and Distribution
by György Deák, Elena Holban, Isabela Sadîca and Abdulhusein Jawdhari
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030163 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1276
Abstract
Sturgeon species have inhabited the world’s seas and rivers for more than 200 million years and hold significant taxonomic significance, representing a strong conservation interest in aquatic biodiversity as well as in the economic sector, as their meat and eggs (caviar) are highly [...] Read more.
Sturgeon species have inhabited the world’s seas and rivers for more than 200 million years and hold significant taxonomic significance, representing a strong conservation interest in aquatic biodiversity as well as in the economic sector, as their meat and eggs (caviar) are highly valuable goods. Currently, sturgeon products and byproducts can be legally obtained from aquaculture as a sustainable source. Intensive farming practices are accompanied by parasitic infestations, while several groups of parasites have a significant impact on both wild and farmed sturgeons. The present article is a review of common sturgeon parasites from the genus: Protozoa, Trematoda, Crustacea, Nematodes, Monogenea, Hirudinea, Copepoda, Acanthocephala, Cestoda, Polypodiozoa, and Hyperoartia, while also addressing their pathology and statistical distribution. Full article
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16 pages, 2244 KiB  
Article
Shallow Hard-Bottom Benthic Assemblages of South Bay (Antarctic Peninsula): An Update 40 Years Later
by Sol Morales, César A. Cárdenas, Diego Bravo-Gómez and Cristian Lagger
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030162 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 893
Abstract
This work completes and updates the information about the diversity and distribution of benthic assemblages in an Antarctic fjord (South Bay, Antarctic Peninsula) 40 years after the first and only community-level study was conducted there. To determine the community changes, a photographic survey [...] Read more.
This work completes and updates the information about the diversity and distribution of benthic assemblages in an Antarctic fjord (South Bay, Antarctic Peninsula) 40 years after the first and only community-level study was conducted there. To determine the community changes, a photographic survey was conducted at four sites with different substrate inclinations along a bathymetric gradient of 5–20 m depth. In total, 160 photoquadrats were analyzed, resulting in a total area of 40 m2. Sixty taxa represented by 12 phyla were identified, of which eight phyla corresponded to animals. The remaining species corresponded to macroalgae and benthic diatoms, both taxa presenting the highest coverages of the entire study area. The highest richness and diversity values were obtained at greater depths and at the sites with the steepest slopes. Here, we discuss the role of substrate inclination and depth in the structure of the benthic assemblages concerning possible variations in the presence and frequency of physical disturbances (e.g., ice disturbance and sedimentation). The abundances, densities, and distributions of all species found are detailed, updating the ecological data of the benthic ecosystem of this Antarctic fjord from the previously published assessment four decades ago. In a continent where rapid environmental changes are being experienced due to climate-induced processes, we discuss the first massive record of benthic diatoms in this fjord and the striking absence of the sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri, an abundant species from previous records from the early 1980s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
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13 pages, 4938 KiB  
Article
Revealing the Diversity of Thin Filamentous Cyanobacteria, with the Discovery of a Novel Species, Pegethrix qiandaoensis sp. nov. (Oculatellaceae, Oculatellales), in a Freshwater Lake in China
by Kaihui Gao, Yao Cheng, Rouzhen Geng, Peng Xiao, He Zhang, Zhixu Wu, Fangfang Cai and Renhui Li
Diversity 2024, 16(3), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16030161 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 823
Abstract
During the study of diversity in filamentous cyanobacteria in China, two strains (WZU0719 and WZU0723) with the form of thin filaments were isolated from the surface of Qiandao Lake, a large freshwater lake in Zhejiang Province, China. A comprehensive analysis was conducted, incorporating [...] Read more.
During the study of diversity in filamentous cyanobacteria in China, two strains (WZU0719 and WZU0723) with the form of thin filaments were isolated from the surface of Qiandao Lake, a large freshwater lake in Zhejiang Province, China. A comprehensive analysis was conducted, incorporating morphological, ecological, and molecular data. The morphological examination provided an initial identification as a Leptolyngbya-like cyanobacterium. Genetic characterization was also performed by amplifying the 16S rRNA gene and the 16S-23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The phylogenetic grouping based on the 16S rRNA gene demonstrates that the examined strain is unequivocally assigned to the Pegethrix genus. However, it possesses distinct phylogenetic divergence from the six described Pegethrix species. Additionally, discrepancies in habitat further differentiate it from other members of this genus. Employing the polyphasic approach, we present a comprehensive account of the newly discovered taxa: Pegethrix qiandaoensis sp. nov. The novel taxonomic finding in this research significantly contributes to enhancing the comprehension of Pegethrix diversity across various habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2024 Feature Papers by Diversity’s Editorial Board Members)
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