Special Issue "Ecotones as Diversity Drivers: New Research Perspective from Boundaries and Border Habitats"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity Loss & Dynamics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2024 | Viewed by 1083

Special Issue Editor

Dipartimento di Scienze e Politiche Ambientali, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: zoology; herpetology; planarians; crayfish; cave biology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecotones are promising research targets; they are likely areas of high species richness, genetic and phenotypic diversity, and divergence. Ecotones do not merely represent a boundary or an edge; the concept itself of an ecotone assumes the existence of an active interaction between two or more habitats, consisting of the interactions of different environmental pressures. These interactions may create unique features that do not exist in either of the adjacent environments. Ecotones can sustain ecotypes or species that are less represented or do not occur in other environments, and some populations may diverge to new lines/phenotypes in the face of gene flow across the interface. This Special Issue will comprise papers covering a wide range of aspects related to the distribution, features and diversity drivers of ecotone communities. Papers will embrace many different ecotones, from springs that border groundwater with surface freshwater to many border habitats that insist in human-dominated landscapes. Papers selected for this Special Issue can also address functional, developmental and morphological aspects of organisms adapting to new habitats at the border with their current distribution.

Dr. Raoul Manenti
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • edge
  • boundary
  • ecotone
  • biodiversity
  • evolution
  • pressure
  • stress
  • adaptation
  • ecology
  • zoology
  • range
  • border
  • distribution

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Both Light Stimuli and Predation Risk Affect the Adult Behavior of a Stygobiont Crustacean
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020290 - 16 Feb 2023
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Stygobiont species show common, typical traits derived from their adaptation to subterranean life. Due to the general absence of light in cave environments, the majority of them are eyeless. Although the absence of eyes generally does not allow them to perceive luminous stimuli, [...] Read more.
Stygobiont species show common, typical traits derived from their adaptation to subterranean life. Due to the general absence of light in cave environments, the majority of them are eyeless. Although the absence of eyes generally does not allow them to perceive luminous stimuli, some stygobionts still present phototaxis. Previous studies determined that different species of the eyeless amphipod crustaceans of the genus Niphargus are able to react to light; this has been interpreted as an adaptation to avoid dangerous surface habitats, even if recent studies suggest that this could also be an adaptation to exploit them when a situation is less dangerous (i.e., during the night). Niphargus thuringius is a stygobiont amphipod that can also be observed in spring environments despite possessing all the main morphological features of subterranean organisms, such as depigmentation and a lack of eyes. In the present study, we test how the species respond to light stimuli according to the light cycle and predation risk experienced during a conditioning period. We assessed the reactions to light stimuli of adult individuals of N. thuringius after 30 days of rearing in microcosms with different conditions of light occurrence (total darkness or a light/darkness daily cycle) and predation risk (without predators, with one predator, and with two predators). Both light stimuli during the test and rearing conditions affected the behavior of Niphargus thuringius. With light stimuli, individuals presented a strong photophobic response. Moreover, individuals reared in conditions of high predation risk preferred a more sheltered environment during behavioral tests than individuals reared in safe conditions. Our results add a new species to those of stygobiont amphipods known to display negative phototaxis, confirming that this pattern is widespread and conserved in the field. N. thuringius could be a good candidate model to perform further studies aiming to assess if differences occur between spring populations and populations present in deeper groundwater. Full article
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