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Ecology of Aquatic Communities

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 7843

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biology, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, 700505 Iasi, Romania
Interests: aquatic ecology; ecotoxicology; water quality; aquatic biomonitoring; environmental pollution
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Bioinformatics, Institute of Research and Development for Biological Sciences, 296 Independenței Bd., District 6, 060031 Bucharest, Romania
Interests: freshwater ecology; cave biology and hyporheic zone; food webs; invasive species
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Marine and freshwater ecosystems host a significant number of aquatic species, comprising both vertebrates and invertebrates that contribute altogether to global biodiversity. In recent decades, pollution and climate change have become significant stressors for these communities, often leading to irreversible changes in taxonomic composition and species richness within aquatic ecosystems. The synergic interaction between ecological and biodiversity studies on aquatic ecosystems comprises a very informative method for properly assessing the ecological status of both marine and freshwater habitats.

Moreover, species interact within their habitats through inter- and intraspecific competition for food and space, leading to the occurrence of food webs. Native or invasive species often interact in the most unpredictable ways, in natural or human-affected habitats, which are crucial in deepening our understanding of such phenomena.

This Special Issue aims to provide an update of the information regarding evolution and the current stage of aquatic communities, as well as of the relationship with their habitats. Moreover, the interspecific and trophic interactions within aquatic communities, including the effects of invasive species, comprise another important direction that this Special Issue will focus on further.

The topics include:

  1. Aquatic food webs;
  2. Interspecific and intraspecific interactions;
  3. Invasive species

Dr. Gabriel-Ionut Plavan
Dr. Octavian Pacioglu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 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.

Keywords

  • aquatic ecology
  • freshwater communities
  • marine communities
  • aquatic ecosystems
  • aquatic biodiversity
  • cave and hyporheic zone
  • freshwater food webs
  • invasive species

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

10 pages, 2288 KiB  
Article
Distribution and Conservation Status of the Mountain Wetlands in the Romanian Carpathians
by Claudia Bita-Nicolae
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16672; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416672 - 13 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
Mountain wetland habitats are of particular importance because of their biodiversity, their aesthetic and recreational functions, and for providing services to humans (e.g., water for domestic use and livestock). At the same time, these practices can also have significant environment costs, including biodiversity [...] Read more.
Mountain wetland habitats are of particular importance because of their biodiversity, their aesthetic and recreational functions, and for providing services to humans (e.g., water for domestic use and livestock). At the same time, these practices can also have significant environment costs, including biodiversity loss and deterioration of water quality. For all their importance, these habitats are not well managed or conserved. The aim of the paper is to study the distribution of two of the most important and vulnerable habitats. The communities of Cardamino-Montion and Cratoneurion commutati belong, according to the European Red List of Habitats, to the habitats base-poor spring and spring brook (C2.1a) and calcareous spring and spring brook (C2.1b), respectively. This study draws on both original studies and national literature to highlight the characteristic features of mountain wetlands. The main objective of our research is to provide a management framework to facilitate the protection, enhancement and restoration of springs in the Romanian Carpathians and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Aquatic Communities)
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26 pages, 2315 KiB  
Article
Assessing Metallic Pollution Using Taxonomic Diversity of Offshore Meiobenthic Copepods
by Jalila Amorri, Gritta Veit-Köhler, Fehmi Boufahja, Omar H. Abd-Elkader, Gabriel Plavan, Ezzeddine Mahmoudi and Patricia Aïssa
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15670; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315670 - 25 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1392
Abstract
The Gulf of Gabès, located on the south-east Tunisian coast, is an important maritime area, with great influence on the local economy and human welfare. The aim of the current study was to assess the response of meiobenthic copepod populations from this gulf [...] Read more.
The Gulf of Gabès, located on the south-east Tunisian coast, is an important maritime area, with great influence on the local economy and human welfare. The aim of the current study was to assess the response of meiobenthic copepod populations from this gulf to anthropogenic disturbances. Nine sampling sites, situated along the shores of the gulf were surveyed seasonally from winter of 2004 to autumn of 2005. Interestingly, this biotope has one of the highest semi-diurnal tides in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the fact that the data being presented here are not that new, such a high maximum amplitude of tides reaching 2 m makes any information available on animals with diurnal dispersal cycles such as copepods extremely precious. Furthermore, the lack of knowledge on these crustaceans is obvious and lags behind that of numerous other meiobenthic taxa and planktonic calanoids. Actually, most publications do not reach the species level and are limited to determining densities. This is mainly due to the modest size of harpacticoids, and the lack of qualified taxonomic experts and global taxonomic databases. Sediment samples were analyzed for fluorine, carbohydrates and trace metals (i.e., Fe, Zn and Cd) content. A pollution index, based on the eigenvalues of the main ordination axis of a Principal Component Analysis, was applied. The highest values of chemicals were detected at the sites situated near an industrial complex, along with significant variations among seasons. The copepod community comprised 38 species, including five species new to science. Species richness, density and biomass of copepod communities varied among sites and seasons. These community-based indices were also analyzed separately for each season with conditional autoregressive models, revealing a significant negative response with the level of pollution. However, the results of partial Mantel tests showed positive correlations between species richness and pollution level, after controlling for the effect of geographic proximity in-between pairs of sites (winter: r = 0.927, p < 0.0001; spring: r = 0.935, p < 0.0001; summer: r = 0.918, p < 0.0001; autumn: r = 0.937, p < 0.0001). The overall pattern was that nearby sites were characterized by similar pollution levels and inhabited by similar species of copepods. Moreover, the copepod communities were significantly influenced by pollutants, mainly by trace metals. The results of the current survey emphasize the usefulness of meiobenthic copepods in biomonitoring programs not only for the gulf of Gabès, but also for other coastal areas from the Mediterranean Sea region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Aquatic Communities)
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29 pages, 5182 KiB  
Article
Invasive Apple Snail Diets in Native vs. Non-Native Habitats Defined by SIAR (Stable Isotope Analysis in R)
by Kevin E. Scriber, Christine A. M. France and Fatimah L. C. Jackson
Sustainability 2022, 14(12), 7108; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127108 - 10 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1942
Abstract
Invasive apple snails adversely impact the ecological function of non-native habitats, resulting in eutrophication as well as reduced biodiversity, which diminishes ecosystem goods and services, thereby [negatively] impacting human well-being. The onus here is to define the diet of an invasive apple snail [...] Read more.
Invasive apple snails adversely impact the ecological function of non-native habitats, resulting in eutrophication as well as reduced biodiversity, which diminishes ecosystem goods and services, thereby [negatively] impacting human well-being. The onus here is to define the diet of an invasive apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) in native (Maldonado, Uruguay) versus non-native habitats (Hangzhou, China, and Oahu, HI, USA). Diets for apple snails, in five sites, within both native and non-native habitats were defined via SIAR (Stable Isotope Analysis in R) with δ13C and δ15N stable isotope data collected therein. SIAR models indicate P. canaliculata shift diet from generalist (where myriad plant species comprise relatively small proportions of overall diet) to a specialist diet (where plants species constitute much larger proportions of said diet). What may be more telling is that in (anthropogenically disturbed) portions of the native habitat, and progressively more so in non-native habitats, invasive apple snail diets are increasingly composed of aquatic plants. The inherent and pronounced dietary differences amongst pristine and anthropogenically disturbed native habitats, as well as non-native habitats, provide a mechanism that may elucidate the variable ecological impacts of invasive apple snails within native and non-native habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Aquatic Communities)
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14 pages, 1299 KiB  
Article
What Is the Impact of Microplastics and Lipid Regulators on Marine Meiofauna? Case Study of Polyvinyl Chloride, Atorvastatin, and Simvastatin
by Mohamed Allouche, Sahar Ishak, Ahmed Nasri, Amor Hedfi, Manel Ben Ali, Bander Albogami, Mohammed Almalki, Octavian Pacioglu and Fehmi Boufahja
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313190 - 29 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1928
Abstract
A microcosm experiment was carried out to provide a deeper insight into the toxic mechanisms exerted by two lipid regulator agents, as well as their interactions with the polyvinyl chloride microplastic on marine meiofauna. Two concentrations of Atorvastatin “A” and of Simvastatin “S”, [...] Read more.
A microcosm experiment was carried out to provide a deeper insight into the toxic mechanisms exerted by two lipid regulator agents, as well as their interactions with the polyvinyl chloride microplastic on marine meiofauna. Two concentrations of Atorvastatin “A” and of Simvastatin “S”, (i.e., 0.6 mg.kg−1 and 6 mg.kg−1), as well as a single dosage of polyvinyl chloride microplastics “P” at 20 mg.kg−1, separately and their combined mixtures (“AP” and “SP”) were used on coastline dwelling marine meiofauna, with a main focus on nematodes. The results showed a significant reduction in meiofauna abundance in treatments compared to control. SIMPER analysis highlighted a significant decrease in the abundance of epigrowth feeders (2A), which possess conical (co) tails, and indistinct (id) amphideal foveas compared to control microcosms, reflected mainly in the decrease in abundance of the species Prochromadorella longicaudata. Furthermore, the contamination with microplastic affected only the omnivores-carnivores guild. Another finding of the current experiment is that the mixtures of microplastic with drugs lead to synergic interactions that increased their toxic effects on marine nematode communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Aquatic Communities)
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