Topic Editors

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, Università del Salento, Centro Ecotekne, Via Provinciale Lecce Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Laboratory of Zoogeography and Fauna, DiSTeBA (Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies), University of Salento, Campus Ecotekne, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 70126 Bari, Italy
Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, 70126 Bari, Italy
Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences (DISSPA), University of Bari, Via Amendola 165, 70126 Bari, Italy
Ethnobotany and Ethnobiology, University of Gastronomic Sciences, 12042 Pollenzo, Italy

Mediterranean Biodiversity

Abstract submission deadline
15 July 2024
Manuscript submission deadline
15 September 2024
Viewed by
11163

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

This topic is related to the organization of the Italian 14th National Conference on Biodiversity—1st International Conference of Mediterranean Biodiversity, Lecce, Italy, 13‒15 September 2023. The aim is to promote the advancement of knowledge based on the research activity founded on the rigor of the scientific method. In particular, the Conference will be a showcase for studies and research focusing on “Biodiversity, Resilience and Climate Change”. Since the birth of agriculture more than 12,000 years ago, we have witnessed a continuous erosion of biodiversity as natural ecosystems have shrunk in favor of cultivated areas. Agriculture has led to the emergence of the concept of agrobiodiversity and the proliferation of many typical local varieties (sometimes of species imported from other continents). Today, safeguarding the productivity, sustainability, and biodiversity of the agroecosystem is helpful in preventing new natural areas from being sacrificed for crop fields. However, in recent years, increasing greenhouse gases and average temperatures have introduced additional variables into this challenge. The effects of climate change on biodiversity are already visible: species distribution, flowering periods, and bird migrations are changing. It is, therefore, necessary for humans to be able to help ensure the proper health of ecosystems because our prosperity and well-being depend on the ecosystem services that nature provides. Climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem degradation are interconnected and have devastating consequences for our economic and social stability, health, and well-being. The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, a key pillar of the European Green Deal, includes a nature restoration plan that can promote the proliferation of so-called “nature-based solutions” that are viable socioeconomic options regarding agroforestry, water resources, and the urban environment. Biodiversity, resilience, and climate change are, thus, closely interrelated issues that constitute the future strategic challenge of sustainable development. An innovative biodiversity preservation strategy covering not only the primary terrestrial and aquatic environments formed through millions of years is needed, but also the secondary natural environments determined by human action over the centuries (particularly in recent decades) that have led from “cultivated fields” to today's rural areas. The topic is intended to include articles related to Biodiversity in the broadest sense, such as the following non-exhaustive list:

  • Biodiversity of agro-systems;
  • Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including plants, animals, and microorganisms, and their physiology and interaction;
  • Biodiversity, land, and landscape including urban/peri-urban, coastal, and marine systems;
  • Climate change and alien species;
  • Biodiversity and culture;
  • Biodiversity and human well-being and health including gastronomy;
  • Ecosystem services and economic-social impact of Biodiversity;
  • European, national, and regional policies.

Prof. Dr. Luigi De Bellis
Prof. Dr. Genuario Belmonte
Dr. Massimiliano Renna
Dr. Elena Ciani
Dr. Monica Marilena Miazzi
Prof. Dr. Andrea Pieroni
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • plants
  • animals
  • microorganisms
  • alien species
  • terrestrial
  • coastal and marine systems
  • human well-being and health
  • culture
  • gastronomy
  • national and regional policies

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Agriculture
agriculture
3.6 3.6 2011 17.7 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Agronomy
agronomy
3.7 5.2 2011 15.8 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Forests
forests
2.9 4.5 2010 16.9 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Gastronomy
gastronomy
- - 2023 15.0 days * CHF 1000 Submit
Grasses
grasses
- - 2022 15.0 days * CHF 1000 Submit
Horticulturae
horticulturae
3.1 2.4 2015 14.7 Days CHF 2200 Submit
Sustainability
sustainability
3.9 5.8 2009 18.8 Days CHF 2400 Submit

* Median value for all MDPI journals in the second half of 2023.


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Published Papers (9 papers)

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17 pages, 5221 KiB  
Article
Tree-Related Microhabitats and Multi-Taxon Biodiversity Quantification Exploiting ALS Data
by Francesco Parisi, Giovanni D’Amico, Elia Vangi, Gherardo Chirici, Saverio Francini, Claudia Cocozza, Francesca Giannetti, Guglielmo Londi, Susanna Nocentini, Costanza Borghi and Davide Travaglini
Forests 2024, 15(4), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15040660 - 05 Apr 2024
Viewed by 525
Abstract
The quantification of tree-related microhabitats (TreMs) and multi-taxon biodiversity is pivotal to the implementation of forest conservation policies, which are crucial under the current climate change scenarios. We assessed the capacity of Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data to quantify biodiversity indices related to [...] Read more.
The quantification of tree-related microhabitats (TreMs) and multi-taxon biodiversity is pivotal to the implementation of forest conservation policies, which are crucial under the current climate change scenarios. We assessed the capacity of Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data to quantify biodiversity indices related to both forest beetle and bird communities and TreMs, calculating the species richness and types of saproxylic and epixylic TreMs using the Shannon index. As biodiversity predictors, 240 ALS-derived metrics were calculated: 214 were point-cloud based, 14 were pixel-level from the canopy height model, and 12 were RGB spectral statistics. We used the random forests algorithm to predict species richness and the Shannon diversity index, using the field plot measures as dependent variables and the ALS-derived metrics as predictors for each taxon and TreMs type. The final models were used to produce wall-to-wall maps of biodiversity indices. The Shannon index produced the best performance for each group considered, with a mean difference of −6.7%. Likewise, the highest R2 was for the Shannon index (0.17, against 0.14 for richness). Our results confirm the importance of ALS data in assessing forest biodiversity indicators that are relevant for monitoring forest habitats. The proposed method supports the quantification and monitoring of the measures needed to implement better forest stands and multi-taxon biodiversity conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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14 pages, 4247 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Agrobiodiversity: Designing an In Vitro Screening Protocol for Solanum lycopersicum L. and Solanum pimpinellifolium L. to Explore Responses to Salinity Stress
by Susanna Cialli, Alice Trivellini, Giulia Carmassi, Luca Incrocci and Anna Mensuali
Horticulturae 2024, 10(4), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10040322 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 523
Abstract
The foremost cause behind worldwide crop losses is attributed to abiotic stresses. Among them, salinity is a major concern for agriculture and is expected to play an increasingly important role as rising food demands and climate changes will inevitably lead to the greater [...] Read more.
The foremost cause behind worldwide crop losses is attributed to abiotic stresses. Among them, salinity is a major concern for agriculture and is expected to play an increasingly important role as rising food demands and climate changes will inevitably lead to the greater use of marginal lands and poor-quality irrigation water. Tomato is a moderately salinity-sensitive crop which is widely used in the presence of poor-quality irrigation water without manifesting yield reduction. However, the excessive accumulation of salts can reduce photosynthetic efficiency, unbalance nutrient assimilation, reduce growth, and reduce product quality. This study was undertaken to explore the response of some varieties of Solanum lycopersicum that could be used as model systems to evaluate the performance of wild tomato ecotypes in future studies to identify genetic resources that respond adequately to climate change in the Mediterranean area. Tomato seedlings were raised in vitro on plates with sucrose-free agarized medium containing increasing concentrations of sea salt. The autotrophic conditions enabled a response resembling the plant’s behavior in vivo. The obtained results identified an interesting variety that can be used as a model for modern cultivars and concentrations, from which the behavior of some Solanum spp. can be further investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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14 pages, 3406 KiB  
Article
A Glimpse into the Genetic Heritage of the Olive Tree in Malta
by Monica Marilena Miazzi, Antonella Pasqualone, Marion Zammit-Mangion, Michele Antonio Savoia, Valentina Fanelli, Silvia Procino, Susanna Gadaleta, Francesco Luigi Aurelio and Cinzia Montemurro
Agriculture 2024, 14(3), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14030495 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 792
Abstract
The genetic diversity of the ancient autochthonous olive trees on the Maltese islands and the relationship with the wild forms growing in marginal areas of the island (57 samples), as well as with the most widespread cultivars in the Mediterranean region (150 references), [...] Read more.
The genetic diversity of the ancient autochthonous olive trees on the Maltese islands and the relationship with the wild forms growing in marginal areas of the island (57 samples), as well as with the most widespread cultivars in the Mediterranean region (150 references), were investigated by genetic analysis with 10 SSR markers. The analysis revealed a high genetic diversity of Maltese germplasm, totaling 84 alleles and a Shannon information index (I) of 1.08. All samples from the upper and the lower part of the crown of the Bidni trees belonged to the same genotype, suggesting that there was no secondary top-grafting of the branches. The Bidni trees showed close relationships with the local wild germplasm, suggesting that the oleaster population played a role in the selection of the Bidni variety. Genetic similarities were also found between Maltese cultivars and several Italian varieties including accessions putatively resistant to the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which has recently emerged in the Apulia region (Italy) and has caused severe epidemics on olive trees over the last decade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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14 pages, 3214 KiB  
Review
Verticillium Species as an Ecofriendly Alternative to Manage the Invasive Tree Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle
by Claudia Pisuttu
Forests 2024, 15(3), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15030462 - 01 Mar 2024
Viewed by 729
Abstract
Environmental pollution, unintended harm to beneficial organisms, and the development of herbicide resistance among weeds are the main consequences of the massive and consistent use of chemical herbicides in recent decades. The growing need for alternative solutions has been reinforced by restrictive policies, [...] Read more.
Environmental pollution, unintended harm to beneficial organisms, and the development of herbicide resistance among weeds are the main consequences of the massive and consistent use of chemical herbicides in recent decades. The growing need for alternative solutions has been reinforced by restrictive policies, leading to a search for natural herbicidal candidates. Mycoherbicides, formulations containing plant pathogenic fungi, are viewed as promising substitutes for chemical herbicides. In the case of Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle, one of the worst invasive alien tree species in the world, Verticillium-based mycoherbicides offer a viable method for control, inducing a lethal wilt disease and leading plants to death within a few years. The demonstrated significant effectiveness enables addressing challenges posed by other—conventional—approaches. The current analysis matches key internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats) of Verticillium Nees isolates as environmentally-friendly control agents against the invasive A. altissima, by listing each singularly and then crossing them among the categories, drawing from the collaborative efforts of American, Austrian, and Italian research teams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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11 pages, 2405 KiB  
Article
Adapting American Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) Varieties to Mediterranean Sustainable Agriculture: A Trellis Height Exploration
by Roberto Marceddu, Alessandra Carrubba, Vincenzo Alfeo, Alessandro Alessi and Mauro Sarno
Horticulturae 2024, 10(2), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10020181 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 750
Abstract
In recent years, Italy’s craft beer industry has seen remarkable growth, fostering the local production of key ingredients, notably hops. However, a research gap exists in exploring open-field hop productivity in typical Mediterranean climates using low-trellis systems. This study addressed this gap by [...] Read more.
In recent years, Italy’s craft beer industry has seen remarkable growth, fostering the local production of key ingredients, notably hops. However, a research gap exists in exploring open-field hop productivity in typical Mediterranean climates using low-trellis systems. This study addressed this gap by evaluating the productive performances of “Cascade” and “Chinook” hop varieties on “V” trellis systems at different heights (2.60, 3.60, and 4.60 m above ground) in inner Sicily’s Mediterranean climate and soil conditions. The results highlighted the significant impact of trellis height on various parameters, with Cascade displaying exceptional adaptability to low-trellis farming. Key factors like stem and leaf weight emerged as crucial drivers of cone yield, emphasizing their significance in hop cultivation. The distinct responses of Cascade and Chinook varieties to varying trellis heights underscored the need for tailored approaches, offering valuable insights for optimizing hop cultivation practices in semi-arid climates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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13 pages, 2728 KiB  
Article
Diversity of Crithmum maritimum L. from Salento Coastal Area: A Suitable Species for Domestication
by Rita Accogli, Eliana Nutricati, Luigi De Bellis, Massimiliano Renna, Andrea Luvisi and Carmine Negro
Horticulturae 2024, 10(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10010081 - 14 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Crithmum maritimum L., known as sea fennel, is an aromatic halophyte typical of the cliffs and coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Their phytochemicals have been of great interest in the food and pharmaceutical industry. In this work, we analyzed, [...] Read more.
Crithmum maritimum L., known as sea fennel, is an aromatic halophyte typical of the cliffs and coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Their phytochemicals have been of great interest in the food and pharmaceutical industry. In this work, we analyzed, by SPME/gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, the chemical variability of C. maritimum accessions in terms of volatile organic compounds. C. maritimum seeds were collected from different coastal sites in Salento, Southern Apulia, Italy, and subsequently cultivated ex situ. Several volatile compounds produced by C. maritimum leaves were detected, and, among them, D-limonene was found to be emitted at high levels by plants of all accessions representing the main compound, while other monoterpenes were produced at low levels. Moreover, the phenylpropene volatiles dillapiol and apiol (designated together as (dill)apiol) were emitted at variable amounts with different accessions. The correlation among groups based on volatile compounds has been analyzed using hierarchical cluster analysis, which has revealed three main groups based on (dill)apiol presence and its total amount in the cultivated plants of different geographic origins, confirming intraspecies biodiversity. Moreover, we have evaluated the seed germination and seedling development of C. maritimum in controlled conditions. We found no dormancy and a high germination rate for all samples analyzed. The chemo-diversity evidenced in cultivated plants obtained from seeds collected at different locations on the Salento peninsula is probably related to variations in climate resulting from different exposures along the coast. These findings highlighted the importance of C.maritimum as a suitable candidate for cultivation because it can tolerate harsh conditions/stresses and also has a possible use besides food and pharmaceuticals and for the restoration of coastal environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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12 pages, 1535 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Fruit Quality and Biochemical Traits of Rosehip (R. canina) Ecotypes in the Aegean Region of Türkiye
by Halil Ibrahim Sagbas
Horticulturae 2023, 9(12), 1292; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9121292 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 821
Abstract
Rosehip is a valuable fruit species in particular for rural populations. In this study, fruit quality parameters of 15 wild grown rosehip ecotypes naturally obtained from seeds in the Aegean Region of Türkiye were determined. The fruit weight, fruit firmness, fruit flesh ratio, [...] Read more.
Rosehip is a valuable fruit species in particular for rural populations. In this study, fruit quality parameters of 15 wild grown rosehip ecotypes naturally obtained from seeds in the Aegean Region of Türkiye were determined. The fruit weight, fruit firmness, fruit flesh ratio, fruit shape index, fruit skin color (chroma), soluble solid content, vitamin C, total phenolic, total carotenoid, total anthocyanin, total flavonoid and antioxidant capacity were investigated. The results showed great diversity among ecotypes. The fruit weight, fruit firmness, fruit flesh ratio, fruit shape index, fruit skin color (chroma) and soluble solid content were between 2.28 and 3.29 g, 4.70 and 7.12 N, 69.34 and 81.67%, 0.97 and 1.07, 53.04 and 60.71 and 18.87 and 21.28%, respectively. The total antioxidant capacity was found to be 15.78–28.17 mg AAE/g in a DPPH assay. The vitamin C content of rosehip fruits was measured as 507–621 mg/100 g. Among ecotypes, A-15 gave the biggest fruits, A-1 had the highest soluble solid content and A-13 had the highest vitamin C content. These results suggested that some ecotypes showed more potent bioactive properties than other ecotypes, mainly related to the variations in the antioxidant capacity and bioactive content between ecotypes. Overall, this study provides additional insight into investigating the genotype exhibition of multifunctional bioactive properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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9 pages, 2199 KiB  
Communication
First Report on the Occurrence of Cucurbitacins in an Italian Melon Landrace (Cucumis melo L.)
by Onofrio Davide Palmitessa, Andrea Castellaneta, Annalisa Somma, Adriano Didonna, Massimiliano Renna, Ilario Losito, Cosima Damiana Calvano, Tommaso R. I. Cataldi and Pietro Santamaria
Horticulturae 2023, 9(11), 1206; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9111206 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 973
Abstract
Scopatizzo, belonging to the Cucumis melo L., is a local variety of Apulia (Southern Italy), which is consumed as unripe melon as an alternative of cucumber due to its better-quality profile and for the absence of cucurbitacins. The latter are tetracyclic triterpenes synthesized [...] Read more.
Scopatizzo, belonging to the Cucumis melo L., is a local variety of Apulia (Southern Italy), which is consumed as unripe melon as an alternative of cucumber due to its better-quality profile and for the absence of cucurbitacins. The latter are tetracyclic triterpenes synthesized by some Cucurbitaceae species, known to confer an unpleasant taste to fruits and cause health problems. Following the discovery of Scopatizzo fruits with bitter taste, cucurbitacins were searched for in their ethanolic extract. Flow injection analysis with detection performed by atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-high resolution mass spectrometry provided evidence for the presence of at least four cucurbitacins, which were absent in typical, sweet-tasting fruits. Further insight into this discovery will be required in the near future to assess if the detection of cucurbitacins may mark the appearance of genotypes whose fruits have features not compatible with commercialization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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15 pages, 5733 KiB  
Article
Algerian Fig Trees: Botanical and Morphometric Leaf Characterization
by Fahima Abdelkader, Ziane Laiadi, Susana Boso, José-Luis Santiago, Pilar Gago and María-Carmen Martínez
Horticulturae 2023, 9(5), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9050612 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3133
Abstract
Leaf morphology in plants is very important in the evaluation of intraspecific variation. Indeed, the leaves of the fig tree (Ficus carica L.) present a great diversity of shape and size. The present study consists of the botanical, morphological, and morphometric characterization [...] Read more.
Leaf morphology in plants is very important in the evaluation of intraspecific variation. Indeed, the leaves of the fig tree (Ficus carica L.) present a great diversity of shape and size. The present study consists of the botanical, morphological, and morphometric characterization of the leaves of 26 local fig tree varieties cultivated in different areas of Bejaia (northeast Algeria). Our results indicate that the morphological parameters of the leaves allowed a good differentiation of the studied cultivars according to the descriptors (UPOV) among varieties and independent of their growing environment. Moreover, the method of morphometric description proposed in this paper allows the differentiation of varieties and the comparison among them in an objective way and by simple mathematical methods. This method demonstrates the existence of a very high percentage of polymorphisms within the studied varieties, but also their classification according to the number of lobes, the depth of the lateral sinuses, and the degree of openness of the angles performed by the main veins of the leaves. The Azougagh variety is characterized by wider angles, and, on the contrary, the Tassahlit variety has the least-open angles. None of the studied varieties presented “entire” leaves. The majority presented leaves with five lobes. The varieties Tilizwith, Tazarzourth, Avarkan, Tamkarkourth, and Inconnu B differed clearly from the rest by showing leaves with seven lobes and deep lateral sinuses. In contrast, the varieties Zarika, Baccor Blanc, Avarkan Lisse, and Avgaiti presented leaves with only three lobes. This is the first work on fig tree characterization using morphometric methods, which are shown to be complementary to the UPOV code and efficient in separating even the closed varieties. It will be interesting to extend these studies to larger scales and areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Mediterranean Biodiversity)
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