Topic Editors

CE3C—Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Azorean Biodiversity Group, CHANGE—Global Change and Sustainability Institute, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and the Environment, University of the Azores, PT-9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal
CE3C—Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Azorean Biodiversity Group, CHANGE—Global Change and Sustainability Institute, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and the Environment, University of the Azores, PT-9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal
CE3C—Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Azorean Biodiversity Group, CHANGE—Global Change and Sustainability Institute, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and the Environment, University of the Azores, PT-9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal

Biodiversity in the Azores: A Whole Biota Assessment

Abstract submission deadline
closed (15 February 2024)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (15 April 2024)
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Azores Islands form an isolated volcanic archipelago that is home to a unique biodiversity, with a high number of endemic species, unique evolutionary lineages and fascinating species interactions. Today, the native terrestrial and marine biotas of these species are affected by various drivers of global change, including land use changes and fragmentation (in the terrestrial biotas), the introduction of exotic invasive species, habitat pollution and climatic changes. Therefore, it is essential to improve our understanding of the drivers of the biodiversity observed in the Azorean Islands so as to inform and adopt the most appropriate conservation management practices for these terrestrial and marine ecosystems. In this Topic, we aim to incorporate diverse contributions covering areas such as taxonomy, species inventories and updated checklists, ecology, biogeographical analyses, evolutionary studies and conservation. Furthermore, we aim to assess the effects of conservation-related activities on the protection of Azorean biodiversity, as well as the value afforded to it, on the species and community levels. Both original research articles and reviews are welcome for submission to this Special Issue. We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Rosalina Gabriel
Dr. João Pedro Barreiros
Prof. Dr. Paulo A. V. Borges
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • Azores
  • Macaronesia
  • island biodiversity
  • invasion biology
  • species interactions
  • biodiversity hotspots
  • endemic species conservation
  • conservation threats
  • deep-sea research
  • invasive species impact and control
  • biodiversity drivers
  • conservation management
  • global change
  • Species Abundance Distribution (SAD)
  • Species Area Relationship (SAR)

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Diversity
diversity
2.4 3.1 2009 17.8 Days CHF 2600
Ecologies
ecologies
- - 2020 19.8 Days CHF 1000
Insects
insects
3.0 4.2 2010 17 Days CHF 2600
Plants
plants
4.5 5.4 2012 15.3 Days CHF 2700
Taxonomy
taxonomy
- - 2021 45.2 Days CHF 1000

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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11 pages, 983 KiB  
Article
Biological Integrity of Azorean Native Forests Is Better Measured in Cold Season
by Noelline Tsafack, Sébastien Lhoumeau, Alejandra Ros-Prieto, Loic Navarro, Timea Kocsis, Sónia Manso, Telma Figueiredo, Maria Teresa Ferreira and Paulo A. V. Borges
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1189; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121189 - 30 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 864
Abstract
The Azorean archipelago, recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, is home to a diverse and unique community of arthropod species, highlighting a notable degree of endemism. However, the native forests that support these species are facing significant degradation due to habitat [...] Read more.
The Azorean archipelago, recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, is home to a diverse and unique community of arthropod species, highlighting a notable degree of endemism. However, the native forests that support these species are facing significant degradation due to habitat loss and fragmentation. In this study, we aimed to determine the ideal season for measuring the biological integrity of forest sites using a biological integrity index (IBI) based on arthropod communities captured with Sea, Land, and Air Malaise (SLAM) traps. Drawing on more than thirty years of research experience in the Azorean forests, we selected twelve reference sites, six representing preserved native forest and six representing disturbed native forest, and compared how IBI values vary between seasons. IBI values exhibited consistent variations between seasons in disturbed sites, indicating that measuring the biological integrity in these areas can be conducted at any time of the year without a specific seasonal preference. In contrast, significant differences were observed in pristine forest sites, with the winter season and the combination of winter and spring data (cold semester) showing notably higher values compared to other seasons and semesters. This finding suggests that measuring the biological integrity of preserved sites is best optimized in the cold seasons, while the detection of exotic species impact is most effective in summer and autumn. Consequently, if resources are limited, monitoring efforts should be concentrated in the winter and summer seasons to obtain the maximum and minimum values of IBI, respectively. Additionally, our study suggests that the summer season is the optimal time to detect potentially invasive exotic species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biodiversity in the Azores: A Whole Biota Assessment)
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14 pages, 1532 KiB  
Article
Non-Native Marine Macroalgae of the Azores: An Updated Inventory
by Daniela Gabriel, Ana Isabel Ferreira, Joana Micael and Suzanne Fredericq
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101089 - 17 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1105
Abstract
Non-native species (NNS) represent a threat to biodiversity, and their occurrence and distribution should be periodically updated and made easily available to researchers and policymakers. An updated inventory of macroalgal NNS currently present in the Azores was produced based on published reports. Data [...] Read more.
Non-native species (NNS) represent a threat to biodiversity, and their occurrence and distribution should be periodically updated and made easily available to researchers and policymakers. An updated inventory of macroalgal NNS currently present in the Azores was produced based on published reports. Data concerning the first report and the distribution in the archipelago are provided for each species, as well as their respective native ranges and possible vectors of introduction. The resulting list comprises 42 taxa, i.e., 8.05% of the marine flora presently reported in the Azores, with 16 new NNS recorded over the last decade. The most isolated islands of the Western Group presented lower numbers of NNS (4.25% and 6.25%). In contrast, the two islands with the most used marina for transatlantic recreational sailing presented higher numbers (12.90% and 16.87%). Shipping is the main introduction vector (68%), whereas most macroalgal NNS are originally from the Pacific Ocean (31%) and the Indo-Pacific (31%). The presence of 13 species is restricted to single islands, and no species is reported exclusively in the Western group. Asparagopsis armata is the only algal NNS reported from all islands of the Azores. Future work is proposed to support policymaking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biodiversity in the Azores: A Whole Biota Assessment)
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25 pages, 5281 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Impact of Insect Decline in Islands: Exploring the Diversity and Community Patterns of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Arthropods in the Azores Native Forest over 10 Years
by Sébastien Lhoumeau and Paulo A. V. Borges
Diversity 2023, 15(6), 753; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15060753 - 08 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2083
Abstract
The ongoing decline of insect populations highlight the need for long-term ecological monitoring. As part of the “SLAM—Long Term Ecological Study of the Impacts of Climate Change on the Natural Forests of Azores” project, we investigated changes in arthropod diversity and community structure [...] Read more.
The ongoing decline of insect populations highlight the need for long-term ecological monitoring. As part of the “SLAM—Long Term Ecological Study of the Impacts of Climate Change on the Natural Forests of Azores” project, we investigated changes in arthropod diversity and community structure over a ten-year period (2012–2022) in the native forest of the island of Terceira (Azores). Focused on two arthropod assemblages (indigenous and non-indigenous species) monitored with SLAM traps, we asked if there was a distinguishable pattern in the diversity and structure of the studied arthropod subsets in a pristine island native forest. Species richness remained relatively constant. Endemic arthropods dominated and remained stable over time, indicating the forest’s ecological stability. In contrast, the assemblage of native non-endemic arthropods underwent changes, including increased hyperdominance and decreased biomass. The introduced arthropod assemblage showed more erratic dynamics driven by species turnover. Results suggested that temporal variation in each subset may be due to different ecological processes and that niche filtering may limit the establishment and spread of introduced arthropods. This research contributes to our understanding of the temporal dynamics of arthropods in native island forests and highlights the need for ongoing conservation efforts to protect these fragile ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biodiversity in the Azores: A Whole Biota Assessment)
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12 pages, 2168 KiB  
Article
How Many Azores Bullfinches (Pyrrhula murina) Are There in the World? Case Study of a Threatened Species
by Tarso de M. M. Costa, Artur Gil, Sergio Timóteo, Ricardo S. Ceia, Rúben Coelho and Azucena de la Cruz Martin
Diversity 2023, 15(5), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15050685 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 1366
Abstract
The Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina Godman, 1866) is a rare Passeriformes endemic from the eastern part of São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal. This bird was almost considered extinct in the first half of the 20th century, but due to recent conservation measures, [...] Read more.
The Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina Godman, 1866) is a rare Passeriformes endemic from the eastern part of São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal. This bird was almost considered extinct in the first half of the 20th century, but due to recent conservation measures, it has experienced a recovery since the beginning of the 2000s. Despite the attention given to this bird, the size of its population is still controversial, and the most recent studies present significant divergences on this behalf. The purpose of the present study is to present data from the long-term monitoring and results of the third single-morning survey of the Azores bullfinch to update information about the population size and range of this species. In addition, we performed a literature review to highlight the limitations and advantages of the different approaches for monitoring this species. The Azores Bullfinch records during the single-morning survey indicated a reduction in the extent of occurrence and area of occupancy of this species in comparison with the previous studies, despite the increase in bird detection. However, we suggest that the distribution range of this species needs further analysis concerning its area to exclude non suitable habitats from this analysis. In this study, we conclude that the most likely size of the Azores bullfinch population is 500 to 800 couples, with a slow population growth tendency and an area of distribution of 136.5 km2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biodiversity in the Azores: A Whole Biota Assessment)
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38 pages, 16027 KiB  
Article
Characterizing and Quantifying Water Content in 14 Species of Bryophytes Present in Azorean Native Vegetation
by Márcia C. M. Coelho, Rosalina Gabriel and Claudine Ah-Peng
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020295 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2650
Abstract
Bryophytes are an important component of plant diversity, may be found from sea level to mountaintops, and are particularly conspicuous on the Azores islands. These plants rely on environmental water, which acquires intercepting rain and dew (liquid water) and uses fog (water vapor), [...] Read more.
Bryophytes are an important component of plant diversity, may be found from sea level to mountaintops, and are particularly conspicuous on the Azores islands. These plants rely on environmental water, which acquires intercepting rain and dew (liquid water) and uses fog (water vapor), and transports both externally, by capillary forces, and internally, in different cells (specialized or not). This study characterizes and quantifies the ability of six liverworts and eight mosses to retain water, through different pathways, and to lose water by evaporation. Twelve replicates of each species were collected in Azorean native vegetation during the summer of 2016. The absolute water content (AWC) was obtained through measurements of specimens saturated, without free water, and completely dry. Most of the 14-target species showed an ectohydric behavior pattern retaining more than 60% of water through gametophyte surface. The AWC value ranged from 646% in Polytrichum commune to 5584% in Sphagnum subnitens. The water loss by direct evaporation showed, for most of species, an exponential decay curve along time. Understanding how much native bryophytes, acquire, store, and release water into the system contributes not only to the knowledge of native vegetation resilience but also to potential impacts on the availability and quality of water—a major ecosystem service performed by bryophytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biodiversity in the Azores: A Whole Biota Assessment)
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16 pages, 1221 KiB  
Article
The Importance of Including Spatial Autocorrelation When Modelling Species Richness in Archipelagos: A Bayesian Approach
by Diogo Duarte Barros, Maria da Luz Mathias, Paulo A. V. Borges and Luís Borda-de-Água
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020127 - 17 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2410
Abstract
One of the aims of island biogeography theory is to explain the number of species in an archipelago. Traditionally, the variables used to explain the species richness on an island are its area and distance to the mainland. However, increasing evidence suggests that [...] Read more.
One of the aims of island biogeography theory is to explain the number of species in an archipelago. Traditionally, the variables used to explain the species richness on an island are its area and distance to the mainland. However, increasing evidence suggests that accounting for other variables is essential for better estimates. In particular, the distance between islands should play a role in determining species richness. This work uses a Bayesian framework using Gaussian processes to assess whether distance to neighbouring islands (spatial autocorrelation) can better explain arthropod species richness patterns in the Azores Archipelago and in the Canary Islands. This method is flexible and allows the inclusion of other variables, such as maximum altitude above sea level (elevation). The results show that accounting for spatial autocorrelation provides the best results for both archipelagos, but overall, spatial autocorrelation seems to be more important in the Canary archipelago. Similarly, elevation plays a more important role in determining species richness in the Canary Islands. We recommend that spatial autocorrelation should always be considered when modelling an archipelago’s species richness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biodiversity in the Azores: A Whole Biota Assessment)
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