Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100202
Abstract:Spiders are a diverse group with a high eco-morphological diversity, which complicates anatomical descriptions especially with regard to its terminology. New terms are constantly proposed, and definitions and limits of anatomical concepts are regularly updated. Therefore, it is often challenging to find the correct terms, even for trained scientists, especially when the terminology has obstacles such as synonyms, disputed definitions, ambiguities, or homonyms. Here, we present the Spider Anatomy Ontology (SPD), which we developed combining the functionality of a glossary (a controlled defined vocabulary) with a network of formalized relations between terms that can be used to compute inferences. The SPD follows the guidelines of the Open Biomedical Ontologies and is available through the NCBO BioPortal (ver. 1.1). It constitutes of 757 valid terms and definitions, is rooted with the Common Anatomy Reference Ontology (CARO), and has cross references to other ontologies, especially of arthropods. The SPD offers a wealth of anatomical knowledge that can be used as a resource for any scientific study as, for example, to link images to phylogenetic datasets, compute structural complexity over phylogenies, and produce ancestral ontologies. By using a common reference in a standardized way, the SPD will help bridge diverse disciplines, such as genomics, taxonomy, systematics, evolution, ecology, and behavior.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100201
Abstract:Here we present a comprehensive review of the diversity revealed by research in limnology and microbial ecology conducted in Byers Peninsula (Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica) during the last two decades. The site constitutes one of the largest ice-free areas within the Antarctic Peninsula region. Since it has a high level of environmental protection, it is less human-impacted compared to other sites within the South Shetland archipelago. The main investigations in Byers Peninsula focused on the physical and chemical limnology of the lakes, ponds, rivers, and wetlands, as well as on the structure of their planktonic and benthic microbial communities, and on the functional ecology of the microbial food webs. Lakes and ponds in Byers range along a productivity gradient that extends from the less productive lakes located upland to the eutrophic coastal lakes. Their planktonic assemblages include viruses, bacteria, a metabolically diverse community of protists (i.e., autotrophs, heterotrophs, and mixotrophs), and a few metazooplankton species. Most of the studies conducted in the site demonstrate the strong influence of the physical environment (i.e., temperature, availability of light, and water) and nutrient availability in structuring these microbial communities. However, top-down biotic processes may occur in summer, when predation by zooplankton can exert a strong influence on the abundance of protists, including flagellates and ciliated protozoa. As a consequence, bacterioplankton could be partly released from the grazing pressure exerted by these protists, and proliferates fueled by external nutrient subsidies from the lake’s catchment. As summer temperatures in this region are slightly above the melting point of water, biotic processes, such as those related to the productivity of lakes during ice-free periods, could become even more relevant as warming induced by climate change progresses. The limnological research carried out at the site proves that Byers Peninsula deserves special attention in the framework of the research in extreme environments. Together with nearby sites, such as Signy Island, Byers Peninsula comprises a featuring element of the Maritime Antarctic region that represents a benchmark area relative to the global distribution and diversity of aquatic microorganisms.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100200
Abstract:Elevational gradients provide a unique opportunity to explore species responses to changing environmental conditions. Here, we focus on an elevational gradient in Crete, a climate-vulnerable Mediterranean plant biodiversity hotspot and explore the diversity patterns and underlying mechanisms of different plant life forms. We found that the significant differences in life forms’ elevational and environmental ranges are reflected in α- diversity (species richness at local scale), γ-diversity (species richness at regional scale) and β-diversity (variation in species composition). The α- and γ-diversity decreased with elevation, while β-diversity followed a hump-shaped relationship, with the peak varying between life forms. However, β-deviation (deviation from null expectations) varied significantly with elevation but was life formindependent. This suggests that species composition is shaped by the size of the available species pool which depends on life form, but also by other deterministic or stochastic processes that act in a similar way for different life forms. The strength of these processes varies with elevation, with hotter–drier conditions and increased human activities filtering species composition at lowlands and large-scale processes determining the species pool size overriding local ecological processes at higher elevations.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100198
Abstract:Modern agriculture has responded to the growing pressure for animal-protein consumption in the global human population by selecting for specific production traits, which, over the last fifty years, has resulted in a loss of genetic diversity. Most rare and endangered breeds of livestock have not experienced the same selection pressures for production and therefore may contain useful genetic traits not found within modern breeds. In an effort to maintain biodiversity of livestock breeds, the SVF Foundation, a non-profit organization founded to preserve the genetic diversity of food and fiber livestock, has established an ex situ repository of genetic material from endangered North American cattle, sheep, and goats. This genetic material includes in vivo and in vitro produced embryos, semen, fibroblasts, serum, and whole blood DNA cards. The majority of samples in the SVF repository are cryopreserved, creating a genome resource bank for future use. Through the Smithsonian and SVF Biodiversity Preservation Project, this repository will be maintained at the Smithsonian’s Front Royal, VA, facility. This effort represents an excellent model for understanding and sustaining the genetic diversity of rare breeds in the US and in other countries.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100199
Abstract:The lowland rainforests of the Amazon basin harbor some of the most species-rich reptile communities on Earth. However, there is considerable heterogeneity among climatically-similar sites across the Amazon basin, and faunal surveys for southwestern Amazonia in particular have revealed lower species diversity relative to sites in the northwestern and central Amazon. Here, we report a herpetofaunal inventory for Los Amigos Biological Station (LABS), a lowland site located in the Madre de Dios watershed of southern Peru. By combining active search and passive trapping methods with prior records for the site, we provide a comprehensive species list for squamate reptiles from LABS. We also estimate an “expected” list for LABS by tabulating additional taxa known from the regional species pool that we consider to have a high probability of detection with further sampling. The LABS total of 60 snake and 26 lizard taxa is perhaps the highest for any single site in the southern Amazon. Our estimate of the regional species pool for LABS suggests that the southwestern Amazonian lowlands harbor at least 25% fewer species of snakes relative to the western equatorial Amazon, a diversity reduction that is consistent with patterns observed in several other taxonomic groups. We discuss potential causes of this western Amazonian richness gradient and comment on the relationship between spatial diversity patterns in squamates and other taxa in the Amazon basin.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100196
Abstract:We analyze the structure of diameter, richness, and diversity of the forests in the upper limit of the great Amazon basin located in the Ecuadorian territory of the Cordilleras del Cóndor and Cutucú. Our hypothesis was that the forests of the eastern mountain ranges are not homogeneous, but rather present differences in their structure, richness, and floristic diversity. Our main objective was to classify the types of forests based on the characteristics of the diameter structure and the species composition of the Amazonian forests of the eastern mountain ranges in southern Ecuador, and we determined the influence of critical edaphic, environmental, and geomorphological factors, For this we installed eight permanent plots of one hectare in homogeneous and well preserved forest stands, four plots in the province of Zamora Chinchipe and four in the province of Morona Santiago. We identified and measured all trees >10 cm at chest height and for each plot, soil samples, as well as environmental and slope data were taken. We performed an non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis (NMDS) analysis to evaluate changes in climatic and geomorphological gradients, and used the CCA analysis to assess the relationship between the composition of the species at the plot level and the edapho-climatic variables. Finally, we modeled the change in diversity ad species (Fisher’s alpha) in relation to climatic, altitudinal, and geomorphological gradients using a GLM. We determined the existence of two different types of forest, the first called Terra Firme, characterized by the presence of a greater number of species and individuals per plot as compared to the second type of forest called Tepuy or Sandstone forest. Species richness was negatively correlated with the phosphorus content of the soil and the pH, annual average temperature, annual rainfall, and altitude. Terra Firme forests, settled in more stable and nutrient-rich climatic areas, were more diverse and Sandstone forests are poor in nutrients and develop in areas with greater seasonality.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100197
Abstract:Anti-seasonal drying-wetting cycles since 2010 have substantially altered its soil and vegetation status in the drawdown zone of China’s Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR). Such alternations may thus affect the composition and functioning of soil microbial communities, including the beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), which enhance plant performance. Moreover, limited information is available if AMF communities are different in soils and roots, particularly under contrasting land-use changes. By combining the Illumina Miseq sequencing with bioinformatics analyses, AMF communities in both rhizosphere soils and roots of a stoloniferous and rhizomatous C4 perennial of Cynodon dactylon were characterized under three land-use types: (1) crop cultivated, (2) non-cultivated non-disturbed, and (3) disturbed non-cultivated land. A total of 35 and 26 AMF taxa were respectively detected from C. dactylon rhizosphere soils and roots from these three land-use types, which had endured four anti-seasonal drying/summer-wetting/winter cycles. Contrasting differentiations in the AMF community composition and structure were displayed in the C. dactylon rhizosphere soils and roots, and between land-use types. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling analyses revealed that AMF communities significantly correlated to soil organic carbon in the rhizosphere soils and roots of C. dactylon, to land-use types only in rhizosphere soils, whereas to soil moisture only in roots. Our results highlight the effects of soil nutrients and land-use changes on AMF community composition and diversity under the canopy of C. dactylon in TGR. The identified dominant AMF taxa can be employed to vegetation restoration in such degraded habitats globally.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100194
Abstract:Straw retention, an alternative to artificial fertilization, commonly mitigates soil degradation and positively affects soil fertility. In this study, we investigated the succession of soil bacteria during two sugarcane straw retention treatments (control (CK) and sugarcane straw retention (SR)) and at four depths (0–10, 10–20, 20–30, and 30–40 cm) in fallow soil in a sugarcane cropping system. Using an Illumina MiSeq (16S rRNA) and soil enzyme activity, we explored the SR influence on soil bacterial communities and enzyme activities and its inclusive impact on soil fertility, with an emphasis on topsoil (0–10 cm) and subsoil (10–40 cm). Our results show that SR effectively improved soil fertility indicators (C, N, and P), including enzyme activities (C and N cycling), throughout the soil profile: these soil parameters greatly improved in the topsoil compared to the control. Sugarcane straw retention and soil depth (0–10 cm vs. 10–40 cm) were associated with little variation in bacterial species richness and alpha diversity throughout the soil profile. Subsoil and topsoil bacterial communities differed in composition. Compared to the CK treatment, SR enriched the topsoil with Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, and Nitrospirae, while the subsoil was depleted in Nitrospirae and Acidobacteria. Similarly, SR enriched the subsoil with Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, Gemmatimonadetes, and Bacteroidetes, while the topsoil was depleted in Acidobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, and Planctomycetes compared to the CK. At the genus level, SR enriched the topsoil with Gp1, Gp2, Gp5, Gp7, Gemmatimonas, Kofleria, Sphingomonas, and Gaiella, which decompose lignocellulose and contribute to nutrient cycling. In summary, SR not only improved soil physicochemical properties and enzyme activities but also enriched bacterial taxa involved in lignocellulosic decomposition and nutrient cycling (C and N) throughout the soil profile. However, these effects were stronger in topsoil than in subsoil, suggesting that SR enhanced fertility more in topsoil than in subsoil in fallow land.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100195
Abstract:Bacterial and archaeal diversity and succession were studied during a mesocosm experiment that investigated whether changing light regimes could affect the onset of phytoplankton blooms. For this, 454-pyrosequencing of the bacterial V1-V3 and archaeal V3-V9 16S rRNA regions was performed in samples collected from four mesocosms receiving different light irradiances at the beginning and the end of the experiment and during phytoplankton growth. In total, 46 bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with ≥1% relative abundance occurred (22–34 OTUs per mesocosm). OTUs were affiliated mainly with Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae and Alteromonadaceae. The four mesocosms shared 11 abundant OTUs. Dominance increased at the beginning of phytoplankton growth in all treatments and decreased thereafter. Maximum dominance was found in the mesocosms with high irradiances. Overall, specific bacterial OTUs had different responses in terms of relative abundance under in situ and high light intensities, and an early phytoplankton bloom resulted in different bacterial community structures both at high (family) and low (OTU) taxonomic levels. Thus, bacterial community structure and succession are affected by light regime, both directly and indirectly, which may have implications for an ecosystem’s response to environmental changes.
Diversity, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/d11100193
Abstract:This study investigated the spatial variation in the components of a microbial food web (viruses, picoplankton, nanoflagellates, and ciliates) in different hydrographic environments in the Taiwan Strait during winter. Water temperature and salinity varied spatially, with lower temperatures (15.3–22.8 °C) and salinities (32.2–33.4 psu) in the northern part of the Taiwan Strait, largely affected by runoff from the coast of China. Concentrations of nutrients and Chl a were significantly higher in the northern part than that in the southern part of the study area. Synechococcus spp., nanoflagellate, and ciliate abundance also varied significantly, with the northern strait having higher abundances of these communities. In contrast, a higher abundance of bacteria was found in the southern part of the Taiwan Strait. The results of this study, which describes two different ecosystems in the Taiwan Strait, suggest that during winter, a “viral loop” might play an important role in controlling bacterial production in the southern part of the Taiwan Strait, while nanofalgellate grazing of picophytoplankton may contribute mainly to the flux of energy in the northern part.