ISSN / EISSN : 14242818 / 14242818
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 838
Latest articles in this journal
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040139
Glyphosate and copper-based herbicides/fungicides affect non-target organisms, and these incidental exposures can impact microbial populations. In this study, glyphosate resistance was found in the historical collection of S. cerevisiae, which was collected over the last century, but only in yeast isolated after the introduction of glyphosate. Although herbicide application was not recorded, the highest glyphosate-resistant S. cerevisiae were isolated from agricultural sites. In an effort to assess glyphosate resistance and impact on non-target microorganisms, different yeast species were harvested from 15 areas with known herbicidal histories, including an organic farm, conventional farm, remediated coal mine, suburban locations, state park, and a national forest. Yeast representing 23 genera were isolated from 237 samples of plant, soil, spontaneous fermentation, nut, flower, fruit, feces, and tree material samples. Saccharomyces, Candida, Metschnikowia, Kluyveromyces, Hanseniaspora, and Pichia were other genera commonly found across our sampled environments. Managed areas had less species diversity, and at the brewery only Saccharomyces and Pichia were isolated. A conventional farm growing RoundUp Ready™ corn had the lowest phylogenetic diversity and the highest glyphosate resistance. The mine was sprayed with multiple herbicides including a commercial formulation of glyphosate; however, the S. cerevisiae did not have elevated glyphosate resistance. In contrast to the conventional farm, the mine was exposed to glyphosate only one year prior to sample isolation. Glyphosate resistance is an example of the anthropogenic selection of nontarget organisms.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040140
Seasonally dry woodlands are the dominant land cover across southern Africa. They are biodiverse, structurally complex, and important for ecosystem service provision. Species composition and structure vary across the region producing a diverse array of woodland types. The woodlands of the Huíla plateau in southwest Angola represent the extreme southwestern extent of the miombo ecoregion and are markedly drier than other woodlands within this ecoregion. They remain understudied, however, compared to woodlands further east in the miombo ecoregion. We aimed to elucidate further the tree diversity found within southwestern Angolan woodlands by conducting a plot-based study in Bicuar National Park, comparing tree species composition and woodland structure with similar plots in Tanzania, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We found Bicuar National Park had comparatively low tree species diversity, but contained 27 tree species not found in other plots. Plots in Bicuar had low basal area, excepting plots dominated by Baikiaea plurijuga. In a comparison of plots in intact vegetation with areas previously disturbed by shifting-cultivation agriculture, we found species diversity was marginally higher in disturbed plots. Bicuar National Park remains an important woodland refuge in Angola, with an uncommon mosaic of woodland types within a small area. While we highlight wide variation in species composition and woodland structure across the miombo ecoregion, plot-based studies with more dense sampling across the ecoregion are clearly needed to more broadly understand regional variation in vegetation diversity, composition and structure.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040141
The biodiversity loss resulting from rising levels of human impacts on ecosystems has been extensively discussed over the last years. The expansion of urban areas promotes drastic ecological changes, especially through fragmentation of natural areas. Natural grassland remnants surrounded by an urban matrix are more likely to undergo disturbance events. Since grassland ecosystems are closely related to disturbances such as fire and grazing, grassland plant communities, pollinators, and their interaction networks may be especially sensitive to urban expansion, because it promotes habitat fragmentation and modifies disturbance regimes. This work evaluated the effect of the level of urbanization and recent history of fire disturbance on grassland plants communities and plant-floral visitor mutualistic networks. We sampled plant communities and floral visitors in 12 grassland sites with different levels of urbanization and time since the last fire event. Sites with higher levels of urbanization showed higher values for plant species richness, floral visitor richness, and network asymmetry. All sampled networks were significantly nested (with one exception), asymmetric, and specialized. In addition, all networks presented more modules than expected by chance. The frequency of fire disturbance events increased with the level of urbanization. Since grassland ecosystems depend on disturbances to maintain their structure and diversity, we inferred that the history of fire disturbance was the mechanism behind the relationship between urbanization and our biological descriptors. Our findings highlight the importance of small and isolated grassland remnants as conservation assets within urban areas, and that the disturbance events that such sites are submitted to may in fact be what maintains their diversity on multiple levels.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040136
(1) Predation selects for antipredator competence in prey. For fishes with parental care, brood predators exert selection on the morphological phenotype of offspring, and also exert strong selection pressure to promote parental care behavior of adults. (2) This review summarizes field and lab studies on the ontogeny of antipredator competence in convict cichlids, a freshwater fish with extended biparental care of their free-swimming young. (3) Here, data show that differences in swimming performance between small and large young are exploited by parents when they adopt (smaller) young. Velocity and acceleration of startle responses improves nonlinearly with body size, increasing rapidly at a point when the skeleton rapidly ossifies from cartilage to bone, at the size at which discrimination by adopting parents shifts, and the timing of change in the rate of change in area protected by parents. Convict cichlids in a Nicaraguan lake population showed a similar correlation among these traits, but these traits are delayed relative to Costa Rican fish. (4) Population divergence is likely explained by relatively more intense brood predation in the lake, which selects for different optima of larval antipredator competence and parental brood defense.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040137
Nematode communities and relevant environmental variables were investigated to assess how the presence of a dam affects the Ba Lai estuary benthic ecosystem, in comparison to the adjacent dam-free estuary Ham Luong. Both estuaries are part of the Mekong delta system in Vietnam. This study has shown that the dam’s construction had an effect on the biochemical components of the Ba Lai estuary, as observed by the local increase in total suspended solids and heavy metal concentrations (Hg and Pb) and by a significant oxygen depletion compared to the natural river of Ham Luong. The nematode communities were also different between the two estuaries in terms of density, genus richness, Shannon–Wiener diversity, and dominant genera. The Ba Lai estuary exhibited lower nematode densities but a higher diversity, while the genus composition only slightly differed between estuaries. The results indicate that the present nematode communities may be well adapted to the natural organic load, to the heavy metal accumulation and to the oxygen stress in both estuaries, but the dam presence may potentially continue to drive the Ba Lai’s ecosystem to its tipping point.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040138
A robust survey method that samples the main characteristics of plant assemblages is needed to assess the conservation status of European habitat in the Natura 2000 network. A measure of variability, called pseudo-multivariate dissimilarity-based standard error (MultSE), was recently proposed for assessing sample-size adequacy in ecological communities. Here, we used it on coastal sand dune systems in three Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in Tuscany. Our aim was to assess the minimum number of replicates necessary to adequately characterize sand dune environments in terms of differences between habitats and SACs, after a preliminary baseline assessment of plant diversity. Analysis of α and β diversity indicated that especially between habitats the three SACs protect different plant communities. The study of the MultSE profiles showed that the minimum number of replicates needed to assess differences among habitats varied between 10 and 25 plots. Two-way PERMANOVA and SIMPER analysis on the full and reduced datasets confirmed that SACs and habitats host different plant communities, and that the contribution of the target species remained unchanged even with a reduced sample size. The proposed methodological approach can be used to develop cost-effective monitoring programs and it can be useful for plant ecologists and biodiversity managers for assessing ecosystem health and changes.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040135
Human disturbances are greatly threatening to the biodiversity of vascular plants. Compared to seed plants, the diversity patterns of ferns have been poorly studied along disturbance gradients, including aspects of their taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity. Longnan County, a biodiversity hotspot in the subtropical zone in South China, was selected to obtain a more thorough picture of the fern–disturbance relationship, in particular, the taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity of ferns at different levels of disturbance. In 90 sample plots of 5 × 5 m2 along roadsides at three sites, we recorded a total of 20 families, 50 genera, and 99 species of ferns, as well as 9759 individual ferns. The sample coverage curve indicated that the sampling effort was sufficient for biodiversity analysis. In general, the taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity measured by Hill numbers of order q = 0–3 indicated that the fern diversity in Longnan County was largely influenced by the level of human disturbance, which supports the ‘increasing disturbance hypothesis’. Many functional traits of ferns at the most disturbed site were adaptive to the disturbance. There were also some indicators of fern species responding to the different disturbance levels. Hence, ferns may be considered as a good indicator group for environmental stress.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040134
Protected areas are intended to achieve the long-term conservation of nature, but not all such areas are equal in their effectiveness because of their varying regulation of human activities. In Costa Rica, we assessed mammal and bird species presence and relative abundance in three protected areas in the northern Talamanca Mountains. In this humid tropical forest area, we placed camera traps in an adjacent national park, forest reserve, and indigenous territories, each with a different mix of human activities. In 10,120 trap nights, we obtained 6181 independent photos of mostly mammals (34 species other than humans) and birds (34 species). Species with greater abundance or only occurrence in the national park were mammals and birds commonly hunted outside of the park, large carnivores rarely documented in other areas, and poachers. Species found more often outside of the park were medium-sized mammals, some birds, and domestic mammals. We conclude that even in the same ecological area, varying regulations related to type of protected area have significant effects on some mammal and bird species abundances and occurrences, and thus need to be considered when assessing the overall effectiveness of protection as a conservation strategy.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040132
Due to the rapid developments in the aquaculture industry, Artemia franciscana, originally an American species, has been introduced to Eurasia, Africa and Australia. In the present study, we used a partial sequence of the mitochondrial DNA Cytochrome Oxidase subunit I (mt-DNA COI) gene and genomic fingerprinting by Inter-Simple Sequence Repeats (ISSRs) to determine the genetic variability and population structure of Artemia populations (indigenous and introduced) from 14 different geographical locations in Western Asia. Based on the haplotype spanning network, Artemia urmiana has exhibited higher genetic variation than native parthenogenetic populations. Although A. urmiana represented a completely private haplotype distribution, no apparent genetic structure was recognized among the native parthenogenetic and invasive A. franciscana populations. Our ISSR findings have documented that despite that invasive populations have lower variation than the source population in Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA), they have significantly revealed higher genetic variability compared to the native populations in Western Asia. According to the ISSR results, the native populations were not fully differentiated by the PCoA analysis, but the exotic A. franciscana populations were geographically divided into four genetic groups. We believe that during the colonization, invasive populations have experienced substantial genetic divergences, under new ecological conditions in the non-indigenous regions.
Diversity, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/d12040131
Background: Functional diversity effects on ecosystem processes, like on soil erosion, are not fully understood. Runoff and soil erosion in agricultural landscapes are reduced by the hydraulic roughness (HR) of vegetation patches, which furthers sediment retention. Vegetation with important stem density, diameters, leaf areas, and density impact the HR. A functional structure composed of these negatively correlated traits involved in the increase of the HR would constitute a positive effect of the functional diversity. Methods: Runoff simulations were undertaken on four mono-specific and two multi-specific communities, using herbaceous plant species from North-West Europe, presenting six contrasting aboveground functional traits involved in the HR increase. Results: An effect of dominant traits in the community was found on the HR, identified as the community-weighted leaf density. The non-additive effect of functional diversity on the HR could be explained by the presence of species presenting large stems in the communities with high functional diversity. Conclusion: We argued that functional diversity effect on the HR could change due to idiosyncratic effects of the plant traits, which would be influenced by soil properties, phylogeny diversity, and plant species interactions. These findings constitute an advancement in the understanding of plant trait assemblage on runoff and soil erosion processes.