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Diversity, Volume 9, Issue 3 (September 2017)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Species Richness and Relative Abundance of Reef-Building Corals in the Indo-West Pacific
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 25; doi:10.3390/d9030025
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
Scleractinian corals, the main framework builders of coral reefs, are in serious global decline, although there remains significant uncertainty as to the consequences for individual species and particular regions. We assessed coral species richness and ranked relative abundance across 3075 depth-stratified survey sites,
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Scleractinian corals, the main framework builders of coral reefs, are in serious global decline, although there remains significant uncertainty as to the consequences for individual species and particular regions. We assessed coral species richness and ranked relative abundance across 3075 depth-stratified survey sites, each < 0.5 ha in area, using a standardized rapid assessment method, in 31 Indo-West Pacific (IWP) coral ecoregions (ERs), from 1994 to 2016. The ecoregions cover a significant proportion of the ranges of most IWP reef coral species, including main centres of diversity, providing a baseline (albeit a shifted one) of species abundance over a large area of highly endangered reef systems, facilitating study of future change. In all, 672 species were recorded. The richest sites and ERs were all located in the Coral Triangle. Local (site) richness peaked at 224 species in Halmahera ER (IWP mean 71 species Standard Deviation 38 species). Nineteen species occurred in more than half of all sites, all but one occurring in more than 90% of ERs. Representing 13 genera, these widespread species exhibit a broad range of life histories, indicating that no particular strategy, or taxonomic affiliation, conferred particular ecological advantage. For most other species, occurrence and abundance varied markedly among different ERs, some having pronounced “centres of abundance”. Conversely, another 40 species, also with widely divergent life histories, were very rare, occurring in five or fewer sites, 14 species of which are ranked as “Vulnerable” or “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Others may also qualify in these Threatened categories under criteria of small geographic range and population fragmentation, the utility of which is briefly assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Marine Biodiversity)
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Open AccessArticle Does Stream Size Really Explain Biodiversity Patterns in Lotic Systems? A Call for Mechanistic Explanations
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 26; doi:10.3390/d9030026
Received: 19 April 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 1 July 2017 / Published: 8 July 2017
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Abstract
Understanding drivers of biodiversity is a long-standing goal of basic and applied ecological research. In riverine systems, there remains a critical need to identify these drivers as efforts to manage and protect rivers grow increasingly desperate in the face of global change. We
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Understanding drivers of biodiversity is a long-standing goal of basic and applied ecological research. In riverine systems, there remains a critical need to identify these drivers as efforts to manage and protect rivers grow increasingly desperate in the face of global change. We explored one commonly cited potential driver of riverine biodiversity, stream size (e.g., stream order, watershed area, width), using a systematic literature review paired with an analysis of broad-scale macroinvertebrate and fish communities. Of the 165 papers reviewed, we found mostly positive, but no universal, relationship between biodiversity and stream size despite inconsistent use of over 30 measures of stream size. One-third of studies failed to report explanatory mechanisms driving biodiversity–stream size relationships. Across over 4000 macroinvertebrate and fish samples from 1st–8th order streams in the contiguous USA, our analysis showed biodiversity (Shannon diversity, functional diversity, beta diversity) generally increased with measures of stream size. However, because of inconsistent and generally weak relationships between biodiversity and stream size across organismal groups, we emphasize the need to look beyond simple physical stream size measures to understand and predict riverine biodiversity, and strongly suggest that studies search for more mechanistic explanations of biodiversity patterns in lotic systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Putting Plant Genetic Diversity and Variability at Work for Breeding: Hybrid Rice Suitability in West Africa
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 27; doi:10.3390/d9030027
Received: 17 April 2017 / Revised: 18 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
Rice is a staple food in West Africa, where its demand keeps increasing due to population growth. Hence, there is an urgent need to identify high yielding rice cultivars that fulfill this demand locally. Rice hybrids are already known to significantly increase productivity.
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Rice is a staple food in West Africa, where its demand keeps increasing due to population growth. Hence, there is an urgent need to identify high yielding rice cultivars that fulfill this demand locally. Rice hybrids are already known to significantly increase productivity. This study evaluated the potential of Asian hybrids with good adaptability to irrigated and rainfed lowland rice areas in Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal. There were 169 hybrids from China included in trials at target sites during 2009 and 2010. The genotype × environment interaction was highly significant (p < 0.0001) for grain yield indicating that the hybrids’ and their respective cultivar checks’ performance differed across locations. Two hybrids had the highest grain yield during 2010 in Mali, while in Nigeria, four hybrids in 2009 and one hybrid in 2010 had higher grain yield and matured earlier than the best local cultivar. The milling recovery, grain shape and cooking features of most hybrids had the quality preferred by West African consumers. Most of the hybrids were, however, susceptible to African rice gall midge (AfRGM) and Rice Yellow Mottle Virus (RMYV) isolate Ng40. About 60% of these hybrids were resistant to blast. Hybrids need to incorporate host plant resistant for AfRGM and RYMV to be grown in West Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Genetics and Biotechnology in Biodiversity)
Open AccessArticle Spacio-Temporal Distribution and Tourist Impact on Airborne Bacteria in a Cave (Škocjan Caves, Slovenia)
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 28; doi:10.3390/d9030028
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 22 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
(1) Background: Airborne microbes are an integral part of a cave ecosystem. Cave allochtonous airborne microbiota, which occurs mainly during aerosolization from an underground river, from animals, and from visitors, is particularly pronounced in show caves. The impacts of tourists and natural river
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(1) Background: Airborne microbes are an integral part of a cave ecosystem. Cave allochtonous airborne microbiota, which occurs mainly during aerosolization from an underground river, from animals, and from visitors, is particularly pronounced in show caves. The impacts of tourists and natural river aerosolization on the cave air were estimated in large cave spaces within the Škocjan Caves; (2) Methods: Simultaneously with the measurements of atmospheric parameters, cultivable airborne bacteria were impacted, counted and identified using MALDI-TOF MS (Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry); (3) Results: A mix of bacteria typically associated with humans and with natural habitats, including a large percentage of non-identified isolates, was found in the cave air. Few of the isolates were attributed to Risk Group 2. A strong positive correlation between tourist numbers and the rise in the concentration of airborne bacteria was indicated. Concentration of airborne bacteria rises to particularly high levels close to the underground river during periods of high discharge. A 10-times lower discharge reflected an approximately 20-times lower concentration of airborne bacteria; (4) Conclusions: Caves that are open and visited contain a diverse airborne microbiota originating from different sources. Enormous cave chambers that display relatively dynamic cave climate conditions do not normally support the enhancement of airborne bacterial concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Diversity in Caves)
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Open AccessArticle 16S rRNA Gene-Based Metagenomic Analysis of Ozark Cave Bacteria
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 31; doi:10.3390/d9030031
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
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Abstract
The microbial diversity within cave ecosystems is largely unknown. Ozark caves maintain a year-round stable temperature (12–14 °C), but most parts of the caves experience complete darkness. The lack of sunlight and geological isolation from surface-energy inputs generate nutrient-poor conditions that may limit
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The microbial diversity within cave ecosystems is largely unknown. Ozark caves maintain a year-round stable temperature (12–14 °C), but most parts of the caves experience complete darkness. The lack of sunlight and geological isolation from surface-energy inputs generate nutrient-poor conditions that may limit species diversity in such environments. Although microorganisms play a crucial role in sustaining life on Earth and impacting human health, little is known about their diversity, ecology, and evolution in community structures. We used five Ozark region caves as test sites for exploring bacterial diversity and monitoring long-term biodiversity. Illumina MiSeq sequencing of five cave soil samples and a control sample revealed a total of 49 bacterial phyla, with seven major phyla: Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Chloroflexi, Bacteroidetes, and Nitrospirae. Variation in bacterial composition was observed among the five caves studied. Sandtown Cave had the lowest richness and most divergent community composition. 16S rRNA gene-based metagenomic analysis of cave-dwelling microbial communities in the Ozark caves revealed that species abundance and diversity are vast and included ecologically, agriculturally, and economically relevant taxa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Diversity in Caves)
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Open AccessArticle Venetian Local Corn (Zea mays L.) Germplasm: Disclosing the Genetic Anatomy of Old Landraces Suited for Typical Cornmeal Mush Production
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 32; doi:10.3390/d9030032
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 13 August 2017 / Published: 16 August 2017
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Abstract
Due to growing concern for the genetic erosion of local varieties, four of the main corn landraces historically grown in Veneto (Italy)—Sponcio, Marano, Biancoperla and Rosso Piave—were characterized in this work. A total of 197 phenotypically representative plants collected from field populations were
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Due to growing concern for the genetic erosion of local varieties, four of the main corn landraces historically grown in Veneto (Italy)—Sponcio, Marano, Biancoperla and Rosso Piave—were characterized in this work. A total of 197 phenotypically representative plants collected from field populations were genotyped at 10 SSR marker loci, which were regularly distributed across the 10 genetic linkage groups and were previously characterized for high polymorphism information content (PIC), on average equal to 0.5. The population structure analysis based on this marker set revealed that 144 individuals could be assigned with strong ancestry association (>90%) to four distinct clusters, corresponding to the landraces used in this study. The remaining 53 individuals, mainly from Sponcio and Marano, showed admixed ancestry. Among all possible pairwise comparisons of individual plants, these two landraces exhibited the highest mean genetic similarity (approximately 67%), as graphically confirmed through ordination analyses based on PCoA centroids and UPGMA trees. Our findings support the hypothesis of direct gene flow between Sponcio and Marano, likely promoted by the geographical proximity of these two landraces and their overlapping cultivation areas. Conversely, consistent with its production mainly confined to the eastern area of the region, Rosso Piave scored the lowest genetic similarity (<59%) to the other three landraces and firmly grouped (with average membership of 89%) in a separate cluster, forming a molecularly distinguishable gene pool. The elite inbred B73 used as tester line scored very low estimates of genetic similarity (on average <45%) with all the landraces. Finally, although Biancoperla was represented at K = 4 by a single subgroup with individual memberships higher than 80% in almost all cases (57 of 62), when analyzed with an additional level of population structure for K = 6, it appeared to be entirely (100%) constituted by individuals with admixed ancestry. This suggests that the current population could be the result of repeated hybridization events between the two accessions currently bred in Veneto. The genetic characterization of these heritage landraces should prove very useful for monitoring and preventing further genetic erosion and genetic introgression, thus preserving their gene pools, phenotypic identities and qualitative traits for the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Genetics and Biotechnology in Biodiversity)
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Open AccessArticle An eDNA-Based SNP Assay for Ungulate Species and Sex Identification
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 33; doi:10.3390/d9030033
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 11 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 22 August 2017
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Abstract
Many processes in wild populations are difficult to study. Genetic data, often non-invasively collected, may provide a solution to these difficulties and are increasingly used to study behavioral, demographic, ecological, and evolutionary processes. Moreover, the improved sensitivity of genetic methods now allows analyses
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Many processes in wild populations are difficult to study. Genetic data, often non-invasively collected, may provide a solution to these difficulties and are increasingly used to study behavioral, demographic, ecological, and evolutionary processes. Moreover, the improved sensitivity of genetic methods now allows analyses of trace amounts of DNA left by animals in their environment (e.g., saliva, urine, epithelial cells). Environmental DNA (eDNA) thus offers new opportunities to study a range of historic and contemporary questions. Here, we present a species and sex diagnostic kit for studying browsing in a multispecies temperate ungulate assemblage. Using mitochondrial sequences deposited in Genbank, we developed four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for identifying four temperate ungulate species. We also sequenced portions of the Amelogenin gene on the X- and Y-chromosomes and developed six SNPs (three on the X-chromosome and three on the Y-chromosome) for sex determination. We tested the SNP assays on high and low quality/quantity DNA samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Environmental DNA for Biological Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Millennia-Long Co-Existence of Two Major European Whitefish (Coregonus spp.) Lineages in Switzerland Inferred from Ancient Mitochondrial DNA
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 34; doi:10.3390/d9030034
Received: 13 July 2017 / Revised: 15 August 2017 / Accepted: 20 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
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Abstract
Archaeological fish remains are an important source for reconstructing past aquatic ecosystems and ancient fishing strategies using aDNA techniques. Here, we focus on archaeological samples of European whitefish (Coregonus spp.) from Switzerland covering different time periods. Coregonus bones and scales are commonly
[...] Read more.
Archaeological fish remains are an important source for reconstructing past aquatic ecosystems and ancient fishing strategies using aDNA techniques. Here, we focus on archaeological samples of European whitefish (Coregonus spp.) from Switzerland covering different time periods. Coregonus bones and scales are commonly found in archaeological assemblages, but these elements lack species specific features and thus inhibit morphological species identification. Even today, fish taxonomy is confusing and numerous species and ecotypes are recognized, and even more probably existed in the past. By targeting short fragments of the mitochondrial d-loop in 48 morphologically identified Coregonus scales and vertebrae from 10 archaeological sites in Switzerland, endogenous d-loop sequences were found in 24 samples from one Neolithic, two Roman, and four Medieval sites. Two major mtDNA clades, C and N, known from contemporary European whitefish populations were detected, suggesting co-occurrence for at least 5000 years. In the future, NGS technologies may be used to explore Coregonus or other fish species and ecotype diversity in the past to elucidate the human impact on lacustrine/limnic environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient DNA)
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Open AccessArticle A Comparative Analysis of Viral Richness and Viral Sharing in Cave-Roosting Bats
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 35; doi:10.3390/d9030035
Received: 15 July 2017 / Revised: 11 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
Caves provide critical roosting habitats for bats globally, but are increasingly disturbed or destroyed by human activities such as tourism and extractive industries. In addition to degrading the habitats of cave-roosting bats, such activities often promote contact between humans and bats, which may
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Caves provide critical roosting habitats for bats globally, but are increasingly disturbed or destroyed by human activities such as tourism and extractive industries. In addition to degrading the habitats of cave-roosting bats, such activities often promote contact between humans and bats, which may have potential impacts on human health. Cave-roosting bats are hosts to diverse viruses, some of which emerged in humans with severe consequences (e.g., severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and Marburg virus). Characterizing patterns of viral richness and sharing among bat species are therefore important first steps for understanding bat-virus dynamics and mitigating future bat-human spillover. Here we compile a database of bat-virus associations and bat species ecological traits, and investigate the importance of roosting behavior as a determinant of viral richness and viral sharing among bat species. We show that cave-roosting species do not host greater viral richness, when accounting for publication bias, diet, body mass, and geographic range size. Our global analyses, however, show that cave-roosting bats do exhibit a greater likelihood of viral sharing, especially those documented in the literature as co-roosting in the same cave. We highlight the importance of caves as critical foci for bat conservation, as well as ideal sites for longitudinal surveillance of bat-virus dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Diversity in Caves)
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Open AccessArticle In Situ Cultured Bacterial Diversity from Iron Curtain Cave, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 36; doi:10.3390/d9030036
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 2 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
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Abstract
The culturable bacterial diversity from Iron Curtain Cave, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada was examined. Sixty five bacterial isolates were successfully cultivated, purified, and identified based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Four distinguishable phyla, i.e., Actinobacteria (44.61%), Proteobacteria (27.69%), Firmicutes (20%) and Bacteroidetes (7.69%)
[...] Read more.
The culturable bacterial diversity from Iron Curtain Cave, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada was examined. Sixty five bacterial isolates were successfully cultivated, purified, and identified based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Four distinguishable phyla, i.e., Actinobacteria (44.61%), Proteobacteria (27.69%), Firmicutes (20%) and Bacteroidetes (7.69%) were identified. Arthrobacter (21.53%) was identified as the major genus, followed by Sporosarcina (9.23%), Stenotrophomonas (9.23%), Streptomyces (6.15%), Brevundimonas (4.61%), and Crocebacterium (2.8%). Noteworthy, 12.3% of the population was recognized as unidentified bacteria. The isolates were evaluated for their potential antimicrobial activities against multidrug resistant microbial strains. Two species of the genus Streptomyces exhibited a wide range of antimicrobial activities against multidrug resistance (MDR) strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas spp. along with non-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. However, all of the antimicrobial activities were only observed when the isolates were grown at 8 °C in different media. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study conducted on the Iron Curtain Cave’s bacterial diversity, and reveals some bacterial isolates that have never been reported from a cave. Bacterial isolates identified with antimicrobial properties demonstrated that the Iron Curtain Cave can be further considered as a potential habitat for antimicrobial agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Diversity in Caves)
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Open AccessArticle Diversity and Bioactivity of Marine Bacteria Associated with the Sponges Candidaspongia flabellata and Rhopaloeides odorabile from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 39; doi:10.3390/d9030039
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 1 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
Sponges and their associated microbial communities have sparked much interest in recent decades due on the abundant production of chemically diverse metabolites that in nature serve as functional compounds required by the marine sponge host. These compounds were found to carry therapeutic importance
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Sponges and their associated microbial communities have sparked much interest in recent decades due on the abundant production of chemically diverse metabolites that in nature serve as functional compounds required by the marine sponge host. These compounds were found to carry therapeutic importance for medicinal applications. In the presented study, 123 bacterial isolates from the culture collection of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) previously isolated from two different sponge species, namely Candidaspongia flabellata and Rhopaloeides odorabile, originating from different locations on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, were thus studied for their bioactivity. The symbiotic bacterial isolates were first identified using 16S rRNA gene analysis and they were found to belong to five different dominating classes of Domain Bacteria, namely Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Flavobacteria, Bacilli and Actinobacteria. Following their taxonomical categorization, the isolates were screened for their antimicrobial activity against human pathogenic microbial reference strains: Escherichia coli (ATCC® BAA-196™), E. coli (ATCC® 13706™), E. coli (ATCC® 25922™), Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC® BAA-1705™), Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC® 51575™), Bacillus subtilis (ATCC® 19659™), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC® 29247™), Candida albicans (ATCC® 10231™) and Aspergillus niger (ATCC® 16888™). Over 50% of the isolates displayed antimicrobial activity against one or more of the reference strains tested. The subset of these bioactive bacterial isolates was further investigated to identify their biosynthetic genes such as polyketide synthase (PKS) type I and non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) genes. This was done using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with degenerate primers that have been previously used to amplify PKS-I and NRPS genes. These specific genes have been reported to be possibly involved in bacterial secondary metabolite production. In 47% of the bacterial isolates investigated, the PKS and NRPS genes were located. Some of the bacterial isolates were found to possess both gene types, which agrees with the previous reported biosynthetic ability of certain sponge-symbiotic bacteria such as the Actinobacteria or Gammaproteobacteria to produce secondary metabolites with antimicrobial activity. All these reported activities further confirm that sponge-symbiotic bacteria hold significant bioactivity with medicinal and biotechnological importance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Marine Invertebrate and Seaweed Symbiotic Bacteria)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview A Unique Coral Community in the Mangroves of Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 29; doi:10.3390/d9030029
Received: 9 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Corals do not typically thrive in mangrove environments. However, corals are growing on and near the prop roots of red mangrove trees in Hurricane Hole, an area within the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument under the protection of the US National Park
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Corals do not typically thrive in mangrove environments. However, corals are growing on and near the prop roots of red mangrove trees in Hurricane Hole, an area within the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument under the protection of the US National Park Service in St. John, US Virgin Islands. This review summarizes current knowledge of the remarkable biodiversity of this area. Over 30 scleractinian coral species, about the same number as documented to date from nearby coral reefs, grow here. No other mangrove ecosystems in the Caribbean are known to have so many coral species. This area may be a refuge from changing climate, as these corals weathered the severe thermal stress and subsequent disease outbreak that caused major coral loss on the island’s coral reefs in 2005 and 2006. Shading by the red mangrove trees reduces the stress that leads to coral bleaching. Seawater temperatures in these mangroves are more variable than those on the reefs, and some studies have shown that this variability results in corals with a greater resistance to higher temperatures. The diversity of sponges and fish is also high, and a new genus of serpulid worm was recently described. Continuing research may lead to the discovery of more new species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Marine Biodiversity)
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Open AccessReview Biodiversity Dynamics on Islands: Explicitly Accounting for Causality in Mechanistic Models
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 30; doi:10.3390/d9030030
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
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Abstract
Island biogeography remains a popular topic in ecology and has gained renewed interest due to recent theoretical development. As experimental investigation of the theory is difficult to carry out, mechanistic simulation models provide useful alternatives. Several eco-evolutionary mechanisms have been identified to affect
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Island biogeography remains a popular topic in ecology and has gained renewed interest due to recent theoretical development. As experimental investigation of the theory is difficult to carry out, mechanistic simulation models provide useful alternatives. Several eco-evolutionary mechanisms have been identified to affect island biodiversity, but integrating more than a few of these processes into models remains a challenge. To get an overview of what processes mechanistic island models have integrated so far and what conclusions they came to, we conducted an exhaustive literature review of studies featuring island-specific mechanistic models. This was done using an extensive systematic literature search with subsequent manual filtering. We obtained a list of 28 studies containing mechanistic island models, out of 647 total hits. Mechanistic island models differ greatly in their integrated processes and computational structure. Their individual findings range from theoretical (such as humped-shaped extinction rates for oceanic islands) to system-specific dynamics (e.g., equilibrium and non-equilibrium dynamics for Galápagos’ birds). However, most models so far only integrate theories and processes pair-wise, while focusing on hypothetical systems. Trophic interactions and explicit micro-evolution are largely underrepresented in models. We expect future models to continue integrating processes, thus promoting the full appraisal of biodiversity dynamics. Full article
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Open AccessReview Dispersal, Isolation, and Interaction in the Islands of Polynesia: A Critical Review of Archaeological and Genetic Evidence
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 37; doi:10.3390/d9030037
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 2 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
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Abstract
Integration of archaeology, modern genetics, and ancient DNA holds promise for the reconstruction of the human past. We examine the advances in research on the indigenous peoples of Polynesia to determine: (1) what do archaeological and genetic data (ancient and modern DNA) tell
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Integration of archaeology, modern genetics, and ancient DNA holds promise for the reconstruction of the human past. We examine the advances in research on the indigenous peoples of Polynesia to determine: (1) what do archaeological and genetic data (ancient and modern DNA) tell us about the origins of Polynesians; and, (2) what evidence is there for long-distance travel and contacts between Polynesians and indigenous populations of the Americas? We note that the general dispersal pattern of founding human populations in the remote islands of the Pacific and long-distance interaction spheres continue to reflect well-established models. New research suggests that the formation of an Ancestral Polynesia Culture in Western Polynesia may have involved differential patterns of dispersal followed by significant later migrations. It has also been suggested that the pause between the settlement of Western and Eastern Polynesia was centuries longer than currently thought, followed by a remarkably rapid pulse of island colonization. Long-distance travel between islands of the Pacific is currently best documented through the sourcing of artifacts, while the discovery of admixture of Native American DNA within the genome of the people from Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is strong new evidence for sustained contacts between Polynesia and the Americas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient DNA)
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Open AccessReview NGS-Based Genotyping, High-Throughput Phenotyping and Genome-Wide Association Studies Laid the Foundations for Next-Generation Breeding in Horticultural Crops
Diversity 2017, 9(3), 38; doi:10.3390/d9030038
Received: 26 July 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
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Abstract
Demographic trends and changes to climate require a more efficient use of plant genetic resources in breeding programs. Indeed, the release of high-yielding varieties has resulted in crop genetic erosion and loss of diversity. This has produced an increased susceptibility to severe stresses
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Demographic trends and changes to climate require a more efficient use of plant genetic resources in breeding programs. Indeed, the release of high-yielding varieties has resulted in crop genetic erosion and loss of diversity. This has produced an increased susceptibility to severe stresses and a reduction of several food quality parameters. Next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are being increasingly used to explore “gene space” and to provide high-resolution profiling of nucleotide variation within germplasm collections. On the other hand, advances in high-throughput phenotyping are bridging the genotype-to-phenotype gap in crop selection. The combination of allelic and phenotypic data points via genome-wide association studies is facilitating the discovery of genetic loci that are associated with key agronomic traits. In this review, we provide a brief overview on the latest NGS-based and phenotyping technologies and on their role to unlocking the genetic potential of vegetable crops; then, we discuss the paradigm shift that is underway in horticultural crop breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Genetics and Biotechnology in Biodiversity)
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