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  • Open access
  • 104 Reads
Good Things Come in Larger Packages: Size Matters in Neotropical Fruit-Feeding Butterfly Dispersal

Body size correlates to many aspects of a species' natural history, such as life span, abundance, and dispersal capacity. However, contrasting trends have been reported for the relationship between body size and these ecological traits. We have marked and recaptured 539 individuals from 27 species of fruit-feeding butterflies to study how body size affect species abundances, dispersal, and detectability in a Neotropical savanna (Cerrado). Body size has shown to be an efficient predictor of abundance, however this association was not significant after phylogeny was taken into account. Moreover, body size has positively influenced the dispersal rate, distance, and individual detectability, indicating that larger butterflies have a greater proportion of dispersing individuals over longer distances, and were detected through longer periods, than their smaller relatives. Large butterflies demand more resources, which may be forcing them to disperse in search for better habitats. On the other hand, smaller species may be better able to survive in small patches, which is explained by their lower dispersal ability. Nevertheless, their lower dispersal ability, if not compensated by large population sizes, may threaten the small-bodied species inhabiting environments with intense deforestation rates, such as the Cerrado. Finally, our study highlights the importance to consider species evolutionary history in order to study complex trait-environment relationships.

  • Open access
  • 92 Reads
DNA Barcoding of Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys Kempii) in México

From the 7 existing species of sea turtles, two are endemic and one out of them inhabits the Gulf of Mexico and nests mainly in the Rancho Nuevo (RN) Sanctuary, Aldama, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The objective of this work was to determine the DNA barcode by COI gene sequences in Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) and to estimate their genetic divergence and diversity. One hundred and ten new sequences were obtained from the Kemp’s ridley turtles from RN sanctuary and compared with the 13 sequences reported in BOLD database. Sequences of nearly 700 bp of Kemp’s ridley were aligned among them and compared to 7 different sea turtle species; all new sequences will be added to the BOLD database. Genetic divergence showed a clear separation between other species (0.02 to 0.12), while their relationship with the olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) was confirmed (0.02). Also, the result of the haplotype network showed 47 haplotypes, 46 out of which were novel and only one was the most predominant, it belonged to RN sanctuary. The phylogenetic tree showed and confirmed the separation into 2 main clades or families and one out of them, contained the remaining 6 sea turtles species. Finally, DNA barcode for Kemp’s ridley was obtained. In conclusion, there was clear evidence that DNA barcode by the COI gene is useful for the study of Kemp’s ridley turtles, being able to discriminate between dominant and new haplotypes from those already reported, as well as study phylogeny and genetic diversity in Kemp’s ridley.

  • Open access
  • 53 Reads
The Future Marine Protected Area “Jbel Moussa”: Balance between Conservation Measures and Fishermen Well-Being

Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been created to preserve biodiversity and manage human activities. Unfortunately, many of these MPAs have failed to accomplish their goals because fishermen well-being was neglected. Thus, taking in account fishermen perceptions will undoubtedly contribute to MPAs success and durability. In this paper we focused on assessing fishermen perception of the future marine protected area “Jbel Moussa” situated in northern Morocco. Results showed that the majority of fishermen affirm that the set of this MPA will lead to a reduction in catches and to an increase in costs and charges. They affirm that it will have to be managed jointly with locals according to “top-dow bottom up” management approach to make it reach its goals,this will avoid conflicts likely to occur during the application of the regulations specific to the future MPA. In order to work for the success of the future MPA, fishermen must take part in the management process. The authorities have to organize meetings with fishermen to discuss about benefits, mode of governance, zoning, etc… Knowing all these factors, we can move towards better management of resources, finding a balance between preserving the marine ecosystem and the well-being of fishermen.

  • Open access
  • 48 Reads
Variability of Micronektonic Crustacean Community along a Latitudinal Transect in the Atlantic Ocean: Implications for Carbon Export

The micronekton community of pelagic shrimps was studied by means of taxonomic composition, abundance and biomass analyses, across a latitudinal transect in the Atlantic Ocean from off Brazil coast (15 °S) to the south of Iceland (55 °N). Total abundance and biomass were hauled by Mesopelagos net with a mouth opening of 5 × 7 m and a total length of 58 m, tracked by a cable. Temperature, conductivity, pressure, dissolved oxygen and fluorescence were recorded by a Seabird 911Plus conductivity temperature depth (CTD) profiler; with a mounted Dissolved Oxygen Sensor and Seapoint Chlorophyll Fluorometer Sensor. Different depth levels were established and samples were taken during the daytime and nightly. 38 different species were identified of 8 different families. Sergestidae and Euphausiidae were the most abundant and Acanthephyridae was the family that most contributed to the total biomass. Pelagic shrimp assemblages, related with latitudinal changes in biomass and abundance, agreed with previous delimitation of ecoregions in the Atlantic Ocean. Diel vertical migrations were detected along the transect, with a maximum of biomass within the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) during the daytime. We estimated 158 millions tC of biomass of decapods, euphausiids and lophogastrids in the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Open access
  • 127 Reads
Biogeographic Distribution of Cedrela spp. Genus in Peru Using MaxEnt Modeling: A Conservation Approach

Expansion of croplands and livestock activities over the time have been considered as major driver for deforestration in Peru. Such severe deforestration activities significantly reduced the number of timber species particularly the genus Cedrela spp. that have high economic and ecological value in current time. Recently Cedrela spp. has been incorporated (28 August 2020) into appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a group of species that could be in danger in near-future. Considering this value, we modelled the biogeographic distribution of 10 species of the genus Cedrela (i.e., C. odorata, C. montana, C. fissilis, C. longipetiolulata, C. angustifolia, C. nebulosa, C. kuelapensis, C. Saltensis, C. weberbaueri and C. molinensis) with the objective to identify if the area legally protected by Protected Natural Areas (PNA), and prioritizing research and conservation/restoration areas of this particular genus. In this regard, 33 different environmental variables were used (19 bioclimatic variables, 3 topographic, 9 edaphic, solar radiation and relative humidity) throughout Peruvian Amazon using a maximum entropy model (MaxEnt). It was observed that 6.67% (86,235.24 km2) of the Peruvian territory presents a high probability of distribution of the evaluated species and whereas the PNA protects only 4.42% (8363.09 km2) of the territory that covers genus Cedrela. Furthermore, we have identified that 11.65% (21,345.16 km2) of the area have highly prone to degradation for genus Cedrela that needs urgent attention for protection and restoration. We believe that this study will contribute as a tool for the processes of conservation of threatened species, conservation of biodiversity, management and sustainable use of forest resources.

  • Open access
  • 79 Reads
Agricultural Diversity of Kashmir Valley

Kashmir valley is located between the Pir Panjal and the Karakoram Range in the India. The valley is encircled by mountain ranges characterized by snow covered high mountain peaks. Kashmir is known for its scenic beauty throughout the world named as "paradise on earth." One of the main factors backing to this fame of Kashmir is its rich biodiversity corresponding with a wide variety of habitats. Agricultural growth is essential for any region to alleviate rural poverty, ensure food security and create job opportunities for people living in rural and urban areas. Traditionally, agriculture has been practicable and sustainable industry in the Kashmir. By tradition it has been the predominant sector in the Kashmir valley which supports around above 70 per cent of its population directly or indirectly is associated with agriculture and allied activities. The important features like topography, physiographic feature, diversity of habitat especially Karewas and elevation are the key elements which creates the difference between hill and plain areas. Hilly areas as generally offer a vast scope for the growers and cultivation of mixed crops like, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, Saffron, maize, vegetables. The most important and dominant feature of hill farming is the small holding, sloping marginal lands. This region has its own specific geo-climatic condition, which determine the cropping pattern and its productivity allied activities like horticulture, dairy development, fisheries, livestock and sericulture also play significant role in the agriculture sector.

  • Open access
  • 39 Reads
What’s in Your Plate and Where Can you Find It? The Representativity of the Diet of Plant Eating Bat Diets on Molecular Data Bases

DNA barcoding makes it possible to identify trophic relationships through traces of DNA present in animal faeces, allowing a more accurate description of mutualistic interactions, such as frugivory and pollination in tropical bats. However, success in this identification depends on the representativeness of the diet of these animal species in molecular databases. Poor molecular databases make it more difficult to identify plant DNA samples at the species level. Among the 21 existing bat families, a plant-based diet has evolved in only two of these families, Phyllostomidae (Neotropical) and Pteropodidae (Paleotropical), which represent about 28% of all bat species. Despite this, it is not known how much of the plant species present in their diet have sequences of different molecular markers, such as trnH, rbcL or ITS2, described and stored in molecular data bases, such as Bold Systems, one of the main molecular data bases to store DNA barcoding sequences. Thus, our study aims to compile the available data on the diet of frugivorous and nectarivorous bats from the families Pteropodidae and Phyllostomidae, and describe which molecular markers of plant species present in their diet have sequences stored in Bold Systems. In addition, we also intend to verify the countries of origin of these samples and the main depositary institutions. Thus, our study will provide an important basis in order to support future studies about the diet of frugivorous tropical bats based on molecular data.

  • Open access
  • 61 Reads
Distribution of Viviparous American Fish Species in Eastern Europe on the Example of Gambusia Holbrooki Girarg, 1859 and Poecilia Reticulata Peters, 1859 in the Context of Global Climate Change

Potential distribution of tropical fish species in Eastern Europe-Gambusia holbrooki Girarg, 1859 (introduced for biological control) and Poecilia reticulata Peters, 1859 (aquarium species, found in waste waters of big cities) tend to be of particular interest in terms of global climate change. After GIS modeling of our own data and findings listed in the GBIF databases (2278 points for G. holbrooki and 1410 points for P. reticulata) by using the Maxent package, 18 uncorrelated variables of 35 Bioclim climatic parameters from CliMond dataset, it was found out that by 2090 guppies will appear in the south of Ukraine (Danube river’s estuary, as well as in several places in the Caucasus and Turkey with habitat suitability >0.3–0.5). G. holbrooki will also slightly expand its range in Europe. Limiting factors for G. holbrooki distribution are are: bio1 (Annual mean temperature, optimum +12–+23 °C) and bio19 (Precipitation of coldest quarter (mm). Limiting factors for guppies are: bio1 (optimum +14–+28 °C), bio4 (Temperature seasonality), bio3 (Isothermality). Guppies, unlike G. holbrooki, prefer warmer waters (correlation 0.02). Such thermophilic fish species do not compete with the native ichthyofauna, but they can occupy niches in anthropogenicaly transformed habitats, playing an important role as agents of biological control.

  • Open access
  • 87 Reads
An assessment of applicability of Illumina GoatSNP50 BeadChip for genetic studies of Caucaian tur (Capra caucasica) †

Caucasian tur (Capra caucasica) is native to Greater Caucasus Mountain Chain from Azerbaijan and Georgia in the East to Krasnodar region of Russia in the West. This species is divided into two subspecies – East-Caucasian tur and West-Caucasian tur and an admixed subpopulation referred to as Mid-Caucasian tur. Up to date most of genetic studies of Caucasian tur were based on mtDNA sequences and comprehensive investigation of nuclear DNA is required for clarification of its genetic diversity and population structure. In our work, we assessed applicability of Illumina GoatSNP50 BeadChip for genetic studies of Caucasian tur. Fifteen specimens of Capra caucasica including East Caucasian tur from Dagestan (E_TUR, n=5), West Caucasian tur from Karachay-Cherkessia (W_TUR, n=5) and Mid-Caucasian tur from Kabardino-Balkaria (M_TUR, n=5) were genotyped. After quality control, 4758 polymorphic loci, which were distributed all over 29 autosomes, were detected. The lowest number of SNPs was found on the 25th chromosome – 68, and the highest on the 1st chromosome – 348. It was shown that all the three groups of Caucasian tur clustered separately. A total of 2061 SNPs were common for all the subpopulations, 594 were found only in W_TUR, 689 in E_TUR and 530 in M_TUR. Individual heterozygosity ranged from 0.309 to 0.319 in W_TUR, from 0.244 to 0.278 in E_TUR and from 0.288 to 0.323 in M_TUR. Thus in our study we demonstrated that the Illumina GoatSNP50 BeadChip designed for domestic goats can be used as useful tool for genetic studies of Caucasian tur.

  • Open access
  • 61 Reads
Evolutionary Biological Responses of Pikas (Lagomorpha, Mammalia) to Past Insular Ecosystems (Miocene-Holocene): A Key for the Management of Extant Species

The study of extinct biotas is fundamental to unraveling the evolutionary responses of organisms to insular habitats, which lack anthropogenic perturbations. Although paleobiological research has been historically biased towards species of large size, in the past few decades, small mammals studies have gained momentum. The present review discusses the general and specific eco-evolutionary adaptations to insular environments described in extinct species of pikas (Ochotonidae, Lagomorpha), given the last cutting-edge investigations. All lineages and species, known so far, occurred in Mediterranean Islands during Miocene-Holocene period. The review showed that, in a general trend, insular ochotonids experienced a body mass shift (towards larger morphotypes), as well as modifications in teeth features (hypselodonty, higher hypsodonty, more complex enamel patterns and increase of premolar and molar occlusal surface). The morphological design of some taxa was adapted to a non-cursorial locomotion with digging and leaping skills. Histological and paleopathological studies pointed to a slower life history than mainland forerunners, suggesting that they had a more K reproductive strategy. Such biological shifts response to the specific ecological pressures of insular habitats, characterized by resource limitation and low extrinsic mortality. At date, a single ochotonid species inhabits a true island, although some others occur in ecological ones. Furthermore, climate change will also strongly reduce ochotonid ranges, pushing them to very limited areas (e.g. top of mountains). For an effective management of endangered pikas, it is particularly relevant to know their evolutionary responses and ability to persist in certain environmental scenarios (e.g. isolation), by means of the study of their extinct relatives. The paleobiological data presented in the present research may be particularly useful in this field (e.g. identifying suitable candidates and locations for restoration and rewild programs).