Due to the lack of visible barriers to gene flow, it was a long-standing assumption that marine coastal species are widely distributed, until molecular studies revealed geographically structured intraspecific genetic differentiation in many taxa. Historical events of sea level changes during glacial periods are known to have triggered sequential disjunctions and genetic divergences among populations, especially of coastal organisms. The Parasesarma bidens species complex so far includes three named plus potentially cryptic species of estuarine brachyuran crabs, distributed along East to Southeast Asia. The aim of the present study is to address phylogeography and uncover real and hidden biological diversity within this complex, by revealing the underlying genetic structure of populations and species throughout their distribution ranges from Japan to West Papua, with a comparison of mitochondrial COX1 and 16S rRNA gene sequences. Our results reveal that the P. bidens species complex consists of at least five distinct clades, resulting from four main cladogenesis events during the mid to late Pleistocene. Among those clades, P. cricotum and P. sanguimanus are recovered as monophyletic taxa. Geographically restricted endemic clades are encountered in southeastern Indonesia, Japan and China respectively, whereas the Philippines and Taiwan share two clades. As individuals of the Japanese clade can also be found in Taiwan, we provide evidence of a third lineage and the occurrence of a potential cryptic species on this island. Ocean level retreats during Pleistocene ice ages and present oceanic currents appear to be the main triggers for the divergences of the five clades that are here addressed as the P. bidens complex. Secondary range expansions converted Taiwan into the point of maximal overlap, sharing populations with Japan and the Philippines, but not with mainland China.
Carbon emission from soil is not only one of the major sources of greenhouse gases but also threatens biological diversity, agricultural productivity, and food security. Regulation and control of the soil carbon pool are political practices in many countries around the globe. Carbon pool management in engineering sense is much bigger and beyond laws and monitoring, as it has to contain proactive elements to restore active carbon. Biogeochemistry teaches us that soil microorganisms are crucial to manage the carbon content effectively. Adding carbon materials to soil is thereby not directly sequestration, as interaction of appropriately designed materials with the soil microbiome can result in both: metabolization and thereby nonsustainable use of the added carbon, or—more favorably—a biological amplification of human efforts and sequestration of extra CO2 by microbial growth. We review here potential approaches to govern soil carbon, with a special focus set on the emerging practice of adding manufactured carbon materials to control soil carbon and its biological dynamics. Notably, research on so-called “biochar” is already relatively mature, while the role of artificial humic substance (A-HS) in microbial carbon sequestration is still in the developing stage. However, it is shown that the preparation and application of A-HS are large biological levers, as they directly interact with the environment and community building of the biological soil system. We believe that A-HS can play a central role in stabilizing carbon pools in soil.
Forest ecosystems contain many tree-related microhabitats (TreMs), which are used by various groups of organisms. Birds use TreMs for shelter, foraging and breeding. The abundance and variability of TreMs is related to tree stand composition and age. Over the last few centuries there has been a drastic decline in the structural and biological diversity of temperate forests over large areas of the Northern Hemisphere. These changes have reduced the diversity and quantity of TreMs. In this study we showed the relationships between stand composition, the abundance of TreMs, and the species richness of birds in a managed forest. We focused on TreMs that are important to birds: woodpecker breeding cavities, rot holes, dead branches, broken treetops, and perennial polypores. Our study was performed in a managed lowland temperate forest. In 94 plots (10 ha each) we made bird surveys and inventoried the stand composition and TreMs. Our results show that the tree stand composition of a managed forest affects the abundance of TreMs. The share of deciduous trees in the stand favors the occurrence of such TreMs as dead branches, rot holes and perennial polypores. The overall richness of bird species and the species richness of primary cavity nesters depended on the total basal area of oak, hornbeam and birch, whereas the species richness of secondary cavity nesters increased with the total basal area of birch and oak.
The J. Derek Bewley Career Lectures presented at the triennial meetings of the International Society of Seed Science support early-career seed scientists by providing retrospective views, from those late in their careers, of lessons learned and future implications. Ambition, ability, inspiration, foresight, hard work and opportunity are obvious career requirements. The importance of mentoring and teamwork combined with the clear communication of results, understanding and ideas are emphasized. The role of illustration in research, and its dissemination, is outlined: illustration can support hypothesis development, testing and communication. Climate change may perturb the production of high-quality seed affecting conservation as well as agriculture, horticulture and forestry. An illustrative synthesis of the current understanding of temporal aspects of the effects of seed production environment on seed quality (assessed by subsequent seed storage longevity) is provided for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and rice (Oryza sativa L.). Seed science research can contribute to complex global challenges such as future food supplies from seed-propagated crops in our changing climate whilst conserving biological diversity (through seed ecology and technologies such as ex situ plant genetic resources conservation by long-term seed storage in genebanks), but only if that research can be – and then is – applied.
The Panay Bukidnon is a group of indigenous peoples living in the interior highlands of Panay Island in Western Visayas, Philippines. Little is known about their ethnobotanical knowledge due to limited written records, and no recent research has been conducted on the medicinal plants they used in ethnomedicine. This study aims to document the medicinal plants used by the indigenous Panay Bukidnon in Lambunao, Iloilo, Panay Island. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 75 key informants from June 2020 to September 2021 to determine the therapeutic use of medicinal plants in traditional medicine. A total of 131 medicinal plant species distributed in 121 genera and 57 families were used to address 91 diseases in 16 different uses or disease categories. The family Fabaceae was best represented with 13 species, followed by Lamiaceae with nine species and Poaceae with eight species. The leaf was the most frequently used plant part and decoction was the most preferred form of preparation. To evaluate the plant importance, use value (UV), relative frequency citation (RFC), relative important index (RI), informant consensus factor (ICF), and fidelity level (FL) were used. Curcuma longa L. had the highest UV (0.79), Artemisia vulgaris L. had the highest RFC value (0.57), and Annona muricata L. had the highest RI value (0.88). Diseases and symptoms or signs involving the respiratory system and injury, poisoning, and certain other consequences of external causes recorded the highest ICF value (0.80). Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC. and Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M. King & H. Rob were the most relevant and agreed species for the former and latter disease categories, respectively. C. odorata had the highest FL value (100%) and was the most preferred medicinal plant used for cuts and wounds. The results of this study serve as a medium for preserving cultural heritage, ethnopharmacological bases for further drug research and discovery, and preserving biological diversity.
Protection of natural areas by restricting human activities aims to preserve plant and animal populations and whole communities, ensuring the conservation of biological diversity and enhancement of ecosystem services. Therefore, it is expected that the longer the protection, the stronger the desired effects. We evaluated the responses of small mammals at the population and community levels under protection in the southern Carpathian Mountains. We surveyed small mammals for five years in sites with long- and short-term protection and non-protected. Besides protection status, we included elevation, habitat heterogeneity, and the month of survey as predictors in our models. As response variables, we considered abundance, presence, species composition and species richness. Community abundance responded to all four predictors and species composition was influenced by protection status and month of study. The shrews Sorex araneus and S. minutus had positive responses to protection, both in terms of abundance and relative abundance (their ratio within the community). Our results suggest that overall, montane small mammal communities respond positively to long-term protection, especially S. araneus and S. minutus. These shrew species are considered habitat generalists, but they appear to be in fact sensitive to the habitat quality enhanced through protection.
AbstractThe discovery of symbiotic associations extends our understanding of the biological diversity in the aquatic environment and their impact on the host’s ecology. Of particular interest are nudibranchs that unprotected by a shell and feed mainly on sponges. The symbiotic association of the nudibranch Rostanga alisae with bacteria was supported by ample evidence, including an analysis of cloned bacterial 16S rRNA genes and a fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis, and microscopic observations. A total of 74 clones belonging to the phyla α-, β-, γ-Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Cyanobacteria were identified. FISH confirmed that bacteriocytes were packed with Bradyrhizobium, Maritalea, Labrenzia, Bulkholderia, Achromobacter, and Stenotrophomonas mainly in the foot and notum epidermis, and also an abundance of Synechococcus cyanobacteria in the intestinal epithelium. An ultrastructural analysis showed several bacterial morphotypes of bacteria in epidermal cells, intestine epithelium, and in mucus layer covering the mollusk body. The high proportion of typical bacterial fatty acids in R. alisae indicated that symbiotic bacteria make a substantial contribution to its nutrition. Thus, the nudibranch harbors a high diversity of specific endo- and extracellular bacteria, which previously unknown as symbionts of marine invertebrates that provide the mollusk with essential nutrients. They can provide chemical defense against predators.
After decades of biomedical research on ayahuasca's molecular compounds and their physiological effects, recent clinical trials show evidence of therapeutic potential for depression. However, indigenous peoples have been using ayahuasca therapeutically for a very long time, and thus we question the epistemic authority attributed to scientific studies, proposing that epistemic injustices were committed with practical, cultural, social, and legal consequences. We question epistemic authority based on the double-blind design, the molecularization discourse, and contextual issues about safety. We propose a new approach to foster epistemically fair research, outlining how to enforce indigenous rights, considering the Brazilian, Peruvian, and Colombian cases. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect, and develop their biocultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and cultural expressions, including traditional medicine practices. New regulations about ayahuasca must respect the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples according to the International Labor Organization Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention no. 169. The declaration of the ayahuasca complex as a national cultural heritage may prevent patenting from third parties, fostering the development of traditional medicine. When involving isolated compounds derived from traditional knowledge, benefit-sharing agreements are mandatory according to the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity. Considering the extremely high demand to treat millions of depressed patients, the medicalization of ayahuasca without adequate regulation respectful of indigenous rights can be detrimental to indigenous peoples and their management of local environments, potentially harming the sustainability of the plants and of the Amazon itself, which is approaching its dieback tipping point.