International Journal of Biodiversity http://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Crop Depredation by Birds in Deccan Plateau, India Wed, 03 Sep 2014 06:05:04 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/947683/ Extent of crop depredation in agricultural fields of groundnut, pearl millet, peas, sorghum and sunflower was assessed in Pune, Akola and Amravati, the three productive districts of Maharashtra, India. The study included interviews with the farmers, identification of the bird species responsible for the crop depredation and actual field assessment of damage. The problem of crop depredation is severe for the crops mostly during harvesting season. Most farmers were not satisfied with the conventional bird repelling techniques. A maximum depredation was observed by Sorghum crops by house sparrows Passer domesticus, baya weavers Ploceus philippinus, and rose-ringed parakeets Psittacula krameri, accounting to 52% of the total damage. Blue rock pigeons Columba livia damaged 42% of the peas crop (chick peas and pigeon peas), while house sparrows and baya weaver damaged the groundnut crop by 26% in the sampling plots. House sparrow Passer domesticus and baya weaver Ploceus philippinus damaged the groundnut crop in the sampling plots just after the sowing period. The sustainable solution for reducing crop depredation is a need for the farmers and also such techniques will help avoid direct or indirect effects of use of lethal bird control techniques on bird species. Manoj Ashokrao Kale, Nandkishor Dudhe, Raju Kasambe, and Prosun Bhattacharya Copyright © 2014 Manoj Ashokrao Kale et al. All rights reserved. Quantitative Characterization of Nut Yield and Fruit Components in Indigenous Coconut Germplasm in Sri Lanka Sun, 17 Aug 2014 11:28:46 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/740592/ Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) is a tropical palm offering multiple uses. Conservation of coconut germplasm has been undertaken globally in view of its economic importance. This research was designed to evaluate nine Sri Lankan indigenous coconut germplasm representing the three varieties Typica, Nana, and Aurantiaca. Total annual nut yield and the weights of fresh nut, husked nut, split nut, and fresh and dry kernel were scored and analyzed with analysis of variance. The annual average number of bunches varied from 14.9 to 16.8 which is significantly higher than the generally accepted 12–14 bunches in tall coconuts. The high potential of phenotypes Ran thembili and Gon thembili for kernel production was revealed. The high potential of Gon thembili, Sri Lanka Tall, and Ran thembili to produce fibre was also identified. Phenotypes Ran thembili and Gon thembili displayed their potential as pure cultivars and as parents in hybridization. King coconut, Red dwarf, and Bodiri were shown to be suitable as beverage coconuts due to the high production of nuts, bunches, and the quantity of nut water. This study reiterated the importance of conservation and characterization of indigenous coconut varieties globally for their effective use in the genetic improvement of the coconut palm. S. A. C. N. Perera, H. D. M. A. C. Dissanayaka, H. M. N. B. Herath, M. G. M. K. Meegahakumbura, and L. Perera Copyright © 2014 S. A. C. N. Perera et al. All rights reserved. Genetic Divergence, Implication of Diversity, and Conservation of Silkworm, Bombyx mori Tue, 13 May 2014 12:09:44 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/564850/ Genetic diversity is critical to success in any crop breeding and it provides information about the quantum of genetic divergence and serves a platform for specific breeding objectives. It is one of the three forms of biodiversity recognized by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as deserving conservation. Silkworm Bombyx mori, an economically important insect, reported to be domesticated over 5000 years ago by human to meet his requirements. Genetic diversity is a particular concern because greater genetic uniformity in silkworm can increase vulnerability to pests and diseases. Hence, maintenance of genetic diversity is a fundamental component in long-term management strategies for genetic improvement of silkworm which is cultivated by millions of people around the worlds for its lusture silk. In this paper genetic diversity studies carried out in silkworm using divergent methods (quantitative traits and biochemical and molecular markers) and present level of diversity and factors responsible for loss of diversity are discussed. Bharat Bhusan Bindroo and Shunmugam Manthira Moorthy Copyright © 2014 Bharat Bhusan Bindroo and Shunmugam Manthira Moorthy. All rights reserved. Impact of Livestock Exclusion on Sidi Toui National Park Vegetation Communities, Tunisia Mon, 12 May 2014 16:35:20 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/620405/ The restoration technique importance resides on the assessment of its impact on biodiversity. This assessment is possible by the use of some environmental indicators extracted from a diachronic study of land cover changes in protected areas. Our study is carried out with the evaluation of some indicators inside Sidi Toui national park. These indicators are measured on the one hand from a land cover map of 1988 (3 years before the creation of the park) and the map of 2007 on the other hand (16 years after the park creation). An important landscape heterogeneity, as a result of the progressive vegetation dynamic, was observed in 2007. This heterogeneity is indicated by an increasing of the Shannon diversity index under fencing impacts. The majority of 1988 vegetation units are replaced by new ones in 2007. The cover of all vegetation units is more important in 2007. Mohamed Tarhouni, Farah Ben Salem, Azaiez Ouled Belgacem, and Mohamed Neffati Copyright © 2014 Mohamed Tarhouni et al. All rights reserved. Endophytic Fungal Diversity in Medicinal Plants of Western Ghats, India Sun, 11 May 2014 09:35:55 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/494213/ Endophytes constitute an important component of microbial diversity, and in the present investigation, seven plant species with rich ethnobotanical uses representing six families were analyzed for the presence of endophytic fungi from their natural habitats during monsoon (May/June) and winter (November/December) seasons of 2007. Fungal endophytes were isolated from healthy plant parts such as stem, root, rhizome, and inflorescence employing standard isolation methods. One thousand five hundred and twenty-nine fungal isolates were obtained from 5200 fragments. Stem fragments harbored more endophytes (80.37%) than roots (19.22%). 31 fungal taxa comprised of coelomycetes (65%), hyphomycetes (32%), and ascomycetes (3%). Fusarium, Acremonium, Colletotrichum, Chaetomium, Myrothecium, Phomopsis, and Pestalotiopsis spp. were commonly isolated. Diversity indices differed significantly between the seasons (). Species richness was greater for monsoon isolations than winter. Host specificity was observed for few fungal endophytes. UPGMA cluster analysis grouped the endophytes into distinct clusters on the basis of genetic distance. This study is the first report on the diversity and host-specificity of endophytic fungal taxa were from the semi evergreen forest type in Talacauvery subcluster of Western Ghats. Monnanda Somaiah Nalini, Ningaraju Sunayana, and Harischandra Sripathy Prakash Copyright © 2014 Monnanda Somaiah Nalini et al. All rights reserved. Current Population Status and Activity Pattern of Lesser Flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor) and Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) in Abijata-Shalla Lakes National Park (ASLNP), Ethiopia Tue, 29 Apr 2014 07:21:48 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/295362/ A study of the population status, habitat preference, and activity pattern of nonbreeding flamingos was carried out in Lakes Abijata, Shalla, and Chitu, part of the Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia, from 2011 to 2013. The current population status and habitat preference of flamingos in the area are still poorly known. Likewise, data on diurnal and seasonal activity pattern of the species are scarce and this leads to the misunderstanding of how Flamingos use local wetlands throughout the different seasons. Data regarding population size and activity pattern were gathered during the wet and dry seasons. Point-count method was used to estimate the population size. Behaviors were recorded using scan sampling techniques. A total of 53671 individuals representing two species of flamingo were counted during both wet and dry seasons from the three lakes. There were more flamingos during the dry season than the wet season in Lake Abijata contrary to Lakes Shalla and Chitu during the wet season. Lesser flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor) were the most abundant species comprising 95.39%, while Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) accounted for 4.61% of the total population. Lake Abijata is the major stronghold of Lesser Flamingos in the area. There was significant variation in the mean number of both species during the wet and dry season in the different study sites of the lake, respectively. The species were known to use varied habitats within the lakes. The Lesser Flamingo mainly preferred the shoreline and mudflat areas of the lakes. However, Greater Flamingo on several occasions showed preference to offshore area of the lakes. Seasonal average flock sizes were not similar between the species. There was a strong relationship between time allocated to each activity and time of day. Feeding activity varied among daylight hours and was higher in the evening (76.5%) and late morning (74.56%) and least during midday (54%). Some variations in activity breakdown were observed between time blocks and season. Conservation efforts in the park should include the wild flora and fauna not only of the land but also of the aquatic systems. The information in this study will be very useful for the future management of the species in the area. Tewodros Kumssa and Afework Bekele Copyright © 2014 Tewodros Kumssa and Afework Bekele. All rights reserved. Holistic Management: Misinformation on the Science of Grazed Ecosystems Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:33:07 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/163431/ Over 3 billion hectares of lands worldwide are grazed by livestock, with a majority suffering degradation in ecological condition. Losses in plant productivity, biodiversity of plant and animal communities, and carbon storage are occurring as a result of livestock grazing. Holistic management (HM) has been proposed as a means of restoring degraded deserts and grasslands and reversing climate change. The fundamental approach of this system is based on frequently rotating livestock herds to mimic native ungulates reacting to predators in order to break up biological soil crusts and trample plants and soils to promote restoration. This review could find no peer-reviewed studies that show that this management approach is superior to conventional grazing systems in outcomes. Any claims of success due to HM are likely due to the management aspects of goal setting, monitoring, and adapting to meet goals, not the ecological principles embodied in HM. Ecologically, the application of HM principles of trampling and intensive foraging are as detrimental to plants, soils, water storage, and plant productivity as are conventional grazing systems. Contrary to claims made that HM will reverse climate change, the scientific evidence is that global greenhouse gas emissions are vastly larger than the capacity of worldwide grasslands and deserts to store the carbon emitted each year. John Carter, Allison Jones, Mary O’Brien, Jonathan Ratner, and George Wuerthner Copyright © 2014 John Carter et al. All rights reserved. Axillary Bud Proliferation Approach for Plant Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration Sun, 06 Apr 2014 14:04:34 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/727025/ Due to mainly human population pressure and activities, global biodiversity is getting reduced and particularly plant biodiversity is becoming at high risk of extinction. Consequently, many efforts have been deployed to develop conservation methods. Because it does not involve cell dedifferentiation of differentiated cells but rather the development and growth of new shoots from preexisting meristems, the axillary bud proliferation approach is the method offering least risk of genetic instability. Indeed, meristems are more resistant to genetic changes than disorganized tissues. The present review explored through the scientific literature the axillary bud proliferation approach and the possible somaclonal variation that could arise from it. Almost genetic stability or low level of genetic variation is often reported. On the contrary, in a few cases studied to date, DNA methylation alterations often appeared in the progenies, showing epigenetic variations in the regenerated plants from axillary bud culture. Fortunately, epigenetic changes are often temporary and plants may revert to the normal phenotype. Thus, in the absence of genetic variations and the existence of reverting epigenetic changes over time, axillary bud culture can be adopted as an alternative nonconventional way of conserving and restoring of plant biodiversity. F. Ngezahayo and B. Liu Copyright © 2014 F. Ngezahayo and B. Liu. All rights reserved. Genetic Diversity Assessment and Identification of New Sour Cherry Genotypes Using Intersimple Sequence Repeat Markers Mon, 10 Mar 2014 09:25:44 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/308398/ Iran is one of the chief origins of subgenus Cerasus germplasm. In this study, the genetic variation of new Iranian sour cherries (which had such superior growth characteristics and fruit quality as to be considered for the introduction of new cultivars) was investigated and identified using 23 intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. Results indicated a high level of polymorphism of the genotypes based on these markers. According to these results, primers tested in this study specially ISSR-4, ISSR-6, ISSR-13, ISSR-14, ISSR-16, and ISSR-19 produced good and various levels of amplifications which can be effectively used in genetic studies of the sour cherry. The genetic similarity among genotypes showed a high diversity among the genotypes. Cluster analysis separated improved cultivars from promising Iranian genotypes, and the PCoA supported the cluster analysis results. Since the Iranian genotypes were superior to the improved cultivars and were separated from them in most groups, these genotypes can be considered as distinct genotypes for further evaluations in the framework of breeding programs and new cultivar identification in cherries. Results also confirmed that ISSR is a reliable DNA marker that can be used for exact genetic studies and in sour cherry breeding programs. Roghayeh Najafzadeh, Kazem Arzani, Naser Bouzari, and Ali Saei Copyright © 2014 Roghayeh Najafzadeh et al. All rights reserved. Characterization of Annur and Bedakam Ecotypes of Coconut from Kerala State, India, Using Microsatellite Markers Sun, 23 Feb 2014 06:44:51 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/260895/ The coconut palm is versatile in its adaptability to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. A long history of its cultivation has resulted in development of many ecotypes, which are adapted to various agro-eco factors prevalent in a particular region. These ecotypes usually are known by the location where they are grown. It is important to explore such adaptation in the coconut population for better utilization of these ecotypes in coconut breeding programs. The aim of the present study was to identify the genetic diversity of the Bedakam and Annur ecotypes of coconut and compare these ecotypes with predominant West Coast Tall (WCT) populations, from which they are presumed to have been derived, using microsatellite markers. All the 17 microsatellite markers used in the study revealed 100% polymorphism. The clustering analysis showed that Annur and Bedakam ecotypes were two separate and distinct populations compared to WCT. It was also evident from the clustering that Annur ecotype was closer to WCT than Bedakam ecotype. M. K. Rajesh, K. Samsudeen, P. Rejusha, C. Manjula, Shafeeq Rahman, and Anitha Karun Copyright © 2014 M. K. Rajesh et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Anthropogenic Activities on Patterns of Genetic Diversity in Symplocos racemosa Roxb. from Western Ghats, India Tue, 11 Feb 2014 08:44:16 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/296891/ The Western Ghats (WG) in India is recognized as one of the global biodiversity hotspots which have high proportion of endemic species and the medicinally important tree species. Due to medicinal importance and being found on the forest fringes, Symplocos racemosa Roxb. is highly susceptible to anthropogenic activities. The present study was undertaken to systematically analyze the effects of anthropogenic activities on the genetic diversity and population structure of S. racemosa and to generate preliminary data for conservation purposes. We analyzed the variation in intergenic sequences of chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes from seven sites of S. racemosa sampled from protected, semiprotected, and disturbed areas of WG. Total diversity was high although within-sites diversity was low. The protected sites were highly diverse, while the disturbed areas possessed less genetic diversity indicating the effect of anthropogenic activities. Sofia Banu, Rasika M. Bhagwat, Meena D. Lagu, Narendra Kadoo, B. G. Kulkarni, and Vidya S. Gupta Copyright © 2014 Sofia Banu et al. All rights reserved. Diversity and Species Composition of Subaerial Algal Communities in Forested Areas of Meghalaya, India Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:53:01 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/456202/ The study deals with a comparative study on diversity and species composition of subaerial algal communities from tree barks of closed undisturbed sacred grove, mixed plantation, and open disturbed forest. A total of 85 taxa had been recorded, 30 cyanobacteria and 55 algal species belonging to six classes of algae. Sacred grove harboured the highest subaerial algal diversity compared to those of plantation and open disturbed forest. There was a strong significant difference in species composition among the three different sampling areas. High number of diatoms with 14 species was recorded in sacred grove. Cyanobacteria with 22 species were the frequent group in disturbed forest whereas Trentepohliales dominated in plantation. Canonical correspondence analysis confirmed that high photon irradiance favored the growth of cyanobacteria in disturbed forest. The abundance of Trentepohliales members correlated to high rainfall and photon irradiance. High diversity and presence of many diatom species in undisturbed Mawphlang sacred grove were associated with low photon irradiance and high relative humidity and could also be due to a presence of suitable substrata formed by the growth of mosses. Sunlight, relative humidity, and rainfall were the important factors which played a major role in determining the diversity and distribution of subaerial algal communities. Diana Kharkongor and Papiya Ramanujam Copyright © 2014 Diana Kharkongor and Papiya Ramanujam. All rights reserved. A Crispy Delicacy: Augosoma Beetle as Alternative Source of Protein in East Cameroon Tue, 28 Jan 2014 07:34:35 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/214071/ Despite the fact that the exoskeleton of the Augosoma centaurus (Dynastinae) is hard and difficult to chew, this insect is often gathered in Eastern Cameroon for food in periods of availability. Nine ethnic groups in Eastern Cameroon were surveyed to understand the role of this insect in assuring food security, using quantitative and qualitative social science approaches. Both the larvae and adult stages of this beetle are habitually consumed in the areas studied. In total, about 65% of consumers prefer consuming the adults, while 35% prefer consuming the larvae. About 24% of consumers derive the same satisfaction from the consumption of Augosoma or other edible insects. Close to 39% of consumers prefer other edible insects to Augosoma, while 37% prefer the consumption of Augosoma to other edible insects. This beetle usually occurs at a period when other edible insects are not available, therefore constituting a good source of alternative protein in this region where poverty, poaching, and biodiversity erosion are still a major problem. Furthermore, the gathering of this beetle for food is equally a means of biological pest control of raffia plants and a tool to enhance community-based conservation of the areas global biodiversity. F. J. Muafor, P. Levang, and P. Le Gall Copyright © 2014 F. J. Muafor et al. All rights reserved. Analysis of Structure and Diversity of the Kilengwe Forest in the Morogoro Region, Tanzania Thu, 23 Jan 2014 06:45:04 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/516840/ This study investigates the structure, species composition, and diversity of a section of the Kilengwe Forest in Tanzania. In order to accomplish the proposed objectives, 18 plots of 20 m × 20 m were randomly established in the forest and the number of tree species in each plot was identified and counted. The most important families and species were determined using importance value indices at the respective taxonomic levels. Diversity was measured using the Shannon-Wiener and Fisher alpha diversity indices. A total of 276 stems/ha representing 93 species/ha within 26 families were documented from 0.72 ha. Fabaceae and Julbernadia globiflora were the dominant family and species, respectively. Seventy-eight percent of the total species were rare. The average basal area of the forest was 7.1 m2/ha. The Shannon-Wiener index (4.02) and Fisher’s alpha diversity (35.5) indicated high species diversity within the forest. The species-area and species-abundance curves revealed an escalating trend implying that more sampling efforts could result in a higher number of species existing in the forest. The size class distribution displayed a reverse J-shaped pattern; however, the larger size classes DBH >50 cm were not represented. The study suggests the necessity for anthropogenic disturbance control as this is the major source of forest degradation in the studied area. David Sylvester Kacholi Copyright © 2014 David Sylvester Kacholi. All rights reserved. A Spatial Analysis of Serotine Bat (Eptesicus serotinus) Roost Location and Landscape Structure: A Case Study in Sussex, UK Tue, 21 Jan 2014 16:09:33 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/495307/ Roost location is a key factor affecting the survival and fitness of British bats. It has been suggested that a knowledge and understanding of the factors which may influence the selection of roost location are fundamental to conservation efforts. Our study aims to investigate the relationship between Eptesicus serotinus roost location and landscape structure. The study is based in the Sussex region of South East England. The landscape characteristics of 97 roosts locations were compared against 100 random control locations. Habitat analysis was carried out at three distance bands and included an analysis of roost density. The results indicate that E. serotinus is selective in locating roosts. The study demonstrates that there are significant differences between the landscape composition surrounding roost sites and the wider landscape. In particular, E. serotinus roost sites are found to be located in areas with a significantly higher cover of arable land and improved grassland. Kernel density analysis was successfully used as an additional method to the direct comparison of roost neighbourhood composition. Density analysis identified the location and characteristics of possible centres of E. serotinus activity. It is anticipated that the findings will enable the needs of bats to be considered in future landscape conservation initiatives and development policies. Michael Tink, Niall G. Burnside, and Stephen Waite Copyright © 2014 Michael Tink et al. All rights reserved. Are Plant Species’ Richness and Diversity Influenced by Fragmentation at a Microscale? Thu, 16 Jan 2014 09:46:46 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/384698/ It is argued that forest fragmentation has negative effects on biodiversity at the short and long term; however, these effects might be dependent on the specific vegetation of the study area and its intrinsic characteristics. The processes leading to fragmentation are very diverse and many of them have anthropogenic causes as logging actions and clearings for agricultural fields. Furthermore, it is thought that scale plays an important role in the expected effects of fragmentation on biodiversity. In this study the effect of forest fragmentation and its impact on the woody plants species, richness and diversity are analysed considering three vegetation types in a poorly studied and difficult access biodiversity hotspot in northern Mexico. The results show that the effects of fragmentation are dependent on the vegetation type and that these are not strongly related to the species richness, and diversity in a microscale (100 m2). Fragmentation effects on biodiversity must be analysed in a broad scale, considering the fragment as a whole. Furthermore, conservation priority should be given to the larger fragments, which could potentially maintain a higher portion of biodiversity. Management should also be focused on increasing the connectivity between these big and medium size forest patches. Jesús Aguirre-Gutiérrez Copyright © 2014 Jesús Aguirre-Gutiérrez. All rights reserved. Decline of Indigenous Crop Diversity in Colonial and Postcolonial Rwanda Sun, 22 Dec 2013 14:52:14 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/401938/ Global influence of the wealthiest countries drives trends in crop diversity in the developing countries. In many countries, European colonization resulted in cultural disintegration and erosion of indigenous knowledge that made citizens lose interest in their own cultural heritage and adopt imperial know-how. During the same time, native biodiversity that was once maintained by the tradition it shaped declined. Alien crops prospered and finally dominated landscapes. In this paper, I looked at the apparent decline of indigenous crop diversity in Rwanda in the light of the “cultural disturbance” that occurred in the shadow of the European colonization. An integrated research methodology that combined desk-based, socioeconomic, and vegetation surveys was used. Indigenous crops now on the fringe of extinction and, thus, requiring immediate attention from conservation policy makers and managers were identified. These include Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. “inkoli” (Leguminosae), Coleus dysentericus Bak. “impombo” (Labiatae), Dioscorea alata Linn. “ibikoro” (Araceae), a sweet cultivar of Lagenaria siceraria (Mol.) Standl. “bunure” (Cucurbitaceae), white cultivar of Sorghum bicolor (Linn.) Moench “nyiragikori” (Gramineae), Amaranthus graecizans Linn. “inyabutongo” (Amaranthaceae), Eleusine coracana (Linn.) Gaertn. “uburo” (Gramineae), and traditional cultivars of Zea mays Linn. “nyakagori” (Gramineae) and Solanum tuberosum Linn. “kandore” (Solanaceae). Jean Leonard Seburanga Copyright © 2013 Jean Leonard Seburanga. All rights reserved. Acacia sieberiana Effects on Soil Properties and Plant Diversity in Songa Pastures, Rwanda Mon, 04 Nov 2013 11:52:02 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/237525/ Effects of A. sieberiana trees on soil properties and plant diversity were investigated in Songa pastures, Rwanda. Tree characteristics and crown architecture of A. sieberiana were studied. Soil properties were assessed and plants were identified under and away from tree crowns. Counts of individual plants/species were done only under tree crowns. Nitrogen, P, and K were analysed in the soil, grass, and A. sieberiana leaves. Plant diversity was determined using Simpson's diversity index. Data were subjected to ANOVA. Soil organic carbon (SOC), cation exchange capacity (CEC), Ca2+, N and pH, and plant diversity were higher in soils under tree canopies than in open areas. Tree leaves were significantly richer in N and poorer in P and K as compared to grasses. Tree crowns grew wider and horizontal and developed intertwined secondary branching, reducing light intensity to as low as 38% under tree canopies compared to the open pasture. At 3 trees/ha stocking, A. sieberiana trees shaded 0.18 ha and herbaceous plants and grasses unpalatable to livestock dominated under tree canopies. A tradeoff of A. sieberiana tree value versus the loss of palatable grass due to tree presence needs to be assessed to decide whether the trees should be included in pastures and if yes, the apporpriate stocking identified. C. P. Mugunga and D. T. Mugumo Copyright © 2013 C. P. Mugunga and D. T. Mugumo. All rights reserved. Temporal Succession of Phytoplankton Assemblages in a Tidal Creek System of the Sundarbans Mangroves: An Integrated Approach Thu, 03 Oct 2013 14:10:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/824543/ Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove ecosystem, is unique and biologically diverse. A study was undertaken to track temporal succession of phytoplankton assemblages at the generic level (≥10 µm) encompassing 31 weeks of sampling (June 2010–May 2011) in Sundarbans based on microscopy and hydrological measurements. As part of this study, amplification and sequencing of type ID rbcL subunit of RuBisCO enzyme were also applied to infer chromophytic algal groups (≤10 µm size) from one of the study points. We report the presence of 43 genera of Bacillariophyta, in addition to other phytoplankton groups, based on microscopy. Phytoplankton cell abundance, which was highest in winter and spring, ranged between 300 and 27,500 cells/L during this study. Cell biovolume varied between winter of 2010 (90–35281.04 µm3) and spring-summer of 2011 (52–33962.24 µm3). Winter supported large chain forming diatoms, while spring supported small sized diatoms, followed by other algal groups in summer. The clone library approach showed dominance of Bacillariophyta-like sequences, in addition to Cryptophyta-, Haptophyta-, Pelagophyta-, and Eustigmatophyta-like sequences which were detected for the first time highlighting their importance in mangrove ecosystem. This study clearly shows that a combination of microscopy and molecular tools can improve understanding of phytoplankton assemblages in mangrove environments. Dola Bhattacharjee, Brajogopal Samanta, Anamitra Anurag Danda, and Punyasloke Bhadury Copyright © 2013 Dola Bhattacharjee et al. All rights reserved. Abundance and Structure of African Baobab (Adansonia digitata) across Different Soil Types in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe Wed, 25 Sep 2013 18:01:49 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/874713/ This study investigated the abundance and structure of African baobab (Adansonia digitata) across soil group strata in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. The study was based on a stratified random sampling design composed of the following soil group substrates: (i) granophyres, (ii) malvernia, and (iii) rhyolite. Belt transects of  km were randomly laid across soil group. Baobab abundance and population structure were determined from the density and size class distribution, respectively. There were significant differences in plant height and plant density across Gonarezhou soil groups. Study sites on granophyres derived soil group indicated viable abundance and recruitment of baobab population. Whereas the study highlighted a concern over the unbalanced size structure distribution of baobab population on malvernia derived soil group, our results indicated that baobabs are in danger of extirpation on malvernia derived soil group. Baobab community in Gonarezhou tends to occur more densely along environmental gradient of soil group type as influenced by the underlying geological soil substrate of granophyres. Malvernia derived soil group is likely less ideal for baobab recruitment. Clayton Mashapa, Patience Zisadza-Gandiwa, Edson Gandiwa, and Shakkie Kativu Copyright © 2013 Clayton Mashapa et al. All rights reserved. Diversity, Distribution, and Abundance of Plants in Lewoh-Lebang in the Lebialem Highlands of Southwestern Cameroon Sun, 22 Sep 2013 15:32:30 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/642579/ A survey was conducted between October 2010 and June 2011 to determine the diversity, distribution, and abundance of plants in 4 sites of the Lebialem highlands and to relate species diversity and abundance to altitude and soil types. Twelve (12) plots, each of 1 ha (250 × 40 m), were surveyed at the submontane and montane altitudes of the sites. One hundred (100) species belonging to 82 genera were identified with the genera Cola and Psychotria being the most represented. Vulnerable species included Guarea thompsonii, Schefflera hierniana, Allanblackia gabonensis, Cyclomorpha solmsii, Vepris trifoliolata, and Xylopia africana. Species such as Xymalos monospora, Tricalysia atherura, and Piptostigma oyemense present in the study area were endemic to Cameroon. Diversity and distribution of plants were affected by parameters such as the altitude and the soil type. Soil analysis revealed that diversity in the study area was affected by the organic carbon, nitrogen, calcium, and the cation exchange capacity of the soil. B. A. Fonge, D. J. Tchetcha, and L. Nkembi Copyright © 2013 B. A. Fonge et al. All rights reserved. Efficient Evaluation of Biodiversity Concerns in Protected Areas Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:05:45 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/298968/ Monitoring is a vital component of keeping protected areas in desired states. Lack of robust designs, however, impedes efficient monitoring. We ask two questions—how does effort at a specific site as well as number of sites in a plant community influence richness, abundance, and diversity indicators. Large mammal herbivory biodiversity influences are a key concern for managers of Mokala National Park. We anticipated that changes in biodiversity indicators (vegetation, ants, and birds) associate with herbivore intensity of use of landscapes. We identified flat deep sandy plains and undulating shallow rocky hills as focal landscapes. Our focus was on finding optimized effort at survey sites as well as the number of sites. Monitoring to evaluate change in diversity and abundance needs far less effort than evaluating change in richness. Furthermore, given the variance at the landscape level, monitoring of species abundance and diversity allows easier detection with less effort and at shorter intervals between surveys than that required for richness. Even though a mechanisms-based approach directs monitoring, conservationists need to evaluate feasibility. In our case, measurement of richness is unlikely to detect herbivore effects. In general though, we have illustrated that focused monitoring designs can robustly evaluate conservation objectives. Sam Ferreira, Mahlomola Daemane, Andrew Deacon, Hendrik Sithole, and Hugo Bezuidenhout Copyright © 2013 Sam Ferreira et al. All rights reserved. Factors Affecting the Success of Conserving Biodiversity in National Parks: A Review of Case Studies from Africa Wed, 14 Aug 2013 11:07:17 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/798101/ National Parks are a cornerstone for biodiversity conservation in Africa. Two approaches are commonly used to sustain biodiversity in National Parks. Past and current studies show that both approaches are generally ineffective in conserving biodiversity in National Parks in Africa. However, there are a handful of cases where these approaches have been successful at conserving biodiversity in National Parks. The question this paper attempts to answer is why in some cases these approaches have been successful and in other cases they have failed. A metadata analysis of 123 documents on case studies about conservation of biodiversity in National Parks in Africa was conducted. A series of search engines were used to find papers for review. Results showed that all factors responsible for both the success and failure of conserving biodiversity in National Parks in various contexts were socioeconomic and cultural in nature. The highest percentage in both successful case studies (66%) and unsuccessful cases studies (55%) was associated with the creation and management of the park. These results suggest that future conservation approaches in National Parks in Africa should place more emphasis on the human dimension of biodiversity conservation than purely scientific studies of species and habitats in National Parks. Moses Muhumuza and Kevin Balkwill Copyright © 2013 Moses Muhumuza and Kevin Balkwill. All rights reserved. A Model of the Effect of Environmental Variables on the Presence of Otters along the Coastline of the Isle of Skye Mon, 12 Aug 2013 08:25:27 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/386723/ A survey of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) along the Skye coastline revealed a variation in distribution on different coastal types. Factors like geology, width of the intertidal zone, intertidal makeup, slope of coastline, inland vegetation, and number of freshwater pools could influence otter distribution. A quantitative method based on a logistic regression model is applied to take into account three scalable and four categorical environmental variables which may or may not affect otter distribution. Otter presence or absence in 500 m coastal sections was compared with binary dependent variables and a set of independent variables on 622 coastal sites. Analysis shows that this method can be used to characterise combinations of factors to predict if otters are likely to occur on a particular coastline. Geology, height 25 m above High Water Mark (indicating slope of coastline), and number of freshwater pools all affect otter utilisation of the coastal zone. Coastlines with Torridonian and Mesozoic rocks and the Landslip area show a positive effect on otters, while all other coastlines have a negative effect. Although primarily of theoretical importance, the model could be used as a tool to locate coastlines elsewhere which are of potential conservation importance for otters. Paul Yoxon Copyright © 2013 Paul Yoxon. All rights reserved. Diversity of Mercury Resistant Escherichia coli Strains Isolated from Aquatic Systems in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:12:36 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/265356/ Escherichia coli may harbor genetic mercury resistance markers which makes this bacterial species a promising alternative for bioremediation processes. The objective of this study was to investigate phenotypic and genetic characteristics related to diversity and mercury resistance among 178 Escherichia coli strains isolated from residential, industrial, agricultural, and hospital wastewaters and recreational waters at Rio de Janeiro city. Genetic and conventional methods were carried out in order to determine mercury resistance. Random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD-PCR) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) were used to investigate genetic variability. RAPD data revealed a high degree of polymorphism among E. coli mercury resistant strains and showed reproducibility and good discriminative results. DGGE typing detected diversity within the merA gene fragment. Our findings represent an improvement in epidemiological studies of   E. coli and support the evidence of nonclonal nature of mercury resistant E. coli strains circulating in rural and urban aquatic systems in Rio de Janeiro city. Raquel Costa de Luca Rebello, Karen Machado Gomes, Rafael Silva Duarte, Caio Tavora Coelho da Costa Rachid, Alexandre Soares Rosado, and Adriana Hamond Regua-Mangia Copyright © 2013 Raquel Costa de Luca Rebello et al. All rights reserved. Spatial Distribution of Zooplankton Diversity across Temporary Pools in a Semiarid Intermittent River Wed, 12 Jun 2013 14:56:13 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/946361/ This study describes the richness and density of zooplankton across temporary pools in an intermittent river of semiarid Brazil and evaluates the partitioning of diversity across different spatial scales during the wet and dry periods. Given the highly patchy nature of these pools it is hypothesized that the diversity is not homogeneously distributed across different spatial scales but concentrated at lower levels. The plankton fauna was composed of 37 species. Of these 28 were Rotifera, 5 were Cladocera, and 4 were Copepoda (nauplii of Copepoda were also recorded). We showed that the zooplankton presents a spatially segregated pattern of species composition across river reaches and that at low spatial scales (among pools or different habitats within pools) the diversity of species is likely to be affected by temporal changes in physical and chemical characteristics. As a consequence of the drying of pool habitats, the spatial heterogeneity within the study river reaches has the potential to increase β diversity during the dry season by creating patchier assemblages. This spatial segregation in community composition and the patterns of partition of the diversity across the spatial scales leads to a higher total diversity in intermittent streams, compared to less variable environments. Thaís X. Melo and Elvio S. F. Medeiros Copyright © 2013 Thaís X. Melo and Elvio S. F. Medeiros. All rights reserved. Activity Budgets of Impala (Aepyceros melampus) in Closed Environments: The Mukuvisi Woodland Experience, Zimbabwe Thu, 30 May 2013 16:36:39 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/270454/ Activity pattern plasticity in ungulates serves as an evolutionary adaptation to optimize fitness in inconsistent environments. Given that time is a limited and valuable resource for foraging wildlife species, provisioning and attraction may affect the activity pattern plasticity and reduce complexities of time partitioning for different activities by impala in closed environments. We assessed activity budgets of free-ranging impala social groups in a closed environment. Social group type had an influence on the activity budgets of impala except for foraging and moving activity states. Both the harem and bachelor groups spent more than 30% of their daily time foraging. Bachelor groups spent more time exhibiting vigilance tendencies than the harem groups. Season influenced the activity budgets of social groups other than vigilance and foraging activity states. Foraging time was highly correlated with vigilance, resting, and grooming. We concluded that provisioning and attraction may have reduced the influence of seasonality on the proportion of time spent on different activity states by impala social groups. There is a need to establish long-term socioecological, physiological, and reproductive consequences of provisioning and habituation on impala under closed environments. Muposhi Victor Kurauwone, Muvengwi Justice, Utete Beven, Kupika Olga, Chiutsi Simon, and Tarakini Tawanda Copyright © 2013 Muposhi Victor Kurauwone et al. All rights reserved. Quantifying Effects of Spatial Heterogeneity of Farmlands on Bird Species Richness by Means of Similarity Index Pairwise Thu, 23 May 2013 15:52:05 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/914837/ Many studies have shown how intensification of farming is the main cause of loss biodiversity in these environments. During the last decades, agroecosystems in Europe have changed drastically, mainly due to mechanization of agriculture. In this work, species richness in bird communities was examined on a gradient of spatial heterogeneity of farmlands, in order to quantify its effects. Four categories of farmland spatial heterogeneity were defined, based on landscape and landuse parameters. The impact of features increasing the spatial heterogeneity was quantified comparing the similarity indexes between bird communities in several farmlands of Central Italy. The effects of environmental variables on bird richness were analyzed using GLM. The results highlighted that landscape features surrogates of high nature values (HNVs) of farmlands can increase more than 50% the bird species richness. The features more related to bird richness were hedgerows, scattered shrubs, uncultivated patches, and powerlines. The results confirm that the approach based on HNV for evaluating the farmlands is also suitable in order to study birds’ diversity. However, some species are more sensitive to heterogeneity, while other species occupy mainly homogeneous farmlands. As a consequence, different conservation methods must be considered for each farmland bird species. Federico Morelli Copyright © 2013 Federico Morelli. All rights reserved. Dynamics and Conservation Management of a Wooded Landscape under High Herbivore Pressure Thu, 23 May 2013 15:21:27 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/273948/ We present the use of a spatially explicit model of woodland dynamics (LANDIS-II) to examine the impacts of herbivory in the New Forest National Park, UK, in relation to its management for biodiversity conservation. The model was parameterized using spatial data and the results of two field surveys and then was tested with results from a third survey. Field survey results indicated that regeneration by tree species was found to be widespread but to occur at low density, despite heavy browsing pressure. The model was found to accurately predict the abundance and richness of tree species. Over the duration of the simulations (300 yr), woodland area increased in all scenarios, with or without herbivory. While the increase in woodland area was most pronounced under a scenario of no herbivory, values increased by more than 70% even in the presence of heavy browsing pressure. Model projections provided little evidence for the conversion of woodland areas to either grassland or heathland; changes in woodland structure and composition were consistent with traditional successional theory. These results highlight the need for multiple types of intervention when managing successional landscape mosaics and demonstrate the value of landscape-scale modelling for evaluating the role of herbivory in conservation management. Adrian C. Newton, Elena Cantarello, Natalia Tejedor, and Gillian Myers Copyright © 2013 Adrian C. Newton et al. All rights reserved. Extrapolative Estimation of Benthic Diatoms (Bacillariophyta) Species Diversity in Different Marine Habitats of the Crimea (Black Sea) Thu, 18 Apr 2013 17:13:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2013/975459/ Benthic diatoms species richness was analyzed based on 93 samples collected at 8 areas of Crimea (Black Sea) on sandy/muddy bottoms within depth range 6–48 m. Totally 433 species were found. Expected species richness was estimated by application of Jack-knife -1 and -2, Chao-2, and Karakassis- estimators. Magnitude of , resulted from , displayed the most similar values to the observed species number (). Overestimation of (10–13%) occurred for small number of samples (<12), and slight underestimation (3–5%) occurred when sample numbers exceeded 40–43. The other estimators gave large overestimated results (Chao—from 21 to 70% higher than , Jack-knife—23–58%). The relationship between number of samples (X) and number of observed species (Y) was calculated considering all 93 samples: . Accordingly, not less than 10 samples are required for disclosing about 50% of the total species richness (433); to detect 80% (347 species) not less than 46 samples should be considered. Different configurations of method were applied to optimize its performance. The most precise results can be achieved when the calculation of the is based on sequences of randomized samples with sampling lags of 10 to 15. A. N. Petrov and E. L. Nevrova Copyright © 2013 A. N. Petrov and E. L. Nevrova. All rights reserved.