Status of the Beach Litter in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dungonab and Mukkawar Island Marine National Park in Sudan, Red SeaRead the full article
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Population Structure of the Freshwater Crab Potamon algeriense (Bott, 1967) Inhabiting Oued Zegzel, (Northeast of Morocco)
This is the first study to determine the population structure of the freshwater crab Potamon algeriense in Oued Zegzel, a mountain stream in the northeast of Morocco. Monthly collections were carried out by hand, from October 2017 to September 2018. A total of 669 individuals, 378 males and 291 females, were captured, measured, marked, and released. Due to their extremely cryptic behavior during egg incubation, few ovigerous females were caught during the entire sampling period. The average size of males (28.98 ± 10.78 mm CW) is significantly larger than that of the females (28.62 ± 8.48 mm CW). Significant deviation from 1 : 1 sex ratio during the study period was recorded, and the size distribution of the sampled population presented an abnormal distribution where specimens over 31 and under 25 mm CW were often males, whereas females were represented more in the 26–30 mm CW range.
The Tale of a Disappearing Lagoon: A Habitat Mapping and Ecological Assessment of Fosu Lagoon, Ghana
Coastal regions of Ghana are primarily engaged in sea and lagoon fishing. Like many lagoons in Ghana, Fosu lagoon is a major source of livelihood for its surrounding communities. However, the lagoon and its associated marsh vegetation is under serious threat from human-induced interference. Due to this, the lagoon is considered as one of the most polluted lagoons in Ghana. Also, studies reveal that a major conservation challenge is the lack of inventory for the lagoon’s associated vegetation. Hence, the research was to map and assess the lagoon’s habitat and identify threats to the lagoon. In achieving the research objectives, remote sensing and GIS technique were used to effectively map the lagoon and the catchment area. The result indicated that the Fosu lagoon is characterized by a massive decline in lagoon size and the vegetation cover. Thus, the standing water has declined by 50.2 acres from 1970 to 2017 to physical development and weeds. Also, it was evident in the result that the lagoon’s vegetation is now fragmented into six various vegetation types and the weeds in the lagoon make approximately one-third of the lagoon’s vegetation cover. Also, adding to the threat of the lagoon were high levels of plastic waste and metal pollution. Hence, if current trend continues, the possibility of further degradation is very high. The main impact of this research was to provide evidence to the gradual disappearance of the Fosu lagoon.
Influence of Land-Use Type on Forest Bird Community Composition in Mount Kenya Forest
Few studies have explored how human land uses influence and support persistence of forest biodiversity in central Kenya. In the case of the Mount Kenya ecosystem, farmlands and plantation forests are significant land-use types. Using point counts, we assessed bird communities in natural forests, plantation forests, and farmlands in the Nanyuki Forest Block, Western Mount Kenya. Bird point counts were undertaken during two sampling periods (wet and dry season). Compared to farmlands and plantation forest, natural forest had the highest overall avian species richness and relative species richness of all except one forest-dependent foraging guild (granivores) and nonforest species, which occurred frequently only on farmlands. Plantation forest had the lowest relative richness of all avian habitat and foraging guilds. Conversely, specialist forest-dependent species mainly occurred in the structurally complex remnant natural forest. Our study underscores the importance of remnant natural forests for the persistence and conservation of forest biodiversity and risks posed by replacing them with plantation forests and farmlands.
Biodiversity Research Trends and Gaps from the Confluence of Three Global Biodiversity Hotspots in the Far-Eastern Himalaya
The Far-Eastern Himalaya Landscape (FHL), a shared transboundary landscape between China, India, and Myanmar, is one of the most intact and biologically rich landscapes in the Eastern Himalaya. Yet, the state of biodiversity and its significance are comparatively poorly known to conservationists and policy makers due to low priority in research, inaccessibility, and remoteness. We collated and reviewed 1032 articles relating to biodiversity of the FHL to understand research trends, identify knowledge gaps, and suggest priority research areas for future biodiversity conservation and management in the landscape. Our review showed that the Myanmar part of the landscape is the most studied, followed by the Indian and Chinese parts. The trend of publications in the landscape showed that the earliest publication on biodiversity in the FHL dates back to 1833, while the years from 2001 to 2017 account for almost 80% of the total publications. Most studies focused on species (73.6%), followed by ecosystems (25%) and genetics (1.4%). Mammals were the most studied taxa (22.6%), with a greater focus on charismatic megafauna, followed by arthropods (15.6%), angiosperms (14.8%), insects (13.4%), and birds (10.8%). There were very few publications on lower invertebrates and lower kingdoms, Monera, Protista, Fungi, and Viruses. At the ecosystem level, most studies focused on forests (58.5%) followed by freshwater (32%), agroecosystems (9%), and alpine/tundra ecosystem (0.5%); there were only 14 studies at genetic level. In the FHL, new species have been discovered and rediscovered starting from the early 1930s until 2017. The majority of newly discovered species in the last 18 years are arthropods. The paper reviews past research areas, identifies gaps for future research and intervention, and recommends transboundary collaboration to address these gaps for conservation and sustainable development of the FHL landscape.
Some Unresolved Issues of Measuring the Efficiency of Pollinators: Experimentally Testing and Assessing the Predictive Power of Different Methods
Knowledge of efficiency of pollinators is valuable in the derivation of (i) the degree of mutualism specialization of a flower visitor in the natural plant communities, (ii) the optimum number of pollinators needed for the maximum pollination in a plant population, and (iii) the pollinator risk assessment in the sustainable agriculture. Earlier researchers used many direct and indirect methods for measuring the pollination efficiency (PE) of flower visitors. However, a great ambiguity exists in the usage of this terminology that necessitated its fresh scrutiny. I tested the available three standard methods afresh to find the efficiency of pollinators. These included comparing the (i) number of pollen grains removed and deposited by the visitors; (ii) seed set resulting from a single and the multiple visits of the visitors; and (iii) “pollen transfer efficiency (PTE)” derived from the foraging behavior and abundances of the visitors. Observations were recorded on the visitors of four plant species in an agroecosystem of Northwest India. These plants represented a wide variety of the floral types across the angiosperms. The first two methods, namely, the “number of pollen grains removed and deposited” and the “seed set resulting from a single and the multiple visits,” were appropriate in finding differences between the efficiency ranks of the pollinators of those flowers where the number of deposited pollen grains was less than the number of ovules in the ovary. However, these two methods completely failed in situations where exactly reverse condition of pollen grains and ovules existed. Thus, these two methods of measuring the PE of visitors had limited approach and lacked a universal application over the entire angiosperm taxa. On the other hand, use of “pollen transfer efficiency”, derived from the foraging behavior and abundance of the visitors, seemed to have an edge over the other two methods as this was helpful in finding differences between the efficiency ranks of the pollinators of plants in all the three situations tested in this study. However, validation of all the three methods through the plant reproductive potential seemed to be an integral confirmatory step for drawing inferences about the efficiency of pollinators.
Morphological Variations in Tamarindus indica LINN. Fruits and Seed Traits in the Different Agroecological Zones of Uganda
An investigation was carried out on variations in the morphological traits of Tamarindus indica LINN. fruits (length, breadth, mass, and pulp mass) and seeds (number and mass) from the different agroecological zones and land use types of Uganda. Fruits were collected from the two land use types in the three agroecological zones and measured for various morphological traits. The study sites were located between 593 and 1,096 meters above sea level. ANOVA was used to test the differences in morphological traits of fruits and seeds between agroecological zones and land use types. The morphological traits relationship was determined using Pearson Correlation Coefficient (R). There were significant (P≤0.05) variations among the T. indica fruits and seed morphological traits within the agroecological zones and land use types. Lake Victoria Crescent agroecological zone recorded higher fruits morphological traits values. Wild and on-farm land use types were superior in fruits and seed traits, respectively. Many seeds per fruit (17) were recorded in Uganda (Eastern agroecological zone) than those recorded elsewhere. Significant uphill positive linear correlations between all morphological traits (P≤0.05) were observed, with the strongest relationships being between seed mass and seed number (R=0.79), fruit mass and fruit length (R=0.75), pulp mass and fruit mass (R=0.73), and seed mass and fruit mass (R=0.73). However, fruit breadth presented slightly weaker positive linear correlations with all other morphological traits. This is the first quantitative evaluation of T. indica morphological traits variation in Uganda. Dispersion/variation and correlation relationships suggest that all the studied morphological traits can be used for selection of plus trees for tree breeding improvement such as yield per tree. The observed variations are probably attributed to influence of agroecological zones’ factors, environmental factors, climate, land use types, and farming systems, a reflection of T. indica adaptation to different conditions showing high genetic and phenotypic differences to be exploited.