Biogeographia – The Journal of Integrative Biogeography is the scientific journal of the Italian Biogeography Society (SIB, http://biogeografia.uniroma2.it [in Italian only]). Since 1970, it publishes original research and reviews on any topic in biogeography.
Volume 31, 2016
The evaluation and the subsequent monitoring of the conservation status of habitats is one of the key steps in nature protection. While some European countries have tested suitable methodologies, others, including Italy, lack procedures tested at the national level. The aim of this work is to propose a method to assess the conservation status of habitat 92A0 (Salix alba and Populus alba galleries) in central Italy, and to test the method using data from the Molise region. We selected parameters that highlight the conservation status of the flora and vegetation in order to assess habitat structures and functions at the site level. After selecting the parameters, we tested them on a training dataset of 22 unpublished phytosociological relevés taken from the whole dataset, which consists of 119 relevés (49 unpublished relevés for the study area, and 70 published relevés for central Italy). We detected the most serious conservation problems in the middle and lower course of the Biferno river: the past use of river terraces for agriculture and continual human interventions on the river water flow have drastically reduced the riparian forests of Molise. Our results show that in areas in which forest structure and floristic composition have been substantially modified, certain alien plant species, particularly Robinia pseudoacacia, Amorpha fruticosa and Erigeron canadensis, have spread extensively along rivers. In the management of riparian forests, actions aimed at maintaining the stratification of the forest, its uneven-agedness and tree species richness may help to ensure the conservation status, as well as favour the restoration, of habitat 92A0.
Updated checklist and distribution of large branchiopods (Branchiopoda: Anostraca, Notostraca, Spinicaudata) in Tunisia
Temporary ponds are the most peculiar and representative water bodies in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world, where they often represent diversity hotspots that greatly contribute to the regional biodiversity. Being indissolubly linked to these ecosystems, the so-called “large branchiopods” are unanimously considered flagship taxa of these habitats. Nonetheless, updated and detailed information on large branchiopod faunas is still missing in many countries or regions. Based on an extensive bibliographical review and field samplings, we provide an updated and commented checklist of large branchiopods in Tunisia, one of the less investigated countries of the Maghreb as far as inland water crustaceans are concerned. We carried out a field survey from 2004 to 2012, thereby collecting 262 crustacean samples from a total of 177 temporary water bodies scattered throughout the country. Large branchiopod crustaceans were observed in 61% of the sampled sites, leading to the identification of fifteen species. Among these, the halophilic anostracan Branchinectella media is here reported for the first time for the country; conversely, four of the species reported in literature were not found during the present survey. Based on literature and novel data, the known large branchiopod fauna of Tunisia now includes 19 species, showing a noteworthy species richness when the limited extension of the country is considered. For each species, the regional distribution is described and an annotated list of references is provided. Under a conservation perspective, the particular importance of the temporary ponds occurring in the Medjerda river alluvial plain is further stressed. In this location, several large branchiopod taxa with different ecological requirements converge and form unique and species-rich assemblages that should be preserved.
We present a data set on the biodiversity of Italian freshwaters, including lakeshores and riverbanks of natural (N=379: springs, streams and lakes) and artificial (N=11: fountains) sites. The data set belongs partly to the Italian Long Term Ecological Research network (LTER-Italy) and partly to LifeWatch, the European e-Science infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystem research. The data included cover a time period corresponding to the last fifty years (1962-2014). They span a large number of taxa from prokaryotes and unicellular eukaryotes to vertebrates and plants, including taxa linked to the aquatic habitat in at least part of their life cycles (like immature stages of insects, amphibians, birds and vascular plants). The data set consists of 6463 occurrence data and distribution records for 1738 species. The complete data set is available in csv file format via the LifeWatch Service Centre.
The Maritime and Ligurian Alps have a flora characterised by a very high number of endemic species in relation to their small geographical extension. This area is considered one of the most important centres of diversification of the Alps and a Mediterranean hotspot of biodiversity. In the last years many studies were performed in order to describe the distribution and phylogeographical patterns of endemism. Despite these studies, Maritime and Ligurian Alps still lack in a broad view about the evolution of endemisms in this area. In this review, we examine the knowledge about the distribution patterns of endemic plant species living in the Maritime and Ligurian Alps in order to identify the evolutionary and biogeographical mechanisms operating on them.