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Biodiversity and Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.243
Citation Impact (citeScore): 3
Number of Followers: 213  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0960-3115 - ISSN (Online) 1572-9710
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2351 journals]
  • Large-scale habitat model reveals a key role of large trees and protected
           areas in the metapopulation survival of the saproxylic specialist Cucujus

    • Abstract: Deforestation for agricultural purposes and logging over centuries has resulted in a significant loss of forest cover and the deep structural and functional simplification of persistent European woodlands, which has led to a large-scale decline in biodiversity. Despite recent reforestation efforts in many regions of Europe, populations of numerous forest species remain unrecovered. Due to the loss of ecological continuity and the simplification of the ecosystem structure and functionality, the value of secondary forests in sustaining habitat specialists is being questioned. Here, we build a large-scale habitat suitability model to predict the current potential of forests to host populations of the flagship European saproxylic beetle Cucujus cinnaberinus. Our maximum entropy model revealed that the distribution of suitable habitats strongly corresponds to the occurrence of large and well-preserved forest complexes that are characterized by an ecological continuity of the stands. Among the analysed environmental variables, the mean tree diameter and distance to protected areas were the most important suitable habitat contributors. The optimum habitats were identified almost exclusively within some parts of the Carpathians and the northeastern part of the country, particularly in the Białowieża Forest, which include the best preserved European forests. Although a large number of small habitat patches was revealed across the country, these patches were highly scattered and had low predicted suitability. This study demonstrates that most woodlands are unsuitable for C. cinnaberinus, which points to the limited value of secondary forests for habitat specialists. Our findings emphasize the importance of large and intact forests with undisrupted ecological continuity as key areas for the persistence of the rare saproxylic beetle, which provokes questions about the effectiveness of reforestation as a tool for the conservation of forest habitat specialists.
      PubDate: 2019-09-18
  • Funding for nature conservation: a study of public finance networks at
           World Wide Fund for nature (WWF)

    • Abstract: One of the greatest challenges in nature conservation is funding. In the pursuit of new financing sources critical to fight biodiversity and ecosystem loss, nature conservation organisations increasingly aim to create networks between states, markets and civil society. Using Manuel Castells’ network theory and World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) as a case study, this article aims at understanding how large conservation NGOs utilise networking in their pursuit for funding. Apart from increasing income by attracting public funds from governments and aid agencies, around 2010 WWF’s public sector finance strategy expanded to influencing and leveraging finance—both public and private—using public funds. During WWF’s engagement with private sector financing, paradoxically its public sector financing grew at the average rate of 7.5% per year. Our network analysis shows that WWF has continuously reworked and renegotiated its position in order to stay connected to the ‘space of flows’. WWF and other large conservation organisations have to be in the right networks, speak the right language, and connect to relevant social, informational and political flows to stay relevant and connected to substantial flows of funding.
      PubDate: 2019-08-28
  • From ecological knowledge to conservation policy: a case study on green
           tree retention and continuous-cover forestry in Sweden

    • Abstract: The extent to which scientific knowledge translates into practice is a pervasive question. We analysed to what extent and how ecological scientists gave input to policy for two approaches advocated for promoting forest biodiversity in production forests in Sweden: green-tree retention (GTR) and continuous-cover forestry (CCF). GTR was introduced into forest policy in the 1970s and became widely implemented in the 1990s. Ecological scientists took part in the policy process by providing expert opinions, educational activities and as lobbyists, long before research confirming the positive effects of GTR on biodiversity was produced. In contrast, CCF was essentially banned in forest legislation in 1979. In the 1990s, policy implicitly opened up for CCF implementation, but CCF still remains largely a rare silvicultural outlier. Scientific publications addressing CCF appeared earlier than GTR studies, but with less focus on the effects on biodiversity. Ecological scientists promoted CCF in certain areas, but knowledge from other disciplines and other socio-political factors appear to have been more important than ecological arguments in the case of CCF. The wide uptake of GTR was enhanced by its consistency with the silvicultural knowledge and normative values that forest managers had adopted for almost a century, whereas CCF challenged those ideas. Public pressure and institutional requirements were also key to GTR implementation but were not in place for CCF. Thus, scientific ecological knowledge may play an important role for policy uptake and development, but knowledge from other research disciplines and socio-political factors are also important.
      PubDate: 2019-08-26
  • Competing discourses of the forest shape forest owners’ ideas about
           nature and biodiversity conservation

    • Abstract: Competing discourses of the forest guide forest-owners’ ideas about the proper forest use and about the need to conserve biodiversity. In this paper, we examine how five predefined forest discourses (re)produced by Finnish forest owners treat nature and biodiversity conservation. Our critical discourse analysis combines qualitative content analysis with quantitative multivariate methods (NMDS). The data consists of in-depth interviews with 24 Finnish forest-owners. The five forest discourses formed a gradient from an absence of nature issues to a profound ecological pondering with deep affection and responsibility for nature. The discourses in between these two ends of the gradient contained narration on personal experiences but lacked the moral responsibility and deep theorizing typical of the nature-oriented discourse. The nature-oriented discourse proposed forest uses where the needs of nature were raised to a determining role whereas the other four discourses adhered to the standard economy-driven forest management paradigm. Both nature and the forest-owners with a strong relationship with nature appeared marginalised in the prevailing order of the forest discourses. The discoursal conditions that we evidenced did not favour biodiversity conservation among forest-owners. The results thus call for active forest policy that aims to transform the prevailing order of the discourses, but also tries to overcome the discoursal hinders for biodiversity conservation within the prevailing order.
      PubDate: 2019-08-17
  • Opinions of citizen scientists on open access to UK butterfly and moth
           occurrence data

    • Abstract: Citizen science plays an increasingly important role in biodiversity research and conservation, enabling large volumes of data to be gathered across extensive spatial scales in a cost-effective manner. Open access increases the utility of such data, informing land-use decisions that may affect species persistence, enhancing transparency and encouraging proliferation of research applications. However, open access provision of recent, fine-scale spatial information on the locations of species may also prompt legitimate concerns among contributors regarding possible unintended negative conservation impacts, violations of privacy and commercial exploitation of volunteer-gathered data. Here we canvas the attitudes towards open access of contributors (104 regional co-ordinators and 510 recorders) of species occurrence records to two of the largest citizen science biodiversity recording schemes, the UK’s Butterflies for the New Millennium project and National Moth Recording Scheme. We find that while the majority of participants expressed support for open access in principle, most were more cautious in practice, preferring to limit the spatial resolution of records, particularly of threatened species, and restrict commercial reuse of data. In addition, citizen scientists’ opinions differed between UK countries, taxonomic groups and the level of involvement volunteers had in the schemes. In order to maintain successful and democratic citizen science schemes, organisers, funders and data users must understand and respect participants’ expectations and aspirations regarding open data while seeking to optimise data use for scientific and societal benefits.
      PubDate: 2019-07-29
  • Genetic diversity and connectivity in fragmented populations of Rhinanthus
           minor in two regions with contrasting land-use

    • Abstract: Knowledge of genetic diversity and connectivity within and between populations of specialist meadow plants is crucial to developing effective conservation strategies at the landscape-scale. This study investigated levels of genetic diversity within, and gene flow between populations of a key annual species, Rhinanthus minor in protected meadows and landscape matrix sites in two contrasting regions. Possible barriers to gene flow were also analysed. Leaf material from 714 individuals in an extensively managed upland region and an intensively managed lowland region of the UK was genotyped using microsatellite markers. Genetic diversity was similar in the two regions (He = 0.48 and 0.44). FST values indicated population differentiation in both regions but the estimate was higher in the lowland (FST = 0.28) than in the upland region (FST = 0.19); evidence of global structure was revealed in a spatial principal components analysis but a maximum likelihood population effects model did not identify significant predictors of population differentiation after testing the effects of Euclidean geographic distance, land cover and elevation. Conservation strategies should aim to maintain large populations in meadows to enhance genetic diversity. At the same time the focus should be on existing and additional species-rich grassland fragments, particularly in areas of intensive land-use, if genetic connectivity is to be retained.
      PubDate: 2019-07-24
  • Assessing vulnerability of forest ecosystem in the Indian Western
           Himalayan region using trends of net primary productivity

    • Abstract: The Himalayan ecosystem is one of the sensitive and fragile ecosystems with rich biodiversity that provides major ecosystem services. The study was conducted to measure the extent of vulnerability across forested grids of Uttarakhand—one of the States of Indian Western Himalayan (IWH) region. The forests of the state are exposed to various anthropogenic and natural climatic pressures, thus making them vulnerable. In this paper, we demonstrate how to map vulnerability of forest ecosystem by analyzing variability and trends of net primary productivity (NPP). The vulnerability of the forest ecosystem was evaluated through trends of sensitivity and adaptability of NPP. The sensitivity of a system was considered as the response degree of the system to climatic variability whereas adaptability was considered as the ability to maintain, recover or improve its structure in the face of climatic stresses. In our study, NPP was considered as the receptor of shock and stresses of climatic variability and human disturbances. We discuss the method and results with reference to productivity changes under the influence of changing climate for the forested landscape of a mountainous region. The results have been summarized to rank vulnerability at the level of administrative boundary of governance, i.e. district. Average value of vulnerability for all NPP pixels of forests grids in a district was used to compute the vulnerability at district level. The study will help forest managers in decision making for efficiently allocating resources and to prioritize management options in the identified regions to improve productivity in coming times.
      PubDate: 2019-07-01
  • Diversity loss in grasslands due to the increasing dominance of alien and
           native competitive herbs

    • Abstract: The increasing dominance of competitive plant species may reduce species richness of plant communities. Yet, species richness may depend on spatial scale and the alien versus native status of the dominant species. To explore the dominance effects of alien versus native species on species richness, we sampled semi-natural grasslands in southwestern Poland. We established 100 m2 squares at different grassland sites, and in two opposite corners we placed two series of five nested plots (0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1 and 10 m2), in which we recorded all vascular plant species. Next, we selected squares with a strongly dominant plant in one corner (high-dominance series) and with no strong dominant in the opposite corner (low-dominance series). The number of species per plot and the slopes of the species–area curves fitted to each nested-plot series were used to assess whether the alien vs. native status of the dominant species influences species-richness pattern across scales. We found a significantly lower number of species in the high-dominance series than in the low-dominance series, regardless of the alien versus native status of the dominant species. The slopes of the species–area curves indicated that the rate of species accumulation with increasing area was faster in the high-dominance series than in the low-dominance series; however, this pattern did not depend on the alien vs. native status of the dominants. Our study confirms that increasing dominance is linked to a decline in species richness, but reveals that alien dominants do not have a stronger impact than native dominants.
      PubDate: 2019-06-17
  • The impact of salvage logging on herb layer species composition and plant
           community recovery in Białowieża Forest

    • Abstract: Białowieża Forest is one of the closest to pristine forest ecosystems in temperate vegetation zone in European Lowland, which is still being transformed by forest management. We investigated the effects of salvage logging of spruce stands killed by bark beetle on the recovery process and the biodiversity of the herb layer in the early stages of vegetation development after felling, on the habitat of mixed deciduous, oak-lime-hornbeam forest (Tilio-Carpinetum). We tested: (i) to what extent salvage logging modifies the plant species richness and diversity compared to sites left intact; (ii) whether clear-felling leads to an increase in diversity of vascular plants; and (iii) which ecological groups of plants benefit, and which are hindered by disturbance, depending on age and size of the clear-felled site. Salvage harvesting executed between 2012 and 2016 led to an increase in overall plant diversity. However, the winners were the species of open habitats, promoted by soil disturbance, whereas the number and cover of ancient forest indicator species decreased in comparison to unlogged forests. Both trends were significantly related to the increasing size of clear-felled sites, and developed right after logging. A comparison of the species composition of the disturbed (logged and unlogged) sites with undisturbed forest with stands unaffected by infestation, treated as control plots revealed the great potential of the affected sites for spontaneous recovery towards the oak-lime-hornbeam forest community, despite 50–90 years of spruce-dominated stand cover. We conclude that continuous deterioration of the forest habitats via clearcutting of stands affected by insect outbreak, followed by tree planting, substantially reduces the chances of successful, natural regeneration towards deciduous, structurally complex and diverse forests.
      PubDate: 2019-06-15
  • Protected area conflicts: a state-of-the-art review and a proposed
           integrated conceptual framework for reclaiming the role of geography

    • Abstract: Despite the recent paradigmatic shift in conservation science, protected areas (PAs), which are associated with seminal conservation strategies, remain a key tool for achieving biodiversity conservation. Nevertheless, PAs’ effectiveness as conservation measures is undermined by conflicts arising within their socio-ecological systems. Potential reasons for the negative impact of the conflicts include the tendency of researchers to emphasise managerial or behavioural aspects of conservation conflicts, while neglecting to develop theoretical foundations for conflict analysis. We aimed to critically review existing conceptual frameworks applied within the broadly defined field of conservation conflicts and to develop a new more comprehensive framework that better reflects contemporary identified challenges within nature conservation. We particularly proposed and emphasised the integration of a geographical perspective within existing interdisciplinary approaches for the application to PA settings. We systemised and unified conflict-related terminology, assessed the contributions and limitations of existing frameworks and identified critical gaps in the field. These gaps are: inadequate recognition of the spatial aspects of conflict analysis, a lack of consistency between individual-level and community-level frameworks and a lack of systematic linkages among the main structural attributes of conflicts, such as determinants, interests or types of conflicts. We systematically distinguished 26 conflict-related terms, including: conflict frames, images, orientations, factors, categories, issues, potential, or intensity. Our framework covers three major conflict components (determinants, dimensions, levels) and foregrounds the socio-psychological and spatial characteristics of PA conflicts, while enabling systemisation of existing conservation conflict typologies.
      PubDate: 2019-06-12
  • The effect of cyanobacterial blooms on bio- and functional diversity of
           zooplankton communities

    • Abstract: Global biodiversity decline is believed to be caused by high anthropopressure. Particularly vulnerable habitats are freshwater ecosystems, which are hotspots of biodiversity. The threat to these ecosystems are cyanobacterial blooms, which tend to proliferate in the face of climate changes. Cyanobacteria development and dominance affect the whole food web, especially the zooplankton community. We used three classical biodiversity indexes (species richness, Simpson’s Diversity Index and Shannon Diversity Index) and three functional diversity indexes (functional richness, functional evenness and functional divergence) to study the impact of cyanobacterial bloom on the zooplankton community. The study was conducted in water bodies with a different period of bloom duration (short-lasting blooms vs. long-lasting blooms) in order to determine the impact of the proliferated blooms on the aquatic ecosystems. Use of functional diversity indexes allowed for identifying changes that can be overlooked by classical biodiversity indexes. We conclude that cyanobacterial bloom involves modifications of functional trait space of studied communities and, in consequence, functioning of aquatic ecosystems.
      PubDate: 2019-06-01
  • Temporal gamma-diversity meets spatial alpha-diversity in dynamically
           varying ecosystems

    • Abstract: Community measures collected at a single instance or over a short temporal period rarely provide a complete accounting of biological diversity. The gap between such “snapshot” measures of diversity and actual diversity can be especially large in systems that undergo great temporal variation in environmental conditions. To adequately quantify diversity in these temporally varying ecosystems, individual measures of diversity collected throughout the range of environmental variation, i.e., temporal alpha-diversity measures, must be combined to obtain temporal gamma-diversity. Such a time-integrated gamma-diversity measure will be a much closer approximation of a site’s true alpha-diversity and provide a measure better comparable to spatial alpha-diversity measures of sites with lower temporal variation for which a single or a few “snapshot” measures may suffice. We used aquatic-macroinvertebrate community-composition data collected over a 24-year period from a complex of 16 prairie-pothole wetlands to explore the rate that taxa accumulate over time at sites with differing degrees of temporal variation. Our results show that the rate of taxa accumulation over time, i.e., the slope of the species–time relationship, is steeper for wetlands with ponds that frequently dry compared to those with more-permanent ponds. Additionally, we found that a logarithmic function better fit species accumulation data for seasonally ponded wetlands whereas a power function better fit accumulations for permanently and semi-permanently ponded wetlands. Thus, interpretations of ecological diversity measures, and conservation decisions that rely on these interpretations, can be biased if temporal variations in community composition are not adequately represented.
      PubDate: 2019-06-01
  • Patterns in island endemic forest-dependent bird research: the Caribbean
           as a case-study

    • Abstract: Unequal patterns in research effort can result in inaccurate assessments of species extinction risk or ineffective management. A group of notable conservation concern are tropical island endemic birds, many of which are also forest-dependent, which increases their vulnerability to extinction. Yet, island bird species have received limited research attention compared to their continental congeners, despite this taxon being globally regarded as well-studied. We used the insular Caribbean, a globally important endemism hotspot with high rates of deforestation, to explore research bias of island and regional endemic forest-dependent birds. A review of the published literature (n = 992) found no significant increase in the number of studies over the search period. Research effort was significantly higher among species with threatened status, long generation time, wide habitat breadth and low to intermediate elevational distributions. Among family groups, the Psittacidae received the highest research effort, while the Cuculidae were the most underrepresented family (30-fold higher and six-fold less than expected, respectively). We found geographic biases in effort, with Jamaica having six-fold less and Puerto Rico eight times more research than expected for their level of endemism. These patterns likely reflect individual interests and limited capacity and funding, typical of Small Island Developing States. With over 50% of species in this review having declining population trends, we recommend prioritizing research that emphasises conservation- and management-relevant data across underrepresented families and islands, by fostering greater collaboration between researchers, practitioners and the existing local amateur ornithological community.
      PubDate: 2019-05-04
  • Factors associated with co-occurrence of large carnivores in a
           human-dominated landscape

    • Abstract: We investigated the factors facilitating co-occurrence of two large carnivores, tigers (Panthera tigris) and common leopards (Panthera pardus), within a human-dominated landscape. We estimated their density and population size using camera-trap photographs and examined spatial segregation of habitats, temporal activity pattern, and diets in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. A Bayesian spatially-explicit capture-recapture model estimated densities of 3.2–4.6 (3.94 ± 0.37) tigers and 2.6–4.1 (3.31 ± 0.4) leopards per 100 km2 with abundance of 70–102 tigers and 66–105 leopards. Tigers occupied the prime habitats (grasslands and riverine forests) in alluvial floodplains of the Park whereas leopards appeared in Sal forests and marginal areas where livestock are present. Both tigers and leopards showed crepuscular activity patterns with a high overlap but tigers were less active during the day compared to leopards. Leopards’ activity in the day increased in the presence of tigers. Tiger and leopard diet overlapped considerably (90%). Compared to leopards, tigers consumed a higher proportion of the large prey and a smaller proportion of livestock. Our study demonstrates that sympatric large carnivores can coexist in high densities in prey rich areas that contain a mosaics of habitats. To increase the resilience and size of the Chitwan carnivore population, strategies are needed to increase prey biomass and prevent livestock depredation in adjacent forests. Long-term monitoring is also required to obtain a detailed understanding of the interaction between the large carnivores and their effects on local communities living in forest fringes within the landscape.
      PubDate: 2019-05-01
  • Elephants never forget, should art museums remember too' Historic
           ivory collections as ambassadors for conservation education

    • Abstract: Ivory in art museum collections has been a contentious topic during recent years, with some parties calling for its destruction. But analysis of media reactions to the parallel strategy of burning modern ivory stockpiles may offer insight to the likely effectiveness of that course of action in museums: such burns have seemingly fallen short in sending a clear and enduring message to the intended demographics—be this consumers, dealers, poachers or traffickers. This prompts us to suggest an alternative to the destruction of museum ivory: that art museums with ivory collections take on the challenge and responsibility of imparting powerful conservation messages. This article explores the potential of ivory artworks as educational ambassadors, as well as the international reach of museums to target demographics in key ivory consumer regions such as South East Asia, and the ethical obligations of museums with ivory collections to participate in conservation education. In placing a useful lens on these currently controversial artworks, museum ivory would be endowed with a new critical relevance as educational ambassadors for contemporary conservation issues, simultaneously offering justification for the preservation and display of these historic artworks that many museums are presently reluctant to exhibit. In highlighting the potential of museum ivory as a vehicle for conservation education we highlight the need for heightened holistic collaboration across disciplines to ensure that conservation messages reach diverse audiences in novel and impactful ways.
      PubDate: 2019-05-01
  • Long-term experimental management in Swedish mixed oak-rich forests has a
           positive effect on saproxylic beetles after 10 years

    • Abstract: Secondary succession in protected oak-rich temperate forests reduces variation in habitats and leads to denser, shadier sites. Long-term experimental studies of the effects of conservation management alternatives are needed for such forests. Here we present a rare follow-up study of the response of beetles (a highly diverse taxon with many red listed species) to conservation thinning, an action that could favour biodiversity. We previously harvested about 25% of the tree and shrub basal area in a treatment plot, and no trees and shrubs in a nearby matched minimal intervention plot, in each of eight oak-rich (Quercus robur and/or petrea) forest reserves. After two seasons, thinning had led to an increased number of species of both herbivorous and saproxylic beetles. In the present study, we examined the 10-year response of the beetle groups at the same sites. For herbivorous beetles, the initial positive effect of thinning on the number of species had disappeared after 10 years, presumably because of regrowth. In contrast, saproxylic beetles showed a further positive response after 10 years, increasing in the number of species by a third compared to before thinning. We found no change in species composition of either group due to the thinning, but many saproxylics were unique to thinning plots. Overall, our results suggest that in mixed oak-rich forests, saproxylic beetles seem to benefit from conservation-oriented thinning for at least 10 years.
      PubDate: 2019-05-01
  • Understanding the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on sources of
           aquatic environmental DNA

    • Abstract: Analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) offers an unprecedented ability to accurately survey biodiversity from aquatic ecosystems. Although eDNA methods have been applied to myriad taxa, scientists are now moving away from proof-of-concept work, ultimately evaluating the limits and opportunities of this technology to detect and quantify abundance across organisms and environments. Important considerations enabling such methodology to be used for aquatic conservation contexts includes understanding both the effects of (1) the amount of eDNA released from focal taxa—sources, and (2) the removal of eDNA in the environment—sinks. I review publications on aquatic macroorganism eDNA that have evaluated or considered the effect of sources on signal detection (or quantification) and find few studies acknowledge, and fewer still evaluate, the impact of eDNA production on genomic signal recovery. In this review, I encourage readers to carefully consider source dynamics, and using previously published literature, dissect what roles biotic (e.g. life-history traits, species interactions including stressors) and abiotic (e.g. temperature, salinity) factors likely play in eDNA deposition and recovery, and how this impacts detection, abundance, biomass estimation, and ultimately informed signal interpretation. I further explore the physical sources of eDNA and propose other methods (spatial and temporal) and markers to assist in identifying eDNA origins in aquatic systems. Understanding how these parameters influence variation in eDNA sources will allow for a more comprehensive survey tool, and potentially give insights into environment-population responses.
      PubDate: 2019-04-01
  • Predicting hotspots for threatened plant species in boreal peatlands

    • Abstract: Understanding the spatial patterns of species distribution and predicting suitable habitats for threatened species are central themes in land use management and planning. In this study, we examined the geographic distribution of threatened mire plant species and identified their national hotspots, i.e. areas with high amounts of suitable habitats for threatened mire plant species. We also determined the main environmental correlates related to the distribution patterns of these species. The specific aims were to: (1) identify the environmental variables that control the distribution of threatened peatland species in a boreal aapa mire zone, Finland; and (2) to identify the richness patterns and hotspots of threatened species. Our results showed that the combination of individual species models offers a useful tool for identifying landscape-scale richness patterns for threatened plant species. The modeling performance was high across the modelled species, and the richness patterns generated by single models coincide with the expected richness pattern based on expert knowledge. The method is therefore a powerful tool for basic biodiversity applications. In cases where reliable models for species occurrences and hotspots can be produced, these models can play a significant role in land-use planning and help managers to meet different conservation challenges.
      PubDate: 2019-04-01
  • Managing plant genetic resources using low and ultra-low temperature
           storage: a case study of tomato

    • Abstract: Ex situ preservation of plant genetic resources is essential. Tomato is one of the most important vegetable crops on the market. However, the genetic diversity of the clade is limited and suffering from genetic erosion phenomenon. Genebanks experience alleles loss on regeneration of small samples, genetic drift, and somaclonal variation in in vitro cultures. Therefore, the development of more efficient ex situ preservation protocols is required. Storage of accessions at low temperatures allows for the reduction of cell metabolic activity and medium or even long-term preservation. Working and active collections of tomato seeds can be stored at + 5 °C, at reduced humidity. Medium-term storage of seeds and pollen can be performed at freezing temperatures (− 20 °C or − 80 °C). This, however, is highly limited as it requires special freezers and can affect the fecundity of the specimens. As for long-term storage, cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen (− 196 °C to c.a. − 140 °C) is also effective. Over time, several cryopreservation techniques have been successfully applied with tomato pollen, seeds and shoot tips, including: slow cooling (not common anymore), desiccation, encapsulation-dehydration, droplet-vitrification and V-cryo-plate. Despite those studies reported high survival and no morphological variation of cryopreservation-recovered shoots, some differences between cryopreserved and non-cryopreserved samples, revealed by biochemical, ultrastructural and molecular analyses, were observed. The intensity of those alternations was depending on the cell type, cultivar or plant generation. In the future, more attention could be focused on cryoprotection of embryogenic tissues and application of novel cryopreservation techniques, e.g. vacuum infiltration vitrification.
      PubDate: 2019-04-01
  • Long-term survival and successful conservation' Low genetic diversity
           but no evidence for reduced reproductive success at the north-westernmost
           range edge of Poa badensis (Poaceae) in Central Europe

    • Abstract: Many steppe species reach their (north)westernmost distribution limit in western Central Europe. This also applies to Poa badensis, a rare steppe plant of calcareous rock/sand vegetation. To explore potential differences in reproductive success and genetic composition of peripheral populations, we analysed the absolute (north)westernmost occurrences in Western Germany and populations at the western margin (Eastern Austria) and the centre (Central Hungary) of the Pannonicum, representing a part of the continuous range. Specifically, we discuss the genetic and reproductive constitution of the (north)westernmost exclave and draw conclusions on the species’ biogeographical and conservation history in this region. Therefore, we used two independent molecular marker systems (AFLPs, cpDNA sequences) and a set of performance parameters. Overall, lowest regional genetic diversity was found in Western Germany, which is mainly a result of the specific history of two populations. However, this low genetic diversity was not accompanied by reduced reproductive success. The Eastern Austrian populations showed reduced genetic diversity and predominantly reduced performance, interpreted as a consequence of small population sizes. Central Hungarian populations showed the overall highest genetic diversity and comparatively high performance values. We observed high admixture and haplotype sharing between Austrian and Hungarian populations, indicating gene flow among these regions. In contrast, we interpreted the increased population differentiation within, and the clear distinctiveness of the German exclave as a long-term isolation of these (north)westernmost occurrences. Our results, overall, prove the good constitution of these populations and, together with their particular biogeographical history, highlight their conservation value.
      PubDate: 2019-04-01
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