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Zauli A.,Third University of Rome | Maurizi E.,Third University of Rome | Maurizi E.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia | Maurizi E.,Centro Nazionale Per Lo Studio E La Conservazione Della Biodiversita Forestale Bosco Fontana Of Verona Cnbfvr | And 7 more authors.
Italian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2016

This work provides the first morphological analysis (both at gross and fine level) of the antennal structures in the genus Elater (Coleoptera, Elateridae). The typology, number and distribution patterns of the antennal sensilla in the rare saproxylic Elater ferrugineus (both male and female) were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The serrate antennae of E. ferrugineus consisted of a scape, a pedicel, and nine flattened flagellomeres. Overall, 10 types of sensilla were identified according to their morphological features: one type of sensilla chaetica (Ch), one type of Böhm sensilla (Bo), three types of sensilla trichodea (Tr.1–3), two types of sensilla basiconica (Ba.1–2), one type of sensilla styloconica (St), one type of grooved peg sensilla (Gp) and one type of sensilla campaniformia (Ca). A marked sexual dimorphism was found at both gross and fine scale. The male antenna was bigger (8.6 mm) than the female one (7.0 mm) and carried one type of sensilla trichodea (Tr.2) absent in female antennae possibly responsible for reception of the female-emitted sex pheromone. The female antenna carried a higher number of sensilla (~ 9800) than the male one did (~7,000), with more abundant sensilla chaetica (Ch) and basiconica (Ba.1 and Ba.2). © 2016 Unione Zoologica Italiana.


PubMed | Anglia, University of East London, National University of Colombia, University of Stirling and 53 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

Land-use change and intensification threaten bee populations worldwide, imperilling pollination services. Global models are needed to better characterise, project, and mitigate bees responses to these human impacts. The available data are, however, geographically and taxonomically unrepresentative; most data are from North America and Western Europe, overrepresenting bumblebees and raising concerns that model results may not be generalizable to other regions and taxa. To assess whether the geographic and taxonomic biases of data could undermine effectiveness of models for conservation policy, we have collated from the published literature a global dataset of bee diversity at sites facing land-use change and intensification, and assess whether bee responses to these pressures vary across 11 regions (Western, Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe; North, Central and South America; Australia and New Zealand; South East Asia; Middle and Southern Africa) and between bumblebees and other bees. Our analyses highlight strong regionally-based responses of total abundance, species richness and Simpsons diversity to land use, caused by variation in the sensitivity of species and potentially in the nature of threats. These results suggest that global extrapolation of models based on geographically and taxonomically restricted data may underestimate the true uncertainty, increasing the risk of ecological surprises.


Luna L.,CSIC - Estación Experimental De Zonas Áridas | Pastorelli R.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia | Bastida F.,CSIC - Center of Edafology and Applied Biology of the Segura | Hernandez T.,CSIC - Center of Edafology and Applied Biology of the Segura | And 4 more authors.
Applied Soil Ecology | Year: 2016

Mining activities generate loss of environmental and landscape quality, especially in arid and semiarid Mediterranean regions. A precondition for ecosystem reclamation in such highly disturbed areas is the development of functional soils with sufficient amount of organic matter. In a restoration experiment in limestone quarries in the Sierra de Gádor (Almería), SE Spain, several combinations of organic amendments (sewage sludge and compost from domestic organic waste) and mulches (gravel and woodchip) were tested and native plants (Anthyllis cytisoides, A. terniflora and Macrochloa tenacissima) were planted. After five years, the effect of each treatment on the soil chemical properties, basal respiration, four enzyme activities (dehydrogenase, urease, β-glucosidase and alkaline phosphatase) and the microbial community composition was analysed. Analysis of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) fingerprinting were used to analyse the microbial communities (bacteria and fungi). Undisturbed natural soils adjacent to the mining area were used as soil quality references. Organic amendments, particularly compost, improved soil chemical and biochemical properties as well as microbial biomass. However, the effects of mulch application did not show a clear trend with respect to soil functionality and did not increase the microbial biomass. Soils treated with sewage sludge and compost showed bacterial PLFA concentrations similar to those of reference soils, but compost treatments presented fungal PLFA concentrations that were much higher. Each combination of organic amendment and mulch was selective for a proper microbial community. Nevertheless, increases in soil functionality and microbial biomass were not related to changes in microbial diversity. After five years, the microbial properties of restored soils had not yet converged to values recorded in the reference soils. However, the combination of mulches and organic amendments, particularly compost treatment, is suggested to be beneficial for restoring degraded soils from quarrying areas because they stimulate microbial growth and activity, with positive implications for the increase in both soil fertility and quality. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Checcucci A.,University of Florence | Azzarello E.,University of Florence | Bazzicalupo M.,University of Florence | Galardini M.,European Bioinformatics Institute | And 8 more authors.
Frontiers in Plant Science | Year: 2016

In the symbiosis between rhizobia and legumes, host plants can forms ymbiotic root nodules with multiple rhizobial strains, potentially showing different symbiotic performances in nitrogen fixation. Here, we investigated the presence of mixed nodules, containing rhizobia with different degrees of mutualisms, and evaluate their relative fitness in the Sinorhizobium meliloti-Medicago sativa model symbiosis. We used three S. meliloti strains, the mutualist strains Rm1021 and BL225C and the non-mutualist AK83. We performed competition experiments involving both in vitro and in vivo symbiotic assays with M. sativa host plants. We show the occurrence of a high number (from 27 to 100%) of mixed nodules with no negative effect on both nitrogen fixation and plant growth. The estimation of the relative fitness as non-mutualist/mutualist ratios in single nodules shows that in some nodules the non-mutualist strain efficiently colonized root nodules along with the mutualist ones. In conclusion, we can support the hypothesis that in S. meliloti-M. sativa symbiosis mixed nodules are formed and allow non-mutualist or less-mutualist bacterial partners to be less or not sanctioned by the host plant, hence allowing a potential form of cheating behavior to be present in the nitrogen fixing symbiosis. © 2016 Checcucci, Azzarello, Bazzicalupo, Galardini, Lagomarsino, Mancuso, Marti, Marzano, Mocali, Squartini, Zanardo and Mengoni.


Mazza G.,University of Florence | Mazza G.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia | Inghilesi A.F.,University of Florence | Longo S.,University of Catania | Cervo R.,University of Florence
Bulletin of Insectology | Year: 2016

The choice of a suitable oviposition site is critical for the reproductive success of many animals. In insects, oviposition site choice is often driven by chemicals: oviposition-deterring pheromones are well known for many insects, whereas oviposition-stimulating pheromones have only been reported for a few species. Here, we investigate which cues trigger the choice of a deposition site in the Red Palm Weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) (Coleoptera Dryophthoridae), the worst palm pest. Our experiments clearly showed that females prefer to lay eggs in a substrate already used for the same purpose. To provide evidence for cues mediating this preference, we carried out a series of bioassays following a binary-choice test paradigm. Our results showed that neither the presence of eggs nor the polar or apolar compounds extracted from the egg surface affected female preference. Moreover, experiments in which the body of adults was rubbed on the substrate allowed us to exclude that body surface compounds are involved in this process. Bioassays preventing male-substrate contact suggested a role of the male in determining the female’s choice of the oviposition site. Our results suggest the male aggregation pheromone as the best candidate to mediate such female preference. Further studies will be necessary to clarify whether female preference represents a simple by-product of the aggregation pheromone effect or is due to a specific compound of the pheromone that triggers the female behaviour. © 2016, Universita degli Studi di Bologna, Department of Agroenvironmental Sciences and Technologies. All rights reserved.


Luna L.,CSIC - Estación Experimental De Zonas Áridas | Miralles I.,CSIC - Estación Experimental De Zonas Áridas | Miralles I.,Catholic University of Louvain | Andrenelli M.C.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia | And 4 more authors.
Catena | Year: 2016

The first step to restoring degraded mine soils from calcareous quarries in semiarid environments, usually without soil structure, mainly consists in creating a structured topsoil with suitable physical, chemical and biological properties. The aim of this study is to determine the effects of organic amendments and mulches on soil aggregate stability and aggregation-associated soil characteristics, six years after beginning experimental restoration in the Gádor Mountains (Almería, SE Spain). Experimental plots were set up to test two organic amendments (sludge and compost) and two mulches (gravel and woodchip) and their respective control plots. Soil samples from neighboring undisturbed soils were used as the quality reference threshold. The tested variables were total organic C (TOC), glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP), easily extractable glomalin-related soil protein (EE-GRSP) and water aggregate stability evaluated by both wet sieving (WS) and water-drop test (WDT). Relationships among the measured soil properties were checked in order to assess the best indicators for the most suited restoration practices. After 6 years, the results showed that the combination of organic amendments and mulches enhanced soil aggregate stability and the content of aggregate binding agents such as TOC and glomalin. Nevertheless, the role of organic amendments, especially compost, was more important than mulch treatments in increasing TOC and glomalin, showing the closest values to the undisturbed reference soils (over 30 g kg-1 for TOC and 3.5 g kg-1 for GRSP). Despite the considerable improvement in water stable aggregates found in sludge-amended plots (average mean weight diameter of 2.13 mm in WS, and 25-drop impacts in WDT), the reference soils provided the highest values (average mean weight diameter of 3.32 mm in WS, and 99-drop impacts in WDT). The lack of a good correlation between soil structure-related variables restricted the evaluation of the real effects of restoration treatments, and suggested considering other soil properties (e.g., hydrophobicity, hardening) associated to aggregate stability. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Pellegrini S.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia | Garcia G.,Technical University of Cartagena | Penas-Castejon J.M.,Technical University of Cartagena | Vignozzi N.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia | Costantini E.A.C.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia
Catena | Year: 2015

Mining activities take a direct impact on the environment, particularly when this activity is focused on metal-ore exploitation. Abandoned metal mine areas contain different types of residues from ore-processing operations that are typically characterized by high concentrations of heavy metals. One consequence is the generation of acid-mine drainage, caused by the oxidation and hydrolysis of metal sulphides. Mine tail soils have been studied under several points of view, but not on how crack formation affects their properties and functioning, before irreversible hardening. The Cartagena-La Union mining district is one of the more ancient Spanish mining regions. This region is placed at the south-eastern part of Spain, and contains one of the largest lead and zinc ore deposits in South Europe, which was exploited for Au, Ag, Pb, Zn, Fe and Cu from the Phoenician and Carthaginian times. The aim of this research work was to characterize the pedogenesis that occurred in mine tailings of different age and properties, to highlight the physical and hydrological changes that occurred as a consequence of pedogenesis, and their consequences on the environmental pollution risk. Soil profile morphology was studied in the field likewise the surficial pattern of cracks, shear strength, bulk density, and erosion. Laboratory analyses were conducted to characterize physical, chemical, elemental, mineralogical, and hydrological differences between the soil mass in the macro aggregates and in the fissures. Macroporosity was studied through image analysis of thin sections of undisturbed soil samples. X-ray diffraction (XRD) was performed on the clay fraction. Studied soils resulted strongly polluted, especially as for Zn, Pb, Cd, Cl, Mn, and Ni and were classified as different kinds of Spolic Technosol. Crack formation significantly affected shear strength, bulk density, macroporosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, and element distribution. Gully and tunnel erosion was also driven by crack formation. The mineralogy of the clay fraction revealed that smectites are present, favouring crack opening. Crack formation deeply affected soil features and behaviour, namely hydrological properties and flow of pollutants, which in turn condition environmental health and possible soil stabilization and reclamation strategies. © 2015.


Camilli B.,University of Palermo | Dell'Abate M.T.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lo Studio Delle Relazioni Tra Pianta E Suolo | Mocali S.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia | Fabiani A.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lagrobiologia E La Pedologia | Dazzi C.,University of Palermo
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2016

We investigated the organic carbon pools and the microbial diversity and activity in anthropogenic terraced soils in a desert area of Southern Peru to highlight how the introduction of agriculture influences carbon evolution and storage and genetic and functional diversity of soil microbiota over time. Five sites were selected considering soils cultivated since 5, 15, 20, 35 and 65 years, sampled along the profile depth (0-20 and 20-40 cm layer). Soil and microbial parameters comprised by organic carbon pools, microbial respiration, microbial community physiological profile (CLPP) and microbial diversity (PCR-DGGE) were determined. The results showed that the highest C concentrations were reached after a long cultivation time (P65), at both depths. In this site Corg was mainly composed by chemically not extractable C, considered the most stabilized fraction. The remaining extractable C fraction decreased with the depth and was mainly made up of highly mineralizable compounds. Data showed that human transformations has affected organic carbon pools only after several decades of cultivation, whereas the activity and structure of the microbial community changed gradually over time, showing the major differences between the most ancient (65 years) and the most recent (5 years) anthropized soils. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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