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Grugliasco, Italy

Bertolino S.,Forest and Food science | Girardello M.,University of Aarhus | Amori G.,National Research Council Italy
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2014

Species prioritisation is an important component of conservation strategies. However, identifying species that are threatened is not easy for many taxa that lack detailed information on distribution and population trends. We propose a ranking system for small mammals, based on their degree of vulnerability and their conservation value. Scores were derived from data on life history traits and ecological requirements of individual species, with respect to their sensitivity to changes in landscape and the composition and qualities of ecosystems. Twelve variables were considered, related to the distribution, demography, ecological adaptability, and their endemism and taxonomic diversification. Rodents with the highest score values were either characteristic of mountain habitats (Apodemus alpicola, Chionomys nivalis and Marmota marmota), typical of lowlands (Micromys minutus) or forest species (dormice), and they were also short living, with few reproduction events. Top ranking Soricomorpha were endemic (Crocidura sicula, C. pachyura), range restricted (Sorex alpinus, Talpa caeca) and habitat specialists (Neomys fodiens, N. anomalus), and were further characterised by low reproduction, low dispersal ability, and restricted elevation range. The factors used in the score system were able to emphasise localised endemisms that could be recognised in the future whenever subspecies should be promoted to the rank of species. Soricomorpha, highlighted in the IUCN national red list as nearly threatened or for the absence of information, ranked at the top of our list. The methodological framework proposed here could be used when a pool of species needs to be evaluated for further investigation or conservation actions, helping by focusing on species that are more sensitive to habitat changes or have an intrinsic conservation value. © 2014 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.

Chitarra W.,National Research Council Italy | Pagliarani C.,Forest and Food science | Pagliarani C.,University of Turin | Lumini E.,National Research Council Italy | And 7 more authors.
Plant Physiology | Year: 2016

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, which form symbioses with the roots of the most important crop species, are usually considered biofertilizers, whose exploitation could represent a promising avenue for the development in the future of a more sustainable next-generation agriculture. The best understood function in symbiosis is an improvement in plant mineral nutrient acquisition, as exchange for carbon compounds derived from the photosynthetic process: this can enhance host growth and tolerance to environmental stresses, such as water stress (WS). However, physiological and molecular mechanisms occurring in arbuscular mycorrhiza-colonized plants and directly involved in the mitigation of WS effects need to be further investigated. The main goal of this work is to verify the potential impact of AM symbiosis on the plant response to WS. To this aim, the effect of two AM fungi (Funneliformis mosseae and Rhizophagus intraradices) on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) under the WS condition was studied. A combined approach, involving ecophysiological, morphometric, biochemical, and molecular analyses, has been used to highlight the mechanisms involved in plant response to WS during AM symbiosis. Gene expression analyses focused on a set of target genes putatively involved in the plant response to drought, and in parallel, we considered the expression changes induced by the imposed stress on a group of fungal genes playing a key role in the water-transport process. Taken together, the results show that AM symbiosis positively affects the tolerance to WS in tomato, with a different plant response depending on the AM fungi species involved. © 2016 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.

Testa S.,Forest and Food science | Mondino E.C.B.,Forest and Food science | Pedroli C.,Montagnard s.r.l
European Journal of Remote Sensing | Year: 2014

Remote sensing phenological works often use vegetation index (VI) time-series (TS). Since ground-observed phenological metrics occurrences vary by a few days from year to year, TS temporal accuracy became mandatory, but it is less strict in composite data. A technique to recover the temporal accuracy of 250 m 16-day composite VI from the MODIS MOD13Q1 product is proposed, relying on acquisition dates contained in the Composite day of the year layer. We demonstrated that the correction process signifcantly affected the VI TS during most of the year, especially in spring and autumn when the starting of season (SOS) and the end of the season (EOS) are expected. As a consequence of the TS correction process, SOS estimation showed to be affected too.

Bertolino S.,Forest and Food science | Di Montezemolo N.C.,Forest and Food science | Perrone A.,Wildlife Science
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2013

The niche of introduced species and that of native ones may overlap, thus causing detrimental effects on the latter through competitive interactions. We used radio telemetry to investigate habitat partitioning during the active period by the introduced American eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and the native European hare (Lepus europaeus) in sympatric conditions. Home ranges of cottontails varied from 1.1-2.2. ha in autumn to 3.0-3.6. ha in summer. In hares, home ranges were 30.5-33.8. ha in summer and increased to 49.5-85.9. ha in winter. Both species used an overall area composed of about 27% of natural habitats (i.e., meadows, woodlands, shrubby habitats, shores, and uncultivated land) and over 70% of field crops. The coexistence of the two species appeared to be facilitated by habitat partitioning. Habitat use of cottontails was characterized by a preference for natural habitats at the study area level as well as within the home ranges, while hares showed a preference for crop fields at both spatial scales and a seasonal selection of meadows within home ranges. Habitat overlap measured with the Pianka index was 0.57-0.64 in autumn and winter, and increased in summer and spring to 0.73-0.78. Our results provide evidence of different resource selection strategies adopted by these two sympatric lagomorph species. Hare populations are often found in agricultural landscapes at low-densities, while cottontails are currently spreading throughout Northern Italy to such an extent that an eradication programme appears unfeasible. In this situation, conservation measures for hares and other species should also take into consideration the presence or possible arrival of cottontails. Habitat restoration measures that would increase the amount of fallow lands and shrublands may favour cottontails more than hares. In areas where introduced lagomorphs are present, the necessity of natural open landscapes for hares may be better faced by increasing the presence of meadows, that are seasonally used by hares and not by cottontails. © 2013 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.

Chiabrando V.,Forest and Food science | Giacalone G.,Forest and Food science
Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops and Foods | Year: 2015

Edible films, as carriers of antimicrobial compounds, constitute an approach for incorporating plant essential oils (EOs) into fresh-cut fruit surfaces. Biodegradable alginate-based coatings with and without EOs were applied to fresh-cut apple, cv. Golden Delicious, in order to find healthy treatments to better preserve fresh fruit quality and safety during postharvest cold storage. Physicochemical properties (°Brix, colour and texture), polyphenoloxidase (PPO) and peroxidase activity and browning potential were determined throughout cold storage. Alginate coatings containing cinnamon oil were more effective than rosemary at inhibiting respiration rates. The addition of EOs and antioxidant was more effective than alginate alone in reducing weight loss and preserving the original colour and lightness. Moreover EOs reduce the PPO and peroxidase activity, in particular in the firsts days after processing. These results show that EOs can be used to prepare edible films for fresh-cut fruit applications. © 2014 Wageningen Academic Publishers.

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