IDECC Institute for Development

Rome, Italy

IDECC Institute for Development

Rome, Italy
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Amadi N.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Petrozzi F.,Ecologia Applicata Italia s.r.l. | Akani G.C.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Dendi D.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | And 7 more authors.
Acta Oecologica | Year: 2017

Little is known about fish diversity in the coastal streams south-eastern Nigeria in this world-renowned biodiversity hotspot. In these ecosystems, the combination of seasonal changes in hydrology as well as the presence of coastal forests provides a greater biotope diversity, food and shelter for many fish species. Currently, however, deforestation, pollution and exotic species invasions impact the system's hydrology, water quality ultimately changing fish assemblage composition. In this paper, we describe the current status of fish diversity in the forested coastal streams of south-eastern Nigerian based on recent collections and data drawn from selected scientific publications. We found a total of 88 fish species from 27 families in 10 orders. Fish assemblages were generally characterised by a low evenness, with 90% of specimens belonging to over a quarter of the overall number of taxa, and strongly dominated by species of aquaculture interest, such as tilapiine cichlids. The studied stations had a high heterogeneity and non-comparable diversity profiles; stressing the role played by local conditions. Stations closer to the River Niger Delta differed significantly from the remaining large relatively homogeneous cluster. We found that the spatial turnover components of β-diversity were significant, and this was related to longitudinal distance, and not to species replacement by ecological vicariants. The observed species composition and the diversity patterns are consistent with a scenario whereby an originally high biodiversity is being eroded because of habitat degradation and the impact of alien species. © 2017 Elsevier Masson SAS.


Amadi N.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Akani G.C.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Ebere N.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Asumene G.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | And 5 more authors.
Herpetological Bulletin | Year: 2017

Lygodactylus conraui is the only green gecko species occurring in West Africa, and is also one of the smallest gecko species of the African continent. Here, some aspects of the natural history of this species are documented for Rivers State, southern Nigeria. In total, 108 L. conraui individuals were observed in 1996-2016 in southern Nigeria. Individuals of this species were mainly observed at originally forested sites that were heavily altered by human inclusion. In southern Nigeria, L. conraui may be a pioneer species that quickly colonises microhabitats at ecotonal sites of recently deforested or rapidly re-growing forest areas. In each site, the number of observed lizards was significantly positively influenced by the percent of available shade within each habitat type. These geckos were found most commonly at 0.8-3.2 m height. Their activity was especially concentrated during the wet season months. Mean distance between individuals in each demes was 1.35 m (range 0.70-3.2 m).


Luiselli L.,IDECC Institute for Development | Luiselli L.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Luiselli L.,University of Uyo | Dendi D.,IDECC Institute for Development | And 7 more authors.
Acta Oecologica | Year: 2017

The Guinean forests of West Africa (GFWA) region is of highest conservation value in Africa and worldwide. The aims of this review are to systematically identify and collate studies focusing on the environment in the region. We found that, after Google Scholar search, in over 112,000 results for 17 disciplines, three countries (Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo) were subjected to much more investigations than the other countries. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were the least studied countries, and overall there was a significant West to East increasing trend for all seven considered disciplines (Ecology, Zoology, Botany, Conservation biology, Pollution, Climate change and Ecological economy) in terms of number of results. Within 'Ecology' 'macroecology and biodiversity' was the most studied subdiscipline. Baseline taxonomic studies in 'Zoology' and 'Botany' received little interest, particularly in 2006-2016. For 'Conservation biology', studies focusing on 'protected areas' were more numerous than for any other subsector, followed by 'biodiversity surveys'. Our analysis revealed that there were significantly more studies focusing on forests than on mangrove areas. Our results pointed out that, there is an urgent need for more rigorous taxonomical and fine-scale distribution studies of organisms across the whole region, not only for the traditionally overlooked groups (e.g. invertebrates). It is also stressed that studies of macropatterns in conservation biology research for the region should be performed by more reliable data at the more local scale, given the misuse that has been done by general studies of these limited/biased data for inferring patterns. Long-term longitudinal studies on biodiversity patterns of important forest sites and population biology of selected populations are urgently needed, as these have been almost entirely neglected to date. Crucial issues are still to be solved: for instance, it remains fully unresolved whether wildlife can best be protected through the promotion of human economic development or through integral conservation of important biodiversity areas. © 2017 Elsevier Masson SAS.


Petrozzi F.,L.E.S.S. | Petrozzi F.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Amori G.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Franco D.,Planland Studio Tecnico Daniel Franco | And 6 more authors.
Tropical Ecology | Year: 2016

The bushmeat trade in West and Central Africa embraces a broad range of ecological, economic, and conservation issues. To date, most studies have focused on the economic and conservation aspects of the bushmeat trade, with less emphasis on the ecological implications of wildlife extraction. Here, we analysed available literature on the bushmeat trade in 5 countries in west and central Africa exploring ecological traits such as niche width breadth and trophic position of the species involved, and habitats impacted. We also examine temporal changes over a 40-year period. Our results confirm that mammals dominated the trade in all studied areas and time periods, in terms of (i) number of species, (ii) number of traded individuals, and (iii) overall biomass. Herbivores were the most common trophic animal guild traded. Forest-specialists were the most abundant in the trade, and in riverine habitats reptile biomass almost as important as mammals. Overall, the most traded species and individuals were non-threatened according to the IUCN Red List. Our temporal analyses indicated that more habitat generalist and water-linked species were traded during 1971 - 2000, but forest dependent taxa predominated during the following decade (2001 - 2010). Additionally, the number of individuals of large-bodied herbivores rose relative to small and medium-sized ones, whereas traded biomass over time increased: (a) in the consumption of super-predators; (b) of large-bodied herbivores, but (c) a significant decrease in consumed biomass of medium and small-bodied herbivores. We suggest that the observed trends may suggest an imminent reduction of large-bodied herbivores and, as a cascade effect, also of super-predators in African moist forests. © International Society for Tropical Ecology.


Luiselli L.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Luiselli L.,IDECC Institute for Development
Web Ecology | Year: 2015

In this short paper, some consideration is given to the term biodiversity. We stress the need for a strong formal rigor in using this term in order to maintain the credibility by non-ecologists and environmental agencies over the scientific community involved in biodiversity studies. After a historical introduction to the use and concept of the term biodiversity, this paper presents some theoretical aspects, concrete methodological proposal, and discussion for the further scientific and consistent use of the term biodiversity. © Author(s) 2015. CC Attribution 3.0 License.


Pitzalis M.,Third University of Rome | Montalto F.,Third University of Rome | Amore V.,Third University of Rome | Luiselli L.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | And 2 more authors.
Acta Oecologica | Year: 2017

Co-occurrence patterns (studied by C-score, number of checkerboard units, number of species combinations, and V-ratio, and by an empirical Bayes approach developed by Gotelli and Ulrich, 2010) are crucial elements in order to understand assembly rules in ecological communities at both local and spatial scales. In order to explore general assembly rules and the effects of biome and spatial scale on such rules, here we studied a group of beetles (Coleoptera, Meloidae), using Namibia as a case of study. Data were gathered from 186 sampling sites, which allowed collection of 74 different species. We analyzed data at the level of (i) all sampled sites, (ii) all sites stratified by biome (Savannah, Succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo, Desert), and (iii) three randomly selected nested areas with three spatial scales each. Three competing algorithms were used for all analyses: (i) Fixed-Equiprobable, (ii) Fixed-Fixed, and (iii) Fixed-Proportional. In most of the null models we created, co-occurrence indicators revealed a non-random structure in meloid beetle assemblages at the global scale and at the scale of biomes, with species aggregation being much more important than species segregation in determining this non-randomness. At the level of biome, the same non-random organization was uncovered in assemblages from Savannah (where the aggregation pattern was particularly strong) and Succulent Karoo, but not in Desert and Nama Karoo. We conclude that species facilitation and similar niche in endemic species pairs may be particularly important as community drivers in our case of study. This pattern is also consistent with the evidence of a higher species diversity (normalized according to biome surface area) in the two former biomes. Historical patterns were perhaps also important for Succulent Karoo assemblages. Spatial scale had a reduced effect on patterning our data. This is consistent with the general homogeneity of environmental conditions over wide areas in Namibia. © 2017 Elsevier Masson SAS


Luiselli L.,Rivers State University of Science And Technology | Luiselli L.,IDECC Institute for Development
Herpetological Journal | Year: 2017

Emys orbicularis persica is one of the ecologically least known subspecies of the widespread European pond turtle. Populations of this subspecies were studied in springtime at two extended wetlands of Azerbaijan, and data on density, habitat use, and food habits were collected. These turtles exhibited a mono-peaked diel activity pattern, with peaks during midday hours. Highest mean estimated densities were found in reed-bed habitat (9.51 individuals × ha-1) and in the open water habitat (lake) (9.12 individuals × ha-1), with much lower values in seasonally inundated grasslands (6.0 individuals × ha-1) and no turtles being found in temporary ponds. Density of reeds did not influence the selection of micro-habitat by turtles. Sex-ratio was even, and females attained larger size than males. Diet was carnivorous and relatively specialised, with large larvae of aquatic beetles (Hydrophilus piceus) accounting for by far the main prey item. In this regard, the food habits of the Azerbaijan turtles appeared more specialised than those of other E. orbicularis populations from elsewhere. © 2017 British Herpetological Society. All rights reserved.


Pitzalis M.,Third University of Rome | Amore V.,Third University of Rome | Montalto F.,Third University of Rome | Luiselli L.,Institute of Environmental Studies | And 3 more authors.
Tropical Zoology | Year: 2016

A considerable part of community ecology literature questioned what are the main drivers of ecological relationships in an organismal community. We analysed this focal question by studying blister beetle (Meloidae) assemblages in Southern Africa. We explored the ecological distribution of 48 species across underlying bioclimatic (e.g. temperatures and precipitation regimes), environmental factors (biomes, vegetation structure) and the taxonomic heterogeneity of each groups inhabiting major biomes of Namibia across their main biological and ecological traits, by Canonical Correspondence in order to get an ordination plot. Monte Carlo methods were used to test for randomness of the data ordination. Ordination plot identified three main assemblages, one being constituted by strictly semiarid savannah species (camelthorn, mountain, karstweld, thornbush, mixed tree and shrub, dwarf shrub, mopane and forest savannahs), one much larger and less homogenous second assemblage, inclusive of more generalist species from Karoo and semi-desert habitats, living also in arid savannahs, and the third one including Nama Karoo species. All the three assemblages were taxonomically very heterogeneous, showing that phylogenetic relationships are probably less relevant than interspecific ecological relationships among species of the same group to determine present-day community structure in these animals. © 2016 Istituto per lo Studio degli Ecosistemi of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Firenze


Capula M.,Museo Civico di Zoologia | Rugiero L.,Environmental Studies Center Demetra s.r.l. | Capizzi D.,Regional Park Agency ARP | Franco D.,Planland s.r.l. | And 4 more authors.
Ecological Research | Year: 2015

In a context of climate change, ecological and physiological adaptations of organisms are of central importance for determining the outcome of niche challenges (e.g., with potential competitors) and species persistence. Typically, long-term data on free-ranging populations are needed to investigate such phenomena. Here, long-term data on a free-ranging population of western whip snakes (Hierophis viridiflavus: Colubridae) from central Italy were used in order to test the hypothesis that snake feeding frequencies should increase in relation to climate warming, thus positively affecting individual performance because of longer annual activity period, increased daily activity and larger prey base. Data from 231 ‘female snake-years’ of records (including inter-annual recaptures) were collected were collected between 1990 and 2014. The frequency of fed snakes varied remarkably across the study period with a significant increase over the years. There was a significant positive effect of the mean annual temperature on the percentage of fed animals, whereas there was a non-significant relationship between yearly rainfall and percentage of fed animals. There was a positive relationship between mean annual temperature and yearly diversity-of-prey index. No other climatic variables were significantly correlated with yearly diversity-of-prey index. This study supported the hypothesis that global warming may be favorable for thermophilic species (such as H. viridiflavus), as it enhances their foraging performances and hence their feeding frequencies. The same may not be necessarily true for other species which have colder preferenda (e.g., Zamenis longissimus). © 2015 The Ecological Society of Japan

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