Trento, Italy
Trento, Italy

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Salinitro M.,University of Bologna | Vicentini R.,MUSE Museo delle Science | Bonomi C.,MUSE Museo delle Science | Tassoni A.,University of Bologna
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Year: 2017

Background: This research was performed in four villages adjacent the boundary of Udzungwa Mountains National Park in the Kilombero River plain of Tanzania. The area adjacent the villages is characterized by self-consumption agriculture, with a population that is on average poor, still very tied to traditions and almost entirely unaffected by modernization and technology. The aim of the present study was to investigate and record local knowledge regarding the use of wild and traditionally cultivated plants used for traditional medicine and for other everyday purposes (e.g., food, fibers and timber). Methods: Ten traditional local healers, with solid botanical knowledge, were interviewed between June and August 2014 by means of semi-structured questionnaires. For each mentioned plant species, the Swahili folk name and, when possible, the classification by family, genus and species was recorded as well as the part of the plant used, the preparation method and the main uses (medicine, food or others). Results: In total 196 species were mentioned of which 118 could be botanically classified. The identified species belong to 44 different botanical families, with that of the Leguminosae being the most representative (24 species). The plants were mostly used as medical treatments (33.3% of the species) and foods (36.8%), and to produce wood and fibers (19.4%). Conclusion: The present study revealed that numerous plant species are still essential in the everyday life of the tribes living in Kilombero Valley. Most of the plants were usually harvested in the wild, however, after the creation of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, the harvesting pressure has become concentrated on a few unprotected forest patches. Consequently, many useful species are becoming increasingly rare with the risk of losing the connected botanical and traditional knowledge. The present study may, therefore, contribute to record the ethnobotanical knowledge held by these populations, in order to preserve this valuable richness for future generations. © 2017 The Author(s).


Bontempo L.,Research and Innovation Center | Ceppa F.,Research and Innovation Center | Ziller L.,Research and Innovation Center | Pedrini P.,MUSE Museo delle Science | And 3 more authors.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Natural variations in the stable isotope ratios of bioelements in bird feathers are being increasingly used by animal ecologists to investigate different aspects of bird life. However, to ensure reliability of the data, a critical and very delicate aspect is the preparatory phase (cleaning, drying and subsampling) and the proper analysis, mainly in relation to δ2H and δ18O, respectively, for the presence of exchangeable Hs and of nitrogen and sulphur in keratin. With respect to determination of the isotope ratios of C, N, O and H, in this work, we compare the cleaning mixture most commonly used in the literature (chloroform: methanol 2 : 1) with diethylether: methanol 2 : 1, which avoids the use of the carcinogenic solvent chloroform. We also compared oven-drying with air-drying of samples, as well as subsampling of feathers by cutting with surgical scissors or cryogenic pulverization. Finally, we investigated whether stable isotope ratios varied along the vane and between the rachis and vane. The different methods compared in the three preparatory stages showed no differences performance-wise and can therefore be used interchangeably. Variability in stable isotope ratios can be considerable, both along the vane and between rachis and vane, which is because their compositions register changes in diet, area and climate. However, in this specific study, when the parts of the feather closest to the calamus were removed, the delta values were clearly more homogeneous. Finally, we demonstrate that a casein with a known δ2H value, although probably differing from keratin in the number of exchangeable Hs, can be used to normalize the δ2H values of feathers, although only in the range of values close to that of the reference material. In determining δ18O, the use of a longer gas chromatography-GC column, its frequent change and the use of a linear equation built with matrix match equivalent reference materials seems to reduce the drift of GC column performance due to the presence of nitrogen and the accumulation of sulphur. © 2014 The Authors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution © 2014 British Ecological Society.


PubMed | Museo Civico di Science Naturali E. Caffi, MUSE Museo delle Science and Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zootaxa | Year: 2016

Zora Koch, 1847 is a small genus distributed in the Holarctic region. The genus comprises 16 species, 14 of them distributed in the Palaearctic region and two from the Neartic (World Spider Catalog 2016). The European fauna includes 11 species (Nentwig et al. 2016), 8 of which are present in Italy (Pantini & Isaia 2016). Zora has historically been placed in several different families, but is now in the Miturgidae Simon, 1886 following the phylogenetic analyses of Ramirez (2014).


Marchetti L.,University of Padua | Santi G.,University of Pavia | Avanzini M.,MUSE Museo Delle Science
Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia | Year: 2014

Based on well-preserved specimens, and strictly considering the influence of extramorphological (substrate-related) factors, the use of modern techniques (computer drawings, 3D acquisitions), permitted a reliable study on footprints smaller than 20 mm. Footprints of this size were mostly considered as too small and being affected by a lot of deformation, thus preventing a substantiated analysis. Our case study focuses on the Erpetopus/Camunipes dualism. Ichnologists disagree on the value of a separation of these ichnogenera, and their discussion appears rather "philosophical" than being conducted by an accurate analysis and objective data. We restudied the holotype of Camunipes cassinisi (sp. MBS 319), together with a new specimen from Southern Alps (sp. MBG 12465) that shows five well-preserved long trackways, and compared them to selected material, including the Erpetopus willistoni holotype (sp. UGKU C-8). Results suggest a synonymy of Camunipes with Erpetopus and the new combination Erpetopus cassinisi which is distinct from E. willistoni by the following anatomical features: the pes of E. cassinisi shows higher divarication angles between digits IV-V (>50°) and I-V (>130°) and a longer and variably oriented digit V, which is long about as digit II. This has interesting paleobiogeographical consequences: E. cassinisi was probably a local ichnospecies of Erpetopus in the Southern Alps.


Franceschi M.,MuSe Museo delle Science | Massironi M.,University of Padua | Franceschi P.,Data Management | Picotti V.,University of Bologna
Terra Nova | Year: 2014

Early Jurassic syn-sedimentary extensional tectonics in the central Southern Alps controlled patterns of deposition within the Calcari Grigi carbonate platform. We used variogram maps to gather model-independent information on the spatial distribution of thicknesses of selected platform units and investigated whether major syn-sedimentary faults outlined subsiding domains during platform growth. Thicknesses display a spatial organization that suggests that large fault belts, often coincident with exposed Jurassic extensional structures, transected large parts of the platform. The network of four fault systems (trending NNW-SSE and NE-SW) displays orthorhombic symmetry, suggesting non-Andersonian faulting and a true triaxial strain field with N100°E maximum extension or transfer shear zones connecting major NNW-SSE-trending extensional faults. In both cases, inherited structures of Permian to Triassic age may have played a primary role in Jurassic faulting. If confirmed throughout the South-Alpine domain, this arrangement could shed new light on Early Jurassic rifting mechanisms in the Southern Alps. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Franceschi M.,MuSe Museo Delle Science | Dal Corso J.,Universita` Degli Studi Of Padua | Posenato R.,University of Ferrara | Roghi G.,CNR Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources | And 2 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2014

High-resolution carbonate carbon-isotope stratigraphy of Lower Jurassic marine shallow-water limestones are compared with the distribution of the Lithiotis Fauna on the Trento Platform (Southern Alps, Italy). The Lithiotis Fauna is the first example of globally distributed mound-building bivalves in the geological record and experienced global diffusion in the Early Jurassic. A set of carbonate carbon-isotope excursions of 2-3‰, illustrating three distinct negative shifts followed by positive rebounds, are recorded in the isotope stratigraphy and can be correlated with the global negative δ13C shift of the Sinemurian-Pliensbachian boundary Event (S-P Event) and to the subsequent phase of C-isotope perturbation that characterized the lower Pliensbachian. In the studied stratigraphic sections, the S-P Event likely triggered eutrophic conditions illustrated by the presence of organic-rich facies and by fossil associations characteristic of poorly oxygenated waters. After the eutrophic phase, the amelioration of environmental conditions was marked by a positive ~3‰ rebound of the δ13Ccarb values, and by the occurrence of marine stenotypic faunas. On the Trento Platform, the stabilization of the δ13Ccarb values coincided with the appearance of the Lithiotis Fauna that subsequently became widely distributed in the entire range of platform environments and thrived in the late Pliensbachian when metric-scale bivalve mounds were generated. During the same time, the maximum proliferation of the Lithiotis Fauna is recorded both in the Tethyan and Panthalassa regions. Hence, the reported relationships between the δ13Ccarb data and the distribution and ecological characteristics of the genera contained in the Lithiotis Fauna suggest that the S-P Event and its aftermath, possibly coupled with the undergoing coeval continent reorganization that led to the opening of the Hispanic Corridor, could have set the stage for the rapid diffusion of these unusual bivalves across many parts of the globe. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Montagna M.,University of Milan | Mereghetti V.,University of Milan | Lencioni V.,MUSE Museo Delle Science | Rossaro B.,University of Milan
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Rapid and efficient DNA-based tools are recommended for the evaluation of the insect biodiversity of high-altitude streams. In the present study, focused principally on larvae of the genus Diamesa Meigen 1835 (Diptera: Chironomidae), the congruence between morphological/molecular delimitation of species as well as performances in taxonomic assignments were evaluated. A fragment of the mitochondrial cox1 gene was obtained from 112 larvae, pupae and adults (Diamesinae, Orthocladiinae and Tanypodinae) that were collected in different mountain regions of the Alps and Apennines. On the basis of morphological characters 102 specimens were attributed to 16 species, and the remaining ten specimens were identified to the genus level. Molecular species delimitation was performed using: i) distance-based Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD), with no a priori assumptions on species identification; and ii) coalescent tree-based approaches as the Generalized Mixed Yule Coalescent model, its Bayesian implementation and Bayesian Poisson Tree Processes. The ABGD analysis, estimating an optimal intra/interspecific nucleotide distance threshold of 0.7%-1.4%, identified 23 putative species; the tree-based approaches, identified between 25-26 entities, provided nearly identical results. All species belonging to zernyi, steinboecki, latitarsis, bertrami, dampfi and incallida groups, as well as outgroup species, are recovered as separate entities, perfectly matching the identified morphospecies. In contrast, within the cinerella group, cases of discrepancy arose: i) the two morphologically separate species D. cinerella and D. tonsa are neither monophyletic nor diagnosable exhibiting low values of between-taxa nucleotide mean divergence (0.94%); ii) few cases of larvae morphological misidentification were observed. Head capsule color is confirmed to be a valid character able to discriminate larvae of D. zernyi, D. tonsa and D. cinerella, but it is here better defined as a color gradient between the setae submenti and genal setae. DNA barcodes performances were high: average accuracy was ~89% and precision of ∼99%. On the basis of the present data, we can thus conclude that molecular identification represents a promising tool that could be effectively adopted in evaluating biodiversity of high-altitude streams. © Copyright: 2016 Montagna et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Gobbi M.,MUSE Museo delle Science | Brambilla M.,MUSE Museo delle Science
Italian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2016

Spatial autocorrelation is a common feature of ecological data and can be found in the distribution pattern of many species or in the diversity of many species assemblages. The presence of spatial autocorrelation in species distribution along primary successions on recently deglaciated terrains has been largely overlooked until now, despite its potential consequences for comparisons between glacier forelands. Here, we investigated the occurrence of spatial autocorrelation at different spatial scales in the distribution and diversity of ground beetles and spiders along glacier forelands. We found positive spatial autocorrelation in patterns of occurrence of most species and in patterns of species assemblages diversity at spatial scales representing single (< 3 km) or adjacent valleys (< 7 km), whereas at a larger spatial scales (0–30 km) such positive spatial autocorrelation disappeared. We concluded that spatial autocorrelation could be a key issue for studies investigating distribution of arthropods, including in glacier forelands, in order to perform more robust analysis and to avoid misinterpretation of species distribution in relation to the glacier retreat and other environmental characteristics. © 2016 Unione Zoologica Italiana


Glacial retreat creates new habitat which is colonized by plants and animals during the process of primary succession. Traditionally, invertebrate succession along the glacier forelands has been spatially and temporally described by the following predictors: species richness, diversity/similarity indices and species traits. In this paper another approach is used and applied to carabid beetle assemblages in two alpine glacier forelands. It utilizes mean individual biomass (MIB), which is considered by several authors to be a good indicator of habitat successional stages. MIB increased with time since deglaciation and this is related to species turnover along the glacier forelands. Specifically, MIB is able to separate early from late successional stages. The former are characterized by carabid assemblages with low MIB values and species typical of pioneer habitats, while the latter are characterized by carabid assemblages with high MIB values and species typical of stable and mature habitats. Therefore, MIB seems to be a sensitive indicator of carabid beetle successional stages also along the glacier forelands.


Lencioni V.,MUSE Museo delle Science | Spitale D.,MUSE Museo delle Science
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2015

Although processes involved in the relationship between hyporheic and benthic zone have been elucidated in recent years, the spatial and temporal dynamics of the invertebrate assemblages is unclear in alpine streams. A field study was carried out in a glacier-fed stream and in its main spring-fed tributary, in the Italian Alps. Benthic hyporheic connectivity was investigated by means of a pond net, a pump, and artificial substrates. The main determinant in structuring the community was the habitat (=benthic, hyporheic), accounting for 22% of the total faunal variation. A strong similarity was detected between the two streams in structure, function, and species seasonal variations of the hyporheos, that was, in both, more species rich than the benthos. In contrast, benthos was generally very different between the two streams, with a more pronounced turnover in the glacier-fed than in the spring-fed stream. Overall, the highly disturbed glacial system hosted a simplified benthos and hyporheos compared to the stable spring system, in agreement with the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Our findings provided also evidences about the trophic-sink effect between benthos and hyporheos. Spatial connectivity that we highlighted might have a key role in the dispersal of invertebrates facing changes in habitats features due to climate change. © 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

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