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Otte V.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde | Fleischer B.,Zu den Eichen 6 | Stoll A.,University of La Serena | Brautigam S.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde
Willdenowia | Year: 2011

The GLM herbarium collection houses vascular plant specimens from Namibia collected between 1909 and 1913 by Fritz Schäfer. Duplicates at Berlin-Dahlem (B) were partly destroyed during World War II, and further duplicates are known only in few cases at Zurich (Z) and Cape Town (NBG). At GLM we traced 27 type specimens of 20 validly published names, for eight of these names no further type material is known to have been preserved elsewhere. We typify the names involved and designate Schäfer specimens preserved at the herbaria GLM or B, respectively, as lectotypes for Abutilon schaeferi, Anthericum apicicolum, A. diphyllum, A. glutinosum, Aster schaeferi, Gnidia suavissima, Hermannia seitziana, Lachenalia klinghardtiana, Lebeckia cinera var. schaeferi, Oldenlandia schaeferi, Pelargonium grandicalcaratum, P. squarrosum, Solanum schaeferi and Viscum schaeferi, and a Dinter specimen preserved at NBG for Pelargonium mirabile. © 2011 BGBM Berlin-Dahlem.

Wesche K.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde | Schuch S.,Deutsches Zentrum fur Integrative | Bock J.,Viehbrooker Weg 4
Natur und Landschaft | Year: 2014

Very few studies on population sizes of invertebrates have been conducted in the past, and even fewer were based on standardized methods documenting sampling locations exactly. Knowledge on long-term trends in insect communities is thus very limited. Here, we repeated a semi-quantitative study on grasshoppers, true bugs, planthoppers and leafhoppers conducted in the Weser floodplain grasslands (northwestern Germany) in 1951. It was supplemented by a study on grasshoppers, planthoppers and leafhoppers which were caught with standardized methodology in the early 1960s on dry grasslands of eastern Germany and repeated in 2008/2009/2010. Trends over time gave a mixed picture. In the Weser floodplain, species numbers of grasshoppers remained stable; those of planthoppers/leafhoppers and bugs showed a clear increase. Bugs also increased in individual numbers, whereas the abundance of the other two groups declined strongly by more than 60%. Similar trends were found for the dry grasslands: Richness of grasshoppers and planthoppers/leafhoppers remained constant over time. Individual numbers were only available for the latter groups; they declined by 50-70 % in all three paired study years we had data for. Our data do not support the idea of dramatically decreasing species numbers of insects in grasslands but do raise concern with respect to dramatic losses in population sizes that should receive more attention in conservation biology. © 2014. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart.

Bernasconi C.,University of Lausanne | Cherix D.,University of Lausanne | Seifert B.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde | Pamilo P.,University of Oulu | Pamilo P.,University of Helsinki
Myrmecological News | Year: 2010

Because of their beneficial impact on forest ecosystems, European red wood ants (Formica rufa group) are protected by law in many European countries and are considered to be among the most reliable bioindicators of forest stability. However, their taxonomy has been much debated and, unfortunately, it is too often neglected. This happens mainly because the morphology-based method for species delimitation requires lots of time and experience. We therefore employed 9 microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA (COI gene) to verify the power of genetic markers for red wood ant species delimitation and to investigate the cryptic diversity of these ants within the Eastern Swiss Alps. We analyzed 83 nests belonging to all red wood ant species that occur in the Swiss National Park area. Genetic data indicated that these species represent different genetic pools. Moreover, results showed that Formica aquilonia Yarrow, 1955 and F. paralugubris Seifert, 1996 often hybridize within the Park, confirming that these two species are genetically very close and could have diverged only recently. Nevertheless, microsatellites also revealed that one entire population, located in the Mingèr Valley and morphologically identified as F. lugubris Zetterstedt, 1838, is genetically different to all other analyzed F. lugubris populations found within the same area and to other red wood ant species. These findings, confirmed by mitochondrial DNA analyses, suggest the existence of a new cryptic species within the Eastern Swiss Alps. This putative cryptic species has been provisionally named F. lugubris-A2. These results have a great importance for future conservation plans, monitoring and evolutionary studies on these protected ants.

Krause B.,University of Gottingen | Wesche K.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde | Culmsee H.,DBU Naturerbe GmbH | Leuschner C.,University of Gottingen
Natur und Landschaft | Year: 2014

This study presents for the first time a comprehensive cross-regional analysis of community change and species loss in the managed grasslands of northern and central Germany. In the 1950/60s, relatively species-rich communities of mesophilous and moist grasslands prevailed. Total grassland area decreased by about 45 % in the past 50-60 years while the remaining grassland was largely converted into intensively managed impoverished grassland. Based on 385 relevés taken in the 1950/60s in five floodplain grassland areas that were repeated in 2008, we found that mean plot-level species richness declined by about 30 % (from 27 to 19 species) and 23 formerly characteristic species of mesophilous and moist grasslands declined significantly in their frequency. Declining species include once common taxa such as Silene flos-cuculi (Ragged robin), Cardamine pratensis (Cuckoo flower) and Anthoxanthum odoratum (Sweet vernal grass). Losses were particularly severe in insect-pollinated species; increases were observed in seven competitive nitrogen-demanding species. The regional species pool remained unchanged (299 vs. 289 taxa) but many characteristic grassland species disappeared and were replaced by generalist species that are common in other habitat types as well. © 2014. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart.

Meyer S.,University of Gottingen | Wesche K.,Senckenberg Museum fur Naturkunde | Krause B.,University of Gottingen | Brutting C.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | And 2 more authors.
Natur und Landschaft | Year: 2014

392 relevés of arable land in central and northern Germany were resampled after 50 years, with the aim to quantify impacts of agricultural intensification on arable plant vegetation. Today, most arable plant communities consist of only a few highly stress-tolerant generalist species while most specialist taxa have disappeared. The regional species pools have decreased on average by 23 % since the 1950/60s, the median plot-level species richness in field interiors declined even by 71 %. A rough extrapolation suggests that the population size of many formerly characteristic arable plant species has decreased by up to 95-99 % over the past 50 years. Population genetic analyses show that the genetic structure is generally detrimental, and the genetic diversity of extant populations is lower in highly endangered species than in less threatened taxa. The national target to halt biodiversity loss in agricultural ecosystems by 2015 will not be reached. Innovative approaches to conserve the last remaining populations of the formerly rich arable plant flora are thus urgently needed. © 2014. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart.

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