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Celesti-Grapow L.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Alessandrini A.,Cultural Heritage Institute | Arrigoni P.V.,University of Florence | Assini S.,University of Pavia | And 23 more authors.
Plant Biosystems | Year: 2010

In this paper, we provide an overview of the distribution and invasive status of non-native species in the Italian flora across its administrative regions, biogeographic regions and main land use types, and a synthesis of current knowledge on the threats they pose within the country. The information on non-native plant species collected during the project "A survey of the non-native Italian flora" was used to compile comprehensive regional and national databases. The number of nonnative species within a given administrative region increases in proportion to its size, resident population density and latitude, reaching the highest values in the intensively cultivated, heavily industrialized and urbanized Po Plain in northern Italy. The number of casual species is positively correlated with the number of yearly visitors in each region and negatively correlated with the proportion of mountainous terrain within the region. If compared with the Continental and Mediterranean biogeographic regions, the Alpine region yields the lowest number of non-native species and lowest proportion of casual species. The number and density of introduced species is highest in artificial land use types, particularly in urban areas. A negative impact is reported to be exerted by 203 species, most of which are agricultural weeds. © 2010 Societ̀ Botanica Italiana.


Fontana V.,University of Innsbruck | Radtke A.,Free University of Bozen Bolzano | Walde J.,University of Innsbruck | Tasser E.,European Academy Bolzano | And 3 more authors.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2014

Traditional agro-forest systems (TAFS) link the two ecosystems forest and grassland and are an attractive, species-rich land-use type in the European cultural landscape. In the past decades, particularly in mountainous regions, socio economic changes have resulted in their abandonment or intensification of use. Our study employed plant traits to analyze and understand the consequences that abandonment and intensification have on plant species diversity, functional diversity and the provision of ecosystem services of larch (Larix decidua) grassland, a TAFS in the European Alps. By applying commonly used traits such as growth form and pollination agent, together with less used traits such as flower color and edible or healing plants, we found highest plant species diversity in traditionally managed larch meadows and larch pastures, while functional diversity was seen to be high also in abandoned larch grasslands. We further show that provision of the ecosystem services scenic beauty and pollination is best in traditionally managed larch meadows and larch pastures. Regarding the provision of edible or healing plants, the largest species pool was found in traditionally managed larch meadows, while the highest species coverage was found in intensively managed larch meadows. Summarizing our results, we deduce that both the abandonment and intensification of larch grasslands result in a loss of plant diversity and a decrease in provided ecosystem services. Consequently, enhancement of our knowledge through further investigation of TAFS is essential for the maintenance and conservation of these valuable cultural ecosystems. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Bauer K.,Museum of Nature South Tyrol | Bauer K.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Grauvogel-Stamm L.,4 Place du Marche aux Poissons | Kustatscher E.,Museum of Nature South Tyrol | And 2 more authors.
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2013

Background: Fossil evidence of ginkgophyte ontogeny is exceedingly rare. Early development in the extant Ginkgo biloba is characterized by a series of distinct ontogenetic stages. Fossils providing insights into the early ontogeny of ancient ginkgophytes may be significant in assessing the degree of relatedness between fossil ginkgophytes and G. biloba. Results: An assemblage of seedlings from the early Middle Triassic of France is assigned to the ginkgophytes based on leaf morphology. The specimens represent an ontogenetic sequence consisting of four stages: (I) formation of the cotyledons in the seed and germination; (II) development of primary leaves and taproot; (III) thickening of the taproot and appearance of secondary roots; and (IV) development of the first differentiated leaves and absence of the seed remnants. Conclusions: The fossil seedlings provide a rare opportunity to examine the early ontogeny of a Triassic ginkgophyte. Germination and seedling development in the fossil are nearly identical to that of the extant gymnosperm G. biloba. We hypothesize that the fossil may be closely related biologically to G. biloba, and that certain developmental processes in seedling development were in place by the Middle Triassic. © 2013 Bauer et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Borruel-Abadia V.,Complutense University of Madrid | Galan-Abellan A.B.,Complutense University of Madrid | Kustatscher E.,Museum of Nature South Tyrol | Kustatscher E.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 5 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2014

The end of the Permian period is characterized by the largest mass extinction ever recorded in marine and terrestrial sedimentary rocks. The oldest plant macro-remains after the P-T boundary recorded in the Castilian Branch of the Iberian Range after this mass extinction belong to the Eslida Formation of Anisian age. These associations have been recovered at four localities and include sphenophytes (. Equisetites, perhaps Neocalamites or Schizoneura), conifers (. Volzia, Albertia, Pelourdea), lycophytes (. Pleuromeia) and a possible seed fern (. Peltaspermum).Facies associations and sedimentological analysis of the Eslida Formation have allowed for distinguishing four architectural elements: CH (channel deposits), LA (lateral accretion), CS (crevasse splay) and FF (overbank fines). The largest fossil remains are associated with CH and LA architectural elements and high-energy events, and they form part of the basal lag or reactivation surfaces. Smaller and well-preserved fragments are associated with the CS architectural elements.A sedimentologic, taphonomic and palaeoclimatic analysis reveals gradation from riparian hygrophytic vegetation to semi-arid xerophitic vegetation across the alluvial complexes and a progressive aridification through time. A comparison with other areas shows that this association is similar to coeval floras of Iberia and of the "Grès à Voltzia" Formation of northeastern France. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Fischer T.C.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Meller B.,University of Vienna | Kustatscher E.,Museum of Nature South Tyrol | Butzmann R.,Fuggerstrasse 8
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2010

Background. Structural elucidation and analysis of fructifications of plants is fundamental for understanding their evolution. In case of Ginkgo biloba, attention was drawn by Fujii in 1896 to aberrant fructifications of Ginkgo biloba whose seeds are attached to leaves, called O-ha-tsuki in Japan. This well-known phenomenon was now interpreted by Fujii as being homologous to ancestral sporophylls. The common fructification of Ginkgo biloba consists of 1-2 (rarely more) ovules on a dichotomously divided stalk, the ovules on top of short stalklets, with collars supporting the ovules. There is essentially no disagreement that either the whole stalk with its stalklets, collars and ovules is homologous to a sporophyll, or, alternatively, just one stalklet, collar and ovule each correspond to a sporophyll. For the transition of an ancestral sporophyll resembling extant O-ha-tsuki aberrant leaves into the common fructification with stalklet/collar/ovule, evolutionary reduction of the leaf lamina of such ancestral sporophylls has to be assumed. Furthermore, such ancestral sporophylls would be expected in the fossil record of ginkgophytes. Results. From the Upper Permian of the Bletterbach gorge (Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy) ginkgophyte leaves of the genus Sphenobaiera were discovered. Among several specimens, one shows putatively attached seeds, while other specimens, depending on their state of preservation, show seeds in positions strongly suggesting such attachment. Morphology and results of a cuticular analysis are in agreement with an affiliation of the fossil to the ginkgophytes and the cuticle of the seed is comparable to that of Triassic and Jurassic ones and to those of extant Ginkgo biloba. The Sphenobaiera leaves with putatively attached seeds closely resemble seed-bearing O-ha-tsuki leaves of extant Ginkgo biloba. This leads to the hypothesis that, at least for some groups of ginkgophytes represented by extant Ginkgo biloba, such sporophylls represent the ancestral state of fructifications. Conclusions. Some evidence is provided for the existence of ancestral laminar ginkgophyte sporophylls. Homology of the newly found fossil ginkgophyte fructifications with the aberrant O-ha-tsuki fructifications of Ginkgo biloba is proposed. This would support the interpretation of the apical part of the common Ginkgo biloba fructification (stalklet/collar/ovule) as a sporophyll with reduced leaf lamina. © 2010 Fischer et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Seyfullah L.J.,University of Birmingham | Kustatscher E.,Museum of Nature South Tyrol | Taylor W.A.,University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology | Year: 2013

Triassic plant remains are uncommon globally, with few Early-Middle Triassic floras well documented. Thus, the Middle Triassic (Anisian) of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, UK provides new insights into the terrestrial biota at this time and is extremely valuable since it provides the majority of fossil plants from the UK terrestrial Triassic sequence. This small but diverse flora comprises typical gymnospermous (Willsiostrobus, Pelourdea) and sphenopterid (Schizoneura, Neocalamites) elements of an Anisian-age flora. Reinvestigation of megafossil remains led to the discovery of a previously unknown and undescribed plant fossil with in situ spores, Bromsgrovia willsii gen. et sp. nov. The in situ spores were extracted and examined by light, scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy. The Bromsgrove Anisian flora is summarized and illustrated along with the first occurrence of in situ Verrucosisporites applanatus spores, a marker for the Middle Triassic. The parent plant of V. applanatus is suggested to be a horsetail with an unusual morphology. © 2013 Elsevier B.V..


Testa B.,National Research Council Italy | Aldighieri B.,National Research Council Italy | Bertini A.,Technical Industrial Institute Of Mining U Follador | Blendinger W.,Clausthal University of Technology | And 4 more authors.
Geoheritage | Year: 2013

The San Lucano Valley (Belluno, Italy) was the core topic of the symposium: "L'armonia fra uomo e natura nelle valli dolomitiche" held in Agordo (Belluno) on the 12th and 13th November 2010. In this work the valley is analysed according to the following features: geological, geomorphological, structural, stratigraphic and ecological. The purpose of this paper is to review these features in order to establish the origins underlining the intrinsic geomorphodiversity of this unique area in dolomites. By walking along the river and observing landscape geomorphology or reading micro- and macroscale evidence on the mountainsides, the valley clearly reveals the keys to comprehending the geological history of dolomites from Triassic to present. A full list of geomorphosites has been appended in order to improve the scientific documentation of this valley. © 2013 The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage.


Tartaglione L.,University of Naples Federico II | Pelin M.,University of Trieste | Morpurgo M.,Museum of Nature South Tyrol | Dell'Aversano C.,University of Naples Federico II | And 6 more authors.
Toxicon | Year: 2016

Palytoxin (PLTX) is a lethal natural toxin often found in Palythoa zoantharians that, together with its congeners, may induce adverse effects in humans after inhalation of toxic aerosols both in open-air and domestic environments, namely in the vicinity of public and private aquaria. In this study, we describe a poisoning of an aquarium hobbyist who was hospitalized after handling a PLTXs-containing zoantharian hexacoral. Furthermore, we provide evidence for water detoxification. The zoantharian was morphologically and genetically identified as Palythoa cf. toxica (Cnidaria: Anthozoa). Palytoxin itself and two new PLTX congeners, a hydroxyPLTX and a deoxyPLTX, were detected and structurally identified by liquid chromatography high resolution multiple stage mass spectrometry (LC-HRMSn, n = 1, 2). Total and individual toxins were quantified by LC-HRMS and sandwich ELISA both in the zoantharian (93.4 and 96.80 μg/g, respectively) and in the transport water (48.3 and 42.56 μg/mL, respectively), with an excellent mean bias of 1.3% between the techniques. Activated carbon adsorbed 99.7% of PLTXs contained in the seawater and this represents a good strategy for preventing aquarium hobbyist poisonings. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


PubMed | General Hospital of Bolzano, Museum of Nature South Tyrol, University of Trieste, University of Naples Federico II and University of Ryukyus
Type: | Journal: Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology | Year: 2016

Palytoxin (PLTX) is a lethal natural toxin often found in Palythoa zoantharians that, together with its congeners, may induce adverse effects in humans after inhalation of toxic aerosols both in open-air and domestic environments, namely in the vicinity of public and private aquaria. In this study, we describe a poisoning of an aquarium hobbyist who was hospitalized after handling a PLTXs-containing zoantharian hexacoral. Furthermore, we provide evidence for water detoxification. The zoantharian was morphologically and genetically identified as Palythoa cf. toxica (Cnidaria: Anthozoa). Palytoxin itself and two new PLTX congeners, a hydroxyPLTX and a deoxyPLTX, were detected and structurally identified by liquid chromatography high resolution multiple stage mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS


PubMed | Smithsonian Institution, University of Bonn and Museum of Nature South Tyrol
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

To discern the effect of the end-Permian (P-Tr) ecological crisis on land, interactions between plants and their insect herbivores were examined for four time intervals containing ten major floras from the Dolomites of northeastern Italy during a Permian-Triassic interval. These floras are: (i) the Kungurian Tregiovo Flora; (ii) the Wuchiapingian Bletterbach Flora; (iii) three Anisian floras; and (iv) five Ladinian floras. Derived plant-insect interactional data is based on 4242 plant specimens (1995 Permian, 2247 Triassic) allocated to 86 fossil taxa (32 Permian, 56 Triassic), representing lycophytes, sphenophytes, pteridophytes, pteridosperms, ginkgophytes, cycadophytes and coniferophytes from 37 million-year interval (23 m.yr. Permian, 14 m.yr. Triassic). Major Kungurian herbivorized plants were unaffiliated taxa and pteridosperms; later during the Wuchiapingian cycadophytes were predominantly consumed. For the Anisian, pteridosperms and cycadophytes were preferentially consumed, and subordinately pteridophytes, lycophytes and conifers. Ladinian herbivores overwhelming targeted pteridosperms and subordinately cycadophytes and conifers. Throughout the interval the percentage of insect-damaged leaves in bulk floras, as a proportion of total leaves examined, varied from 3.6% for the Kungurian (N = 464 leaves), 1.95% for the Wuchiapingian (N = 1531), 11.65% for the pooled Anisian (N = 1324), to 10.72% for the pooled Ladinian (N = 923), documenting an overall herbivory rise. The percentage of generalized consumption, equivalent to external foliage feeding, consistently exceeded the level of specialized consumption from internal feeding. Generalized damage ranged from 73.6% (Kungurian) of all feeding damage, to 79% (Wuchiapingian), 65.5% (pooled Anisian) and 73.2% (pooled Ladinian). Generalized-to-specialized ratios show minimal change through the interval, although herbivore component community structure (herbivore species feeding on a single plant-host species) increasingly was partitioned from Wuchiapingian to Ladinian. The Paleozoic plant with the richest herbivore component community, the coniferophyte Pseudovoltzia liebeana, harbored four damage types (DTs), whereas its Triassic parallel, the pteridosperm Scytophyllum bergeri housed 11 DTs, almost four times that of P. liebeana. Although generalized DTs of P. liebeana were similar to S. bergeri, there was expansion of Triassic specialized feeding types, including leaf mining. Permian-Triassic generalized herbivory remained relatively constant, but specialized herbivores more finely partitioned plant-host tissues via new feeding modes, especially in the Anisian. Insect-damaged leaf percentages for Dolomites Kungurian and Wuchiapingian floras were similar to those of lower Permian, north-central Texas, but only one-third that of southeastern Brazil. Global herbivore patterns for Early Triassic plant-insect interactions remain unknown.

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