State Institute for Nature Protection

Zagreb, Croatia

State Institute for Nature Protection

Zagreb, Croatia

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Borsic I.,State Institute for Nature Protection | Borsic I.,Botanic Institute of Barcelona | Susanna A.,Botanic Institute of Barcelona | Bancheva S.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Garcia-Jacas N.,Botanic Institute of Barcelona
International Journal of Plant Sciences | Year: 2011

Section Cyanus of Centaurea is a group that is very well defined morphologically and, thus, is a good representative of many radiations of eastern groups of the genus in the Mediterranean region. To confirm the existence of the two natural groups, subsect. Cyanus (annual species) and subsect. Perennes (perennial taxa), typically defined within this section, and to confirm their radiation patterns, a molecular phylogenetic analysis was carried out using the highly variable nuclear-ribosomal spacers ITS (internal transcribed spacer) and 39ETS (external transcribed spacer). Our results confirm the eastern origin of the group, which probably arose from a Caucasian and North Iranian stock. Both subsections are monophyletic, and annuals (subsect. Cyanus) arose from perennials in Anatolia. The radiations of the two subsections follow very different patterns. Inconsistencies between present classifications and molecular results strongly suggest that the present delineation of some species (Centaurea triumfetti being the best example) is incorrect, and a deep taxonomic revision is necessary. © 2011 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.


Temunovic M.,University of Zagreb | Franjic J.,University of Zagreb | Satovic Z.,University of Zagreb | Grgurev M.,State Institute for Nature Protection | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Tree species with wide distributions often exhibit different levels of genetic structuring correlated to their environment. However, understanding how environmental heterogeneity influences genetic variation is difficult because the effects of gene flow, drift and selection are confounded. We investigated the genetic variation and its ecological correlates in a wind-pollinated Mediterranean tree species, Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl, within a recognised glacial refugium in Croatia. We sampled 11 populations from environmentally divergent habitats within the Continental and Mediterranean biogeographical regions. We combined genetic data analyses based on nuclear microsatellite loci, multivariate statistics on environmental data and ecological niche modelling (ENM). We identified a geographic structure with a high genetic diversity and low differentiation in the Continental region, which contrasted with the significantly lower genetic diversity and higher population divergence in the Mediterranean region. The positive and significant correlation between environmental and genetic distances after controlling for geographic distance suggests an important influence of ecological divergence of the sites in shaping genetic variation. The ENM provided support for niche differentiation between the populations from the Continental and Mediterranean regions, suggesting that contemporary populations may represent two divergent ecotypes. Ecotype differentiation was also supported by multivariate environmental and genetic distance analyses. Our results suggest that despite extensive gene flow in continental areas, long-term stability of heterogeneous environments have likely promoted genetic divergence of ashes in this region and can explain the present-day genetic variation patterns of these ancient populations. © 2012 Temunović et al.


Urosevic A.,University of Belgrade | Ljubisavljevic K.,University of Belgrade | Jelic D.,State Institute for Nature Protection | Ivanovic A.,University of Belgrade
Zoology | Year: 2012

We used geometric morphometrics to explore the influence of phylogenetic and allometric constraints as well as ecology on variation in cranium shape in five species of monophyletic, morphologically similar Podarcis lizards (Podarcis erhardii, Podarcis melisellensis, Podarcis muralis, Podarcis sicula and Podarcis taurica). These species belong to different clades, they differ in their habitat preferences and can be classified into two distinct morphotypes: saxicolous and terrestrial. We found (i) no phylogenetic signal in cranium shape, (ii) diverging allometric slopes among species, and (iii) a significant effect of habitat on cranium shape. The saxicolous species (P. erhardii and P. muralis) had crania with elongated parietals, elongated cranium bases, shortened anterior parts of the dorsal cranium, reduced chambers of the jaw adductor muscles and larger subocular foramina. These cranial features are adaptations that compensate for a flattened cranium, dwelling on vertical surfaces and seeking refuge in crevices. The crania of the terrestrial species (P. melisellensis, P. sicula and P. taurica) tended to be more elongate and robust, with enlarged chambers of the jaw adductor muscle, reduced skull bases and shortened parietals. Terrestrial species exhibited more variation in cranium shape than saxicolous species. Our study suggests that shape variation in Podarcis sp. lizards is largely influenced by ecology, which likely affects species-specific patterns of static allometry. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.


Herrel A.,University of Paris Descartes | Huyghe K.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Okovic P.,State Institute for Nature Protection | LisicIc D.,University of Zagreb | Tadic Z.,University of Paris Descartes
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology | Year: 2011

Body size has a pervasive effect on animal functioning and life history with size dependent changes in performance and physiology throughout ontogeny being common in many ectothermic vertebrates. However, as selection on juvenile life history stages is strong, juveniles often offset the disadvantages of small body size by disproportionate levels of performance. Here, we investigate size-related changes in defensive strike performance in an arboreal pit viper, Trimerusurus (Cryptelytrops) albolabris. Our data show a significant negative allometry in the scaling of head dimensions and head mass to body mass. However, strike velocity and strike distance are independent of body mass, with juveniles in our sample striking as fast and as far as adults. In contrast to model predictions suggesting that acceleration capacity should decrease with increasing body mass, acceleration capacity increases with snake body mass. Our results suggest that this is the result of a negative allometric scaling of head mass combined with an isometric scaling of the dorsal epaxial musculature. Finally, our data show a significant sexual dimorphism in body size and strike velocity with females being heavier and striking faster independent of the dimorphism in body size. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company.


Zganec K.,University of Zagreb | Duric P.,State Institute for Nature Protection | Gottstein S.,University of Zagreb
International Review of Hydrobiology | Year: 2011

The life history of the endemic amphipod Echinogammarus cari, endangered by damming, was studied at a site on the Gojačka Dobra River which was flooded after closure of a large dam (D5) and at a site in an intact tributary (B2). Four replicate samples in moss microhabitats were collected over twelve months. Site B2 had a lower range and mean water temperature (10.8 °C) and higher concentration of calcium ions. The population sampled at this site showed continuous reproduction, very high densities and a cohort life span of 6-7 months. Site D5 showed higher summer temperatures (max. recorded: 21.0 °C), and the population at this site had a reproductive resting stage in September and October, a lower density and a cohort life span of 7-12 months. Growth of cohorts was faster during the colder period of the year at both sites, while higher summer temperatures at D5 inhibited growth. These results show that the proximate cause of the restricted distribution of the species is adaptation to relatively colder conditions with higher calcium content. The presented results provide a better understanding of the damming impact on the species and will contribute to the development of conservation plans to ensure its future survival. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Jelaska L.S.,University of Zagreb | Dumbovic V.,State Institute for Nature Protection | Kucinic M.,University of Zagreb
ZooKeys | Year: 2011

Carabid beetle diversity and mean individual biomass (MIB) were analysed in three different successional stages of beech tree stands (60, 80 and 150 years old). Carabid beetles were captured using pitfall traps placed at nine sites (three per age class) in the Papuk Mountain of East Croatia during 2008. A cluster analysis identified three groupings that corresponded to the beech age classes. MIB values increased with stand age, ranging from 255 in 60-year-old stand to 537 in the oldest forests. The 80-year-old stand showed the highest species richness and diversity values. With respect to species composition, large species such as Carabus scheidleri and Carabus coriaceus were dominant only in the oldest forests. Furthermore, species that overwinter in the larval stage were more abundant in the oldest forests (45% of the total number of individuals from the 150-year-old stand) than in the younger ones (20% of individuals from 60-year-old, and 22% of individuals from 80-year-old stands). Our results showed that the analyses of species composition and life history traits are valuable for estimating the conservation values of older forests. Although the investigated sites form part of a continuous forested area and are only a couple of kilometres apart, MIB values detect significant differences associated with forest age and can be a useful tool in evaluating the degree to which a forest reflects a natural state. © L.Š. Jelaska et al.


Pecarevic M.,Columbia University | Pecarevic M.,State Institute for Nature Protection | Danoff-Burg J.,Columbia University | Dunn R.R.,North Carolina State University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Each year, a larger proportion of the Earth's surface is urbanized, and a larger proportion of the people on Earth lives in those urban areas. The everyday nature, however, that humans encounter in cities remains poorly understood. Here, we consider perhaps the most urban green habitat, street medians. We sampled ants from forty-four medians along three boulevards in New York City and examined how median properties affect the abundance and species richness of native and introduced ants found on them. Ant species richness varied among streets and increased with area but was independent of the other median attributes measured. Ant assemblages were highly nested, with three numerically dominant species present at all medians and additional species present at a subset of medians. The most common ant species were the introduced Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum) and the native Thief ant (Solenopsis molesta) and Cornfield ant (Lasius neoniger). The common introduced species on the medians responded differently to natural and disturbed elements of medians. Tetramorium caespitum was most abundant in small medians, with the greatest edge/area ratio, particularly if those medians had few trees, whereas Nylanderia flavipes was most abundant in the largest medians, particularly if they had more trees. Many of the species encountered in Manhattan were similar to those found in other large North American cities, such that a relatively small subset of ant species probably represent most of the encounters humans have with ants in North America. © 2010 Pećarević et al.


Jelic D.,State Institute for Nature Protection
Natura Croatica | Year: 2010

The Sand Lizard, Lacerta agilis Linnaeus, 1758, is a species very widely distributed in Croatia. Erythronotus coloration morphs are known to appear very often in different parts of Central and Eastern Europe, but were never recorded in Croatia. In this paper the author describes the first record of this color morph in a male individual collected in the vicinity of Donji Miholjac (Northeastern Croatia) during research in 2006.


Szovenyi G.,Eötvös Loránd University | Jelic D.,State Institute for Nature Protection
North-Western Journal of Zoology | Year: 2011

During a survey in June, 2008 a new population of Ablepharus kitaibelii was found in the Slavonia Nature Park Papuk, NE Croatia. The presence of a viable population was later confirmed. The locality is isolated by more than 130 km from the nearest known populations in Hungary (Balaton Uplands) or Serbia (Fruška Gora) and has an area of occupancy less than 2.5 km 2. Other localities in Croatia (Donji Miholjac and Ilok) were previously mentioned in literature only as personal observations, without any voucher specimens or reliable photographs. Finding of the skink on Papuk mountain leads us to conduct additional field surveys in Donji Miholjac and Ilok. In June 2009 A. kitaibelii was reconfirmed after 25 years in Ilok city park. These two localities are presently the only known habitats of this species in Croatia. Based on the very small area inhabited by the species, the high-level isolation of the population, and different threatening factors, we suggest that Ablepharus kitaibelii should be assigned Near Threatened (NT) regional status in Croatia. © 2011 NwjZ, Oradea, Romania.


Partl A.,State Institute for Nature Protection
Acta Botanica Croatica | Year: 2011

During 2007 and 2008 epiphytic and terrestrial lichen communities were surveyed in the žumberak-Samoborsko gorje Nature Park (NW Croatia); 84 taxa were recorded including, Lecanora thysanophora, which was new to Croatia, and four, Bryoria fuscescens, Lobaria pulmonaria, Usnea subfloridana and Usnea hirta, which are red data species in Croatia. © 2011 by Acta Botanica Croatica, the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. All rights reserved.

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