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Landi M.,Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversita di Siena | Landi M.,University of Siena | Zoccola A.,Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversita di Pratovecchio | Gonnelli V.,Instituto Professionale Per Lagricoltura E Lambiente Am Camaiti | And 5 more authors.
Plant Species Biology | Year: 2016

We investigated the impact of deer on an isolated marginal population of Matteuccia struthiopteris and on its plant community in the northern Apennines, where in recent decades the species has decreased dramatically. Our experiment was based on a 6-year before and after control impact (BACI) design, comparing plots with deer grazing and plots where deer were excluded. Exclusion of grazing interacted with years, increasing the size of existing plants and favoring production of sporophylls. The yearly sequence of increase and decline of ramets and sterile leaves followed the same pattern in the two treatments. This indicated that their annual variation in growth depended on the sequence of more and less favorable years. Few and short plants were associated with grazing, whereas tall plants, shrubs, and tree regeneration were associated with fenced plots. The few plants to persist and dominate on heavily grazed areas were Oxalis acetosella and Cardamine species, while the genus Rubus and tree saplings were grazing-sensitive species in this forest. Tall herbaceous species increased in size in the fenced areas, however, M. struthiopteris drew more advantage in terms of growth of leaves, showing greater cover than other species. Thus, deer grazing is becoming a threat for the survival of M. struthiopteris in southern Europe where it is already threatened in the long term by climate change. © 2016 The Society for the Study of Species Biology.

Landi M.,Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversita di Siena | Landi M.,University of Siena | Salerni E.,University of Siena | Ambrosio E.,University of Siena | And 5 more authors.
IForest | Year: 2015

We examined the concordance between vascular plants and macrofungi (grouped into trophic groups) in Mediterranean forest habitats (central Italy). Our goal was to test how consistently plant and fungi groups classify plots in a broadleaf deciduous forest dominated by Quercus cerris. Our hypothesis was that groups of plants can be used as surrogates for the classification of macrofungal communities. The test of concordance comprised two steps: (1) the plant species data sets were subjected to cluster analysis, to obtain three classifications based on presence of all plants, presence and frequency of only woody species; (2) Multiple Response Permutation Procedures (MRPP) was used to test the performance of each plant classification applied to the fungi data sets. Sample scores on the first PCA axis were used to investigate the relationships between compositional patterns. In the concordance analysis, the classification based on woody plants only provided better results than the classification obtained using both herbaceous and woody plants. Cross-tests gave the best results when the “woody plants” classification was applied to ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) and, to a certain extent, to humicolous saprotrophs (Sh). The ordination analysis suggested that the frequency of woody plants follows a similar spatial distribution to EMF and Sh fungal groups and is therefore expected to covariate along the same environmental gradients. Many EMF exhibit preferences for few (one or two) hosts. Significant associations were found among numerous EMF and woody plant species. Woody plants such as Sorbus domestica and Prunus spinosa appear to be associated with many EMF. The combination of a high frequency of Fraxinus oxycarpa and Quercus petraea seems to promote distinct assemblages of EMF and Sh fungi. Characteristic assemblages of fungi were found in association with certain tree and shrub combinations. © SISEF.

Landi M.,Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversita di Siena | Landi M.,University of Siena | Piazzini S.,University of Siena | Nucci A.,University of Siena | And 2 more authors.
Aquatic Botany | Year: 2012

Our primary goal was to test how consistently macrophytes, physico-chemical features and amphibians classify pond sites, by applying a measure of classification strength based on a set of cross-tests performed with randomisation protocols. Finally, we used ordination methods to identify the major environmental factors correlated with each biotic group. Significant results of concordance and higher values of relative classification strength were obtained at two (or more) cut levels, when the plant classification was performed on amphibians and on physico-chemical characteristics. Significant results and higher values of relative classification strength were also obtained at a cut level when the amphibian classification was performed on physico-chemical features. The ordination analyses revealed that plants and amphibians were affected by the same pond features, mainly conductivity, size and depth. Ponds with high conductivity were dominated by tall emergent plants of the genus . Typha and were the preferential sites for . Bufo bufo. Smaller shallow ponds with small emergent plants seemed instead to favour . Rana dalmatina. Deep ponds with low conductivity were mostly occupied by floating and submerged plants, such as . Potamogeton natans and . Chara hispida, and hosted newts (. Triturus carnifex and . T. vulgaris), probably because the latter depend on well structured vegetation with submerged plants for egg deposition. These results suggest that pond ecosystems have " two levels of influence" , and that plants are the " middle level" between environmental features and amphibian assemblages, since they are directly influenced by the former and directly influence the latter. It is probably by virtue of this intermediate position that the classification of ponds based on plant assemblages can be used as a surrogate for predicting environmental features and the presence of amphibian species of conservation interest, in order to preserve their habitat through preliminary and cost-effective assessments. Given the ongoing threats to ponds, these findings are important for their protection, and better understanding of the ecological preferences of various plant and amphibian species is useful for planning management and conservation strategies. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Landi M.,Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversita di Siena | Landi M.,University of Siena | Angiolini C.,University of Siena
Journal of Coastal Research | Year: 2015

The relationships between soil factors and plant species were investigated in salt marshes on the west coast of central Italy along a dune-cultivated land gradient with similar topographic elevations. Plant community composition was quantified in three zones (marsh-dune border, central marsh, and marsh-cultivated land border) identified across the gradient. The results suggest that the distribution and variation in abundance "performance" of plant species is mainly ruled by salinity and soil texture gradients (from sandy to silt-clay). Texture seemed to affect vegetation zonation in the marshes near sand dunes, since at the marsh-dune border the percentage of wind-blown sand increases. Variations in field capacity, total organic carbon, pH, and calcium carbonate did not appear to control the performance of plant species. Indications on the performance of six species are provided. Limbarda crithmoides increased with the amount of sand and was often located at the marsh-dune border. Elymus repens and Phragmites australis increased with decreasing salinity and were frequently found at marsh borders, however E. repens also increased with the amount of silt-clay. Sarcocornia fruticosa increased with salinity and silt-clay, while Halimione portulacoides increased with salinity and seemed less subject to changes in soil texture. Elymus pycnanthus increased with salinity and decreased with the amount of silt-clay, however, the ordination suggested that other factors may be determinant for this species. These species could be useful to map saline environments and to reconstruct an appropriate scenario in restoration projects of Mediterranean salt marshes. ©Coastal Education and Research Foundation, Inc. 2015.

Landi M.,Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversita di Siena | Zoccola A.,Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversita di Pratovecchio | Bacaro G.,University of Siena | Bacaro G.,CNR Research Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection | Angiolini C.,University of Siena
Plant Species Biology | Year: 2014

The phenology of leaves and stages from immature sori to spore release were studied in natural populations of two perennial herbaceous ferns, Dryopteris affinis ssp. affinis and Polystichum aculeatum, for 2years in Italy. The Generalized Additive Model for Location, Scale and Shape (GAMLSS) was used to predict a particular phenological event from the climatic variables. Both fern species are evergreen with leaf lifespan of 13-14months in D.affinis ssp. affinis and 15-24months in P.aculeatum. Their leaf production is seasonal with most flushed in spring. In D.affinis ssp. affinis the decaying of old leaves is sudden whereas in P.aculeatum it is gradual, and in both types the decaying is accelerated just as the new leaves emerge. Temperature is the best predictor for the development of sori and spore release. The end of spore release and leaf emergence are positively affected by temperature and negatively affected by rainfall and snow cover for P.aculeatum. An almost similar response to climatic factors of emergent and senescent leaves and their phenology supportsthe hypothesis that old leaves serve as nutrient storage organs for new leaf growth. Comparison the phenological patterns between the 2years indicated that the time lapses between each phenological event were the same within seasons for D.affinis ssp. affinis but show some differences for P.aculeatum. We also hypothesize that endogenous factors may play an important role in the phenology of P. aculeatum. © 2012 The Society for the Study of Species Biology.

Landi M.,University of Siena | Piazzini S.,University of Siena | Saveri C.,Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversita di Siena
Biologia (Poland) | Year: 2014

Generalized linear models were used to test the effect of fish, using ponds with and without fish and habitat features as covariates, on richness and abundance of amphibian species. Five fish species and six amphibian species were recorded in 60 permanent ponds located in central Italy. The choice of covariates (macrophyte cover and pond surface area) was made after studying the correlations. The richness of amphibian species was not significantly affected by fish presence or macrophyte cover, in line with previous studies, since almost all the fish species were non-predatory. However, abundance of urodeles (newts) was negatively affected by fish and positively affected by macrophyte cover. Although fish may strongly influence the abundance and composition of amphibian communities, the results indicate that the cover of aquatic macrophytes may increase the available habitat for amphibians and therefore their abundance. Anuran species preferred ponds where fish were present, since both groups preferred larger ponds. Concordance between fish and amphibian species composition was not found by the Mantel and Partial Mantel tests. This indicates that the fish assemblages do not predict which amphibian species occur in the pond. © 2014 Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien.

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