COVID-19 has changed the world at unprecedented pace. The measures imposed by governments across the globe for containing the pandemic have severely affected all facets of economy and society, including scientific progress. Сonservation research has not been exempt from these negative effects, which we here summarize for the BioRescue project, aiming at saving the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), an important Central African keystone species, of which only two female individuals are left. The development of advanced assisted reproduction and stem-cell technologies to achieve this goal involves experts across five continents. Maintaining international collaborations under conditions of national shut-down and travel restrictions poses major challenges. The associated ethical implications and consequences are particularly troublesome when it comes to research directed at protecting biological diversity – all the more in the light of increasing evidence that biodiversity and intact ecological habitats might limit the spread of novel pathogens.
Anthropogenic environmental change is leading to changes in distribution for many organisms. While this is frequently discussed for prominent organisms of high conservation value, the same is true for the many cryptic species that rarely figure in debates on the human impact. One such cryptic taxon is the European Ptomaphagus sericatus () and related forms. During a citizen science expedition in the Vondelpark, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we obtained two forms of this species complex. We placed the examination of these specimens in the context of a re-analysis of the species group, and, using DNA barcoding and genital study on material collected thoughout Europe, found that the P. sericatus species complex consists of three distinct, partly sympatric species, one of which was previously undescribed. On the basis of collection data, at least two species, P. medius and P. thebeatles sp. n., show signs of having recently undergone (possibly anthropogenic) range changes, with P. medius even reaching North America. We describe P. thebeatles sp. n.; we raise two subspecies, viz. P. sericatus sericatus (Chaudoir, 1854) and P. sericatus medius () to the level of species, and designate a neotype for the former; we identify P. dacicus
and P. pyrenaeus
as junior synonyms of P. sericatus, and P. compressitarsus () as a junior synonym of P. subvillosus Goeze, 1777; we identify P. septentrionalis
and P. miser () as junior synonyms of P. medius; we designate lectotypes for P. medius and P. miser.
is of one of the most neglected nudibranch groups, with a long history of taxonomic confusion with other aeolidacean genera. Owing to its predominantly Arctic distribution with cold water, its species are difficult to find and to collect, and thus to describe. In this study we revise the genus by presenting molecular and morphological data for a majority of the species, including the type, C. abyssicola
. The material is based on a broad geographic sampling throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Particular emphasis is placed on the Kuril Islands, a diversity hotspot for the genus. Seven new species and two subspecies of Cuthonella are described from the Arctic and North Pacific regions. The number of species of Cuthonella is thus increased over threefold and now comprises 15 species plus two subspecies instead of five species. This work is the most substantial update of the genus Cuthonella since its description in . To delineate taxonomic and phylogenetic limits of Cuthonella-like aeolidaceans, the molecular phylogeny of the wider traditional “tergipedids” is presented and shows that Cuthonella-like aeolidaceans form a distinct molecular clade as the family Cuthonellidae , corroborated by reliable morphological apomorphies.