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Atlas of the Hoverflies of Greece

(Diptera: Syrphidae)

Ante Vujić, Martin Speight, Michael Edwin de Courcy Williams, Santos Rojo, Gunilla Ståhls, Snežana Radenković, Laura Likov, Marija Miličić, Celeste Pérez Bañón, Steven Falk and Theodora Petanidou

The Atlas of the Hoverflies of Greece is the first of a kind within the Mediterranean region. It is the result of decades of research, many travels into the fascinating habitats of Greece (a biodiversity hotspot), visits to world museums, and many people’s passion for hoverflies.
The Atlas is a concise presentation of all 418 hoverfly species for Greece known so far. The species are documented with photos and distribution GIS-maps and they are preceded by a general introduction on the hoverflies and Greek nature, and a generic key.
The Atlas of the Hoverflies of Greece is a handbook for insect aficionados, students and teachers, everyone interested in nature, and managers and conservationists aiming at raising public awareness of a nature nowadays threatened more than ever.

Subhash Chander, Rajasekharan P.E. and Reju M. Kurian

Annona cv. ‘Arka Sahan’ essentially needs assisted pollination with sugar apple pollen for commercial fruit production. However, there is no perfect synchronization in flowering of the pollen source sugar apple cv. Balanagar with that of cv. ‘Arka Sahan’. So, an attempt was made to store the pollen of the former to assure its availability as and when cv. ‘Arka Sahan’ flowers need to be pollinated. In vitro pollen germination was assessed using different concentrations of sucrose (5%, 10% and 15%) with and without boric acid (100 ppm). Pollen collected on the second day of anthesis showed maximum germination (43.47%) in 5% sucrose + 100 ppm boric acid while those collected on first day of anthesis did not show any germination. Pollen collected at different times of the day showed a rapid decrease in pollen germination from maximum germination at 6 am (36.55%) to no germination at 2 pm. The maximum pollen germination was in 10% sucrose + 100 ppm boric acid combination for the stored pollen as well as pollen collected during late hours of the day. Pollen stored under varying temperatures lost viability within 1 month at 4°C while pollen stored at −196°C in liquid nitrogen retained germination for 2 months. Pollen germination and pollen tube growth were progressively reduced with storage time. Structure of stored pollen examined using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), revealed deformed and shriveled pollen structure. The results of this study indicated that the Annona pollen tends to be viable for a period of 2 months.

Yifan Chen, Qian Bai, Funan Ruan and Shuchai Su

The Pistacia chinensis Bunge is traditionally dioecious, and the female trees are more required to grow in practice for oil seed production. The discovery of monoecious P. chinensis Bunge in North China provided good raw materials to study the sex differentiation process. The objective of this study was to identify the differently expressed proteins in flower buds in two key sex differentiation phases in monoecious P. chinensis Bunge. Morphological observation and paraffin section were used to determine the key phenophases, and label-free quantitative technique was used for proteomic analysis. The results showed that the proteins related to oxidative stress resistance up-regulated while proteins involved in photosynthesis down-regulated during the female primordium differentiation in bisexual flower buds of the monoecious P. chinensis Bunge in early March, while proteins related to oxidative stress resistance, ribosome activity, and photosynthetic function up-regulated during the male primordium differentiation in bisexual flower buds of the monoecious P. chinensis Bunge in late May. The most up-regulated proteins all involved in the photosynthesis pathway in both kind of flower buds in late May compared to those in early March, and the down-regulated proteins all involved in the ribosome pathway. The identified differentially expressed proteins such as the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutases may be possible molecular markers for sex determination in monoecious P. chinensis Bunge.

D.R. Bhardwaj, Sharmistha Pal and Pankaj Panwar

In this paper we investigated how succession has altered soil properties in relation to plant biomass and litter characteristics in mid Himalayan region of India. The natural forest with four succession phases were identified. The early stages are (1) pure Pinus roxburghii forest of coniferous shade intolerant species (2) middle stage is a Pinus roxburghii + Quercus leucotricophora (60: 40) forest with combination of coniferous and deciduous species (3) later stage is a Quercus leucotricophora + Pinus roxburghii (60: 40) and (4) climax stage is a Pure Quercus leucotricophora forest of shade tolerant deciduous broadleaf species. The soil samples were collected from surface (0–15 cm) and subsurface (15–30 cm and 30–45 cm) levels. The soil properties showed gradual improvement with progress in succession phases. Our study shows that, there was a substantial increase in level of soil organic carbon and nitrogen from early to climax phase. Soil pH was significantly lower in early succession phase. The highest available nitrogen was under climax (pure oak) and least in early phase (pure pine) (402 and 347 Kg ha–1 in surface soil, respectively). The concentration of very labile carbon (fraction 1) was highest in climax and least in early stage. The highest biomass accumulation was in climax (pure oak, 420.6 Mgha–1), followed by oak + pine (348.7 Mgha–1) and least in pine + oak (299.3 Mgha–1). Out of 4 stages, shrub biomass was maximum in early (pure pine) (20.5 M Mgha–1), being 6.57% of total biomass and least in climax (pure oak) (10.7 Mgha–1), being 2.54% of total biomass. Further, the labile carbon pools showed a strong positive correlation with total biomass at different succession stages. The recalcitrant carbon pool had significant negative correlation with biomass. Hence, the study suggests that, this increase in soil organic carbon, nitrogen and soil fertility parameters are in accordance to changes in biomass and litter fall characteristics with progress in forest succession.

Tao Deng, Richard J. Abbott, Wenqing Li, Hang Sun and Sergei Volis

Historical processes during the Quaternary are likely to have left a signature on the geographical distribution of intraspecific genetic variation. In particular, high genetic uniqueness could be expected within glacial refugia for multiple species. We aimed to test this for plants in China and whether multi-species hotspots of genetic diversity are good indicators of glacial refugia in this region. From chloroplast DNA haplotype data for 116 species we calculated two local genetic diversity metrics for each species: haplotype genetic richness and genetic uniqueness. From these two, only uniqueness could reliably identify refugia, whereas richness may indicate either glacial refugia or areas recolonized by genetic lineages from different refugia in the postglacial period. Our results suggest the occurrence of numerous cryptic refugia and their likely importance in the maintenance and evolution of the Chinese flora, and indicate that an approach that locates geographic hotspots of genetic diversity data can reliably identify refugia.

Jitendriya Panigrahi, Saikat Gantait and Illa C. Patel

The present study formulates a method for comprehensive production of vasicinone, a quinazoline alkaloid, from multiple plant parts of in vitro and in-field-grown Justicia beddomei. HPTLC analysis of plant parts was executed with methanolic extract using toluene: butanol: butyl acetate (9:0.5:0.5; v/v/v) as the solvent system. Validation of methodology was accomplished using TLC plates (silica gel 60 F254-pre-coated aluminium sheet) following the ICH manual to maintain accuracy, precision and repeatability with a linearity ranging 2–6 μg/spot. Validation data offers precision to the methodology adapted in the present study (LOD 1 μg/spot and LOQ 3 μg/spot). It was evident that in vitro samples produced relatively higher levels of vasicinone than that of their in-field counterparts. The highest vasicinone (2.07±0.025% of dry weight) production was quantified from in vitro stem, signifying a new resource for the production of vasicinone from identified parts of in vitro and in-field propagated J. beddomei plants.

Yiftach Vaknin and Irina Mogilevski

Adaptive variation of plant species is best evaluated under environmental gradients. Silybum marianum is a native to the Mediterranean basin, distributed continuously along an aridity gradient from northern Israel to the edge of the Negev desert. To elucidate the adaptive significance of traits associated with proximity to the desert and with increasing levels of aridity, we compared northern populations from the mesic Mediterranean end of the aridity gradient with southern, adjacent to the Negev desert populations, from the arid end. The F1 self-progeny of all populations were evaluated under open field conditions. Plants originated from southern populations grew taller and narrower, completed their life cycle earlier, and produced more abundant, smaller achenes, with a higher content of polyphenols, which grew into smaller seedlings. Correlative analysis revealed a latitudinal cline towards the desert, of a longer life cycle, and fewer, heavier, better germinating achenes, which grew into larger seedlings. We concluded that the proximity to the desert was reflected in the appearance of genotypes with improved chances of survival under arid conditions and with higher contents of polyphenols.

Noga Sikron-Persi, Gila Granot, Gideon Grafi and Aaron Fait

The biochemical composition of Zygophyllum dumosum Boiss (Zygophyllaceae) was analyzed in petioles collected in the summer and winter from plants growing in a natural ecosystem on a southeast-facing slope of the Negev desert. UPLC-QTOF MS based analysis identified season specific sulfur containing phenylpropanoids unreported in plants. Sulfuric-caffeic and -ferulic acid derivatives and isorhamnetin 3-O-(4-sulfate-rutinoside) were measured to accumulate specifically in the summer. The reported identification and accumulation of sulfate containing metabolites during the hot and dry summer can be related to the putative protective role reported for these compounds.

Oz Barazani and Jotham Ziffer-Berger

Sofia Shevtsov, Omer Murik, Hagit Zer, Ofir Weinstein, Nir Keren, Ori Fragman-Sapir and Oren Ostersetzer-Biran

The sparsely distributed Limodorum abortivum is a European-Mediterranean orchid species, which grows on decomposing plant material. Although some chlorophyll-pigmentation is observed in the degenerated scales-shaped leaf and stems regions of the plant, its photosynthetic capacity is assumed to be insufficient to support the full energy requirements of an adult plant. In Israel, L. abortivum shows a patchy distribution patterns in the Galilee, Golan, Carmel and Judean regions. To gain more insights into the physiology and photosynthetic activity of L. abortivum, we analyzed the organellar morphologies, photosynthetic activities the chloroplast-DNA sequence by Illumina-HTS. Microscopic analyses indicated to the presence of mature chloroplasts with well-organized grana-thylakoids in the leaves and stems of L. abortivum. However, the numbers of chloroplasts per cell and the grana ultrastructure density within the organelles were notably lower than those of model plant species and fully photosynthetically-active orchids. The cpDNA of L. abortivum (154,954 bp) encodes 60 proteins, 34 tRNAs and 4 rRNAs. The coding-regions of 24 genes are interrupted by 26 group-II intron-sequences. While many genes related to photosynthesis (RuBisCo, PSI, PSII and cytochrome b 6 /f subunits) have remained intact in the cpDNA, the majority of the NADH-dehydrogenase (ndh) subunits were either lost or became nonfunctional (i.e. pseudogenized). In agreement with previous reports, the photosynthetic-rates of adult Limodorum plants were found to be very low, further indicating that carbon-assimilation activity is insufficient to support the energy requirements of an adult plant, and may suggest that L. abortivum have adopted nutritional strategies similar to that of mycoheterotrophic orchid species.