"The spatial distribution of the species is related to the altitudinal variation in the temperature, edaphic conditions, drainage and other factors; fl oral segregation between altitudinal fl oors is evident (Luebert and Gajardo, 2000). Higher values of richness and biodiversity index occur in the meadows, zones with more available resources, mainly water from the river courses and underground sources (Villagrán, 2006). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship between species richness, diversity and grazing frequency along an altitudinal gradient (1900-3400 m) of an Andean ecosystem indicates that there is an intense human pressure on vegetation use. To identify the vascular fl ora and its conservation, 20 sites were sampled in two visits during 2006. We identifi ed 79 taxa, including 62.03% native species, 22.78% adventitious and 8.86% endemic (the remaining 6.33% was identifi ed only at the genus level). Some genera were underrepresented. We also observed latitudinal limits (Alstremeria andina), monotypic genera (Geoffroea, Kurzamra, Phragmites, Tessaria and Salix) and monogeneric families (Buddlejaceae, Ephedraceae, Equisetaceae, Malesherbiaceae, Salicaceae and Oxalidaceae). Moreover, we found differences in the species distribution patterns during periods of grazing use and identifi ed statistically signifi cant differences in the species richness (p < 0.001), diversity (p = 0.010) and grazing frequency ( p = 0.047).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Soils from the hyperarid Atacama Desert of northern Chile were sampled along an east-west elevational transect (23.75 to 24.70 degrees S) through the driest sector to compare the relative structure of bacterial communities. Analysis of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles from each of the samples revealed that microbial communities from the extreme hyperarid core of the desert clustered separately from all of the remaining communities. Bands sequenced from DGGE profiles of two samples taken at a 22-month interval from this core region revealed the presence of similar populations dominated by bacteria from the Gemmatimonadetes and Planctomycetes phyla.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nearly half the earth's surface is occupied by dryland ecosystems, regions susceptible to reduced states of biological productivity caused by climate fluctuations. Of these regions, arid zones located at the interface between vegetated semiarid regions and biologically unproductive hyperarid zones are considered most vulnerable. The objective of this study was to conduct a deep diversity analysis of bacterial communities in unvegetated arid soils of the Atacama Desert, to characterize community structure and infer the functional potential of these communities based on observed phylogenetic associations. A 454-pyrotag analysis was conducted of three unvegetated arid sites located at the hyperarid-arid margin. The analysis revealed communities with unique bacterial diversity marked by high abundances of novel Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi and low levels of Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria, phyla that are dominant in many biomes. A 16S rRNA gene library of one site revealed the presence of clones with phylogenetic associations to chemoautotrophic taxa able to obtain energy through oxidation of nitrite, carbon monoxide, iron, or sulfur. Thus, soils at the hyperarid margin were found to harbor a wealth of novel bacteria and to support potentially viable communities with phylogenetic associations to non-phototrophic primary producers and bacteria capable of biogeochemical cycling.
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