Romolo Fochetti

Tuscia University, Viterbo, Latium, Italy

Are you Romolo Fochetti?

Claim your profile

Publications (31)68.94 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We review the diversity of freshwater organisms in the Mediterranean Basin (hereafter Med), particularly from streams and rivers. We present available information on the richness, endemicity, and distribution of each freshwater organism group within the Med, and make a comparison with Palearctic diversity. Approximately 35% of known Palearctic freshwater species and more than 6% of the World’s freshwater species are present in the Med. A high degree of endemicity is found in the Med freshwater biota. These data, together with the degree to which many freshwater species are threatened, support the inclusion of the Med among World biodiversity hotspots. Nevertheless, knowledge of Med biodiversity is still incomplete, particularly for some taxa. Regarding to the spatial distribution of species within the Med, the richest area is the North, although patterns differ among groups. A comparison of the ecological and biological traits of endemic and non-endemic species of three riverine groups (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera) revealed that endemic species have several strategies and mechanisms to face typical mediterranean-climate conditions, such as drought, when compared to non-endemic species. We briefly analyse the conservation status of the region’s biodiversity. Finally, we present some future challenges regarding the knowledge and protection of Med freshwater biodiversity.
    Hydrobiologia 11/2013; · 1.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    01/2013: pages 195-223; , ISBN: 978-9935-431-22-6
  • International Review of Hydrobiology 12/2012; 97(6):485-496. · 0.87 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The number of described species on the planet is about 1.9 million, with ca. 17,000 new species described annually, mostly from the tropics. However, taxonomy is usually described as a science in crisis, lacking manpower and funding, a politically acknowledged problem known as the Taxonomic Impediment. Using data from the Fauna Europaea database and the Zoological Record, we show that contrary to general belief, developed and heavily-studied parts of the world are important reservoirs of unknown species. In Europe, new species of multicellular terrestrial and freshwater animals are being discovered and named at an unprecedented rate: since the 1950s, more than 770 new species are on average described each year from Europe, which add to the 125,000 terrestrial and freshwater multicellular species already known in this region. There is no sign of having reached a plateau that would allow for the assessment of the magnitude of European biodiversity. More remarkably, over 60% of these new species are described by non-professional taxonomists. Amateurs are recognized as an essential part of the workforce in ecology and astronomy, but the magnitude of non-professional taxonomist contributions to alpha-taxonomy has not been fully realized until now. Our results stress the importance of developing a system that better supports and guides this formidable workforce, as we seek to overcome the Taxonomic Impediment and speed up the process of describing the planetary biodiversity before it is too late.
    PLoS ONE 05/2012; 7(5):e36881. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hemocyanins are large oligomeric respiratory proteins found in many arthropods and mollusks. The overall expression of hemocyanin mRNA, revealed by studies on Plecoptera hemocyanin sequencing, has raised the question of whether the protein is expressed or not. In fact, the presence of expressed hemocyanin has only been reported in the literature for one species, Perla marginata (Panzer, 1799). In this paper, we report the presence of hemocyanin and hexamerin proteins in Dinocras cephalotes (Curtis, 1827), a species closely related to P. marginata. To assess the presence of hemocyanin, we used a reproducible and highly sensitive method based on liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. We conclude that regardless of its putative function (respiratory, immune defense, storage protein), the hemocyanin is actually expressed in species in which its mRNA is present.
    Environmental Entomology 02/2011; 40(1):167-71. · 1.31 Impact Factor
  • Zootaxa 01/2011; 3067:49-58. · 0.97 Impact Factor
  • Source
    01/2011: pages 233-251; , ISBN: 978-84-8014-805-4
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The specific role of hemocyanin in Plecoptera (stoneflies) is still not completely understood, since none of the hypotheses advanced have proven fully convincing. Previous data show that mRNA hemocyanin sequences are not present in all Plecoptera, and that hemocyanin does not seem to be uniformly distributed within the order. All species possess hexamerins, which are multifunction proteins that probably originated from hemocyanin. In order to obtain an increasingly detailed picture on the presence and distribution of hemocyanin across the order, this study presents new data regarding nymphs and adults of selected Plecoptera species. Results confirm that the hemocyanin expression differs among nymphs in the studied stonefly species. Even though previous studies have found hemocyanin in adults of two stonefly species it was not detected in the present study, even in species where nymphs show hemocyanin, suggesting that the physiological need of this protein can change during life cycle. The phylogenetic pattern obtained using hemocyanin sequences matches the accepted scheme of traditional phylogeny based on morphology, anatomy, and biology. It is remarkable to note that the hemocyanin conserved region acts like a phylogenetic molecular marker within Plecoptera.
    Journal of Insect Science 01/2011; 11:153. · 0.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Non-professional taxonomists have been responsible for describing more than half of the animal species discovered in Europe from 1998 to 2007 (see also Nature 467, 788; 2010). The extraordinary current rate of description of new species makes Europe an unexpected frontier for biodiversity exploration. The Fauna Europaea database (www.faunaeur.org), released in 2004, lists more than 125,000 European species of multicellular terrestrial and freshwater animals. More than 700 new species are described each year in Europe — four times the rate of two centuries ago. However, we have not yet reached saturation in the inventory of European fauna, and we cannot accurately estimate the total number of species living in the continent's ecosystems. The unprecedented rate of species description has depended heavily on the scientific contribution of unpaid scientists (non-professional and retired professional taxonomists). More attention should be given to ways of enhancing this formidable workforce. There is an urgent need for an effective policy-supported business plan to complete the biodiversity inventory at European and national levels, preferably targeting species-rich and less-charismatic groups such as mites, rove beetles, micro-wasps and nematodes. Amateurs could be readily integrated into such a framework of defined and coordinated objectives. The future of amateur taxonomy also depends on incorporating molecular techniques, either through formal training or through collaboration between molecular-oriented Misreporting: a glowing report As a former science writer for several UK national newspapers, I commend Simon Lewis for his balanced and valuable analysis of how to deal with misreporting (Nature 468, 7; 2010). Lewis avoids the common error of assuming that the bylined journalist was responsible for the headline or the final text. As I know all too well, stories can be extensively rewritten without being referred back to the named author. Complaining about this practice is regarded as naive and career-limiting. His experiences show how one can use the rivalries that exist between newspapers to obtain some redress for misreporting.
    Nature 11/2010; 468:377. · 38.60 Impact Factor
  • Romolo Fochetti, Erminia Sezzi
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mesonemoura sbordonii, a new species of Nemouridae (Plecoptera) from Yunnan (China) is described. Remarks on its relationships with the closest species, M. vaillanti, are given.
    Aquatic Insects 08/2010; July 2000(Vol. 22):237-240. · 0.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Protonemura aroania sp. n. and the unknown male of Leuctra moreae are described from Greece. The first country record of Perlodes dispar and some new findings for the Peloponnes region (Amphinemura quadrangularis, Nemoura apollo, Leuctra olympia) are presented. L. moreae, previously known from the Peloponnes, is cited for the first time from the Parnassos. An updated list of the stoneflies of Greece is also given.
    Aquatic Insects 08/2010; July 2001(Vol. 23):209-217. · 0.36 Impact Factor
  • Valentina Amore, Brunella Gaetani, Romolo Fochetti
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Thus far, data on the hemocyanin are available only for European Plecoptera, present study reports on this from the Oriental fauna. Six species of the family Perlidae and one species of Peltoperlidae from Thailand studied did not reveal mRNA hemocyanin sequences, confirming that not all Plecoptera species universally have mRNA hemocyanin sequences. All species show hexamerins similar to the ones previously found in European species of the same families. Results also suggest that the presence of hemocyanins, at least in quantitative terms, does not depend on the body size, life cycle or trophic role, as had been hypothesized in the past. Also, the specific role of this protein in Plecoptera is yet to be completely understood. The hemocyanin expression pattern obtained across the entire order could be explained also by hypothesizing its other functions besides respiratory.
    Oriental insects 01/2010; 44(1):429-446. · 0.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Contrary to what was assumed regarding the presence of respiratory proteins in insects, a functional hemocyanin was recently found in larvae and adults of the stoneflies species Perla marginata, whereas in the close species Perla grandis, hemocyanin functionality was deduced from sequence data. In order to verify if the presence of this ancient trait is widespread within the order and to investigate why stoneflies have maintained it, we have extended the search for hemocyanin to species of other Plecoptera families. In particular, we assessed the presence of hemocyanin in the larval stage of nine Plecoptera species, belonging to six of the seven families of the European stonefly-fauna, and analyzed its potential functionality as deduced by sequence data. We cloned and sequenced the corresponding cDNAs and studied their expression with RT-PCR technique. Moreover, we performed homology studies using the deduced amino acid sequences. On the basis of our analysis, we hypothesized a functional role of the hemocyanin only for two species: Dinocras cephalotes and Isoperla grammatica (Perloidea). In all the investigated Nemouroidea and in Siphonoperla torrentium (Perloidea), this protein may have been lost. Larval size, life-cycle length, trophic role and environmental induction are discussed as possible explanations of these different physiological requirements.
    Insect Molecular Biology 05/2009; 18(2):203-11. · 3.04 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The stonefly genus Tyrrhenoleuctra includes species living in western Mediterranean temporary freshwater streams, sometimes also at sea level, a very unusual habitat for most Plecoptera. Traditional morphological approaches proved unsuccessful in drawing both taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns, thus hampering discussion of biogeographical patterns for this interesting group. We aimed at: (a) assessing the taxonomic status of populations of Tyrrhenoleuctra covering the geographic range of the genus; (b) studying the phylogenetic relationships among the recognized species; and (c) describing biogeographic patterns. We used phylogenetic analyses to infer the phylogenetic history of this group of stoneflies based on a combined data set of 1666 bp including fragments of the 12S ribosomal (12S) and cytochrome oxidase I (CO-I) mtDNA genes, with maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. Two main clades have been identified: a Sardo-Corsican one, including Tyrrhenoleuctra zavattarii, and an Ibero-Maghrebian one including four lineages of unkown taxonomic rank from the Balearic Islands (Maiorca), from northern Africa (Ceuta) and southernmost Spain (Algeciras), and a complex preliminarily referred herein to T. minuta (Klapálek, 1901), which includes two lineages, one from Cordoba, and one from Sierra de Grazalema (El Cerro) and Portugal (Tellhares) respectively. Dating the nodes by fixing the split of the Ibero-Maghrebian clade from the Sardo-Corsican one at 29 million years ago (Mya), yielded dates referring to the major geological events in the Mediterranean basin. Estimated molecular evolutionary rates ranged from 0.02–0.09% per million years (my) in the T. zavattarii lineages, to 0.2–0.7% per MY in the Ibero-Maghrebian clade. The phylogenetic pattern emerged from the present study is congruent with the known paleo-history of the western Mediterranean basin, with the divergence of the two main Tyrrhenoleuctra lineages corresponding to the split of the Sardo-Corsican microplate from the Iberian block. Vicariance events have characterized the history of this stonefly group along its entire biogeographical history. Surprisingly low evolutionary rates, previously supposed by Fochetti (1991, 1994) and Fochetti et al. (2004) based on nuclear markers (allozymes), have been herein found also in mitochondrial markers.RiassuntoIl genere Tyrrhenoleuctra comprende specie di plecotteri del Mediterraneo occidentale, viventi normalmente in corsi d’acqua temporanei, anche a livello del mare (un habitat inusuale per la maggior parte dei plecotteri). Approcci tradizionali morfologici si sono dimostrati inefficaci per delineare pattern tassonomici e filogenetici, impedendo così qualunque discussione biogeografica su questo interessante gruppo.Gli obiettici di questo studio sono quindi stati: a) definire lo status tassonomico di popolazioni di Tyrrhenoleuctra rappresentanti l’areale del genere; b) studiare le relazioni filogenetiche tra le specie così identificate; d) descrivere i pattern biogeografici emergenti. Abbiamo utilizzato un data set combinato di 1666 bp derivate da porzioni dei geni mitocondriali 12S (12S) e citocromo ossidasi I (CO-I). Tali sequenze sono state analizzate filogeneticamente (maximum likelihood e inferenza Bayesiana) per desumere la storia genealogica di questo gruppo di plecotteri.Sono così stati identificati due cladi principali: un clade Sardo-Corso, comprendente popolazioni ascrivibili a Tyrrhenoleuctra zavattarii, ed uno Ibero-Magrebino, comprendente quattro linee filetiche di rango tassonomico non-definito, 1) dalle Baleari (Maiorca), 2) dal Nord Africa (Ceuta) e Spagna meridionale (Algeciras), ed un complesso preliminarmente identificato come T. minuta (Klapálek, 1901)-complex, comprendente le rimanenti due linee 3) da Cordoba, e 4) dalla Sierra de Grazalema (El Cerro) e dal Portugal (Tellhares). La datazione dei nodi principali, fissando la separazione del clade Ibero-Magrebino da quello Sardo-Corso a 29 MY, ha restituito date in buona correlazione coi maggiori eventi geologici del bacino del Mediterraneo. I tassi di evoluzione molecolare stimati sul nostro data set vanno da 0.02–0.09% per MY in T. zavattarii, a 0.2–0.7% per MY nel clade Ibero-Magrebino. Il pattern filogenetico emerso dal nostro è congruente con la storia paleogeografica del Mediterraneo occidentale, e la divergenza dei due cladi principali di Tyrrhenoleuctra corrsiponderebbe alla separazione della microplacca Sardo-Corsa dal blocco iberico. Eventi di vicarianza hanno quindi caratterizzato la storia di questo gruppo di plecotteri lungo la sua intera storia biogeografica. Tassi di evoluzione molecolare sorprendentemente bassi, precedentemente supposti da Fochetti (1991, 1994) e da Fochetti et al. (2004) sulla base di marcatori nucleari (allozimi), sono stati qui osservati anche in marcatori mitocondriali.
    Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 02/2009; 47(4):328 - 336. · 1.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Valentina Amore, Romolo Fochetti
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hemocyanin is a respiratory protein that occurs in the main lineages of Arthropoda. In insects hemocyanin is presently known in many orders. Recently, a functional hemocyanin has also been found in the Plecoptera. Further studies have revealed that hemocyanin seems to be not uniformly distributed within this order. In this paper we report additional data, obtained with RT-PCR sequencing, on the presence of hemocyanin in different stonefly species. In addition, we summarise the present knowledge about the distribution of hemocyanin in the Plecoptera. Biological aspects such as larval size, life cycle length, trophic roles and environmental induction are discussed as possible factors that may be correlated with the presence or absence of hemocyanin in the studied species.
    Aquatic Insects 01/2009; 31(Supplement 1):577-583. · 0.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plecoptera, or stoneflies, is a small order of hemimetabolous insects: according to our data, more than 3,497 species have been described so far in the world. The total number of species has enormously increased in the last 30 years (2,000 species estimated in 1976) and, if the trend continues, then it will nearly double in the near future. The order is divided into the suborders Arctoperlaria and Antarctoperlaria, and includes 16 families: 12 arctoperlarian and 4 antarctoperlarian. The Arctoperlaria account for a total number of 3,179 species, and Antarctoperlaria, only 318 species. The total number of genera is 286. We give in this article the estimated number of species for each family. The fauna and diversity of stonefly in North America (650 species reported) and Europe (426 species) are best known. Nevertheless, in the last 25 years, a mean of 2.6 Plecoptera species per year were described in Europe. Stonefly-faunas of Australia (191 species, Tasmania included) and New Zealand (104 species) are relatively well-known, while our knowledge of the Plecoptera of Central and South America (95 and 378 species respectively) is poor and still not representative of the real diversity. Africa has a reduced stonefly fauna (126 species). Asian stonefly diversity (approximately 1,527 species) is much greater than that of Europe or North America despite the fact that, except for Japan and Asiatic Russia that have been well studied, our knowledge of the remaining Asiatic areas is extremely poor. Even though our data indicate the Holarctic Region as the diversity hot-spot for the order, the analysis of the specific diversity divided by family suggests also an important role of tropical stoneflies.
    04/2008: pages 365-377; · 1.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We studied the composition of the stomach contents of brown trout (Salmo trutta trutta) of different ages in the river Nera, Central Italy. Each age class of fish consumed significantly different prey taxa. Plecopteran nymphs tended to increase in per- centage as the individuals became older, while ephemeropteran nymphs were always present in high percentage. Trichopteran lar- vae were the most abundant prey in trout younger than 2+, while their percentage decreased considerably in older fish. The remain- ing aquatic prey (except dipteran larvae) were scarce and, finally, terrestrial prey were consumed more by older individuals. Vanderploeg & Scavia's index shows a high preference for species of Trichoptera by trout younger than 3+, plecopteran species by those older than three years, and a general negative preference for species of Ephemeroptera by all age classes. FOCHETTI et al. (2003) studied the stomach contents of brown trout from the Nera River (Central Italy), confirm- ing the presence of selectivity in its feeding behaviour. In fact, the electivity index showed a negative selection for some species of Ephemeroptera and Diptera and positive selection for species of Trichoptera. Moreover, it was also found that ephemeropteran species dominated spring and summer diets, while trichopteran species prevailed in winter. Since the diet of fish often changes with body size (ELLIOTT, 1967; WERNER & GILLIAM, 1984), and in sal- monids older fish shift their preferences towards larger prey (KEELEY & GRANT, 1997), the aim of the present study was to analyse the possible changes in diet between the different age classes of individuals of brown trout in a river of Central Italy. Moreover, we wanted to verify the relationship between the availability of potential mac- robenthic prey and their actual presence in the diet, and to compare the electivity values shown by brown trout of different ages.
    01/2008;
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The European Union has adopted the ambitious target of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010. Several indicators have been proposed to assess progress towards the 2010 target, two of them addressing directly the issue of species decline. In Europe, the Fauna Europaea database gives an insight into the patterns of distribution of a total dataset of 130,000 terrestrial and freshwater species without taxonomic bias, and provide a unique opportunity to assess the feasibility of the 2010 target. It shows that the vast majority of European species are rare, in the sense that they have a restricted range. Considering this, the paper discusses whether the 2010 target indicators really cover the species most at risk of extinction. The analysis of a list of 62 globally extinct European taxa shows that most contemporary extinctions have affected narrow-range taxa or taxa with strict ecological requirements. Indeed, most European species listed as threatened in the IUCN Red List are narrow-range species. Conversely, there are as many wide-range species as narrow-range endemics in the list of protected species in Europe (Bird and Habitat Directives). The subset of biodiversity captured by the 2010 target indicators should be representative of the whole biodiversity in terms of patterns of distribution and abundance. Indicators should not overlook a core characteristic of biodiversity, i.e. the large number of narrow-range species and their intrinsic vulnerability. With ill-selected indicator species, the extinction of narrow-range endemics would go unnoticed.
    Biological Conservation 01/2007; 139:167-185. · 3.79 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We characterized two subunits of a putative haemocyanin from the stonefly species Perla grandis. In particular, we cloned and sequenced the corresponding cDNAs and studied their expression in different insect stages. Moreover, using the deduced amino acid sequences, homology studies were performed both on their primary and tertiary structures. 3-D molecular modelling data showed that the residues involved in the oxygen transport and subunits contacts were located in spatial positions preserving the functionality of the molecule. Despite it was paradigmatically affirmed that insects do not have respiratory proteins, our data suggest that the haemocyanin could be involved in the respiratory mechanisms of P. grandis. As far as we know, this is the first haemocyanin 3-D structure described and analyzed in insects.
    The Protein Journal 01/2007; 25(7-8):443-54. · 1.13 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To date, the adaptive immune response of the notothenioid fishes of the Sub- and High-Antarctic has received little attention. Here we characterize leukocyte preparations derived from head (pronephric) kidney, spleen, and intestine of three notothenioid species, Dissostichus eleginoides, Notothenia coriiceps, and Trematomus hansoni. Cells were collected from head kidney, spleen, and intestine, and were fixed in paraformaldehyde and analyzed by flow cytometry and optical microscopy. The three species displayed typical leukocyte populations composed of lymphocytes, granulocytes, monocytes/macrophages and thrombocytes with a peculiar organ distribution and peculiar flow cytometric patterns. This work represents the first characterization of cells involved in immune reactions in the investigated species.
    Polar Biology 08/2006; 29(10):872-877. · 2.01 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

105 Citations
345 Downloads
2k Views
68.94 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001–2013
    • Tuscia University
      Viterbo, Latium, Italy
  • 2003–2011
    • Viterbo University
      Italy, Texas, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Murcia
      • Departamento de Zoología y Antropología Física
      Murcia, Murcia, Spain
    • University of Granada
      • Facultad de Ciencias
      Granada, Andalusia, Spain