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Australian biodiversity: Threats for the present, opportunities for the future

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Abstract

Australia's insect fauna comprises a very large component of its biodiversity, and one that remains a largely unknown and untapped resource. Estimates of global and Australian insect species richness are reviewed, and Australia's insect biodiversity is placed in its biogeographical context of Mesozoic, Gondwanan connectivity and Tertiary isolation. Some unique, relict faunal elements derived from Australia's long periods of isolation are highlighted. Examples of the dramatic insect evolutionary radiations are profiled that are the consequence of successful adaptation to new biomes made available by the environmental transformations in Australia in the latter half of the Tertiary. Then conservation of Australian forests and the major processes threatening Australian biodiversity are discussed: invasive species, habitat conversion and climate change. The four components necessary to build sustainability in Australia or throughout the world are discussed: description and understanding, direct action for conservation, promoting sustainable use in balance with conservation, and providing edu-cation and information to maintain the overall effort.

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... The semi-arid zone surrounding the arid interior contains more diversity and is probably a recent zone of speciation as aridification has progressed from the centre and environments have fragmented and changed. Since european settle- Crisp et al. 2004 ment in the late 1700s, approximately 60% of australia's forests have been cleared or significantly disturbed for agriculture and urban development (Raven & Yeates 2007). ...
... an enormous literature exists on the geological, climatic, and biogeographical history of australia (see Kroenke 1997, hill 2001, Mcloughlin 2001, numerous papers in Keast 1981, Raven & Yeates 2007. This can only be briefly summarized here. ...
... These families require dedicated research focusthey are too large and complex for 'dabbling' to have much impact on their taxonomy. increased funding for the australian Biological Resources Study (aBRS) participatory program is the best mechanism to resource this and other taxonomic research needs (Raven & Yeates 2007). australia's arid zone and monsoon tropical fly fauna has probably been the least surveyed and studied, and this is clearly a research need for the future. ...
... Of particular significance is the diversity of oecophorine moths (Oecophorinae), with around 5500 species in southern Australia whose larvae specialise in the consumption of dead Myrtaceae leaves (Common, 1994; 1997; 2000). These moths have specialised to consume these leaves which are high in phenolic compounds and nutrient-poor, breaking down large volumes of leaf litter and significantly contributing to nutrient cycling (van Dugteren, 1999; Raven & Yeates, 2007). Moths show particularly strong host-plant relationships in Australia. ...
... In one of the few studies in a kwongan ecosystem to date, Tassone & Majer (1997) found a positive correlation between foliar nutrient concentrations and insect species diversity in the canopies of three Banksia species and Nuytsia floribunda. There has generally been only a low level of interest in insects, with the insect fauna in Australia being one of the most poorly known of anywhere in the world (Raven & Yeates, 2007). Based on groups that have drawn the attention of entomologists, endemism levels in Australia are estimated at around 90%, (representing one of the highest levels of endemism in the world), and largely driven by geographic isolation and the climatic shifts that created our contemporary environments (Raven & Yeates, 2007). ...
... There has generally been only a low level of interest in insects, with the insect fauna in Australia being one of the most poorly known of anywhere in the world (Raven & Yeates, 2007). Based on groups that have drawn the attention of entomologists, endemism levels in Australia are estimated at around 90%, (representing one of the highest levels of endemism in the world), and largely driven by geographic isolation and the climatic shifts that created our contemporary environments (Raven & Yeates, 2007). These environments are increasingly threatened by a variety of land uses that are resulting in a reduction of available habitat for insects (Kirkpatrick, 1994). ...
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FOR INSECTS, PLANTS PROVIDE both natural food and shelter. Plants and insects have co-existed since the earliest origins of plants, with both groups undergoing rapid diversification during the late Cretaceous period (Tokeshi, 1998), while insects themselves are a major food source for vertebrates and other invertebrates. Significant plant–animal interactions include plant/pollinator, plant/herbivore and seed dispersal. Pollinator relationships are by far the best studied and are covered by Houston (chapter 7C). Here, I focus on herbivory and specific relationships between insects and kwongan plants. While many herbivorous insects often go unnoticed, when population size is high, some insects such as the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera) have the ability to devastate plants through herbivory. Their level of impact on the food plant being largely determined by the toughness of the plant tissues (Clissold et al., 2009). Herbivorous insects may target any vegetative matter, or be specialists on particular types of plants, particular genera, or even species (Hochuli, 2001). Insect species that target reproductive parts of the plant (e.g., developing flowers, ovaries, or seeds) can have particularly detrimental effects on their host plants. Where insects only feed on a particular species at some stage in their life, there are opportunities for co-speciation. Plant–insect relationships have therefore been of great interest in evolutionary studies, particularly in cases where plants have evolved particular traits to defend themselves against herbivores (Menken, 1996).
... In some cases numbers have increased, in others (for example the numbers of published species of insects in Australia) decreased. With the insects, for example, entomologists across Australia have collaborated on an extensive exercise to look at the numbers of insects in each Order (Yeates et al. 2003, Raven andYeates 2007) and other entomologists have worked extensively on some individual Orders (for example, Oberprieler et al. (2007), ABRS (2009b)) and this has led to a much more accurate determination of both published numbers and estimates. In the previous report, figures for insects were based on reports at just the Class level as this was all that was consistently available at the time. ...
... Groombridge and Jenkins (2002) provide the figure of 963,000 for insects plus myriapods. Estimates for the total numbers of insects vary widely from around 2 million (Nielsen and Mound 2000), 5-6 million (Raven and Yeates 2007) to around 8 million (Hammond 1995, Groombridge andJenkins 2002). ...
... This is consistent with previous estimates, but a little higher than the previous report for the number of described species for the world. I have been unable to get individual estimates for the total number of species by Order except for a few Orders, and have thus accepted the figure of about 5 million as given by Grimaldi and Engel (2005) and Raven and Yeates (2007). This is higher than the 4 million given in the previous report which was based on May (2000). ...
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Estimates of the total number of species in the world vary from 5 million to over 50 million (May 1998). In this report figures of close to 11 million species worldwide and about 570,000 for Australia are accepted. Numbers for accepted published species in the world are given here as close to 1,900,000 and 147,579 for Australia. https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/2ee3f4a1-f130-465b-9c7a-79373680a067/files/nlsaw-2nd-complete.pdf
... General concerns over the decline and conservation of insects in Australia were first raised by Day (1965), Marks (1969) and Marks and Mackerras (1972). These early papers led to three influential publications by Key (1978), New (1984) and Hill and Michaelis (1988), which have done much to advance and promote the field of insect conservation among the wider Australian entomological community during the past three decades (see Braby & Williams 2016;Clarke & Spier-Ashcroft 2003;Cranston 2010;Greenslade & New 1991;New & Samways 2014;Raven & Yeates 2007;Yen & Butcher 1997 for reviews). The main drivers behind this accelerated research agenda are three-fold: the realisation: (1) that the biodiversity of Australia insects and allied invertebrates is substantial, highly endemic and characterised by numerous ancient lineages, relicts and evolutionary radiations (Andersen 2016;Austin et al. 2003Austin et al. , 2004Cranston 2010;Raven & Yeates 2007;Taylor 1972); (2) that much of this biodiversity is still undocumented (Hutchings 2017;Yeates et al. 2003) and (3) that the extant fauna is under increasing stress and likely to be disappearing rapidly in the face of a multitude of key threatening processes, including habitat loss for agriculture, invasive species, urbanisation and climate change (Cranston 2010;New 2018;New & Samways 2014;Raven & Yeates 2007;Rix et al. 2017a,b;Sands 2018) (see also Tables S1, S2). ...
... These early papers led to three influential publications by Key (1978), New (1984) and Hill and Michaelis (1988), which have done much to advance and promote the field of insect conservation among the wider Australian entomological community during the past three decades (see Braby & Williams 2016;Clarke & Spier-Ashcroft 2003;Cranston 2010;Greenslade & New 1991;New & Samways 2014;Raven & Yeates 2007;Yen & Butcher 1997 for reviews). The main drivers behind this accelerated research agenda are three-fold: the realisation: (1) that the biodiversity of Australia insects and allied invertebrates is substantial, highly endemic and characterised by numerous ancient lineages, relicts and evolutionary radiations (Andersen 2016;Austin et al. 2003Austin et al. , 2004Cranston 2010;Raven & Yeates 2007;Taylor 1972); (2) that much of this biodiversity is still undocumented (Hutchings 2017;Yeates et al. 2003) and (3) that the extant fauna is under increasing stress and likely to be disappearing rapidly in the face of a multitude of key threatening processes, including habitat loss for agriculture, invasive species, urbanisation and climate change (Cranston 2010;New 2018;New & Samways 2014;Raven & Yeates 2007;Rix et al. 2017a,b;Sands 2018) (see also Tables S1, S2). ...
... These early papers led to three influential publications by Key (1978), New (1984) and Hill and Michaelis (1988), which have done much to advance and promote the field of insect conservation among the wider Australian entomological community during the past three decades (see Braby & Williams 2016;Clarke & Spier-Ashcroft 2003;Cranston 2010;Greenslade & New 1991;New & Samways 2014;Raven & Yeates 2007;Yen & Butcher 1997 for reviews). The main drivers behind this accelerated research agenda are three-fold: the realisation: (1) that the biodiversity of Australia insects and allied invertebrates is substantial, highly endemic and characterised by numerous ancient lineages, relicts and evolutionary radiations (Andersen 2016;Austin et al. 2003Austin et al. , 2004Cranston 2010;Raven & Yeates 2007;Taylor 1972); (2) that much of this biodiversity is still undocumented (Hutchings 2017;Yeates et al. 2003) and (3) that the extant fauna is under increasing stress and likely to be disappearing rapidly in the face of a multitude of key threatening processes, including habitat loss for agriculture, invasive species, urbanisation and climate change (Cranston 2010;New 2018;New & Samways 2014;Raven & Yeates 2007;Rix et al. 2017a,b;Sands 2018) (see also Tables S1, S2). ...
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Despite progress in recent decades, the conservation management of insects and allied invertebrates in Australia is challenging and remains a formidable task against a background of poor taxonomic and biological knowledge, limited resources (funds and scientific expertise) and a relatively low level of community engagement, education and awareness. In this review, we propose a new, strategic national approach for the conservation of insects and allied invertebrates in Australia to complement and build on existing actions and increase awareness with the general public and government. A review of all species listed under relevant State and Territory Acts, national legislation (EPBC Act) and on international lists (IUCN Red List) indicated that of the 285 species currently listed under these conservation schedules, 10 (3%) are considered extinct, 204 (72%) threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) and 71 (25%) are classified as other (Threatened, Near Threatened, Rare or Least Concern). Comparison of the geographic ranges of listed species in relation to bioregions (IBRA regions) shows a striking discordance in spatial representation across the Australian landscape, reflecting an ad hoc approach to threatened species conservation and the concentration of invertebrate biologists in urban centres of temperate coastal Australia. There is a positive relationship between the number of threatened species and extent of protection according to the National Reserve System within each IBRA region, exemplifying the anomaly in spatial representativeness of listed species. To overcome these shortfalls, we propose a novel educational, regional approach based on selecting, for each of the 89 IBRA *
... EDGE species), which can be used to generate global priority lists for conservation. Moreover, there is a sense of urgency to complete these challenges because of increasing levels of extinction against a background of declining systematic expertise (Wilson 1987(Wilson , 1992(Wilson , 2004Dirzo & Raven 2003;Mallet & Willmott 2003;Yeates & Raven 2004;Oliver & Lee 2010;Probert 2010;Maddison et al. 2012;Wheeler et al. 2012;Yen & New 2013). Not only are professional taxonomic specialists across all biota declining, but this expertise is mismatched against the species richness of taxa and the geographical location of biodiversity (e.g. ...
... Considerable progress has already occurred in increasing the efficiency with the publication process and open-access online taxonomic databases (e.g. Austral Entomology, ZooBank, Australian Faunal Directory/Atlas of Living Australia (ALA)) (see Yeates & Raven 2004;Yeates 2009). • Greater attention towards molecular genetic methods, such as DNA barcode technology and application of genomic data through next-generation sequencing together with population genetic studies of species will assist with rapid identification of field samples, especially where morphospecies approach is used for some prioritised taxa, as well as recognition of conservation units within species. ...
Article
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Biosystematics and conservation biology are critical scientific disciplines that underpin the management of biological diversity. This is because biosystematics provides two basic elements that are fundamental to conservation management: the circumscription of species and the spatial distribution of species. These elements in turn allow conservation biologists to determine the components of biodiversity, such as local species richness (α-diversity), composition and community structure, patterns of spatial turnover and heterogeneity (β-diversity), levels of endemism, and location of ‘biodiversity hotspots’. This information ultimately provides a framework for systematic conservation planning for the management of biological diversity and natural resources. In this review, drawing on examples of Australian diurnal Lepidoptera (butterflies and day-flying moths), we discuss three areas of conservation biology that are crucial for insect biodiversity conservation: (1) inventory and estimation of faunal richness; (2) monitoring for conservation management and the selection and use of bioindicators; and (3) assessment of conservation status and recovery of threatened species. We then explore the capacity of biosystematics to complement and enhance these programmes. Major challenges for biosystematics are to catalogue and map the Earth's known species, to discover and describe new or as-yet-unknown species, to reconstruct the evolutionary history or tree of life and to incorporate phylogenetic diversity (taxonomic distinctiveness) as a component of biodiversity into conservation planning and practical nature conservation. The first two tasks, which need to be completed relatively urgently in an era of biodiversity crisis and a limited and declining pool of taxonomic expertise, are required in order to optimise conservation effort of the world's biodiversity. It is recommended that to overcome the taxonomic impediment for insect conservation taxonomic attention should focus on a limited set of ‘priority’ taxa, and the rate at which new species are discovered and described needs to be accelerated (by at least an order of magnitude). An agenda for future research in biosystematics and conservation biology is proposed as a guideline for biodiversity conservation for Australian entomology.
... EDGE species), which can be used to generate global priority lists for conservation. Moreover, there is a sense of urgency to complete these challenges because of increasing levels of extinction against a background of declining systematic expertise (Wilson 1987Wilson , 1992Wilson , 2004 Dirzo & Raven 2003; Mallet & Willmott 2003; Yeates & Raven 2004; Oliver & Lee 2010; Probert 2010; Maddison et al. 2012; Wheeler et al. 2012; Yen & New 2013). Not only are professional taxonomic specialists across all biota declining , but this expertise is mismatched against the species richness of taxa and the geographical location of biodiversity (e.g. ...
... Considerable progress has already occurred in increasing the efficiency with the publication process and open-access online taxonomic databases (e.g. Austral Entomology, ZooBank, Australian Faunal Directory/Atlas of Living Australia (ALA)) (see Yeates & Raven 2004; Yeates 2009). @BULLET Greater attention towards molecular genetic methods, such as DNA barcode technology and application of genomic data through next-generation sequencing together with population genetic studies of species will assist with rapid identification of field samples, especially where morphospecies approach is used for some prioritised taxa, as well as recognition of conservation units within species. ...
... Modern biogeographic inquiry is possible only in the few groups that have well understood taxonomy, distribution and phylogenetic relationships. With only about 25% of the insect fauna described at species level (Yeates et al. 2003;Raven and Yeates 2007), much more basic descriptive research, phylogenetic reconstruction and surveys of distribution will underpin our future biogeographic understanding. ...
... Subsequently there have been a number of projections and conjectures as to the total number of arthropod or insect species, summarized by Berenbaum (2009), Erwin (2004) and Stork et al. (2015). These estimates have been based on data from one or more of the following approaches: host specificity, ratios of known to unnamed species, plant-herbivore ratios, higher taxonomic ratios, taxonomists' estimates, proportions of new species, body size in relation to the year of description, number of areas of endemism, rates of species description, and various mathematical models to reinterpret variable parameters (Amorim & Pires 1996;Basset et al. 1996;Costello et al. 2012Costello et al. , 2013Gaston 1991;Groombridge & Jenkins 2002;Hamilton et al. 2010;Hammond 1992Hammond , 1995Larsen et al. 2017;May 1990May , 2000Mora et al. 2011;Nielsen & Mound 2000;Raven & Yeates 2007;Stork 2018;Stork & Gaston 1990;Stork et al. 2015). Such estimates are also the basis for predicting extinction rates (Costello et al. 2013). ...
Article
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Study of all flies (Diptera) collected for one year from a four-hectare (150 x 266 meter) patch of cloud forest at 1,600 meters above sea level at Zurquí de Moravia, San José Province, Costa Rica (hereafter referred to as Zurquí), revealed an astounding 4,332 species. This amounts to more than half the number of named species of flies for all of Central America. Specimens were collected with two Malaise traps running continuously and with a wide array of supplementary collecting methods for three days of each month. All morphospecies from all 73 families recorded were fully curated by technicians before submission to an international team of 59 taxonomic experts for identification. Overall, a Malaise trap on the forest edge captured 1,988 species or 51% of all collected dipteran taxa (other than of Phoridae, subsampled only from this and one other Malaise trap). A Malaise trap in the forest sampled 906 species. Of other sampling methods, the combination of four other Malaise traps and an intercept trap, aerial/hand collecting, 10 emergence traps, and four CDC light traps added the greatest number of species to our inventory. This complement of sampling methods was an effective combination for retrieving substantial numbers of species of Diptera. Comparison of select sampling methods (considering 3,487 species of non-phorid Diptera) provided further details regarding how many species were sampled by various methods. Comparison of species numbers from each of two permanent Malaise traps from Zurquí with those of single Malaise traps at each of Tapantí and Las Alturas, 40 and 180 km distant from Zurquí respectively, suggested significant species turnover. Comparison of the greater number of species collected in all traps from Zurquí did not markedly change the degree of similarity between the three sites, although the actual number of species shared did increase. Comparisons of the total number of named and unnamed species of Diptera from four hectares at Zurquí is equivalent to 51% of all flies named from Central America, greater than all the named fly fauna of Colombia, equivalent to 14% of named Neotropical species and equal to about 2.7% of all named Diptera worldwide. Clearly the number of species of Diptera in tropical regions has been severely underestimated and the actual number may surpass the number of species of Coleoptera. Various published extrapolations from limited data to estimate total numbers of species of larger taxonomic categories (e.g., Hexapoda, Arthropoda, Eukaryota, etc.) are highly questionable, and certainly will remain uncertain until we have more exhaustive surveys of all and diverse taxa (like Diptera) from multiple tropical sites. Morphological characterization of species in inventories provides identifications placed in the context of taxonomy, phylogeny, form, and ecology. DNA barcoding species is a valuable tool to estimate species numbers but used alone fails to provide a broader context for the species identified.
... Spiders are a large and ancient group of animals. The earliest spiders may have arisen as early as the Devonian (~400 million years ago; Foelix, 2011), and since that time, their numbers have grown to an estimated 80,000 extant species (Raven and Yeates, 2007), with only a little over half of these species described (46,433 species described to date; Platnick, 2017). These diverse animals are found in every biome and on every continent, save Antarctica (Turnbull, 1973). ...
Article
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Spiders are among the world’s most species-rich animal lineages, and their visual systems are likewise highly diverse. These modular visual systems, composed of four pairs of image-forming “camera” eyes, have taken on a huge variety of forms, exhibiting variation in eye size, eye placement, image resolution, and field of view, as well as sensitivity to color, polarization, light levels, and motion cues. However, despite this conspicuous diversity, our understanding of the genetic underpinnings of these visual systems remains shallow. Here, we review the current literature, analyze publicly available transcriptomic data, and discuss hypotheses about the origins and development of spider eyes. Our efforts highlight that there are many new things to discover from spider eyes, and yet these opportunities are set against a backdrop of deep homology with other arthropod lineages. For example, many (but not all) of the genes that appear important for early eye development in spiders are familiar players known from the developmental networks of other model systems (e.g., Drosophila). Similarly, our analyses of opsins and related phototransduction genes suggest that spider photoreceptors employ many of the same genes and molecular mechanisms known from other arthropods, with a hypothesized ancestral spider set of four visual and four nonvisual opsins. This deep homology provides a number of useful footholds into new work on spider vision and the molecular basis of its extant variety. We therefore discuss what some of these first steps might be in the hopes of convincing others to join us in studying the vision of these fascinating creatures.
... Rainforests retreated to local refugia (Yeates et al. 2002, while climatic oscillations of the Pliocene and Pleistocene further shaped the present-day arid and semiarid zones (Byrne et al. 2008). Despite its relatively young age, the Australian arid biome has a rich and unique flora and fauna (Raven and Yeates 2007, Powney et al. 2010, Guzik et al. 2011, Ladiges et al. 2011, Andersen 2016, suggesting either the persistence of ancient lineages or (rapid) radiations in parallel with the increasing aridification of the continent (Crisp et al. 2004, Byrne et al. 2008. Thus, Australia's extraordinary biodiversity has not only been shaped by relictualism stemming from the breakup of Gondwana (Barrett andWilliams 1998, Barden andWare 2017), but also by vicariance, in situ speciation and phylogeographic structuring of populations in response to local environmental conditions (reviewed in Cassis et al. 2017). ...
Article
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Late Cenozoic climate change led to the progressive aridification of Australia over the past 15 million years. This gradual biome turnover fundamentally changed Australia's ecosystems, opening new niches and prompting diversification of plants and animals. One example are termites of the Australian Amitermes group (AAG), consisting of the Australian Amitermes and affiliated genera. Although the most speciose and diverse higher termite group in Australia, little is known about its evolutionary history. We used ancestral range reconstruction and diversification analyses to illuminate 1) phylogenetic relationships of the AAG, 2) biogeographical processes leading to the current continent‐wide distribution and 3) timing and pattern of diversification in the context of late Cenozoic climate change. By estimating the largest time‐calibrated phylogeny for this group to date, we demonstrate monophyly of the AAG and confirm that their ancestor arrived in Australia ~11–10 million years ago (Mya) from Southeast Asia. Ancestral range reconstruction indicates that Australia's monsoon region was the launching point for a continental radiation shaped by dispersal and within‐biome speciation rather than vicariance. We found that multiple arid‐zone species diversified from mesic and tropical ancestors in the Plio‐Pleistocene, but also observed diversification in the opposite direction. Finally, we show that diversification steadily increased from ~8 to 9 Mya during the ‘Hill Gap' and accelerated from ~4 Mya in concert with major ecological change during the Pliocene. Consistent with rapid diversification, species accumulation then slowed down into the present, likely caused by progressive niche saturation. This study provides a stepping stone for predicting future responses of Australia's termite fauna in the face of human‐mediated climate change.
... However, this scenario has been gradually changing (Basset et al. 2012(Basset et al. , 2015. As studies monitoring several lesser-known tropical insects of different layers of tropical rainforests have been cumulating now, we have an improved understanding on the distribution of species across space (both vertical and horizontal) and time and the species interactions in tropical rainforests (Erwin 1982;Raven and Yeates 2007;Basset et al. 2012Basset et al. , 2015Lucas et al. 2016). These studies also suggest the relevant use of unconventional sampling methods and exploring novel sites and niches of rainforests for a fair assessment of insect biodiversity. ...
Article
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Platygastridae is the third largest family of parasitic Hymenoptera in the world. It includes important egg and larval parasitoids of insects and spiders. Therefore, Platygastridae is functionally important in maintaining the stability of tropical rainforests and agroecosystems. Although the diversity of Platygastridae is relatively well-known in agroecosystems, we know little about their diversity in tropical rainforests, and particularly about that of the leaf litter layer. Here, we address the importance of monitoring Platygastridae in tropical rainforests, using data from the relic primary forests of the sacred groves of the Western Ghats. First, we demonstrate that pitfall traps allow us to catch a wide array of representative diversity of Platygastridae of the tropical rainforests, and we establish an efficient collection method to study Platygastridae of leaf litter layer. Second, we demonstrate that the community structure and composition of Platygastridae of the leaf litter layer is different from that seen in the understory of the forests. This indirectly informs us that the Malaise traps capture only a minor subset of the species active in the rainforests. Third, we find that the dry and wet seasons captured dissimilar community of Platygastridae, suggesting that the season might alter the potential host species or host stages. We conclude that monitoring parasitic Hymenoptera in the leaf litter layer of tropical rainforests can provide fresh insights on the species distribution of both the parasitoids and their hosts, and allows us to examine the current state of the tropical rainforests from a functional point of view.
... Adding to the strain caused by global economic forces are problems associated with salinity and general environmental degradation. Australia has ecologically fragile flora and fauna due to the age and isolation of the continent, which has resulted in an abundance of endemic species in small pockets across the Australian land mass (Raven and Yeates, 2007). Despite the current and potential effects from climate change, the Australian climate is naturally highly variable, and thus difficult to predict, so that current farming and agricultural techniques based on European practice are considered high risk and largely unsustainable (Stafford Smith, 2005). ...
Article
To combat social and economic inequity in rural Australia, governments, communities, and policy makers are seeking ways to empower local residents to find local solutions to local problems. Through an exploratory review of the literature and semi-structured interviews conducted in the Mid West of Western Australia, this research examined the role of the arts as a vehicle for increased social and civic participation to build resilience to inequity. For those interviewed, the arts were observed to strengthen sense of place and community identity. The arts were utilised as a means for encouraging and enabling civic participation, as well as providing opportunities for social interaction and networking, which are essential for the health and wellbeing of rural and remote residents. While providing a context for civic and social participation, the arts were viewed by several of those interviewed as a means for facilitating understanding between divisive and disparate groups. Yet, it was noted that the execution and drive for arts activities and events was dependent on the availability of human capital, but also on support from governance and funding authorities to build capacity to sustain these activities. If, as suggested by this exploratory review, the arts are a vehicle for building resilience in rural Australia, then further research is needed to support these claims to enable continued and future support for not just the arts, but the capacity of communities to engage in the arts.
... Insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, collectively known as Holometabola, represent the vast majority of animal life on Earth. There are close to 1 million named species of insects [1], and the most reliable estimates suggest that the global total is between 5 and 10 million species [2,3]. Holometabola are by far the most successful group of insects, and comprise just over 80% of the named species. ...
... Allopatric mutualists are also known in different parts of the range of widespread host species such as E. pauciflora and E. camaldulensis (Fisher & Nickle, 1968;Taylor & Davies, 2010;Nelson, Scheffer & Yeates, 2011a, b;Davies et al., 2012a). This is a significant case of cryptic diversity in the Australasian entomological and nematological fauna (Austin et al., 2004;Raven & Yeates, 2007;Hodda & Nobbs, 2008). ...
Conference Paper
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Fergusonina flies (Diptera: Fergusoninidae) and Fergusobia nematodes (Tylenchida: Neotylenchidae) together form galls on plants in the Myrtaceae in a unique insect-nematode mutualism. Each fly/nematode association is specific and induces formation of a specific type of gall, for example, shoot buds, axial or terminal leaf buds, leaf blades, or flower buds. The Fergusonina/Fergusobia pairs have been reared from seven genera within the Myrtaceae including Angophora, Corymbia, Eucalyptus, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, Metrosideros, and Syzygium (Taylor et al. 2005; Taylor et al. 2007) indicating a broad distribution across the Myrtaceae lineages. Phylogenetic analysis of the Fergusonina flies is compared to that for its plants hosts in the Myrtaceae in order to test hypotheses of coevolution, particularly with regard to cospeciation and host-tracking. Phylogenetic analysis coupled with divergence time analysis of both Myrtaceae hosts and the Fergusonina flies suggest that the crown radiation of Fergusonina occurred well after the crown radiation of Myrtaceae. We predict that cospeciation and host tracking between flies and their host plants should only occur in relatively recently diverged host clades, and not at deeper, older levels.
... Allopatric mutualists are also known in different parts of the range of widespread host species such as E. pauciflora and E. camaldulensis (Fisher & Nickle, 1968;Taylor & Davies, 2010;Nelson, Scheffer & Yeates, 2011a, b;Davies et al., 2012a). This is a significant case of cryptic diversity in the Australasian entomological and nematological fauna (Austin et al., 2004;Raven & Yeates, 2007;Hodda & Nobbs, 2008). ...
Article
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A unique obligate mutualism occurs between species of Fergusonina Malloch flies (Diptera: Fergusoninidae) and nematodes of the genus Fergusobia Currie (Nematoda: Neotylenchidae). These mutualists together form different types of galls on Myrtaceae, mainly in Australia. The galling association is species-specific, and each mutualism in turn displays host specificity. This tritrophic system represents a compelling arena to test hypotheses about coevolution between the host plants, parasitic nematodes and the fergusoninid flies, and the evolution of these intimate mutualisms. We have a basic knowledge of the interactions between the host plant, fly and nematode in this system, but a more sophisticated understanding will require a much more intensive and coordinated research effort. Summaries of the known Fergusonina/Fergusobia species associations and gall type terminology are presented. This paper identifies the key advantages of the system and questions to be addressed, and proposes a number of predictions about the evolutionary dynamics of the system given our understanding of the biology of the mutualists. Future research will profitably focus on (1) gall cecidogenesis and phenology, (2) the interaction between the fly larva and the nematode in the gall, and between the adult female fly and the parasitic nematode, (3) the means by which the fly and nematode life cycles are coordinated, (4) a targeted search of groups in the plant family Myrtaceae that have not yet been identified as gall hosts, and (5) establishment and comparison of the phylogenetic relationships of the host plants, fly species and nematodes. Recently derived phylogenies and divergence time estimation studies of the Diptera and the Myrtaceae show that the fly family Fergusoninidae is less than half the age of the Myrtaceae, discounting the hypothesis of cospeciation and coradiation of the fly/nematode mutualism and the plants at the broadest levels. However, cospeciation may have occurred at shallower levels in the phylogeny, following the establishment of the fly/nematode mutualism on the Myrtaceae. © 2014 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2014, ●●, ●●–●●.
... Although analyses of this type are appropriate for well-studied groups such as European butterflies (e.g. Dinca et al. 2011), baseline knowledge is much less for many taxonomic assemblages (Common 1990;Raven & Yeates 2007). As a result, there is a critical need for an approach which enables the simultaneous analysis of large numbers of putative species, even if it delivers a less precise outcome. ...
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The analysis of DNA barcode sequences with varying techniques for cluster recognition provides an efficient approach for recognizing putative species (operational taxonomic units, OTUs). This approach accelerates and improves taxonomic workflows by exposing cryptic species and decreasing the risk of synonymy. This study tested the congruence of OTUs resulting from the application of three analytical methods (ABGD, BIN, GMYC) to sequence data for Australian hypertrophine moths. OTUs supported by all three approaches were viewed as robust, but 20% of the OTUs were only recognized by one or two of the methods. These OTUs were examined for three criteria to clarify their status. Monophyly and diagnostic nucleotides were both uninformative, but information on ranges was useful as sympatric sister OTUs were viewed as distinct, while allopatric OTUs were merged. This approach revealed 124 OTUs of Hypertrophinae, a more than two-fold increase from the currently recognized 51 species. Because this analytical protocol is both fast and repeatable, it provides a valuable tool for establishing a basic understanding of species boundaries that can be validated with subsequent studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Walker, Museum Victoria) and we identified wasps and flies to family level using specialised Hymenoptera and Diptera identification keys (Hamilton et al. 2006;Stevens et al. 2007). Australia's invertebrate fauna is one of the most under-described in the world and many insect orders require critical taxonomic revision, including the Diptera (Austin et al. 2004;Raven and Yeates 2007). Family-level identification is an appropriate taxonomic surrogate when research goals include comparing broad estimates of ecosystem service providers (Oliver and Beattie 1996;Obrist and Duelli 2010), and we considered this a suitable level of identification for our study, given the challenges of identifying Australian wasp and fly taxa to the species level and the uncertainty about the taxonomy of these groups. ...
Article
Wild pollinators are becoming more valuable to global agriculture as the commercial honeybee industry is increasingly affected by disease and other stressors. Perennial tree crops are particularly reliant on insect pollination, and are often pollen limited. Research on how different tree crop production systems influence the richness and abundance of wild pollinators is, however, limited. We investigated, for the first time, the richness and abundance of potential wild pollinators in commercial temperate almond orchards in Australia, and compared them to potential pollinator communities in proximate native vegetation. We quantified ground cover variables at each site and assessed the value of ground cover on the richness and abundance of potential wild pollinators in commercial almond systems focussing on three common taxa: bees, wasps and flies. More insects were caught in orchards with living ground cover than in native vegetation or orchards without ground cover, although overall species richness was highest in native vegetation. Percent ground cover was positively associated with wasp richness and abundance, and native bee richness, but flies showed no association with ground cover. The strongest positive relationship was between native bee abundance and the richness of ground cover plants. Our results suggest that maintaining living ground cover within commercial almond orchards could provide habitat and resources for potential wild pollinators, particularly native bees. These insects have the potential to provide a valuable ecosystem service to pollinator dependent crops such as almond.
... New & Samways 2014;Braby & Williams 2016). These papers include overviews of Australia's insect biodiversity and the threats faced, with recommendations for its conservation and sustainable use (Raven & Yeates 2007). The vulnerability of short range endemics, especially the 'predominantly overlooked' invertebrates in land management, was discussed by Majer (2009). ...
... Can such a functional approach be developed for invertebrates, or are there alternative approaches to resolve this complexity? As a group, invertebrates are numerous, diverse, and play important functional roles in ecosystems (Beattie 995; Raven & Yeates 2007). Their abundance and diversity however also poses a major challenge. ...
Article
Fires, whether planned or unplanned, impact upon a suite of organisms in natural ecosystems. Direct (short-term) and indirect (longer term) effects influence the composition and structure of invertebrate communities through the interaction of site history, characteristics of individual fire events and species life-history traits. Prediction of fire responses based on vascular plant species life-history traits, and the development of a functional classification based on shared traits, underpins current fire management in south-eastern Australia. Can a similar approach be developed for terrestrial invertebrates, or should we focus on utilising a framework based on surrogates developed around vegetation composition and structure, or taxonomic alternatives? This paper considers whether the use of surrogates offers promise as a strategy of dealing with the complexity of invertebrate biodiversity and associated issues surrounding fire management. It proposes a functional approach, based on species’ life-history traits, that can complement existing strategies; and identifies opportunities that have potential for resolving existing challenges in biodiversity conservation in fire-prone environments.
... Estimates of global extinctions suggests that the extinction rate for known taxa is currently ~1000 times the background rate (Pimm et al., 2014), but it is likely that this rate is underestimated given the large number of taxa that remain undescribed (Raven & Yeates, 2007;Mora et al., 2011;Costello et al., 2013). ...
Article
The Australian sugar glider, Petaurus breviceps s.l., is widely distributed across eastern and northern Australia. Examination of historical and contemporary collections of Petaurus specimens and phylogenetic analyses have revealed considerable taxonomic diversity within the genus. We aimed to utilize an integrative taxonomic approach, combining genetic and morphological evidence, to resolve the taxonomy of Australian gliders currently recognized as Petaurus breviceps. Herein, we confirm the existence of three distinct species: P. breviceps, P. notatus comb. nov. and P. ariel comb. nov.. Petaurus breviceps and P. notatus are each represented by major mtDNA lineages in P. breviceps, while P. ariel forms a sister-lineage to P. norfolcensis and P. gracilis. Subtle morphological differences distinguish P. breviceps from the closely related P. notatus, while the morphological distinctions between P. ariel and its genetically similar sister-taxa, P. norfolcensis and P. gracilis, are more obvious. Given the purported broad geographic distribution of the taxon, P. breviceps s.l. was not listed as threatened, but dividing this taxon into three species has important conservation implications for all taxa in the group, particularly given the lamentable record for mammal extinctions in Australia. Concerted and targeted conservation efforts are necessary to preserve these distinct, newly described species.
... Some 63 -64% of Australia's known and estimated invertebrates are insects (Table 12.4) and, of these, almost half are Coleoptera (Yeates et al., 2003). Hymenoptera, Diptera and Lepidoptera are each expected also to number in the tens of thousands, with other insects from 23 further Orders making up the remainder (Austin et al., 2004;Raven and Yeates, 2007). The only Orders not known to occur in Australia are Grylloblattodea, a small group of extremophile insects that is restricted to icy montane environments, and Mantophasmatodea, a small group of carnivorous insects endemic to Africa (Cranston, 2010). ...
... This analysis is usually applicable to the groups for which there has been substantial research, but its ability to define many taxonomic species with less basic knowledge and description is limited (Common, 1990;Raven & Yeates, 2014). In fact, even though there is sufficient evidence to support the species hypothesis and species delimiting, there are still many newly discovered species that have not been described (Pante et al., 2015), a situation that hinders taxonomic progress, species identification, and biodiversity estimation (Schlick-Steiner et al., 2007). ...
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Freshwater shrimp are a rich species group, with a long and problematic taxonomic history attributed to their wide distribution and similar morphological characteristics. Shrimp diversity and species identification are important cornerstones for fisheries management. However, identification based on morphological characteristics is a difficult task for a nonspecialist. Abundant freshwater shrimp species are distributed in the waters of Henan Province, but investigations of freshwater shrimp are limited in this region, especially concerning molecular features. Here, we combined morphology and DNA barcodes to reveal the species diversity of freshwater shrimp in Henan province. A total of 1,200 freshwater shrimp samples were collected from 46 sampling sites, and 222 samples were chosen for further microscopic examination and molecular delimitation. We used tree-based methods (NJ, ML, and bPTP) and distance-based methods (estimation of the paired genetic distances and ABGD) to delimit species. The results showed that there were nine morphospecies based on morphological characteristics; all could effectively be defined by molecular methods, among which bPTP and ABGD defined 13 and 8 MOTUs, respectively. The estimation of the paired genetic distances of K2P and the p-distances had similar results. Mean K2P distances and p-distances within species were both equal to 1.2%. The maximum intraspecific genetic distances of all species were less than 2%, with the exception of Palaemon modestus and M. maculatum. Various analyses have shown that P. modestus and M. maculatum have a large genetic differentiation, which may indicate the existence of cryptic species. By contrast, DNA barcoding could unambiguously discriminate 13 species and detect cryptic diversity. Our results demonstrate the high efficiency of DNA barcoding to delimit freshwater shrimp diversity and detect the presence of cryptic species.
... Estimates of global extinctions suggests that the extinction rate for known taxa is currently ~1000 times the background rate (Pimm et al., 2014), but it is likely that this rate is underestimated given the large number of taxa that remain undescribed (Raven & Yeates, 2007;Mora et al., 2011;Costello et al., 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
The Australian sugar glider, Petaurus breviceps s.l., is widely distributed across eastern and northern Australia. Examination of historical and contemporary collections of Petaurus specimens and phylogenetic analyses have revealed considerable taxonomic diversity within the genus. We aimed to utilize an integrative taxonomic approach, combining genetic and morphological evidence, to resolve the taxonomy of Australian gliders currently recognized as Petaurus breviceps. Herein, we confirm the existence of three distinct species: P. breviceps, P. notatus comb. nov. and P. ariel comb. nov.. Petaurus breviceps and P. notatus are each represented by major mtDNA lineages in P. breviceps, while P. ariel forms a sister-lineage to P. norfolcensis and P. gracilis. Subtle morphological differences distinguish P. breviceps from the closely related P. notatus, while the morphological distinctions between P. ariel and its genetically similar sister-taxa, P. norfolcensis and P. gracilis, are more obvious. Given the purported broad geographic distribution of the taxon, P. breviceps s.l. was not listed as threatened, but dividing this taxon into three species has important conservation implications for all taxa in the group, particularly given the lamentable record for mammal extinctions in Australia. Concerted and targeted conservation efforts are necessary to preserve these distinct, newly described species.
... Because of increasing human activities over the last 200 years, biodiversity has declined dramatically (Steffen et al., 2009;Australian Government, 2011;Baral et al., 2014) with 1289 plants listed as threatened with extinction by the Australian Government (Australian Government, 2016a). The most common threats to plants in Australia are similar to those globally, and include habitat loss, introduced species and inappropriate fire regimes (Burgman et al., 2007;Raven and Yeates, 2007;Evans et al., 2011;Australian Government, 2011). Previous spatial analysis in Australia has highlighted threat distributions across the continent at a broad scale for plants and animals (Evans et al., 2011), but little is known for specific plant groups such as orchids. ...
Article
Thousands of plants are at risk of extinction globally due to human activities, including many species of orchids. In Australia alone there are 184 orchids identified as threatened by the Australian Government, but what threatens them and where are they threatened? Using data derived from listing documents for these orchids, threats were allocated to 28 categories. Then, the distributions of the orchids and hence likely geographic patterns of threats were mapped using 14,651 location records from the Atlas of Living Australia. The most common threats were changes in fire regimes (74% of threatened Australian orchids), invasive species (65%), habitat modification (64%), grazing (63%), tourism and recreation (47%) and illegal collection (46%), which often co-occurred as threat syndromes. Most threatened orchids are terrestrial (165 species), and many occur in temperate forests (96) and temperate shrubland (36). When generalised linear models were used to assess geographic patterns in threats, bioregions with less cover of native vegetation were more likely to have orchids threatened by habitat modification, grazing or weeds (p < 0.05). Bioregions with higher protected area coverage were more likely to contain orchids threatened by tourism and recreation, but less likely to have orchids threatened by habitat modification (p < 0.05). Understanding drivers of threats and their distribution is crucial for successful management as they highlight key areas for conservation. The results also highlight the need for updating orchid listings nationally and internationally to better reflect the diversity of orchids threatened and threats to them, including the increasing impact of climate change.
... Despite concerns with the decline in taxonomy (Gaston & May, 1992;Godfray, 2002;Hopkins & Freckleton;2006;Raven & Yeates, 2007;Bortolus, 2008;Rouhan & Gaudeul, 2014), taxonomy could be still progressing satisfactorily, as shown in Fig. 1B. Progress can rise and fall over time, but if current trends continue, it might be possible to describe all of the organisms on earth within the foreseeable future. ...
Article
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Taxonomy is a traditional subject, but it still receives attention and has become a topic of much discussions in recent years. Many of these discussions have raised concerns about the future of taxonomy, especially with regards to the workforce responsible for the discovery of new species in the context of declining biodiversity. Previous discussions were based on the taxonomic data of plants and animals, while the status of fungal taxonomy has not been mentioned. However, fungi have the richest biodiversity, second only to insects. The discussion of the future on taxonomy without the inclusion of fungal data is incomprehensive. Here, we present the results of analyses based on all new fungal taxa published since 1753. Fungal taxonomy is an ever‐growing area of study with increasing numbers of new taxa being described and growing numbers of fungal taxonomists. Compared with plants and most animal groups, there has been a much sharper increase in the rate at which new fungal taxa are being described. Further, the number of taxonomists studying fungi has also increased at a faster speed than those studying plants or animals. This indicates that fungal taxonomy is a prosperous subject and a dynamic area for scientific studies, and that it deserves much more attentions and supports. The study of fungal taxonomy will deepen our understanding of the biodiversity of our planet. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Some 63 -64% of Australia's known and estimated invertebrates are insects (Table 12.4) and, of these, almost half are Coleoptera (Yeates et al., 2003). Hymenoptera, Diptera and Lepidoptera are each expected also to number in the tens of thousands, with other insects from 23 further Orders making up the remainder (Austin et al., 2004;Raven and Yeates, 2007). The only Orders not known to occur in Australia are Grylloblattodea, a small group of extremophile insects that is restricted to icy montane environments, and Mantophasmatodea, a small group of carnivorous insects endemic to Africa (Cranston, 2010). ...
Chapter
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Paraguay is a country located in a south-central position within South America, and it limits with Bolivia at the north, Brazil at the east, and Argentina at the western and southern borders. The main types of natural vegetation currently observable in the country: wetlands, cerrado, savannas and forests. The lack of studies in the area, 336,000 hectares are deforested every year due to the fast expansion of mechanized agriculture and extensive livestock farming in the name of progress, with disastrous consequences for biodiversity. Paraguay has been in the middle of several debates among the ecological division of the country with conflictual situations for ecosystems, ecoregions and biomes. From the landscape perspective three of them, Neembucu, Litoral Central and Humid Chaco are very similar habitat and ecotypes, marshes and grasslands, partially flooded during the different seasons with some patchy and sparse low forests and shrubby areas.
... Insects are one of the most diverse multicellular life forms on Earth and provide critical services such as pollination, pest suppression, and nutrient cycling (Losey & Vaughan 2006;Raven & Yeates 2007). In the US, it is estimated that insect services contribute more than USD $57 billion towards ecosystem health, agriculture, and recreation (Losey & Vaughan 2006). ...
Article
Parasitoid wasps play a vital role in regulating insect population dynamics in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. Yellow sticky card traps are a key component in integrated pest management and the primary sampling method for estimating parasitoid abundance and diversity. Retention of 3 parasitoid wasp species on 2 yellow sticky card traps was compared and it was found that up to 34% of parasitoids escaped within 72 h, suggesting this commonly used sampling technique may underestimate parasitoid abundance and diversity. Las avispas parasitoides desempean un papel fundamental en la regulacin de la dinmica de poblaciones de insectos tanto en ecosistemas agrcolas como naturales. Las trampas adhesivas amarillas son un componente clave en el manejo integrado de plagas y el principal mtodo de muestreo para estimar la abundancia y diversidad de parasitoides. Se compar la retencin de 3 especies de avispas parasitoides en 2 trampas de tarjetas adhesivas amarillas y se encontr que hasta el 34% de los parasitoides escaparon dentro de las 72 h, lo que sugiere que esta tcnica de muestreo comnmente utilizada puede subestimar la abundancia y diversidad de parasitoides.
Chapter
Declines and losses of insects throughout the world have wide ramifications for the sustainability of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, and for humanity. Recent accounts and estimates of declines in insect richness and abundance in many parts of the world pose serious concerns for the future of global biodiversity. Some have been claimed to be sensationalistic and many such claims are difficult to validate. This summary of concerns demonstrates difficulties of interpreting data against insecure historical baselines and incomplete taxonomic and ecological information, features that introduce ambiguities and uncertainties in interpreting observed changes and may reduce credibility.
Chapter
Insect conservation in Australia, and elsewhere in the southern hemisphere has a far shorter history of concern than in the northern hemisphere regions, and is based on far less documentation of the fauna and historical background to recently observed changes. Australia’s geographically isolated insect fauna is taxonomically and ecologically diverse, highly endemic (and, so, unique) and also very imperfectly known, so that establishing numerical and distributional templates for insect diversity against which to measure changes must generally rely on very incomplete information, which is being refined continually as more refined estimates of diversity are made. Many species are clearly narrow-range endemics and vulnerable to localised changes to specialised restricted habitats. Characteristic ‘flagship’ species facilitate conservation progress and help to display the peculiarities of the fauna. Australia is one of only two megadiverse countries in which conservation concerns for native insects can be addressed responsibly and where will exists to do so, through means such as managing single threatened species, protection and remediation of key habitats, threat mitigation and increased awareness of need. The great variety of key environments for insects spans tropical to cool temperate biomes, with varying pressures and vulnerability, and varying chances of effective conservation action.
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Background A principal function of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is to “perform regular and timely assessments of knowledge on biodiversity.” In December 2013, its second plenary session approved a program to begin a global assessment in 2015. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and five other biodiversity-related conventions have adopted IPBES as their science-policy interface, so these assessments will be important in evaluating progress toward the CBD’s Aichi Targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. As a contribution toward such assessment, we review the biodiversity of eukaryote species and their extinction rates, distributions, and protection. We document what we know, how it likely differs from what we do not, and how these differences affect biodiversity statistics. Interestingly, several targets explicitly mention “known species”—a strong, if implicit, statement of incomplete knowledge. We start by asking how many species are known and how many remain undescribed. We then consider by how much human actions inflate extinction rates. Much depends on where species are, because different biomes contain different numbers of species of different susceptibilities. Biomes also suffer different levels of damage and have unequal levels of protection. How extinction rates will change depends on how and where threats expand and whether greater protection counters them. Advances Recent studies have clarified where the most vulnerable species live, where and how humanity changes the planet, and how this drives extinctions. These data are increasingly accessible, bringing greater transparency to science and governance. Taxonomic catalogs of plants, terrestrial vertebrates, freshwater fish, and some marine taxa are sufficient to assess their status and the limitations of our knowledge. Most species are undescribed, however. The species we know best have large geographical ranges and are often common within them. Most known species have small ranges, however, and such species are typically newer discoveries. The numbers of known species with very small ranges are increasing quickly, even in well-known taxa. They are geographically concentrated and are disproportionately likely to be threatened or already extinct. We expect unknown species to share these characteristics. Current rates of extinction are about 1000 times the background rate of extinction. These are higher than previously estimated and likely still underestimated. Future rates will depend on many factors and are poised to increase. Finally, although there has been rapid progress in developing protected areas, such efforts are not ecologically representative, nor do they optimally protect biodiversity. Outlook Progress on assessing biodiversity will emerge from continued expansion of the many recently created online databases, combining them with new global data sources on changing land and ocean use and with increasingly crowdsourced data on species’ distributions. Examples of practical conservation that follow from using combined data in Colombia and Brazil can be found at www.savingspecies.org and www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3zjeJW2NVk .
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There has been growing interest in the social conditions of Australian rural communities and the importance of social factors in enabling communities to adapt to change resulting from economic and political restructuring in sustainable ways (Gray and Lawrence, 2001; Fraser et al., 2002; Alston, 2007). While it is widely recognised that social and civic participation can build community capacity (Keleher and Armstrong, 2005), the arts are thought to have an important role in the social well-being of these communities (Coalter, 2001). There is growing evidence for the use of the arts in rural revitalisation, economic stimulation, and capacity building (Adams and Goldbard, 2002; Boon and Plastow, 2004; Mills and Brown, 2004; Brennan-Horley et al., 2007). However, research in this field is rarely quantitative (Reeves, 2002), and has been criticised over the use of ambiguous terminology and ill-defined concepts. This research, therefore, aimed to determine why some communities adapt to change better than others through clarification of the influence of the arts on social well-being for Australian rural communities. A mixed-method approach, with both qualitative and quantitative data, was used to achieve this within the case-study region, the rural Mid West of Western Australia. The methodological approach enabled a deeper understanding of the context in which engagement with the arts occurs, along with a statistical analysis to show how the variables under scrutiny, that some commentators deemed as unmeasurable, could be quantified using established well-being and social capital indicators. The household survey revealed a significant difference in the well-being profile of the case-study region across gender, age, sub-region of residence, and number of years in the resident shire variables. Thus, despite broader regional trends reflecting a vulnerability of rural Australia to macroeconomic forces, there was considerable spatial and social variability within the case-study region. People engaged in the arts for social and entertainment opportunities, to support the organisers, and for individual well-being. However, arts activity was often instigated because of a perceived need or a desired outcome that the arts were anticipated to achieve, including for economic stimulation, to address social concerns, and for strengthening and/or communicating identity and sense of place. Despite comparatively low engagement when compared to a national arts survey (Australia Council, 2010), rural audiences were considered more dedicated arts attendees than their metropolitan counterparts. Statistical analysis confirmed that when controlling for the covariate effects of length of residence, age, gender, and region of residence, performing arts attendees had higher average well-being than those who did not attend (V = 0.34, F(3,309) = 3.593, p = 0.014), and those who actively engaged in the arts had higher average well-being than those who did not actively engage in the arts (V = 0.026, F(3,309) = 2.732, p = 0.044). Positive outcomes from arts engagement were attributed to the processes and contexts in which that engagement took place, in addition to the benefits from arts engagement in its own right. However, these outcomes were not easily isolated from other influences and interactions resulting from the context in which engagement in the arts took place. Thus, despite the use of the arts in this way, securing funding, governance, and community support for the arts was often problematic as a result. This research more clearly defines the nature of the processes and outcomes from arts engagement, which is essential for policy makers in facilitating the capacity of rural communities to determine customised solutions for their future sustainability.
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Late Cenozoic climate change led to the progressive aridification of Australia over the past 15 million years. This gradual biome turnover fundamentally changed Australia's ecosystems, opening new niches and prompting diversification of plants and animals. One example is the Australian Amitermes Group (AAG), consisting of the Australian Amitermes and affiliated genera. Although it represents the most speciose and diverse higher termite group in Australia, little is known about its evolutionary history. We used ancestral range reconstruction and diversification analyses to illuminate 1) the origin and phylogenetic relationships of the AAG, 2) biogeographical processes leading to the current continent-wide distribution, and 3) timing and pattern of diversification in the context of late Cenozoic climate change. By estimating the first time-calibrated phylogeny, we show that the AAG is a monophyletic group, whose ancestor arrived ~11-10 million years ago from Southeast Asia. Ancestral range reconstruction indicates that Australia's monsoon region was the launching point for a continental radiation that has been shaped by range expansions and within-area speciation rather than vicariance. We found that multiple arid species diversified from mesic and tropical ancestors in the Plio-Pleistocene, but also observed diversification in the opposite direction. Finally, we show that two pulses of rapid diversification coincided with past climate change during the late Miocene and early Pliocene. Consistent with rapid diversification, species accumulation then slowed, likely caused by progressive niche saturation. This study provides a stepping stone for predicting the future response of Australia's termite fauna in the face of human-mediated climate change.
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The diversity and abundance of native invertebrates is declining globally, which could have significant consequences for ecosystem functioning. Declines are likely to be at least as severe as those observed for vertebrates, although often are difficult to quantify due to a lack of historic baseline data and limited monitoring effort. The Lepidoptera are well studied in Australia compared with other invertebrates, so we know that some species are imperilled or declining. Despite this, few butterfly taxa are explicitly listed for protection by legislation. Here we aim to identify the butterfly taxa that would most benefit from listing by determining the Australian butterflies at most immediate risk of extinction. We also identify the research and management actions needed to retain them. For 26 taxa identified by experts and various conservation schedules, we used structured expert elicitation to estimate the probability of extinction within 20 years (i.e. by 2040) and to identify key threatening processes, priority research and management needs. Collation and analysis of expert opinion indicated that one taxon, the laced fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius inconstans), is particularly imperilled, and that four taxa (Jalmenus eubulus, Jalmenus aridus, Hypochrysops piceatus and Oreisplanus munionga larana) have a moderate–high (>30%) risk of extinction by 2040. Mapped distributions of the 26 butterflies revealed that most are endemic to a single state or territory, and that many occupy narrow ranges. Inappropriate fire regimes, habitat loss and fragmentation (through agricultural practices), invasive species (mostly through habitat degradation caused by weeds and rabbits) and climate change were the most prevalent threats affecting the taxa considered. Increased resourcing and management intervention will be required to prevent these extinctions. We provide specific recommendations for averting such losses.
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The integration of new knowledge and methods of population biology, phylogenetics, and other evolutionary disciplines into taxonomy is warranted (Sites and Marshall, Trends Ecol Evol 18:462–470, 2004). The analysis and interpretation of data used to delimit species have profound implications in taxonomic research. Integrative taxonomy gives priority to species delineation over the creation of new species names. The integration of all possible taxonomic approaches abridging the gaps of each in arriving at correct species delimitation is the need of the hour in the light of biodiversity inventory. Taxonomy needs to be pluralistic to improve species discovery and description, and to develop novel protocols to produce the much-needed inventory of life in a reasonable time. Insects, being vast and diverse on earth , need much more integrative taxonomic attention than other life systems. The unique characters of an organism that unravels the diagnostic character differences that delimit the species have to be assessed holistically.
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A new approach to inventory Diptera species in tropical habitats is described. A 150 x 266 m patch of cloud forest at Zurquí de Moravia, Costa Rica (10.047N, 84.008W) at 1585 meters asl was sampled with two Malaise traps for slightly more than one year (Sept. 12, 2012-Oct. 18, 2013). Further concomitant sampling with a variety of trapping methods for three days every month and collecting during a one-week intensive "Diptera Blitz", with 19 collaborators collecting on-site, provided diverse additional samples used in the inventory. Two other Costa Rican sites at Tapantí National Park (9.720N, 83.774W, 1600 m) and Las Alturas (8.951N, 82.834W, 1540 m), 40 and 180 km southeast from Zurquí de Moravia, respectively, were each sampled with a single Malaise trap to allow for beta-diversity assessments. Tapantí National Park was sampled from Oct. 28, 2012-Oct. 13, 2013 and Las Alturas from Oct. 13, 2012-Oct. 13, 2013. A worldwide group of 54 expert systematists are identifying to species level all 72 dipteran families present in the trap samples. Five local technicians sampled and prepared material to the highest curatorial standards, ensuring that collaborator efforts were focused on species identification. This project, currently in its final, third year of operation (to end Sept. 1, 2015), has already recorded 2,348 species and with many more yet expected. Unlike previous All Taxon Biodiversity Inventories, this project has attainable goals and will provide the first complete estimate of species richness for one of the four megadiverse insect orders in a tropical region. Considering that this is the first complete survey of one of the largest orders of insects within any tropical region of the planet, there is clearly great need for a consistent and feasible protocol for sampling the smaller but markedly more diverse smaller insects in such ecosystems. By weight of their species diversity and remarkable divergence of habit, the Diptera are an excellent model to gauge microhabitat diversity within such systems. Our model appears to be the first to provide a protocol that can realistically be expected to provide a portrayal of the true species diversity of a megadiverse order of insects in the tropics.
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The origins, evolutionary history and diversification of the Australian butterfly fauna are poorly known and uncertain. Two competing hypotheses have been proposed to explain the occurrence of butterflies on this isolated continental landmass. The common view is that all Australian butterflies entered the continent relatively recently from the northern hemisphere via Southeast Asia and/or mainland New Guinea (i.e. northern dispersal origin hypothesis). The alternative view is that part or all of the Australian butterfly fauna ultimately evolved in remnant or Southern Gondwana when Australia was connected to South America through Antarctica (i.e. Southern Gondwanan origin hypothesis). However, robust phylogenies with strong support for monophyly are lacking for the majority of Australian endemic butterfly lineages, thereby precluding determination of their systematic relationships and hence their geographic origins. Here, we use molecular data to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships of the globally distributed butterfly subtribe Coenonymphina (Satyrinae: Satyrini). This group represents a major component of the butterfly fauna of the wider Australasian region, with 19 genera and 71 species endemic to the region. Dating estimates extrapolated from secondary calibration sources indicate that the subtribe arose c. 48 Ma (95% credibility interval, 52–42 Ma), and the crown group first diverged in the Eocene (c. 44 Ma, 95% credibility interval 51–37 Ma). Rapid speciation events subsequently followed around the Eocence–Oligocene boundary, resulting in a near‐hard polytomy comprising short basal branches with nodes that are difficult to resolve. Based on strongly supported phylogenetic relationships and estimates of divergence times, we conclude that the group probably had its origin in the fragment of Southern Gondwana consisting of Australia, Antarctica and South America. However, we are unable to rule out the northern dispersal scenario, particularly as Coenonymphina are closely related to a set of predominantly Asian lineages. Dispersal and extinction events following the final break‐up of Gondwana have played a pivotal role in shaping the extant distributions of the group. Coenonymphina (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) butterflies have a fascinating global distribution pattern, with centres of diversity in the Australasia and the Palaearctic, and a few species in North and South America. The group originated 52–42 Ma, probably in the Southern Gondwanam fragment comprising Australia, Antarctica and South America. However, we are unable to rule out an origin by dispersal from Asia. Rapid speciation events subsequently followed around the Eocence–Oligocene boundary, punctuated by extinctions, long‐distance global dispersals and dispersals within Australasia.
Article
A new limb-reduced skink from the dry rainforest of north Queensland is described as Lerista rochfordensis sp. nov. It is distinguished from its congeners by forelimb absent with no groove or other indication, hindlimb 5-8% SVL with a single clawed digit, and five supraciliary scales. Its narrow distribution coupled with its apparent reliance on dry rainforest, an endangered habitat, meets the criteria outlined for a Vulnerable listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Qld).
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This is the third in a series of catalogs and bibliographies of the Cicadoidea covering 1981-2010. The work summarizes the cicada literature, providing a means for easy access to information previously published on a particular species or to allow researchers the ability to locate similar work that has been published on other species. A total of 2,591 references are included in the bibliography. The book is a source of biological and systematic information that could be used by zoologists, entomologists, individuals interested in crop protection, and students studying entomology as well as anyone interested in cicadas or who require specific information on the insects. Each genus/species is identified with the reference, the page number, any figures (if applicable), the topics covered by the reference, any synonymies, and any biogeographic information mentioned for the species in the individual reference. An added benefit to the catalog is that it is the first complete species list for the Cicadoidea, including all synonymies and new combinations through 2012. Provides nearly four times the number of references of the previous catalog, demonstrating the explosion of data since that time. Contains all references found that mention a genus or species name in the work. Includes more than 300 additional references that were not in the two previous works on this subject. Features the first complete species list for the Cicadoidea, including all synonymies.
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Intellectual Property in Global Governance critically examines the evolution of international intellectual property law-making from the build up to the TRIPS Agreement, through the TRIPS and post-TRIPS era. The book focuses on a number of thematic intellectual property issue linkages, exploring the formal and informal institutional interactions and multi-stakeholder holder intrigues implicated in the global governance of intellectual property. Using examples from bio-technology, bio-diversity, bio-prospecting and bio-piracy it investigates the shift or concentration in the focus of innovation from physical to life sciences and the ensuing changes in international intellectual property law making and their implications for intellectual property jurisprudence. It examines the character of the reception, resistance and various nuanced reactions to the changes brought about by the TRIPS Agreement, exploring the various institutional sites and patterns of such responses, as well as the escalation in the issue-linkages associated with the concept and impact of intellectual property law.
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Studies of insect biodiversity and conservation in Australia have been severely limited by the many undescribed species and paucity of taxonomists and insect ecologists. In this review, I discuss important issues facing insect conservation, namely, key threatening processes, threats to habitats and ecological communities, the importance of maintaining insect interactions, the value of vegetation remnants in agricultural ecosystems and the importance of community participation, and provide recommendations for the conservation management of invertebrates and their habitats. Major threats to insect biodiversity continue from habitat loss through broadscale clearing of native vegetation, invasion by weeds, habitat fragmentation, loss of natural corridors and inappropriate fire regimes. Other threats include disturbance of plant communities on hilltops, creek embankments and in water courses, pesticide regimes, trampling and grazing by stock and feral animals, and exotic predators. Climate change affects those insects constrained by their thermal and moisture tolerances (climate envelopes), potentially influencing their distribution, development and reproduction, by disrupting diapause and aestivation or inducing torpor. Protected areas under State jurisdiction are at risk without Commonwealth protection and increasingly threatening those insects occurring only in national parks and other conservation areas. For effective conservation of mainland national parks, overarching national EPBC Act legislation is needed to protect parks for conservation of animal and plant diversity and natural landscapes. Retention of native vegetation as refuges for beneficial insects near farmlands is known to contribute to environmentally clean pest control. Information on conservation of beneficial insects and their dependence on native plants as habitats is needed by farmers to promote identification and protection of natural refuges for pollinators, parasitoids and predators and to support the case against indiscriminate tree clearing. Important community conservation activities are underway in several States and Territories, but to be effective, increased support and funding from appropriate agencies is required.
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Australia and New Zealand are home to a remarkable and unique assemblage of flora and fauna. Sadly though, by virtue of their long isolation, and a naïve and vulnerable biota, both countries have suffered substantial losses to biodiversity since European contact. Bringing together the contributions of leading conservation biologists, Austral Ark presents the special features and historical context of Austral biota, and explains what is being conserved and why. The threatening processes occurring worldwide are discussed, along with the unique conservation problems faced at regional level. At the same time, the book highlights many examples of conservation success resulting from the innovative solutions that have been developed to safeguard native species and habitats in both New Zealand and Australia. Austral Ark fills an important gap regarding wildlife gains and declines, and how best to take conservation forward to keep this extraordinary area of the world thriving.
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Perhaps 12 million species of eukaryotic organisms share this planet with us, together with many more kinds of bacteria and their relatives. Most of these remain unknown to us. We depend completely on other organisms for the conditions that make possible our life on Earth and supply so many of our needs. However, our rapidly growing numbers and consumption patterns are so high that we are causing one of the most devastating extinction events that have ever occurred. We are clearly running a very dangerous experiment that we must strive to deflect both locally and globally before it becomes too late. Jammu and Kashmir, located in the northwestern Himalaya, is broadly defined as home to one of the richest and most diverse assemblies of biodiversity found in South Asia. An internationally based effort to save as much of these riches as possible, therefore, merits urgent research attention.
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It is usually not practical for invertebrates to be comprehensively included in biodiversity surveys that underpin conservation planning, and so a representative subset of taxa needs to be selected. One approach to representativeness is to select taxa whose patterns of richness and composition are most strongly correlated with those of total invertebrates (i.e. all taxa combined). However, if different groups show very different distribution patterns then ‘total diversity’ cannot be considered as representative of the diversity of invertebrate taxa, and so an alternative approach to achieving representativeness is to base selection on complementarity (i.e. representing the full range of distribution patterns shown by different taxa). We use data on 12 invertebrate families (comprising ants, beetles, flies and spiders) sampled using pitfall traps across 78 sites in a tropical savanna landscape of northern Australia to identify a subset of target taxa (families) to represent their diversity patterns. We use a simple scoring system that incorporates both survey practicality and biological representativeness to compare selection of taxa based on (1) representing ‘total diversity’ and (2) representativeness through complementarity (‘complementary diversity’). Congruence among taxa in terms of both species richness and composition was generally low (ρ < 0.5), suggesting that taxa are poorly representative of each other and thus a complementary approach is required for target taxa selection. The taxa that scored highest in representing ‘complementary diversity’ were very different to those representing ‘total diversity’. To our knowledge, this is the first time that invertebrate representativeness based on ‘total diversity’ and ‘complementary diversity’ have been directly compared. The selected target taxa are specific to our study system, but our simple method for selecting representative invertebrate taxa for conservation planning is widely applicable, including for biodiversity monitoring and environmental impact assessment.
Chapter
The class Insecta comprises a widely distributed and diverse group of organisms. This diversity also extends to cytogenetic data, such as chromosome number, sex determination systems and peculiar kinds of chromosomes. Information on fluorescence in situ hybridization applied in insects is available, and the approach has been increasingly used over recent years. However, corresponding data is still scarce for some groups. In this chapter, we provide a detailed FISH protocol with varied use in insects, including reagent preparation instructions, adaptations and discussion. We also provide information about homemade C 0t1 DNA.
Article
Purpose This paper aims to respond to recent calls by Jones (2014) and Jones and Solomon (Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 2013) for more studies on biodiversity accounting and reporting. In particular, this paper explores biodiversity reporting of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), an Australian public sector enterprise. Design/methodology/approach The paper uses content analysis of MDBA’s published annual reports over the period of 15 years (1998-2012). Archival data (from different government departments) are also used to prepare natural inventory model. Findings The paper finds that although specific species, such as flora and fauna, and habitats-related disclosures have increased over the time, such information still allows only a partial construction of an inventory of natural assets, using Jones’ (1996, 2003) model. However, unlike prior studies that find lack of data availability to be the main impediment for operationalising biodiversity accounting, the abundance of biodiversity data in Australia makes it comparatively easier to produce such a statement. Research limitations/implications Informed by the environmental stewardship framework, the results of this paper suggest that the disclosures made by MDBA are constrained potentially due to its use of traditional accounting mechanisms of reporting that only allow tradable items to be reported to stakeholders. An alternative reporting format would be more relevant to stakeholder groups who are more interested in information regarding quality and availability of water, and loss of biodiversity in the basin area rather than the financial performance of the MDBA. Originality/value Although there are a growing number of studies exploring biodiversity reporting in Australia, this paper is one of the earlier attempts to operationalise biodiversity (particularly habitats, flora and fauna) within the context of an Australian public sector enterprise.
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Global species richness is a key biodiversity metric. Despite recent efforts to estimate global species richness, the resulting estimates have been highly uncertain and often logically inconsistent. Estimates lower down either the taxonomic or geographic hierarchies are often larger than those above. Further, these estimates have been represented in a wide variety of forms, including intervals (a, b), point estimates with no uncertainty, and point estimates with either symmetrical or asymmetrical bounds, making it difficult to combine information across different estimates. Here, we develop a Bayesian hierarchical approach to estimate the global species richness from published studies. It allows us to recover interval estimates at each level of the hierarchy, even when data are partially or wholly unobserved, while respecting logical constraints, and to determine the effects of estimation on the whole hierarchy of obtaining future estimates anywhere within it
Chapter
Insecta consists of 29 living orders that are not equivalent by any criteria except taxonomic rank (Davis et al. 2010). Insects demonstrate the greatest biodiversity, accounting for over half of all described eukaryotes, approximately 1 million described species (Grimaldi and Engel 2005) and a global total of anywhere between 5 and 10 million species (Gaston 1991; Raven and Yeates 2007). Although lower-end estimates of species numbers are more likely (Mora et al. 2011), around two-thirds of all insects probably remain to be discovered and described (May 2010), vastly outnumbering the total diversity of other better- studied taxonomic groups like vertebrates and vascular plants. The importance of insects for stable ecosystem functioning also cannot be understated. For example, insects are responsible for the breakdown of organic material, animal and human remains, removal of waste, aeration and turnover of soil, and the vital task of pollination for flowering plants. They also include important predators that control numbers of other pest invertebrates or weed plants, and are an essential food source for many birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. Understanding the impressive numerical and ecological diversity of insects has long been recognized as an important research goal. To achieve this, it is vital toclarify the evolutionary history and ancestral attributes of lineages. Here we will (1) take stock of our current understanding of insect systematics and the role molecular phylogenetics has played, (2) review the taxonomic diversity of transcriptomes and whole genomes in Insecta and its current bias, (3) discuss the ways that NGS technologies can be used to study insect evolution, and (4) propose strategies for selecting future insects to sequence, for example to maximize genomic diversity and resolve important phylogenetic questions that remain in the field of insect systematics.
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Butterflies are among the most popular insects that are extensively studied to determine both the status of their populations and as an indicator of ecosystem health. In this study, an assessment of diversity, abundance and distribution of butterfly species in Kiang’ondu Forest and surrounding farmlands was conducted between May and June, 2017. A total of 12 transects (Pollard walks) were used to collect data in the montane forest, forest edges, stream sides and adjacent farms. In addition, a social-ecological survey to determine local community’s knowledge on butterfly conservation value in the area was carried out using self-administered questionnaires. A total of 49 butterfly species were recorded with the most abundant species being Pieris rapae. Species diversity was highest in the forest (H’ 3.29) and at the forest edges (H’ 2.46). Apparently, all the respondents were aware of the presence of butterflies in the forest. Majority of the respondents (85%) felt that the presence of butterflies in their farms benefitted the community by pollinating their crops in addition to adding beauty to the environment (67%). The study provides important insights into the diversity of butterflies in a tropical montane forest as well as the social-ecological values attached to the taxa by the local community. The data is important in promoting appreciation of the forest biodiversity and encouraging local community support in forest conservation.
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Islands are important for maintaining a range of biodiversity, cultural and economic values. However, islands around the world face major and complex conservation challenges, often shared across multiple islands. The variety of tenures and uses also means there is a lack of coordination in policy and management. Addressing these challenges requires sharing lessons of success and failure. To facilitate knowledge-sharing, we need to develop common frameworks, platforms, guidelines and legislation to devise, advise and support actions and collaborations aimed to enhance island conservation. These need to consider both human needs and biodiversity, interactions, research, practice, and information sharing across islands. Pathways may include knowledge, data and experience sharing to ensure that cross-State and Territory coordination can disseminate the lessons learned from island projects to island stakeholders and vice versa. We discuss examples of existing organisational management structures that can potentially form the basis for a timely new platform focusing on Australia’s islands. We propose an island alliance be established as a multi-disciplinary platform to improve coordination among Australia’s islands, and to represent Australia’s environmental island challenges and solutions. Such an alliance would aim to bridge island communities, practitioners, managers, researchers and cultural advisors across diverse and complementary spheres along the continuum from biodiversity and ecosystems to people and social entrepreneurship. This alliance would have a mandate to develop national environmental collaborations, research and standards relating to island environments, facilitate business entrepreneurship with complementary outcomes to manage the threats that face Australian islands, and contribute to improving biodiversity conservation outcomes. The platform would draw together practitioners, natural and social scientists, policymakers, and importantly indigenous and non-Indigenous island communities to lead innovative collaborations and support Australian islands.
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IntroductionTransect surveysEndemismRelationships and biogeographyMajor threats to Wet Tropics invertebratesSummaryReferences
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This paper tables and reports on pooled taxonomic data from three separate research projects involving aspects of eucalypt invertebrate ecology: canopy invertebrates in jarrah and marri forest; bark invertebrates on four eucalypt species in forest and woodland; and soil and litter fauna in jarrah and marri forest. The data support the concept of a high invertebrate biodiversity on and under southwestern eucalypts, with 1 234 adult morphospecies of invertebrates being collected from the bark alone. Despite different trapping methods used in each of the three studies, we were able to find a high degree of overlap at the family level between bark and canopy fauna (126 families were found on both bark and in the canopy representing 79.2% of 159 canopy families). Eighty identified genera were also found on both bark and canopy, which represents 46.2% of the 173 identified canopy genera. The soil and litter fauna data are not complete (a taxonomic inventory of Acarina and Formicidae is not available) but appears to be more distinctive, sharing only 24 families (= 60% of the 40 identified soil-litter families) with bark, and 17 families (= 42.5% of the soil-litter families) with the canopy. At the generic level, only seven identified genera (= 8.6% of 22 soil-litter genera) were shared between soil-litter and bark, and five genera (= 6.2% of soil-litter genera) were shared between soil-litter and the canopy. An examination of the trophic guilds reveals that fungivores-decomposers were diverse in soil and litter (accounting for approximately 50% of the biodiversity in these substrates). This guild was much less diverse on the canopy (21.6% of the canopy diversity) and the bark (16.9% of bark diversity). Sap-sucking organisms were more diverse in soil (13.9%) and litter (12.8%) than on the canopy (5.3%) or on bark (5.9%). The canopy result is surprising, and suggests that not many invertebrate species are able to feed on the sap of southwestern eucalypts, the sap of which may contain a high proportion of toxic compounds. Predators were more diverse on the canopy and on bark (=19-23% of total taxa) than in soil and litter (= 9-9.5%), as were parasitoids (18.7% and 22.5% compared with 10.5% and 14.8%). Epiphyte grazers and phytophages were not very diverse (≤11%) on any of the substrates, and representatives of other guilds or organisms whose diet was unknown accounted for less than 2.5% of the total diversity. Tourist species were not recognised among the soil and litter fauna, though they were found in the canopy and on bark, and ants were not quantified for soil and litter.
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Male cicadas are familiar for their unique loud airborne calls used in courtship and mate recognition. Extant Tettigarcta species in Australia are little-known relict survivors of a primitive Mesozoic cicada radiation which do not make loud calls and lack either the apparatus to produce them or the auditory organs to detect them. Field studies on live insects in New South Wales for the first time show that Tettigarcta produce low-intensity, substrate-transmitted acoustic signals in courtship. This habit seems to be a primitive (plesiomorphic) feature.
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Calcrete aquifers in the Yilgarn Craton of central Western Australia have recently been found to contain a rich invertebrate stygofauna, including the world's most diverse collection of stygobitic dytiscid water beetles. Our aim was to determine the evolutionary relationships between 11 species of stygobitic dytiscids and epigean species of the tribe Bidessini. Phylogenetic analyses of 1431 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), including segments of cytochrome oxidase 1, 16S rRNA, tRNA leu and NADH dehydrogenase 1 genes, revealed that 10 of the 11 species form a natural group within the Bidessini and are most closely related to epigean taxa from the genera Allodessus Guignot, Boongurrus Larson, Limbodessus Guignot and Liodessus Guignot. The analyses support the morphological taxonomy of the stygobitic beetles at the species level, but generic level classification is not concordant with mtDNA lineages. Sympatric species of the large Tjirtudessus Watts & Humphreys and smaller Nirridessus Watts & Humphreys are more closely related to each other than either are to their congeners, suggesting a possible case of sympatric speciation. The analyses indicate that there have been multiple independent origins of stygobitic dytiscids and that origins correlate with the onset of aridity during the Miocene and also provide evidence that each calcrete aquifer may represent a 'subterranean island'.
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Australia makes up a little under 6% of the total landmass of earth, but its biota is a large and unique component of the biosphere. Arthropods, particularly insects, dominate terrestrial ecosystems, and the Australian land arthropod fauna is no exception. In comparison to the vertebrates and angiosperms, the arthropod fauna of Australia is poorly known. Commonly cited estimates of insect species-richness refer to the number of described and undescribed species held in collections. Given the size of the continent, the paucity of sampling and survey work in all but the east coast and south west, and the narrow endemism displayed by many taxa, these estimates are at best very conservative. We have surveyed the literature and canvassed taxonomic experts to derive a new estimate of the number of terrestrial arthropod species in Australia of 253 000, with almost 205 000 of these being insects. Estimating total species richness for very diverse groups is difficult, and we rely on a poll of experts and a method that extrapolates from the rate of species discovery from recent taxonomic research. The largest components of terrestrial arthropod species richness are in the Araneae (spiders), Acari (mites) and the five largest insect orders: Hemiptera (true bugs), Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants), Diptera (flies), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and Coleoptera (beetles). These revised estimates provide an indication of how much more taxonomic research is needed in Australia to describe this fauna, and where large gaps in our knowledge still lie. An outline estimate of the resources required to describe the remaining fauna is also presented. We also discuss the reconciliation of our taxonomic estimate with those suggested by three recent ecological biodiversity surveys.
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Stony deserts are durable indicators of aridity but until now have not been directly dated. Using 21Ne and 10Be produced in surface rocks by cosmic rays, we show that Australian stony deserts formed 2 4 Ma, at the time when global cooling initiated the Quaternary ice ages and intensified aridity-induced major landscape changes in central Australia. This is the first direct determination of stony desert ages, using a new method for determining cosmogenic 21Ne in the presence of various neon components from other sources.
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Seem to favour the idea that rare species are common elsewhere e.g. on a different plant species.
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Studies of a variety of phenomena, ranging from rates of molecular substitution to rates of diversification, draw on estimates of geological age. Studies incorporating estimates of timing from fossils or other geological evidence are largely of relatively young, Tertiary divergences, to which older systems may provide useful comparisons. One apparently old assemblage comprises the beetle groups associated with the ancient genus Araucaria that share comparable, ostensibly Gondwanan distributions with their host. Our previous studies suggested a possibly Cretaceous age for Araucaria associations in bark beetles. However, the absence of confirmed bark beetle fossils earlier than the Tertiary has been taken as evidence of Cretaceous absence, and their confirmed phylogenetic position within the primitively angiosperm-feeding weevil family rules out pre-angiosperm, Jurassic origins. Nevertheless, an early shift from angiosperms to Araucaria seemed plausible in the light of Araucaria fossil history which spans the Mesozoic since the Jurassic. To resolve the phylogenetic affinities and to estimate divergence times of the Australian and South American bark beetle genera affiliated with Araucaria we analysed DNA sequences of nuclear and mitochondrial genes: protein coding elongation factor alpha, enolase and cytochrome oxidase I. The most parsimonious reconstruction of the host relationships of Tomicini from the combined dataset corroborates the ancestral association with the genus Araucaria of both South American and Australian Tomicini. Bayesian estimation of divergence times indicates that the divergence between the Australian and the South American Araucaria-feeding taxa occurred at the very latest in the Cretaceous/Paleocene border and that the age of the first Scolytinae–Araucaria association would then be during the later stages of the Late Cretaceous, while other known beetle/Araucaria associations are Jurassic.
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The Apteropanorpidae is a small family of scorpionflies endemic to Tasmania. The biology of the family is almost completely unknown. Here we present results of laboratory and field studies of the diet and feeding behavior of adult Apteropanorpidae. We describe the morphology of the alimentary canal and mouthparts and discuss the relationship between diet, feeding behavior and morphology. We compare these results to the feeding ecology of other extant Mecoptera, and speculate on the feeding strategies of fossil Mecoptera, placing all data in a phylogenetic context. Results show that adult Apteropanorpidae are most likely saprophagous in nature, predominantly on dead and decaying invertebrates.
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In the face of worldwide habitat fragmentation, managers need to devise a time frame for action. We ask how fast do understory bird species disappear from experimentally isolated plots in the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, central Amazon, Brazil. Our data consist of mist-net records obtained over a period of 13 years in 11 sites of 1, 10, and 100 hectares. The numbers of captures per species per unit time, analyzed under different simplifying assumptions, reveal a set of species-loss curves. From those declining numbers, we derive a scaling rule for the time it takes to lose half the species in a fragment as a function of its area. A 10-fold decrease in the rate of species loss requires a 1,000-fold increase in area. Fragments of 100 hectares lose one half of their species in <15 years, too short a time for implementing conservation measures.
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Following reports of dramatic declines in managed and feral honey bees from nearly every region of North America, scientists and resource managers from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada come together to review the quality of the evidence that honey bees as well as other pollinators are in long-term decline and to consider the potential consequences of these losses on the conservation of biodiversity and the stability of the yield of food crops. These experts in pollination ecology confirmed that the last 5 years of losses of honeybee colonies in North America leaves us with fewer managed pollinators than at any time in the last 50 years and that the management and protection of wild pollinators is an issue of paramount importance to our food supply system. Although there are conclusive data that indicate 1200 wild vertebrate pollination may be at risk, data on the status of most invertebrate species that act as pollination agents is lacking. The recommendations from a working group of over 20 field scientists, presented here, have been endorsed by 14 conservation and sustainable agriculture organizations, research institutes, and professional societies including the Society for Conservation Biology. Among the most critical priorities for future research and conservation of pollinator species are (1) increased attention to invertebrate systematics, monitoring, and reintroduction as part of critical habitat management and restoration plans. (2) multi-year assessments of the lethal and sublethal effects of pesticides, herbicides, and habitat fragmentation on the wild pollinator populations in and near croplands; (3) inclusion of the monitoring of seed and fruit set and floral visitation rates in endangered plant management and recovery plans; (4) inclusion of habitat needs for critically-important pollinators in the critical habitat designations for endangered plants; (5) identification and protection of floral reserves near roost sites along the "nectar corridors" of threatened migratory pollinators; and (6) investment in the restoration and management of a diversity of pollinators and their habitats adjacent to croplands in order to stabilize or improve crop yields The work group encourages increased education and training to ensure that both the lay, public and resource managers understand that pollination is one of the most important ecological services provided to agriculture through the responsible management and protection of wildland habitats and their populations of pollen-vectoring animals and nectar-producing plants.
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Following reports of dramatic declines in managed and feral honeybees from nearly every region of North America, scientists and resource managers from the US, Mexico and Canada came togther to review the quality of evidence that honey bees as well as other pollinators are in long-term decline and to consider the potential consequences of these losses on the conservation of biodiversity and the stability of the yield of foodcrops. These experts in pollination ecology confirmed that the last 5 yearsof losses of honeybee colonies in North America leave us with fewer managed pollinators than at any time in the last 50 years and that the management and protection of wild pollinators is an issue of paramount importance to our food supply system. Although there are conclusive data that indicate that 1200 wild vertebrate pollinators may be at risk, data on the stauts of most invertebrate species that act as pollination agents is lacking. The recommendations from a working group of over 20 field scientists. presented here, have been endorsed by 14 conservation and sustainable agriculture organisations, research institutes, and professional societies, including the Society for Conservation Biology. Among the most critical priorities for future research and conservation of pollinator species are (1) increased attention to invertebrate systematics, monitoring and reintroduction as part of critical habitat management and restoration plans (2) multi-year assessments of the lethal and sublethal effects of pesticides, herbicides and habitat fragmentation on wild pollinator populations in and near croplands (3) inclusion of the monitoring of seed and fruit set and floral visitation rates in endangered plant management and recovery plans (4) inclusion of habitat needs for critically-important pollinatos in the critical habitat designations for endangered plants (5) identification and protection of floral reserves near roost sites along the "nectar corridors" of the threatened migratory pollinators (6) investment in the restoration and management of a diversity of pollinators and their habitats adjacent to croplands in order to stabilise or improve crop yields The work group encourages increased education and training to ensure that both the lay public and resource managers understand that pollination is one of the most important ecological services provided to agriculture through the responsible management and protection of wildland habitats and their populations of pollen-vectoring animals and nectar producing plants
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This paper tables and reports on pooled taxonomic data from three separate research projects involving aspects of eucalypt invertebrate ecology: canopy invertebrates in jarrah and marri forest; bark invertebrates on four eucalypt species in forest and woodland; and soil and litter fauna in jarrah and marri forest. The data support the notion of a high invertebrate biodiversity on and under southwestern eucalypts, with 1234 adult morphospecies of invertebrates being collected fiom the bark alone. Despite different trapping methods used in each of the three studies, we were able to find a high degree of overlap at the family level between bark and canopy fauna. (126 families were found on both bark and in the canopy representing 79.2% of 159 canopy families). Eighty identified genera were also found on both bark and canopy, which represents 46.2% of the 173 identified canopy genera. The soil and litter fauna data are not complete (a taxonomic inventory of Acarina and Forrnicidae is not available) but appear to be more distinctive, sharing only 24 families (=60% of the 40 identified soil-litter families) with bark, and 17 families (=42.5% of the soil-litter families) with the canopy. At the generic level, only seven identified genera (=8.6% of 22 soil-litter genera) were shared between soil-litter and bark, and five genera (=6.2% of soil-litter genera) were shared between soil-litter and the canopy. An examination of the trophic guilds reveals that fungivores-decomposers were very diverse in soil and litter, accounting for approximately 50% of the biodiversity in these substrates. This guild was much less diverse on the canopy (21.6% of the canopy diversity) and the bark (16.9% of bark diversity). Sap-sucking organisms were more diverse in soil (13.9%) and litter (12.8%) than on the canopy (5.3%) or on bark (5.9%). The canopy result is surprising and suggests that not many invertebrate species are able to feed on the sap of southwestern eucalypts, whose sap may contain a high proportion of toxic compounds. Predators were more diverse on the canopy and on bark (19-23% of total taxa) than in soil and litter (9-9.5%), as were parasitoids (18.7% and 22.5% compared with 10.5% and 14.8%). Epiphyte grazers and phytophageh were not very common (plus or minus 11%) on any of the substrates, while representatives of other guilds or organisms whose diet was unknown accounted for less than 2.5% of the total diversity. Tourist species were not recognised among the soil and litter fauna, though they were found in the canopy and on bark and ants were not quantified for soil and litter. A typical southwestern Australian eucalypt is thus an important host for very many invertebrates which occupy a wide range of trophic guilds. Should the system be altered, the result could be a catastrophic simplification of the invertebrate fauna presently found in eucalypt communities. Ultimately, many vertebrates and plants dependent on that invertebrate fauna for food, pollination and other processes would also disappear.
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A new genus and species of Mantophasmatidae, namely: Tyrannophasma gladiator ZOMPRO, gen. nov. sp. nov., is described and figured based on material from the Brandberg Massif, Omaruru District, Namibia. A key to fossil and extant genera of Mantophasmatodea and new observations on the bionomics and behaviour of T. gladiator sp. nov. and Mantophasma zephyra ZOMPRO ET AL., 2002, are included. ‘Gladiator-bugs’ is here proposed as the vernacular name for the order Mantophasmatodea. A standardised set of defined measurements for the description of species is proposed.
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A new insect order, Mantophasmatodea, is described on the basis of museum specimens of a new genus with two species: Mantophasma zephyra gen. et sp. nov. (one female from Namibia) and M. subsolana sp. nov. (one male from Tanzania). This is the first time since 1914 that a newly described extant insect taxon has proved unplaceable within a recognized order. Mantophasmatodeans are apterous carnivores. Their closest phylogenetic relationships may be to Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) and/or Phasmatodea (stick insects), but the morphological evidence is ambiguous. Raptophasma Zompro from Baltic amber is assigned to the Mantophasmatodea, revealing a wider previous range for the lineage.
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Two decades of research have not established whether tropical insect herbivores are dominated by specialists or generalists. This impedes our understanding of species coexistence in diverse rainforest communities. Host specificity and species richness of tropical insects are also key parameters in mapping global patterns of biodiversity. Here we analyse data for over 900 herbivorous species feeding on 51 plant species in New Guinea and show that most herbivorous species feed on several closely related plant species. Because species-rich genera are dominant in tropical floras, monophagous herbivores are probably rare in tropical forests. Furthermore, even between phylogenetically distant hosts, herbivore communities typically shared a third of their species. These results do not support the classical view that the coexistence of herbivorous species in the tropics is a consequence of finely divided plant resources; non-equilibrium models of tropical diversity should instead be considered. Low host specificity of tropical herbivores reduces global estimates of arthropod diversity from 31 million (ref. 1) to 4 6 million species. This finding agrees with estimates based on taxonomic collections, reconciling an order of magnitude discrepancy between extrapolations of global diversity based on ecological samples of tropical communities with those based on sampling regional faunas.
Book
Why do Australian rainforests occur as islands within the vast tracts of Eucalyptus? Why is fire a critical ecological factor in every Australian landscape? What were the consequences of the ice-age colonists use of fire? In this original and challenging book, David Bowman critically examines hypotheses that have been advanced to answer these questions. He demonstrates that fire is the most critical factor in controlling the distribution of rainforest throughout Australia. Furthermore, while Aboriginal people used fire to skilfully manage and preserve habitats, he concludes that they did not significantly influence the evolution of Australia's unique flora and fauna. This book is a comprehensive overview of the diverse literature that attempts to solve the puzzle of the archipelago of rainforest habitats in Australia. It is essential reading for all ecologists, foresters, conservation biologists, and others interested in the biogeography and ecology of Australian rainforests.
Book
The present volume presents a revision of the Wingia group of 91 genera, a group which appears to be almost entirely endemic to Australia. Detailed information is provided on the morphology, including the genitalia of both sexes, and up-to-date data on the distribution, biology and larval food plants of the species referred to each genus. A list of the species assigned to each genus is given, with full synonymy, references to the original descriptions, label data and repository of the primary type, lectotype designations, and abbreviated distribution data. Illustrations of the adults, wing venation, and male and female genitalia of the type species are included, as well as of the heads and eggs of representative genera. A key to genera is also provided.
Chapter
The objective of this section is to explore how far global biodiversity may have been accounted for by taxonomic description, emphasising diversity at the species level. This is done with reference to the total number of species currently recognised (itself very imprecisely known) and the degree to which we can estimate the completeness of taxonomic knowledge.
Article
Studies of a variety of phenomena, ranging from rates of molecular substitution to rates of diversification, draw on estimates of geological age. Studies incorporating estimates of timing from fossils or other geological evidence are largely of relatively young, Tertiary divergences, to which older systems may provide useful comparisons. One apparently old assemblage comprises the beetle groups associated with the ancient genus Araucaria that share comparable, ostensibly Gondwanan distributions with their host. Our previous studies suggested a possibly Cretaceous age for Araucaria associations in bark beetles. However, the absence of confirmed bark beetle fossils earlier than the Tertiary has been taken as evidence of Cretaceous absence, and their confirmed phylogenetic position within the primitively angiosperm-feeding weevil family rules out pre-angiosperm, Jurassic origins. Nevertheless, an early shift from angiosperms to Araucaria seemed plausible in the light of Araucaria fossil history which spans the Mesozoic since the Jurassic. To resolve the phylogenetic affinities and to estimate divergence times of the Australian and South American bark beetle genera affiliated with Araucaria we analysed DNA sequences of nuclear and mitochondrial genes: protein coding elongation factor alpha, enolase and cytochrome oxidase I. The most parsimonious reconstruction of the host relationships of Tomicini from the combined dataset corroborates the ancestral association with the genus Araucaria of both South American and Australian Tomicini. Bayesian estimation of divergence times indicates that the divergence between the Australian and the South American Araucaria-feeding taxa occurred at the very latest in the Cretaceous/Paleocene border and that the age of the first Scolytinae-Araucaria association would then be during the later stages of the Late Cretaceous, while other known beetle/Araucaria associations are Jurassic.
Article
Cited By (since 1996):231, Export Date: 26 November 2013, Source: Scopus
Article
The assumptions on the host specificity of beetles that led Terry Erwin to suggest that there may be over 30 million arthropod species were tested for 10 species of trees and their insect associates at a rainforest site in Papua New Guinea. The data included 391 species and 4696 individuals of herbivorous beetles collected during a one year period using hand collecting, beating, branch clipping, intercept flight traps and pyrethrum knockdown. Insect host specificity was assessed by feeding trials in captivity. The data suggest that between 23 and 37 monophagous leaf-feeding species are most likely to be present in this system, whereas Erwin's method yields an estimate of 138 monophagous species. The major factors responsible for the discrepancy between our observations and Erwin's assumptions appears to be (a) the importance of transient species; (b) the insect fauna that is shared among tree species; (c) some generalist wood-eating species may inflate the apparent species richness of leaf-feeding beetles; and (d) the proportion of specialist species varies significantly among tree species. We conclude that studies reporting the proportion of specialist insect herbivores associated with particular tropical tree species will yield only a portion of the information needed to estimate global arthropod species richness, but may be useful for elucidating certain aspects of food-web ecology in tropical rain forests.
Article
Nematodes of the genus Fergusobia Currie (Tylenchida : Neotylenchidae) and flies of the genus Fergusonina Malloch (Diptera : Fergusoninidae) together form the only known mutualistic association between insects and nematodes that induces galls in young meristematic tissues in Myrtaceae. Six new species of Fergusobia are described (F. quinquenerviae, sp. nov., F. cajuputiae, sp. nov., F. dealbatae, sp. nov., F. leucadendrae, sp. nov., F. nervosae, sp. nov., and F. viridiflorae, sp. nov.) and partial descriptions are presented for a further two species. Together, these taxa form a putative monophyletic group, apparently restricted to species of Melaleuca in the broad-leaved M. leucadendra-complex, from coastal Queensland and north-east New South Wales, Australia. Each species of nematode has a mutualistic association with a particular species of Fergusonina fly and (with one exception) each association is apparently restricted to one particular species of Melaleuca.
Article
Aim To compare the phylogeny of the eucalypt and melaleuca groups with geological events and ages of fossils to discover the time frame of clade divergences. Location Australia, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Indonesian Archipelago. Methods We compare published molecular phylogenies of the eucalypt and melaleuca groups of the plant family Myrtaceae with geological history and known fossil records from the Cretaceous and Cenozoic. Results The Australasian eucalypt group includes seven genera, of which some are relictual rain forest taxa of restricted distribution and others are species-rich and widespread in drier environments. Based on molecular and morphological data, phylogenetic analyses of the eucalypt group have identified two major clades. The monotypic Arillastrum endemic to New Caledonia is related in one clade to the more species-rich Angophora, Corymbia and Eucalyptus that dominate the sclerophyll vegetation of Australia. Based on the time of rifting of New Caledonia from eastern Gondwana and the age of fossil eucalypt pollen, we argue that this clade extends back to the Late Cretaceous. The second clade includes three relictual rain forest taxa, with Allosyncarpia from Arnhem Land the sister taxon to Eucalyptopsis of New Guinea and the eastern Indonesian archipelago, and Stockwellia from the Atherton Tableland in north-east Queensland. As monsoonal, drier conditions evolved in northern Australia, Arnhem Land was isolated from the wet tropics to the east and north during the Oligocene, segregating ancestral rain forest biota. It is argued also that the distribution of species in Eucalyptopsis and Eucalyptus subgenus Symphyomyrtus endemic in areas north of the stable edge of the Australian continent, as far as Sulawesi and the southern Philippines, is related to the geological history of south-east Asia-Australasia. Colonization (dispersal) may have been aided by rafting on micro-continental fragments, by accretion of arc terranes onto New Guinea and by land brought into closer proximity during periods of low sea-level, from the Late Miocene and Pliocene. The phylogenetic position of the few northern, non-Australian species of Eucalyptus subgenus Symphyomyrtus suggests rapid radiation in the large Australian sister group(s) during this time frame. A similar pattern, connecting Australia and New Caledonia, is emerging from phylogenetic analysis of the Melaleuca group (Beaufortia suballiance) within Myrtaceae, with Melaleuca being polyphyletic. Main conclusion The eucalypt group is an old lineage extending back to the Late Cretaceous. Differentiation of clades is related to major geological and climatic events, including rifting of New Caledonia from eastern Gondwana, development of monsoonal and drier climates, collision of the northern edge of the Australian craton with island arcs and periods of low sea level. Vicariance events involve dispersal of biota.
Article
This review summarizes recent research in Australia on: (i) climate and geophysical trends over the last few decades; (ii) projections for climate change in the 21st century; (iii) predicted impacts from modelling studies on particular ecosystems and native species; and (iv) ecological effects that have apparently occurred as a response to recent warming. Consistent with global trends, Australia has warmed ~ 0.8 C over the last century with minimum temperatures warming faster than maxima. There have been significant regional trends in rainfall with the northern, eastern and southern parts of the continent receiving greater rainfall and the western region receiving less. Higher rainfall has been associated with an increase in the number of rain days and heavy rainfall events. Sea surface temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef have increased and are associated with an increase in the frequency and severity of coral bleaching and mortality. Sea level rises in Australia have been regionally variable, and considerably less than the global average. Snow cover and duration have declined significantly at some sites in the Snowy Mountains. CSIRO projections for future climatic changes indicate increases in annual average temperatures of 0.4–2.0 C by 2030 (relative to 1990) and 1.0–6.0 C by 2070. Considerable uncertainty remains as to future changes in rainfall, El Niño Southern Oscillation events and tropical cyclone activity. Overall increases in potential evaporation over much of the continent are predicted as well as continued reductions in the extent and duration of snow cover. Future changes in temperature and rainfall are predicted to have significant impacts on most vegetation types that have been modelled to date, although the interactive effect of continuing increases in atmospheric CO 2 has not been incorporated into most modelling studies. Elevated CO 2 will most likely mitigate some of the impacts of climate change by reducing water stress. Future impacts on particular ecosystems include increased forest growth, alterations in competitive regimes between C3 and C4 grasses, increasing encroachment of woody shrubs into arid and semiarid rangelands, continued incursion of mangrove communities into freshwater wetlands, increasing frequency of coral bleaching, and establishment of woody species at increasingly higher elevations in the alpine zone. Modelling of potential impacts on specific Australian taxa using bioclimatic analysis programs such as BIOCLIM consistently predicts contraction and/or fragmentation of species' current ranges. The bioclimates of some species of plants and vertebrates are predicted to disappear entirely with as little as 0.5–1.0 C of warming. Australia lacks the long-term datasets and tradition of phenological monitoring that have allowed the detection of climate-change-related trends in the Northern Hemisphere. Long-term changes in Australian vegetation can be mostly attributed to alterations in fire regimes, clearing and grazing, but some trends, such as encroachment of rainforest into eucalypt woodlands, and establishment of trees in subalpine meadows probably have a climatic component. Shifts in species distributions toward the south (bats, birds), upward in elevation (alpine mammals) or along changing rainfall contours (birds, semiarid reptiles), have recently been documented and offer circumstantial evidence that temperature and rainfall trends are already affecting geographic ranges. Future research directions suggested include giving more emphasis to the study of climatic impacts and understanding the factors that control species distributions, incorporating the effects of elevated CO 2 into climatic modelling for vegetation and selecting suitable species as indicators of climate-induced change.
Article
Introductory chapters provide excellent background to both rainforest and sclerophyll vegetation, providing a comprehensive picture of the history of concepts as a basis for addressing distributional problems. As in the book as a whole, illustrations are clear and abundant. An impressive picture of the fragmented nature of rainforest is presented but, unfortunately, before any considerations of definitions. The bulk of the text is devoted to a consideration of ‘theories’, based on the major environmental factors of soil, climate and fire, that are held as major determinants of rainforest (and sclerophyll) distributions. A number of components of these environmental factors are addressed with examples from the literature, but the majority relate only to specific locations or community types. The major all-embracing theories concerning phosphorus, water stress, fire-induced ecological drift and increased burning with the arrival of Aboriginal people are treated thoroughly and analytically but aggressively, and it is concluded that all are severely flawed. In particular, he asserts that neither soil nutrient status nor moisture is limiting to rainforest development. Having demolished these theories, the author is left with the task of erecting a more realistic explanation of rainforest patterns. He does so largely from rather speculative ideas on the timing of the evolutionary development and spread of pyrophytic, sclerophyll vegetation in relation to the climate history of the Australian continent and, in more recent times, fire management of the landscape by Aboriginal people. The final chapter, predictably concerned with fire management and rainforest conservation, is somewhat of an anticlimax as fire management is more of a challenge to sclerophyll than rainforest conservation.
Article
  The hemipteran infraorder Cicadomorpha comprises the superfamilies Cicadoidea (cicadas), Cercopoidea (spittlebugs or froghoppers) and Membracoidea (leafhoppers and treehoppers). Earlier attempts to determine relationships among these three monophyletic lineages using either morphological or molecular data suffered from insufficient sampling (taxonomic and data) and problematic tree rooting, leading to discordant results. Presented here are phylogenetic reconstructions within Cicadomorpha based on DNA nucleotide sequence data from multiple genetic markers (18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, and histone 3) sequenced from representative taxa of Cicadidae, Tettigarctidae, Cercopidae, Aphrophoridae, Clastopteridae, Machaerotidae, Epipygidae, Cicadellidae, Membracidae, Myerslopiidae and Aetalionidae. To test the robustness of the phylogenetic signal, these sequence data were analysed separately and in combination under various alignment parameters using both manual alignment (of both attenuated and full sequences) and alignment via clustal x. The results demonstrate clearly that, despite the alignment method used, basing a phylogeny on a single gene region is often misleading. Analyses of the combination of datasets support the major relationships within Cicadomorpha as (Membracoidea (Cicadoidea, Cercopoidea)). Internal relationships recovered within each superfamily shows evidence for: (1) the placement of Myerslopiidae as the sister group of the remaining Membracoidea; (2) the paraphyly of Cicadellidae; (3) the sister-group relationship between Machaerotidae and Clastopteridae; (4) the monophyly of Cercopidae; (5) the diversification of Epipygidae from within the possibly paraphyletic Aphrophoridae.
Article
Phylogenetic relationships among members of the Mecoptera and Siphonaptera were inferred from DNA sequence data. Four loci (18S and 28S ribosomal DNA, cytochrome oxidase II and elongation factor-1α) were sequenced for 69 taxa selected to represent major flea and mecopteran lineages. Phylogenetic analyses of these data support a paraphyletic Mecoptera with two major lineages: Nannochoristidae + (Siphonaptera + Boreidae) and Meropidae + ((Choristidae + Apteropanorpidae) (Panorpidae + (Panorpidae + Bittacidae))). The flea family Ctenophthalmidae is paraphyletic, and the Ceratophylloidea is monophyletic. Morphological evidence is discussed which is congruent with the placement of Siphonaptera as sister group to Boreidae.
Article
Erwin's much debated estimate of 30 million species of arthropods is revised. The original estimate is based on the evaluation of host specificity of guilds in beetle samples, and subsequent hierarchical ratio extrapolations. The growing number of studies including mass sampling of arthropods have provided several data sets suitable for obtaining an empirical basis of this estimate. The structure in this modified version is somewhat changed compared to the original estimate in order to make each hierarchical step more easily testable. Plant species are separated into different growth forms, and host specificity measures are based only on phytophagous species. Effective specialization is applied as a measure of host specificity to correct for the fauna shared between plant species. A between community correction factor is applied to correct for differences in host specificity at different spatial scales. There are still great uncertainties attended with such estimates. The largest problems refer to the between community correction factor and the proportion of canopy species to total species. Further work on host specificity and the least known hyperdiverse groups are also needed.