343 research outputs found

    Contrasting multi-taxa diversity patterns between abandoned and non-intensively managed forests in the southern Dolomites

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    The abandonment of silvicultural activities can lead to changes in species richness and composition of biological communities, when compared to those found in managed forests. The aim of this study was to compare the multi-taxonomical diversity of two mature silver fir-beech-spruce forests in the southern Dolomites (Italy), corresponding to the European Union habitat type 9130. The two sites share similar ecological and structural characteristics, but differ in their recent management histories. In the last 50 years, one site underwent non-intensive management, while the other was left unmanaged and was included in a forest reserve. The species richness and composition of eight taxa were surveyed in the two sites between 2009 and 2011. The difference in mean species richness between the two forest management types was tested through permutation tests, while differences in species composition were tested by principal coordinates analysis and the permutational multivariate analysis of variance. Mean species richness of soil macrofungi, deadwood lichens, bark beetles, and longhorn beetles were significantly higher in the abandoned than in the non-intensively managed forests. Deadwood fungi and epiphytic lichens did not differ in mean species richness between the two study sites, while mean species richness of ground beetles and birds were higher in the non-intensively managed than in the abandoned forest. Significant differences in species composition between the two sites were found for all the taxa, except for longhorn beetles. These results indicate that improving forest landscape heterogeneity through the creation of a mosaic of abandoned and extensively managed forests should better fulfill the requirements of ecologically different taxa

    Universal Quantum Viscosity in a Unitary Fermi Gas

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    A Fermi gas of atoms with resonant interactions is predicted to obey universal hydrodynamics, where the shear viscosity and other transport coefficients are universal functions of the density and temperature. At low temperatures, the viscosity has a universal quantum scale ‚ĄŹn\hbar n where nn is the density, while at high temperatures the natural scale is pT3/‚ĄŹ2p_T^3/\hbar^2 where pTp_T is the thermal momentum. We employ breathing mode damping to measure the shear viscosity at low temperature. At high temperature TT, we employ anisotropic expansion of the cloud to find the viscosity, which exhibits precise T3/2T^{3/2} scaling. In both experiments, universal hydrodynamic equations including friction and heating are used to extract the viscosity. We estimate the ratio of the shear viscosity to the entropy density and compare to that of a perfect fluid.Comment: 13 pages, 3 figure

    Could hair-lichens of high-elevation forests help detect the impact of global change in the Alps?

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    Climate change and the anthropic emission of pollutants are likely to have an accelerated impact in high-elevation mountain areas. This phenomenon could have negative consequences on alpine habitats and for species of conservation in relative proximity to dense human populations. This premise implies that the crucial task is in the early detection of warning signals of ecological changes. In alpine landscapes, high-elevation forests provide a unique environment for taking full advantage of epiphytic lichens as sensitive indicators of climate change and air pollution. This literature reviewis intended to provide a starting point for developing practical biomonitoring tools that elucidate the potential of hair-lichens, associated with high-elevation forests, as ecological indicators of global change in the European Alps. We found support for the practical use of hair-lichens to detect the impact of climate change and nitrogen pollution in high-elevation forest habitats. The use of these organisms as ecological indicators presents an opportunity to expand monitoring activities and develop predictive tools that support decisions on how to mitigate the effects of global change in the Alps

    Revealing the Superfluid Lambda Transition in the Universal Thermodynamics of a Unitary Fermi Gas

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    We have observed the superfluid phase transition in a strongly interacting Fermi gas via high-precision measurements of the local compressibility, density and pressure down to near-zero entropy. Our data completely determine the universal thermodynamics of strongly interacting fermions without any fit or external thermometer. The onset of superfluidity is observed in the compressibility, the chemical potential, the entropy, and the heat capacity. In particular, the heat capacity displays a characteristic lambda-like feature at the critical temperature of Tc/TF=0.167(13)T_c/T_F = 0.167(13). This is the first clear thermodynamic signature of the superfluid transition in a spin-balanced atomic Fermi gas. Our measurements provide a benchmark for many-body theories on strongly interacting fermions, relevant for problems ranging from high-temperature superconductivity to the equation of state of neutron stars.Comment: 11 pages, 8 figure

    Brassica and Sinapis Seeds in Medieval Archaeological Sites:An Example of Multiproxy Analysis for Their Identification and Ethnobotanical Interpretation

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    The genus Brassica includes some of the most important vegetable and oil crops worldwide. Many Brassica seeds (which can show diagnostic characters useful for species identification) were recovered from two archaeological sites in northern Italy, dated from between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We tested the combined use of archaeobotanical keys, ancient DNA barcoding, and references to ancient herbarium specimens to address the issue of diagnostic uncertainty. An unequivocal conventional diagnosis was possible for much of the material recovered, with the samples dominated by five Brassica species and Sinapis. The analysis using ancient DNA was restricted to the seeds with a Brassica-type structure and deployed a variant of multiplexed tandem PCR. The quality of diagnosis strongly depended on the molecular locus used. Nevertheless, many seeds were diagnosed down to species level, in concordance with their morphological identification, using one primer set from the core barcode site (matK). The number of specimens found in the Renaissance herbaria was not high; Brassica nigra, which is of great ethnobotanical importance, was the most common taxon. Thus, the combined use of independent means of species identification is particularly important when studying the early use of closely related crops, such as Brassicaceae

    Topography of the Dolomites modulates range dynamics of narrow endemic plants under climate change

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    open9noClimate change is expected to threaten endemic plants in the Alps. In this context, the factors that may modulate species responses are rarely investigated at a local scale. We analyzed eight alpine narrow endemics of the Dolomites (southeastern Alps) under different predicted climate change scenarios at fine spatial resolutions. We tested possible differences in elevation, topographic heterogeneity and velocity of climate change among areas of gained, lost, or stable climatic habitat. The negative impact of climate change ranged from moderate to severe, depending on scenario and species. Generally, range loss occurred at the lowest elevations, while gained and stable areas were located at highest elevations. For six of the species, climate change velocity had higher values in stable and gained areas than in lost ones. Our findings support the role of topographic heterogeneity in maintaining climatic microrefugia, however, the peculiar topography of the Dolomites, characterized by high altitude plateaus, resulted in high climate change velocity in areas of projected future climatic suitability. Our study supports the usefulness of multiple predictors of spatio-temporal range dynamics for regional climate-adapted management and eventual assisted colonization planning to not overlook or overestimate the potential impact of climate change locally.openRota F.; Casazza G.; Genova G.; Midolo G.; Prosser F.; Bertolli A.; Wilhalm T.; Nascimbene J.; Wellstein C.Rota, F.; Casazza, G.; Genova, G.; Midolo, G.; Prosser, F.; Bertolli, A.; Wilhalm, T.; Nascimbene, J.; Wellstein, C

    Exploring patterns of beta-diversity to test the consistency of biogeographical boundaries: A case study across forest plant communities of Italy

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    Aim: To date, despite their great potential biogeographical regionalization models have been mostly developed on descriptive and empirical bases. This paper aims at applying the beta-diversity framework on a statistically representative data set to analytically test the consistency of the biogeographical regionalization of Italian forests. Location: Italy. Taxon: Vascular plants. Methods: Forest plant communities were surveyed in 804 plots made in a statistically representative sample of forest communities made by 201 sites of Italian forests across the three biogeographical regions of the country: Alpine, Continental, and Mediterranean. We conducted an ordination analysis and an analysis of beta-diversity, decomposing it into its turnover and nestedness components. Results: Our results provide only partial support to the consistency of the biogeographical regionalization of Italy. While the differences in forest plant communities support the distinction between the Alpine and the other two regions, differences between Continental and Mediterranean regions had lower statistical support. Pairwise beta-diversity and its turnover component are higher between- than within-biogeographical regions. This suggests that different regional species pools contribute to assembly of local communities and that spatial distance between-regions has a stronger effect than that within-regions. Main conclusions: Our findings confirm a biogeographical structure of the species pools that is captured by the biogeographical regionalization. However, nonsignificant differences between the Mediterranean and Continental biogeographical regions suggest that this biogeographical regionalization is not consistent for forest plant communities. Our results demonstrate that an analytical evaluation of species composition differences among regions using beta-diversity analysis is a promising approach for testing the consistency of biogeographical regionalization models. This approach is recommended to provide support to the biogeographical regionalization used in some environmental conservation polices adopted by EU

    Superfluid fraction in an interacting spatially modulated Bose-Einstein condensate

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    At zero temperature, a Galilean-invariant Bose fluid is expected to be fully superfluid. Here we investigate theoretically and experimentally the quenching of the superfluid density of a dilute Bose-Einstein condensate due to the breaking of translational (and thus Galilean) invariance by an external 1D periodic potential. Both Leggett's bound fixed by the knowledge of the total density and the anisotropy of the sound velocity provide a consistent determination of the superfluid fraction. The use of a large-period lattice emphasizes the important role of two-body interactions on superfluidity

    Global and Regional IUCN Red List Assessments: 15

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    In this contribution, the conservation status assessment of three vascular plants are presented according to IUCN categories and criteria. It includes the assessment of Oryza rhizomatis D.A.Vaughan and Saxifraga facchinii W.D.J.Koch at a global level and Helianthemum caput-felis Boiss. at a regional level
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