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Ant studies conducted in Rwanda have reported a total of 105 ant species. However, this is an underestimation of the total ant richness since Rwanda is in a region rich in biodiversity. To fill the gaps, ants have been sampled in planted forests, coffee plantations, and different other land use types since 2017. Specimens have been collected using pitfall traps and hand collection, digitized, and identified to subfamily, genus, and species level. Results indicated that five ant species were found in Rwanda for the first time. These are Camponotus acvapimensis, Camponotus schoutedeni, Camponotus sericeus, Odontomachus assiniensis and Tetramorium sericeiventre. Specimens are deposited at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science and the Rwanda Ant Collection. We recommend more ant studies focussing on their mode of living. This will result in more ant species newly recorded in the country and possibly new to science.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Can habitat characteristics of a West African forest-savanna mosaic landscape model bee community composition?
Bees are vital to both ecosystems and humans worldwide; supplying a range of key support facilities for the successful breeding of the majority of flowering plants. The aim of this study was to assess the bee species composition in a Sudano-Guinean savanna zone and determining the impact of a set of environmental parameters influencing this species composition in four habitat types. Sampling was carried using yellow pan traps protocol. A total of 846 bees belonging to 3 families, 25 genera and 52 species were collected. The largest number of bee individuals was found in the Apidae family. The most abundant species was Hypotrigona sp. The highest bee species and number of individuals was recorded in the shrubby savanna. Bee species diversity and abundance were found closely correlated with the plant diversity. Gaining a better understanding of the factors influencing bee community dynamics in the given landscape can provide valuable information for conservation efforts, habitat management and help identifying species which ones could be domesticated.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Diversity and assembly composition of arboreal ants in a west African humid forest-savannah mosaic
In the tropical forest-savannah mosaic of Lamto Reserve in Ivory Coast ants play an important role in the biodiversity conservation. This work aimed to explore the structure and composition of the arboreal ant assemblages in a forest-savannah mosaic located in central Côte d'Ivoire. Ants were collected by baited trap (Protein bait: tuna and sugar bait: sweet milk) and beating of low vegetation. During the entire sampling campaign, 59 ant species belonging to 18 genera and five subfamilies (Formicinae, Ponerinae, Myrmicinae, Dolichoderinae and Pseudomyrmecinae) were recorded. The mean ant species richness of shrub savannah (SS) was significantly lower than of both forest island (FI) and forest gallery. Likewise, a significant difference was observed for species composition when comparing the arboreal ant communities of SS, gallery forest and FI.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Do carabids struggle to recolonize restored grasslands in the fragmented landscapes of Northern Belgium?
1. Semi-natural grasslands in Western Europe are degrading and declining. Their plant species diversity and associated fauna, such as arthropods, are decreasing fast making restoration crucial. 2. Carabid beetles are an essential link in ecosystem functioning (e.g., through herbivory and predation) and provide important ecosystem services (e.g., pest control). As a diverse group from different trophic levels, they occupy a variety of ecological niches, making them good indicators of restoration success and habitat quality. 3. To study how different aspects of carabid diversity change along a restoration gradient from degraded grasslands to restored semi-natural Nardus grasslands, we sampled carabid beetles in grasslands in Northern Belgium. We analysed differences in abundance, diversity and community composition and investigated carabid traits potentially influencing carabids’ response to grassland restoration. 4. Species richness did not change along the restoration gradient, but number of individuals decreased as grassland restoration time and effort increased and species composition changed, mostly caused by species turnover. As grassland restoration time and effort increased, carabid body size decreased and the proportion of dayactive carabids increased. Predators and habitat generalists were dominant along the entire gradient. 5. Even though the target vegetation was restored, the carabid communities were not, or at least, did not possess yet traits to be expected from a restored community. The landscape in Northern Belgium might be too fragmented for larger species with low dispersal ability to recolonize restored grasslands. However, restored speciesrich grasslands are beneficial for conservation of meadow birds as day-active beetles thriving in restored grasslands are an important food source
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Inbook Reference Fossil record
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Article Reference Preface: Emerging trends in aquatic ecology IV
Our understanding of aquatic ecology and ecosystem functioning continuously improves. The special issues of Hydrobiologia on “Emerging Trends in Aquatic Ecology” each represent a collection of papers to testify to the variety of approaches and topics that concur in reaching the common aim to scientifcally underpin political and societal decisions to mitigate our impacts on our planet and its biodiversity.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Six new species of Elpidium Müller, 1880 (Podocopida: Limnocytheridae) from Eastern Brazil
Elpidium is the most common ostracod genus occurring in phytotelmata in the Neotropical region, with distributions ranging from Florida, USA in the north to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil in the south. However, the genus remains poorly known both in terms of diversity and of the distributional pattern of its species. Here, we describe six new species of Elpidium, E. oxumaen. sp., E. cordiforme n. sp., E. picinguabaensen. sp., E. eriocaularumn. sp., E. higutiaen. sp., E. puriumn. sp., all from phytotelm environments in the Brazilian Atlantic rain forest. In addition, we discuss the distributional pattern and endemicity levels of Elpidium species in the light of these new taxonomic results and argue about possible misunderstandings on the distribution of the type species E. bromeliarum.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Evidence for Conductivity- and Macroinvertebrate-Driven Segregation of Ostracod Assemblages in Endorheic Depression Wetlands in North West Province of South Africa
Our knowledge of the ecology of non-marine Ostracoda inhabiting endorheic wetlands (pans) of the semi-arid regions of South Africa is very scarce. The present study investigates the distribution of ostracod species in grass, open, and salt pans in the central part of the North West province and tests ostracod response to abiotic and biotic predictor variables operating at a local scale. Distance-based linear models revealed three variables (pan type, water electrical conductivity and abundance of macroinvertebrate predators, and collector-gatherers) that best explained variation in the ostracod dataset. Ostracod assemblages from the three studied pan types differed by the dominance structure rather than by the species composition. Salt pans with high conductivity and high ratio of predaceous macroinvertebrates were dominated by Heterocypris giesbrechti, with accessory presence of Plesiocypridopsis newtoni. In open pans with low conductivities and the lowest ratio of predators (but highest ratio of collector-gatherers) Potamocypris mastigophora was typically a dominant species, while in grass pans, all the three mentioned species had similar relative abundances. Although our findings lend provisional support to some models of ostracod assemblage diversity across different pan types, more studies replicating endorheic depression wetlands in other regions are required before generalizations can be made.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference On Caledromus robinsmithi, a new genus and species of Psychrodromini Martens, 2001 (Crustacea, Ostracoda, Herpetocypridinae) from New Caledonia (Pacific Ocean)
The New Caledonian Archipelago is a hot spot for biodiversity and endemism. Whereas popular groups such as birds and plants are well-studied, invertebrate groups such as ostracods remain ill-known. Here, Caledromus robinsmithi gen. et sp. nov. is described from a single locality on ‘Grande Terre’, the main island of the archipelago. The new genus belongs to the Psychrodromini, one of the four tribes in the subfamily Herpetocypridinae (family Cyprididae). Caledromus gen. nov. can be distinguished from all other herpetocypridinids by a combination of the following factors: the absence of marginal septa in both valves, the mildly developed marginal valve structures, the small Rome organ on the A1, the total reduction of the five natatory setae on the A2, the rectangular second palp segment of the Mx1, the broad and asymmetrical palp on the female T1, the absence of additional postlabyrinthal coils in the Hp and the seta Sp of the CR which is a fixed spine. Because of the close similarity to the genus Psychrodromus, the new genus is thought to have Palaearctic affinities, contrary to other ostracod species in New Caledonia, which are either circumtropical or with Australian zoogeographical connections.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Natural populations of the putative ancient asexual Darwinula stevensoni (Crustacea, Ostracoda) differ in their microbiomes
Although ostracods are important components in aquatic ecosystems, little is known about their microbiomes. Here, we analyzed the microbiomes of the putative ancient asexual ostracod species, Darwinula stevensoni, in three natural populations from different freshwater habitats in the UK, Belgium, and Spain. We applied high-throughput amplicon sequencing approaches to analyze the V3–V4 part of the bacterial 16S rRNA region. We tested for host-specific microbiomes by comparing bacterial assemblages of ostracods with those of sediment and water samples from the same locations. Around 2,200 Amplicon Sequence Variants (ASVs) were identified from ostracod samples with universal primers and 1,700 ASVs with endosymbiotic-specific primers, illustrating a high microbiome diversity in D. stevensoni. Most bacterial taxa were unique to the microbiome of D. stevensoni as compared to other freshwater invertebrates and to non-marine ostracods. Alpha diversity of ostracod microbiomes did not differ significantly between the three populations, but PERMANOVA detected significant differences in bacterial compositions. Microbiomes varied highly among ostracod specimens from the same population. Possible factors shaping ostracod microbiomes could be latitude, food, age, and environmental variables. Preliminary functionality analyses showed that Darwinula-specific microbiomes contribute to lipid, carbohydrate, nucleotide, and amino acid metabolic processes and the synthesis of co-factors and vitamins.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023