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Article Reference Recent changes in the distribution and rooting elevation of Schoenoplectus club‑rushes in the Scheldt estuary and the consequences for their survival
Abstract We aimed to assess the distribution and trends in abundance and rooting elevation in relation to substrate type (soft sediment/riprap) for three Sch‑ oenoplectus club-rush species in the Zeeschelde estuary (Belgium). Surveys took place in 1995, 2003 and 2013, following dike fortifcations for the SIGMA food control plan. Compared to 1995 club-rush tufts are now positioned lower in the tidal frame, especially their upper margin. Club-rush cover decreased by 50% in the last time interval. This is linked to marsh succession after a vegetation set-back by SIGMA works and increasing competition with Phragmites and Salix. The lower margin of club-rushes shifted downwards on riprap, but not on soft sediment. This substrate-dependent rooting elevation reach likely indicates that substrate stability can be an important factor for club-rush persistence and growth on the lower marsh margin. This emerged only recently probably because tufts needed time to expand after the SIGMA works and because of the improved water quality. Currently, Schoenoplectus club-rushes on soft sediment in the Zeeschelde sufer from the lack of suitable areas with cyclic natural morphodynamics that maintain pioneer habitat. To maintain club-rush diversity we suggest to manage threatened club-rush populations or to translocate them to newly created restoration sites.
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
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 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
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 Assessing the influences of bee’s (Hymnoptera: Apidae) floral preference on cashew (Anacardiacae) agronomics performances in Côte d’Ivoire.
This study aimed to assess the influence of bees’ floral preference on cashew agronomics performances in Côte d’Ivoire. Therefore, a sampling design with a total of 40 cashew trees preferred by bees and 40 trees that were not preferred by bees was established in 4 main producing regions. In addition, bees’ foragers and agronomics performances of trees were sampled. As results, a total of 46 bee’ species with a foraging activity of 4±0.32 visits per minute were observed. Apis mellifera (60% of visits, with 2.27±0.17 of visitors per minute) followed by Meliponula bocandei (23% of visits with 0.91±0.18 of visits per minute) contributes significantly to the reproduction of cashew trees, compare to the 44 other bees’ species (17% of visits; with an activity of 0.69±0.03 of visitors per minute). The preferred trees recorded 40.54±0.57 kg of nuts per tree, with 18.39±0.48 fruits per inflorescence, including 37.12±0.4% of useful kernel per raw nut (yield ratio of 65.45±0.66 pound of useful kernel). Conversely, the non-preferred trees obtained 5.24±0.44kg of nuts per tree, with 1.7±0.21 fruits per inflorescence, including 28.69±0.65% of useful kernel per raw nut (50.6±1.15 pound of useful kernel). Hence, the foraging preference of these two Apidae significantly increased the fruiting rate (83.7±0.01%), the yields (87.08±0.0%), and the kernel rate (22.68±1.76%) in raw cashew nuts. Based in these results, we suggest the foraging preference of Apis mellifera as good indicator of high-yielding cashew plants. Moreover, we suggests combination of apicultural and meliponicultrual in cashew farming to boost the yields and farmers livelihoods.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference Publishing data to support the fight against human vector-borne diseases
Vector-borne diseases are responsible for more than 17% of human cases of infectious diseases. In most situations, effective control of debilitating and deadly vector-bone diseases (VBDs), such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, Zika and Chagas requires up-to-date, robust and comprehensive information on the presence, diversity, ecology, bionomics and geographic spread of the organisms that carry and transmit the infectious agents. Huge gaps exist in the information related to these vectors, creating an essential need for campaigns to mobilise and share data. The publication of data papers is an effective tool for overcoming this challenge. These peer-reviewed articles provide scholarly credit for researchers whose vital work of assembling and publishing well-described, properly-formatted datasets often fails to receive appropriate recognition. To address this, GigaScience’s sister journal GigaByte partnered with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to publish a series of data papers, with support from the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Here we outline the initial results of this targeted approach to sharing data and describe its importance for controlling VBDs and improving public health.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference The ants of the Galápagos Islands (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): a historical overview, checklist, and identification key
The Galápagos ant fauna has long been understudied, with the last taxonomic summary being published almost a century ago. Here, a comprehensive and updated overview of the known ant species of the Galápagos Islands is provided with updated species distributions. The list is based on an extensive review of literature, the identification of more than 382,000 specimens deposited in different entomological collections, and recent expeditions to the islands. The ant fauna is composed of five subfamilies (Dolichoderinae, Dorylinae, Formicinae, Myrmicinae, and Ponerinae), 22 genera, 50 species, and 25 subspecies, although three species (Crematogaster crinosa Mayr, 1862, Camponotus senex (Smith, 1858), and Solenopsis saevissima (Smith, 1855)) are considered dubious records. Finally, an illustrated identification key of the species found in the archipelago is presented.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Harde zandsteen onderbelicht
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 OA
Article Reference Challenges and a call to action for protecting European red wood ants
Red wood ants (RWAs) are a group of keystone species widespread in temperate and boreal forests of the Northern Hemisphere. Despite this, there is increasing evidence of local declines and extinctions. We reviewed the current protection status of RWAs throughout Europe and their International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threat classification. Only some RWA species have been assessed at a global scale, and not all national red lists of the countries where RWAs are present include these species. Different assessment criteria, inventory approaches, and risk categories are used in different countries, and data deficiency is frequent. Legislative protection is even more complex, with some countries protecting RWAs implicitly together with the wildlife fauna and others explicitly protecting the whole group or particular species. This complexity often occurs within countries, for example, in Italy, where, outside of the Alps, only the introduced species are protected, whereas the native species, which are in decline, are not. Therefore, an international, coordinated framework is needed for the protection of RWAs. This first requires that the conservation target should be defined. Due to the similar morphology, complex taxonomy, and frequent hybridization, protecting the entire RWA group seems a more efficient strategy than protecting single species, although with a distinction between autochthonous and introduced species. Second, an update of the current distribution of RWA species is needed throughout Europe. Third, a protection law cannot be effective without the collaboration of forest managers, whose activity influences RWA habitat. Finally, RWA mounds offer a peculiar microhabitat, hosting a multitude of taxa, some of which are obligate myrmecophilous species on the IUCN Red List. Therefore, RWAs’ role as umbrella species could facilitate their protection if they are considered not only as target species but also as providers of species-rich microhabitats.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022