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Inproceedings Reference Okavango virus, a new Namibian mammarenavirus in a Southern African mammarenavirus clade
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Inproceedings Reference Mitochondrial capture in a three-way Mastomys natalensis hybrid zone
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Impact of chemical fertilizers on diversity and abundance of soil-litter arthropod communities in coffee and banana plantations in southern Rwanda
Few studies explored effects of chemical fertilizers on diversity and abundance of soillitter arthropods in the tropics. To fill this gap, a study focussed on the abundance of soil-litter arthropods and selected soil physicochemical properties in coffee plantations treated with chemical fertilizers and in plantations of coffee and banana treated with organic fertilizers and organic mulches in southern Rwanda. Each land use was replicated three times. Soil-litter arthropods were collected using pitfall traps and hand collection. They were identified to the family level using dichotomous keys. Soil have been collected using auger and taken to the laboratory for the analysis of soil pH, soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, phosphorus, and cation exchange capacity. Findings indicated a total of 12,945 individuals distributed into 3 classes, 16 orders, 50 families and 92 morphospecies, with higher abundance and diversity in coffee plantations treated with organic fertilizers and organic mulches. Collected soil-litter arthropods were mainly classified in the class Insecta, dominated in numbers by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), while Coleoptera and Hemiptera had more families. However, soil under coffee plantations treated with organic fertilizers and organic mulches was acidic compared with the soil under coffee plantations treated with inorganic fertilizers and banana plantations treated with organic fertilizers and organic mulches. The relationships between soil-litter arthropods and soil physicochemical properties suggest that soillitter arthropods respond to the land use independently from soil physicochemical properties. We recommend further studies in coffee and other crop plantations in other regions of Rwanda to verify the findings of this study.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference They live under our streets: ant nests (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in urban pavements
In the context of global insect decline, the urbanisation process plays a key role. However, urban pavements, which are considered to be impervious to biodiversity, can harbour ground-nesting insects under certain conditions. Recent observations have revealed the presence of Formicidae nests under urban pavements. The aim of this work is to determine the species richness of Formicidae nesting under urban pavements in the Brussels-Capital Region (Belgium) and to characterise their nest environment and soil texture. Seven ant species were identified in 120 nesting sites: Lasius niger, Lasius brunneus, Lasius flavus, Lasius fuliginosus, Tetramorium caespitum, Tetramorium impurum and Myrmica rugulosa. Concrete slabs or natural stones with a sandy sub-layer are the main structures in which ants nest. In addition, nests were mainly found under modular pavements with degraded rigid joints. The results of this work highlight the capacity of urban structures to host part of ant biodiversity in cities.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Ant nests effect on organic matter, carbon, and nitrogen flux in the soil under grasses tufts in Lamto savannah (Côte d’Ivoire)
Ants are known to contribute to the physical and chemical improvement of the soil. In this context, the hypothesis put forward is that ants improve the nitrogen (N) supplementation necessary to ensure the high primary production measured in the Lamto savannah. Recent investigations in the humid savannah ecosystem showed that ant nests’ association with perennial grasses enhances their growth, productivity, and microorganism activity. This study aimed at understanding the effect of ant nests on organic matter (OM), carbon (C), and N flux beneath grass tufts. Under each grass tuft chosen to carry out this study, soil samples were taken from the depths of 0–10 cm using an auger at shrubby, clear grassy, and transitional grassy savannah. The analytical method by incineration of the loss on fire was used to determine the OM amount. The Kjeldahl method was used to determine the total N amount in the soil under grass tufts. The results showed that these components’ amount is higher beneath grass tufts associated with ant nests than those not associated with ant nests. The presence of ant nests increases OM and C amount in the soil under Hyparrhenia diplandra tufts than Andropogon schirensis, and Loudetia simplex tufts. In contrast, N amount is higher under L. simplex tufts than A. schirensis; but mean under H. diplandra. The carbon/nitrogen ratios less than 10 indicate high OM mineralization under grass tufts associated with ant nests. This provides the plants with an adequate supply of nutrients
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
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