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A new genus, Pulverulina, is described to accommodate the monotypic lineage Clitocybe ulmicola in the Porotheleaceae. Pulverulina ulmicola is characterized by small, clitocyboid, pileate-stipitate basidiomata with a tough, pruinose stipe; distant decurrent lamellae; smooth inamyloid basidiospores; long, abundant caulocystidia; interwoven lamellar trama, and lignicolous habit on bark of living trees. A taxonomic description and illustrations are provided together with molecular phylogenetic analysis of 14 genera of Porotheleaceae. One new taxon and 3 new combinations are proposed: Pulverulina gen. nov. and Pulverulina ulmicola comb. nov., Hydropus rugosodiscus comb. nov., and Leucoinocybe auricoma comb. nov.
We observed sea turtles with time-lapse video cameras (deployed for studies of fish behavior during June 2017) at “live-bottom” reefs in depths of 18–20 m within Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Georgia, USA (NW Atlantic). These reefs, sandstone ledges emerging from surrounding sand seafloor, were deeply undercut and apparently served as resting habitat for turtles to wedge themselves between sand seafloor and hard rock overhead. We observed 22 distinct individuals over 27 occurrences including 10 Caretta caretta (L.) (Loggerhead), 3 Chelonia mydas (L.) (Green Sea Turtle), and 9 unidentified to species based on individual markings. We documented resting periods up to 144 minutes (mean = 37.2 min, SD = 39.1). Notable was that most observations (67%) occurred during twilight and night periods. To put these video observations in perspective, we analyzed diver observations of 34 turtles encountered at the surface prior to and during visual fish census surveys (2010–2017) at 18 ledges. Those ledges had significantly taller and deeper undercuts than 18 other ledges with no turtles (ANOSIM P = 0.043 and SIMPER comparisons). These limited observations indicate time-lapse video of seafloor habitats along with diver surveys may yield new insights into sea turtles' habitat requirements, patterns of site fidelity, and ecological role as ecosystem engineers, as well as effects on sea turtles of coincident human uses such as fishing, vessel use, and recreational diving.
Native bee communities in wetlands are poorly described and the recognized loss of wetlands in the United States adds to the need to better understand these communities. In particular, wetlands in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) have declined >50% during the past 70 years. Loss of wetlands and intensification of the region's agriculture are thought to be putting native bee communities at risk. We sampled palustrine emergent wetlands being restored through either active or passive management in the Arkansas portion of the LMAV to assess how those management practices related to bee species richness and diversity. During the 2015 and 2016 growing seasons, we captured 17,860 individual bees representing 5 families, 83 species, and 31 genera; 17 species of which were singletons. Thirteen species were unique to actively managed stands, and 15 species were unique to passively managed stands. Neither species richness nor diversity differed between actively and passively managed wetland sites. Although management type did not have a strong impact on bee communities, we maintain that these restored wetlands have created attractive patches of habitat for native bees.
Coastal marine ecosystems are increasingly threatened by urbanization, land-based sources of pollution, and climate change. Changes in the environment due to these pressures could lead to shifts in community composition and dynamics. To address this issue, we sampled the fish assemblage of a coastal lagoon to assess species richness, rates of occurrence, and relative abundance. We caught 176,136 individuals representing 87 taxa. We compared our results to the last published survey of the study area conducted during the mid-1990s. Compared to historic data, there have been large shifts in percent occurrence in some economically important taxa, such as Lagodon rhomboides (Pinfish) increasing from 4% to 53% and Anchoa spp. (anchovies) increasing from 23% to 66%. These findings possibly indicate changes in the fish assemblage, essential fish habitat, or environment over the past 2 decades. As environmental and anthropogenic stressors continue to impact this complex coastal ecosystem, continued monitoring will be critical to detecting and understanding changes in the fish community in Mosquito Lagoon.
The ecology of Kinosternon baurii (Striped Mud Turtle) has been studied in only a few locations within its range, which means we do not have baseline data to understand the ecology of this species. Further, no studies have been conducted on Striped Mud Turtles in restored wetlands, which are increasingly common in Florida landscapes and across the globe. Comparing populations in restored habitats to natural habitats could give insight into restoration success that focuses on supporting robust semi-aquatic turtle populations. We conducted a mark–recapture study at a restored wetland in Circle B Bar Reserve, in Polk County, FL, to assess the population size, sex ratios and morphometrics of the Striped Mud Turtle. We found a population estimate of 90 adults, from over 2849 checked trap nights over 2 years. Previous studies in natural habitats found larger populations of Striped Mud Turtles. Our morphometric data is similar to others in central and south Florida but adds to the conclusion that habitat variation can impact size variation of Striped Mud Turtles. In our population, we had more females than males (68.8% females), which appears to be consistent for Striped Mud Turtles in most other study sites. Overall, our study provides additional knowledge on the ecology, population size, and morphometrics of Striped Mud Turtles, which local reserve managers can use to better understand the turtles, especially in restored habitats.
Few North American studies have quantified differences in bat community composition between summer and winter. In southerly regions, especially the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico, winters are mild and experience only short periods of freezing weather annually. In regions such as this, there may be a substantive community of bats that are active in the winter. We examined seasonality of the bat community in the Kisatchie National Forest of Louisiana. We mist-netted bats for 130 nights during winter and 51 nights during summer and caught 200 and 190 bats, respectively, from 10 different species. Corynorhinus rafinesquii (Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat), Lasiurus borealis (Eastern Red Bat), and Lasionycteris noctivagans (Silver-haired Bat) were more frequently captured in winter, all other species were captured more frequently in summer. Significant differences existed between summer and winter in species richness and abundance of bats, but not for Shannon's diversity index. Across the entire year and in winter, more bats were caught on nights with higher temperature than on nights with lower temperatures. Although there was much temporal variation in species composition, we found a substantial bat community that is active in the winter in the Kisatchie National Forest of Louisiana.
Noturus stanauli (Pygmy Madtom) is an endangered ictalurid catfish species endemic to the Clinch and Duck rivers within the Tennessee River system. Little is known regarding the species' habitat preferences due to its rarity, small body size, and the challenging level of collection difficulty in its mainstem riverine environment. In the Clinch River during July, September, and November of 2017, we (1) quantified microhabitat conditions in 1.5-m2 quadrats where we collected Pygmy Madtoms by kick-seining methods and (2) evaluated environmental covariates associated with Pygmy Madtom occupancy and detection using a single-season occupancy-modeling approach. We collected 13 Pygmy Madtoms in July (n = 1) and November (n = 12), with no individuals seen in September. Pygmy Madtoms occupied quadrats with a mean depth of 27 cm, column water velocity of 52 cm/s, water temperature of 12 °C, and substrates dominated by gravel- or pebble-sized particles. Most quadrats with Pygmy Madtom present were located either 1–2 m or 4–5 m away from the nearest bank. Pygmy Madtom occupancy estimates were high (0.498 for the top candidate model) but were not significantly associated with any environmental characteristics. However, the likelihood of Pygmy Madtom detection was significantly related to water temperature (-), with water column velocity (+) and distance to bank (-) playing supportive roles in top candidate models. Our results inform recovery efforts by providing the first quantitative evaluation of Pygmy Madtom microhabitat associations in the Clinch River.
The extent of annual variation in reproductive seasons of subtropical and temperate fishes and the relationship with varying environmental conditions is not well-understood. I investigated the initiation and termination of the spawning season in Notropis longirostris (Longnose Shiner) over a 9-year period in south-central Mississippi and analyzed the influence of photoperiod and thermal time (thermal history) on reproductive readiness (reproductive condition). Reproductive readiness of females across years was related to photoperiod and thermal time, but there was also a significant interaction between these factors reflecting their changing importance during the initiation and termination of reproduction. Thermal time and photoperiod showed an equally strong relationship with reproductive readiness during the initiation phase, whereas photoperiod was a better predictor of reproductive readiness during the termination phase. The beginning of the reproductive season varied more among years than did the end of the reproductive season. The difference appears to be the result of greater annual variation in prevailing environmental temperatures at the beginning than at the end of the reproductive season and the role of photoperiod during the termination of the spawning season. Overall, thermal time appears to synchronize the reproductive cycle with environmental conditions; however, photoperiod eventually outweighs the influence of thermal time. Further investigations of variation in reproductive cycles vis-à-vis environmental variability will facilitate efforts to understand the influence of climate change.
Controlled burning is an essential tool for restoration and management of Pinus palustris (Longleaf Pine) habitats, yet effects of controlled burning on insect species, including pollinators, are rarely considered in conservation planning. We used blue vane traps to sample native bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) at recently burned and unburned sites in 2 Longleaf Pine upland forests in Mississippi and Louisiana. Our objective was to quantify short-term effects of controlled burns given fire-return intervals of 1–2 years are now regularly employed to manage Longleaf Pine woodlands. We sampled during 2016 and 2017 and collected 1777 native bees, representing 43 species. Recent fire was found to have no clear effect on species composition, richness, or community structure. Overall, bee communities from burned and unburned sites were similar. Even the community collected from a site that had remained unburned for 8 years was only marginally different from the others. These results suggest that native bee communities may be resilient to low intensity burns.
The St. Johns River is Florida's longest river and a valued resource. The river is important for the region's ecology and socioeconomics. Human disturbances, flooding from hurricanes, and runoff from industrial and wastewater treatment facilities and agricultural fields in recent years has prompted the need for an increased frequency in monitoring of the water quality conditions in the St. Johns River. The objective of this study was to measure various water chemistry parameters and metal (cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, silver, and zinc) concentrations at 8 sites on the Lower St. Johns River associated with a variety of anthropogenic sources from 2017 to 2019. Water chemistry and metal concentrations varied to some degree across sites. Seasonal variation and variation due to episodic storm events were much more pronounced than the spatial variability. For example, salinity was significantly different on every sampling date. This parameter, among others, can directly influence aquatic life, as well as the bioavailability and toxicity of metals to aquatic organisms. All metals tested except zinc fluctuated at levels above EPA class III water quality criterion values, thus raising concerns about the future health of flora and fauna. This research provides reference data to improve the understanding of spatial and temporal variability of water quality parameters in the Lower St. Johns River.
In south Florida, over 100 species of native orchids occur, many of which need conservation efforts. Two of these species, Prosthechea cochleata (Clamshell Orchid) and Encyclia tampensis (Tampa Butterfly Orchid), are listed on Florida's Regulated Plant Index as endangered and commercially exploited, respectively. In this study, we covered flowers with fine-mesh exclusion bags and counting the number of resulting seed capsules to examine the capability of Clamshell Orchids to spontaneously self-pollinate in the field. We also examined capsule formation on flowers of this species that we cross-pollinated by hand in a greenhouse at the University of Florida. Additionally, we collected Tampa Butterfly Orchid seed capsules from various microhabitats at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The seeds from all of these seed capsules were surface-sterilized and placed on a nutrient medium made for orchid seeds. We examined the percentage of successful germination of seeds from those seed capsules, either uncovered, bagged (and presumably self-pollinating), or hand cross-pollinated for the Clamshell Orchids, and from different microhabitats in south Florida for the Tampa Butterfly Orchid. We found that Clamshell Orchids are likely to be self-pollinating in the field, with over 90% germination of seed from covered flowers. Additionally, there was no significant difference between germination from uncovered, bagged, or hand cross-pollinated Clamshell Orchid flowers, or between areas of the FPNWR where capsules were collected. The Tampa Butterfly Orchid capsules collected also showed no significant difference in germination between locations collected. The information from this study will be useful in efforts toward germination and out-planting of orchid species.
Corynorhinus rafinesquii (Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat) is uncommon and unevenly distributed throughout its range, and its populations are believed to be declining. The distribution in Florida, the southernmost extent of the range, is unclear, and recently published maps show records in only 16 counties scattered across the state. We compiled published and unpublished records of Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat in Florida and found 59 total records, including records from 13 counties where the species had not been previously reported. These new records expand the known distribution in Florida to 29 counties, including Miami-Dade County in extreme southeastern Florida. Our compilation of records clarifies the species' distribution in Florida, but several broad geographic areas still lack records despite the presence of forested wetland habitat potentially suitable for Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat. We recommend further survey efforts for Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat in 4 areas we identified where the species may be present.
Limulus polyphemus (Atlantic Horseshoe Crab) is host to many epibionts. A spawning Atlantic Horseshoe Crab was observed with a Scleractinia coral growing on its opisthosoma. The coral was identified as Cladocora arbuscula (Tube Coral). This is the first report of a coral species using a horseshoe crab as host.
We documented female Myotis grisescens (Gray Bat) from different colonies using 2 separate live trees and 1 snag as diurnal roosts during fall and spring migration periods. The live trees were both Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore) located along the bank of the French Broad River in Madison County, NC, and the snag was a Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green Ash) located in a swamp on the western edge of the city of Cookeville in Putnam County, TN. The Gray Bat is considered a year-round cave obligate and, to our knowledge, these observations represent the first documented use of tree roosts by this species.
We report the first finding, in July 2016, of Myotis grisescens (Gray Bat) roosts in North Carolina. This species was formerly considered a rare visitor because occupied caves have not been found in the state. After receiving a tip about bats roosting in a bridge, we acoustically detected Gray Bats during an emergence count. Further investigation led to the discovery of 7 Gray Bat roosts in western North Carolina bridges in 2016.
We captured 3 male federally endangered Myotis grisescens (Gray Bat) in the Cosby Creek area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) in Cocke County, TN, during summer mist-netting surveys (15 and 22 July 2016). Although GRSM is known for its diversity of bat species (n = 11), these specimens represent the first Gray Bats, and twelfth bat species, captured within the GRSM boundary. The documentation of this species is important, as it is the third federally listed bat species (along with Myotis sodalis [Indiana Bat] and Myotis septentrionalis [Northern Long-eared Bat]) known to occur within GRSM. We recommend further research be conducted on Gray Bats in GRSM to understand the species' habitat use and potential implications for park management.