Authors:J. Wang, L. Huang, H. Ren, Z. Sun, and Q. Guo
Soil seed banks can act as an important source in forest regeneration, and the information on the seed bank composition is vital for determining the resilience of plant communities under severe environments such as urban settings. In this study, we examined the seed bank density and functional composition, and their relationships with aboveground vegetation in three remnant evergreen broad-leaved forests, i.e., PuGang (PG), LuoGang (LG), and DaLingShan (DLS) under urbanization in Guangzhou, South China. In both years of our study (2010–2011), seed density and species richness for overall soil seed banks and each classified life forms (tree, shrub, herb and grass) significantly differed among the forests and were much higher in the PG forest. The prevailing life forms in the seed banks were herbs and grasses, and the proportion of tree species Importance Value index (IV) of the seed banks was low. We did not detect significant difference in the percentage of exotic species seeds in the seed banks among the forests. The proportion of species with animal dispersal mode was much higher in the DLS forest than in the PG and LG forests. The similarity in species composition between standing vegetation and seed banks was low with the lower value in the DLS forest than in PG and LG forest. Our findings suggest that the regeneration potential of the soil seed banks is limited for the remnant forests in urban areas. Therefore, greater proactive and enhanced conservation efforts are thus needed.
Authors:Ivana Marko, Réka Csicsaiová, Jaroslav Hrudka, Ivona Škultétyová, Štefan Stanko, and Paula Brandeburová
1 Introduction The 20th century is characterized by a mass migration and the development of urbanization and infrastructure. It is a natural process, which brings with it specific problems that are changing the spatial structure of the city: more
Environmental stress can lead to a reduction in developmental homeostasis, which could be reflected in increased variability of morphological traits. Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is one possible manifestation of such a stress, and is often taken as a proxy for individual fitness. To test the usefulness of FA in morphological traits as an indicator of environmental quality, we studied the effect of urbanisation on FA in ground beetles (Carabidae) near a Danish city. First, we performed a critical examination whether morphological character traits suggested in the literature displayed true fluctuating asymmetry in three common predatory ground beetles, Carabus nemoralis, Nebria brevicollis and Pterostichus melanarius. Eight metrical (length of the second and third antennal segments, elytral length, length of the first tarsus segment, length of the first and second tibiae, length of the proximal and distal spines on the first femurs) and one meristic (the number of spines on the second tibiae) traits were examined. Most of them showed FA but not consistently. Females generally displayed a higher level of FA than males. Finally, we examined the changes in the level of FA in bilateral morphological traits along an urbanisation gradient (forest - suburban forest - forest fragments in urban park) to test whether environmental stress created by urbanisation is reflected in FA. Ground beetles common along a Danish urbanisation gradient did not seem to indicate differences in habitat quality by their level of FA.
We studied a benthic invertebrate assemblage of a stream that passes through pristine, rural, suburban and urban areas of a municipality located in southeastern Brazil to investigate a possible relationship between this assemblage structure and urbanization. The environmental variables and fauna structure were analyzed in a spatial and temporal scale, sampling the four sites in a dry and wet season. We found a clear spatial pattern, with higher similarity between sites from rural and suburban area that presented intermediate environmental characteristics. The pristine site showed in both seasons the lowest values of alkalinity and fecal coliform. On the other hand, the site located in the urban area showed the lowest concentration of dissolved oxygen and higher of suspended solids, ammonia and fecal coliform. The extreme values of these three variables occurred in the wet season, probably related to the high rainfall values. The benthic invertebrate fauna structure followed the same longitudinal and seasonal pattern found for the environmental variables. The site in urban area showed the lowest richness, diversity and evenness, with a dominance of two groups resistant to adverse environmental conditions (Oligochaeta and Orthocladiinae) and absence of more sensitive groups (Coleoptera, Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera). The increase drag of the substrate and associated invertebrates can be responsible for the lower abundance and richness observed in the wet season. The environmental variables that best defined the differentiation between sites (dissolved oxygen, organic suspended solids and fecal coliform) related directly to urbanization effects, like dump effluents and removal of riparian vegetation.