The Pennsylvanian flora from the Italian Carnic Alps, stored in the Museo Friulano di Storia Naturale in Udine, Italy, was revised taxonomically. Plant fossils come from the Bombaso Formation and Pramollo (Auernig) Group (Late Pennsylvanian) that correspond to the lower part of the paralic to shallow marine Carboniferous–Permian Pramollo (or Pramollo-Nasfeld) Basin succession. Most of the ~2500 studied plant fossils and also the highest number of species come from the the Bombaso, Meledis and Pizzul formations, whereas the middle and upper part of the Pramollo Group in the Italian Carnic Alps yielded only few plant remains, contrarily to the successions on the Austrian side. In total 73 plant taxa have been identified, which represent about 59 biological species. The ferns, especially marattialen ferns, are the most diverse plant group (33 species in total) followed by pteridosperms (15 species). The stratigraphic range of the Bombaso Formation and the Pramollo Group have been re-evaluated based on presence of stratigraphically important species from both the Italian and Austrian parts of the Carnic Alps. The studied interval ranges from a middle Barruelian to middle Stephanian B sensu Wagner and Álvarez-Vázquez (2010a) and spans about 3.5 Ma. The diversity of the Carnic Alps flora is comparable with well-documented contemporaneous floras in NW Spain, French Massif Central and the Czech Republic. Floral richness and diversity together with intercalations of plant-rich horizons with fossiliferous marine limestone bands makes the Carnic Alps a potential candidate as a stratigraphically important reference section for non-marine to marine correlations.
Stoneworts (Characeae) have never been the subject of a systematic survey in South Tyrol. While there was a certain interest in this group of plants in the 19th century, further study of this group of plants failed to take place for almost a whole century. Since Characeae now play an important role in nature conservation, due in part to the Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive of the European Union, it was necessary to compile an inventory of this plant group in South Tyrol. In this work we present a checklist of all Characeae species hitherto known to South Tyrol, discussing each species and its distribution.
The ninth article in the series again presents taxa that are new to the flora of SouthTyrol or whose status has changed since the publication of the catalogue of the vascular plants in 2006. Due to the increase in the number of members of the “Flora of
South Tyrol” working group, a comparatively large number of new records has been obtained in the last few years. Among the new finds are the adventitious and most likely established species Cotoneaster dielsianus, Elodea nutallii, Erigeron bonariensis,
Oenothera adriatica, Oe. deflexa, Oe. cf. latipetala, Oe. oakesiana, Oe. royfraseri, Oe. stucchii, Verbascum sinuatum, the locally established cultural relics Cistus albidus and C. laurifolius, as well as the casual garden refugees Allium tuberosum, Aloë maculata,
Carex muskingumensis, Chaenostoma cordatum, Eranthis hyemalis and Hyacinthoides non-scripta. Amsinckia menziesii, Ornithopus sativus and Sesamum indicum derived from seed mixtures or their impurities and are also unstable, while the mode of introduction appears unclear in the case of Scrophularia scopolii. The casuals Dracocephalum moldavica and Plantago coronopus have already been historically proven.
The status of Sisymbrium austriacum and Delosperma cooperi, also classified as adventitious, and Juncus capitatus is unclear for the time being. Among the new finds to be classified as native are Sorbus austriaca and Ranunculus peltatus, the latter recently being proven to have historically occurred in South Tyrol. After many decades, the indigenous or archeophytic species Calamagrostis canescens, Centunculus minimus, Lathyrus aphaca, Orobanche minor, Papaver argemone, Plantago holosteum, Ranunculus sardous, Rorippa amphibia, Rumex aquaticus, R. pulcher and Scirpoides holoschoenus were found and reconfirmed, respectively.
New occurrences of Crepis rhaetica, Plantago atrata, Potentilla multifida, Saxifraga cuneifolia and Trichophorum pumilum have been discovered, some of them far outside the previously known South Tyrolean distribution area
Red lists evaluate the short-term extinction risk of given taxa, a very important information for conservation. The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria represent a widely recognized and highly objective procedure to evaluate extinction risk at both global
and sub-global levels. In this work, we assessed the extinction risk of birds breeding in South Tyrol, an inner Alpine area in Italy, based on the IUCN guidelines for regional assessments. Out of 143 evaluated species, 59 (41%) were classified as Least Concern
(LC), 10 (7%) as Near Threatened (NT), 25 (17%) as Vulnerable, (VU), 16 (11%) as Endangered (EN), 14 (10%) as Critically Endangered (CR) and 2 (1%) as Regionally Extinct (RE), while for 17 species (12%) data were not sufficient to perform the assessment (Data Deficient – DD). In many cases, our local assessments were consistent with the species conservation status at larger scales. We strongly encourage a more wide, long-term and properly designed local bird monitoring to improve the information available for conservation.
The genus Aeropedellus (Hebard 1935) currently comprises 22 nominal species, whereas all of them are typical elements of the Holarctic (Orthoptera Species File, accession date 12th November 2020). The largest part of these 22 species is occurring in the Asian
part of the Palearctic (20 species), while only two species are native to the Nearctic. The region harboring most Aeropedellus species worldwide is Northern China and Mongolia (15 species).
Only two species, Aeropedellus variegatus (Fischer von Waldheim, 1846) and Ae. volgensis (Predtechenskii, 1928) are occurring in Europe. While the latter is a xerophilic endemic of the steppe grasslands of the lower Volga basin (Bey-Bienko & Mishchenko
1951), Ae. variegatus has the widest distribution of all palearctic Aeropedellus species. As such, Ae. variegatus occurs from Northeastern Russia to Western Europe (Ebner 1951). Ebner (1951) critically evaluated the distribution of Ae. variegatus and found that the species occupies a more diverse set of habitats in its Northern distribution than would be expected for a purely arcto-boreal species. Given this, he concluded that the attribute „arcto-boreal distribution“ largely oversimplifies the species‘ complex ecology
and distribution in Asia, and he emphasized that Ae. variegatus has very strong ties to the xeric steppes of Asia. The species’ European distribution, on the other hand, reflects a classic arctic-alpine disjunction pattern (Schmitt et al. 2010).
Biodiversity Day 2019 in Altprags (municipality of Prags/Braies, South Tyrol, Italy) The 20th South Tyrol Biodiversity Day took place in Altprags in the municipality of Braies in the Puster Valley and yielded a total of 884 identified taxa. Four of them are new for South Tyrol.
The freshwater jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbii Lankester 1880 is a cryptic cosmopolitan invasive species, which occurs in all continents except Antarctica. Recent molecular studies suggest the existence of at least three very different genetic lineages of Craspedacusta: the “sowerbii”, the “kiatingi”, and the “sinensis” lineages. We report the presence of both medusae and polyps of this alien taxon in the Large Lake of Monticolo / Montiggl, a meso-eutrophic natural lake in the Province of Bolzano / Bozen in Northern Italy. Molecular analyses of mitochondrial 16S sequences showed that this population belongs to a different lineage than that recently described for Sicily (Southern Italy). Therefore, there are two different genetic lineages of C. sowerbii in Italy. In the Large Lake of Monticolo / Montiggl medusae were observed in 6 consecutive summers (2015–2020), from July to September. All the examined medusae were males. The stomach content analyses showed that zooplanktonic copepods and cladocerans with size range between 0.3 and 0.8 mm were the preferred prey of medusae. Polyps of C. sowerbii were recorded in the lake on the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha in shallow water and on the underside of artificial substrates. The analyses of zebra mussels would therefore be a simple method to check for the presence of the polyp stage of C. sowerbii in various aquatic environments.
The Carnian Pluvial Episode (Late Triassic) was a time of global environmental changes and possibly substantial coeval volcanism. The extent of the biological turnover in marine and terrestrial ecosystems is not well understood. Here, we present a meta-analysis of fossil data that suggests a substantial reduction in generic and species richness and the disappearance of 33% of marine genera. This crisis triggered major radiations. In the sea, the rise of the first scleractinian reefs and rock-forming calcareous nannofossils points to substantial changes in ocean chemistry. On land, there were major diversifications and originations of conifers, insects, dinosaurs, crocodiles, lizards, turtles, and mammals. Although there is uncertainty on the precise age of some of the recorded biological changes, these observations indicate that the Carnian Pluvial Episode was linked to a major extinction event and might have been the trigger of the spectacular radiation of many key groups that dominate modern ecosystems.