Distribution and ecological role of selected shrubby species in the Mediterranean basin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In many natural and semi-natural habitats trees and shrubs represent two major growth forms (1). Inparticular shrublands, which can be considered a mixture of several sclerophyllous shrubs and tree species,represent a Mediterranean type of vegetation rarely found in other ecosystems. The distribution of shrubs inan ecosystem is connected to complex ecological processes. Indeed, shrubs provide substrate, food andshelter for organisms, play an important role in the nutrient cycle providing organic matter input to soils andthey protect watersheds from erosion. Moreover shrubs are very important for many associated species suchas mammals, birds, invertebrates, other plants (that favour thanks to their role of nurse plants), and theirdistribution also influences the variety and abundance of mycorrhizal fungi, fundamentals in ecologicalterms and nutritional relationships (2). This study represents a review on the ecological role of some selectedMediterranean shrubby species. In particular the attention is focused on the following species: Amelanchierovalis Medik, Astragalus nebrodensis (Guss.) Strobl., Crataegus laciniata Ucria, Lycium intricatum Boiss.,Prunus spinosa L., and Viburnum tinus L. These species have been selected because they are representativeof different Mediterranean vegetation types, distributed in relation to the bioclimate type and the altitude. Infact, various habitats have been considered in relation to these species, for example coastal and sub-coastalenvironments for Lycium intricatum, sclerophyllous woodlands for Viburnum tinus, mantle vegetation andpre-forest structures for Amelanchier ovalis, Prunus spinosa and Crataegus laciniata, orophilous thornycushions vegetation for the Sicilian endemic Astragalus nebrodensis. For each species the geographical distribution in the Mediterranean Basin has been investigated, considering its borders according to the limits of Mediterranean climate (3), and the definition of terrestrial ecoregions of the world (4). The speciesdistribution as well as their taxonomy (especially in relation to the presence of subspecies in the Italianterritory) have been analyzed thanks to a number of scientific publications and web-based sources (e.g. Euro + Med PlantBase, The International Plant Names Index, ILDIS- International Legume Database & Information Service, PAN-European Species directories Infrastructure, Portale della Flora d’Italia, Flora of Greece Web, Anthos, African Plant Database, Silene-Flore database, etc.) at regional, national andinternational scale. Moreover for each species distribution maps have been prepared geo-referencing the species location data obtained from the labels of digital herbaria samples of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, MNHN – Paris, P; Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, W; Herbarium Mediterraneum Panormitanum, PAL; Herbarium Plant Biology Section, CAT; Botanischer Garten und Botanisches MuseumBerlin-Dahlem, Zentraleinrichtung der Freien Universität Berlin, B, and from the data portal GlobalBiodiversity Information Facility- GBIF (always in relation to herbarium samples), also in order to obtainhistorical distribution data. The ecological role of species in every ecosystem, but also of their successionaldynamics and their response to global changes and disturbances was investigated making an analysis of theliterature data and also in relation to some botanical aspects and functional traits, available for some of thestudied species, from TRY Plant Trait Database (https://www.try-db.org) and form BROT 2.0 database, forexample: Growth form, Leaf phenol
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication114° Congresso della Società Botanica Italiana, VI INTERNATIONAL PLANT SCIENCE CONFERENCE (IPSC) Padova, 4 - 7 September 2019 ABSTRACTS KEYNOTE LECTURES, COMMUNICATIONS, POSTERS
Pages64-64
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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    Lombardo, E., Domina, G., & Venturella, G. (2019). Distribution and ecological role of selected shrubby species in the Mediterranean basin. In 114° Congresso della Società Botanica Italiana, VI INTERNATIONAL PLANT SCIENCE CONFERENCE (IPSC) Padova, 4 - 7 September 2019 ABSTRACTS KEYNOTE LECTURES, COMMUNICATIONS, POSTERS (pp. 64-64)