Biodiversity and Conservation

Article commentary

Neogene amphibians and reptiles (Caudata, Anura, Gekkota, Lacertilia, and Testudines) from the south of Western Siberia, Russia, and Northeastern Kazakhstan

Editor rating: 9 / 10

Graciela Piñeiro –– This manuscript is an important contribution to the knowledge of the almost unknown Siberian Neogene herpetofauna. It deals not solely with detailed anatomical descriptions and taxonomic identification of the specimens, but provides interesting paleobiogeographic hypotheses concerning the origin and dispersion of the taxa, including newly paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental aspects spanning mostly the Oligocene to Pliocene periods. Studied environmental parameters include precipitation rates in the Miocene which are compared to current rainfall values for the region.
Sympathy for the devil: a conservation strategy for devil and manta rays

Editor rating: 8 / 10

James Reimer –– This is a large-scale, multi-author work combining a review of ray conservation with suggestions for future conservation strategy.
Spatial distribution of environmental DNA in a nearshore marine habitat

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Magnus Johnson –– The use of e-DNA for ecological surveys is an important development of interest to a broad range of scientists.
Facilitating permeability of landscapes impacted by roads for protected amphibians: patterns of movement for the great crested newt

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Stephen Wratten –– vital work on amphibian movement dynamics
Counting complete? Finalising the plant inventory of a global biodiversity hotspot

Editor rating: 8 / 10

Richard Cowling –– This article is important because it focuses on an area that is both well known and extraordinarily species-rich. So there are lots of insights useful for estimating species numbers in other hotspots, a currently "hot" topic.
Vascular plant biodiversity of the lower Coppermine River valley and vicinity (Nunavut, Canada): an annotated checklist of an Arctic flora

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Richard Cowling –– The paper represents a comprehensive inventory in a remote area vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It will form the basis for a monitoring programme that will likely reveal important trends in biotic change.
Demographic, ecological, and physiological responses of ringed seals to an abrupt decline in sea ice availability

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Seabird McKeon –– The article measures the physiological and ecological responses of an ice-dependent animal to a changing climate (through ice-loss). As such, it is at the leading edge of how climate change will impact species and ecological relationships.
In situ morphometric survey elucidates the evolutionary systematics of the Eurasian Himantoglossum clade (Orchidaceae: Orchidinae)

Editor rating: 7 / 10

David Roberts –– Brings together and adds more knowledge of this clade, including new data thus representing a monograph
The DNA methylation level against the background of the genome size and t-heterochromatin content in some species of the genus Secale L

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Gerard Lazo –– With reference genomes taking shape and becoming ready; background experiments to build hypotheses on genome structure are still relevant. Though a clear answer may not have been presented here, a negative result is not necessarily unhelpful; another approach should be contemplated.
Diversity and distribution of the Caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera) of Ecuador

Editor rating: 8 / 10

Dezene Huber –– Nicely written, concise, and complete. An article that exemplifies good scientific writing and communication.

Discussing these articles

Botrychium minganense (Mingan moonwort - botryche de Mingan) [L] and Botrychium tunux (Tunux moonwort - botryche de Tunux) [R]. Kugluk/Bloody Falls Territorial Park, Kugluktuk, Nunavut. July 19, 2014. #PlantPerDay. Originally collected as one number (https://t.co/PhjeivqpNl) https://t.co/cpgZuFaQjG

Arctic species (e.g., #RingedSeals, main food of #PolarBears) are pressured by anthropogenic #ClimateChange & shifts in ecology have resulted in less abundance. Health decline & unpredictable events can combine to have major abundance/distribution effects. https://t.co/5t23fUWjzh

not cited, but 100 downloads of 'Counting complete? Finalising the inventory of a hotspot' #OpenAccess @onnohuyser https://t.co/ckc1gAPwWz

401 days ago
New #roadecology research describes tunnel-fencing system for mitigating road impacts on newts https://t.co/LdNRfEgful

477 days ago
#Christians need some sympathy for the devil – devil rays that is. https://t.co/MkXSfhzFzi #sharkweek #creationcare @arochaint #saveourseas https://t.co/NhYw51A026