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Palaeoecology and conservation of endangered hidden species; example of the liverwort Riella (Riellaceae)

Abstract : Palaeoecology is increasingly contributing to conservation biology and restoration ecology by extending the recent annual to decennial records of ecological observations to centennial and millennial time scales. One of the almost neglected potential applications of palaeoecological investigations in conservation biology is the discovering of hidden species in subrecent fossil records. Such discoveries can be common in biodiversity hotspots in which the fauna and flora are not still fully known. In this study, we present the case of the liverwort Riella in continental southwest Asia (Iranian plateau), a very vulnerable taxon growing and reproducing under very special ecological circumstances. Our study adds two new species of Riella (R. echinata and R. helicophylla) in addition to the formerly reported R. cossoniana, to the subfossil bryophyte flora of Iran. We demonstrate the important contribution that the genus has played in the history of wetland flora of the semi-arid to arid areas of Iran during the late Quaternary. We further demonstrate the possibility that it is still thriving in many wetland systems and may need to be discovered and then protected in its potential habitats. We suggest that in the biodiversity hotspots of lower latitudes, more attention has to be paid to taxonomic identification of species to reveal the hidden part of the biodiversity for defining better conservation strategies for vulnerable aquatic ecosystems such as the seasonal wetland systems.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 11:24:23 AM
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Djamali and Segarra-Moragues, ...
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Morteza Djamali, José Gabriel Segarra-Moragues. Palaeoecology and conservation of endangered hidden species; example of the liverwort Riella (Riellaceae). Biodiversity and Conservation, Springer Verlag, 2021, ⟨10.1007/s10531-021-02218-3⟩. ⟨hal-03254900⟩



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