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Open Access Biodiversity Research

To celebrate 2010 as the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity and the importance of sharing our knowledge of the diversity of the natural world, we present a cross journal thematic series of open access biodiversity research. This selection highlights leading research from the disciplines of genetics and evolution of species richness, to conservation and biodiversity informatics. BMC Ecology expands scope (BMC Ecology 2010, 10:16) BMC Ecology has always been open to a wide range of topics from biodiversity research and in this 2010 International Year of Biodiversity we are keen to emphasise biodiversity studies within the scope of the journal. Rescued chimpanzees (BMC Ecology 2010, 10:2) The geographic origins of 46 chimpanzees who found refuge at the Limbe Wildlife Centre are traced by genotyping, indicating that hunting and the smuggling of live animals is widespread throughout Cameroon. Metazoa living without oxygen (BMC Biology 2010, 8:30) An expedition to a deep sea hypersaline anoxic basin in the Mediterranean has discovered the first multicellular animals that live and reproduce in the absence of oxygen.

  1. Research article

    Cross-taxon congruence and environmental conditions

    Diversity patterns of different taxa typically covary in space, a phenomenon called cross-taxon congruence. This pattern has been explained by the effect of one taxon diversity on taxon diversity, shared bioge...

    Carolina Toranza and Matías Arim

    BMC Ecology 2010 10:18

    Published on: 16 July 2010

  2. Research article

    Two behavioural traits promote fine-scale species segregation and moderate hybridisation in a recovering sympatric fur seal population

    In systems where two or more species experience secondary contact, behavioural factors that regulate interspecific gene flow may be important for maintaining species boundaries and reducing the incidence of hy...

    Melanie L Lancaster, Simon D Goldsworthy and Paul Sunnucks

    BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010 10:143

    Published on: 14 May 2010

  3. Research article

    The world's richest tadpole communities show functional redundancy and low functional diversity: ecological data on Madagascar's stream-dwelling amphibian larvae

    Functional diversity illustrates the range of ecological functions in a community. It allows revealing the appearance of functional redundancy in communities and processes of community assembly. Functional red...

    Axel Strauß, Erik Reeve, Roger-Daniel Randrianiaina, Miguel Vences and Julian Glos

    BMC Ecology 2010 10:12

    Published on: 12 May 2010

  4. Research article

    The first metazoa living in permanently anoxic conditions

    Several unicellular organisms (prokaryotes and protozoa) can live under permanently anoxic conditions. Although a few metazoans can survive temporarily in the absence of oxygen, it is believed that multi-cellu...

    Roberto Danovaro, Antonio Dell'Anno, Antonio Pusceddu, Cristina Gambi, Iben Heiner and Reinhardt Møbjerg Kristensen

    BMC Biology 2010 8:30

    Published on: 6 April 2010

  5. Research article

    Molecular evidence for a diverse green algal community growing in the hair of sloths and a specific association with Trichophilus welckeri(Chlorophyta, Ulvophyceae)

    Sloths are slow-moving arboreal mammals inhabiting tropical rainforests in Central and South America. The six living species of sloths are occasionally reported to display a greenish discoloration of their pel...

    Milla Suutari, Markus Majaneva, David P Fewer, Bryson Voirin, Annette Aiello, Thomas Friedl, Adriano G Chiarello and Jaanika Blomster

    BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010 10:86

    Published on: 30 March 2010

  6. Research article

    Environmental distribution of prokaryotic taxa

    The increasing availability of gene sequences of prokaryotic species in samples extracted from all kind of locations allows addressing the study of the influence of environmental patterns in prokaryotic biodiv...

    Javier Tamames, Juan José Abellán, Miguel Pignatelli, Antonio Camacho and Andrés Moya

    BMC Microbiology 2010 10:85

    Published on: 22 March 2010

  7. Research article

    Mitochondrial evidence for multiple radiations in the evolutionary history of small apes

    Gibbons or small apes inhabit tropical and subtropical rain forests in Southeast Asia and adjacent regions, and are, next to great apes, our closest living relatives. With up to 16 species, gibbons form the mo...

    Van Ngoc Thinh, Alan R Mootnick, Thomas Geissmann, Ming Li, Thomas Ziegler, Muhammad Agil, Pierre Moisson, Tilo Nadler, Lutz Walter and Christian Roos

    BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010 10:74

    Published on: 12 March 2010

  8. Research article

    Traditional agroecosystems as conservatories and incubators of cultivated plant varietal diversity: the case of fig (Ficus caricaL.) in Morocco

    Traditional agroecosystems are known to host both large crop species diversity and high within crop genetic diversity. In a context of global change, this diversity may be needed to feed the world. Are these a...

    Hafid Achtak, Mohammed Ater, Ahmed Oukabli, Sylvain Santoni, Finn Kjellberg and Bouchaib Khadari

    BMC Plant Biology 2010 10:28

    Published on: 18 February 2010

  9. Research article

    Tracing the origins of rescued chimpanzees reveals widespread chimpanzee hunting in Cameroon

    While wild chimpanzees are experiencing drastic population declines, their numbers at African rescue and rehabilitation projects are growing rapidly. Chimpanzees follow complex routes to these refuges; and the...

    Lora Ghobrial, Felix Lankester, John A Kiyang, Akih E Akih, Simone de Vries, Roger Fotso, Elizabeth L Gadsby, Peter D Jenkins Jr and Mary K Gonder

    BMC Ecology 2010 10:2

    Published on: 22 January 2010

  10. Research

    Towards a comprehensive barcode library for arctic life - Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

    This study reports progress in assembling a DNA barcode reference library for Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera ("EPTs") from a Canadian subarctic site, which is the focus of a comprehensive biodivers...

    Xin Zhou, Sarah J Adamowicz, Luke M Jacobus, R Edward DeWalt and Paul DN Hebert

    Frontiers in Zoology 2009 6:30

    Published on: 10 December 2009

  11. Research article

    Temporal development and collapse of an Arctic plant-pollinator network

    The temporal dynamics and formation of plant-pollinator networks are difficult to study as it requires detailed observations of how the networks change over time. Understanding the temporal dynamics might prov...

    Clementine Pradal, Jens M Olesen and Carsten Wiuf

    BMC Ecology 2009 9:24

    Published on: 4 December 2009

  12. Research

    Scratchpads: a data-publishing framework to build, share and manage information on the diversity of life

    Natural History science is characterised by a single immense goal (to document, describe and synthesise all facets pertaining to the diversity of life) that can only be addressed through a seemingly infinite s...

    Vincent S Smith, Simon D Rycroft, Kehan T Harman, Ben Scott and David Roberts

    BMC Bioinformatics 2009 10(Suppl 14):S6

    Published on: 10 November 2009

    This article is part of a Supplement: Volume 10 Supplement 14

  13. Research

    Towards a data publishing framework for primary biodiversity data: challenges and potentials for the biodiversity informatics community

    Currently primary scientific data, especially that dealing with biodiversity, is neither easily discoverable nor accessible. Amongst several impediments, one is a lack of professional recognition of scientific...

    Vishwas S Chavan and Peter Ingwersen

    BMC Bioinformatics 2009 10(Suppl 14):S2

    Published on: 10 November 2009

    This article is part of a Supplement: Volume 10 Supplement 14

  14. Research article

    Impacts of feral horses on a desert environment

    Free-ranging horses (Equus caballus) in North America are considered to be feral animals since they are descendents of non-native domestic horses introduced to the continent. We conducted a study in a southern Ca...

    Stacey D Ostermann-Kelm, Edward A Atwill, Esther S Rubin, Larry E Hendrickson and Walter M Boyce

    BMC Ecology 2009 9:22

    Published on: 10 November 2009

  15. Research article

    Massively parallel tag sequencing reveals the complexity of anaerobic marine protistan communities

    Recent advances in sequencing strategies make possible unprecedented depth and scale of sampling for molecular detection of microbial diversity. Two major paradigm-shifting discoveries include the detection of...

    Thorsten Stoeck, Anke Behnke, Richard Christen, Linda Amaral-Zettler, Maria J Rodriguez-Mora, Andrei Chistoserdov, William Orsi and Virginia P Edgcomb

    BMC Biology 2009 7:72

    Published on: 3 November 2009