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Fusaro, Silvia (2015) Evaluation, maintenance and improvement of biodiversity for environmental protection and crop nutritional properties. [Tesi di dottorato]

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Abstract (inglese)

Biodiversity is expected to be an assurance for agroecosystem resilience because it seems fundamental to preserve basic ecosystem services (ES). To examine in depth these topics, the present research aims: a) to evaluate, in real farms, the environmental sustainability by measuring the efficiency of some key ES in agroecosystems with different management; b) to search for relationships among biodiversity groups and ES and c) to explore the existence of correlations between different bioindication methodologies. The basic hypothesis is that a high efficiency of the ES can improve the environmental sustainability of agroecosystems. ES were studied by using several bioindicators associated to the functional biodiversity, which guarantees these useful services to crops. The chosen bioindicators, representing the principal trophic levels, were appropriate tools to investigate the complexity of food web in the crop field. The chosen bioindicators providing basic ES were: 1. Earthworms, soil structure drivers, responsible for air and water circulation and drainage, for organic matter (OM) decomposition and for cast enriching activity; 2. Mesofauna (including mites and springtails), which comprises mainly detritivores and small preys and predators; 3. Soil bacteria and fungi, promoters of OM decomposition, nutrient cycles, soil enzymatic activities and improvement of soil-root-water relationships; 4. Key Predators (including carabids) and parasitoids, natural control agents for crop pest outbreaks; 5. Crop Weeds and field margin vegetation, important reporters of soil conditions, can act as shelters for overwintering, provide alternative food sources for useful fauna and can attract pollinators in the field area. The research was carried out during 2012-2013 in five organic-biodynamic and five conventional horticultural fields in the Venice and Treviso provinces. The methodologies adopted to sample biodiversity of these bioindicators were: 30x30x20cm soil core hand sorting with irritant mustard powder water suspension for earthworms; Berlese-Tullgren extractor for mesofauna; Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis and 16S and ITS sequencing performed in a 454 system (Roche) for overall communities of soil bacteria and fungi, PCR and qRT-PCR with specific primers for Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF); Visual control on the aboveground part of crop for phytophagous agent and predator communities; Indoor breeding for parasitoid communities; Random nested data collection for weed communities. After sampling with the aim to know the biodiversity guilds, other innovative techniques were exploited to measure environmental quality. Regarding the component of soil mesofauna, the QBS-ar index was applied to assess the status of soil alteration but not performable by a taxonomically inexperienced operator. In order to analyse earthworms, the new QBS-e index based on earthworm ecological categories, similar to QBS-ar but easier to use also by non-experts, was successfully applied. To measure microbiological activity and biomass, soil respiration rate assay, Fluorescein Diacetate hydrolysis test, dsDNA quantification together with key soil enzymatic activities were carried out along with probes with Fertimeters , simple devices made of silk and cotton yarns working as reporters of organic matter degradation. In order to assess the natural pest control, besides the quantification of predator presence in the field, the parasitization and hyperparasitization percentages regarding one of the most problematic cabbage pest (Plutella xylostella) were calculated. To quantify the extent of pollinator and useful fauna attraction of weed communities, an Entomophily Index (E.I.) was adopted that takes into account the presence and abundance of insect-pollinated species. Some conclusive remarks were:
1.Taxa composition of a bioindicator group does not always change according to different agroecosystem managements. There seem to be more sensitive bioindicators to management practices, such as predators and parasitoids (belonging to higher trophic levels), than others, such as phytophagous agents and weeds.
2.Biodiversity, simply described with classical diversity indexes found in literature, seemed not to be associated to the ES efficiency, probably because the link has to be searched in the complexity of interactions among all biodiversity groups.
3.Agroecosystems managed in an organic-biodynamic way demonstrated to have more efficient ES (almost all among the ones measured) both in the aboveground and in the epigeal sectors and therefore this management system can be defined as more sustainable from environmental point of view.
4.Finally a great quantity of correlations emerged between all analysed indicators (biotic and functional): these could be very useful to better planning future programs of monitoring of agroecosystem conditions

Abstract (italiano)

La biodiversità è ritenuta essere una sorta di garanzia per la resilienza dell’agroecosistema in quanto sembra fondamentale per preservare basilari servizi ecosistemici (SE). Al fine di approfondire queste tematiche, questo lavoro si propone di: a) valutare, in aziende reali, la sostenibilità ambientale misurando l’efficienza di alcuni SE chiave in agroecosistemi a differente gestione; b) cercare relazioni fra i gruppi di biodiversità studiati e i SE e c) esplorare l’esistenza di correlazioni fra le differenti metodologie di analisi considerate. L’ipotesi di base è che una elevata efficienza dei SE può migliorare la sostenibilità ambientale dell’agroecosistema.
I SE sono stati studiati utilizzando numerosi bioindicatori associati alla biodiversità funzionale, che è in grado di garantire alla coltura questi utili servizi. I bioindicatori scelti, appartenenti ai principali livelli trofici, sono stati strumenti appropriati per indagare la complessità della rete trofica nel campo coltivato. I bioindicatori scelti, che provvedono a SE fondamentali, sono stati: 1. Lombrichi, promotori della struttura del suolo, fra i maggiori responsabili della circolazione di aria e acqua e del drenaggio, della decomposizione della sostanza organica e della attività di arricchimento del suolo in nutrienti dovuta agli escrementi; 2. Mesofauna (come acari e collemboli), che comprende principalmente detritivori e piccole prede e predatori; 3. Batteri e funghi del suolo, promotori della degradazione della sostanza organica, dei cicli biogeochimici dei nutrienti, delle attività enzimatiche del suolo e del miglioramento delle relazioni suolo-radici-acqua; 4. Predatori (compresi i carabidi) e parassitoidi, agenti di controllo naturale delle pullulazioni di fitofagi; 5. Malerbe del campo coltivato e Piante spontanee di margine, importanti reporter delle condizioni del suolo, che possono fungere da rifugi per lo svernamento, possono fornire fonti alternative di cibo per la fauna utile e inoltre possono attrarre impollinatori nell’area del campo. La ricerca è stata sviluppata negli anni 2012-2013 in cinque campi biologici-biodinamici e cinque campi convenzionali coltivati ad orticole siti nelle province di Venezia e Treviso. Le metodologie per campionare la biodiversità di questi bioindicatori sono state le seguenti: hand sorting su una zolla di 30x30x20cm con precedente versamento di sospensione acquosa di polvere di senape, che funge da irritante per i lombrichi (in particolare per i profondi scavatori); l’estrazione con l’apparato Berlese-Tullgren per la mesofauna; la tecnica Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis e il sequenziamento del gene 16S e ITS eseguito con il sistema 454 (Roche) per lo studio completo delle comunità di batteri e funghi del suolo, la tecnica PCR e real time-PCR con primer specifici per i funghi micorrizici (AMF); il controllo visivo sulla parte epigea della pianta coltivata per l’indagine della presenza di fitofagi e predatori; il successivo allevamento in laboratorio per indagare le comunità di parassitoidi; la raccolta raggruppata e casuale di dati sulle specie e le relative abbondanze di piante erbacee spontanee per esaminarne le comunità nell’area del campo e del margine erboso di capezzagna. Dopo aver campionato con lo scopo di conoscere i principali gruppi di biodiversità, si è proceduto applicando delle tecniche innovative e speditive utili per misurare la qualità dell’agroecosistema. Considerando la componente della mesofauna del suolo, è stato applicato l’indice QBS-ar per valutare lo stato di alterazione del suolo ma non applicabile da un operatore non esperto in tassonomia. Al fine di analizzare la comunità di lombrichi, è stato applicato il nuovo indice QBS-e basato sulle loro categorie ecologiche, simile al QBS-ar ma più facile da usare anche da non esperti. Per misurare l’attività e la biomassa microbica, il test di valutazione del tasso di respirazione del suolo, il test di idrolisi della fluoresceina diacetato, la quantificazione del dsDNA unitamente a saggi sulle attività di enzimi chiave del suolo sono stati condotti insieme al test con il fertimetro , un semplice strumento costituito da fili di seta e cotone che fungono da reporter della degradazione della sostanza organica. Al fine di valutare il controllo biologico naturale dei parassiti delle colture, oltre alla quantificazione dei predatori presenti sul campo, sono state calcolate anche le percentuali di parassitizzazione e iperparassitizzazione relative ad uno fra i più problematici parassiti del cavolfiore (Plutella xylostella). Per quantificare l’entità dell’attrazione di impollinatori e fauna utile svolta dalla comunità delle piante erbacee spontanee, un indice di entomofilia (E.I.), che prende in considerazione la presenza e l’abbondanza di specie entomofile, è stato applicato.
Alcune considerazioni conclusive sono state:
1. La composizione in taxa di un gruppo di bioindicatori non sempre cambia in base a differenti gestioni dell’agroecosistema. Sembrano esserci bioindicatori più sensibili alle pratiche di gestione, come ad esempio i predatori e i parassitoidi (appartenenti a livelli trofici superiori), rispetto ad altri, come fitofagi e malerbe.
2. Gli agroecosistemi a gestione biologico-biodinamica hanno dimostrato di avere SE più efficienti (quasi tutti fra quelli misurati) sia nel settore ipogeo che in quello epigeo e perciò questo tipo di gestione si può definire più sostenibile dal punto di vista ambientale.
3. La biodiversità, descritta semplicemente con i classici indici di biodiversità che si trovano in letteratura, non sembra essere associata all’efficienza dei SE, probabilmente perché il collegamento fra questi due fattori deve essere cercato nella complessità delle interazioni fra tutti i gruppi di biodiversità considerati.
4. Infine, una grande quantità di correlazioni fra tutti gli indicatori analizzati (biotici e funzionali) è emersa: tali correlazioni potrebbero essere molto utili per pianificare meglio futuri programmi di monitoraggio delle condizioni degli agroecosistemi

Aggiungi a RefWorks
Tipo di EPrint:Tesi di dottorato
Relatore:Squartini, Andrea
Correlatore:Paoletti, Maurizio Guido
Dottorato (corsi e scuole):Ciclo 27 > scuole 27 > BIOSCIENZE E BIOTECNOLOGIE > BIOTECNOLOGIE
Data di deposito della tesi:28 Gennaio 2015
Anno di Pubblicazione:28 Gennaio 2015
Parole chiave (italiano / inglese):Biodiversità / Biodiversity, Bioindicatori / Bioindicators, Sostenibilità ambientale / Environmental sustainability, Agroecosistema / Agroecosystem, Monitoraggio / monitoring
Settori scientifico-disciplinari MIUR:Area 05 - Scienze biologiche > BIO/07 Ecologia
Area 07 - Scienze agrarie e veterinarie > AGR/16 Microbiologia agraria
Struttura di riferimento:Dipartimenti > Dipartimento di Biologia
Codice ID:7673
Depositato il:12 Nov 2015 10:09
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