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Data Paper (Biosciences)
Biota from the coastal wetlands of Praia da Vitória (Terceira, Azores, Portugal): Part 4 – Vascular plants
expand article infoRui B. Elias, Mariana R. Brito§, César M.M. Pimentel§, Elisabete C. Nogueira§, Paulo A. Borges
‡ CE3C – Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes/Azorean Biodiversity Group and Universidade dos Açores - Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e do Ambiente, Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal
§ LIFE CWR – LIFE project “Ecological Restoration and Conservation of Praia da Vitória Coastal Wet Green Infrastructures”, Praia da Vitória, Portugal
Open Access

Abstract

Background

The data presented here come from field observations, carried out between 2014 and 2017, as part of a LIFE research project aiming to preserve and restore three coastal wetlands of Praia da Vitória (Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal) (LIFE-CWR). A total of 23 vascular plant species surveys were carried out in three sites: one for each semester in Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV) and Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP); one for each semester (except in 2014) in Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ). The main objectives were to determine the plant richness of the three sites and to monitor yearly variation on species composition.

New information

A total of 107 taxa, belonging to 50 families, were observed, many of which are new records for the area, especially in PBJ and PPCP, where 78 and 92% of species records were new. A few very rare species in the Azores were recorded in these coastal wetlands, namely Lotus creticus, Bolboschoenus maritimus, Juncus maritimus and Polygonum maritimum.

Keywords

Azores, Magnoliophyta, Magnoliopsida, Liliopsida, Terceira, Plantae, Pteridophyta, wetlands

Introduction

Before human settlement in the 15th century, Azorean natural vegetation was most probably dominated by forests (Elias et al. 2016). Those forest habitats were gradually replaced (except for a few mountainous areas of some islands) by agriculture fields, urban areas, pastures, production forests and exotic forests (Martins 1993). In coastal areas, natural vegetation (where it still remains) consists essentially of supratidal communities (with the endemics Azorina vidalii, Euphorbia azorica and Spergularia azorica), coastal grasslands (mainly of Festuca petraea) and coastal scrublands, usually dominated by Erica azorica and Morella faya. Given that rocky cliffs dominate the Azorean coastline and human-induced habitat changes were higher on low elevation areas, dune communities and coastal wetlands are extremely rare. Coastal wetlands usually have shallow lagoons, separated from the sea by natural barriers. Typically, lagoons are fringed by mangroves in the tropics and marsh plants, like Juncus, in the temperate zones (Morton 2014).

In the Azores, only six sites can be properly called coastal wetlands: Lajes do Pico (Pico Island), Fajã do Santo Cristo and Fajã dos Cubres (in São Jorge Island) and the three sites of the coastal wetland complex of Praia da Vitória (Terceira Island). These habitats are home to rare species (in the Azores), like the aquatic plants Ruppia maritima and R. spiralis (Morton 2019). The coastal wetland complex of Praia da Vitória (Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal) is composed by Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV), Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ) and Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP). Since the earlier works by Dias et al. (1991)Morton et al. (1997) and Morton et al. (1998), the first comprehensive study of Praia da Vitória wetlands was done by the LIFE-CWR coastal wetlands restoration project, under the responsibility of Praia da Vitória Municipality. The present data paper is the fourth of a series dealing with the biota from these coastal wetlands (see Borges et al. 2018Gabriel et al. 2019Goulart et al. 2019).

General description

Purpose: 

This work is part of a comprehensive study regarding the biodiversity of the coastal wetlands of Praia da Vitória (Terceira, Azores) under the scope of the LIFE-CWR coastal wetlands restoration project. The aim of this work was to inventory the vascular plants present in the three coastal areas of Praia da Vitória (PPV, PBJ and PPCP), in order to determine the plant richness of the three sites and the yearly variation in species composition.

Project description

Title: 

Inventory of vascular plant species of three coastal wetlands of Terceira Island (Azores)

Personnel: 

The inventory was conducted during four years between April 2014 and September 2017 by Mariana R. Brito, with the collaboration of César Pimentel, under the responsibility of Elisabete C. Nogueira and advice of Rui B. Elias. Species identification was performed by Mariana R. Brito and Rui B. Elias. Paulo A. V. Borges coordinated the publication of the series of data papers regarding the biodiversity of Terceira island coastal wetlands (arthropods, bryophytes, vascular plants and birds).

Study area description: 

The Azores belong to the Holarctic Biogeographical Kingdom and Eurosiberian Region (Rivas-Martinez et al. 2002). Terceira Island is the third largest island of the archipelago and has the fourth longest shoreline (Forjaz et al. 2004) (Fig. 1). Like other Azorean islands (with the exception of Santa Maria and Graciosa), the prevalent type of climate in Terceira is temperate with no dry season and with a mild summer (Köppen Climate Classification - Cfb). However, in Praia da Vitória (a lowland area in the east of the island), the climate is temperate with hot and dry summers (Csa) (Atlas 2012). For more details on the description of the study area see Borges et al. (2018). During the study period, conservation measures were implemented, namely the creation/enlargement of water bodies in PBJ and PPV and the improvement of bird watching regulation and control of Arundo donax in PPCP and PPV.

Figure 1.  

Location of the study areas in Terceira island: ■ Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV); ○ Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ); ● Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP). The geographical setting of the Azores islands and the location of the archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean are also shown.

Design description: 

A total of 23 surveys were carried out in three sites (PPV, PBJ and PPCP). Surveys took place in each semester (except for PBJ in 2014) during 2-3 days (depending on the dimension of the study areas), for a total of 51 days of direct observation. Study areas were delimited using GPS and included the margins of water bodies and the surrounding terrestrial areas. 

Funding: 

LIFE CWR – Ecological Restoration and Conservation of Praia da Vitória Coastal Wet Green Infrastructure (2013-2018) funded the field work. AZORESBIOPORTAL – PORBIOTA (ACORES-01-0145-FEDER-000072) funded the open access of biodiversity data.

Sampling methods

Study extent: 

This study covers a small coastal area with 3.58 km extension between PPV and PPCP.

Study dates: April 2014 – September 2017

Sampling description: 

In each survey, the presence of vascular plant taxa was recorded. For the most common taxa, plant samples were collected, dried and stored in the Environment Division of Praia da Vitória Municipality. Most taxa were identified in the field. Whenever this was not possible, a plant sample was collected and the identification confirmed later. A photo archive of the recorded taxa was also done. Information and taxonomical keys from Franco and Afonso (1994), Franco and Afonso (1998), Franco and Afonso (2003) and Schäfer (2005) were used for taxon identification. Nomenclature follows Silva et al. (2010).   

Geographic coverage

Description: 

Terceira Island (Azores), Macaronesia, Portugal

Coordinates: 

38°42’09’’N and 38°42’47.95’N Latitude; 27°02’39’’ and 27°03’46’’ Longitude.

Taxonomic coverage

Description: 

PlantaeSpermatophyta

Temporal coverage

Notes: 

April 2014 – September 2017

Usage rights

Use license: 
Open Data Commons Attribution License

Data resources

Data package title: 
LIFE_CWR_TER_Plants
Number of data sets: 
1
Data set name: 
Vascular Plants from Praia da Vitória
Data format: 
Darwin Core Archive
Data format version: 
version 1
Description: 

In this data table, we include all the records for which a taxonomic identification of the species was possible. The dataset submitted to GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) is structured as a sample event dataset, with two tables: event (as core) and occurrences. The data in this sampling event resource have been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwCA), which is a standardised format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 23 records. One extension data table also exists. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated in the IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit) link. This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for downloading in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.

Column label Column description
Table Events The sub-table with events
country Country of the sampling site
countryCode ISO code of the country of the sampling site
stateProvince Name of the region of the sampling site
islandGroup Name of archipelago
Island Name of the island
municipality Name of the municipality
locationRemarks Details on the locality site
eventID Identifier of the events, unique for the dataset
fieldNumber Number given to each sample
verbatimCoordinates Original coordinates recorded
decimalLatitude Approximate centre point decimal latitude of the field site in GPS coordinates
decimalLongitude Approximate centre point decimal longitude of the field site in GPS coordinates
coordinatePrecision Precision of the coordinates
geodeticDatum The reference point for the various coordinate systems used in mapping the earth
georeferenceSources Method used to obtain coordinates
minimumElevationInMetres Minimum elevation in metres
maximumElevationInMetres Maximum elevation in metres
eventDate Date or date range the sampling
startDayOfYear Day of the year the sampling started
endDayOfYear Day of the year the sampling ended
samplingProtocol The sampling protocol used to capture the species
samplingEffort The amount of time of each sampling
sampleSizeValue The numeric amount of time spent in each sampling
sampleSizeUnit The unit of the sample size value
taxonRank Taxonomic rank to which the specimens were identified
Table Occurrences The sub-table with occurrence data
Type Type of the record, as defined by the Public Core standard
occurrenceID Identifier of the record, coded as a global unique identifier
licence Reference to the licence under which the record is published
InstitutionCode The code of the institution publishing the data
InstitutionID The identity of the institution publishing the data
datasetName Name of the dataset
basisOfRecord The nature of the data record
recordedBy Name of the person who performed the sampling of the specimens
eventID Identifier of the events, unique for the dataset
recordedBy Name of the person who performed the sampling of the specimens
kingdom Kingdom name
phylum Phylum name
class Class name
order Order name
family Family name
genus Genus name
specificEpithet Specific epithet
infraspecificEpithet Infraspecific epithet, when available
scientificNameAuthorship Name of the author of the lowest taxon rank included in the record
scientificName Complete scientific name including author and year
taxonRank Lowest taxonomic rank of the record
establishmentMeans The process of establishment of the species in the location, using a controlled vocabulary: 'native non-endemic', 'introduced', 'endemic'.
identifiedBy Name of the person who made the identification
dateIdentified Date on which the record was identified

Additional information

During the four-year observation period (2014-2017), a total of 107 taxa, belonging to 50 families, were observed (Table 1). Almost all were flowering plants (only three fern species were recorded), mostly Magnoliopsida (75%). Regarding the colonisation status, 83% were introduced species and only 17% were native non-endemic or endemic. The number of species in the three sites ranged from 74, in PPCP, to 79, in PPV. In this contribution, we add 23 records for PPV, 61 records for PBJ and 68 records for PPCP.

List of vascular plants observed in the three coastal wetlands of Praia da Vitória (Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal) - Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV), Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ) and Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP). For each taxon, Phylum, Class, Order and Family are indicated. Colonisation status follows Silva et al. (2010): Introduced (INT), Native (NAT) or Endemic (END).

Phylum Class Order Family Taxon Colonization PPV PBJ PPCP
Pteridophyta Polypodiopsida Polypodiales Dryopteridaceae Cyrtomium falcatum (L.fil.) C. Presl INT     x
Pteridophyta Polypodiopsida Polypodiales Polypodiaceae Polypodium azoricum (Vasc) R. Fern. END     x
Pteridophyta Polypodiopsida Polypodiales Dennstaedtiaceae Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn NAT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Laurales Lauraceae Laurus azorica (Seub.) Franco END x   x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Ranunculales Papaveraceae Fumaria muralis Sonder ex Koch subsp. muralis INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Ranunculales Papaveraceae Papaver dubium L. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Ranunculales Papaveraceae Papaver rhoeas L. INT   x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Ranunculales Ranunculaceae Ranunculus repens L. INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Proteales Proteaceae Banksia integrifolia L. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fagales Myricaceae Morella faya (Aiton) Wilbur NAT x   x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Rosales Rosaceae Rubus ulmifolius Schott INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Rosales Urticaceae Urtica membranacea Poir. INT   x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae Lotus creticus L. NAT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae Lotus parviflorus Desf. INT x   x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae Medicago lupulina L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae Melilotus indicus (L.) All. INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae Trifolium fragiferum L. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae Trifolium pratense L. INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae Trifolium repens L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae Vicia sativa L. subsp. sativa INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Oxalidales Oxalidaceae Oxalis pes-caprae L. INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Malpighiales Euphorbiaceae Ricinus communis L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Malvales Malvaceae Malva pseudolavatera Webb & Berthel. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Malvales Malvaceae Sida rhombifolia L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Brassicales Brassicaceae Lobularia maritima (L.) Desv. INT   x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Brassicales Brassicaceae Raphanus raphanistrum L. subsp. raphanistrum INT   x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Brassicales Brassicaceae Rapistrum rugosum (L.) All. subsp. rugosum INT     x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Brassicales Resedaceae Reseda luteola L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Brassicales Tropaeolaceae Tropaeolum majus L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Myrtales Onagraceae Oenothera rosea L'Hér. ex Aiton INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Geraniales Geraniaceae Geranium dissectum L. INT   x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Geraniales Geraniaceae Geranium molle L. INT   x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Geraniales Geraniaceae Geranium purpureum Vill. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Saxifragales Crassulaceae Umbilicus rupestris (Salisb.) Dandy INT     x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Aizoaceae Tetragonia tetragonoides (Pall.) O. Kuntze INT   x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Amaranthaceae Atriplex prostrata Boucher ex DC. NAT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Amaranthaceae Salsola kali L. subsp. tragus (L.) Nyman INT   x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Caryophyllaceae Silene gallica L. INT x   x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Caryophyllaceae Spergularia marina (L.) Griseb INT     x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Phytolaccaceae Phytolacca americana L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Polygonaceae Persicaria capitata (Buch. Ham. ex D. Don) H. Gross INT     x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Polygonaceae Polygonum maritimum L. NAT   x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Portulaceae Portulaca oleracea L. subsp. oleraceae INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Tamaricaceae Tamarix africana Poir. INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Ericales Primulaceae Anagallis arvensis L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Gentianales Gentianaceae Centaurium scilloides (L. Fil.) Samp. NAT   x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Gentianales Rubiaceae Galium aparine L. INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Gentianales Rubiaceae Sherardia arvensis L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Lamiaceae Clinopodium ascendens (Jord.) Samp. NAT   x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Lamiaceae Mentha pulegium L. NAT   x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Lamiaceae Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Orobanchaceae Orobanche minor Sm. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Orobanchaceae Parentucellia viscosa (L.) Caruel INT   x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Plantaginaceae Plantago coronopus L. NAT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Plantaginaceae Plantago lanceolata L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Plantaginaceae Plantago major L. INT x   x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Scrophulariaceae Veronica persica Poir. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Verbenaceae Lantana camara L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Verbenaceae Verbena bonariensis L. INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Verbenaceae Verbena officinalis L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Verbenaceae Verbena rigida Spreng. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Solanales Convolvulaceae Convolvulus arvensis L. subsp. arvensis INT   x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Solanales Convolvulaceae Ipomoea indica (Burm.fil.) Merr. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Solanales Solanaceae Datura stramonium L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Solanales Solanaceae Physalis peruviana L. INT x   x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Solanales Solanaceae Salpichroa origanifolia (Lam.) Baill. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Solanales Solanaceae Solanum nigrum L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Boraginales Boraginaceae Echium plantagineum L. INT   x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Ageratina adenophora (Spreng.) R. M. King & H. Rob. INT x   x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Conyza bonariensis (L.) Cronquist INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Cichorium intybus L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Dittrichia viscosa (L.) Greuter INT     x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Erigeron karvinskianus DC. INT x   x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Galactites tomentosa Moench INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Helminthotheca echioides (L.) Holub INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Hypochaeris radicata L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Leontodon saxatilis Lam. susp. longirostris (Finch & P. D. Sell) P. Silva INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum (L.) Hilliard & B. L. Burtt NAT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Solidago gigantea Aiton subsp. serotina McNeill NAT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae Sonchus asper (L.) Hill subsp. asper INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Apiales Apiaceae Daucus carota L. subsp. azoricus Franco END x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Apiales Apiaceae Foeniculum vulgare Mill. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Apiales Araliaceae Tetrapanax papyriferus (Hook.) K. Koch INT x    
Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Apiales Pittosporaceae Pittosporum undulatum Vent. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Alismatales Araceae Zantedeschia aethiopica (L.) Spreng. INT   x  
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Amaryllidaceae Brunsvigia rosea (Lam.) L. S. Hannibal INT x    
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Asparagaceae Agave americana L. INT   x  
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Cyperaceae Bolboschoenus maritimus (L.) Palla NAT x    
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Cyperaceae Cyperus eragrostis Lam. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Cyperaceae Cyperus esculentus L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Cyperaceae Cyperus longus L. NAT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Juncaceae Juncus acutus L. NAT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Juncaceae Juncus maritimus Lam. NAT   x  
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Arundo donax L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Briza maxima L. INT   x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Bromus catharticus Vahl INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Cortaderia selloana (Schult. & Schult. fil.) Asch. & Graebn. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Dactylis glomerata L. INT     x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Holcus lanatus L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Hordeum murinum L. subsp. leporinum (Link) Asch. & Graebn. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Lagurus ovatus L. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Paspalum dilatatum Poir. INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Spartina versicolor Fabre INT x x  
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae Sporobolus africanus (Poir.) Robyns & Tournay INT x x x
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Zingiberales Cannaceae Canna indica L. INT x    
Magnoliophyta Liliopsida Commelinales Commelinaceae Tradescantia fluminensis Vell. INT   x  

The percentage of native species ranged between 15% in PPV and 18% in PBJ. These coastal habitats are surrounded by urban areas and pastures and the high percentage of exotic species is the natural consequence of the degree of disturbance that these wetlands have experienced in the past and the human pressure that they still endure.

Overal, only 18 native (endemic and non-endemic) taxa were present in these wetlands. Polypodium azoricum (Fig. 2), Laurus azorica and Daucus carota subsp. azoricus (Fig. 3) were the only endemic taxa recorded. The latter is typical of coastal areas, but the others (especially L. azorica) are not commonly found at such low altitudes. Amongst native non-endemic species, Juncus acutus (Fig. 4) and Morella faya (Fig. 5) are diagnostic species of Azorean natural supratidal communities and coastal scrublands, respectively.

Figure 2.  

Polypodium azoricum (Photo by Rui Elias).

Figure 3.  

Daucus carota subsp. azoricus (Photo by Rui Elias).

Figure 4.  

Juncus acutus (Photo by Rui Elias).

Figure 5.  

Morella faya (Photo by Rui Elias).

A few rare species, in the Azores, were also found, namely Lotus creticus, Bolboschoenus maritimus, Juncus maritimus and Polygonum maritimum. Lotus creticus (Fig. 6) and Bolboschoenus maritimus (Fig. 7) occur only in Terceira. Juncus maritimus (Fig. 8) occurs in a few coastal areas of the islands of Pico, São Jorge and Terceira. Polygonum maritimum, is an equally rare species that can be found only in São Miguel, Terceira, Faial and Pico (Silva et al. 2010). All these species are threatened because of the low number of surviving populations (and individuals), habitat change and human pressure.

Figure 6.  

Lotus creticus (Photo by LIFE-CWR).

Figure 7.  

Bolboschoenus maritimus (Photo by LIFE-CWR).

Figure 8.  

Juncus maritimus (Photo by Rui Elias).

Variation in species composition was higher in PPV and PPCP but only significant in the latter (Qui-square 43.6; p < 0.05). In PPCP, 39 taxa were recorded in 2014, 59 in 2015 and 2016 and 69 in 2017. These differences may be, at least in part, attributed to the conservation measures applied in this wetland, namelly the increased regulation of bird-watching activities and control of the invasive species Arundo donax.

Concluding remarks

This is the fourth contribution, based on a comprehensive project that aimed to inventory the biota of a rare habitat in the Azores (coastal wetland). In previous contributions, arthropods (Borges et al. 2018), bryophytes (Gabriel et al. 2019) and birds (Goulart et al. 2019) were listed with taxonomical and ecological remarks. Amongst those records, 11 were new for the Azores and 19 were new for Terceira. Overall, during this project, 489 taxa were recorded: 58 bryophytes, 107 vascular plants, 216 arthropods and 108 birds. As expected, because these wetlands were subjected to severe anthropogenic disturbances, for arthropods and vascular plants, most taxa are exotic. Nevertheless, for both groups, a few rare species were found. This series of papers has demonstrated the importance of the coastal wetlands of Praia da Vitória in the Azorean context. Active conservation and ecological restoration must continue to be a priority for the stakeholders.

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the project LIFE CWR – Ecological Restoration and Conservation of Praia da Vitória Coastal Wet Green Infrastructure (2013-2018). Many thanks also to Rui Figueira and Tainan Messina for the creation and updating of the Darwin Core Archive.

Open access was funded by FEDER in 85% and by Azorean Public funds by 15% through Operational Program Azores 2020, under the project AZORESBIOPORTAL – PORBIOTA (ACORES-01-0145-FEDER-000072).

Author contributions

MRB and ECN conceived the project. RBE and PAVB conceived and drafted the manuscript. MRB, CMMP and RBE collected the data. RBE and MRB identified the species and organised the final database. All authors revised and contributed to the final text.

References