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Table of Content
    Volume 28 Issue 6
    20 June 2020
    Arboreal ants have developed intimate symbiotic relationships with their host trees. Ant–tree symbioses are an ideal model for the study of ecological interaction networks. Wang et al (see pages 695–706 of this issue) report on spatial variation within a bipartite ant?tree network in the Xishuangbanna tropical rain forest. The picture shows the common Ficus racemosa in Xishuangbanna (left), a nest of the weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) knit with tree leaves (top right), and weaver ants carrying food (bottom right). (Photographed by Bo Wang)
    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Phenotypic plasticity of Alternanthera philoxeroides in response to root neighbors of kin: Introduced vs. native genotypes
    Liangrui Yu, Zhengcai Zhu, Xiaoyun Pan
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  651-657.  doi:10.17520/biods.2020044
    Abstract ( 322 )   HTML ( 24 )   PDF (1103KB) ( 309 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Plant root neighbors can induce plastic responses, thereby altering root biomass allocation and other functional traits even while available resources remain constant. The evolution of plasticity hypothesis demonstrates that populations in the introduced range of an invasive species have evolved greater plasticity than populations in the native range. Most studies focus on plastic responses of alien plants to light, water, nutrition and nature enemies. However, plastic responses to root neighbors in alien plants has not been studied. We conducted a common garden experiment using five introduced (the United States of America, USA) and five native (Argentina) genotypes of Alternanthera philoxeroides (alligator weed) to compare fitness and functional traits responses to root neighbors of the same genotype plants (kin). We found that introduced genotypes had an increased root to shoot ratio (RSR) and specific leaf area (SLA) when root neighbors were present while the native genotypes showed the opposite responses. However, introduced and native genotypes showed no difference in total biomass, storage root biomass, specific stem length (SSL) and branching intensity (BI). In addition, when root neighbors were present, A. philoxeroides increased in total biomass (+9.9%) and storage root biomass (+13.9%) and decreased in SSL (-9.5%) than when grown without root neighbors. Introduced genotypes showed an increase in total biomass (+62.0%), storage root biomass (+58.9%), and reduction of SSL (-28.5%) and BI (-42.8%) than native genotypes. Our results suggest that functional trait plasticity responses related to resource utilization (i.e. RSR and SLA) showed opposite patterns between introduced and native genotypes, but fitness and functional trait plasticity responses related to plant type (i.e. SSL and BI) showed no difference among introduced and native genotypes.

    Species diversity and environmental interpretation of herb layer in lava platform of Wudalianchi, China
    Qingyang Huang, Hongjie Cao, Lihong Xie, Chunyu Luo, Fan Yang, Limin Wang, Hongwei Ni
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  658-667.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019371
    Abstract ( 155 )   HTML ( 20 )   PDF (1506KB) ( 117 )   Save
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    The Wudalianchi volcanic lava platform, a volcanic landscape, is important to understand plant community mechanisms to volcanic primary succession. In this paper, the herbaceous species of the Wudalianchi volcanic lava platform were studied, which belonged to bryophyte, herb, shrub, mixed-forest, and mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest plots. Soil nutrients and soil moisture were also studied with the canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) method along with species diversity indices such as the Simpson, Shannon-Wiener, Pielou, and species richness indices. Our results show that: (1) There were 56 plant species in the herb layer, accounting for 82.35% of the total species in the volcanic platform while diversity, dominance, and evenness indices of the herb layer was higher than other vegetation types. (2) Soil pH had a considerable influence on species richness and spatial distribution of herbaceous species in the herb layer. (3) Soil factors accounted for 79.39% of the community’s distribution, among which soil pH, available phosphorus, nitrate nitrogen, and ammonium nitrogen accounted for a large proportion. (4) Patrinia rupestris, Artemisia sacrorum, Poa sphondylodes, and Ixeris chinensis had low environmental requirements and adapted uniquely to the poor environment of the lava platform. Vegetation within the platform showed specific resource demands, which are due to differences in lava type that alter soil water, pH, and soil nutrients, thereby impacting plant community distributions.

    Plant diversity and species replacement in Chinese Buddhist temples
    Xinyang Wang, Cheng Jin, Li Huang, Lihua Zhou, Mingming Zheng, Shenhua Qian, Yongchuan Yang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  668-677.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019392
    Abstract ( 573 )   HTML ( 30 )   PDF (7171KB) ( 505 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Buddhism is one of the main religions in China. As the material carrier of Buddhist culture, Buddhist temples play an important role in preserving regional biodiversity. In this study, we cataloged the tree species in 191 temples across China. Then, we analyzed the species composition, geographical distribution pattern, and the impact factors of Buddhist tree species distribution in different regions to clarify the role of temples in biodiversity conservation. The results showed that: (1) From across 191 temples, we observed a total of 1,059 tree species, belonging to 116 families and 410 genera with most species (n = 773) occurred in only one or two temples. (2) Temple gardens were rich in native and threatened tree species (n = 94), and thus, are of high biodiversity conservation value. (3) The tree species composition of Buddhist temples in different climatic zones was quite different. (4) Tree species across temples had a distinct replacement phenomenon where original Buddhist tree species were gradually replaced by native species similar to the native flora, from south to north. The above results suggest that Chinese temples have very rich plant resource and that their effective protection may play a positive role in maintaining regional biodiversity and improving urban greening.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Species diversity and community composition of non-volant small mammals in Heizhugou region, Sichuan Province
    Xiantao Yue, Taxing Zhang, Liang Dou, Jie Liu, Jianghong Ran, Yeming Mao, Xiaolong Ma, Yao Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  678-687.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019385
    Abstract ( 447 )   HTML ( 19 )   PDF (1426KB) ( 195 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    The Sichuan Heizhugou National Nature Reserve is located in the Liangshan Mountains, which is highly rich in biodiversity and plays an important role in protecting and maintaining the regional biodiversity. However, there is a lack of mammalian research in the nature reserve. In order to understand the small mammal communities of the nature reserve and its surroundings, from April to October 2018, we investigated the species diversity and community composition of non-volant small mammals in the region. A total of 184 quadrats including 9,016 traps were set along an elevational gradient from 1,537-3,830 m. We captured small mammal individuals (N = 536), which belong to 4 orders, 7 families, 13 genera, and 21 species. Nine species, including Vernaya fulva and Uropsilus aequodonenia, had been reported for the first time in this region, enriching the species distribution records. According to historical data and our survey, there are a total of 43 species of small mammals, belonging to 4 orders, 9 families and 28 genera in the Heizhugou region. Of the 43 small mammal species, 37 (86%) species are of Oriental origin, and 18 (48.6%) species are of Himalayan-Hengduan Mountains origin. For the 21 small mammal species captured, the dominant species were Apodemus draco (33.2%), Niviventer confucianus (21.3%), and Eothenomys chinensis (12.7%). Along the elevational gradient, the community composition changed from a Niviventer confucianus + Apodemus draco + Niviventer fulvescens + Anourosorex squamipes dominated community to a Eothenomys chinensis + Apodemus draco + Proedromys liangshanensis + Eothenomys custos dominated community. The proportion of Himalayan-Hengduan Mountains origin species increased with elevation. The average lower limit, mid-point, and upper limit of elevation for endemic species mainly distributed in the Himalayan-Hengduan Mountains were higher than that of non-endemic species. The average mid-point and lower limit of elevation of endemic species was significantly higher than that of non-endemic species (n = 21, df = 19, P = 0.013; n = 21, df = 19, P < 0.01). Species composition in this region is mainly represented by fauna of Oriental origin, while the middle and high elevational communities are mainly composed of endemic species. This study enriched the previous species diversity and distribution records of the small mammals, which is important for the study and conservation of species diversity in this region.

    Correlation between color polymorphism and the MC1R gene of Lanius schach
    Gang Ren, En Li, Shiye Zhao, Yanqiong Jiang, Shasha Wang, Sixian Tang, Huijian Hu
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  688-694.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019307
    Abstract ( 232 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (1032KB) ( 136 )   Save
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    MC1R (melanocortin-1 receptor) is an important gene that controls melanin synthesis in animals. The variation of plumage color in birds is closely related to variation in the MC1R gene. Lanius schach exhibits color polymorphism that differentiates into brown, black, and white-remiged black morphs in many provinces along the east coast of China. In order to explore the relationship between genetic variation in MC1R and color polymorphism in Lanius schach in Guangdong, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and amino acid polymorphisms in the coding region of the MC1R gene were analyzed in 11 Lanius schach individuals of three different color types. The results showed: (1) A total of 4 haplotypes in the MC1R gene sequences of 11 individuals, among which the black morphs and the white-remiged black morphs shared haplotype H3; (2) There were 47 base mutations in 899 bases of the coding region (34-931), and the corresponding amino acid sequence had a total of 18 mutation sites. These mutation sites did not correspond to the black phenotype; (3) The deletion of 36 bases in the 268-303 coding region of the black morph and the white-remiged black morph individual genotypes, resulting in the deletion of 12 amino acids. This deletion corresponded to the black phenotype. Therefore, we speculate that the melanism of Lanius schach is closely related to the deletion of the base fragment of the MC1R gene.

    Spatial variation in ant-tree network organization in the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve
    Jian Wang, Yiyi Dong, Libin Ma, Bo Pan, Fangzhou Ma, Hui Ding, Yaping Hu, Yanqiong Peng, Xiaobing Wu, Bo Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  695-706.  doi:10.17520/biods.2020019
    Abstract ( 310 )   HTML ( 15 )   PDF (2094KB) ( 450 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Network analysis helps reveal the details of community organization by holistically assessing species diversity and the relationships contained therein. In this study, we collected arboreal ants from their host trees at three sites (Nabanhe, Menglun, and Bubeng) in the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve. Following computation of species diversity, network metrics, and community metrics, we compared the ant-tree bipartite networks between the three sample sites. Network metrics were evaluated using Z values standardized according to two different null models. Tree species composition differed across the three experimental sites, and the ant communities were correspondingly diverse. Ant and tree species number and the tree heterogeneity index (Shannon-Wiener diversity index, Simpson diversity index) were highest in Menglun, and lowest in Bubeng. Extinction slopes showed the same trends as the indices for ant and tree species number and tree heterogeneity, but did not display the same pattern as ant species heterogeneity. Evaluated parameters included: weighted nestedness metrics (WNODF), links per species, specialization, modularity, connectance, extinction slope exponent, and niche overlap. The absolute Z values of these parameters were highest in Menglun and lowest in Bubeng. In conclusion, tree species number and heterogeneity determine the ant-tree network stability, which is measured by extinction slope. WNODF and links per species are positively correlated with community stability. In specialized and modular networks, species populating higher trophic levels experience extinction events in direct correlation with those in lower trophic levels.

    Effect of soil environment on functional diversity of soil nematodes in Tibetan alpine meadows
    Yutong Wang, Kechang Niu
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  707-717.  doi:10.17520/biods.2020042
    Abstract ( 236 )   HTML ( 7 )   PDF (1280KB) ( 168 )   Save
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    Soil nematodes are key components in the soil food web, playing a crucial role in the regulation of nutrient cycling and energy flow. Many studies have documented the importance of the soil environment in regulating variation in taxonomic diversity over space and time, though little is known about how soil environment influences the functional diversity of soil nematodes. We investigated soil nematode communities in alpine meadows distributed on contrasting environmental regimes (valley floor, northern slope, southern slope, and ridge top) at each of three sites on the Tibetan Plateau. We examined the association between soil environmental factors and the functional diversity of soil nematodes using the community-weighted mean of body-size (CWM) and the Rao functional diversity of body-size (FDRao). Our results showed that the taxonomic diversity of soil nematodes increased significantly with soil pH while the functional diversity of soil nematodes is associated with soil fertility (i.e. CWM and FDRao are positively correlated with soil organic matter and nitrogen content while negatively with soil total phosphorus). Results also revealed that the abundance of bacterivores and fungivores are significantly greater in valley floor plots. The abundance of herbivores and omnivore-predators are lesser at ridge top plots, with abundance of most functional groups positively correlated with soil phosphorous content, but negatively with plant species richness. Our study suggests that soil nematode taxonomic and functional diversity exhibit a decoupled response to soil environmental factors, providing new insight into our understanding of biodiversity assembly in soil animals in Tibetan alpine meadows.

    Original Papers: Microbial Diversity
    Diversity and seasonal dynamics of bacteria among different biological soil crusts in the southeast Tengger Desert
    Xinying Jin, Xiaochong Zhang, Duo Jin, Yun Chen, Jingyu Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  718-726.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019298
    Abstract ( 220 )   HTML ( 15 )   PDF (1584KB) ( 459 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Microbial diversity plays important roles in improving local soil environment and ecological functions of biological soil crusts in desert ecosystems. In this study, high throughput sequencing of 16S rDNA was carried out to reveal the seasonal dynamics of bacterial diversity of algae crusts, moss crusts and their sublayer soils for four seasons during the evolution of biological soil crusts in the southeast Tengger Desert. The results showed that the bacterial richness of the sampled soils was significantly lower in summer than in the other three seasons. The main bacterial groups in the four soils were Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria and Cyanobacteria, of which Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were the dominant groups. The relative abundance of Proteobacteria was significantly higher in summer than in spring, autumn and winter, and significantly higher in the biocrust samples than in the sublayers. The relative abundance of Actinobacteria was significantly higher in spring and summer than in autumn and winter, and significantly higher in sublayers of biocrusts than in biocrusts. The seasonal dynamics of bacterial diversity and relative abundance during the processes of biocrust succession indicate that it responds to changes in the local desert environment, which provides bacteria diversity data for understanding the ecological functions of biocrusts in the desert ecosystems.

    Advances in root foraging behavior of exotic invasive plants
    Xue Han, Jinquan Su, Nana Yao, Baoming Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  727-733.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019325
    Abstract ( 370 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (627KB) ( 305 )   Save
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    Nutrient distribution within soils is highly spatially heterogenous, forcing plant root foraging behavior to adapt to heterogeneous soil nutrients. By adjusting root foraging scales, foraging precision and rate, plants can maximize soil nutrients. Successful invaders are heavily influenced by soil nutrients and other environmental conditions (e.g. water content, light, etc.) as successful invasion depends on the successful competitive interaction of an exotic species with a native species. In recent years, the foraging behavior of exotic invasive plants has attracted more attention, and studies are increasing worldwide. To date, foraging behavior studies have found: (1) Invasive plants have increased root foraging abilities compared to native plants, although the trade-off between foraging scale and precision are uncertain. (2) Soil nutrient heterogeneity influences the competitive outcome between invasive and native plants, as competition alters root foraging strategy. (3) Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) facilitate root foraging of invasive plants, and invasive plants experience positive feedbacks with invasion by altering their AMF preference. Additionally, the interaction between AMF and native plants can influence the competitive ability of invasive plants. Further studies are necessary to understand the relationship between interspecific competition and AMF on root foraging behavior of invasive plants in heterogeneous nutrient conditions. Due to global change, root foraging strategies and related mechanisms of invasive species may be altering. Increased research on root foraging behavior in successful exotic plant invasions can provide a greater understanding of these mechanisms and a theoretical basis for control and management of invasive plants through nutrient regulation.

    The origins and genetic characteristics of domestic horses
    Togtokh Mongke, Haige Han, Ruoyang Zhao, Tugeqin Bao, Manglai Dugarjaviin, Dongyi Bai
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  734-748.  doi:10.17520/biods.2020005
    Abstract ( 622 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (1814KB) ( 861 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Throughout human history, the horse (Equus ferus caballus) was often involved in cultural exchanges and the development of various human societies. Human activities has directly and indirectly impacted the evolution of domestic horses, especially since the industrial revolution. There has been extensive research into when horses were originally domesticated and how humans impacted horse’s genetic evolution during domestication. Recent developments in genomic technology has advanced our understand of horse genetic evolution. This review summarizes the results of the last 20 years of research on the domestication origins and genetic evolution of domestic horses, as well what is currently known about domestication centers and evolution characteristics of domestication. We also suggest avenues for future research directions and genetic conservation strategies. Molecular markers from genetic and archaeological research suggest that domestic horses may have originated from multiple populations. However, ancient DNA studies indicate a more complicated genetic history than previously thought, as the believed Botai ancestor to all domesticated horses has been disproven as the direct ancestor of modern domestic horses. To address these types of complex scenarios may need a multi-disciplinary framework to understanding the horse domestication. Human activities have shaped the evolution of modern domestic, driving both demographic collapse and low genetic diversity, especially, since the industrial revolution. A number of indigenous horse breeds are gradually declining and are becoming extinct. Therefore, in order to ensure that agricultural safety, we suggest strengthening the researches on the relationship between protection of equine genetic resources, animal genetics and cultural geography.

    Research progress of the maintaining mechanisms of soil microbial diversity in Inner Mongolia grasslands under global change
    Tingting Li, Ximei Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  749-758.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019344
    Abstract ( 272 )   HTML ( 8 )   PDF (916KB) ( 117 )   Save
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    The effects of global climate change are a worldwide concern. Inner Mongolian grasslands which are sensitive to global climate change are not only the important foundation of livestock and forage products, but also have irreplaceable ecosystem functions. Soil microorganisms comprise a large proportion of Earth’s biodiversity and play vital roles in various ecosystem process including carbon and nitrogen cycles. Due to technological limitation and complicated community structure, soil microbial ecology research is currently at the descriptive stage and its theoretical research is still inadequate. Hence it is crucial to use molecular technologies, in particular the next-generation sequencing technology, to study the maintaining mechanism of soil microorganisms systematically in the Inner Mongolia grassland of China. Here we first review recent studies that compared the relative effects of different climate change factors on soil microbial community in Inner Mongolia grasslands. We then analyze the physiochemical and ecological mechanisms for the effects of different environmental changes on soil microorganisms. Finally, we highlight open questions for future research on soil microbial diversity under global change in Inner Mongolia grasslands. We recommend that future researches focus on (1) effects of multiple global change factors on soil microbial diversity; (2) ecological mechanisms that maintain soil microbial diversity; (3) relationships between aboveground and belowground biodiversity; and (4) integration research of multiple ecosystems globally.

    The attribute structure of national parks and its enlightenment to China’s local practice
    Ji Zhang, Xin Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (6):  759-768.  doi:10.17520/biods.2020001
    Abstract ( 196 )   HTML ( 7 )   PDF (908KB) ( 129 )   Save
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    The concept of “national park” has been widely spread around the world since its creation in the United States in the second half of the 19th century. However, there is little consensus on the criteria needed and essential attributes that make up national parks. One of the primary ways humans identify types of things are by knowing and associating their various attributes. We present a comparative study of the attributes and characteristics of national parks around the world, and construct the attribute structure of national parks from the theoretical perspective of essential and non-essential attributes. The essential attributes of national parks should include: (1) natural resource-based; (2) national significance of natural resources; (3) management system of national government control; and (4) resource utilization led by public welfare. The land ownership, the area size, the ecosystem, the focus of conservation, the tourist facilities, as well as the indigenous residents of the national parks are considered non-essential attributes. Finally, this paper discusses the significance of this attribute structure to the establishment, governance and enjoyment of national parks in China. This attribute structure which combines essential and non-essential attributes provides both a summary of typologies of national parks globally and a foundation and decision-making tool that China must consider in the formal establishment and construction of national parks in the future.

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