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Table of Content
    Volume 26 Issue 7
    20 July 2018
    Western coast of Hainan Island, which is located in the east of Beibu Gulf, has vast tracts of primary mangroves with least human disturbance in China. However, little is known about the biodiversity in the mangroves. Ma et al. (for details see pages 707–716 of this issue) explored the temporal and spatial variations of mollusks diversity in the western coast of Hainan Island, and analyzed the impacts of water salinity and soil texture on mollusks species composition. The picture shows the Rh community in the western coast of Hainan Island. Large area of pure R. stylosa forest is rare. (Photographed by Wenqing Wang) [Detail] ...
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    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  0-0. 
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    Original Papers
    Dynamical changes of diversity and community assembly during recovery from a plant functional group removal experiment in the alpine meadow
    Dexin Sun, Xiang Liu, Shurong Zhou
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  655-666.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018060
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    Recently, numerous studies have used functional trait or phylogeny to infer the mechanisms of community assembly. However, different processes may lead to similar patterns of diversity. In an alpine meadow plant community in Gannan, we compared the dynamical changes in species diversity, functional diversity and phylogenetic diversity with experimental removal of plant functional groups. We assessed how colonization and extinction affected diversity dynamics after removing functional groups. We found that for communities receiving removals of different number of functional groups, species richness (SR), Shannon-Wiener index (H°), Simpson index (D), and evenness index (J) rapidly converged to the levels for natural communities. Moreover, functional diversity (FD) and phylogenetic diversity (PD) showed the similar trends as species diversity, while the mean pairwise distances (MPD/MPDa and MFD/MFDa) converged to medium levels. Next, species and functional group compositions recovered to the levels of natural communities within a short period. Finally, we found that functional patterns of species colonization and extinction was the main driver of the community recovery. This study indicates that the diversity of species, functions, and phylogeny of plant communities in alpine meadows can recover quickly from functional group removal at small scales when close to natural alpine meadows.

    Co-existence mechanisms of plant species within “soil islands” habitat of desert steppe
    Naiping Song, Xing Wang, Lin Chen, Yi Xue, Juan Chen, Jinming Sui, Lei Wang, Xinguo Yang
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  667-677.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018045
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    Extensive fragmentation has led to the original desert steppe soils of hard sierozem to become isolated in the desertified lands, forming the so-called “soil islands”. We aimed to reveal the effect of fragmentation on the co-existence of plant species within “soil islands” habitat. To this end, we characterized the plant communities on three large (200-300 m2), medium (about 100 m2) and small (about 50 m2) soil islands each, in the Wanjigou Village of Yanchi County in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China. We analyzed the similarity of plant community within and outside those soil islands, the breadth and overlap of plant ecological niche, the species co-existence pattern and its influencing factors using Jaccard similarity coefficient, niche overlapping degree formula, null model analysis, and meta-analysis. Our results showed that: (1) with increased fragmentation, plant diversity within the soil island decreased, and the dominant plant species changed from Stipa breviflora to a combination of Artemisia scoparia and S. breviflora, and the plant communities within soil islands became more similar to communities outside; (2) most species showed relatively small ecological niche overlap between within and outside soil islands, with the overlap showing concentrated distribution within soil islands but scattered distribution outside the islands; (3) environmental filtering was the main driver of species co-existence patterns. As soil islands became larger, the effect of environmental factors on species co-existence decreased, and the key environmental factor that explained species composition changed from clay and fine sand to coarse sand. Notably, a competition was a key driver of co-existence patterns within small “soil islands”. In summary, “soil islands” provide an important habitat for representative plant species in the desert steppe and environmental factors influenced species co-existence patterns. Both processes were disrupted by fragmentation. Maintaining soil islands larger than 200 m2 would be critical for restoring representative plant species and preserving plant diversity of the desert steppe ecosystems.

    Elevational pattern of seed plant diversity in Xishuangbanna and its mechanisms
    Xiang Xu, Huayong Zhang, Ting Xie, Qingqing Sun, Yonglan Tian
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  678-689.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017132
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    The mechanisms underlying elevational patterns of species diversity remain one of the most important questions in biogeography and macroecology. We studied the effects of area, mid-domain effect (MDE) and contemporary climate on elevational patterns in species richness and species density for native seed plants in Xishuangbanna, for which we used plant monograph, digital elevation model, and large-scale climatic data. We found that: (1) area, MDE, and climate explained 81.9%, 17.5%, and 60.0-69.3% of the unimodal pattern in species richness; (2) when species richness calculated using the species-area hypothesis showed a decreasing pattern along the elevational gradient. Moreover, richness was not correlated to MDE and the explanatory power of climate decreased to 32.6-40.6%; (3) species richness calculated using equal-area elevational bands showed a hump-shaped pattern but was not correlated to MDE; the explanatory power of climate was 81.6-89.9%. Our results provides comprehensive insights into the theoretical mechanisms underlying elevational patterns in species diversity and also provide practical guidance for the biodiversity conservation in Xishuangbanna.

    Relationship between plant functional diversity and productivity of Pinus massoniana plantations in Guangxi
    Xiaorong Huang
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  690-700.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018092
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    Understanding the relationship between plant diversity and productivity can provide essential information for forest management. We surveyed plant communities in Pinus massoniana dominated plantations from four regions of Guangxi. Using correlation analysis, automatic linear modeling and variance partitioning, we assessed the effect of species diversity, functional diversity, and functional dominance on productivity. We found that productivity was extremely positively correlated with species richness, Shannon index, functional richness and functional evenness (P < 0.01). Species evenness, RaoQ, functional dispersion, functional group richness and aspect were also positively correlated with productivity (P < 0.05), while forest age was negatively correlated with productivity (P < 0.01). Four functional diversity parameters positively correlated with four species-diversity indices. No evidence of negative density-dependence was found. In the best variance partitioning model, functional diversity parameters, functional dominance and forest age explained 56%, 43% and 33% of variance in productivity respectively; and the overlap between functional diversity parameters and functional dominance was up to 27%. Functional richness and functional evenness were major contributors of complementary effects while community weighted mean (CWM) of growth form contributed to selection effects. Plots identified as dominantly shrub had higher productivity than plots identified as dominantly herbs or trees, suggesting that subordinates and transients may have important effects on ecosystem functions. The best-fit subset model built by automatic linear modeling included forest age, growth form CWM, functional richness, functional evenness and functional group richness (FGR) indescending order. We recommend that to maintain diversity and forest function, protection of understory plant species should be strengthened. Further, to enhance productivity and biodiversity we recommend planting functionally important species through compensatory photosynthesis and growth competition in understorey layers.

    Distribution pattern and mechanism of insect species diversity in Inner Mongolia
    Yu Zhang, Gang Feng
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  701-706.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018144
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    How species are distributed geographically and what drives these distributions remain core issues in macroecology and biogeography. Both regional and local scale factors such as temperature, precipitation, altitudinal range, habitat filtering, predation, competition and reciprocity affect the large-scale distribution pattern of insect species diversity. However, few studies have simultaneously discussed the effects of these multi-scale drivers on the geographical distribution of insect diversity. Using insect diversity data from 86 counties in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, we assessed the distribution patterns and main drivers of insect species diversity. We included mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation, paleoclimate change, altitudinal range and plant diversity as predictors. Plant diversity and altitudinal range influenced insect diversity in Inner Mongolia while climatic factors had less influence. Our results show that interspecific relationships (food diversity) and habitat heterogeneity may play a crucial role in shaping distribution patterns of insect diversity in Inner Mongolia.

    Biodiversity of mangrove mollusks in the west coast of Hainan Island, China
    Wei Ma, Mao Wang, Wenqing Wang, Yi Liu, Liuqing Luo, Chaoyi Tang
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  707-716.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018104
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    We aimed to understand the mollusk community in the mangrove wetlands of the west coast of Hainan Island. To do so, we explored the temporal and spatial variation in species composition, diversity and community structure of mollusks in six mangrove wetlands from 2015 to 2016. We identified a total of 201 mollusk species belonging to 57 families. The dominant species included Cerithidea cingulata, Assiminea latericea, Pinguitellina cycladiformis, and Sermyla riqueti. The average density and biomass of mollusks were 324.13 ind. /m² and 142.88 g/m², respectively. Observed density, biomass and species richness at west coast of Hainan Island were higher than values recorded in other mangrove wetlands located in the coast of Beibu Gulf. While species richness, density or biomass of mollusks did not vary seasonally, mollusk densities varied spatially in our study. Cluster analysis showed that mangrove wetlands differing in salinity, soil texture and mangrove communities had very dissimilar mollusk communities. The multivariate-AZTI marine biotic index (M-AMBI) value suggested that the mollusk communities of mangrove wetlands located in the west coast of Hainan Island were undisturbed. Although the benthic community was reasonably healthy, they were nevertheless negatively impacted by human activities and invasion of exotic plants. Given that mollusks are important for various bird species that migrate to Hainan Island, we recommend measures such as pollution control and in situ conservation to help preserve the biodiversity of mangrove mollusks in the west coast of Hainan Island.

    Impact of ground and canopy camera-trapping installation on wildlife monitoring
    Yihao Fang, Guopeng Ren, Ying Gao, Shuxia Zhang, Haohan Wang, Yanpeng Li, Zhipang Huang, Liangwei Cui, Wen Xiao
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  717-726.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018035
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    Camera trap technology is increasingly used in wildlife research, and has become an important tool to assess biodiversity. Traditionally, biodiversity is monitored from the ground with limited visual access to the wildlife present in the canopy layers. The impact of this limitation on the results of biodiversity assessments is unclear. In this study, a region characterized by rich biodiversity - the southern section of Biluo Snow Mountain - was monitored using 20 camera-trappings from January 2016 to July 2017. We installed cameras in groups of two working synchronously: one in the understory (0.5-1.5 m) and one in the overstory (5-10 m). For 2,319 trapping days, the cumulative monitoring period averaged to 112.5 days. We photographed 44 species of wild animals (not including rodents such as rats), 20 of which were mammals and 24 were birds. The similarity index of canopy and ground species was 29.54%. Fifteen species appeared only in the canopy, 16 species appeared only on the ground, and 13 species were photographed in both forest strata. Obvious differences in the species composition present in different forest strata were observed, suggesting that monitoring two strata is necessary. Results show that the detection rate of species by camera traps can be improved by installing cameras in forest strata corresponding to the habitat of target species. Our method of camera trap monitoring in different forest strata can also be used to study the spatial selection and niche differentiation of wild animals. To fully assess the diversity of wild animals in forest ecosystems monitoring at different forest strata is essential; new monitoring standards must incorporate multi-strata monitoring.

    Gene diversity and its function in the soil microbiome for moss crusts found southeast of the Tengger Desert
    Jingyu Li, Jianli Liu, Xiu Zhang, Meng Wang, Zhou Yang, Xinying Jin, Qi Gou, Yifei Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  727-737.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018026
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    Metagenomics sequencing was used to reveal the diversity of genes and their metabolic pathways involved in carbon sequestration and nitrogen fixation in moss crusts in Shapotou region, located southeast of the Tengger Desert. Results showed that the microbial community related to the bacteria domain in the moss crust was the largest, followed by archaea and eukaryota. In the bacterial domain, the most abundant phyla was the Actinobacteria, followed by the Proteobacteria and Cyanobacteria. Based on the functional classification of eggNOG and KEGG databases for the functional prediction of non-redundant gene catalog, the diversity of gene and metabolic pathways in the moss crust soil was high. Low nitrogen fixation was found in the moss crust as there are less metabolic pathways related to nitrogen-fixation, weakening the ecological function of ammonia synthesis from atmosphere nitrogen. The nitrate from the nitrogen pool formed by moss crust were mainly reduced to ammonium salt by nitrate reduction pathway, which may be used for the synthesis of amino acids for microbiome in the moss crust, and may also provide an effective nitrogen source for the growth of mosses.

    Structures of the tuf gene and its upstream part genes and characteristic analysis of conserved regions and activity from related gene promoters of a phytoplasma
    Shaoshuai Yu, Caili Lin, Shengjie Wang, Wenxin Zhang, Guozhong Tian
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  738-748.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018017
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    Studies on the genetic diversity, key gene regulation and control of phytoplasma, which cause many diseases with various host plants and have a wide geographical distribution, will be conducive to facilitating integrated disease control. The large DNA fragments including tuf gene sequences and upstream six genes from PaWB-sdyz, PaWB-fjfz and LY-fjya1 strains were amplified using long fragment PCR primers. Sequence characteristic of conserved regions of the phytoplasma gene promoter and MLSA were performed. Upstream sequences adjoining the tuf gene was recombined with promoter-probe vector pSUPV4 to analyze their promoter activity. The sequences, 12,745-12,748 bp in length, of upstream tuf genes were amplified from the three strains. Comparative analysis showed that the gene structure order of the tuf gene and its upstream six gene sequences of PaWB-sdyz, PaWB-fjfz, LY-fjya1, OY-M, AYWB, PAa, SLY, AT phytoplasma strains were identical in the arrangement of 5’-rplL-rpoB-rpoC-rps12-rps7-fusA-tuf-3’. The potential sequence pattern of conserved region of the phytoplasma promoter was deduced: T90T100G92T75G67A85 (-35 region); T90A96T92A98T73T90 (-10 region). The different phytoplasma strains were clearly divided with comparatively high bootstrap values based on MLSA of coding genes, non-coding sequences, and deduced amino acid sequences of rplL-tuf nucleotide sequences. Genetic variation was comparatively high in the non-coding nucleotide sequences. A 130-bp upstream sequence of the tuf gene in PaWB-fjfz, LY-fjya1 strains and a 129-bp upstream sequence of the tuf gene in CWB-hnsy1 strain, and three representative strains of three variation types of upstream sequences adjoining the tuf gene from 16SrI group, were tested for promoter activity.

    Research Bulletin
    Community structure and dynamics of a remnant forest dominated by a plant species with extremely small population (Sinojackia huangmeiensis) in central China
    Shitong Wang, Hao Wu, Mengting Liu, Jiaxin Zhang, Jianming Liu, Hongjie Meng, Yaozhan Xu, Xiujuan Qiao, Xinzeng Wei, Zhijun Lu, Mingxi Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  749-759.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018055
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    In China, Sinojackia huangmeiensis is among the 120 plant species with extremely small populations (PSESP), with only one extant wild population located at the lakeside of the Longgan Lake, central China. Here, we followed the field protocol of the 50-ha permanent forest plot on the Barro Colorado Island in Panama to census all free-standing woody species ≥ 1 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) in a 1-ha plot established in a lowland fengshui forest dominated by S. huangmeiensis. We recorded a total of 1,225 living individuals, belonging to 31 species, 28 genera and 21 families. Individuals with DBH < 7.5 cm accounted for ca. 67% of all individuals, indicating good natural regeneration in the community. The most dominant species were Quercus acutissima, Ilex cornuta, Celtis sinensis, and S. huangmeiensis. Quercus acutissima showed a single peak pattern of diameter class distribution, while I. cornuta, C. sinensis, and S. huangmeiensis showed a reverse “J” shape or a partial reverse “J” shape. S. huangmeiensis showed aggregated distribution at small spatial scales and random or uniform distributions at large scales. Individuals of S. huangmeiensis were negatively associated with the other three dominant species. Seedlings of S. huangmeiensis were negatively associated with both conspecific saplings and adults at small scales, but showed no correlation at other scales. There was a significantly positive correlation between sprout number and DBH of S. huangmeiensis (R2 = 0.330, P < 0.001), whereas ratio of sprout and relative seedling density showed a negative correlation (R2 = 0.438, P < 0.001). In general, high percentage of small-sized individuals and interspecific negative associations suggested that this plant community is still at an early-to-middle stage of succession. The remnant fengshui forests in the lowland plains of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River are important for their roles in the conservation of biodiversity and endangered plants and should therefore be protected and well-managed.

    A horizon scan of the impacts of environmental change on wild bees in China
    Xiuwei Liu, Douglas Chesters, Chunsheng Wu, Qingsong Zhou, Chaodong Zhu
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  760-765.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018078
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    Wild pollinator bees play an important role in ecosystem function and food security. In recent years, natural forests have been lost, while afforestation programs are primarily monoculture plantation, whether commercial or restorative. The net effect for bees has been fragmentation and sometime wholesale loss of habitats. For instance, diversity of wild bees in pure forest, Camellia oleifera and rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) plantation was found to be unexpectedly low. The rampant use of neonicotinoid pesticides and herbicide is known to negatively impact development and behavior of bees. Urbanization has dramatically impacted bee communities, with significant changes in species richness between suburban and central business areas. These are likely tied to the effect of effluent, exhaust gas and dust on foraging, growth and development. Climate change from greenhouse gas emissions can disrupt the mutualistic relationship between pollinating bees and plants via rapid phenological shifts. The above environmental changes occurring in China are likely cause wide declines in diversity and decreases in populations. Although China has rich natural heritage for bees, there is a lack of long term monitoring programs for species of pollinator bees and a dearth of data on distributions of bee species. As a result, the drivers of bee community composition and population decline are poorly understood. We emphasize the need to prioritize surveys of pollinating bees, continue ongoing monitoring programs and build wider research networks for the study of wild pollinator bees. These steps will ensure that sufficient data can accumulate for developing a prediction and risk assessment framework to help manage the declines in pollinating bee populations and mitigate the attendant economic and non-economic impacts.

    Biodiversity and ecosystem services: Towards ecological security in tropical and subtropical East Asia
    Richard Corlett
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  766-774.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018020
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    Tropical and subtropical East Asia supports around 15-25% of global terrestrial biodiversity. This is now threatened in many areas by rapid economic development. Achieving development that is compatible with biodiversity conservation requires that the benefits of nature to people, to society, and to the economy are understood and correctly valued. These benefits are known as ecosystem services and have been classified in various ways. Most ecosystem services depend on wild species and ecosystems for their production, although there is often no simple relationship between their quality and quantity and the diversity of wild species. There have been many assessments of ecosystem services at the national scale, but these are necessarily very simplified, usually focusing on a few, easily quantified, services. As a result, they often fail to include the services which are of most importance to local people and can therefore lead to incorrect policy decisions. Ecosystem services are derived from natural capital, which is the total stock of natural resources, so if this capital is depleted the services it can produce decline. Ecological security is achieved by preserving or restoring the critical natural capital needed to maintain vital ecosystem services in the region. Although there have been recent improvements in some ecosystem services in China, the overall trends in most services in tropical and subtropical East Asia are negative. Achieving regional ecological security in a human-dominated world will require action at the global, regional, national, and local levels.

    On classification of protected areas and the construction of China’s Protected Area System with national parks as a leading part
    Zhigang Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  775-779.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018168
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    China is constructing a protected area (PA) system with national park as the leading type and facing a tough task of classifying and managing PAs across fields, industries and space. Countries overall the world have established various types of PAs. In the PAs of the world, there may be the same type of PAs bears different names, different types of PAs bear the same name, one PA has more than one names. IUCN put forward a category system to classify PAs of the world, people tried to apply the category to classify China’s PAs, but the category has the problems such as the fuzzy classification, without quantification standard, and the attribute of a PA is often non-exclusive. The classification of protected land is an academic issue whereas the management of PAs is an administrative issue, which must follow the laws and administrative regulations. Nevertheless, the existing PA system is already classification system by itself. Many types of PAs, like nature reserve, scenic site, geoparks, have their own bylaws or administrative regulations and management expertise. China's national parks shall integrate and optimize rather than replacing other existing PAs. National park system as leading part of China's PA system requires top-level design and legislation. PAs should promote the harmonious development of local community, people and nature.

    Save Menyanthes trifoliata in Beijing
    Huajie Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2018, 26 (7):  782-783.  doi:10.17520/biods.2018221
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