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Table of Content
    Volume 19 Issue 5
    20 September 2011

    Scleractinia coral communities, which are widely distributed in South China coast, Hainan Island and the South China Sea, are the framework of coral reef ecosystem. Along with the intensification of human activities and the deterioration of coastal marine environment, near-shore coral reefs are degrading. Huang et al. investigated the species composition and spatial distribution of scleractinia corals in Xuwen National Coral Reef Reserve (for details see pages 505–510 of this is

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    Special Issue
    Establishing an indicator system for biodiversity assessment in China
    Guo Li, Xiaopu Wu, Zunlan Luo, Junsheng Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  497-504.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08068
    Abstract ( 3638 )   PDF (328KB) ( 4210 )   Save
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    The development of biodiversity indicators is a complex and long-term process that requires linking research with monitoring and policy making, choosing sound approach to structure indicators, and implementing the technical design. The need to develop suitable indicators for monitoring and assessing biodiversity status and trends is reflected in China’s national biodiversity strategies. We review the practices of indicator development from both home and abroad and discuss the issues concerning the technical design of indicators, including causal frameworks of indicator system, spatial and temporal scales, indicator types and assessment methods. We also identify eight focal areas for biodiversity assessment which reflect the objectives of the 2011–2030 national biodiversity strategy and action plan. These propositional focal areas include status and trends of biodiversity, ecosystem goods and services, threats to biodiversity, sustainable use, access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources, policy and legal systems/ecological planning, financial resources, and public awareness. We propose a set of 26 possible indicators characterized by ‘practicality’, ‘representativeness’, ‘sensitiveness’ and ‘aggregation possibilities’. The indicators in this set could be grouped and logically linked under the Pressure-State-Impact-Response framework. And they could be used to assess biodiversity at genetic, species, and ecosystem levels, and to measure the progress toward the national biodiversity strategic goals.
    Structure and diversity of scleractinia coral communities along the west seashore of Xuwen County
    Hui Huang, Yuyang Zhang, Jiansheng Lian, Xiubao Li, Feng You, Jianhui Yang, Xinming Lei, Chenglong Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  505-510.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.06055
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    We surveyed the community structure, species diversity and distribution of scleractinia coral off the shore of Xuwen County, Guangdong Province from May to June of 2008. A total of 57 species of scleractinia coral were documented from 25 sampling stations. Fewer than 30 species of coral were observed at any one station. The average Shannon-Wiener index of scleractinia coral diversity was 1.79 and the average Pielou index was 0.42. The dominant coral species within the study site were Goniopora duofasciataTurbinaria peltata and Cyphastrea serailia, particularly G. duofasciata. The average coverage of scleractinia coral was 12.1%, ranging in 0–38% (mostly in 10–20%). The scleractinia coral communities in our study site showed a patchy spatial distribution.
    Species diversity of macrobenthos in the rocky intertidal zone of Yushan Island
    Haifeng Jiao, Xiaoming Peng, Zhongjie You, Huixiong Shi, Zhijun Lou, Hongdan Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  511-518.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08021
    Abstract ( 3534 )   PDF (414KB) ( 2687 )   Save
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    In order to understand the diversity and structure of macrobenthic communities in the intertidal zone of Yushan Island, we surveyed the diversity of macrobenthos at five sampling stations between March 2009 and January 2010. A total of 100 species of intertidal macrobenthos was identified. We quantified species diversity based on investigations of species composition, biomass and abundance. The results showed that: the average Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H')、Pielou index (J)、Margalef’s richness index (R) and Simpson’s diversity index (D) in different sections and seasons were 3.328 ± 0.109, 0.725 ± 0.021, 4.350 ± 0.216 and 0.823 ± 0.016, respectively. Shannon-Wiener (H') and Margalef’s richness indices (R) varied among sampling stations (H': F4,15=3.192, P<0.05; R: F4,15=5.623, P<0.01), meanwhile Pielou (J) and Simpson’s indices (D) demonstrated significant seasonal variation (J: F3,16=6.575, P<0.01; D: F3,16=3.359, P<0.05). Using an ABC (abundance biomass comparison) curve, we analyzed the structure of the intertidal community in Yushan Island and found that overall disturbance was not apparent except in summer.
    Effect of Solidago canadensis invasions on soil nematode communities in Hangzhou Bay
    Xiangqin Xu, Yingying Wang, Qiang Lu, Zhihua Lin, Huili Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  519-527.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.09048
    Abstract ( 2957 )   PDF (1580KB) ( 2321 )   Save
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    Ecologists are increasingly focusing on the effects of biological invasions on soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. We compared soil nematodes under plant communities dominated by invasive Solidago canadensis and native plant Phragmites australis at 6 sites (Zhenhai, Fengxian, Pinghu, Haiyan, Cixi and Hangzhou) in Hangzhou Bay to assess the effects of S. canadensis invasions on soil nematode communities. The total number of genera and diversity of soil nematode did not differ between S. canadensis and P. australis communities. Trophic diversity, most of the proportions of trophic groups and nematode community structure varied between the two plant communities. These results suggested that the invasion of S. canadensis changed soil community structure and functioning in Hangzhou Bay. Compared to P. australis communities, the proportion of fungivores tended to increase in soil under S. canadensis communities, suggesting that the invasion might modify soil nutrient cycling. The proportion of herbivores decreased in soil dominated by S. canadensis, suggesting that the exotic S. canadensis is less vulnerable to parasitic nematodes than the native P. australis. Interactions between plant community type and site were significant for nematode diversity and community structure, which indicated that site was an important factor in determining the impact of the invasive plant on soil fauna. Soil grain composition, soil carbon and soil nitrogen were identified as the most important factors in shaping nematode communities.
    Effects of habitat fragmentation on avian nest predation risk in Thousand Island Lake, Zhejiang Province
    Jiji Sun, Siyu Wang, Yanping Wang, Deyu Shao, Ping Ding
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  528-534.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.07036
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    To investigate the effects of habitat fragmentation on avian nest predation risk, we placed 726 artificial ground nests with chicken or quail (Coturnix japonica) eggs on 16 islands in edge and interior locations in Thousand Island Lake from April to August 2010. We compared nest predation rates between nests with different egg types and between the nests located at different distances from the edge. We also evaluated the relationships between nest predation and island area, isolation, shape index and plant richness. Predation rate was higher for nests containing quail eggs (81.2%) compared to chicken eggs (60.0%), and lower in the interior than at the edge (66.1% vs. 75.1%). Predation rate was higher in August than that in April or June. Isolation and plant richness had no relationship with nest predation rate; but island area and island shape index were positively related with nest predation rate. Our results suggest that habitat fragmentation could increase avian predation risk due to edge and area effects, and that birds with small eggs might be more sensitive to fragmentation than those with large eggs.
    Isolation of SSR markers for two related second-generation energy crop species, Miscanthus nepalensis and M. nudipes (Poaceae)
    Hongzheng Ma, Shanshan Li, Song Ge, Silan Dai, Wenli Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  535-542.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08109
    Abstract ( 2437 )   PDF (442KB) ( 2250 )   Save
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    Miscanthus species have shown great potential as second-generation energy crops, especially when planted on marginal land. Within the genus, M. nepalensis and M. nudipes are much different from other species owing to the presence of only two anthers, and are thus treated as sect. Diandra Keng taxonomically. Distributed in the Himalaya and Hengduan Mountains, the two species exhibit a very high level of tolerance to cold and drought stresses. In order to scientifically develop these crop species, the first step would be to carry out a population-genetic investigation to elucidate the genetic basis of phenotypes such as tolerance-related and morphological characteristics. For this purpose, we need to select practical and high-resolution molecular markers. We sequenced six individuals of M. nepalensis and M. nudipes to validate the efficacious use of 42 previously-used SSR primer pairs. A total of 14 primer pairs were identified as applicable, of which 12 were from Miscanthus species, indicating that the amplification ratio within genus Miscanthus is 52.2% (12/23). Of the 14 primer pairs, 11 were polymorphic. Screening four natural populations of M. nepalensis and M. nudipes using the 14 SSR markers, we found that these primers had high power in detecting genetic diversity and population genetic structure in M. nepalensis and M. nudipes, and thus provide feasible genetic markers for population genetics studies and molecular breeding.
    Morphological diversity of some introduced tree peony cultivars
    Bo Zhou, Haidong Jiang, Xiuxin Zhang, Jingqi Xue, Yantong Shi
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  543-550.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08227
    Abstract ( 2295 )   PDF (342KB) ( 2144 )   Save
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    Tree peonies, native to China, are widely cultivated in many countries, but the threat of genetic degradation in new varieties is serious due to the selection of local cultivars as parents in breeding. Hence, it is important to use introduced cultivars from different origins when breeding new varieties. To assist in enlarging the genetic basis of tree peonies, we examined 41 morphological traits of 68 introduced tree peony cultivars from the USA, France and Japan, and compared them to 21 local varieties. We found high levels of morphological diversity among cultivars; coefficients of variation based on morphological traits ranged from 14.3% to 159%, with an average of 44.5%. A principal component analysis (PCA) integrated these 41 traits into 10 principal components. Among these components, 7 were most strongly associated with the first factor, representing flower characters; the other 3 were associated with the second factor, representing leaf characters. Results of a cluster analysis concurred with those of the PCA analysis. All cultivars clustered into two groups: the first was characterized by those that exhibited non-leaf-chromatic, larger flower diameter, non-petal-blotch, late flower time and erect flowers, and most of them were foreign cultivars; the second included foreign and Chinese cultivars and can be further classified, and was characterized by non-leaf-chromatic and small flower diameter. Moreover, the cluster analysis showed that most foreign cultivars were well-differentiated from domestic cultivars morphologically.
    Morphology and cytology of three flower phenotypes in a duodichogamous tree species, Acer mono
    Lingzhi Zhang, Hui Shang, Yibo Luo, Xin Cheng, Weining Bai
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  551-557.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.07035
    Abstract ( 2540 )   PDF (1317KB) ( 2514 )   Save
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    Duodichogamy, where individual plants produce two batches of male flowers that are temporally separated by a batch of female flowers, is the rarest temporal sexual system in flowering plants. Duodichogamy is present in some species of Acer, whose flowers of the first (male I) and second male phases (male II) differ morphologically. To explore the influence of floral development on flower morphology and phenology, we used paraffin methods and light microscopy to compare morphological and cytological differences among male (I and II) and female flowers at different developmental stages. Our main results were as follows: the ovary of male I degenerated and disappeared quickly upon megaspore tetrad degeneration, and developed into macrosporocytes; while the ovary of male II degenerated gradually during this period and only traces of residual ovule remained in the fully-developed ovary; the failure of anthers of female flowers to dehisce might be caused by retardant degeneration of tapetum tissue and loss of lip cells, i.e. formation sterility. In conclusion, both pistil and stamen primordial could be found in male (I and II) and female flower buds at early phases of sex differentiation, but selective abortion occurred in later developmental phases.
    Community characteristics of tropical montane evergreen forest and tropical montane dwarf forest in Bawangling National Nature Reserve on Hainan Island, South China
    Wenxing Long, Runguo Zang, Yi Ding
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  558-566.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.09309
    Abstract ( 3032 )   PDF (758KB) ( 1959 )   Save
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    Both tropical montane evergreen forest (TMEF) and tropical montane dwarf forest (TMDF) are typical tropical cloud forests on Hainan Island. To compare community structure and species diversity between these two forest types, we established eight and ten plots (each with 2,500 m2 in area) in TMEF and TMDF, respectively, in Bawangling National Nature Reserve on Hainan Island, South China. We investigated each individual plant with diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥1 cm including trees, shrubs and lianas, and found that the mean density of saplings (1 cm≤DBH < 5 cm) and small trees (5 cm≤DBH < 10 cm) was lower in TMEF than TMDF, while there were no differences in density of adult trees (DBH≥10 cm) between the two forest types. TMEF had higher mean DBH of small trees and adult trees, but lower mean DBH of saplings than TMDF. Mean height of saplings, small trees and adult trees was higher in TMEF than TMDF. The dominant species differed between these two forest types, but dominant family, dominant genera and overall species compositions were similar, with a Sørensen similarity index value of 0.71. Compared with the power and exponential curves, the logistic curve was the optimal model approximating the species-area relation within the two forest types. The observed species richness values, as well as the values predicted by 1st order Jackknife estimator, 2nd order Jackknife estimator and bootstrap estimator, were higher in TMEF than TMDF. Our results highlight the differences in community structure and species diversity between TMEF and TMDF, which likely resulting from differences in mechanisms maintaining the structure and diversity of these two types of forest communities.
    Distribution and diversity of climbing plants in temperate East Asia
    Liang Hu
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  567-573.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.07064
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    The composition and geographic distribution of climbing plants are important aspects of ecological study, but research on temperate climbing plants is relatively limited. We compared the family and genera-level composition, floristic element type, growth forms, diversity and geographical distribution of climbing plants in nine districts of temperate East Asia, including Northeast China, Japan, Mongolia and the Korean Peninsula. A total of 304 climbing plant species were documented, belonging to 38 families and 96 genera, including 127 lianas, 138 perennial vines and 39 annual vines. Distributions of climbing plants appear to be restricted mainly by cold and drought stresses. Their diversity and proportion to total flora are higher in coastal than inland areas, and higher in low latitudes than in high latitudes. As expected, the proportion of tropical elements declined and the proportion of temperate elements increased in temperate East Asia relative to subtropical East Asia. Twist climbing is the most common climbing pattern (61.5% of all species), followed by tendrillar (23.7%), adhesive (11.2%) and sprawling (3.6%) climbing. We speculate that twisting climbers are more cold-tolerant than other climbing plants.
    Distribution of forest floor lichen communities in the mountainous area of southern Urumqi, Xinjiang, China
    Anwar Tumur, Adiljan Abdulla, Abdulla Abbas
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  574-580.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.07039
    Abstract ( 3266 )   PDF (330KB) ( 1797 )   Save
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    Forest floor lichens are sensitive to variations in habitat conditions. To understand the distributional patterns of forest floor lichen communities and how habitat factors relate to dominant lichen species composition and diversity, we sampled 240 plots (50 cm×50 cm) in the mountainous area of southern Urumqi, Xinjiang, China. We detected 17 species in total, belonging to 10 genera and 5 families. Cluster analysis and detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) showed that plots clustered into four groups: (1) a Cladonia pyxidata + Cladonia cariosa + Cladonia chlorophaea community, including seven species with a total coverage of 19.7%; (2) a Solorina bispora + Cladonia cariosa + Cladonia scabriuscula community, including 11 species with a total coverage of 21.1%; (3) a Cetraria nivalis + Cladonia pyxidata community, including three species with a total coverage of 8.1%; and (4) a Peltigera rufescens + P. polydactyla community, including seven species with the total coverage of 23.83%. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicated that the species composition and diversity of floor lichens were most strongly influenced by altitude, then forest canopy density and humidity; the distribution patterns of lichen communities were apparently influenced by human disturbance. Variation in lichen communities among different elevations was related to light availability at ground level.
    Rarefaction approach to analyzing distribution patterns of species richness along altitudinal gradients: a case study with arborous species data
    Kaixiong Xing, Muyi Kang, Qiang Wang, Jin Duan, Cheng Dai
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  581-588.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08015
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    Species richness variation along altitudinal gradients has been among the hot topics in ecology. Models that estimate richness based on species–area relationships are dependent on representativeness, sampling scale and the classification of samples. In this paper, we have derived a new method to estimate minimum plot number (MPN), which is the minimum number of plots required to accurately estimate the species richness of a concerned region. Our approach combines the rarefaction approach that has been widely used to estimate regional species richness with the concept of the minimum area needed to survey a plant community. We evaluated our approach in a case study using survey data on the arborous species of natural forests on the southern slope of the Qinling Mountain Range. We divided one hundred and thirty five 20 m×20 m plots into a number of plot subgroups along an altitudinal gradient in three different ways and calculated the richness of each subgroup using the rarefaction approach in order to assess the distributional pattern of species richness along the altitudinal gradient. The preliminary results are as follows: (1) Rarefaction approach can help to calculate the species richness in each subgroup with full consideration in its different plot number, and at the same time in the species composition features in the study area, avoiding fluctuates influenced by the individual plot. Our approach of estimating species richness using rarefaction and considering minimum plot number also has the advantage of being able to recognize non-linear relationships between plot area and species number within a plot. (2) The elevational zone with the highest arborous species richness (≥80 sp.) emerged as 1,400–1,900 m a.s.l., and the peak species density (=9.5 sp./km2) occurred at an altitude of 1,890 m a.s.l. (3) Compared with the other two methods of plot sub-grouping, the moving average method under the criteria of equal-plot number intervals based on MPN can not only get more detailed plot subgroups, but also avoid influence resulting from unequal area of plot subgroups. If aided with species density data from the same region, we believe this is an ideal sub-grouping approach to calculating species richness because the curves it generates provide conclusions that are consistent with previous studies, implying its applicability to other regional species richness studies.
    Visiting motivation and satisfaction of visitors to Chinese botanical gardens
    He He, Jin Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  589-596.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08033
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    Botanical gardens (BGs) have attracted millions of visitors worldwide; therefore, BGs have become important sites for displaying and education for biodiversity. Understanding garden visitors’ motivations and their traveling satisfactory degree is crucial for BG management and its role in public education. In this study, we conducted survey in five Chinese BGs, i.e., Xiamen BG, Wuhan BG of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing BG, Kunming BG of CAS and Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of CAS. We aimed to understand visitors’ traveling motivation and the degree of satisfaction after they visited the gardens by questionnaire survey. The main results are as follows: (1) The motivations for visitors differed among the five BGs. “To get close to nature” was the most common motivation, followed by “To get relax” and “To enjoy the beautiful scenery”. In Xiamen BG, “To be together with friends or relatives” was also one of the motivations. (2) “To gain relative knowledge” as the motivation did not get significant support. (3) The visitors were satisfied by the visit to the five BGs. The authors also discussed how BGs could adjust their management in order to fit visitors’ motivation meanwhile play a better role in scientific and environmental education.
    Fish species diversity and conservation in Beijing and adjacent areas
    Chunguang Zhang, Yahui Zhao, Yingchun Xing, Ruilu Guo, Qing Zhang, Yun Feng, Enyuan Fan
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  597-604.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08072
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    Based on field surveys between 2002 and 2010, and fish collections in the National Zoological Museum, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, a total of 93 wild fish species including 12 introduced species had been recorded in Beijing and adjacent areas. Eighty five of these species, including some migratory and estuarine fishes, are native to the region. Only 43 native wild species were collected in our field work from 2002 to 2010. Compared with the historical records, nearly 50% of native fish species may have extirpated during the last over 30 years. Major reasons for these losses may include continuous natural drought, anthropogenic water use, aquatic environmental changes associated with rapid city expansion and overpopulation, and overexploitation of wild fish. In order to recover and ensure sustainable use of regional wild fish resources, measures such as systematic and thorough investigation of fish resources, enhanced management of aquatic protected areas, construction of a fish germplasm bank, and legislation on local protection of species are urgently needed.
    Vegetation and vascular plant diversity of islands surrounding Port Shelter, Hong Kong, China
    Puwei Hu, Fuwu Xing, Lin Chen, Meina Wang, Faguo Wang, Hongfeng Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2011, 19 (5):  605-609.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.05049
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    Port Shelter is an important harbor connecting Hong Kong and South China Sea. To sample the vegetation type and plant species of islands neighboring Port Shelter, we carried out field survey with a number of transects in August and December of 1997, and June of 2008. Brushwood and shrub-grassland were the dominant vegetation types, followed with secondary evergreen broad-leaved forest. We also observed some beach and mangrove vegetation types. Integrating literature data with our survey data, we here provide a checklist of vascular plants on these islands. A checklist of 345 vascular plant species was developed, belonging to 254 genera and 108 families. Analysis of the floral elements showed that widespread tropical and subtropical species were dominant. Among these species, Cinnamomum camphora, Brainea insignis, Dimocarpus longan and Ixonanthes reticulate were listed as state protected species. Finally we discussed factors affecting species richness of each island.

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